Big, fat spoilers ahead for the Season 6 finale, “The Change in the Game,” so don’t look any further if you haven’t seen it — unless you’re the special kind masochist who likes reading the recaps first.
In the aftermath of the unmentioned Vincent Nigel Murray’s death, Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) had sex. Or they did it a little before. Or possibly even a little later. Maybe they’ve secretly been doing it for months! The particulars aren’t important right now, because their long-awaited illicit canoodling has already manifested, albeit off camera, in a baby.
Yup, Brennan is pregnant. And whether this huge development has been in the cards for a while, is a result of Deschanel’s real-life pregnancy or a combination of both remains a mystery. But I’m sure I’m not alone in my thinking the series will never been the same again.
So in honor of the last “Bones” of the season, let’s make this a traditional recap and save discussion of its lasting impact for the end.
For the squints:
- The procedural anchor to “Change’s” big character pay-off is an exceptionally silly one. An obnoxious child demands the pins be reset at his bowling birthday party, when his mother threatens him with the old “Do you know what happens to little boys at bowling alleys who don’t behave?” (I have no idea. Please tell me.) Cue maggoty corpse reveal!
- Booth and Brennan determine that the body’s been there for 10 days or so and was most definitely the victim of a murder. But who he is? Oh, he’s got his name sewn into his shirt. Awesome. It’s Jeff Fowler of the “Thunderballs.” [snicker]
- Booth recognizes Thunderballs as Max Brennan’s (Ryan O’Neal) team, which begs the question: How does Booth know the name of Brennan’s dad’s bowling team? And for that matter, how does anyone know the name of anyone’s bowling team?
- Max, suspiciously stuck in a wheelchair, meets Booth and Brennan at the Royal Diner to discuss his teammate’s death. He had nothing to do with it. And he’s in the wheelchair because of some poorly executed sexual shenanigans — which is wat more disgusting than the maggots.
- Due to the nutritiously secret nature of intramural bowlers — and the open spots on the team — Booth and Brennan go undercover as “Buck” and “Wanda,” an engaged, ’80s-haired couple that shares a love of bowling and Shark Week. (I’m guessing that last part.)
- But the Thunderballs are not who you’d expect them to be. The remaining teammates consist of a not-so-sharp Latino gentleman and a little girl who could clearly headline an all-ginger remake of “Children of the Corn.”
- A butch lady hits on “Wanda,” prompting a “Back off, Tina!” from Ginger Corn. This girl is growing on me.
- Then there’s a bowling montage set to — wait for it — “The Bowling Song” by Raffi — as in Raffi Raffi. (It’s not up to the caliber of recent song selections by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Fever Ray, but I always appreciate a literal accompaniment.)
- At the lab, Angela (Michaela Conlin), Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) and Wendell (Michael Grant Terry) try to figure out the murder weapon, when they’re cut short by Angela’s water breaking — all while I repeatedly scream, “A bowling ball!” at my television.
- The bowling league czar and scorekeeper, known only as “Raven,” briefly becomes a suspect when it’s revealed that the late Jeff once super-glued his fingers to the inside of a bowling ball, which resulted in him accidentally catapulting his whole body down the lane — an incident Sweets (John Francis Daley) conveniently finds on YouTube. [Editor’s note: If anyone out there wants to make me a .GIF of that video, I’ll be forever in your debt.]
- Wendell and Cam (Tamara Taylor) are not so deft at operating the Angelatron. Though they realize the weapon is a bowling ball, their murder scenario doesn’t play out on the monitor. Instead, archival footage of Dwight Eisenhower, Twitch from “So You Think You Can Dance,” a CGI kitten playing with a scull and a the epilogue to some Jeffersonian sex tape flash across the screen. Hello!
- By achieving a physically impossible 7-10 split, Booth inadvertently proves to Brennan that the lane is fixed — only now it turns out the murderer isn’t even a bowler. The weapon was actually the motorcycle helmet, leaving the shoe guy as the only suspect. Jeff’s stinky feet drove him to murder.
- This does not sit well with Ginger Corn. She attacks Shoe Guy, leading Brennan to say her child would never behave like that for the third time in as many scenes. Foreshadowing…
For the shippers:
- Having exhausted the old method of sexing the baby out, Angela tries to induce labor with hot sauce. She says it’s not spicy enough, to which Hodgins tries a bite. Physical comedy ensues.
- At the suggestion of going undercover, Booth immediately says they’ll do it as boyfriend and girlfriend. Max raises a brow, because Daddy Bones always knows when something’s up — even though he’s missed most of his daughter’s life.
- Angela spends her labor video-chatting Cam and Wendell to remotely operate the Angelatron. The OBGYN doesn’t like this — or, probably, Angela calling her a “rotten old bat” — but being the girlfriend of a gyno, Cam apparently now knows all lady-doctors and gets her to make an exception.
- Hodgins and Angela have one of their most tender tender moments right before she gives birth, promising that they’ll be amazing, happy parents even if the baby ends up being blind. And since creator Hart Hanson is not prone to bouts of arbitrary evil like, say, Joss Whedon, little Michael Staccato Vincent Hodgins is born with perfect vision — and one of Billy Gibbons‘ muppety hats!
- Angela and Brennan, who’ve had many a BFF moment in the episode, do not discuss the Booth question, as I imagined they would, leaving us with one final scene…
- Booth and Brennan stroll past a row of townhouses, discussing the life-altering business that is having a child, when Brennan just comes out with it. She’s pregnant. Booth is the father. His momentary shock melts into the dearest smile a man could possibly make — to which Brennan replies with her own goofy grin.
So they finally went there. I’ve never been shy about my desire to see the partners hook up — or my trust in the producers to let it happen on their own terms — so I’m clearly pleased. That sentiment won’t be shared by everyone, but I’m pretty sure I’m in the majority.
“Bones” has always thrived on the chemistry of its two leads. An
d I think the bigger threat to their dynamic, at this point, would be to keep prolonging the inevitable — not giving into it. How they adjust to parenthood and presumable couplehood will clearly change everything, but — and I say this with all due respect to the beginning of Season 6 — it’s a much more appealing change than having to suffer through one of them with romantically involved with a third party while the other looks on in pain.
My only regret? No kiss! Confirmation via conception is more than validating, but a little physical affection wouldn’t have hurt. But maybe they’re saving that for next season… Until then, feel free to take this composite of their glowing expressions in the final scene, fashion them into paper dolls, and have them make out at your whim all summer long.
And for good measure… the Brennanism of the week:
“This is Wanda the bowler at the bowling tournament, bowling.” (If I could have this girl go undercover every week, I would.)