Take 5 With ‘Bones’ Showrunner Michael Peterson

Season 11 of Bones resumes tonight in the US (tomorrow in Canada), and showrunner Michael Peterson gave us a tease of what’s coming up during a recent press call. Here are some highlights of what he shared about Hodgins’ paralysis and how that has an impact on the entire team, the challenges that Booth and Brennan’s relationship will face for the remainder of the season, and a new “big bad” that is about to be introduced.

On how Hodgins’ paralysis will affect the entire team:

“That was the real appeal of doing this storyline. We really wanted to make sure it affected everybody. I always thank Hart [Hanson] for — we call it the DNA that he put into this show –making such dynamic characters with such opposing points of view, and I think this really brought it out. We wanted to make sure from the first episode [that] we see the different viewpoints. Booth is much more about the hope, and Brennan is looking strictly at the science of the situation, which is not so hopeful.

“It really takes off from there because we want to make sure Hodgins gets to feel every different emotion that comes when you have this sort of tragedy: a little bit in denial at the beginning, and then we see some anger coming out later on. [TJ Thyne] did a tremendous job. In Episode 12, we really get to see the world through Hodgins’ new point of view. We see him going through the lab, he’s at a different height, he’s at a different level, he’s looking around the lab, all the things that he cannot do that he used to just take for granted. We got to understand his new perspective before really seeing him become angry, and I think it gave great empathy for him.”

On the “big bad” that’s about to be introduced in Episode 13, “The Monster in the Closet”:

“That one is pretty much our big bad for the remainder of the season, so we will be seeing that person again. That was one I wrote, and it was something that the show lends itself because of Brennan obviously dealing with skeletal remains so much. I had been re-watching a lot of old Hitchcock — Psycho in particular — and thinking about that movie and then Ed Gein and the people it’s based on and how very similar they are to Brennan in a way. They’re able to live with remains and see them as still alive, and I think Brennan sees these remains a very similar way. It’s a unique perspective. We really wanted to look at the flipside of that coin, and to get a little bit of that nice creepy feel.

“The inspiration also was — and there’s a little homage to it — an X-Files episode called “Home,” which meant a lot to me. It was one of the big reasons why I wanted to do TV. They do a great job in that episode of juxtaposing happy music with creepiness, so we do a little homage to that.

“That’s going to be our big bad for this season, and maybe a little bit into Season 12, but we’re still playing around with that.”

On whether Angela and Hodgins are still going to try having another child:

“We’re definitely going to be exploring that. I think the first thing that Hodgins has to do is go to a place of acceptance before he can move forward in any other capacity of his relationship with Angela, having additional children, and anything else in his life. He has to get to a place where he is accepting of this injury and the new limitations, and his biggest journey, is to get there.

“[Episode] 14 is going to be a big episode for Hodgins and Angela, and where they’re going, because with everything that’s going on with him it’s also this crucible moment for Angela. We introduced this character at the beginning of the season, Sebastian Kohl, who’s her photographer/mentor and it’s this glimpse into another life that she could have had if she had taken off and been more the artist. It’s going to be tough on everybody. There’s going to be temptations for Angela, and temptations for Hodgins.

On Booth’s midlife crisis being affected by what happened to Hodgins:

“It helps [Booth] to put everything into perspective. We talk about the midlife crisis of “The Cowboy in the Contest,” and that was just delightful fun. It was great to have Karine Rosenthal back, who had written so many of our best episodes. We really wanted to go at it in a different way, and we had a lot of fun with that episode where they had to be strangers to each other and got to rekindle that old romance. That’s a lot of what midlife crises are. It’s maybe a scary time for a guy, but it’s a chance to recapture some of those feelings that you had in your youth of new love, or driving a new car.

“But Booth’s going to have some other little crises that are worse than a midlife crisis. We have one episode coming up where he almost finds himself becoming something of a squint, and nothing is more horrifying to Booth than to find himself behaving in a squint-like manner. We’re going to give him some little tests, as far as that kind of stuff goes. An injury, when you see somebody else suffering in a real life way, it helps put everything in perspective, so Hodgins’ injury is going to help Booth as far as that goes.”

On the challenges that Booth and Brennan’s relationship will face through the rest of the season:

“In Episode 13, we see what Brennan is going through. [She’s] experiencing guilt for not being there at the time of this murder that takes place, and has a feeling of responsibility. That helps with her arc. She’s somebody who’s always been able to separate herself and not become as emotionally attached to elements of the job, but she realizes the responsibility that she has, and so the way that [Brennan and Booth] handle that situation will definitely be telling.

“We try to stay true to the characters, and Booth is this person who is self-sacrificing. He puts himself very much in the line of fire. We saw it at the beginning of the season when his brother was in trouble and what he did there, and we’re going to see it again. Episode 17 is a Secret Service episode, and quite literally Booth is in the line of fire. The more that he is putting himself out there and putting himself into danger, that’s definitely going to have an effect on Booth and Brennan.

“Episode 18 is more of a documentary style. It’s our cross between Modern Family and Making a Murderer. We do get to lift up the curtain and see behind the scenes, so a big reason why I wanted to do is to be able to get into some of this relationship stuff as far as our leads go. We learn a little bit more about their past. It’s not a standard episode and we really wanted to do it as a tribute to the fans. There are some things people wanted to know about our characters, and here’s our opportunity to do a documentary-style episode where we can tell you a little bit more than usual.

“And then at the end of the season, we’re going to be leaning towards a cliffhanger. It’s obviously going to have a big effect on Booth and Brennan and it’s going to lead us strongly into Season 12.”

“The Death in the Defense” airs tonight at 8/7c on FOX in the US, and tomorrow at 8pm ET/PT on Global TV in Canada.

Photo Courtesy of FOX

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