David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel

Bones' Season 8 finale will pose a somewhat disturbing question: Has the Jeffersonian's team of scientists finally met its match?

The opponent, of course, is Christopher Pelant (guest star Andrew Leeds), the so-called "hacktivist" the team first investigated in this season's seventh episode. When Pelant heads to court for a parole hearing, Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) have plenty to say to the judge about keeping him locked up.

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What's driving Brennan is perhaps the same thing that drives Pelant: pride. "I think everyone in the episode gets a little overconfident," Nathan says. "But [Pelant] is now up against a foe as smart as he is. The Jeffersonian looks at it that way, but he looks at it that way as well. Both sides see incredible danger and an incredible game being played. The difference with Pelant is that, like a chess player, he very possibly can see one more move ahead than they can."

That can't be good, right? Ultimately, everyone is at risk, both personally and professionally. "There's a great sense of a noose tightening around the throats of our plucky gang," Hanson teases. "If we do it correctly, people will not see the ending coming, but people will have this inexorable feeling of being choked out."

And even though Hanson says this season's cliff-hanger can't compete with last season's baby bombshell, he seems more than confident that it will leave fans' jaws on the floor. "We couldn't top last year's," Hanson says. "Last year was a culmination of six seasons, emotionally. So we knew we had to do another kind of cliff-hanger, which is much more classic jeopardy. But the emotional stakes are amazingly high. ... If we're successful at it, it will be very upsetting in a very good way."

Bones' Season 8 finale airs Monday at 8/7c on Fox.