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The Ending Of Bones Season 1 Explained

Based loosely on forensic anthropologist and author Kathy Reichs, "Bones" is a police procedural that centers around the fascinating science behind the study of human remains. It also owes a great deal of its success to the captivating chemistry between the two leads, forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). While the episodes are typically driven by the grisly murder investigations the team at the Jeffersonian Institute is tasked with solving, it is often Booth and Brennan's partnership that makes the show so compelling. There's nothing like a little will-they, won't-they tension to get the audience coming back for more, and "Bones" employs this trope with flying colors.

Season 1 of the series does a great job of introducing the characters and the setting, as well as the personal and professional conflicts that give the show its signature brand of drama. However, no crime drama is complete without an overarching storyline or two, and in that department, "Bones" does not disappoint. Here's what went down in the Season 1 finale of "Bones."

The team finds Brennan's long lost mother

A recurring storyline on "Bones" is the mystery of what happened to Brennan's parents, Matthew and Christine, who disappeared without a trace when she was only 15 years old. After being abandoned by her older brother Russ (Loren Dean), Brennan spent the rest of her youth in foster care, which is a primary cause of her discomfort when it comes to forming deep connections with people. 

Viewers finally get to learn more about Brennan's early life in the Season 1 finale, titled "The Woman in Limbo." When the squints are tasked with identifying unknown remains from the Jeffersonian Institute's archives, everyone is shocked when it turns out that the Jane Doe is actually Brennan's mother, Christine. The whole team puts in an effort to figure out exactly what occurred, especially Angela (Michaela Conlin), who shares a sister-like bond with Brennan that's maintained over the course of the series. 

Brennan always assumed that her parents died in a tragic accident, so finding out that her mother was alive for two years after she left home makes her question everything she's ever known. Brennan is clearly distressed by this discovery and the episode is one of the few times in Season 1 when the audience sees the character's softer side. Even though she deals with dead bodies all day, Brennan hardly ever gets emotional, but Deschanel's nuanced performance in these scenes demonstrates the depth of Brennan's humanity.

Brennan reunites with her brother

In order to help get a clear picture of Brennan's past, Booth tracks down her brother, Russ, who's led a life of petty crime. Although Brennan is initially reluctant to see him, Russ reveals an old family secret: Russ and Temperance Brennan are not their real names. Their parents "Matthew" and "Christine" are actually Max and Ruth Keenan, a pair of bank robbers who were forced to live under assumed identities. Brennan's real name is Joy and her brother was originally named Kyle. For a character like Brennan, who is so confident and set in her identity, the news is a massive blow. 

Booth does some digging and finds out that after a robbery gone wrong, Brennan's parents were forced to change their names to keep their family safe. Brennan, who used to idolize her brother, berates him for lying to her. Russ confronts her for blaming him for their parents' disappearance and the resulting fracture in their relationship. Since Brennan is always right in the lab, it's difficult for her to consider that she contributed to her own misery, but she eventually accepts that she needs to let go of her resentment towards Russ. Seeing Brennan reflect on her choices for once brings a refreshing realism to the character, whose lack of self-awareness can be frustrating at times. Brennan's reconciliation with her brother shows that she is capable of forming the types of meaningful relationships she normally balks at. 

Booth helps Brennan confront her past

Booth and Brennan's partnership takes center stage in the Season 1 finale episode. Booth does everything in his power to help Brennan uncover the truth and, at this point in the season, it's clear that Booth is developing feelings for his partner. Brennan's identity crisis deeply affects Booth, demonstrating how ingrained they've become in each other's lives. The team finds evidence that Brennan's mother was killed by Vince McVicar (Pat Skipper), a former hitman for a dangerous crew Brennan's parents were involved with. However, McVicar claims the entire story will never be revealed if he's arrested. Since Brennan is such a big rule follower, it's riveting to watch her ponder her next move. For a character with such a firm moral compass, the outcome of Brennan's decision reveals that she's unwilling to compromise an investigation for selfish reasons, despite how much she wants answers about her past.

Brennan chooses to have Vince arrested, but they're no closer to discovering what exactly happened to Brennan's mother and father. The final moments of the episode see Brennan returning home to find a mysterious voicemail on her answering machine (remember when we used to have those?). It's a message from her father, warning her to stop looking into the case. Knowing Booth and Brennan, the likelihood that they will give up is slim to none. The scene perfectly tees up the next season and lets viewers know that the mystery of Brennan's parents is far from over.