Bones Theory

The Ends and the Beginnings: Season Finales and Premieres


Hello, friends!

I don’t know about you, but in my family, we have weird, dorky traditions, and one of them is this: whenever we are on a roadtrip, and we are crossing over a state line, someone inevitably lunges from the backseat, sticks out his/her fingers toward the dashboard and says, “First one to Kentucky!” or whichever said state we are currently entering. Then, also inevitably, whichever family members DIDN’T think of it first grumble and complain that ‘we weren’t even playing that stupid game’, to which the winner replies, ‘because you lost, losers’. Hahaha. Having said all of that, for some reason this 1st POST OF 2011! made me think of that very thing…all of us lunging from 2010 with our fingers outstretched, hoping for a major win.

Okay, on with the actual post!

Hart Hanson once said that he viewed season finales and the subsequent season premieres as ‘two-part’ episodes, and I thought that was really fascinating. So on New Year’s day in 2011, I thought I’d take a look at each finale and premiere in the context of one another, and see what we come up with. The Ends and the Beginnings!

It’s not often where there is canon history before the pilot episode of a show, but we are lucky to have that, so, whether it’s cool or not, I’ll be using the “pre-pilot canon” stuff from the 100th episode and comparing it to the pilot episode. Actually…here’s how it will all break down.

  1. Pre-pilot canon from 100th & The Pilot
  2. The Woman in Limbo & The Titan on the Track
  3. The Stargazer in a Puddle & The Widow’s Son in the Windshield
  4. The Pain in the Heart & Yanks in the UK Part One
  5. The End in the Beginning & The Harbingers in a Fountain
  6. The Beginning in the End & The Mastodon in the Room.

Sound good? Let’s do this thing!

#1. Pre-pilot canon from 100th & the Pilot:

It feels like it can almost be summated in one phrase, and that’s this, “Don’t call me Bones”. Do you ever wonder if maybe Brennan always insisted on that because of how much she actually DID like him calling her that when they first met?  So of course he called her that twice as much!

I remember when the 100th first aired, I was so happy, and then I realized something bad had to happen to get them to the point where Brennan was annoyed at this

…and that he’d have to resort to using national security to detain her. Their huge fight (You’re a cold fish; you’re a stupid man, etc)…well, that certainly constitutes something bad! I think they are STILL dealing with the ramifications of those words.  

One of my favorite scenes in season one is when Booth talks to Cullen and talks him into letting Brennan work with him. “Oh yeah, she’s amazing”. Pal Ange said it best when we talked about how some older moments have new meaning after the 100th when she said,

I have to admit, after I got over the shock of what happened in 100, one of the first things I wanted to do was watch the Pilot again, to see if there was any hint of what happened between them there. I know that in the Pilot we were told that they had previously worked on a case together and it ended with Brennan refusing to work with him, but I felt when watching it after 100, the tension and resentment and resistance to working together meant that much more. Now that I know how that first case went down, I find it absolutely fascinating that despite the fact that it took a year, it was Booth who again instigated contact. In fact, he had tried several times to contact her before he caught up to her at the airport.

There’s something about that that I love…originally I had believed that their first case and the Cleo Eller case were much closer together (3-4 months?), but the fact that he came back to her several times (with Zack screening her phone calls), and then finally grabbed her attention a year later, that tells me she REALLY made an impression on him, and I love that. I love that that first case went so unbelievably wrong, and yet they were able to get past it to work together again.

Isn’t BONES awesome?!


Yes, yes it is! And I think it makes this scene all the more intense and great

When we know that this has already happened…


#2. The Woman in Limbo & The Titan on the Track.

In The Woman in Limbo, the primary conflict is the quest to discover how Brennan’s mother, Christine Brennan, died. One thing that is interesting to me in Titan on the Track is that Brennan has been gone the entire summer, but there’s no sense that she abandoned Booth or the team, or anything like that. That’s a post for another day (how Brennan is not an abandoner), but in the season two opener, Brennan is frustrated to learn that Vince McVicar is dead (because Max (whom we’d not met at that time, but had left a warning message on Brennan’s phone in the season one finale) had put a hit out on him. Like Booth, what he aims at, he hits!). And it’s always special when the episode ends with Booth staring at her as she visits Christine Brennan’s gravesite.


#3. The Stargazer in a Puddle & The Widow’s Son in the Windshield

There are four threads that run between these two episodes: Hodgins and Angela’s wedding that wasn’t/their new search for Birimbau, Booth and Brennan ending up at the altar/everyone thinking that their new level of bickering is because of that, Booth arresting Max/people thinking the B&B new level of bickering is because of THAT, and Zack leaving for Iraq/Zack being gone and returning from Iraq.

