Pelant, wedding bells, a new big bad dubbed ‘the ephemeral successor’ and the freedom to be even grosser this season were hot topics on a recent ScreenSpy teleconference with the executive producers of Bones.
On the call, Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan dished further about Booth and Brennan’s disintegrating relationship and the reprisal of a boisterously uncensored Tony and Roxie. Also, the vomitous detritus Bones is known for, and the creative freedom afforded those who survive to see a ninth season—a freedom they gleefully intend to exploit.
Pelant, The ‘Evil Little Troll’
Caroline’s pet name for Christopher Pelant proves wildly apropos as the ‘evil little troll’ continues to antagonize Booth and the team. “Pelant figures in their lives quite heavily in the first few episodes,” confirmed Nathan. Asked how the team fares under the strain, EP Hart Hanson, Bones creator, added, “You [never] know for sure if Pelant is watching … and the sheer possibility makes [everyone] … paranoid.” As trouble in paradise brews to a roiling boil precipitated by Booth’s unexplained jilt, a palpable pall descends upon the entire team. Booth’s relationships with team members is strained, to say the least, but none more devastatingly than between him and Angela, the quintessential B&B shipper. With a nod to Irving Berlin’s cautionary lyrics in ‘Sisters, Sisters,’ Hansen warned, “Don’t step between sisters… [they] are relentless and they will defend a friend to the death.” The seemingly irreparable rift is “going to take a while to play out,” explained Hansen, “because hurtful things [are] said and they don’t immediately fix themselves.”
If there is to be a wedding in episode six, there must first be a reckoning, we are assured. As such, Pelant’s reign of terror is not long for this world, according to Hanson who made it clear that “—we’re doing that fairly quickly; we’re not teasing this out through the whole season.” Nathan confirmed by further adding, “—we’re close to resolving it, but not in the way that everybody expects.” Pelant becomes more maniacal than ever before. “Whenever they think they know what Pelant is doing, they’re thrown a curveball. We will see him in a way we haven’t before, [resulting in a] far more intense episode — it will be them confronting him in a way we haven’t see before.”
One last note about Pelant’s reign of terror—he may be killing off a recurring character before he’s through. About Booth’s confessor, Hanson had this to say: “Aldo Clemens (Mather Zickel), is an appealing guy—with a vibe nobody else on Bones has. I think you’ll see in the first episode, he has pretty good chemistry with both David and Emily. We’ll have him back a few times, which I shouldn’t say, because there’s always the chance that people could be killed by Pelant; so—now I kind of let that cat out of the bag.”
Tony and Roxie Reprisal
While Brennan and Booth struggle with their faltering post-jilt relationship, Roxie and Tony are resurrected. “What they’re doing is going to a marriage counseling retreat, which is ironic since they’re not married, and they have this issue hanging over them,” chortled Hart, explaining. “It’s a hilarious situation they’re in,” said Nathan, chiming in. Viewers are used to the comedic genius of Boreanaz+Deschanel, but, admits Hanson, “David and Emily love doing Roxie and Tony so much that it’s a little disturbing!”
In ‘The Cheat in the Retreat’ starring John Ratzenberger (Cheers), Hanson dished, “Tony and Roxie are louder than Brennan and Booth, so they get to work out some [relationship] stuff undercover while trying to catch a murderer.” Added Nathan, “Their mouths are uncensored!” (And the crowd cheers) “Roxie and Tony get to a lot of things that Booth and Brennan might not get to!” Buckle your seatbelts, folks. This promises to be good fun.
The Highly Anticipated Nuptials And Honeymoon
After eight seasons and 166 episodes of trials and tribulations, “—we put a lot of effort into giving the audience what they want, which is a wedding in a way they don’t expect,” explained Hanson. Why not build all season and then go out with a big fat Bones-y piñata like every other show on television ever? Stephen Nathan took the reigns on this question. “Booth and Brennan getting married is a natural extension of their evolving relationship.” Added Hansen, “just because you get married doesn’t mean that everything goes simply.” The plan post-nuptials, Nathan explained, is to “put them in the most extreme situations we possibly could for the remainder of the year to test that relationship—murders we’ve never seen before—crimes, motives, clues that will test them— and increase the tension in that marriage—and see how two people [in] love will deal with that.”
