Bones Theory

Morning After Q: Did the End (Sense) Justify the Means (Sacrifice)?


Hello and Happy Tuesday around the Bones fandom!

Many great discussions occurring here, on Twitter and Facebook, and other sites, I’m sure, about yesterday’s episode!  One question I want your opinion on is this: Did Booth’s “proposal” make up for the sadness in the S8 finale, and… did catching Pelant, etc. make Flynn’s death worth it?


I’m going to cheat a little bit and answer my own question in the post, which I guess isn’t cheating at all, hahahaha….but I just almost never do that!


1. I do not think the proposal here ‘balanced the scales’ so to speak, in terms of the angst felt in the finale. BUT because they had a conversation during the season premiere that worked some things out, I think I am coming to terms with it. So premiere convo + end scene here = a little closer to being worth the pain felt. I still contend that the show puts the characters through pain and says “don’t worry, this was necessary, but it will all be worth it” and then gets a little skittish about delivering too much happiness, resulting in…well, I guess an imbalance in pain/happiness.  I’m not unhappy, just now how I would have done it. BUT I’m seeing some very convincing arguments around the old world wide web supporting the scene too!

2. No, I don’t think Flynn’s death was justified—and it will be interesting to see if the Jeffersonian team just washes their hands of it. I’m not saying they are guilty, but they have suffered more self-induced angst over less, I think.


Okay, thoughts from you?


22 thoughts on “Morning After Q: Did the End (Sense) Justify the Means (Sacrifice)?

  1. The cosmic balance sheet in Bones isn’t quite even when it comes to Brennan and Booth. First, in order for them to be together, both of them have to travel to other countries to find out something about themselves and when Booth returns with Hannah, it is Brennan who has to undergo a great self-sacrifice in not only giving up Booth, but acknowledging that in a very public manner to the other woman. That’s pretty harsh.

    Then there’s just getting together. The next sacrifice is Vincent Nigel-Murray. An innocent must die in order to bring them together.

    Death certainly trumps Brennan’s pain.

    Then Agent Hayes Flynn. I think the show tries to soften the blow by making him a man who seems to have lost his prime loves– his wife and his job– and so it’s easier to sacrifice him; he’s got nothing really to live for. Nigel-Murray, who we knew and loved, was a much harder blow to take. In essence, Flynn’s another red shirt who must die in order for B&B to get together. Each death is also marked by a plaque/star as well, the plaque in the lab and the FBI honor wall. (I’m not sure which designation Hayes Flynn would receive

    I don’t think it is a fair balance for Flynn anymore than I think it was fair for Mr. Nigel-Murray. It’s far easier to forget Flynn, but I hope they don’t. TV shows, however, have to keep in mind that not all fans are avid followers of everything (fill-in-the-blank.)

    But do the end results help balance the scales? I think the proposal was exactly what Booth said– he’d ask her as soon as he could and he did. And it doesn’t quite balance all the angst of the premiere nor Brennan’s look of anguish at the end of season 8. Brennan’s proposal was a wonderful punctuation mark on their journey. But Booth’s proposal seemed to be in the most unlikely of places after the most unlikely of circumstances. Of course, it’s made grander by the audience of the team watching

    The proposal doesn’t balance the angst of the months of pain for either Booth or Brennan, but it does help wash away some of it quickly. A do-over, so to Bones speak.

    And Flynn? I don’t think we can lay the blame on the team for his death; they had no idea that Pelant was watching Flynn and knew of their plan. Besides, Pelant is the killer.

    Will they sweep Flynn’s death under the rug? Will we ever find out what the clock did/does? And the picture in the nursery? And where has all of Hodgins’ money gone to?

  2. 1. I am thinking what we got last night is not the official proposal. It makes me think of Angela not wanting to say “Hallelujah, because it was so close to losing Vincent.” Booth just shot someone, and they’ve both been running around scared for awhile. They were in a creepy deserted power plant. There was no ring and no getting down on a knee. (Not that you have to do these things, but Booth is a pretty traditional guy, so I expect them.) And Booth said “IF I ask you to marry me…”, not that he was actually asking. So I’m holding out hope that we will get more later. The proposal as it stands now, was lacking a little, though everyone watching at the Jeffersonian was sweet, IMO.

