BONES Episode 150 Recap: ‘The Ghost in the Machine’

December 3, 2012 by  

Hello, BONES fans! First of all, congratulations to the show for reaching 150 episodes! I’m glad this episode, “The Ghost in the Machine,” aired to celebrate the milestone. I really loved this episode and appreciated that it wasn’t an intense “reset” or “game changer” like so many season finales or the 100th episode.  This is the first episode ever where I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen or make myself hit pause to jot down thoughts. I just watched it, completely mesmerized by almost every moment.

The show took a creative risk by setting the camera POV up as the soul of this episode’s victim, and I thought the risk really paid off, particularly because it allowed the actors a chance to deliver monologues of sorts. And that writing style, combined with the intimate camera work and actors’ fantastic delivery, created some of the most “in character” work of the series. I know I complain a lot when it seems like the show doesn’t respect its victims like it used to, so I have to say this episode’s tone toward the victim was so well done. It’s a combination of the unique POV allowing the characters to be themselves by showing empathy, fury, sadness and happiness, etc. their own ways. In many ways, this ep featured the characters I fell in love with 149 episodes ago. It felt like season 2 respect for the victim combined with season 8 happy B&B, and I have to think that series creator Hart Hanson’s writing on this episode had a lot to do with it. Let’s discuss!

THE CASE:

The Scene of the Crime: The episode begins with the team already on the job in a greenhouse as Hodgins shoos away some wasps to wipe dirt from a covered skeleton. We see this all from the point of view of the skeleton, and once his body (separate from the skull) is taken to the lab, Avalon Harmonia (played by Cyndi Lauper) shows up and insists that the victim’s soul still remains, needing some completion before it can fully pass on from earth.

The Victim: While at the crime scene, Brennan is hesitant to determine the victim’s age and gender, especially from a skull only. But Booth gently talks her into it in a very fun scene that’s quickly sobering when she tells him it’s likely a young man. The team identifies him later as 14-year-old Colin.

Potential Suspects and Motives: Unsurprisingly, this episode was less of a “killer chase” and more of a “what really happened here?” search. Colin’s parents were questioned, but also allowed to be shown their son’s remains out of respect (a very moving scene). They shared that Colin was a good kid and somewhat adventurous.

The Case Progression: Some of Colin’s school friends show up to the lab as well, including a girl, Miranda, but Cam does not let them see the remains. As each team member works to solve the case, they “consult” with Colin’s skull, speaking to him, giving him advice, asking him questions and praying for his soul.

Hodgins finds a scrap of blue car paint with Colin’s remains, and Booth is able to trace it to a car owned by Colin’s father. No one wants to accuse him, and Booth tells Brennan later that when he questioned him, he completely fell apart — convincing Booth he wasn’t part of Colin’s death.

Figuring Colin was struck by the car, Brennan and Angela work together to catalogue how Colin’s injuries were suffered. They test out several scenarios and finally conclude he was standing on the hood of the car before falling off and being hit. Brennan and Booth also listen to a music mix Colin made for Miranda, trying to determine what type of kid Colin was.

Booth, Brennan and Sweets talk to Colin’s friends at the FBI building.  Miranda is horrified to learn that the guys were involved, and they quickly confess that it was all an accident and they buried Colin’s body to try to absolve their guilt.

The Verdict: With the case solved, it seems all should be well, but Avalon lets the team know that the cause of his death was not what was keeping Colin’s spirit on Earth. Brennan realizes it might be tied to the music mix, and when Angela pulls the last file from it, they find a video of Colin performing a love song for Miranda. She watches it in the lab, with the team. Avalon is able to see Colin’s spirit as he sees his dream come true.

THE SQUINTS

In terms of how Angela invited Avalon to the lab, it’s a little fishy, but not the worst plot point in the world, I guess. It made sense that Hodgins and Cam were less accommodating toward her being there at first. But I also liked how after Avalon made her psychic diagnosis, each team member opened up to the idea and began considering Colin’s soul as part of the investigation.

I really loved Hodgins talking to Colin about life and sex. I liked Avalon explaining how his accident was a tragedy. I loved Angela talking to Colin as well and how she worked to uncover the mixed tape. I laughed when Cam mentioned her mother to Colin and said that if he sees her on the other side, to assure her that she’s 87% happy.

