'Bones' Series Finale Bittersweet and Paced Poorly

"The Final Chapter: The Day in the Life"
Courtesy of Ray Mickshaw/FOX

David Boreanaz in the "The Final Chapter: The Day In the Life" episode of "Bones."

After several bombs destroy the Jeffersonian Institute’s lab in a fiery explosion, forensic anthropologist Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) loses her primary skill—her ability to think critically—in the series finale of “Bones.” She quietly but dramatically says, “Something is wrong with me” to her husband, an FBI agent named Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). Thus begins the end of Fox’s 12-season-long criminal drama. The series finale of the show offers emotional tension through music and nostalgia, but fails to deliver fully because of its fast pace.

The main storyline of the episode is the search for revenge-seeking antagonist Mark Kovac (Gerard Celasco), who tries to kill Booth and those dear to him. This plotline is interrupted by the personal storylines—Angela Montenegro’s (Michaela Conlin) fear for her unborn baby, Bones’s mental setback, and Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor) and Arastoo Vaziri’s (Pej Vahdat) wedding. All the sidebars provide a way to tie up previous plot holes and issues presented earlier in the season. However, the Kovac storyline keeps the show’s formula—forensic anthropologists using their expertise to solve crimes—pleasantly consistent until the very end.

The music sets two opposing atmospheres—one of emotional intensity and the other of bittersweet reminiscence. The dialogue takes a backseat to fast-paced, strong, loud music in several action scenes. I the first scene after the explosion the music is pregnant with tense emotion, creating suspicion and unease. This heightens the stakes, introducing the possibility that Bones may never again be able to do the work that defines her. In contrast, soft and sweet melodies create a bittersweet atmosphere in moments of nostalgia. This style of sound plays while the characters are sifting through old mementos, talking about good old times, and thinking about future prospects.

By uprooting Bones’s identity through a brain injury, the show allows her to think about what is most important to her—her intelligence or her relationships. When testing her brain’s capability, Bones says to the interns, “I remember the day each of you was hired.” Despite not being able to sustain complex thought, Bones realizes she can still remember the pivotal life events of those closest to her: Arastoo’s engagement, Clark Edison’s (Eugene Byrd) pride in his published book, and Jessica Warren (Laura Spencer) teaching her how to chirp. Past events are further explored when characters search through sentimental items such as a dolphin necklace, plaque, and rubber band ball, offering the audience a chance to dwell on the show’s long history.

Despite its musical and nostalgic excellence, the show jumps from one conclusion to another far too quickly. For example, the interns nearly solve the season’s biggest mystery within the span of a minute. Though this was supposed to be a heartfelt display of how much the interns had learned from Bones, the whole moment instead came off as incredibly unnatural and rehearsed. The fast-paced quality and quick succession of scenes watered down the quality of its content. Perhaps if the finale had a longer run time, it could have fleshed out each issue fully, making the events feel more natural.

The “Bones” finale gives each character a happy ending while staying true to its vision. Its music’s emotional relevance creates both nostalgic and intense atmospheres as Bones’s head injury provides the perfect platform for reminiscing. However, because the show weaves through its conflicts too abruptly, it takes away from the riveting suspense that has been the selling point of “Bones” in the past 12 seasons.

—Staff writer Kamila Czachorowski can be reached at


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