Last night we watched an episode of Bones that was surprisingly moving. I say surprisingly because the show is usually a combination fairly campy and light-weight humor. (And we are still peeved about the off-the-wall way they ditched Zack, one of our favorite characters, last season).
The episode was called "The He in the She". The body of a well-loved pastor, a woman, found in the Chesapeake Bay. Forensic evidence reveals that this woman had undergone a sex-change operation and had previously been a man. As the story unfolds, the hyper-rational Bones and her partner Booth have several conversations about both religion and gender. But the most moving moments come when it is discovered that in her previous life as Patrick, Patricia had been a bible-thumping evangelical TV pastor who had swindled credulous followers, and that his son, who had been raised to follow in his footsteps, had suffered a crisis of faith, and was now seeking redemption through self-sacrifice. In the end, of course, the murderer is discovered, but along the way the show provides some surprisingly compassionate and unsensational discussion of sex-reassignment surgery, the plight of transgendered individuals who are in the closet, the reactions of their family members to their decisions to change, and the ways that people can find the strength to seek forgiveness and re-connect with a community. My daughter and I thought it was a relatively well-written episode of a show (writer is the show's creator Hart Hanson) that is not always very deep, and the song they played at the end struck a deep chord in both of us: Antony and The Johnsons
"River of Sorrow"