Bones Theory

Vintage Bones: The Pain in the Heart


Hello everyone,

Welcome to the end of season three!

I think this season 3 finale is one of the most controversial episodes of the series. If I had to make a list of the top 5, they would all be episodes that, at the time, had explosive reactions, and continue to make people upset. And while I don’t want to make that list (who wants to voluntarily make their blood boil–not me today), I do think that what puts this episode on the list is that there are several sore points.

1. The quick ‘resolution’ to the Booth being shot thing.

2. The quick ‘resolution’ to the Gormogon storyline.

3. The quick introduction and somewhat suspense-inducing story of Zach as evil-conspirator


For me, I wasn’t 100% pleased with every decision, but like a lot of people, I was willing to wait at least until season 4 to see how they really resolved each of these stories. After all, they were cramped for time with the writers’ strike, etc. So it made sense to give a little leeway there. The problem (for me) came in S4 when the show sort of moved on in a lot of ways, or just made jokes out of some of the issues. I think a lot of the residual anger the show gets from people over this episode (including the Bring Back Zack fans) is their own doing. Many people are fine with most storylines as long as they have organic development. And these just didn’t.

It’s tricky, and I think I would have done it differently, but they don’t ever ask me, haha.

Not that I hold grudges or anything–and there are a lot of things I do like in this episode, including Booth in his uniform, the entire scene after Booth finds out it was Sweets who didn’t tell Brennan about his death (#SlugHim + the whole conversation about Brennan’s taste in pie, haha!), the way Brennan later gets in Sweets’ face about manipulating them, and the way Brennan puts her face against Zack’s in the hospital room—I was blown away by her acting there.  I also liked Booth in the bathtub, and the beer helmet didn’t bother me. I believe it was season 3 where Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz were named producers of the show, and it’s in this season and beyond that we see a LOT more playfulness with the characters, something that (based on interviews with them), they wanted to have happen. The scene definitely has grown on me in hindsight.


Here’s your moment of B&B. It’s a little bit sad, but I think it also represents that Brennan has forgiven Booth and she is relying on him, which is and was a big deal for both of them.


Comments are open! 🙂



15 thoughts on “Vintage Bones: The Pain in the Heart

  1. While I’m not in the “Bring Zack Back” club, I do think it’s time for another guest spot. If nothing else, I think his character deserves to have his storyline end in a way that actually brings closure and that hasn’t happened. Even with allowances made for the writers’ strike, where he was concerned, this was a case of ‘telling not showing,’ and for my money, that’s why it’s so unsatisfying. I’d like to see that wrapped up for good. (I also think it’s too bad they didn’t take the chance to kill him off when they needed a victim for Pelant, instead of creating a new character in Ethan Sawyer.)

  2. Overall it’s not a bad episode. But some things are hard to process being skipped on screen. If this were film, this would be one you’d want to see the director’s cut to see the full story. And even so, perhaps if they hadn’t exacerbated the fake death by Sweets’ manipulation that angle could be a little more forgiving. I think it took me into the 8th season before I finally warmed up completely to Sweets – by then he was the in house baby duck.

    The Zack angle, somehow I wasn’t as surprised by that. Maybe there wasn’t a lot of leg work on that storyline, but in retrospect I thought I could see some hints of him being distant in the eps leading up to it.

    OTOH, there really not being any carryover storyline into season 4’s premiere makes this about the one set of finale/premiere episodes that aren’t directly related. Zack at least had a guest appearance or two but even then they didn’t really address what he had done on behalf of Gormogon. And the anticlimactic death of Gormogon. In the end, it feels rushed. Which considering the lost half a season, I should be more forgiving of cramming a lot into it. And I should be thankful for the scene of the last screencap, as at least they left the season without B&B being in doubt.

  3. Yep, this episode was decisive for me when I started to watch the series. I caught it on TV on a rerunning of season 3, at the last last episodes, so I remember having watched just a couple of episodes before this one. I usually pick my series like this, watch them for a couple of eps and then decide if they are boring or not to be worth of my time. But the “Pain in the heart” was brilliant for me and I knew there that I had found a new love (the series…)

  4. I still have not forgiven Sweets for withholding the information about Booth being alive. I really wanted Booth to belt him. Anyyyway- poor Zack. So messed up from his time in Iraq, but because of the writers strike show could never expand on that so when the finale happened many fans were outraged.

    Bones has never been great with continuity and for those of us around since season 1 we know Zack told Ms. Pickering from the State Dept. that even if she made a sound, logical argument for him to give her secret information he said he’d have to check with Angela or Brennan. The idea that Gormogon (a nobody) was able to get inside his head and convince him to join him after Zack had seen what he was capable of just made no sense and required a HUGE leap of faith as well as hurricane strength hand-waving from almost everybody. Since they had set the precedent that the apprentices as well as the victims were Widows Sons it really made no sense that Gormogon went after Zack because we knew *or thought we knew* his mother was not a widow.

