[This is a review of the Bones season 10 finale. There will be SPOILERS.]
It was all about the good-byes on the season 10 finale of Bones, just not quite the ones you were expecting. After weeks of build-up, we prepared to say bon voyage to Hodgins and Angela, but in the end, it was Brennan and Booth bidding farewell. The finale seemed to quietly wrap up all the loose ends from the season, including paying another visit to long-time foe and dead serial killer, Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds).
When a body is found gruesomely flayed and impaled on an obelisk in a nearby park, the Jeffersonian team quickly puts together that the killer is either paying homage to Pelant or is directly connected to him. Fitting that Pelant would be somehow tied to the case that should be Angela and Hodgins’ send-off, even if the overall mystery felt somewhat tired. The team puts together the ominous Pelant-like clues (a flower in the throat that means “be warned”), while Booth and Brennan privately weigh their options.
With Booth back in their home and seemingly on the road to recovery after his gambling addiction relapse, the idea that he and Brennan could use a change as a couple feels more organic than Hodgins and Angela up and moving to Paris. Their first child Christine has dealt with her parents being shot (or shot at), serial killers hunting them, being on the lam, and in prison. This time around, it makes sense for Brennan to meticulously put together job offers that could offer her and Booth a quieter life to raise both their children. For the work that they do, it’s reasonable to need a break from the constant darkness of the human psyche they encounter daily. Brennan, in true Brennan fashion, identifies the problem weighing on them, considers solutions, and logically deduces they could use a change.
But first, a murder to solve. The victim, Franklin Holt, was an IT guy connected to a major investment firm, run by Kevin Dunlop (Tug Coker). Holt had the head of Dunlop’s IT security, Owen Ellickson (Derek Mio), fired for being incompetent, although Owen was set up to fail with servers within the firm that were off limits to him. Guess whose money was held on those secret servers? Even a deranged criminal mastermind like Pelant needs to hide the $ 4.6 billion he stole from Hodgins somewhere. One of the best moments has to be Aubrey questioning, or rather, scaring Dunlop into the ground to reveal where the money is. The usually unflappable Aubrey is close to breaking point when dealing with crooked money men like his father. The episode becomes a shell game of “Who has Hodgins’ money?” while Booth and Aubrey track Leelah Strawn (Lindsey Kraft). Leelah claims to be Holt’s girlfriend until it’s discovered she’s actually after the money Holt had been trying to access.
Throughout the episode, it’s a series of good-byes and last times. Hodgins relishes in his King of the Lab antics, by tracking time of death using pizza mold (clever) and dragging out an ancient museum relic to trace residue. His zeal for his work swings Angela back to staying with the Jeffersonian. Plus, in the obstacle of the day, victim Holt had encrypted all his files and data onto a VHS tape, which will take her months to decode, pushing off their Paris move. Her change of heart isn’t surprising. The lead up all season has felt like a way to re-establish their connection to the Jeffersonian and their work.
Meanwhile, Brennan and Booth calmly spread the word they are leaving. The one true “aww” moment comes when steely Caroline (Patricia Belcher) gets choked up when she realizes Booth’s mind is made up to leave. Brennan gets her chance to push the squinterns one last time. It’s a squintern reunion as Dr. Edison (Eugene Byrd), Wendell (Michael Grant Terry), Daisy (Carla Gallo), and even Arastoo (Pej Vahdat) all appear to contribute to solving the case.
While the killer is found and ultimately apprehended by Aubrey and Booth (the sight of Aubrey surrounded by chickens in a train car was worth a laugh,) Angela manages two things with the VHS data: find Hodgins' money and uncover a message from Pelant. It’s a victory for the team, yet both are met with ambivalence. Hodgins wants the $4.6 billion to disappear to charities around the world instead of accepting blood money. Brennan refuses to entertain Pelant any further and won’t watch his video. Considering the clue from the victim was to “be warned” and Angela still has months of data to decrypt, you have to wonder when Pelant will really be put to rest.
In the end, it’s good to see Bones send Brennan and Booth off together, unlike past finales that tore them apart. This time, the two literally walk off into the sunset, ready to take on their new life. (Apparently in Kansas.) The finale was more an effort to tie up everything from the past, instead of setting up a new season. While Pelant is always a dark shadow over their lives, the team seemed more exhausted by his re-appearance than anything else - just as the audience is. What's worse, the threat doesn't seem to go beyond chasing the money. It was never fully put together how the killer even managed to set their victim on that obelisk in the first place.
Although, Brennan herself may have uttered the most telling line, “Closure is just an illusion.” With everything tied in a bow, and considering David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Michaela Conlin, and T.J. Thyne all signed their contracts for next season, we can assume this clean slate is just a door opening to more for Team Jeffersonian in season 11.
Bones returns for season 11 in fall 2015 on FOX.
Photos: Patrick McElhenney/FOX