Bones Season 11 Episode 22 Review: The Nightmare in the Nightmare

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Wow! I’m still reeling from the twist at the end of Bones Season 11 Episode 22, and if you haven’t seen the episode yet, STOP READING this and go watch now! 

There are serious spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

A Creepy Serial Killer - Bones Season 11 Episode 22

With Bones going into its final season, I, like many fans, have been wondering if Zack would make an appearance before the end, but this was not what I expected. 

I thought Zack might return rehabilitated, or perhaps released and looking to start over. Perhaps the truth would come out that he hadn’t actually killed anyone but had been manipulated by the real kiiller.

What happened was the complete opposite. 

I’m certain some fans who love Zack are furious that he is The Puppeteer, but I’m not one of them. As much as I liked Zack, he was always a little broken, malleable in the worst ways. That’s how he ended up falling under Gormogon’s spell.

When Zack's eerie face was finally revealed, all of the clues made sense. I love it when a show takes the time to make sure that happens. 

Zack grew up in Michigan and liked to sing, hence the children’s songbook published only in Michigan. He has degrees in both Forensic Anthropology and Applied Engineering and used to conduct autopsies alongside Dr. Brennan. He knows how to take apart a body, and he'd have the skills to turn them into macabre marionettes. 

And wasn’t Zack once told that he “looks like a marionette in a windstorm” when he dances? That might mean nothing, but it stuck in my mind.

Even with the big reveal, we’re left with lots of questions…

Wasn’t Sweets treating Zack? Maybe losing Sweets broke Zack. Maybe someone else in the asylum helped drive him further over the edge. 

Perhaps the killer really isn’t Zack at all, but he’s once again being used as a puppet to help some other madman, or is Zack truly the psychopath this time? 

What is it that they say? There’s a fine line between genius and madness. It appears that Zack has leapt over that line and left it in the dust. 

There were so many great moments in this season finale  One of the most significant was Brennan’s palpable fear.

Despite having investigated hundreds of gruesome killings and horrifying killers, this one shook Brennan to her core. Partially because her subconscious was telling her it could be Zack and partially because she still felt guilt over taking time off from work, thus, in her mind, allowing this killer to roam free.

But it was even more than that.  

Other shows (I’m looking at you Castle) have believed that having their lead characters start a family would somehow diminish the drama. I’d say the opposite is true.

I don’t think Brennan would be nearly as frightened of this new serial killer stalking her if she didn’t have two small children at home. Keeping them safe and making sure they don’t grow up motherless took the terror to a whole new level. 

When we were first introduced to Dr. Faulk, I assumed he was the killer, even though that seemed too easy. As he hypnotized Brennan, I kept waiting for something bad to happen, but when Booth burst in, it became clear I was wrong. 

I also never suspected Graham Reynolds, the puppet store owner, because if Booth could trick him into showing himself in the basement that easily, then Graham wasn’t nearly smart enough to be The Puppeteer.

When the focus came down to the killer’s weak, and possibly burned, hands, it all began to come together for both me and the rest of the crew at the Jeffersonian. 

The final minutes of Booth running to the asylum to find Zack, while never saying his name, had me yelling at the screen. I love it when a show can make me do that. 

Now we have an amazing set up for Bones Season 12. 

Is Zack’s goal to turn Brennan into a marionette, and if so, why? Will old friends like Hodgins even believe that Zack could be the killer?

I see lots of turmoil ahead, and I only have one complaint.

Why do I have to wait until 2017 to get more Bones?! 

Check back on Monday for our epic Bones round table, and if you want to take a look back at the Zack we all knew and loved, you can watch Bones online here at TV Fanatic. 

The Nightmare in the Nightmare Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (95 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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Bones Season 11 Episode 22 Quotes

This is creepy to the power of ten.


Booth: New rule, serial killers don't get cool or frightening nicknames.
Cam: No matter how terrifying they are.