Bones aired its landmark 150th episode on Monday, and the ensuing hour was unlike anything we’ve seen on the show before. How, you ask? Season 8, Episode 9: “The Ghost in the Machine” was told entirely from the perspective of a deceased victim.
As a result, we saw the entire episode only through his eyes. There was a single camera. A single angle. We couldn’t see anything that was out of eyesight from the victim’s skull. Speaking exclusively with Wetpaint Entertainment, showrunners Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan explain what inspired them to frame the episode from such an unusual vantage point.
Why did you decide to make this the 150th, considering it was shot awhile back?
Stephen: We kind of want those milestone episodes not to be in any way regular or normal episodes. We don’t want an episode where somebody dies or where somebody gets married. They’re too predictable. And I think hopefully we keep Bones as unpredictable as possible. And this is an episode that Hart has wanted to do for years and it’s also a nod to the audience because everyone is speaking directly to them.
Hart: It’s full of little things to our very loyal, very passionate fans. Little callbacks that they’ll recognize and a little something new with having the characters address them directly.
Is this the first time they’ve investigated a child?
Hart: No. We don’t do it very often though. There’s been a few. But those episodes are not funny. They can’t be funny and we tend to be funny, as you know.
Stephen: There was a little child the first year and that was brutal. We’ve really gotten to the point where Bones is a lighter fare, but some of our episodes like our 9/11 episode or like this one are darker.
Hart: It’s where you feel the loss of the victim. We usually don’t dwell on the loss of the victim, we dwell on the puzzle and our people’s personal relations, but every once in awhile we go “Oh, murder is a bad thing.”
And this is a time where Brennan gets emotional about a victim, which doesn’t happen that often. Can you talk about her arc is in this episode?
Hart: Well, she’s had a baby and she’s not a sociopath, she’s a human being and that baby has opened a crack in her heart. Booth opened a crack in her heart first. So she’s a little more open to the world, a little more open to love and affection and human emotion. She does not have to protect herself in a layer of rational, logical thought as she did eight years ago., This is – I think – the first time we’ve done a child murder since she had a child, and she can’t help but look at that boy and think, “What if that were my child?”
Stephen: And what is nice about this episode is that she starts out saying, this has nothing to do with us, this is just another victim and slowly she tries on what other people wear comfortably, which is empathy for this victim. Brennan has evolved and she’s very different from how she was the first couple of years and especially the last couple of years when she’s admitted her love for Booth, she’s had this child, we’ve seen her soften and open herself up to things that she normally would have shied away from or been afraid of. She’s more accepting of things that are foreign to her.
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