I’m just curious here, but what exactly is it about Zack Addy that seems to keep him front and center in the minds of a lot of fans? No matter where you go or what you read in any Bones forum, you invariably get the questions about Zack. Will he ever return? Will his side of the story about Gormogon ever be told? Will he ever get to leave the looney bin? There’s even a campaign out there to get him back, not to mention the reference to his plight in the infamous (though hilarious!) Bones/Hitler video.
I guess I’m just genuinely interested in why people find him so compelling. I didn’t start to watch Bones until after the Gormogon arc ended, so I didn’t get to “bond” with Zack in the way people might have if they were watching from the beginning. I’m also sadly the kind of person that tends to peek at the endings of books (bad, bad habit, I know) so I found out what happened to Zack long before I saw all the episodes with him in them. Knowing what was going to happen kind of made my acceptance of his fate a given, although interestingly enough, my daughter knew what was going to happen to him as well yet remains supremely aggravated by his fate. (As a side note, I really bit my lip and avoided spoilers for the finale because I felt that something really good was coming and for once I was willing to enjoy the anxiety that came with waiting. And boy, am I glad I did! I don’t recall ever watching tv and doing the kind of double take I did when I heard the news; I literally had to replay the scene immediately, over and over again just to let the information sink in. Ok, so maybe I won’t peek at the last page of a book in the future…)
So back to Zack. I really like him but I confess that knowing he wouldn’t be with the show forever made me view his exit a bit more sanguinely. I accepted his departure as a way of furthering (or delaying, depending on your point of view) Brennan’s development and giving us the shock that is often expected during a season finale. Having said that, though, I do find his story post-exit to be most unsatisfying, and the reactions of the show’s creators more than a bit perplexing. At first HH and SN seemed amused by the comments from fans, teasing a bit about the possibility of a return. They even threw out The Perfect Pieces in the Purple Pond, The End in the Beginning and The Parts in the Sum of the Whole as a way of appeasing the mobs in a let-them-eat–cake sort of way. “See, Zack did come back. Now let’s all move on.” Lately the response seems less humoring and more frustrated. “No, he’s not coming back and we’re done with the topic.”
I can see that they want us to move on. I fully accept and enjoy the rotating squints and appreciate the fact that they’ve opened up the show a bit with them, especially in the humor department. Still, although I don’t exactly mourn Zack, I do think it’s a bit unfair to give us a character that was eminently likeable and that people got attached to only to throw him away as a plot device; a sacrificial lamb of sorts.
So what made people get so attached in the first place and then react so strongly when he left? Was it the fact that he was there from the beginning, participating pretty consistently in just about all the episodes until the Powers That Be got tired of him? Was it his interactions with Hodgins? In a way, we did get to see some of the best that Hodgins had to offer through his rivalry with Zack. Or was it that Brennan seemed to grow so attached to him, although it certainly wasn’t always that way? Maybe her reaction to his fall made him more valuable in the eyes of some viewers. Was it that the actor was essentially let go in favor of the rotating squints when he didn’t seem to have other options available to him at the time? I mean, we’ll all miss VNM, but he’s on another show now, so that makes his leaving sort of inevitable.
Or was it, as I suspect, the fact that Zack’s story never had a satisfying ending; that it was left so open-ended? I also wonder if people feel quite as strongly as they once did about a resolution for him; after all, with the recent bambino news, we’re all pretty darn distracted for the moment and will probably remain that way well into the forseeable future. So, to what extent do people still care? I guess for me, I’d like some sense of closure for Zack, some justice on his behalf, and some accountability from those who gave us his character. Gone, but not forgotten. If nothing else, I see posts about him to be sort of like mosquitoes buzzing around SN and HH; not a real danger, but annoying and horribly persistent nevertheless. And it feels good to be just a little bit evil back…
So does Zack still matter to you, or have you moved on?