Fair Warning: I am going to discuss this weeks Bones episode (“The Ghost in the Machine”). If you have not watched it and are concerned about spoilers (not sure how many I’ll have), you can wait until it is on Hulu in a week. While you are at it, you should watch “The Patriot in Purgatory”, it is the best Bones episode I’ve seen. Now, on to the stuff…
This week, the Bones writers decided to do an entire episode from the point of view of the victim’s skull. M*A*S*H did a similar episode (“Point of View” 7.10) in 1978. Back then, it was harder (cameras were bigger) but now days you can have an HD camera that fits in your palm and you can pass it around pretty easily, which the cast seems to have done with the “skull” of Colin, the 14 year old victim.
Bones’ ever crumbling character of unresilient logic continues to crumble in this episode as she is faced with the concept of an eternal soul and the ghost of the victim lingering in the skull because of “unfinished business” as the psychic tells Angela. It turns out that there was unfinished business (well, obviously!) but the murder wasn’t it. All the while, the entire cast (even Bones) have “conversations” with Colin and address their own feelings about life after death. Cam asks the boy to tell her mother Barbara that she is “87% fine” if he sees her “up there.” Booth prays a soldier’s prayer over the skull one morning before going on a run. The particular prayer asks that the soul of the deceased be carried to heaven by angels. Bones engages the skull in conversation about his bones and how he died “playing along” with the rest of the cast. However, in the end she breaks down very disturbed about the fact that they are dealing with a kid who lost his life in a foolish dare. Bones feels like she has to carry the skull with her when she goes home because, as she says to “I have a very extremely imagination” but at the same time, her eyes betray her: she sympathizes with the dead boy. No matter how much Bones wants to deny the existence of a soul and her own emotions, she is unable to.
This episode more than other episodes that I have seen raises the question of ghost and the immortal soul. Colin has a “journey” the psychic says. He haunts his “murderer” (OK, I can’t take it! It was a stupid high school dare. The older kid was driving Colin’s dad’s El Camino and Colin was “surfing” on top. He fell off and died. They freaked out and left his body in a pump shed then moved the body to a greenhouse.) In the end, the reason Colin was still around, however, was because the girl Miranda never listened to his mix tape he gave her. At the end of it, there was a video (why it didn’t play on the “mp3 player” in the car, I am not sure) of Colin playing a song on his guitar for the girl. After she and the team watch the video (with tears) his spirit leaves the skull and he skates off to his next destination.
To add to this, the psychic has some interesting dialog that I think is worth mentioning. She tells Colin that he had a good life ahead of him with “2 daughters and a son” who will find “another way” to this world. This implies not only destiny but also an immortal soul. The souls of his children would not be the same people (which I take to imply that personality is not necessarily attached to the soul) but they would exists despite his tragic and untimely death.
As a final thought, I really liked this episode (It is not as good as The Patriot in Purgatory but that one was phenomenal; brought tears to this man’s eyes). Bones has always brought the rational and the emotional to combat through Booth and Brennan; as of late, Brennan has been the battlefield herself as she struggles with emotions and “facts” in different cases. Her relationship with Agent Booth has given her more human qualities, or, at least, encouraged her to express those human qualities.