Warning: General spoilers ahead
It seems like just yesterday that I was in San Diego preparing for SDCC and then, had a bomb drop on me after screening the Season 11 finale and realizing my favorite Bones character of all time, Dr. Zack Addy (Eric Millegan), was returning for the show’s final season. Oh, yes, buck truck happy dance in my jammies at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront! That was one exciting week back in July, and the past 5 months have been equally as exciting as fans have discussed, speculated, and theorized what goodies the writers have in store for them in the series’ final 12 episodes, and in particular, what kind of comeback they put together for a character that fans have been waiting to see again for the past 7+ years.
Well, as some of you may know, I screened the Season 12 premiere before Christmas, and I will say that it lives up to all of the hype. Keep in mind that I’m already a tough sell given that I was one of the loudest voices on bringing back the fan-favorite in 2009 and 2010, and as a result, I already had an idea of how I would like to see Zack brought back into the fold. So, as you can imagine, I went into the season 12 premiere a tad bit anxious, worrying that it wouldn’t live up to my high expectations. Fortunately, I am very glad to report that all of the misgivings were for nothing, and the premiere exceeded my expectations 10X over.
Perhaps one of my biggest worries was that Zack’s re-introduction wouldn’t really make sense, or that it would feel “forced” or fake. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth, and the writing team did an excellent job coming up with a storyline that was logical and flowed with the natural progression of the series. As some of us may remember, Dr. Sweets (John Francis Daly) was the one character who knew Zack was innocent of the lobbyist’s murder from back in Season 3, and while the good Doctor doesn’t make an appearance in the Season 12 premiere in any sort of flashback, he is mentioned. In fact, Sweets’ murder turns out to be a trigger for the events that ultimately get Zack involved with The Puppeteer and lead Zack into kidnapping Dr. Brennan (Emily Deschanel). While that may not make any sense to you now, trust me, it will, and it’ll also make you wonder if the writers began working on Zack’s return from the point when Sweets was killed.
Besides learning what Zack has been up to all these years, it’s also great to see him interact with all of his old friends. Of course, they are all saddened (and some actually quite angry) with the possibility that their former comrade and friend committed (another) murder, but that doesn’t stop Zack from still caring. The scenes with Jack (T.J. Thyne) are particularly touching, and the huge reveal related to Zack and Dr. Hodgins at the end of the episode will leave you in tears. So, be sure to have those tissues handy!
I’m not going to say anything more here, because this is definitely an episode you won’t want to be spoiled on. Yes, it’s that good. It has the perfect balance of suspense, action, emotion, and character development and lay a fantastic foundation for the comeback of a character that fans never forgot, even after nearly 8 years. Oh, and that ending! Prepare to be shocked and awed in the true, classic Bones fashion. All in all, if the premiere is any indication, then I think these final episodes are going to be some of the best of the entire series.
As some of you may recall, I interviewed Eric Millegan this past summer right after his big (albeit brief) return as Zack Addy in the Season 11 finale, and fortunately, I was able to chat with him again right before Christmas where he discussed Zack’s return to the series and the Season 12 premiere. Check out below what he had to say. This is Part 1 of the interview, with the 2nd installment to be published after the East Coast airing of the premiere tomorrow night.
TV GEEK TALK: We saw Zack briefly in the Season 11 finale, but it was only for that final scene, and so, I assume you weren’t on set very long while filming the finale. However, Zack is front-and-center in the Season 12 premiere, which means a lot more time on set. Can you talk some about being back and seeing everyone again?
Eric Millegan: “[Laughs] For Season 11, I was on set for like 20 minutes. Seriously. But, returning for Season 12, it was very weird. It felt like I never left, like I truly never left. There were a couple of people I didn’t immediately remember and that I felt really bad about. Yeah, there were a few people in the crew who ran up and said, ‘Hey, Eric!,’ and I was like, ‘Uhh’ [Laughs] But, then later with the future episodes, it all came back, and it was great. But, other than that, it really felt like I never left. It wasn’t particularly hard, I didn’t feel out-of-shape as an actor. I felt very comfortable, the script was good. I mean, I only had a couple of lines in that first episode, and David was directing that episode. Then, [in the Season 12 premiere] Emily directed, and Ian Toynton directed Episode 11, which I just finished up a few weeks ago. But, you know, it was great fun actually.”