It’s hard to believe that the Hodgins and Angela deal was JUST resolved in season five, especially when we think about the season two finale. But it’s the Zack storyline that’s the real crux in Widow’s Son, because it is what forms a wedge between B&B. Interesting that in this case, vs. what we talked about between season one and two, Brennan HAS been in DC and has been reluctant to work with Booth. What are your thoughts on Brennan blaming Booth for allowing Zack to go to Iraq? Doesn’t that seem to sort of be an irrational response on her part? Or is it not irrational? Why is Brennan pinning Booth with that responsibility? Discuss!

Though I have to say that it’s one of my all time favorite moments in the season three premiere when Booth calls her out on it when they are in the basement of the bank. I love that the issue ISN’T that he arrested Max, and they both know it inherently. Brennan gets that lost little girl look (as Booth would say) on her face, when Booth correctly identifies that she’s mad he didn’t stop Zack from going to Iraq. I just find this so fascinating. When did her responsibilities become his responsibilities?

#4. The Pain the Heart & Yanks in the UK Part One

Did I dream that HH mentioned on Twitter one day that the original intention had been for Gormogon to have killed Zack? Isn’t that so interesting? To me, that just opens up all of these possibilities of what if.  I have to admit that of all these pairs, this finale/premiere combination is the least satisfying. HOWEVER, we’ve  been agreeing for months now that the storyline issues at the end of season three/beginning of season four get a free pass on account of the writers’ strike. So, within reason, I’ll say…okay. Some of you might argue that the ‘real’ end of season three is The Finger in the Nest, with Booth hugging Brennan after they buried Ripley (seriously, those two…they are awesome), and she makes the comments about how Ripley was just obeying his master.

 If that’s the case (that this is the real end of season three), then the sort of ‘pass over’ the entire Zack storyline gets in Yanks in the UK Part One sort of works. But as it stands, with the intensity of it at the end of Pain in the Heart, it sort of rubs me the wrong way how mostly the only mention of it is a snide comment from Booth as he interrupts Brennan’s lecture (what is up with that, anyway?!?). Let’s move on!

Except…what if Zack had died! Can you even IMAGINE? Okay, okay…let’s move on.

#5. The End in the Beginning & Harbingers in a Fountain

Okay, begrudgingly, on account of my general wariness of the season four finale, I have to admit that of all these pairs, these two episodes seem to be the MOST connected/intertwined. They actually DO address a few issues from the coma dream and, the pleasure B&B have when they see each other and the subsequent hug when they reunite in Brennan’s office is very sweet.


I think we also sort of get our first “Missed moment” between B&B during the I Love You convo.  Stupid clowns! Haha.  But honestly, after the season four finale, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about BONES any longer, and the season five premiere tugged my heart right back into it. I love that episode.

I like how Angela calls them on the fact that neither one has admitted that in the dream/story Brennan was pregnant. I like that striped socks and newspaper clippings and saving Brennan’s life and hearing ‘everything happens eventually’ all combine to really make Booth ‘back’, vs his badge and his gun. I like that we begin to see that Brennan loves Booth in her way…caring for him and protecting him, even from herself at times, but that when confronted with the truth (he’s dazzled by the truth)…she’s speechless.

Yeah, I love it. Bones, y’all!


#6. The Beginning in the End & The Mastodon in the Room.

In some ways The Boy with the Answer feels more like a season finale, and The Beginning in the End doesn’t quite fit in with season five. Just my opinion of course, but when we look at the season five finale in the context of being paired with the season six premiere, I think it makes sense. Pal Smurfs is always bringing us back to the seemingly throw-away line Angela gives to Brennan in BitE, that she hopes Brennan learns what it means to be human, and I think Smurfs is on to something. It’s hard to completely weigh these two episodes, on account of the fact that we haven’t quite seen all of the results of them, if that makes sense. But there are things we can take from it. Of all of these pairs, these two eps have the most irony, in the dramatic irony (when the audience knows something the characters don’t) sense. Brennan went away to figure out her feelings for Booth; she returns, seemingly ready to express her feelings toward him and everyone (Angela is a metaphorical sister to her, etc), only to learn that Booth has found Hannah, someone new. He went away to get over his feelings for her and he returns, willing to give her what she wants, a work-only partnership.

