Season 8 Episode 9

The Ghost in the Machine

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Dec 03, 2012 on FOX
out of 10
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226 votes

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Episode Summary


While investigating a boy's murder, the team allows Avalon Harmonia access to the body after she claims the boy's soul hasn't passed on. Avalon's work causes the scientists to reexamine what they believe about life after death.

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  • Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well.

    At first I thought this was going to be a brilliantly unique episode, with the whole episode shown through the eyes of the dead person. Then they started carrying the skull around with them everywhere like something out of a Shakespeare play and I lost interest.
  • Amazing and sad.

    At first I was skeptical because of the perspective of the video. I didn't mind that it was in the perspective of Collin too much, but I wish it was angled differently. However, after getting into the episode I found that I really enjoyed it. The ending was amazing and really sad, I couldn't help shedding a few tears, but I loved it as I always do.
  • Let me UNSEE it!

    What a mess! Somebody mixed up the scripts and Bones characters had a chance to perform in a "Ghost whisperer" - episode - and a VERY cheesy one. Why??? Why cannot it be about brilliant people in the lab solving crimes with a little (!) bit of romance and fun and some disgusting staff one get used to after a couple of episodes. Why, what for are all these ridiculous attempts to turn the show into soap opera, comic or supernatural story?moreless
  • Brilliant and refreshing

    The Bones crew really push the envelope from time to time, which shows great confidence in everyone concerned with the production. This was really an outstanding episode and it is so sad to see so many adverse reviews. One reviewer thinks that Bones is light, frothy television - it was never that. entertaining yes, and brilliantly produced.

    OK at times the quick panning was a little unsettling but the plot and the involvement of the squints against their usual natures showed that their characters are open to development. was tearing up at the end. Booth making a mix tape for Brennan was a bit cheesy but who cares? He is a romantic after all even if he is mostly soldier as he said !moreless
  • Headache

    I got such a headache watching this. I liked the hated the execution. The camera moved a it was just terrible.

    Please do not do this again!
David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz

Special Agent Seeley Booth

Emily Deschanel

Emily Deschanel

Dr. Temperance Brennan

Michaela Conlin

Michaela Conlin

Angela Montenegro

Tamara Taylor

Tamara Taylor

Dr. Camille Saroyan

T.J. Thyne

T.J. Thyne

Dr. Jack Hodgins

John Francis Daley

John Francis Daley

Dr. Lance Sweets

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Brennan: (talking with the victim's skull) Adolescents suffer diminished judgment because their frontal lobes are under-developed. You made a foolish decision. I just wish it hadn't killed you.

    • Hodgins: (talking with the victim's skull) Your parents are coming, so let's clean you up. Fourteen years old. Man, life was just about to get interesting for you. Especially love, romance, and sex. You would have blundered around, making a mess of it like all of us, but in the end, oh, man, it's a glorious mess, and I'm truly sorry you're gonna miss out on it.

    • Hodgins: Avalon, what are you doing here?
      Avalon: I heard someone callin'.
      Hodgins: Oh, please tell me you mean by telephone.

    • Booth: So, what do you think? Man or woman?
      Brennan: I am uncomfortable defining sex with just a skull, but–
      Booth: Come on. Take a stab. I won't write anything down, I promise. It's between me and you.
      (Brennan looks at Hodgins.)
      Oh. Well…
      Hodgins: What? You don't want to take a stab in front of me?
      Brennan: I feel inhibited by my desire not to embarrass myself in front of another scientist.
      Booth: You should take that as a compliment.
      Hodgins: What about him?
      Brennan: Well, we live together, and thus share the same synergistic lack of inhibition, which allows us to have sex without being self-conscious.
      Booth: That's very romantic, Bones.

  • NOTES (5)

    • This episode is written and filmed as first person narrative à la Mash's "Point of View." In a September 5, 2012, press call with co-showrunner Stephen Nathan that previewed the upcoming eighth season, Hart Hanson called the episode "weird," "tricky," and "a challenge to put together." As part of publicity for the episode, Hanson granted an interview to the Hollywood Reporter (December 3, 2012) in which he detailed some of those challenges. Calling it one of "his most difficult experiences writing the show outside the season six death of Vincent Nigel-Murray," he says Stephen Nathan "had a hard time cutting it, and they had a tough time shooting it." Saying it was hard to get "out of the skull's point of view," he escaped the "stylistic corner" he'd painted himself into by sending the skull on "field trips" with the cast.

    • This is the last of four stand-alone "bonus" episodes to air. Ordered by Fox Network to make up for a shortened season seven caused by Emily Deschanel's pregnancy leave, the episodes were originally a possible "mini-season" for the summer according to a September 15, 2011, interview with Stephen Nathan. The network later decided to add them to season eight.

      In an interview for this episode with published December 3, 2012, Hart Hanson shares that this episode being a milestone was a "happy accident." He says the order for the standalone episodes meant creating stories that didn't fit into the Bones timeline, and "at first we were very, very cranky about that. Then we realized it gave us an advantage in that we could do stuff we hadn't done before."

    • Although the press release and various fan sites and journalists called this the 150th episode, it was the 151st by production code. It's possible while counting the episodes someone considered the two-part "Yanks in the UK" as one episode, which would explain the discrepancy. At the time of the "Yanks in the UK" broadcast, the press release labeled the two hours "Part 1" and "Part 2" and gave them separate broadcast numbers. The broadcasts themselves used two different production codes.

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Canada: December 3rd, 2012 on Global
      Slovakia: April 10th, 2013 on JOJ

    • Additional Crew Credits: Jan DeWitt (Produced by), Kathy Reichs (Inspired by the Life of Forensic Anthropologist and Author), Rick Millikan (Casting by), Pamella Phillips (Make-Up Department Head), Bernie Gough (Hair Department Head), Katie Barnard (Insert Coordinator), Mike Grasso (Police Technical Advisor), Mark Marcum (Video Playback).


    • First-Person Narrative:

      The entire episode is told from the point of view of the victim's skull, which is remarkably similar to M*A*S*H's "Point of View" (season seven, episode 10). That episode is told entirely in first-person viewpoint, through the eyes of a soldier who is wounded in battle. The wounded soldier can't speak because of a throat wound, but gets a good look at how the major characters interact and even share some private thoughts with him.