When Brennan calls Booth to say that she’s been captured by Pelant, anyone with a working knowledge of tech-savvy TV serial killers can figure out that it’s fake. Still, anyone who has ever seen Booth charge into danger for Brennan knows that he won’t stop to think. In the split-second before Booth smashes Pelant’s door, we see the little smarmball play a record, prop his feet on the desk, open a book, and wait to be caught in the most staged innocence possible. But really, the record player. Ugh. Brennan’s not there, but as long as the guys are together, Pelant takes the opportunity to break his ankle monitor, and Booth takes the opportunity to shove Pelant’s face through a window.
With all records of the call somehow erased, his lawyer finally has what she needs to get Pelant released, and the FBI kicks Booth and Brennan off of the case. Booth is replaced by Agent Flynn, whose smooth silverness is cold and off putting and nothing like Anderson Cooper’s.
Things are just as grim at the Jeffersonian. Turns out the toxin in the needle was distilled from a rare plant–which belongs to Hodgins. Which Brennan just borrowed. Pelant made it so that the people most committed to exonerating Brennan are the ones who hold the evidence against her. That jerk. Everyone responds differently to the strain, and everyone’s response is perfectly in character. Hodgins is regretful, but he can’t stop doing his job. Wendell stays objective, because Brennan trained him too well. Cam knows that the Jeffersonian can only work the case if they remain thorough and unbiased. Angela thinks everyone is crazy. Pelant is obviously the killer.
Pelant is also winning. Everyone’s getting kicked off the case for showing bias (they’re called feelings, FBI. You should try it sometime), and a hair in Brennan’s trunk matches Ethan Sawyer’s. I can’t even BREATHE right now. Cam submits the evidence but cries about it, so I might forgive her for giving the FBI everything it needs to issue an arrest warrant. STOP IT FBI; I THOUGHT YOU WERE THE GOOD GUYS.
Caroline stops by to warn her favorite humans, who spend their last afternoon together staring at their daughter in her crib. They seem pretty resigned to their fate until Max comes up with a plan: run. Booth’s admits that he’s considered it, although he clearly wants to go with her and ruin his career in the process. He keeps trying to insist that he’s the system, but Max knows better. Computers are the system. Brennan takes one look into her dad’s crazy fugitive eyes and hatches a plan. She’s going to Christine’s christening. Also, she’s found a clue! Light. Something about light and triangles. Squints, to the Batcave! Cam and Hodgins visit Ethan’s old room in the asylum, where they find a triangle on the wall, encoded, written in saliva. Because asylum.
At Christine’s christening, Brennan calls her best friend, reminding her that sometimes, you have to step back and see the big picture. Remember when she said, “We don’t form pictures. We accumulate evidence”? We’ve come so far in seven seasons. They thank each other for being wonderful, and then Sleeping at Last starts to sing about “home sweet home,” and I lose it. While B&B share a family moment in the church, Pelant saunters right through their front door like he owns the place. Like it’s his to destroy. There are so many things I want to throw at him. Then he replaces B&B’s alarm clock, takes Polaroids of Christine’s crib, and smiles into the security camera. Thank you, show, for teaching me that creepy comes in so many forms.
The heaviest, tensest moments of this finale take place in Booth and Brennan’s home. It took them months to find a home together. It took them years to even be the kind of together that requires a home. Home is where they cuddle up on couches and comfort each other. It’s where they let the ice cream melt. And now it’s where agents knock on the door with warrants, where everyone panics all the time, where they have secret meetings and talk about jail. They’ve lost their haven. This episode works because of what it violates.
Booth’s joy at the christening makes it even worse.
They’re so happy. They worked so hard to be a family. My heart is melting, and I also wanna stab something.
Meanwhile, Angela solves a puzzle (one down, nine million to go, right?). Pelant ordered a boatload of books from the library in order to upload his own codes to the library’s system. It’s a start, but it’s not enough to exonerate Brennan. Angela’s at a loss. She feels like it’s all Cam’s fault, but Caroline sets her straight: thanks to Cam, the good guys are still in the game. Brennan needs all of them. She needs all of their voices to keep each other in check, balancing humanity, scientific inquiry, and professionalism. That’s the only way she’ll ever get her home back.
At the church, Brennan has this look on her face like everything is about to be awful. She can’t say why. She can say this: “I love you, Booth. I don’t want you to think that Christine is the only reason we’re together.” It needs to be said. They both know that she loves him, but Booth can be insecure, and it needs to be said. It’s her way of apologizing for what she’s about to do.
While Booth gets the car (why is he leaving her alone right now?!), Max helps Brennan escape with Christine. So this was her master plan: score a little quality time with the family and then disappear. It’s a good plan, actually–I’m curled up weeping in a corner, but it’s a good plan. Pelant has used everyone’s strengths against them; the best thing Brennan can do is surprise him, and the idea that she would ever follow in her father’s footsteps is definitely a surprise. Game theory! Zack would be so proud.
The other wonderful, good thing in the midst of all this awful: Brennan’s run away from a lot of people in her time, but she’s never run away for anyone else before. She’s running for Booth’s career. The fact that Booth needs his career in order to save her is almost secondary. He can’t know Brennan’s whereabouts without becoming an accomplice, so Booth is out of the loop. He’s in Brennan’s shoes now; he’s the abandoned one. His voice cracks when he tells Max that he’ll get his family back, which in turn cracks my heart thank you very much David Boreanaz. Booth’s devastation is real, but he knows that Brennan did the right thing, which is the central conflict of this episode. It’s really upsetting when everyone is right and everything is still awful.
What’s that mean?
“The Past in the Present” indeed. This episode is so full of callbacks.
- When Booth shoves Pelant against the wall and threatens him, his voice shakes. “If you touched her, I will kill you.” It sounds a lot like the end of “The Woman in the Garden,” when Booth shoved a gang leader against a wall for putting a hit out on Brennan.
- Angela stands up for her friend in the face of the law, just as she did in “The Verdict in the Story.”
- Sweets defends Brennan, saying that her rational exterior hides a reverence for life, in a speech that mirrors his explanation in “The Pain in the Heart” for why Brennan wasn’t Gormogon.
- The bedroom scene, when Booth takes off his tie and tells Brennan that he knows she’s not guilty, is an inversion of the dream sequence in “The End in the Beginning,” when Booth was a murder suspect and Brennan straightened his tie for him.
- The alarm clock reads 4:47, as it did when they slept together in “The End in the Beginning”and “The Hole in the Heart.” Pelant quite literally corrupts their dream, turning it into something dangerous.
- The church hearkens back to the end of “Aliens in a Spaceship.” I knew you’d never give up. At first I thought it WAS that church and then realized it wasn’t, which is about the only time this episode disappointed me.
Sweets might be the only person on this show whose sense of morality is more black and white than Booth. Probably because he lacks Booth’s gut instincts and protectiveness.
“Lupine” is a severely underused adjective that sounds particularly wonderful in Hodgins’s hot tea and honey voice.
Caroline, on what to do if Pelant shows up at the house: “You shoot him through the eyeball.”
Ten out of ten dancing phalanges. Bones hasn’t made me so anxious in years, and when the cases hit home, we’re reminded of what makes this team a family. Everyone felt like their true best self in this episode. But what did you think? How did you feel about each character’s response to the case? Was Brennan right to go on the run? Did you catch any callbacks I missed?