I find that I’m too close to the situation to be able to analyze it much more. Instead of doing that, I’ll just look at this for awhile.

Well, what do you think? Do you buy into this idea that the finales and premieres are really two-parts of the same storylines? If so, does that change your views of any of them? Which of these pairs do you find the most satisfying in terms of setup and resolution? Speaking of ‘resolutions’, how are your new ones going?

Peace, Love & Bones



12 thoughts on “The Ends and the Beginnings: Season Finales and Premieres

  1. What an awesome post for New Year’s! I thought that when I saw the topic on Twitter, even before I read it.

    Just a random comment…I’ve never interpreted statements about Man in the Outhouse and Finger in the Nest being S3 to mean they would/should have come after Pain in the Heart (and thus Finger in the Nest being the finale.) (But maybe that’s been explicitly stated somewhere and I just missed it?) I just assumed that when they outlined the 2nd half of the season, they had those two eps and they would have been in there, somewhere, before Verdict in the Story, probably. I’ve just assumed that Pain in the Heart would still have been the finale, even if Zach had died.

    What makes me the most curious is what they would have added to the story if Zach had died. I tend to assume they dropped that idea because they felt they no longer had time (in the sense of the number of eps) to do it justice, so if he had died, what would we have seen? Ah, the things the strike took from us.

    Either way, I agree with what I think you were saying – I don’t think Yanks in the UK flows naturally from Pain in the Heart. But maybe there are too many questions about how S3 should have ended to know for sure.

    • HH said he changed his mind because he didn’t have the heart kill Zach, and he wanted there to be space for the character and actor to possibly return.

  2. Re: S3 to S4

    What if you pair Pain in the Heart with Finger in the Nest? Dead or deadly, Pain in the Heart, however rushed, seems to me to be the emotional climax of S3, although it looked like Wannabe in the Weeds was going to be. (Misdirection/disinformation because there is no way Booth could really be dead and have the show continue? And, we know how much HH, et al. love a little misdirection/disinformation.) As has been true in other seasons, the emotional resolution comes at the beginning of the next season.

    Yanks in the UK seems to me to be have been an entertaining diversion (which goes along with HH’s comments somewhere on the eps: we had this opp’ty to cheaply do an ep in the UK with just Emily and David, so we did — how fun?!). It did a bit to deepen the relationship between B&B and the Angela, Birimbau, Hodgins storyline climaxed, but I think that the latter could easily have been attached to another case storyline as could the deepening of things between B&B. There would be other men that Booth could tell Bones weren’t special enough for her.

    Like the UK eps, Man in the Outhouse seems to me to be an ep that could be massaged a bit to fit in some other place in the order of eps.

    I think another approach would be to pair Finger in the Nest with Perfect Pieces in the Purple Pond. That is: consider FitN the end of S3 and consider PPitPP the beginning of S4. That also works. FitN we get the fallout from PitH. Then in PPitPP we get Zach back in the fold in a way and a place to move on from that tragedy. Emotional climax comes before last ep with secondary emotional climax in last ep that kind of stops things for a moment with an emotional resolution of sorts at the beginning of the next season that gives a place from which to move forward. I’m thinking of the end/beginning of S4/S5 (CitC, EitB and HitF) and S5/S6 (Boy with the Answer/100th [PitH/WitW?], BitE, MitR). Or not.

    Actually, that works, in all three we get something incredibly upsetting — Booth dead, Booth in mortal danger and Brennan rejecting Booth — and then something even worse happens. Zach is a killer or killed, Booth doesn’t recognize Bones, Brennan is so freaked out by the Gravedigger trial that she runs away. Then at the beginning of the next season, we get back to a place that we can move on from. We still love Zach even if he is in the loony bin; Booth’s going to be ok, but now he knows he loves Bones; everybody is back, but Booth’s moved on.

    I just thought of something else: WSitWS doesn’t really resolve the Zach thing between B&B because Zach goes on to become Gormogon’s apprentice and that resolution (the true final resolution about Zach between B&B) is the end of Pain in the Heart when Booth shows Brennan the wonderful thing she gave Zach.

