Bones Review: "The Bullet in the Brain"

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All the hype threatened to raise expectations unfairly high, but Bones delivered with an intense, compelling episode Thursday night, the first installment of its sniper story arc.

I loved the symmetry of "The Bullet in the Brain." The introduction of a new, murderous foil for Booth dovetailed with the end of the Gravedigger, who went out in epic fashion.

The first five minutes leading up to the opening credits were awesome, plain and simple.

Explosive Booth

Pushing Sweets' buttons like a true puppet master while offering no remorse for her monstrous acts, Deirdre Lovejoy's incarcerated child killer is as creepy as a TV villain gets.

Just as she arrived in court for her appeal, her head was blown off by an unknown gunman. The effects were such that I recoiled in horror even when I knew it was coming!

The Bones producers openly admit having fun with gross-out gags to open episodes, but the demise of Heather Taffet was all-time. Not just gory for the sake of it, but terrifying.

With the image of her headless corpse spewing blood outside the courthouse burning in our brains, viewers (and Sweets) tried to shake off the horror and make sense of it all.

Should we be glad Taffet is gone? Hodgins clearly was. Others had mixed feelings, or two conflicting thoughts at the same time. Cognitive dissonance, as Sweets informed us.

Regardless, the Gravedigger as the "victim" provided a surprisingly thought-provoking element to the episode as Booth made it his mission to track down this gun-for-hire.

Thanks to the Bones spoilers we've posted for months, we knew it was a sniper played by guest star Arnold Vosloo. In that respect we were steps ahead of our FBI hero.

Anyone who might've wanted Taffet dead was a suspect at the onset, including Max Brennan (Ryan O'Neal), who also stopped by. His alibi was being drunk ... naturally.

There's no way Max has the skill to pull this hit off anyway, Angela later concluded. It was a 1,500-yard shot from an apartment whose location she's able to triangulate.

The head hooker found in the tub was nearly as gruesome as Taffet's corpse, and shed new light on our sniper. This was no vigilante justice, a la Dexter. Just personal.

After paring down the list to elite snipers, Booth singles out the wrong one at first, but soon realizes that his man can be none other than his own mentor, Jake Brodsky.

Bones Crime Scene Photo

They come face to face when Booth learns of a tract of land Brodsky made under the name of Seeley Booth. He did this to lure Booth out there, for reasons unknown.

When they meet, he denies involvement, and doesn't really explain how Booth ties into this, although when he takes off running, that sort of implies he's responsible.

After a chase through the woods, Booth separates his shoulder and sprains his ankle after Brodsky blows up his own trailer (!) but still has a chance to take him out.

He doesn't take it. As Brodsky said, almost tauntingly, he won't do it if he's not 100 percent sure. Did Brodsky's denial, however bogus, plant just enough doubt?

The killer escapes, and will surely be heard from again.

It was a little odd that Booth and Evil Booth met face-to-face soon, and some of the details leading up to it were dubious, but the episode as a whole was strong.

Naturally, Good Booth was going to err on the side of caution, especially for a man he knows and wants to believe the best in. But he's probably regretting it now.

We're already looking forward to seeing this creep's next move, and for him to eventually meet his end at Booth's hands. But how many more will die before that?

A few closing thoughts and observations on this episode:

  • Should Angela have questioned Hodgins' morals when he says he's happy about the shooting, given what he went through personally because of Taffet?
  • I love how a confused Max flat-out asked what's going on with Brennan and Booth. It's as if Ryan O'Neal speaks for nine million Bones fans collectively.
  • Perhaps our favorite scene? Caroline helping Sweets snap out of it. She had a bunch of great moments this week, but none better than the last.

What did you think of last night's Bones? Comment away below!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (125 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Like most murder-investigative shows that become stale...
I enjoyed one or two seasons but the show has become boring and predictable and borderline ridiculous. At one point Temperance's personality style was intriguing and interesting, now the "transition" toward "normal" expression is just so tacky and corny.
The show has lost a lot of its "believability" for me. Not watching the new seasons now.


This has to be my all time favorite episode!! So many new questions posed in that round about way done so well on Bones. Several things already mentioned have me wondering, too. Angela's pregnancy should be more evident, comments made by max and Bones even saying she didn't want to talk about it when her father referred to Booth and Hannah! Looks like a new season to enjoy!


Anne - I totally thought the same thing! I was watching for it, and...I couldn't see much of anything! She still looked tiny! Was this just an oversight?
Also, I wondered the same thing with Max's reaction to Hannah's name. It was almost like he knew something he wasn't saying.


This was one of the best if not the most bloodiest Bones yet but loved it. Now was it my imagination or when Bones told her Dad that Booth was in love with someone and she told him her name was Hannah ( last name escapes me) her Dad said "Oh her" I'm just wondering does Brennan's Dad know something we don't ? Did I hear him say that or not ?


Oh and I loved Sweets and Caroline this week too!! So heartbreaking! Sweets should know he is a very valueable asset to the team. I mean everyone comes to him for either his expert opinion or just his advice on things. We get to see a softer side to Caroline that we havent seen before, which I thought was great! Im glad she noticed that there was something wrong with Sweets so someone could snap him out of his mood or whatever you want to call it. I LOVE Sweets!!! It wouldnt be the same show without him!!


I really enjoyed this episode of Bones! It had everything that makes Bones one of the best shows on tv now. I liked the fact that Brennan isnt over Booth and that she stills feels hurt over his rejection of her feelings. There was no Hannah as well so that was a bonus and there was no mention of her at all from what I remember. I absolutely loved the ending scene where Brennan is listening to the shell her Dad gave her and Booth is gazing at her through the window. He knows he still loves her! Come on Booth, dump Hannah and go for Bones already!! I cant wait for next week. Looks like another good one!


The scene with Caroline and Sweets broke my heart...we never get to see a soft side to this b*ll-busting DA. I definitely teared up at her display of fear, and owning up to it the way she did...

Sue ann

I thought the episode was fairly good. I agree that Caroline had a brilliant moment there. The actress is wonderful; her character is pretty much my favorite on this show. I want to compliment Deirdre Lovejoy's performance in the entire story arc of the Gravedigger. She was amazing, one of the best villains I have seen in years. It was nice to see that Ryan O'Neal has lost weight. He was so plump there for a while I was afraid he would have a heart attack, and I would rather he stay alive and keep appearing on Bones. I thought the idea that Taffet could inculcate that amount of self doubt into Sweets in a short ride was ridicuous. If anything, he has shown himself to have a high opinion of his field, and of himself. I did not buy it.


Maybe this is just me missing something but shouldn't Angela be showing more by now? She's what? Five months pregnant at least? This keeps bugging me... Good chapter, anyway.

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