Of all of the squints, Sweets had the least personal interaction with Colin. His questions were more clinical. It wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t the same as the others. I liked Sweets work in the interrogation room with Miranda and the boys.

BOOTH & BRENNAN:

I really liked how B&B worked this case, especially their scenes together in the lab, the SUV and at the crime scene. And my favorite interactions with Colin were from Booth and Brennan. I loved, loved, loved the little sideways glances they were constantly giving Colin’s skull. It’s probably something that they do in many episodes, but because of the camera work here, we saw each one perfectly. I loved how, with no words, it was clear what each one was thinking: Brennan was saddened, determined and always curious to find out what happened, and Booth was a little less comfortable, a little less patient, but just as troubled and determined. Right?  I just felt each of their true natures so acutely in this episode.

Even if that was all they did, I would have loved it. That we received scenes in their home from the viewpoint of Colin’s skull was even more perfect. Loved Brennan getting up in the middle of the night when she had questions, loved Booth being slightly grossed out by it, but also hanging out with Brennan (and Christine) while she examined the skull — it was a very intimate scene of their home life, and it was terrific. Loved the night-to-day transition scene and sporty Booth talking to Colin while giving him the soldier’s prayer before going for a run. It was so perfectly Booth, and that it was capped with him covering up the skull and still being slightly grossed out was great.

Also loved the end scene, when Booth gave Brennan the music mix she wanted as a romantic gesture, putting “their song” first. Loved that they danced around as a family — very fun, and very perfect. That “Hot Blooded” is their song makes the most sense but also made me feel very sentimental. The first time B&B rocked out to it is so different to their life now, and I just really appreciated that piece of history still being woven into their life together!

It was established early in the series that Brennan is not heartless, and unfortunately, sometimes the show still goes overboard to prove it, i.e. every time she does show emotion or tears, it’s a huge moment. This episode straddled that line a bit, and maybe didn’t need to, as Brennan shedding a tear is not monumental.

The only other thing that was slightly weird was the foggy fade in/out of every scene. It wasn’t the worst, and I’m not really sure how else they could have done it, but it was a little awkward at moments. Other than that, I am ready to declare this episode as one of my all-time favorites. There have certainly been other series episodes (and some this season) that have been emotionally special, but this one feels the most real to the characters. And it also dealt respectfully with each character’s opinion on the afterlife without getting preachy or rude toward any single one.

But enough from me — what do you think? Did you like the unique POV? Did you enjoy having Avalon Harmonia back for another turn? What did you like and what didn’t you care for? The comments are open — make your opinions known!

Filed under Bones

Comments

19 Responses to “BONES Episode 150 Recap: ‘The Ghost in the Machine’”

  1. Doug on December 3rd, 2012 9:29 pm

    You’re kidding!! The ghost in the machine episode is the worst EVER!! The show has jumped the shark.

  2. andrea on December 4th, 2012 12:00 am

    Wow! Not sure how Doug could think this episode was the “worst ever”. It was one of the best ever-we’re we watching the same show? I can think of other episodes that were “worse”; does Hannah and every episode she was in ring a bell? Well, I definitely loved “The Ghost in the Machine”, and like Sarah I couldn’t stop watching. Very well done. Congrats on 150 eps Bones!

  3. madbengalsfan85 on December 4th, 2012 12:47 am

    The only thing that irked me about this episode was the transitions…but you have to have them to avoid the time the skull spends idle. Loved everything else about it though…a fitting episode for Bone’s 150th

  4. Alyssa on December 4th, 2012 3:20 am

    I just wanna talk about the fog cos everything else for me was just perfect. I don’t know how else it would’ve been written.
    I sorta get the fog thing when thy skip scenes..I guess they just wanna project that creepy, scary feeling with the idea that a boy’s soul is watching them. That’s all i have to say.:)

    Well fone to the cast of course. And congratualations to another milestone.. Hoping for another 150 or more!^^

  5. Evil Monkey on December 4th, 2012 10:02 am

    LOL. Poor Doug. He obviously can’t see a good episode.