    2. I don’t think I can fully answer if Flynn’s death was justified, because the team did not intend for him to die. They’d set up a body from someone who was already dead. Pelant did his usual thing and stepped it up another notch. Flynn had been pursuing Pelant for awhile and was fully involved in the team’s plan, more so than even Booth was, so he himself knew the risks. Clearly, there would have been some more casualties if they had continued to pursue Pelant without the plan. So perhaps Flynn’s death (indirectly through the plan) helped save more innocent lives down the road, had they kept up what they had been doing to find Pelant. But I don’t think I can blame the team for it.

    3. Extra thoughts: I’m starting to feel more OK with Pelant’s “anticlimactic” end. it makes Pelant, in the end, no better than anyone else. I am feeling better with the ease in which Booth did it, because in the end, Pelant got sloppy. He got to thinking he was smarter than the team, which no one is! 🙂 He underestimated Booth, which a lot of the Squints did at first too. I think he didn”t fortify himself, because he thought he didn’t have to do so. And, I think Pelant was getting tired of the chase, and perhaps he didn’t mind if it ended…But at least it did!

    4. Final thought: Did anyone think Pelant looked a lot liked Sweets as he died? Creeped me out!

    • I loved what you said here; far more articulate than I was.

      I think #3 is the key to solving the puzzle. Booth said he was a simple guy and simple guys get the bad guys like Pelant. If we backtrack on a few things with Pelant, we get Hodgins who said it looked like Pelant wanted someone to kill him, Booth’s “I’m a simple man” speech to Pelant, and so on, that suggests someone was looking at all the thread they’d pulled. Pelant would have to be a bit crazy to think that Booth was going to let him walk out of there with Brennan. Certainly he didn’t think Booth was going to get there in time, but he had to be nuts to think that Brennan would simply go with a murderer.

      #4: Yep. But it kind of fits as the Gravedigger was Brennan on crack, Brodsky was Booth and Pelant used Sweets’ stuff to undermine the team.

  3. “No way Pelant is dead. Nope. They showed his face too many times after he got shot, no one checked for a pulse, and the alarm clock thing wasn’t resolved. He’s alive and got away.”

    I saw this on biba’s tumbler and think there could be something to it. Too many open ends: the clock, the whole surveillance issue, the unresolved draining of Hodgins accounts, Flynn’s role, which made me suspicious way back when he led Pelant away…

    It was an exiting episode. Too bad someone must die every time B&B have a moment!

    In a recent interview there was some discussion of roles Emily and David want to play. I’d love to see Emily play a dual role as the super villain!

  4. If it takes someone’s 10 page essay to convince me I didn’t feel what I felt, or that what I saw wasn’t “really” what I saw, then it didn’t work for me.

    So, no. This didn’t work for me. And I wasn’t even thinking in terms of balancing out pain on either end because relationships are never equal.

    P.S., I’m still waiting for a proposal. I heard Booth ask what would happen “if” he proposed. I didn’t hear him actually propose.

  5. I loved this episode, it flew by, however and I am eager for more, more, more. Sorry to lose Flynn within the first few minutes, but understand this was the way the show needed to go to forward the action. I am eager to see how they treat Angela’s inappropriate badgering of Bones and her detestable behavior towards Booth. I would love to be at the “engagement” party – if they play one. Such a perfect ending to a harrowing storyline 🙂

    • I know that we’re in on why Booth backed out of the proposal, so I’ve given Angela the friendship pass– if she hadn’t said anything than we might be questioning whether she is Brennan’s friend at all. I think someone had to speak up for Brennan because she wasn’t going to be as direct.

      I, too, would like to see what happens there. Booth and Angela have been at odds before about Brennan and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of that. At least I hope not.

  6. I liked it!

    First, they managed to top even last week’s incredible grossness.

    Second, they made me cry again.