    Booth in uniform is always yummy, but I hated how they showed his funeral. Where was the flag that should have been draped over his coffin? Anybody with a lick of sense would have known it was a set-up for that alone. I also didn’t like Brennan punching him in the face, especially since later on she wouldn’t do the same thing to Sweets.

    Loved Booth in the tub, could’ve done without the beer hat, but whatever. Wet, slippery Booth is also always yummy. 🙂

    This was definitely a heartbreaking episode. I know I felt upset by it and not because Zach was the apprentice. The team was broken and sad and I remember feeling the same way. Brennan had been betrayed by her own protege and her house of reason had been breached again.

    Season 4 began the big changes in the show to its more quirky side, although they’ve still managed to hold onto the devastating finales.

  5. I will never understand why they didn’t just pick ONE storyline to focus on instead of trying to squish all of it. I’ve never liked the writer’s strike as an excuse. They overshot and tried to get too many things in, thereby ruining many things.

    I could understand the Zach thing more if they’d given more ties to Iraq and not the BS reason he gave. I also like MJs idea of using Zach instead of making up Ethan…but maybe they just don’t want to encourage the bring back Zach fans 🙂

    I would’ve finished up the Gormogon/Zach thing in the shortened season and saved alllll the rest for later. Fat Pam could have popped in more than once and we could have explored the Booth fake death thing plus Brennan’s reaction to it in the time it deserved. (I personally want to know who the baddie was and why fake a funeral to get him…who is he????)

    **I may be the only one who doesn’t hate Sweets but his misguided attempts to get B&B to open up actually produce emotional angsty gold for fans. Though he does overstep, he’s not doing it maliciously, and he does prod them into admissions and emotions they’d never share otherwise.

  6. You guys! Hilarious story time. So I’m at my dad’s house and he flips channels and we find The Girl and the Gator. He sees Sully and is confused. “I thought she was with Booth?” (My parents are not avid watchers like us) So I try to explain…and try not get into our ridiculously in depth theories. He then falls asleep and wakes up in the middle of The Body in the Book. He’s again confused, “I thought she was working with Booth again”. ” Dad, he’s on the show still because they are now dating”. He goes “Pshhhh….” My stepmom arrives home and states that she doesn’t like watching episodes with Zach because it makes her mad that he was a bad guy. My dad chimes in, calling him a pervert (not sure why! Lol) and we all discuss how dumb the end of season 3 was. Just like we’ve talked about during Vintage Bones! 🙂

    It was SOOO funny. Just had to share with you all.

    PS. My dad loved GGWs advice to Booth. And then explained to me how David Boreanaz was not building the bricks on the grill correctly lol 🙂

  7. For me, this is where ‘old school Bones’ ends. Something happened in Season 4…I think it may have started with the Booth we saw in the UK…that totally shifts away from the dynamic that we saw in the first 3 seasons to what it became.

    Not that I don’t like it. But I start watching S4 feeling like I’m watching a new show. In many ways I feel the same at the start of S7.

    I think replacing Zack with Sweets brought B&B’s relationship into the forefront. Sweets became the ‘chorus’ so to speak, who along with Angela, voiced what the audience was thinking. Zach was not capable of having these human/relationship insights so he became irrelevant as we moved into a show that focused more on love and finding the one.

    Interesting comment regarding Ethan Sawyer, MJ. Could very easily have been Zack that Brennan was consulting with on the Pellant case. I would’ve liked that idea…just so there could have been some closure for the ‘BZB’ brigade…

  8. Today’s post of “You’re A Good Man, Booth” reminded me of Zach and this Vintage Post. This is the worst episode for me because it was real. They really got rid of Zach/Eric and for me the show has never been the same. They had a great core group that worked really well. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

    They skipped over Booth’s fake death and his interaction with Brennan regarding his death too fast. That was an important storyline that needed delved into more than they did.

    Also the end of Gormogon was too abrupt and could easily have been carried over into S4 in spite of the writer’s strike and they didn’t have to throw Zach away for life. My hopes for his character and record being set straight are pretty dim as we enter S10.

    The interns have taken up valuable time and IMO haven’t added anything to the show or the characters. I don’t think what they did to Zach/Eric was good for the show. Reminds me how great Zach was in Judas and Aliens. Makes me think of the end of Aliens and Brennan & Booth in Church and Booth says “You take one of us away…” and that’s how the loss of Zach/Eric makes me feel.

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