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Once again, we're tackling another show in TV Blend's weekly series "___'s Best Episode." Each week a different writer will pick out a different episode of a TV show and argue why it is definitively, absolutely the best thing the show ever did. Arguments will be started, tears may be shed, but we're here to start some conversations and make some arguments for really, really good TV. This week Jessica makes a case for Bones’s “The Hole in the Heart.” Read below, argue with us in the comments.
Bones has always been great about mixing its season up, splitting the episodes between lighthearted, playful plot lines and more serious drama. This intermixing combined with the show’s forensic anthropologist outlook allows Bones to have a tone unlike any other crime drama on television—a little odd, a little good-humored, a little dramatic and above all, extremely investing. Despite loving the laughs and the relationship-oriented side plots, the most gripping episodes of Bones have always been the more harrowing ones. I took this into consideration when choosing what I feel to be its best episode.
One of the best things about Bones is there are multiple episodes with plot lines that could potentially fill this spot. Booth and Bones parting at the end of Season 5 could potentially take the cake, as could the episode where Hodgins and Brennan were buried alive, or stuck in an elevator and solving a crime from within, holding a Christmas party in prison, or finding out the truth about Dr. Zach Addy. Ultimately, Season 6’s second-to-last episode, “The Hole in the Heart” wins out, due to carefully constructing a story that involves the long-awaited capture of a season-long serial killer, a bit of romance on Booth’s part, a tragedy, and a poignant scene with the extended cast in the episode’s final moments.
For an episode so jam-packed, “The Hole in the Heart” does, admittedly, start out slow. After Bones laments the Jeffersonian has not seen any action in nearly a week, she and the intern of the week Vincent Nigel-Murray team up to work on a T.Rex presentation, completed by sticking the squint into a dinosaur suit. Irreverent, but hilarious. Things take a quick turn for the serious after The Sniper Jake Brodsky reenters the picture, taking another victim and perpetually annoying Booth, who always seems to be one small step behind.
The FBI is taking this personally too, and sends a new FBI rookie agent into the picture to shake things up on the case. Normally, this would do nothing but bother Booth throughout the episode, but “The Hole in the Heart” is better than this, delving into catching The Sniper for once and for all, no matter the cost.
Unfortunately, the cost is high. Despite being a show that follows death around, and jokes about it with a degree of ease that is almost unbelievable, Bones has never killed off a beloved character before “The Hole in the Heart.” Sure, there was that time where Cam was almost killed off near the beginning of her tenure, and there another time Booth suffered a terrible head injury, but never had Bones gone so far as to actually kill an important contributor. When Vincent Nigel-Murray goes down, pleading he isn’t ready, it’s the first time one of the audience’s favorites has become expendable, and it is really fucking sad.
The Sniper plot line is so much more personal than repeat offenders on past episodes of Bones, like Gormogon and The Gravedigger, mostly due to his close ties and connections to Booth. Jakes Brodsky is ever-present –we know his real name, we know his tastes, we know his strengths and weaknesses…and we know he knows the same about Booth. Taking down The Sniper is about Booth fully coming to terms with this key part of his past, but also fully realizing how committed he is to the Jeffersonian team. If the Bones crew was not officially cemented as a mature unit before this, they have been after.
“The Hole in the Heart” is not only the culmination to the long-awaited capture of The Sniper, but it’s also a romantic episode for the lovebirds at the Jeffersonian. Angela and Hodgins get into some baby talk, and behind closed doors Booth and Bones settle some details about pursuing a long-awaited romance for the first time. In the end, the team comes together to speak to the memory of Vincent Nigel-Murray. Sweets presides over the short, song-filled homage, since he was close to the little bugger (and also loves Harry Nilsson) in the first place.
If that had been the very last scene, the very final moment I was able to spend with the Bones cast, I would have been extremely satisfied. As a whole, “The Hole in the Heart” is self-contained and perfect, making it is easy to savor every moment of the episode and still feel a little moved after it is all over and the screen has gone blank. That’s the mark of a best episode, if I have ever seen one.