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'Bones' Takes A Shot In The Dark

Emiah Gardner
February 15th, 2013 7:25am EST

Bones Takes A Shot In The Dark

Here's the upshot of this episode of Bones: Temperance gets shot while working late at the lab and a personal journey of discovery transpires as she carries on a conversation with her dead mother (Brooke Langton). 

Rewind the clock a few minutes before getting shot, we see Bones and Booth arguing at home with Booth telling her she's not spontaneous enough. Isn't this always how it happens? Get into a fight, say some mean things you wished you hadn’t, one of your storms out to go for a walk or back to the office, and something dreadful happens. I really felt for Booth, emotionally, on every front.

This particular episode, in the beginning, was a surreal mixture of the real world with the Jeffersonian gang pulling for her to recover, and the hallucination world comprised of Bones and her mother, Christine. It was also a very emotional episode as the actors sold it all very well, and the music department hit all the right notes; the kind that tug at your heartstrings at just the right times.

The mystery to be solved, aside from the body they found beneath a very tall bridge the problem of the night was the inability of Bones' doctor to find the bullet. There was no exit wound, and no object found in any x-rays. In fact, initial assessments from the doctors suggest there is no bullet, only a large cauterized entry wound and a lot of blood loss.

I'd call this a significant clue as to the nature of the wound. I'm only guessing here, and I'll likely be wrong as these writers have been very clever when they've needed to be, but I was immediately struck with the image of Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men. I imagined the pressurized stun gun, straight from the local abattoir, to do his wet work.

I really liked the emotions that played out between Bones and Booth, or more precisely Deschanel and Boreanaz. These scenes were pure television magic. This is what happens when actors and directors come together to create worthwhile art.

Bones regains consciousness and everything looks like she's going to be fine. But what fun is that, right? After all, there were still 35 minutes left in the episode! No way was she going to just be okay. Sure enough, out she went, like a light, right in the middle of a conversation.

The scenes with her mother were really great. Brooke Langston is a pro and perfectly suited to play Bones' mother. Christine left when Bones was just 15-years-old and it was a traumatic loss. She simply went to bed the night before and when she woke the next morning her mother was gone. It's natural they'd be talking about this whether as spirits in heaven, some kind of intelligent energy in the universe, or a hallucination created entirely inside Bones' mind.

Ryan O'Neal has a guest-starring role as Bones' father, and he is really terrific. He's pragmatic like Bones, but as emotional about her current state as any loving father would be in this situation.  I don't envy the stress and anxiety guest-star actors go through for a single-episode appearance.

I was very glad to find out I wasn't a total dolt in deciphering the early clues about the weapon used. It wasn't quite the stun gun our old friend Chugurh used, but was an air-pressure weapon that sent frozen blood bullets with enough force to enter the body but not exit it. See what I mean about the writers being clever when the heat's on and viewers deserve a big payoff?

The gang had a bit of trouble proving the guilt of an art restorer at the Jeffersonian, David Batuhan (Harry Van Gorkum), which of course prompts Bones to do the only thing possible to prove his guilt: go back into surgery to retrieve some blood evidence from one of her ribs, the rib the blood bullet struck.

I really liked this storyline. It was clever and could absolutely happen in the right conditions. It reminded me of something a great writer told me a long time ago: The difference between fact and fiction is that fiction has to be believable. The weapon, the method, and the resulting bodily harm are all believable in the real world, and in my book that's effective writing.

The moral of the story? Bones doesn't want to leave her own daughter, by choice or otherwise, because she doesn't want her to experience the loss she went through.

This week's episode was solid and very clever. Hooray for casting Langston and O'Neal. They were excellent additions to the episode and definitely lent themselves to the overall success of a terrific eighth-season story.

Bio: Emiah Gardner is a writer for the CableTV blog

Photo Credits: FOX