This week’s episode of Fox’s ‘Bones‘ was landmark not only in that it was the series’ 100th, but because it delivered surprising backstory about Brennan and Booth’s first case together, let us witness an intimate moment (or two), and left our jaws hanging with a turning point that rubber-stamped a big question-mark on the future of the dynamic duo’s relationship.
If you haven’t yet seen the aptly titled “Game Changer” episode, turn back now and check back once you’ve dabbed away the tears. To those who have watched, read on for executive producer Stephen Nathan’s take on what just happened… and what happens next.
First things first: What was your agenda with Episode 100?
The agenda was to try to answer a lot of the questions the audience has had for so long – like, “How did this start?” “What was the genesis of the relationship between Booth and Brennan?” – because obviously something occurred prior to the pilot episode. What was it at that time that drove them apart? And at the same time, what was it about their [initial] relationship that made them come together again? We wanted to get a real glimpse into that relationship that we haven’t been able to in five years. We had a lot more leeway here where we could have them open themselves up. Because for them to be so careful around each other, that had to happen after they had been so vulnerable with each other.
How long has it been in your head that during that first case, Bones and Booth had a flirtation and even kissed?
When [series creator] Hart [Hanson] and I started to talk about it, one form or another of that dynamic was always discussed. We always felt that there was something really personal and intimate that happened there; we just weren’t sure how far they had gone.
Did you bat around the possibility that they slept together back then?
We did, but we felt that would have taken them a bit too far. It needed to be a nice balance that kept alive the sense that there is unfinished business, that they still want to complete something they didn’t complete on that rainy night. Brennan in all these years has opened herself more and more to this world of intimacy and emotion, and if [she had already slept] with Booth, it would seem like we were retreading old ground.
So, the episode just ended and Bones and Booth are walking across that plaza arm-in-arm. What percentage of viewers do you think are satisfied, and what percent are frustrated?
I can only hope that they will both be frustrated and satisfied. [Laughs] What we wanted to do was satisfy the historical aspect of their relationship, to show the fans what happened to bring them to this point. The frustration should still remain but be an enjoyable frustration: “Oh my god, why didn’t Brennan just say yes?!” Booth has put himself out there, Booth has committed….
The gambler has gambled….
And she shot him down because she doesn’t think she can do it, when we all know she can. That frustration is what will keep the audience coming back, to see how they overcome that – no matter long that takes.
On my second viewing, I noticed David Boreanaz fighting back some tears in the closing scene. Were you expecting that heaviness of emotion?
David was both directing himself and acting, so the whole thing was a surprise – even a little bit to him and Emily [Deschanel]. When they’re in the scene playing that moment, emotions come up that surprised them and certainly surprised us. I think it was very, very subtle – he didn’t really want to cry, and I don’t think he did. Something just popped up there for a minute, and he wipes his eye. I love how he kept it together even though his world had come apart. It was a nice balance he struck. We were thrilled with the job he did on that episode.
When Brennan asked if they could stay just friends, Booth seemed almost unable to agree. Could he get to a point where he simply can’t work alongside her?
It’s certainly possible. Booth wants to be that great guy who is not going to quit, and certainly not in the performance of his duty, so he feels he can really rise above it all. Whether he’s able to ultimately succeed in that is something we’ll be exploring.
Will we see Temperance regretting her decision?
I don’t know how open she’ll be about it, but I can’t believe that she isn’t somehow regretting it right at that moment. I think she wishes she could be another person, that she could just be with Booth. But this is a character issue that is very difficult for her to overcome. It’s a real challenge for her.
Rena Sofer turns up April 22 as a marine biologist who asks Booth out on a date. Who will be most affected by her presence – Booth or Brennan?
It will have a subtle effect on both of them. I think it might allow Booth to look at the world in a way he hasn’t allowed himself to look at it in a long time. He’s a very strong guy and he does want to move on. He doesn’t want his life stunted for all time by chasing after something he can’t have.
And it now appears that Sweets is the one heading for a wedding. How might his big day inform Booth and Brennan’s relationship?
[The upcoming ‘Bones’ wedding] will inform it a little bit, but I can’t tell you who’s getting married, how, or when, or anything. Hopefully that’s still in the bag!