If the seventh season of Bones was its “honeymoon” phase, then the eighth season is all about tearing that comfort zone down.
When we left our favorite forensic anthropologist in the season finale, Bones (Emily Deschanel) was on the lam with her father and wanted for murder, taking her newborn child with her and leaving her partner and lover Booth (David Boreanaz) in the dust. Spinoff Online recently caught up with Bones executive producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan on a conference call, and the two teased it won’t take long for Bones and Booth to sort out their feelings.
It’s already been confirmed that the season premiere features the couple reuniting after three months, but it will still take a few more episodes for them to come to terms with Bones’ departure.
“We loved the idea that just because a decision is right and good and the most sensible, rational decision, that it’s still painful for people, and they have to get by that,” Hanson said. “Maybe it’s even tougher when no one was in the wrong. The second episode addresses that head on.”
Still, the reunion scene is going to be one for the books. Promo images have teased that Booth and Bones get a bit physical when they finally see one another again, and Hanson and Nathan said the scene actually was more intense than initially planned.
“[Deschanel and Boreanaz] came and said, ‘Can we go a little farther with this?’ and so we upped, let’s say, the energy of them seeing each other again,” Hanson said. “It’s one of those things that you discuss at great length is how mad is Booth at Brennan? How anxious are they to see each other, and how does all of this manifest in one split second?”
By the end of the premiere episode, Bones will be reunited with the Jeffersonian team and will be able to return to work. But even with her name seemingly cleared after the death of Ethan Sawyer, the team isn’t going to be free of serial killer Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds) any time soon.
“He’s going to be around all season,” Nathan said. “He’ll come and go, but Hart and I both hate serial killers as a rule; but we loved this guy, and he’s just the most interesting multiple murderer that we’ve ever had on the show. He’s going to kind of color season eight a bit.”
He added, “No one is going to be able to rest easy in Season 8.”
And don’t think this season will be Bones’ last. Hanson confirmed that Boreanaz and Deschanel are in negotiations with Fox “through Season 9.” “We’re pretty confident that they’ll come to an agreement,” he said.
This season Bones will reach its landmark 150th episode, and Nathan and Hanson have teased they’re going to try something new for the milestone. Instead of being told from the perspective of the Jeffersonian team, it’s going to be told from the perspective of the episode’s victim. Cyndi Lauper will reprise her role as the psychic Avalon who “knows that the victim is watching” and is trying to help Booth, Bones and the rest of the team solve the murder. But, as Hanson said, the goal isn’t just to solve the murder because “the victim needs something else before he can move on.”
“It was very tricky to shoot, because it could be claustrophobic,” Hanson said. “We needed a very, very heart-tugging story so that the person who we are experiencing, whose death we are solving, is an actual character, and it’s a boy.”
Nathan added, “It’s a very unique episode, both how it’s shot, the tone of it, and it’s been a real challenge to put together and a challenge like that always kind of gives you the most satisfaction. Everybody has come together for this one. Not only it was a great script, it was beautifully directed. The actors were terrific, and now our visual-effects team is working on it, as well as the sound mixers. It’s really a very rich episode and should be unique for the 150th. Now, of course, now we’re planning the 300th.”
Fans also have been excited to discover who Cam’s love interest will be this season. Hanson wouldn’t give much away about the character, but said the reveal would happen in the finale.
“It is not someone you won’t recognize. That’s about all we’re saying about it,” he said. “It’s not a brand new person. It’s someone that the fans will recognize, and if we’re good, they didn’t see it coming. If we’re not, they’ll see it coming.”
Hanson then promised the return of Ryan O’Neal as Bones’ father and Billy Gibbons as Angela’s father, and also teased that fans will get to meet more of Booth’s family. “We’re very interested in the back nine somewhere in meeting Booth’s mom and having Booth’s mom meet Brennan,” he said. “We haven’t figured out that story yet, but it’s in our bin.”
The No. 1 thing fans should take away from the eighth season of Bones is that it’s going “back to basics,” Nathan said.
“We’re probably focusing more on kind of trying to do great murders this season than we have in the past,” he said. “However, all of [the Jeffersonian team’s] personal lives have been altered by what happened with Brennen being gone, and with sort of the honeymoon period of our series being over. Now they have to deal with the realities of their relationships and their lives, as well as Pelant, as well as this kind of dark cloud that hangs over them. But it won’t be dealt with in every episode, but Pelant is not going away.”
Bones returns Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.