  6. LanaSweet on December 4th, 2012 12:07 pm

    I REALLY wanted to like this ep. I felt a spurt of tears when Bren teared up in the greenhouse and booth was very sweet. After that I just kept trying to like it. I think the show would have been just as touching or more so if it had been told from the regular perspective. Bones has done dead kids before, way better than this. Bren taking the skull home was ridiculous. Surely there is protocol. And having the skull in the FBI office with the kids, over 18 or not, was beyond ridiculous. I said it before, HH seems to think viewers are going to buy whatever he’s selling whether it makes sense or not or its in character or not. It’s insulting. I liked that B&B have a song. Hotblooded is a throwback to another ep. But I didn’t like that they only had 3 minutes together at the end.

  7. LanaSweet on December 4th, 2012 12:08 pm

    Doug, sorry you’re getting hit. I don’t think it was the worst ep but it could’ve been done better IMHO.

  8. Samantha on December 4th, 2012 12:37 pm

    I really liked this episode. The fog was weird but I think it fit with the idea of a soul stuck on earth and going in and out of consiousness. I loved at the beginning how each of the team members as parents reacted to finding out the victim was a teenage boy. Brennan wanting to hold Christine and telling Booth to call Parker was a great moment and totally true as a parent. I felt the same as Sarah on all the other points, I really enjoyed this episode!!

  9. Robert on December 4th, 2012 1:56 pm

    Fabulous show that took a risk and it paid off. I agree that the characters were real– even Brennan who lost it in the lab. I really think the fact that she is in a committed relationship and has a child has created a permanant crack in her ability to compartmentalize and it messes with her objectivity in the slightest way. Without it, would we have seen a closure to Colin’s story? I don’t think so.

  10. adrienne hobbs on December 4th, 2012 2:15 pm

    I agree with you completely. My question is why not also incorporate Harmonia’s prediction that B&B’s relationship would all work out in the end.

  11. LanaSweet on December 4th, 2012 4:32 pm

    Because it was more about the viewpoint than the story, Andrienne. Hodgins didn’t have a problem with Harmonia the last time and Booth was a believer after she helped him save Bren’s life. She also didn’t interact with Cam either. Maybe HH thought viewers would forget the pesky details.

  12. Angie on December 4th, 2012 6:59 pm

    Can anyone tell me who played Collin in this episode?

  13. E on December 5th, 2012 12:08 am

    Liked the episode for the most part. Brennan bringing the skull home and te scene in th car was a bit much. Overall, a god episode.

    Definately have no interest in the return of Buck and Wanda. The circus ep is one I cannot stand watching and this looks just as foolish. Hoping for more drama next half.

  14. Jo on December 5th, 2012 9:02 am

    This episode was different, I have to watch it a couple more times to figure out what I liked and what I didn’t like. Brennen taking the skull home was way out in left field. Plus the last episode the rule of the house was no discussing cases while at home, because of Christine. This episode they discuss the case while staring at the skull. Booth holds Christine right in front of the skull. HH wrote this episode he should have known better. I don’t see the great interaction between B&B as in past seasons. There is a disconnect between B&B. The wonderful eye interaction that was so unique between them. We as the viewer could see the special feelings they had for each other. The respect love and great friendship was all seen with their eye contact. I haven’t seen any of that this Season. I haven’t seen Booth’s excellent, wonderful special expressive SMILE all season. I miss it he has the greatest smile in all of TV land.
    I have some more complaints but I have to leave for work so I’ll write more next time.
    Jo

  15. joyce on December 5th, 2012 10:50 am

    I’m sure hh wrote this long before they came up with the no work at home rule and I found the fog a bit disconcerting too but on the whole I think this is one of my favourite episodes. I wonder if we’ll get a “this is how we made it” thing on the dvd.

  16. Helen on December 5th, 2012 3:09 pm

    I really, really disliked this show. The camera whirring around made me dizzy, the concept was ridiculous, and the acting was forced. I could tell that David really was not happy to be acting in this show, look at his face. Even as an actor, it was hard to hide it. Bones acting was stiff and unrealistic – the whole thing was a bust – get regular shows bacdk

  17. Barbora Tvrdik on December 31st, 2012 11:03 pm

    Cameron DeFaria. That’s who played Collin.

  18. Jason on December 22nd, 2013 2:22 am

    I didn’t like this Episode. Mainly because I feel the premise of the victim’s soul was watching undermines Bones’ belief that there is no soul. Even though Bones did state her belief, the fact that the victim was watching basically said that she was wrong. As an atheist, I dislike episodes that weaken or cast doubt in their belief in rational thought or atheism.

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