[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from Thursday's midseason finale of Bones. Read at your own risk.]
The bomb that went off on Thursday's midseason finale of Bones may have blown up one of the show's key relationships.
The second episode of the two-hour finale opened with an explosion that sent Aubrey (John Boyd) to the hospital with some pretty scary injuries, which he sustained by shielding Hodgins (TJ Thyne) from the blast. However, the episode ended with a devastating twist: While Aubrey eventually left the hospital and seemed to be OK, Hodgins' bumps and bruises turned out to be much more severe after some delayed swelling around his spinal cord leaves Hodgins paralyzed.
Bones boss on how the midseason finale changes everything
But is Hodgins' sad diagnosis permanent? "You can't say never, but as far as we're concerned, he's going to be wheelchair-bound," executive producer Michael Peterson tells TVGuide.com, adding that Hodgins will be put through the wringer as he comes to grips with his situation. "It's a process. There's all these different stages of dealing with a tragedy — you go through anger, you go through denial — and he's really going to hit every single one of them. It affects his job, it affects his relationship with Angela and his kids. We're going to see the Hodgins of the first couple of seasons, a guy who had to work with anger management, who used to snap his rubber band on his wrist to keep some of his anger in control. He's going to be a little more Gregory House than Hodgins for a while. He's just pissed at the world. This is not where life was supposed to be take him."
And as Hodgins spirals toward his rock bottom, his wife Angela (Michaela Conlin) may turn to an unexpected source for comfort: photojournalist Sebastian Kohl (Gil Darnell). "Angela's going to need a shoulder to lean on," Peterson says. "We'll play with some tensions that perhaps she's relying on Sebastian a bit too much. For her, Sebastian is this alternative life. She has this wonderful life with Hodgins and she's very happy, but there is this alternative life of adventure and being an artist and traveling all over the world, and he represents that. When she decided last year to not move to Paris and stay at the Jeffersonian and support Hodgins, she was OK with that decision. But there's this dream other life that's out there and he embodies that."
But does this actually mean the end of Angela and Hodgins' marriage? And why might Hodgins be partially responsible for Angela running to Sebastian? TVGuide.com chatted with Thyne about this huge twist for his character and what we can expect in the second half of the season.
This story line was originally pitched to happen in the season opener, so you must have known about it for a while now. But what did you think when you first heard the idea?
TJ Thyne: I was really stoked. For many seasons, Hodgins and Angela have, for the most part, taken a bit of a backseat, which I don't think is a bad thing. For so many years in the early seasons, they had such struggle and difficulty and stress in their relationship. But for the last many seasons, it's been the happy couple. I feel like we've kind of played that for such a long time that I was stoked finding out that Hodgins and Angela were going to have some conflict and some serious issues to have to contend with.
We don't see Hodgins react to the news in this episode. Will we see that when the show returns? How does he handle what's happened?
Thyne: When we come back, it's eight weeks later, so a lot of Hodgins' initial reactions to being paralyzed, we don't get to see. When we pick back up, Jack is very much anxious to prove that he's absolutely going to get out of the chair as soon as possible and it's his struggle to stay as positive as possible while the rest of the team is so desperately concerned about him. The last thing they want him to do is work and the only thing he can think to do is work. So, there's that real struggle. They're taking away from him the one thing that's going to actually give him the hope to be able to walk. So it's a real stressful time for them all, but he believes that he's going absolutely crush this thing and get out of that chair as soon as possible, but I don't know that that's really the truth.
Yeah, Michael made it pretty clear that this is, if not permanent, at least something Hodgins will be dealing with for some time. When does he begin to realize that?
Thyne: I think Episode 11 is a almost like a false sense of acceptance because he believes, "Well, this is temporary." Starting with Episode 12 and beyond is when he really, suddenly starts going through the stages of depression, and anger, and frustration. What starts happening is he's literally pushing everyone away, and it's pretty hard for the team, because someone they love is really angry and aggressively pushing them away.
This is obviously even more tragic because Hodgins had just told Angela he was ready to have more kids. Is that part of where the tension between them starts?
Thyne: Where we're at right now, he can't physically have a child and so it's forced him to have to put that on the back burner. That's part of the anger that he has, and he's taking that anger out a bit on Angela. It's the one thing that she wants that he now can't provide her, and I think that makes him feel like he's incapable and quite literally incompetent at being able to provide her the one thing she wants.
And it sounds like the tension in the relationship leads Angela to turn toward Sebastian. Is he a threat to their marriage?
Thyne: I think we've maybe all been there in life at times when someone you care about is going through a something .You don't even mean to, but maybe you open up to the closest person or someone that just happens to be there. I have a feeling... that the person around happens to be Sebastian, so she ends up opening up to him. I don't think Angela would ordinarily ever choose to do that and I think because of their long history, the audience would not be comfortable with her talking to Sebastian about Jack for any reason whatsoever. But on the flip side, we've never seen Hodgins push Angela away like this. So, I think the fans will feel what she's feeling, which is, "What am I to do? He won't even talk to me. He won't look at me."
Is Hodgins aware that he's pushing her away or is he just too lost in his anger?
Thyne: There are moments in life where you're so upset with yourself that it's almost for the other person that you're pushing them away. You almost are so mad at you that it's like, "I want you to leave me because I'm so pathetic and worthless. I love you too much for you to be stuck with me." It's almost like looking into Angela's eyes is a mirror to him of how he's not the man he wants to be for her. He fought so hard to be the man that she'd fall for, to finally get her and have these wonderful years. Now all of a sudden, he's in a position where he feels she now can't have the guy that she fell for. He thinks he's doing it for her, but instead, of course, he's hurting the person that he cares about the most. It's going to be hard.
With all the contraptions Hodgins has built for experiments through the years, I'm sure he can find new ways to do his work from a wheelchair, right?
Thyne: I think we have to see him get through the emotional side of this first. It's about figuring out how much of the story do we have time to tell and how deep can we go with the other story lines and of course, every week having to still tell the tale of whatever that murder is. We have so many ideas. If and when we get to see Jack get to acceptance stage with his current situation, he will definitely have some fun, but he really does have to get there and I don't know how many more opportunities we're going to have. Do we have 10 more opportunities or do we have an entire new season after this?
That's a pretty big open question. Are you personally interested in a Season 12?
Thyne: I think Jonathan and Michael have proven in Season 11 that there's still a lot to be told. I would love to see this journey continue for the characters. Having said that, I think all of us actors on the show have been doing this long enough that it's kind of like we're amazed at how long we've had on one particular journey, and we're so grateful for it. Inevitably, something has to come to an end at some point and if were to, then I think it's going to tearful with lots of hugs and kisses and pats on the back. But there's a part of me though, that I feel like we've got more to say. I don't know how much more, but I feel there's definitely a ton of fuel still in the tank, and I could certainly see it going on and on for a while longer.
Whether the show ends this season or not, do you think Angela and Hodgins will weather this storm?
Thyne: I have faith. They've gone through so much just to get together and now to stay together through something that's really going to challenge them. That beauty of true love is what they really define. They truly love each other. They chose each other. They want to be with each other through thick and thin, through difficult and happy. They are meant to be together, but this is really going to test that. Not knowing how this is going to turn out, my faith is in them. I have faith that they will make it through, as difficult as it may be, that they, I think, are the perfect marriage and they will find a way through, for better or worse.
What did you think of the Bones finale?