Then the EPs threw us this bone about Brenan and Booth’s Argentinian honeymoon: “Buenos Aires has a certain history that demands ‘someone like Brennan’.” That from Hanson, then Nathan added, “And Booth!”
What Nathan did reveal was that, “the entire country of Argentina is madly in love with Brennan’s books—and it takes a turn that even Brennan didn’t see coming.” Of course it does, or it wouldn’t be Bones, right?
That is all Hanson and Nathan would say. However, revealed earlier this week was the title of the honeymoon episode: ‘The Nazi on the Honeymoon.’ With Argentina’s past history of sheltering Nazi war criminals, like Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann, after WWII, one has to wonder if a murder is committed in the name of keeping old Nazi bones hidden away in a suspicious porteño’s closet.
The Ephemeral Successor
After a serial killer like Pelant, is there anywhere to go but down? Absolutely not! Nathan and Hanson admit that as far as villains go, “Pelant has set the bar high. We’re spoiled now!” Insisted Hansen. “The [next villain] has to be someone as interesting to us as Pelant was.” The duo teased a connection between Pelant and the new guy, who, according to Nathan, “—will loom over our people in a way we have yet to see on Bones. It’s someone who is far more ephemeral than any of our other bad guys.”
Your guess is as good as ours, Bones fans!
The Vomitous Detritus Bones Is Known For
Can Bones fans look forward to another season full of unprecedented grossness? You can count on it, according to Hanson and Nathan. If you don’t want to end up wearing our meal, teased Hanson, with a gleeful chuckle, “—do not eat during the first 7.5 minutes of Bones!” There you have it, folks, we’ve been warned. “One episode coming up has … one of the most revolting things—and I say that with great delight and pride,” Nathan chimed in, “—that we’ve ever had on Bones and it has nothing to do with a dead body.”
Nathan explained, “We feel we’ve done our job if we have a lot of negotiating to do with Standards & Practices,” the network department responsible for the moral, ethical, and legal implications of program content. “The first time we were on after American Idol, one of our serial killers, the Gravedigger, was taken out by a sniper, and Her head exploded. That’s the worst thing we ever did,” confessed Hanson. “There were a bunch of kids watching.” Whoops and ouch! “Usually, we have gross, but ultimately amusing things, [but] that wasn’t funny.”
Nathan clarified, “The thing that turns our stomach is when it’s a recognizable person getting killed. That’s not what we do; we like them already digested.”
The Creative Freedom of Survivors
After 166 episodes, Hanson and Nathan have earned the right to take some epic risks (as if they haven’t already!) “One of the great things about a show going into its ninth season [is that] people are with you, and you can be a little bit weird, and they’re often, I think, our best episodes,” Hansen explained.
In season nine, “we front loaded the season with things that we setup that we have to do,” Hanson reflected. Those include resolving the Pelant arc, reconnecting Brennan and Booth after a heart-wrenching disappointment, and delivering on the wedding promise. “The weirder episodes or the out-of-the-box episodes, are going to happen after Christmas.”
The final promise to their millions of anxious and devoted fans comes from Stephen Nathan: “We do have [episodes] planned that are ‘odd and unique’ and [not your] regular Bones.”
Final snippets from Hanson and Nathan:
1. It sounds like the move to Friday is still not set in stone
2. The wedding episode will feature Bones’ largest cast ever
3. Marianne Booth (Joanna Cassidy), Hank ‘Pops’ Booth (Ralph Waite), Max Keenan (Ryan O’Neil), and Aldo Clemens (Mather Zickel) will attend the wedding, but Chef Gordon Gordon Wyatt will not
3. Several long-standing mysteries will be revealed. Does the number 447 mean anything to you?
4. Despite Booth’s reticence, “Hodgins, who always wants to go undercover, or get a gun, or go out with Booth—has totally earned himself something like that,” admitted Hanson. “When it happens, it’s gonna be a big event. We owe the guy that.”
Bones season 9 premiere, ‘The Secrets in the Proposal’, airs Monday, September 16th at 8/7 central on FOX.