Bones: “The Ghost in the Machine”


Grade: B-

Airdate: 12/3/12

Finale episodes of Bones are always very good and that doesn’t just go for season finales it goes for winter finales too. But, this winter finale wasn’t that good. I understand what the show was trying to do by breaking its own norms, but it seemed to try too hard to be different and I didn’t really like it.

As soon as the episode started my reaction was “what’s with the cinematography?” The scene and the rest of the episode was filmed from the point of view of the victim’s skull and with a handheld camera. For a while that was left unexplained. In the opening scene, Bones (Emily Deschanel) identifies the victim as a 14-year-old boy. That starts the emotional overtone to the episode because this was the first child victim the team has dealt with since they have all become parents.

Once the teams brings the skull and the rest of the remains back to the lab, Angela (Michaela Conlin) shows up with Avalon, the psychic from season five, played by Cyndi Lauper. Avalon heard the victim calling because his spirit is still trapped within his body even though he has been dead for two years. She also says he is watching them. So, that explained the strange cinematography. The episode is filmed as what the victim is seeing. The show seemed to limit itself with that aspect of the episode because a bunch of weird reason for the skull to be in every scene had to be created.

Angela is able to do a facial reconstruction and get a match in the missing person’s database. The victim’s name was Colin Gibson. After seeing the picture of Colin, Bones starts crying. It would have been a more powerful seen if it wasn’t shot from the weird camera angle. I was also distracted by the fact that Booth (David Boreanaz) called her Temperance. I am pretty sure he hasn’t called her Temperance since season one.

With the victim being identified, every member of the team takes the skull around with them as the solve the case and starts to talk to Colin. Now, Bones has done a lot of supernatural episodes and the episodes usually have a set format. The episodes have a set supernatural theme–aliens, psychics, chupacabras, ghosts in this case. Some members of the team–usually Hodgins (T.J. Thyne), Angela or the squintern–claim the supernatural element is real while others–mostly Bones–use science to point out that they are being ridiculous and it can’t be real. The episode usually ends with us question if the supernatural element is real or not. Bones does that for a little bit but for most of the episode every member of the team believes that Avalon is a psychic and Colin’s spirit is really trapped in the skull. I get that the episode was trying to be different, but it was trying to hard to sell the ghost thing.

Most of the episode happens in the lab, because of the skull point of view thing. Colin’s parents come to see the body, his friends drop off some of his thing, including a mixed tape he made but they never listened to. Avalon is convinced and somehow quickly convinces the usually skeptic team that Colin is still trapped because he had unfinished business before his death. There wasn’t much talking to suspects, but a lot of lab evidence stuff. Hodgins and Cam (Tamara Taylor) find out that Colin’s body was buried somewhere for a year than moved. Angela and Sweets (John Francis Daley) go through Colin’s social media sites and find out that he was a skateboarding, daredevil guitar player.

With Hodgins help Booth and Bones find the first place Colin was buried, which is the work shed of the season two Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles house. I swear that set shows up everywhere. Back in the lab, the team figures out that Colin was hit by his dad’s car after falling while “surfing” on the hood. So, his death was an accident. Booth and Bones question three of Colin’s friends. One confesses that he was driving and the other boy was in the car too. They panicked and hide the body.

The team thought Colin’s spirit would be released when his murder was solved but we are still seeing everything from Colin’s point of view. Angela and Bones realizes there is a video on the mixed tape Colin made for the girl he had a crush on. The whole team, Avalon and the girl watch the video, which was a song he wrote for her, in Angela’s office. After the songs plays, Avalon sees Colin standing in the lab, he smiles, skateboards away and the cinematography returns to normal.

I just feel like the episode tried too hard. I couldn’t get over the cinematography, it was shaky, zoomed around a lot and hardly focused at some points. If the episode was filmed normally, the team was more skeptic of Avalon’s spirit story and the audience was left to decide for themselves if Colin was really there I probably would have given the episode an A, but it was just too unlike the regular Bones.


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