Reality. It’s a tricky thing.
The concept of what is real and what is not gets especially confusing on scripted television — we’re asked to believe in a false reality, to invest in it while still keeping our separation. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to identify with Brennan (Emily Deschanel) as she navigates realities in the “Bones” episode, “The Shot in the Dark.”
The problems of the episode begin with a fight. I don’t like fights, especially when they’re between Brennan and Booth (David Boreanaz). Sure, two people like these would definitely fight on occasion, but “Bones” is usually nice enough to keep that from us.
Fighting is a reality we don’t need to see.
It just gets worse after this. Frustrated with what seems like Booth questioning her parenting skills, Brennan heads in to the lab for a late-night session with the corpse of the week. A little chit-chat with the night security guard — a fellow named Hal who is not played by Enrico Colantoni (speaking of reality or lack thereof) — and some funky goggles mark the night.
And then, out of nowhere and with hardly any noise, Brennan gets shot.
Blood. Lots of blood.
Fortunately, Booth doesn’t like fighting any more than I do. He shows up with baby Christine a short time after the shooting. Even though Brennan is lying in a pool of blood by this point, he is able to get her to the hospital before that pesky death thing sets in.
Brennan has a tough time in surgery — her heart stops twice — but she pulls through. We can’t say the same for security guard Hal though. He’s dead.
The doctors and investigators know that they’ve got a weird one here. Not only did a security guard and a scientist get shot for no apparent reason, but it turns out that there are no bullets. Like, no bullets at all.
Now, if you’re a fan of mysteries, you probably thought “ice bullet!” just like Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) at this point. Too bad that’s impossible (although I still want “Mythbusters” confirmation of this).
Meanwhile, Brennan goes into rapid shock when her body refuses the transfused blood. Could there be a connection?
Of course there’s a connection! As an on-fire Hodgins figures out, the “bullets” used are actually made of frozen blood. The blood-cell pellets did their dirty work and then dissolved into the victims’ blood streams. Very little evidence is left behind. In fact, Brennan has to get biopsied to even get some cells that tie to the murderer.
Why would someone make blood bullets?
It turns out that Hal and the original murder victim, a fellow named Johnannes Groot, were connected. The two were part of a three-man counterfeit ring operating out of the Jeffersonian. The murderer is a restorer who wanted to make sure no one got caught.
But then he does get caught, so that plan didn’t work out so well.
“What dreams may come…”
Brennan isn’t just lying around throughout all of this. I mean, she is technically lying around, but her brain/soul/spirit/whatever is elsewhere, working through a whole bunch of personal
issues in a hallucination/the afterlife/whatever.
Every time Brennan loses consciousness, she finds herself back in her childhood home, talking to her long-dead mother, Christine. Obviously, Brennan isn’t into this whole thing being any sort of afterlife. But it’s one heck of a hallucination otherwise!
Mama Brennan is quite helpful throughout all of this. Mother and daughter take the time to drink tea. Old wounds — especially about Brennan’s parents abandoning her as a teenager — are confronted. Mom reminds her daughter that she can rely on emotions again after a life of rationality. And in the end, Christine Brennan has a message for her husband, Max (Ryan O’Neal).
It turns out that the message (about how Christine knew Max’s first present to her was stolen) is a secret no one else could have known. This makes Max happy. Booth finds it all revelatory. Poor Brennan doesn’t quite seem to know what to think.
And I don’t either. It’s definitely interesting, but we are not about to get hard and fast answers about the afterlife on this one. Maybe we should just go with an appropriate line from another near-death experience, this one from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”:
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”