    Third, they did a great job with the suspense. I think we all suspected that Pelant would die, but showing up in the lab, killing Flynn, Brennan going looking for him, etc., etc. You didn’t know for sure until it happened.

    On the 4:47 Easter Egg, HH has said that that will be explained. I’m not sure whether this season or at the very end.

    Whoever said it about the red shirt guy is right. Vincent had been a squintern for many years, so he was someone with meaning to the de facto crime fighting unit and to us fans. Flynn was in what? 4 episodes? He was never intended to be someone that anybody got attached to. He fortified Pelant’s barrier for Booth and Bones forcing her to run away. He was there to back up Booth and got shot for it. He was there for plot purposes and he filled that role. RIP.

    If anything, we have seen that Booth is reluctant to shoot. He does not, as he has told us, take taking a life lightly. In this case, he really had no choice. In the moment he had no choice, and in the long run, he had no choice. No jail could contain Pelant physically, and no jail could keep Pelant from using technology to screw with everyone’s lives.

    One of the things that i appreciated tonight was that we got an explanation of what this was all about. I have wondered from the beginning what Pelant’s deal was. Did he just want to prove he was smarter than Brennan? If so, why? He had the stalker board, but it was never clear why he was going after them.

    On balancing angst: the angst at the ends of S7 and S8 were nowhere hear as horrible as the angst of eps 100 to ~ 120; i.e., Parts in the Sum of the Whole until Hannah was gone. And, I don’t think it was as the end of S8 was worse for the characters. Bones running off was horrible for Booth, but he really understood it. Booth’s backing off the engagement was awful for Brennan, but it was equally awful for Booth. So, I think that the angst is balanced out.

    It wasn’t the proposal that did the balancing, it was actually Aldo talking to Bones in the premiere that did it. And, Brennan did it herself when she realized that she should have known that Booth would not have retracted his acceptance without a very good reason. What she said to Booth was on point: she may have her emotional limitations, but she knows Booth and that he adores her, and she forgot that. In her pain, she needed help to see it again. Booth’s “if I propose” then is not so much a balancing as him doing what he said he would. It was also, finally, safe to tell her what had really happened — and that’s what really did the balancing for me. Now Bones knows what happened, so any remaining concerns can be written off.

    On not too much happiness: I think we need to remember that S7 and S8 were basically seasons of happiness. Other than at the ends, B&B were happily together in their family. And, we had what was effectively an entire season of angst from ep 100 until at least Bullet in the Brain or until the proposal episode. To Bullet in the Brain is 18 episodes to Daredevil is 20 episodes. That is essentially a season of angst on both sides and for the fans. The ends of S7 and S8 were nowhere hear as upsetting as late S5-mid S6.

    Well that was meandering.

    It appears that we have 3 more episodes in this run, which is lovely. 7 eps in a row. I’m happy.

    • I’ll just drop my cosign right here.

    • So true Robin. The angst at the ends of seasons 7 and 8 was short-lived and to a great extent shared by both characters, therefore balanced. The hideousness of episodes 100-120 had no balance at all and that was the fault of the writing. First Booth was in agony then Brennan was in agony then they both were miserable. But no more miserable than the fans. And now a third season of B&B happy together. Underwear dancing, anyone? And yes what happened to explaining about the clock, etc.? Although frankly I really don’t care anymore.

    • Agree totally with Robin’s comments about Vincent and Flynn. We were emotionally connected to Vincent, not so to Flynn (and many of us were suspicious of Flynn’s motives throughout the four episodes in which he appeared) so his death while unfortunate would not affect the team in the same way .

      On the issue of not too much happiness I agree S7 and 8 have given the characters and us fulfilment but for me the balance is still not there. Even now I rarely watch S6 and have to steel myself if I do watch an episode as Brennan’s devastation during most of the series was overwhelming for me – I’ve never been so invested in characters in a television series before and ED is such a wonderful actor that Brennan’s pain was all too real. We certainly deserved all the happiness S7 and 8 gave us and even though the finale to 8 was sad we were confident Booth would overcome Pelant.

