The last we saw of Bones was its 200th episode, an homage to Hitchcock that reimagined Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) as characters in an old Hollywood film. After the show’s longest midseason hiatus yet, Bones returns Thursday with all new episodes—and, thanks to Deschanel’s real-life pregnancy, an expanding family. Are Booth and Brennan ready for more kids? Is there a season-ending cliffhanger on the horizon? And when the 206th episode makes Bones Fox’s longest-running hourlong drama, will the show be marking the occasion?
EW talked to Deschanel and Executive Producer Stephen Nathan about the back half of season 10 and what fans can expect (when Brennan is expecting).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Brennan is pregnant again. How will that affect Booth and Brennan’s relationship?
EMILY DESCHANEL: Brennan kind of is in denial about how pregnant she is, and it brings up a lot of emotions this time around. You know, their house got blown up last season … They are putting their lives in danger every day, and they already have one child, and [their jobs] put that child in danger. Now to have another child, they really are aware of what they’re doing. I think for Brennan, she’s aware that she’s bringing this person into this world that’s very dangerous. And she starts questioning that, and it’s an emotional thing for her—and for Booth, but especially for Brennan.
STEPHEN NATHAN: There are a different set of circumstances that revolve around a second pregnancy than the first. The first one is all of the newness of it, the joy, and one enters into it with all great optimism. The second pregnancy, I think a couple is more realistic about what they’re confronting … and in Brennan and Booth’s situation, it’s the danger that they’re in. And especially the past two years, they’ve been in unbelievably difficult situations.
Was this something she and Booth had planned? Was there any discussion?
DESCHANEL: They’re outwardly happy, but Brennan has some reservations. It doesn’t seem like it was an accident. But we don’t really discuss that, either.
What else can we expect from the back half of the season?
DESCHANEL: We’ve got an episode right coming back with Cyndi Lauper [who plays psychic Avalon Harmonia]. She brings a message from Sweets, rather than from the crime we’re trying to solve … Arastoo’s brother is sick in Iran and he has to go back, which causes tensions with Cam, and at some point he gets kidnapped in Iran, so Cam and Booth go to Iran to help him out of a jam. So we’re all trying to actually solve a case remotely, back home … There’s a serial killer, and we catch him, or so we think, and then we question whether we have the right guy. Booth goes undercover gambling, and it triggers him to start gambling again. He’s therefore lying to Brennan, and it causes a big issue in their relationship. Not just the gambling, but then lying about it I think was the worst part for her.
NATHAN: We’re taking all of these characters who’ve come together—formed these relationships, marriages, love affairs, and formed this community—and put everyone in a situation where all of their assumptions about their lives are being called into question. A lot of these occur because of the cases that they are contending with, and others are the result of being together for 10 years and being in those situations we’re all in where we reevaluate our lives … Brennan now is having another child. Booth is going to be confronted with demons from his past which he thought he had exorcised and now has been forced to confront yet again, and it’s something that is going to put an unbelievable strain and jeopardy on his marriage. We’re really shaking it up pretty dramatically in the second half of this season. Now all of that sounds pretty dark, but … it’s Bones, you know? We do these emotionally wrenching episodes interspersed with killing somebody at a miniature golf course. It’s gonna be as wacky as always.
It sounds like we can expect more of Cam and Booth’s friendship, too.
NATHAN: Yes. Everyone is going to be touched by what happens with Booth dealing with his gambling addiction and the new family member in his and Brennan’s life.
Will we see Max in all of this?
NATHAN: We will see Max again, because we brought up some questions between Max and Brennan in the first half of the season, and we will be dealing with that in the second half. [We’re] just slowly putting those pieces of the puzzle together: What makes their relationship tick, what were the reasons Max took off, why was Brennan left, their foray into crime, all of that stuff.
And you’ve already mentioned that Cyndi Lauper is returning. Is there anyone else you’d like to bring back?
NATHAN: Oh, so many people. Billy Gibbons. You know, we only had Billy one episode this year. It was the 200th, and it was a lot of fun, but we’d like to have Billy back … Hodgins’ brother, we had a whole storyline with him. There were scheduling conflicts with the actor who played his brother, and he was so terrific, and we want to continue that storyline as well.
DESCHANEL: I love working with Cyndi Lauper. She’s just such a unique person. She’s obviously such a talented musician, but she’s a good actress too, and she’s funny. She’s really fun and quirky to have around set, and I’ve always been a huge fan of hers, so that’s like a dream come true. We actually have Linda Lavin in an episode coming up … We’d love to have her come back. There are so many great actors we’ve worked with, so I don’t want to choose one, because that would insult others, but Phyllis Logan, from Downton Abbey—I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan. I, like, started crying when she showed up. So we’d love to have her back. But she played a mean character, so I don’t know if we will. And she’s kind of busy.
What sort of finale should we brace ourselves for this year?
NATHAN: The finale’s gonna be a big game-changer for all of the characters. What we’re placed in the position of doing, since we didn’t get an official pickup for season 11—we fully expect that there will be a season 11. We could be deluded, but we hope there will be. But we couldn’t do the cliffhanger that we had planned. Because of this loyal and wonderful audience that we’ve had for 10 years, we couldn’t just end with a cliffhanger that wasn’t resolved. We had to resolve the series in some way, so we tried to resolve the series and keep it alive at the same time. The reality is Booth and Brennan’s lives are ongoing. Our relationship to those lives might be coming to an end, but that’s not to say that we can’t pick up and look at those lives again at any point in time, and that’s what we’re planning on doing in season 11.
So would there be a potential time jump?
NATHAN: Yes, potentially there’s a time jump.
Do you have an idea of how long that might be?
NATHAN: You know, it’s actually impossible to say at this point. We have a few alternate ways to approach the beginning of season 11. Each one is very, very very interesting for us.
As of the 206th episode, Bones will be Fox’s longest-running hourlong series. That’s a fitting number.
NATHAN: We’ll give more than a nod to the fact that there are 206 bones in the human body. We’ll be exploiting that to give a little gift to the audience.
What do you think has kept the show going so long?
DESCHANEL: I think we brought something somewhat unique at the time [Bones premiered]. There weren’t as many shows with the same kind of subject matter with the humor that we have, not that we’re a comedy, necessarily, but we are lighthearted … I think we’re always balancing that line, even within a scene, something can be dramatic and then funny. We’ve also been as much about the characters solving the crimes as the crimes themselves. I think you’ll find in a lot of other crime shows, you don’t find out about the characters solving the crimes as much as our show, so it’s fun for us as actors to play personal things and explore that, especially over the course of 10 years … A lot of people say, “Oh, it’s the only show I can watch with my wife or my whole family or my husband or what have you,” so it’s kind of cool that it appeals to different people who have different tastes.
Does Brennan still surprise you after 10 years?
DESCHANEL: Absolutely. I feel like she always has an interesting perspective on things. Just when you think you know her, she’ll change. It’s always fun to see her be excited about things that you don’t think she’ll be excited about, like performing. We were in the circus in one, and the fact that she really loved performing was cool, and in this episode coming up she gets really into Twitter and gets excited about it, which is funny.
Any other teases for the rest of the season?
NATHAN: I can promise that the audience won’t be disappointed. They will have body finds that will prevent them from eating, and they’ll be reaching for the Kleenex, and hopefully telling their friends to laugh along. I really think we’ve been very fortunate. The writers have outdone themselves, and the actors, as always, have outdone themselves. They’re remarkable. After 10 years, these actors come to work as if it’s day one, and with a passion and commitment to this show which I have never seen before, I really haven’t. And I think it’s what keeps the show fresh and new, and it doesn’t seem like it’s old. It seems young.