Bones has certainly reached a bit with some of its storylines this season which have included Sweets (John Francis Daley) temporarily moving in with Bones (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz), and Bones’ obsessions with running for President of the United States and the philosophy of Phil Jackson. “Ghost in the Machine” follows that trend as the Jeffersonian team investigates a murder victim from the perspective of a 14 year-old boy’s remains which begins to haunt the team during the investigation that hits too close to home for many members of the team.
After determining the identity of the victim and talking with the parents (Gerald McCullouch, Kathryn Winslow) and the boy’s friends (Rachel DiPillo, Justin James Hughes), Hodgins discovers the victim was killed two years ago, but only buried after he’d been dead for more than eight months. Although Booth believes the father’s car might have been the murder weapon his gut tells him the parents aren’t responsible for their son’s death. With the help of Angela, Bones and Cam (Tamara Taylor) are able to recreate the circumstances of the accident that caused the young man’s death.
The episode includes an appearance by Cyndi Lauper as a psychic friend and Angela (Michaela Conlin) determined to talk with the spirit of the victim, a discussion of Bones and Angela over the existence of souls and ghosts, and many, many shots of actors directly talking to the camera (which stands in for the victim’s skull). The effect is certainly different, but it the script has to stretch credibility to the limits to get Bones to take the remains home and on field trips, and the premise gets old a little too quickly and is limiting as every conversation and break in the case must take place in proximity to the remains (which we know from eight seasons fans of the show know isn’t always the case).