Back in October, Bill Donohue issued a press release about an episode of Bones in which the title character–an atheist–makes disparaging comments about the Pope to her partner, a Catholic who made what many considered a weak attempt at defending the faith. There was a long thread on Catholic Answers Forums about it.
Now, the episode in question actually showed a great favorability to religion–albeit, “all are welcome” liberal religion. I insisted at the time that the show usually depicts Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan’s (Emily Deschanel) atheism as being one aspect of the many areas where she’s out of touch with what’s most important about human nature.
The most recent episode, “The Hero in the Hold,” builds on that theme big-time. The episode, as a whole, is one of the best single television episodes I’ve ever seen. It involves an exciting mystery, with some cool clues and a great twist (though I identified the culprit early in the show). It ties together different threads from the series. It involves a great deal of character development for everyone. It would have made a fantastic season finale.
Without giving away too many details, Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) is kidnapped by a master criminal they’ve been pursuing for a couple seasons and imprisoned in what ends up being the hold of a decommissioned Naval vessel.
When he escapes from his first prison, he is greeted by a former comrade from the Army Rangers, a young private named Teddy Parker who died under his watch. Teddy–looking just like he did over 10 years ago–is happy to see his old “Sarge,” but Booth insists he’s a hallucination. However, Teddy helps booth lift heavy objects, retrieves tools for him, and gives him advice that hallucination cannot give. At one point, he touches him. I kept worrying that there would be some “reveal” that Teddy was actually the criminal, but there wasn’t.
We learn that Teddy’s last name is Parker when Booth tells him about the name of his soon: Parker Booth. We learn that Booth visits Teddy’s grave every year on the anniversary of his death, coming up the next day. Teddy had a girlfriend “back home” named Claire, and she also visits his grave every year, but Booth is afraid to speak to her due to his sense of guilt over Teddy’s death.
Just before the inevitable rescue, Teddy ensures Booth that it wasn’t his fault, that he didn’t come back to haunt him to but to tell him it was OK.
At the grave site, for the anniversary, Booth and Brennan are talking. She says his report indicated achievements that would have required two people. He says there was a ghost. She says, “Well, you were drugged, injured, deprived of oxygen. . . ..”
He replies, “You keep telling yourself what you need to, Bones.” In other words, “atheism is just wish fulfillment”.
There’s more, and it’s fantastic. Watch the whole episode for free on Hulu by clicking here.
I’ve embedded the precise “Take that, atheists!” scene below. The dialogue is great enough, but what happens is even cooler: