Bones’ Emily Deschanel Talks Season Eight’s Finale – Just How Scary Is Pelant?

Tonight, Fox’s Bones (Mondays, 8/7C) closes out its eighth season with the return of Christopher Pelant – who seems to be targeting Booth rather than Bones. Last week, Emily Deschanel spoke with a group of journalists/bloggers about the finale and the unusual way Pelant is operating now that he has Hodgins’ money to go with his own unique genius.

What can you tease about the return of Pelant? And this time he seems to be using Booth to target Brennan. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Emily Deschanel: In this episode, Pelant returns. Obviously the last time we saw him, Booth had injured him. He shot him. So, it seems at this point, Pelant has set his sights on Booth now it seems. Before, as you recall last season, he seemed to be targeting Brennan. So, it appears that he’s targeting Booth. In fact, the body that we discover, Booth knew the victim. It’s very close to home involving the FBI and a case Booth is involved with, and so, it feels like it’s very targeted towards Booth and of course that’s terrifying to Brennan because she realizes that Pelant could get him, that Booth is in danger, and Pelant hasn’t gotten to any of us yet on the team. He hasn’t really hurt us, but he’s really taking it up a notch this episode, and you’ll see how he affects their lives.

For my followup, last night Brennan proved that she would go to measures to protect somebody that she cared about because she stabbed a needle into the guy to get the location of the antidote. So, how far do you think she’s capable of going to keep safe those that she really loves?

Deschanel: Sorry, something came up on my phone as you were asking that question. So, how far do you think she’ll go to save someone she loves, is that what the question was?

Yes.

Deschanel: I think Brennan will—as you see in this coming-up episode, Brennan is willing to go farther than she’s ever gone to protect somebody that she loves, and I think there’s really no bounds to her protecting—what’s another word to use because you can’t say certain things about the episode and your season…? So, you saw that she’s willing to go pretty far to save someone that she loves, and now, you’ll see that she’ll do the same for other people that she loves to protect them, to protect her life with them. I’ll leave it at that.

So, how much does Pelant’s return factor into Brennan’s decision about having a relationship with Booth? Do you think it still would have happened if he hadn’t returned now because we can see Booth in the promo?

Deschanel: I think that Pelant’s presence and intense presence and targeting Booth and feeling Booth’s mortality and the possibility of him being in danger and the concept of even living without him kind of brings things to the forefront for Brennan when she thinks about Booth and Brennan’s relationship, and I think that she would be thinking about things in that way, but I think that Pelant kind of makes things happen more quickly and maybe in a more intense way.

Brennan had so much going for her emotionally this season. What do you think about her mindset going into the finale especially when Pelant is attacking again?

Deschanel: It’s scary. They just thought that they were going to lose one of their own already with Arastoo, and Pelant is scary. He’s somebody who’s brilliant. Maybe Brennan’s a little bit smarter than him, but it’s hard to say. She hasn’t seen somebody quite as terrifying and challenging as him and targeting them. It’s pretty scary. She’s been raising her child with Booth. There are so many things that have happened in the last two years, and they kind of don’t really have a moment to think about their lives and themselves and their relationships. You see Booth and Brennan get together. They get pregnant right away and then have to raise a child together, and Brennan’s always been this person who said I’d never have children, I’m not going to get married, I’m not interested in that, and she’s kind of going along, but she’s not forced to really examine her life in that way and her relationships. So, when this happens with Pelant, it really forces her to look at her life and herself and her relationships and her feelings and why she feels certain ways about certain things and make her questions some of her core beliefs. It’s a very pivotal time for her.

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Deschanel: What goes on at Jeffersonian—I’m sorry, what was the rest?

In the season finale.

Deschanel: In the season finale, that was important. I knew what you were saying. I always miss the part that’s not important, but then I have to have it repeated. So, now I’ve forgotten. So, you said what’s going on at the Jeffersonian when this happens, is that what you’re asking?

Basically, yes.

Deschanel: So, we may see multiple victims in this episode from Pelant. It actually feels more targeted toward the FBI than the Jeffersonian, but of course, we’re partners with the FBI as a whole and then Booth being Brennan’s partner in life and in their work. So, it feels personal even though nobody seems to be specifically targeted at the Jeffersonian. It’s really FBI, but we are working feverishly to solve this case, to find Pelant, to stop him however possible, to figure out what he’s doing because he always has a hidden agenda as we’ve learned. He’s not just killing some person at random. There’s a reason he’s chosen the victims he’s chosen. There’s a reason he’s killed them in the way he has, and there’s a meaning behind it. It affects not only Booth at the FBI. It affects Sweets. It feels—Pelant is targeting Booth, but it’s affecting Sweets as well, and Pelant has taken information that he’s learned from Sweets and is toying with him as well while he’s on this killing rampage. So, Pelant also in this instance may be involving other people in his plot. We’re trying to investigate and figure out how he’s doing it, and so, it gets scary when he’s probably recruiting other people to do work for him.

Are we going to get, after two seasons, are we going to get closure on the Pelant storyline or is it a chance that he might come back next season?

Deschanel: There will be some closure, but the story is definitely ongoing. That’s kind of a tricky answer, but I don’t know how better to answer it. The story continues into next season. That’s not to say that we haven’t captured him in some way by the end of this season, but with Pelant, it’s never as simple as we think as we’ve learned. He’s changed his complete identity. He’s very tricky. He’s very wily in his ways. So, the story does continue with Pelant into season nine.

As a followup, like you said, he’s tricky. He’s one of the most unique villains on Bones I think that we’ve really ever seen because he’s a little bit nerdy but that doesn’t make him any less deadly. So, where does he rank among the villains that you guys or the characters have faced off with over the years?

Deschanel: I think we’ve gotten more—I don’t know. I find him terrifying in his calm, steely way about him. His nerdiness makes, you’d think would make it less scary, but I think it makes it more scary, and if you know the guy who plays him, Andrew Leeds, he is like the friendliest, sweetest person, so it’s just really strange. Some of the actors had never met him and then we ran by—my husband’s actually known him for years. So, I ran into him and to Tamara Taylor who plays Cam Saroyan, and she said “oh my gosh, he’s so different from his character.” She had no idea. She’d only seen him on screen. So, I thought that was very interesting. But I think we’ve gotten better and better with—with our serial killers, we’ve gotten better and better. That sounds like such a silly thing to say, but I think he, to me, it’s more terrifying, you have this brilliant person who’s able to really get around the law in so many different ways whether it’s getting out of an ankle bracelet or finding ways around not being able to use computers and changing his name and identity and DNA so that – not changing his DNA, but changing the records of DNA – so that he is known as a completely different person. That is so terrifying and so brilliant that I think I’d have to rank him as the number one for serial killers. The Grave Digger was terrifying and that Brennan and Hodgins being buried alive was pretty terrifying, and you have Gormogon which was very scary, but I rank Pelant as number one right now. Hopefully, we keep building upon things and make them scarier and scarier, if we have more serial killers that is.

Obviously, last night’s episode was pretty emotional, I know I cried, but do you find filming the emotional scenes more challenging?

Deschanel: It depends. It really depends on what it is. It depends on the emotion and the way the scene is written and the circumstances. I find it challenging to switch tone like we do on our show. It’s definitely challenging to go from comedy to humor and lightness to sadness. It really depends on the particular scene and what it is. Sometimes emotion comes easily for me and sometimes it’s more challenging whether it’s because we are laughing and being light a moment before or for whatever reason it’s not as—sorry. My baby is pounding on the door right now. Sorry. What we were talking about?

About the emotional scenes.

Deschanel: Mommy brain. So, it really depends on the scene what the challenge is, but I think changing tone really can be very challenging for me and it really depends on the scene for me and what it’s about and why it’s …. I think that when you’re supposed to have emotion out of nowhere, that’s challenging for me.

Can you talk about the change between the relationship between Brennan and Booth with Sweets this season since he was staying with him and everything and now he’s gone?

Deschanel: Well, we had a fun kind of parent/child relationship for a while where we had Sweets staying with us. He’s kind of like our child in a way, or we’re kind of treating him that way, and we don’t believe he’s able to move out on his own and then he does. So, we think, we have, as Brennan says in an episode, that he’s the only person that she could think of living with them ever. He’s a person that Booth and Brennan both like equally and where you can qualify emotions. So, I think they’ve become very close with Sweets having lived with him, and I think it’s hard when he moves out. It’s hard when he’s dealing with stuff from feeling affected by Pelant as well in this coming episode. We feel it when he’s affected.

Some of our favorite episodes have been with Brennan’s brother, Russ, The Woman in Limbo, The Knight on the Grid, especially The Santa in the Slush. I think that’s one of my all-time favorites. Is there any interest or talk about Amy and the girls coming back to interact with Booth, Brennan and Christine and of course some good storyline going on there?

Deschanel: I don’t know of that happening. I love having Russ. Loren Dean is a great actor and I like him so much as a person. We keep in touch a bit here and there. I don’t know of any plans to have him back, but I would love to have him back, and we like having Ryan O’Neal as well as my father. It’d be great to have everybody back and maybe even meet some extended family as well. We didn’t meet my cousin who was … at some point.

My other question was will Max be on the season finale, but it sounds like he won’t be.

Deschanel: He’s not in the season finale.

Bones has obviously been tremendously successful. I’m just wondering why do you think it resonates with viewers. What do you think the appeal has been for them?

Deschanel: People ask me this question or similar questions and it’s hard to have an answer, but I can guess that the reason why it’s been a popular show is that it has a lot of different things for so many different people. When people are interested in solving a case and they like the puzzle of that or somebody’s interested in the science or somebody loves watching the kind of repartee between the characters or the sexual tension between Booth and Brennan or between other characters., the dynamics of the relationships of the characters whether they’re friendships or partners in life or partners in work and there are some episodes that seem like a farce and some episodes that seem like an action film and some that just seem like a good old-fashioned mystery, and I think that it offers so many different things and that can be a negative thing for us and it can be a positive thing for us, and I’ll have to say that I think that may be a reason why we’ve lasted for so long, but it may also be why we’re not the number one television series on TV, but it can work both ways.

As a followup—was just wondering how you cope with the film demands of working on a hit show like this with all the hours and also raising a young child as well.

Deschanel: Can you hear him screaming in the background? It’s incredibly difficult. I can’t say that it’s easy. It kills me every day. It’s kind of like this. I want to be with him, but I have to do this interview, not saying I don’t want to do the interview, but it’s like you’re constantly feeling like you’re pulled in both directions and it’s very difficult. I think that this job, if done well, it’s extremely difficult. Parenting is way more difficult than that if done well, and so, I don’t know. I don’t have a good answer for it. I don’t balance it very well. It gets better and better as he gets older, but it’s hard. I struggle with it every day.

This season has shown a lot of personal growth with Brennan where she’s been gaining a bit more self-awareness. How do you think these developments strengthen her character and how do you think this makes her more compatible with Booth?

How do I think this has changed her character? I couldn’t hear one of the things you said.

I said that she’s gaining a lot of self-awareness. How do you think this strengthens her character and how do you think it makes her more compatible with Booth?

Deschanel: I think becoming self-aware, no matter who you are, I think is always a positive thing, and I think that it may, to Brennan, have seemed like a weakness, to be more vulnerable and open emotionally before, but now, hopefully she’s realized that it actually can be a strength and that it can make her stronger for having opened up emotionally and showing some vulnerability and admitted that she’s not always made of steel. I think that it can always help her relationship when someone opens up more and becomes self-aware, and so, I think it definitely benefits their relationship and it’s also a wonderful thing for somebody to try and change themselves to help their relationship and themselves. I think it’s a wonderful thing and just the fact that she’s even trying to do that is a great thing and hopefully Booth sees that and appreciates it.

Photos by Patrick McElhenney/Courtesy of Fox Television