    I’m not sure any of that makes sense. ;-D

  3. What are your thoughts on Brennan blaming Booth for allowing Zack to go to Iraq? Doesn’t that seem to sort of be an irrational response on her part?
    I have always felt that Brennan blamed Booth for Zach going to Iraq because Booth was the one that Zach turned to for advice when he got his paper from the President. Booth felt that Zach should leave his comfortable nest and see the real world. Booth was not about to get in the way of someone who felt duty calling. Unfortunately for Booth, Brennan has acted like Zach is her son (forget the age difference, it doesn’t mean anything to Brennan, after all, she called Sweets “the boy” the first day of their therapy so she must see herself as a lot older that she really is). That Booth would not stop Brennan’s surrogate son from going off to a dangerous place just made Brennan angry and though she would not admit it to Booth (or anyone else), that is why she didn’t want to work with him. That Brennan felt like she could work with Booth as soon as Zach came back shows us just how angry she was with Booth. Booth only figured out what was going on when Zach came back. Booth and Brennan are terrible when it comes to communicating with each other. They can talk about work but personal information and emotional issues just seem to be something they are unable to talk about to each other. Even Sweets have called them on this; but, they don’t seem to get how important that is. Brennan prides herself on being logical and in control of her emotions; but, she is really not as in control of her emotions as she thinks she is. Her emotions simmer under the surface and it takes a lot for them to errupt. Even when they do errupt, they have a tendency to come out more staid than the rest of us are capable of. Booth has this same flaw. We have seen his impatience but rarely do we see him angry.

    • Thought provoking, Lenora.

      If you think about it, Zach didn’t really seek Booth’s advice about whether to go to Iraq; he sought Booth’s advice about what to do if he was shot at. What he really asked of Booth was to explain it to the others.

      Booth didn’t “allow” Zach to go to Iraq. You could argue that Booth couldn’t have dissuaded Zach even if had wanted to. Zach made this decision on his own. He never even brought it up until Hodgins asked him to be his best man.

      So, Brennan’s anger was truly misplaced.

      Re: Brennan and emotions, particularly anger: she has a definite tendency to violence that I think is far greater than Booth’s. He always tries to avoid it. She seems to let it rip whenever it suits her: hitting the Gravedigger with the briefcase, punching the gang leader, pushing Jared off the stool — just 3 examples off the top of my head where she was in no danger and yet acted out her anger.

      • Your right, Brennan is quite capable of violence when she feels it is called for. She really hates to be touched and we have seen over and over that she will react quite violently if she thinks someone is assaulting her (her first boyfriend in the pilot, the homeland security agent in the pilot, etc.) Before she got her gun, she was always asking Booth for a gun. When she did get one, it was a monster of a hand gun. Most of the time, she seems to hold in her emotions and can punish people pretty effectively with her silence or what she considers truthfullness; but, you are right, when she erupts she can be quite dangerous.
        I think that if Booth had really wanted to, he may have been able to change Zach’s mind about going to Iraq. When Zach and Booth first met, Zach was not very impressed with Booth; but, as the months went by, Zach seemed to want Booth’s friendship. Zach made many gestures of friendship towards Booth; but, Booth managed to ignore them. Booth even persuaded Zach that Booth ignoring Zach was a man thing and that they were friends, even when they weren’t. Brennan knew what was going on and even called Booth on it once. I think that is why she thought Booth had influence over Zach and that he should have stopped Zach from going to Iraq. Brennan did not take into account that Booth thinks that service to your country is a very proud thing and that there is no way Booth would have interfered in Zach’s decision. Your right, Brennan’s anger was mis-placed and Booth suffered for it.

  4. For me, out of all of them 4 going into 5 worked the best. They flubbed it alittle by making it seem Booth had amnesia instead of being confused about which version of Brennan was real. That would have made it flawless. It’s also why the end of the 100th just never felt like a good writing choice to me. It created a total disconnect to everything prior.

    After the Zach thing, I really was enjoying watching the B&B storyline continuing to unfold. It felt slow and intergrated and the gradual shifts and growth of Brennan and with Booth were just REALLY well done. Then came the 100th and the beginning of the mess the show is in now…

  5. Joy and angelena –
    I agree with the both of you about the 100th ep but I would rather say it’s a big turning point for B&B. I feel that it’s necessary for their characters to grow. I dunno but I feel that we’d appreciate their being together eventually in the end with this 100th ep. c”,)

    • Janice –
      Have to disagree with that. I will not appreciate B&B getting together any more because of this turn in the story. In fact, I may be too emotionally exhausted to care by the time they get there. And, I am deeply skeptical at the moment of claims by HH, et al. that they will get there. I dearly hope I am wrong about that.

