‘Bones’ has a TV legacy that few shows ever achieve. Thank you for 12 years!
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After 12 seasons Fox’s Bones aired it’s final episode. There is no right way to bid farewell to a series that transcended the crime genre whether it was through the case of the week or the normal stress of everyday domestic life. The Jeffersonian wasn’t just a second home for our favorite forensic anthropologist and her rotating roster of interns, it was holy ground. And I know, I know Dr. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) would tell me that it’s just the lab and that calling it that is putting far more importance in the space than the work she and the rest of the team at the Jeffersonian did. And she’d probably talk about some actual holy ground she once studied and how she found no definitive evidence of said holiness.
But what else do you call a place that has brought so much peace to so many lost lives? A place that found closure for loved ones? A place that despite the unimaginable horrors it contained housed so much love and a family? So I hope Dr. Brennan can forgive me for overstating the significance of the lab because I’m emotional right now and we know how irrational that makes us.
Bones was always more than an interesting mystery to solve each week. Sure we came for David Boreanaz’s rough and buff FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth but we never expected him to be even more of an angel than the one we knew from the 90’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In any case, we stayed for everything else. From Hodgins (T. J. Thyne) and his particulates to Angela’s (Michaela Conlin) constant positivity and Cam’s (Tamara Taylor) gentle authority.
So when I started thinking about what kind of postmortem Bones would want after what was a perfect ending, well, I found myself far more emotional than I could have anticipated. All I have are bittersweet feelings and the general structure of what a proper goodbye should look like. But how do you pay homage to a series that knew how to execute a slow-burn and could have kept building on those relationships once they were fully realized for the rest of eternity? I imagine Dr. Brennan would tell me to put my feelings aside and let the science guide me but I tend to lean into my emotions more in the same vein as the late great Dr. Sweets (John Francis Daley). Which is why I can’t just clean the bones and examine them. I’m not a trained forensic anthropologist anyway.
Series finales can ultimately make or a break a show to it’s last moment. And I realize that we were extremely lucky to even get this – albeit abbreviated – season. Which meant there was only one way I could truly think to honor over a decade of solving cases and putting away bad guys…with love:
Dear Seeley Booth,
Thank you for being a good man. I know, still, after all this time you don’t believe it. But you are. And thank you for fighting to prove that day in and day out. Because that fight is what brought you and Brennan together. And we – the viewers – were beyond blessed to watch that partnership evolve. You are definitely better than Mulder and Scully! Thank you for seeking justice for the vulnerable. And for extending enough faith for the rest of us when it seemed like the world needed it the most.
Thank you for being you. I remember the day we first met you. What an unlikely friend you seemed to Dr Brennan. But you are the best kind of friend. Knowing when to ask for emotional support and offering it without precedence or judgement. Your soul sees beauty amid the most gruesome of crimes. Thank you for acknowledging the aches and pains that come with change, growing from someone who felt tied down by friends and family to someone who knows the heights these people can allow you to soar.
Dear Dr Jack Hodgins,
You might be my favorite most of all. You tackled the worst parts of an unthinkable, life-altering injury without losing yourself even though it felt like you had. Thank you for believing in Zack’s innocence when the odds seemed even more unlikely than ever. I will never understand your love of bugs and snakes and dirt and grime but I will forever cherish your excitement at the chance to study the living in order to find the truth of the dead. Thank you for casting doubt whether it’s a wacky conspiracy theory or Angela’s own fears of commitment. Keep rolling, King of the Lab!
Dear Dr. Saroyan,
Thank you for bringing a little bit of New York to the Jeffersonian. Your initial arrival and appointment as head of the Forensic Division brought a sense of change, especially with your and Booth’s history (sorry for bringing up old news). But you’re tough as nails and strict to a fault exterior benefitted everyone you oversaw, especially when it came to your skills with flesh and blood in the most dire of circumstances. Thank you for providing order in the chaos and for not only opening your heart to love but to the wayward children of the world.
Thank you for making us laugh especially Fisher and Oliver. And to those who made us cry, we’ll never forget you Vincent Nigel-Murray (put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up!). Thank you Zach, for always staying true to yourself. Thank you Finn for owning your past when it threatened to ruin everything and for your enthusiasm! Thank you Wendell for your years of devotion to the field only to realize it’s not truly your passion. I hope you find what you’re looking for. Thank you Dr. Edison for your tyrannic organization and your reverence for the opinion of your superiors even if you always did what you wanted in the end. Despite your best efforts these colleagues became your friends. Thank you Dr. Vaziri for your patience and kindness, you changed lives even when it was at great risk to your own freedom. To the most badass ladies in the (fictional) STEM field, good luck, Daisy, in your new position with the NFL. Sometimes our heroes end being better than we could have ever anticipated. Thank you Jessica for your outspokenness. You all learned some very hard lessons throughout the years but none of you ever stopped fight. And I think you taught Dr. Brennan a few important lessons too.
You had the impossible job of showing up during a time of extreme grief. And just when we wanted to close our hearts off you forced us to remember that there is plenty of love to go around. Thank you for never growing up in all the right ways.
I have already had to say goodbye to Dr. Lance Sweets once and I don’t think I can do it again. If I had to pick a bone to represent his continued importance in the series I’d have to go with the cranium, which is fitting for a psychologist but please, nobody, tell Dr. Brennan I said that!
Realistically, a true love letter wouldn’t be complete without thanking the cast and crew for your devotion to these characters. Thank you for the climatic arcs and the quieter moments in between. Thank you taking up challenging and divisive narratives. Thank you for your willingness to be creative and experimental with episodes. The years of literal blood, sweat and tears show in the ability to pick up Bones anywhere in the series and immediately fall in love with the characters.
If I’m being honest, I don’t want to say goodbye. I know I have to. I know that weeks, months, years from now new fans will unearth this series and find joy at the sound of bells chiming for the love Angela and Hodgins share. I know that there are so many people who have yet to cry over lines like “I can be a duck!” and I know that there are jokes that will only ever be funny to anyone who has allowed this show into their lives. Bones left the finale in that beautiful space where it felt more like we’d see it around. And I look forward to a run-in (or a rerun) here and there at the Royal Diner. To that end, I’m going to turn up Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded” and celebrate!
Thank you, Bones. We Love you (even if it is just brain chemistry).
Bones season 1-11 are currently streaming on Netflix.
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