Mark Watches ‘Bones’: Judas on a Pole

Hey, guess what’s messed up? BRENNAN’S WHOLE LIFE. Oh my god, this episode is kind of weird when you think about it? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it a lot, but… oh, let me wait to expand on this. I SWEAR I HAVE A POINT.

This episode was commissioned by Nora, and you can download the video file of it here! All my Mark Watches videos are now indexed on Dropbox.


  • Well, Bones was going to have to bring back Temperance and Russ’s father in some way, but I certainly didn’t expect that it would reveal him to us AS A MURDERER.
  • David Duchovny directed this. I didn’t even catch that until the episode was over, y’all.
  • Before I get to the meat of this, I want to acknowledge how adorable Zack is in this episode, and despite having only seen about twelve episodes of this show so far, it’s going to take a while to get used to his new haircut.
  • So. Some of “Judas on a Pole” was confusing, at least initially. The story behind why Temperance’s father killed an FBI agent and a deputy director is extremely complex, but it’s rooted in a truth that at least grounded the story from me. Seriously, as I say in the video, you should Google COINTELPRO. What the FBI does in this episode is barely fiction at all. Sure, the names are different, as are the circumstances, but our government has used the FBI and the CIA to cover-up their illegal activity for DECADES.
  • And that’s the very weird line that Temperance’s father sits on. He helped to free a wrongly convicted civil rights leader, which is great! It’s moral! It’s wonderful! He did this by gutting two different FBI agents and then lighting them on fire in a Jesus pose on the roof of a hotel. I don’t exactly feel a whole lot of sympathy for rich, well-connected white men who use obfuscation and systemic racism to control other people, but, aside from Temperance’s reactions, I never got the sense that the narrative was condemning her father for gutting and murdering two people. But perhaps that’s the point! We see how confused Temperance is, and I think I’m just confused as her. How am I supposed to cope with the knowledge that her father is a deeply complicated man? He has done a lot to protect her and Russ, but he’s also done it in increasingly violent and disturbing ways.
  • “Judas on a Pole” is executed well, though, because it centers so much on Temperance’s emotional struggle. Her father is right; she does see the world in moral extremes, so it’s hard for her to cope with his very existence. The man is doing good by murder?
  • In hindsight, the whole plot with the father as the priest is really weird, and I totally fell for it. Like, now I realize why we’d only seen the father in photos before this. If we had actually seen him in the flesh, I doubt the reveal that he was the priest would have been effective at all.
  • OH GOD, what is Temperance’s father going to do next? I don’t have a clear idea of where this plot could go anymore. He obviously has Russ with him, but… they’re going to hide? What about Russ’s potential family? Is he just giving that up? How big of a conspiracy is at hand here with the FBI? Is Booth going to continue to piss off his superiors? YES, I HOPE SO.
  • PS: Hodgins and Angela are so damn cute it hurts.

For tomorrow’s commission, I will talk about the pilot episode of Nikita, which features THE LOVELY MAGGIE Q. Onwards!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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