      I also agree that Aldo became the important link between BB because he reinforced to Brennan how important she was to Booth and that those feelings did not waver. Brennan needed to hear this because she had allowed her own fears and Angela’s cynicism to steer her off course. I really like Aldo, both the character and the actor playing this part and I hope he becomes integral to the journey. Booth needs a mature, understanding friend who is outside the Jeffersonian in his life and Aldo fills this much better than Sweets who is so often wrong when it comes to our loved up pair.

  7. I think I just had an epiphany! I saw this quote from Brennan on tumblr, right before Booth shot Pelant:

    “I’m not willing to risk your life to keep Pelant alive. Not for one second.”

    So Pelant’s little “I know a serial killer you don’t know” tease didn’t work. I think he let it be easy for Booth to get in on purpose. (Although I think Booth’s speed in getting there surprised him some) I think he wanted to see Booth be hurt by Brennan wanting him captured alive to keep his genius around. He’s wanted to hurt Booth this whole way through. He was certain he had grabbed Brennan’s attention enough with his mind games, but he was wrong. I’m glad Brennan said that to Booth, reaffirming her faith in him.

    • I think you’re right. Many of Pelant’s attacks were on government types, especially FBI agents. He seemed to be doing exactly what Pelant suggested– eliminating Booth.

      I don’t think any of us were fooled by Brennan’s attention to Pelant. So it’s nice to know that I’m smarter than the genius creep.

  8. I think I’m going to try and tackle #2 first…although I’m really not sure about my answer. Honestly, I was surprised at how upset I was when the team figured out the body was Flynn’s – especially considering that in the grand scheme of things, he really was a minor character. I can’t say I’m completely surprised that it went down that way though. Someone was going to have to die to bring Pelant out of hiding, and considering that Flynn went in alone and against Booth’s better judgment, yeah, no surprise that it was him. MAYBE that makes it justified? But even if it was, that didn’t make it any easier to watch. At the end of the day, I think what really made it hard for me was watching how Booth handled it. Smashing his phone against the rock, his steadfast insistence that Flynn was innocent when EVERYONE tried to convince him otherwise…it was gut wrenching. I don’t know what made it worse – the fact that DB plays these emotional scenes so well, or the fact that I know and love Booth’s character so much – but I hurt right along with him.

    I’m a lot less conflicted about #1. It’s clear that not everyone liked the proposal (no great surprise there), but I loved it as much as I loved the way things went down between B&B in The Hole in the Heart…and furthermore, I think it perfectly mirrored the sort of understated simplicity of that scene in Booth’s bedroom (which probably also explains why some people don’t like it all that much). It really is a matter of preference, I guess. Personally, I would have found down on one knee with a ring and flowers to be a bit awkward and cheesy. Truth be told, I though Brennan proposing with a bag of jerky was a little cheesy, but to each their own.

    You can argue as much as you want about location and timing and lack of romantic atmosphere, but I think what it came down to for Booth was that it was finally over. There wasn’t anything standing between him and Brennan anymore and he wasn’t going to let another second go by before he told her the truth and reclaimed what he’s always wanted so badly. BUT, what strikes me the most about that moment is the vulnerability in his eyes and in his expression. This wasn’t about getting down on one knee, it was about him hoping that it wasn’t too late.

    It reminded me of the last scene in Daredevil…the way Booth looked when he asked Brennan if there was something wrong with him given the fact that both Rebecca and Hannah hadn’t wanted what it was he had to offer. And how he’d given up his dream of marriage to Brennan, breaking her heart in the process (something that a couple of years ago she would NOT have come back from), because his conscience wouldn’t let him do otherwise – no matter the consequences to his own personal happiness. And I understand why it (the proposal) came out as a question. He had to know. He had to ask. Despite Brennan’s faith in him, he couldn’t know for sure until she said it. And as she has learned to do so well over the past few years, Brennan once again gave him back his confidence.