      I don’t think that this was in any way organic nor was it necessary. I’d argue that HH, et al. accepted the conventional wisdom: getting the couple together will kill the show and didn’t trust their own creativity and ability to keep it interesting if they did get B&B together. So they DECIDED to go this way. I think that there could have been years of stories about B&B figuring out how to be together without ripping them apart in this way after drawing them closer and closer together in early S5.

      BTW, it is my contention that it is precisely this acceptance of and concession to the conventional wisdom that is the cause of a show’s downward spiral after a couple gets together. Couples are kept artificially apart and so many artificial obstacles get thrown up that it takes forever to get them together. To finally get them together requires events of such emotional intensity that fans are driven into a crazed frenzy that nothing else can possibly match. If getting the couple together is the emotional climax of the show overall, then there’s pretty much nowhere else to go but down. Why not bring them together in a way that leaves some place higher to get to?

      To me ep 100 and what has happened since have all been standard soap opera tropes. Opposites attract. Opposites get closer and closer, then RIP ‘EM APART. One gets a new love, which causes the other to finally see the truth — too late. Blah, blah, blah. Lots of longing looks. And now, all kinds of contortions to get ’em back together. And, putting B&B in peril together will be much easier given what they do than it ever was to do for Jack & Jenn, Bo & Hope, Roman & Marlena, etc., etc., etc. Yeah, the execution here and references backward and foreshadowings are great, but I quit Days of Our Lives nearly 20 years ago. I could go back to it, if I wanted this.

      Sorry for the downer, but I just can’t agree with this viewpoint. 😉 I think most of us shippers are trying way too hard to turn something deeply upsetting into something positive. It fascinates me to see what lengths we can go to convince ourselves that the pain and angst of these characters we love is a good thing. I think posters here in BT actually make much better arguments in support of this turn in the storyline than even HH or SN make themselves. That’s really drinking the Kool Aid.

  6. I too never even considered Finger in the Nest as sort of an end to season 3. I actually love the Pain in the Heart; sure the idea of Zack being Gormogon’s apprentice is both unthinkable and so unexpected that it just doesnt make sense (since he was originally supposed to be killed off by the serial killer) but I love that finale, i think it finishes well. Also I agree with rynogeny, i thought that if they were to write more episodes for that season, then they wouldve been before Verdict in the Story, since the last 3 episodes sort of seem more set in stone. I really dislike the whole Yanks in the UK thing tho, especially since they mention Zack only once. I mean sure, great break from the heartbreak but I kind of wish Finger in the Nest was the premiere. It makes a lot more sense.

    Re: What are your thoughts on Brennan blaming Booth for allowing Zack to go to Iraq? Doesn’t that seem to sort of be an irrational response on her part? Or is it not irrational? Why is Brennan pinning Booth with that responsibility?
    I sort of think Brennan blames Booth for Zack going to war so much because she sees Booth as a specialist in both war and protecting people; and in this case he didn’t help in either area. Booth has spoken before about how terrible his war days were and yet he lets Zack go. He is constantly there to comfort Brennan and save her from anything dangerous, and yet he lets Zack leave their safety and head out on his own into a battlefield. She trusted that Booth would do the right thing and doesn’t (in her eyes), so not only is she blaming booth for not stopping Zack, she is also feeling let down that her Booth could not help in the two ways she thought he could. Of course he explains later that it was so Zack could l”eave the nest”, and I believe this helps to ease her distrust, but at first she is just confused. If this is so, then it isn’t really irrational.

    Of all the of the pairs I think that the 4-5 one is probably the best. I love how they deal with the aftermath of Booth’s coma, showing how he is not quite how he used to be yet, and they show how concerned that Brennan is still is. I also love their hug when they first see eachother in brennan’s office, and the fact that they haven’t completely told the whole of their story to the others (eg brennan’s pregnancy) but that they sort of acknowledge it. I also love how worried they show Brennan, they don’t talk about how she sat by his bedside for 4 days, but she is still so worried. I love the line “don’t worry, nothing wrong with me. I’m 110%.” “Well, you know there’s nothing more than 100%, right?” hahaha, maybe i’m just in love with Harbingers and that’s why i love this pairing so much. But i do think they flow, a lot better. It also may have somthing to do with the fact that the S4 finale posed so many questions, where as in the other season finale’s everything was tied off a bit neater and cleaner

    love talking about these beginnings and the ends. Thanks so much for the post 🙂

  7. #1. Pre-pilot canon from 100th & the Pilot:

    also – in that wicked fight he says exactly the wrong thing to her – “I’m not your father” and she hits him right back with the ‘stupid’ thing. This is one of the things that makes 100 so great.

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