TV GEEK TALK: While David directed the Season 11 finale, Emily is making her directorial debut with the Season 12 premiere. What was it like working with Emily in the director’s chair?
Eric Millegan: “She was great! [Laughs] We were shooting the last scene of the episode, and we’re off on the grounds of the mental hospital. We were at what is called the ‘Video Village’ where all the monitors and cameras are at. It’s all the way on the other side of the set, and she’d be with me, and we’d be rehearsing, and then, she’d run to one place and run back. And, I’m thinking, ‘Gosh, she really has to work to do all of this!’ But, she would come up to me and say things like, ‘How would you feel if this happened?’ Or, ‘How would you feel if this occurred in [Zack’s life]? Let’s bring that to the scene.’ I’m actually excited to see if some of the stuff we had fun with made the final cut.”
TV GEEK TALK: It’s been a good 8 years since you portrayed Zack Addy. In fact, I think it was the Season 4 premiere since we last heard from Zack. What was it like getting back into the role? Was there anything in particular you did to prepare?
Eric Millegan: “No, there wasn’t really anything I had to prepare for. My acting style is I let myself be transformed by the writing. So, the way they wrote Zack and those lines transformed me into Zack. And, without any giant preparation or anything. I just let the words take me there.”
TV GEEK TALK: Besides being a little older, of course, are there any other changes in Zack that fans can expect going into the Season Premiere?
Eric Millegan: “Well, it’s just fun to learn what he’s been up to. It’s just great to learn how he’s been involved and what he has done, and that was very exciting for me. But, yeah, it was exciting to read that script for the first time. I read it on an airplane actually, and I was flipping out. He has been through a lot, though. He’s older. He’s been away from his friends. He’s been away from work. He’s not the same guy. And, I know people want to see Zack when he was a cute, young guy, but that’s not Zack anymore. I’m not sure if people will like him because he’s been through a lot! [Laughs]”
TV GEEK TALK: I know way back when fans were really pushing to get Zack back on the show, I know some had worried that newer fans of the show may not even know who Zack Addy is. How much does the average viewer need to know about the character?
Eric Millegan: “Well, I think at the beginning of the episode there’s a sort of ‘flashback’ that gives you the background on Zack. But, you know, I think the bulk of most fans, even the ones who didn’t start watching until after Season 3, I still think most of them know who Zack is. I mean, we’re in syndication. We’re on TNT, and people can see the old episodes. Also, it’s so easy to access the episodes on Netflix. So, I think the bulk of the fans, even if they didn’t start watching until Season 4, would be curious about what happened and would go back and watch those episodes.”
“Hey, have you seen that video that put out on the return of Zack on their Facebook page? On FOX’s Facebook page and on YouTube, they made this 3 1/2 minute video called the ‘Return of Zack Addy’ to get people excited about the return of the show.”
TV GEEK TALK: While I have seen the premiere, I certainly can’t spill any spoilers for fear of life and limb from FOX, but what can YOU personally tease about the episode?
Eric Millegan: “Well, you’re going to see a lot of Zack, first of all. He said at the end of Season 11, ‘You and I have so much to talk about.’ So, there is a lot to talk about, and there’s a lot to learn about Zack. We know where he’s been, but what has he been up to, and what has he been doing in that mental hospital? So, I think people will be excited to learn that. I don’t think people will be disappointed, and I think they will be entertained. I haven’t seen [the final cut], but I have read the script, and I was like ‘Wow, this is going to be fun!’ And, even Emily Deschanel told me that she wanted to give the Zack fans everything they deserve. That she really wanted to make the Zack Addy fans happy and also the ‘Bones’ fans happy.”
TV GEEK TALK: Now that ‘Bones’ is a wrap, do you have any other Projects going forward?
Eric Millegan: “Well, that’s what I’m hoping. I just wrapped up Episode 11 on November 30th, and I’m hoping the exposure will help me get the attention of producers and cast directors and help me get that next role. And, I am up for anything, whether TV, film or Broadway. So, I’ll be working with my agent, my manager, and my publicist to find my next job, and I’m very excited to see what that is.”
The Season 12 premiere of Bones is titled “The Hope In The Horror” and airs tomorrow night at 9/8c on FOX.
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com
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