Bones' Series Finale Used Every TV Finale Trick In The Book

bones season finale booth brennan
(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Fox)

Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched Bones final episode ever.

March 28, 2017: this is the day that Fox's long-running crime drama Bones came to an end after 12 skeleton-filled seasons of solving mysteries and catching killers. And it, without a doubt, was one of the most finale-ish finales that has ever aired on TV, as it hit just about every single checkbox in the to-do list for final episodes. (At least as far as network TV goes, since cable finales can often be measured denouements or bloodthirsty feasts.) I'm not being insulting or derogatory by saying that, either. Bones' last hurrah keeps with tradition because tradition is meaningful.

Below, we'll go over all of the biggest points in the episode, which also happen to match up with all of the big moments that anyone would expect from a network TV finale in the same way that as well as one Bones specific one, which shouldn't be too hard to figure out. If you need to blow your nose, I'm sure there's some muscle tissue around here somewhere. Yeah, that joke was worse than everything about "The End in The End."

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Fox)

Solving The Final Case

As its own entry, we could have added Bones' finale taking place across two separate episodes, with the penultimate installment ending on an explosive cliffhanger. But it's fine. We can throw it in here with Team Bones wrapping up the last case of the show's run, after a season full of interesting culprits and cases. Tracking down the bomber takes some necessary "I've got the information!" shortcuts to get from Point A to Point D, and then it zips back around to Point B after the twist that revealed the bomber Kovac was actually Janine's brother, meaning she was also aiming to get revenge on Booth for the death of her war criminal father. Cue the shootout, which goes well for our heroes.

One Final Surprise Problem For The Main Character

So, the episode temporarily and quickly tried to fool audiences into thinking Brennan was dead, but of course she wasn't. What DID happen, though, is she had one more big problem to overcome: amnesia, TV's biggest Deus Ex Medical Condition. And it wasn't just any amnesia, like she forgot who everyone was and how to cook omelets. She forgot everything she knew about bones, which is obviously a perfect conundrum in a thematic sense, though perhaps it's not meant for a 2017 drama for adults. And then later, her memory came back when fixed Booth's hand that he wouldn't stop talking about. This was all a tad too skimpy for me, but I do want to get a soundbite of David Boreanaz yelling "Bones!" in that moment. That was an excellent reaction.

Everyone Must Move On From The Central Location

Explosions obviously cause lots of damage, and this one definitely made a mess of things for Team Bones, and for real bones, which means everybody will be making a transition to another location. Bones previously took Brennan and Booth away from the Jeffersonian when Season 11 kicked off, and it seemed like something that might lead to another big change, but it didn't. Now, though, it'll be necessary. Think of it as a skeletal ode to The Mary Tyler Moore Show's finale. Or don't, since it will get rebuilt and the characters will eventually return. But will there be a reunion special to go along with it? We can only hope.

bones cast and skeletons

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Fox)

Side Characters Have Big Changes Coming

Let's see. Cam and Arastoo are going to Mississippi to adopt three boys during Cam's leave of absence, not taking a trip to Europe. Jack and Angela have been working on a children's book that includes Bones characters, and Jack will be taking over the lab during Cam's absence, which he is super pumped about. Also, Emily's pregnancy was not affected by the blast. (Phew!) Aubrey got a promotion and chose to stay in Washington D.C., and he might not even have to be too bummed about his break-up, as he and Karen took off for some grub together.

Everybody Yells At Booth

This one is the Bones-specific one, if that wasn't obvious. Booth got an earful from everybody tonight. Brennan got on him. Jack yelled at him about not having to be a hero. Even when people were just telling him something about the situation, they yelled. Nobody is going to be yelling at Booth anymore, though. At least not where we can hear them.

The Emotional Montage

Everybody gets to pack up their stuff from the lab -- at least, all of the stuff that made it -- and you know what that means...MONTAGE TIME! Naturally, each character gets several moments to pick up a photo to reminisce about, or a small knick knack from seasons past, or one of the pictures from the walls. This sequence had all the staring wistfully into space that you could hope for. It was missing a Sarah McLachlan song, but it had something going for it anyway.

The Happy Ending

Though things got a little sad in "The End in The End," there's nothing to really mourn in this episode, as everything was wrapped up happily and tied off with an animal balloon. In the final minutes, Brennan and Booth sat together outside in the D.C. evening and shared stuff, such as a drawing that Parker drew for Bones eleven years previous, and Sweets' book, and Bones' intention to hang the explosion-stopped clock in her new office. (4:47.) And then they walked off chatting, not into the sunset, but the night, as this is a killer-heavy drama, after all. I suppose John Francis Daley not coming back for the episode was the biggest exception to the TV finale rulebook, so maybe we can mourn that as well as next fall not having Bones in it.

Thanks for all the laughs, the tears, the performances and the fears, Bones. There will never be another one quite like you. To see everything that will be there when Bones is gone, though, you can check out our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.