Bones EXCLUSIVE: Stephen Nathan on Brennan Embracing Her Mother, The Unknown and More

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SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading right now if you are yet to watch last night's major episode of Bones, "The Shot in the Dark."

The terrific hour was a prime example of how this Fox series remains strong well into Season 8, as fans clearly knew Brennan wouldn't die... yet the tension of finding out who shot her and why had us all on the edge of our seats.

In response to the dramatic events, TV Fanatic jumped on the phone with Executive Producer Stephen Nathan to ask all the key questions about this week's thrilling installment, as well as when the evil Pelant is going to show up again...

Bones Episode Photo

TV Fanatic: Why was it Brennan who had to get shot? And why now?
Stephen Nathan: Well, I think you know this season we’ve been wanting to just learn a bit more about our characters and Brennan’s past; her childhood especially, her adolescence, has always been something of a mystery. And it has revolved around the fact that her mother disappeared and was killed when she was a teenager. And we wanted to find a way to deal with that and also have Brennan reconnect with her mother. So since her mother is dead... I figured ‘why not kill Brennan?’

TVF: How did you guys decide what we would see when she’s with her mother?
SN: What we wanted to do was to make it as normal and as real as possible, just with a hint of something not being quite right... we talked about everything. Should we set this in a place where there’s no furniture, there’s no props and it’s really just this other worldly place? And that seemed wrong because you wanted Brennan to go home. You wanted her to embrace her mother.

You wanted her to really be back where she was when her life turned, when her personality was turned. And so we opted for just that very subtle sense that there’s light coming through the windows, and we can’t really see outside. And when we do see outside that’s when it’s an unrecognizable location. And it seemed without the normal feel of that home, the emotional life of this story wouldn’t have the same impact.

TVF: Talk to me about how this experience might change Brennan’s faith, if it will. Will we actually see her in future episodes think about things differently?


SN: Everything with Brennan takes time and her mother told her to not live so much in her head…when she was 15 her mother said, ‘You have to be more practical. You can’t be so romantic and spontaneous.’ And that was to protect her because she knew what was coming. But now her mother is saying ‘live for the moment. Feel more.’ And I think the fact that Brennan has had an experience that she can’t easily explain away is going to alter her perception of the world.

I think she might continue to try to find reasons why this occurred, but there is an element of the unknown. There’s something that she can’t explain, that will gnaw at her, that will force her to accept the fact that there are unknown things, which affect and change our lives in a very dramatic way. And I don’t know for Brennan whether that will mean that she will entertain the notion of a God. I don’t think that’s a natural extension for her. I think she can still remain the same character but still embrace the fact that there are things that she can’t explain.

TVF: Talk to me about how this experience might change Brennan’s faith, if it will. Will we actually see her in future episodes think about things differently?
SN: Everything with Brennan takes time and her mother told her to not live so much in her head... when she was 15 her mother said, ‘You have to be more practical. You can’t be so romantic and spontaneous.’ And that was to protect her because she knew what was coming. But now her mother is saying ‘live for the moment. Feel more.’ And I think the fact that Brennan has had an experience that she can’t easily explain away is going to alter her perception of the world.

I think she might continue to try to find reasons why this occurred, but there is an element of the unknown. There’s something that she can’t explain, that will gnaw at her, that will force her to accept the fact that there are unknown things, which affect and change our lives in a very dramatic way. And I don’t know for Brennan whether that will mean that she will entertain the notion of a God. I don’t think that’s a natural extension for her. I think she can still remain the same character but still embrace the fact that there are things that she can’t explain.

TVF: I would’ve sworn that this would be a Pelant episode…
SN: No. That’s too predictable. There are other bad guys out there.

TVF: Was that a big talking point or did you know early on this wouldn’t be a Pelant episode?
SN: No. We always knew this would not be a Pelant episode. We don’t want Pelant to get that close to Brennan. Now, he probably will but not in that way, and not in this kind of an episode. If Pelant were involved, it would have kicked the balance of the episode away from that real emotional connection, not only between Brennan and her mother, but between Booth and Brennan in this episode, because that was a very strong story for the two of them as well.

TVF: Why was it important for Brennan and Max to have a nice moment?
SN: I thought it was very important because it was our way to see how wonderful a family they were. They all shared in this experience, the mother, Brennan and Max. And we see Max go through so much in all these years, and now to see him just for that moment remember and feel what that family was and what it meant to him. It humanized him in such a way that I got to tell you, I just thought Ryan was unbelievably great.

TVF: Talk to me about Booth and Brennan having that big fight in the beginning. They argue all the time, but this was a big fight!
SN: It was a very rare occurrence you know, but again we want to make them real, a real couple you know. And real couples fight and misunderstand each other and say things they regret, and then to put them in a situation where what if those were the last words they said to each other? How awful would that have been? So it just kind of raised the stakes for both of them in this episode.

TVF: How did you come up with the blood bullet?
SN: It was Dave Thomas, who wrote this episode. And he brought in this story, and he had done tons of research on it, and he just you know Dave’s great. I mean he’s amazing, and he’s also going to be a guest on the next episode we’re shooting.


TVF: So no Pelant in this episode. When will we see him again or at least his mechanisms?
SN: We are working that out now. We hope that the last episode will be focused on a story that Pelant will figure quite heavily in. You might not see him a lot, but his presence will be known.

TVF: That’s even worse, Stephen.
SN: I’ve got to keep you paranoid.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Bones Quotes

Booth: I worked really, really hard on my vows, but you know, now that we're here, look, um, hey. Do you remember the last time that we were here? Standing right around in this spot? It was right in the beginning before we really knew each other. I was trying to get away from you because you were irritating me and, uh, you chased me down, and you caught up to me and I said to you 'listen, I just have to get all my ducks in a row' and you said to me--
Brennan: I can be a duck.
Booth: Yeah. You know we had been chasing each other for a long time. Chasing each other through wars and serial killers and ghosts and snakes. And now chasing you has been the smartest thing that I have ever done in my life. And being chased by you has been my greatest joy. But now, we, uh, we don't have to chase each other anymore because we caught each other.

Bones: My IQ is quantifiably higher than yours.
Booth: You know what, you're the brains of the outfit.
Bones: You have your strengths, Booth.
Booth: Well, I try
Bones: Trying is one of your strengths.

Bones Music

  Song Artist
Fearless Fearless Cyndi Lauper iTunes
The world is The World Is... Matthew Ryan iTunes
Song Rain Or Shine Matthew Perryman Jones