    Of course then again, I’ve never really seen it as a matter of the writers and actors having to balance out the angst and the happiness. I don’t need a payoff, what I need are the things I watch and read to make me FEEL something. I’m an emotion junkie. I want to feel what the characters are feeling – be that joy or sorrow or any number of emotions in between. That’s why it took the 100th episode to turn me into a Bones fanatic instead of just simply a fan. Emotionally speaking, Bones has been knocking it out of the park lately. And so yeah, I’m satisfied. 🙂

  9. I do understand what you’re saying about the proposal, but I’m not sure how else he could have done it given the ordeal they had just gone through. I suppose he could have simply said “will you marry me” instead of the “if I ask you…”, but I’m with bb and MJ. I think we could still see a more serious gesture in the future, and maybe he was, as Stephanie said, just checking for now. It was certainly a thought that was running through my mind at the time.

  10. So I guess I would add two things. Remember when Brennan tells Booth he is not allowed to die? And the vertigo inducing twist in Booth’s manner that makes it clear how at her mercy he is. Last night, her conversation in the bar, with Aldo in which he says “it will always come down to you” reminded me of that. There have been other infrequent but not rare occurrences of this throughout the show. Booth gets things done. Brennan thinks things done. They are in love with each other. Booth is the heart guy. But Brennan, Bones is the heart of the matter. She’s the heart. He does things because of her. Yes, there was a plan, and Booth didn’t like it. And there was an unknown, that Flynn was bugged and followed, but in the end, we do what we can, figure out what we can, but we do it in the context of our world view and passions. Booth’s passion for Brennan is blinding but it also saves them. Ah, I babble. I think I just see some links that I am not entirely sure how to put together.

    In addition, I haven’t commented before because this feels so personal but just in case it strikes a chord with someone. I loved the casual walk through the deserted power plant, and Booth’s proposal or pre-proposal that came out before he thought better of it. They are conversing, processing, going home, and they are together, in the end. And so I kind of didn’t care what they said or talked about, just that this closeness was preserved and rekindled in this and previous episodes.

    Oh and now I have a third thing to say. Remember the Moonlighting Curse? The stupid, often misused Moonlighting curse? Not that when the main characters get together, then the series fails, but that when the series fails to keep the main characters together, in proximity, then the series fails. That’s what this episode did for me. I didn’t agree with everything the writers did (continuity is definitely not even near the bottom of the list of their priorities, never mind tying up loose ends) but they were together. Together! While they did it. The episode wasn’t about Sweets or Cam or anyone else. B&B and the team.

    Well, my $.02, however tarnished they are. I know SOOOO many people in my life and job and I don’t know ANYONE I can talk to about Bones, so thanks for being such serious watchers and thinkers.


    • Having nobody to share Bones with in RL is a very common problem. I’ve managed to suck my little nephew in (he’s 7), but he can’t watch all the gory stuff, and he thinks the kissing stuff is gross, so he’s of only limited value. ;-D But, he does pick up on amazing stuff. We watched Double Death (no gory stuff and kind of silly) and he picked up on the stuff about sushi and want to try sushi with me sometime. So-o cute.

  11. And, action hero Booth is totally hot! ;-p….

  12. Booth’s so called “proposal” did not make up for the sadness in the S8 finale. Not even close.

    Catching Pelant did not make Flynn’s death worth it. Not at all.

    The end did not justify the means.

  13. Booth’s non-proposal really did me in. After 8+ years Brennan deserves a proposal from Booth. Still holding out hope we will see that in the next episode but I doubt it will happen.

    • Ditto Portia! After what Brennan has shown Booth now and in past years, her perfect proposal, after their conversation at the end of “Secrets”, of her love and absolute faith in him, telling him he was a good man in that same conversation, it was Booth’s moment to make up for his mistakes and missed moments after 8 years with his proposal right there and then. Booth didn’t have enough faith in Brennan. It was his moment of truth and he let her down. He doesn’t deserve her. After all Booth’s talks, speeches, lectures and actions, I am really disappointed. Brennan has had more love and faith in Booth than he’s had in her. These may seem like extreme feelings, but taking everything into account and 8 very long real years, I don’t think so.

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