The Worst Bones Episode, According To IMDb

The thing about big swings and high concept genre television is that when it lands, its smacks you squarely in the stomach. It's how you get all-time greats like the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episodes "Hush" (an equal parts funny and distressing, nearly dialogue-free hour), "The Body" (one of the most gut-wrenching explorations of grief put to screen), and, of course, the musical spectacular "Once More, with Feeling." When it misses, on the other hand, you can end up with "Buffy" stinkers like "Doublemeat Palace" (which is far less captivating than its "Soylent Green"-inspired premise would suggest) and the one-two punch of "Beer Bad" and "Where the Wild Things Are" (the youths sure love the booze and the sex, but sometimes they go too far, didja know?).

When it comes to "Bones," Hart Hanson's agreeable, long-running rom-com crime procedural was constantly testing the waters to determine whether a comedic episode was perhaps a little too silly for a show about nightmarish murder investigations. You can see that in the common denominator shared by the series' lowest-rated entries among IMDb users, with cases involving dead college acapella singers ("The Strike in the Chord") and kids' TV show actors ("The Carrot in the Kudzu") being deemed too ridiculous, much like season 8's dance-centric "The Diamond in the Rough." Even the show's lead was left embarrassed by that last one, albeit for reasons that have nothing to do with the episode around her.

However, the episode that sits lower than all the others is guilty of committing what, for many people, is a much more egregious sin: being overly sentimental.

That time Bones took a really big swing

The notorious Gormogon incident might take the cake for the worst "Bones" storyline according to certain cast members, but it's "The Ghost in the Machine" — another season 8 offering, like "The Diamond in the Rough" — that occupies last place on IMDb (for whatever value you put on that). Co-scripted by Hanson, "Ghost" is the biggest swing the show ever took from a purely stylistic perspective. The episode unfolds almost entirely from the point of view of the skull of its teenage murder victim Colin Gibson (Cameron DeFaria), which means we get a whole lot of shots of forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel), FBI agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), and other employees at the Jeffersonian Institute looking right at or talking directly to the camera.

Much like its spiritual predecessor on Fox, "The X-Files," loved to have Dana Scully's skepticism go toe-to-toe with Fox Mulder's open-mindedness before it, "Bones" was always pitting Bones' hardline rationalism against Booth's emotionality, and vice versa. "The Ghost in the Machine," in particular, goes a step further, raising the question of whether Colin's essence — his soul, if you will — is still linked to the deteriorating shreds of his physical form and can only move on once his murder has been resolved. I won't spoil exactly how it goes about answering that question, but let's just say there's a strong chance the closing moments will either leave you gasping out loud or wanting to chuck something at the wall. Judging by the ratings on IMDb, I'm guessing a lot of "Bones" enthusiasts did the latter when it first aired.

"Bones" is currently streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.