Bones Season 8 Interview: Emily Deschanel Talks Brennan’s Close Encounter

Bones Season 8 the shot in the dark

This Monday, Bones uncovers more about Brennan’s relationship with her mother during the episode “The Shot in the Dark.” TV Equals was happy to learn more about the episode from Emily Deschanel during a conference call. Read below to see what you can expect in this gripping episode.

Finding emotions

Brennan’s brush with death is only part of the long road Brennan’s been on to rediscover her emotions.

“I think that after watching the episode, I think that viewers will have a better idea of why Brennan behaves in the way that she does, is kind of hyper rational and has cut off her emotions in many ways, even though she’s over the last few years opened up after knowing Booth [David Boreanaz]. As the season goes on it’s kind of a subtle change,” said Deschanel. “It’s not like it’s dealt with when people are discussing it or something right afterwards, but I think it will be addressed in later episodes this season. It is a more subtle change.”

“I think…[the near-death experience] shined a light on her behavior and maybe encourages her to change a bit. It’s a big encounter,” she said. “Basically, my character is shot, and then I have an encounter, which she believes is a hallucination, at least at first, where she is transported … to her childhood home, and she sees her mother. She interacts with her mother, who is dead, and so, of course, she believes it’s a hallucination. She has flatlined. So many people will interpret it to be that she’s gone to heaven. Her interactions with her mother reveal things from her past, and also it effects Brennan now and, like I said, encourages her to have a different perspective on her behavior and possibly encourage her to change it.”

Learning about Brennan’s mother

Deschanel said Learning more about Brennan’s mother was exciting, especially since she’s played Brennan for eight years and only got hints as to what Brennan’s mother might have been like.

“It’s an interesting thing to do a series for this long and to play a character that things are revealed at eight years in. I felt like it was in line with things that I had in mind, and it didn’t contradict anything that I had kind of imagined for her past, just for myself,” she said. “When playing the character, I like to build a past for the character and kind of decide why she behaves the way she does, what her experiences are and things that can remind her of things from her childhood, etc. etc. This doesn’t contradict anything, but it’s certainly new information to me, and I really enjoyed doing the episode because it shed light on Brennan and her past.”

Working with Brooke Langton

Deschanel said it was fun interacting with Brooke Langton, who plays Brennan’s mother.

“I also really enjoyed having the interaction with her mother. You know, what other kind of episode can you have interaction with somebody who is dead?” said Deschanel. “…[T]hat’s always been kind of a huge missing piece for Brennan; was her mother being gone and being able to talk to her mother about how she disappeared before she died and all of that….Brooke Langton…did such a great job, and I really enjoyed working with her. She’s just very inventive as an actor, very giving, and it was a really good experience working together. It felt right to have her play my mother, and I really enjoyed that.”

Scenes with Brennan’s father

Deschanel teased some of the emotional scenes with Brennan’s father, played once again by Ryan O’Neal.

“I think [Brennan flatlining] brings up a lot of emotions for everybody. Booth and … my father believe that they are losing me. You know; I’ve been shot, and I flatlined. He gives a wonderful performance in the scenes together,” she said. “Then, there’s something revealed from my mother to my father that makes [a] kind of a breakthrough in a way for him…I don’t how to put it without revealing too much…It’s an emotional episode for his character. He does a beautiful job and there’s a communication between my mother and my father through my character.”

Is Pelant behind it?

Fans might be wondering if Brennan’s shooting had anything to do with Pelant [Andrew Leeds]. Deschanel herself doesn’t know.

“Well, obviously, Pelant is one of the first thoughts everybody has when Brennan is shot. I’m not going to tell you if he’s involved or not,” she said. “…[L]et me just say, I haven’t read any episodes yet that involve Pelant, but we’re just a couple episodes ahead of that right now, and I know that Pelant is coming back this season, but I don’t have more information than that because I think they’re breaking those stories right now. I wish I had more information for you, but I don’t.”

Interactions between Brennan and Cam or Michaela

Deschanel said Brennan will have some more one-on-ones with Camille [Tamara Taylor] and Angela [Michaela Conlin]. A certain subplot will also be revealed.

“I can’t tell you what episodes, but yes, there’s definitely some kind of heart-to-hearts. We’re overdue for even more connection between Angela and Brennan; I believe. I think we can have some more of those,” she said. “There’s a big thing; Cam’s romance is revealed. There’s that and Brennan and Cam interact about that…[Y]ou will see more heart-to-hearts with them. I think that we’re due for even more.”

Brennan and motherhood

Brennan gets in a position where she can be shot due to the fight she had with Booth about motherhood. Deschanel talked about how motherhood and the loss of her mother has affected Brennan.

“The minute you become a parent, I think that you’re always going to wonder if you’re doing something wrong, and I certainly experience that on a daily basis. It’s a big challenge…I just personally think that it’s probably a bad thing for a parent to do, because you don’t want your child picking up on that, but you can’t help wondering if you’re doing anything wrong,” she said. “You have to trust your instincts and do what feels right for you. Brennan, obviously…is going through that in the beginning of this episode. Booth and Brennan have a fight. Brennan believes that Booth is criticizing her parenting style, and runs out and ends up in the lab again at night to go finish working on this case, and that’s when she gets shot. Hopefully, I’m not revealing too much because this happens in the beginning. Basically, yes, it’s quite fitting, of course, that Brennan is dealing with her own issue of being a mother herself and, at the core of that, is missing her own mother.”

Deschanel talked more about Brennan missing her mother, especially now that Brennan is a mother herself.

“…[Y]ou know when you’ve lost a parent, you just want to be able to call them up on the phone and say, ‘How do I cook that thing you used to make for me? How do I do this? What did you do with me when I was a child? How am I supposed to do this as a parent?’ and just [ask about] life skills. Especially, when you have a child yourself, you go back and think about how you were parented, how you were mothered, what your parents did for you, and you just want to be able to call them and ask them,” she said. “I think that’s a huge thing that Brennan is not talking about, but it’s got to bring up so much for her when she’s giving birth and she’s lost her mother and just trying to figure out how to be a good parent, how to be a good mother and not having that resource of her mother. It also brings back so many memories and makes her miss her mother. So, it’s quite fitting that this issue that she’s dealing with, in a way, causes her to see her mother again and hopefully helps ease those pains that she’s dealing with because doesn’t have her mother around.”

Bones airs February 11 at 8/7c on FOX.