I spent the entirety of the last week completely reeling from the events that transpired in the Bones premiere. What an absolutely insane and exceptional kick-start to this eleventh season. I almost believed it to be beyond the realm of possibility- that the second episode could achieve a comparable level of emotion, action, and suspense as in 11×01. But somehow The Brother in the Basement delivered, as this show so often does. And before the credits rolled, we were given a scene that has quickly cemented its place in my personal favorite Booth and Brennan moments of all time.
“That’s My Brother”
The episode open with a flashback to the previous evening. I presume this was approximately 24 hours prior to the FBI’s discovery of the torched van in the premiere. Jared’s friend Kevin O’Donnell (along with the other two men who participated in the heist) were dousing the van in gasoline, as they did not want to leave a trace of evidence. We already know that Jared did not survive the shootout, and now he was to be burned along with the the remaining vestiges of that night’s bloodbath. Booth hobbles over to join the men, and Kevin cautions him to get back into the car. Booth looks severely wounded, even at that point. “That’s Jared in there. That’s my brother.” Kevin warns him that they need to destroy everything. And if Booth has a problem with that, he can get into the van and curl up next to his brother. Booth eventually agrees. “Everything’s gotta go.” But he will be the one to to do it. Jared was his brother. His family. I cannot pretend to know what Booth was thinking in the moments before he torched the van, but I imagine there was both a silent prayer and an apology involved.
Back in the present, Booth is clearly suffering. So much so, that the despicable men with whom he has involved himself were betting on the time he had left to live. Kevin gets a text informing him that “the trade” is happening today. The group intends to trade the $2 million they stole for a “list” worth exorbitantly more. We already know Booth is running out of time. He has lost far too much blood. He asks Kevin how long they have before the trade. Five hours. “You gonna hold out that long?” Booth cannot answer. Because it would most likely take a miracle for him to last that long.
“Like A Kid Brother”
The man who likely killed Jared is on Cam’s autopsy table. Hodgins takes this opportunity to tell Cam that he is sorry about Jared. He knows that when she and Booth dated (a million years ago), Jared was a big part of her life. Cam thought of him as a kid brother, “the one that always got into trouble.” But like Booth, Jared was still “family” to her. Angela comes in to see whether Cam or Hodgins have uncovered anything that could lead them to Booth. But unfortunately, all the rounds fired were standard issue. Angela reminds them that Booth’s blood was all over the crime scene. If he doesn’t get medical attention immediately, well, they all know what will happen.
“Consider Me Back”
Aubrey calls Brennan back to the FBI. Earlier, Caroline had discovered that Miller hid the fact that her own partner had gone missing four days prior. Brennan is completely enraged over this omission, as Miller’s partner could very well be held captive along with Booth. Caroline threatens Agent Miller with obstruction of justice in order to encourage her to start talking. As it turns out, Miller’s partner downloaded a list of undercover FBI agents embedded in criminal or terrorist organizations. Then he subsequently vanished. Brennan calls Agent Bannerman a traitor. She is also furious that Miller chose to accuse Booth of murdering his own brother, rather than telling the FBI the truth. Aubrey wants to take Brennan to Bannerman’s house to search for evidence. But Miller claims her team already combed every inch of the house for evidence. Caroline reminds her that her team is not the Jeffersonian. To Brennan’s surprise, Agent Miller tells them all that the Jeffersonian is no longer the best lab in town- not since Brennan quit. And what Brennan says next is music to my ears- “Then you should consider me back.” She’s back! All is right in my world. For now.
“I Don’t Think This Is Meant To Be Consumed”
Brennan, Aubrey, and Agent Miller arrive at Agent Bannerman’s home. As it turns out, he was sharing the domicile with his fiancee. He had only known Chloe less than six months before asking her to marry him. The team examines the kitchen, and Brennan finds an “almost imperceptible” trace of blood on an envelope. I believe Brennan actually goes on a bit of a “hunch” here, as she heads to the freezer. She appears to be searching for something specific. And it’s not long before we find out just what that something is- Brennan has just removed a severed finger from the freezer.
“Some People’s Best”
Back at the lab, Brennan and Arastoo are waiting for Cam to obtain an ID from the fingerprint. Brennan is getting anxious, and insists upon being able to examine the evidence. Arastoo attempts to mollify her by reminding her that everybody is doing their best. “That’s the problem Dr. Vaziri. Some people’s best is better than others’” While I personally believe she’s absolutely correct, Arastoo chooses to interpret this as a personal affront. He was under the impression they had gotten past his “previous error.” Brennan, being the logical and rational person she is, had moved past the “error.” Though to me, it seemed more like a colossal mistake. He basically informed her with an almost-certainty that her husband’s remains had been identified. That seems like more than just a little error. But Brennan is not one to hold a grudge. It’s not productive. Rather, her words were referring to the fact that the Jeffersonian is no longer considered the country’s foremost forensic laboratory. Cam tries to alleviate the tension by telling Brennan it was not the time for criticism. Regardless, this discussion would have to be tabled, as Cam got an ID on the finger- Agent Bannerman’s fiancee, Chloe.
“The Poor Boy’s Gonna Die Trying”
At the FBI, Aubrey tells Caroline and Agent Miller that he believes Chloe was kidnapped for ransom. That would basically force Agent Bannerman into downloading that list. If this is truly what occurred, it would prove that Miller’s partner was not a traitor after all. “Just a guy who wanted to help out someone he loved.” Caroline says what we were all thinking in that moment- Bannerman sounds a lot like Booth. Caroline and Aubrey posit a scenario in which Booth would feel compelled to get involved with the crew interested in buying the list. His brother likely got in over his head. Booth then insinuates himself in an attempt to both come to Jared’s aid and make sure the list stays out of the wrong hands. They realize that Booth isn’t going to give up until he’s in possession of the list. “Which means he’s either going to get it and be a hero, or the poor boy’s gonna die trying.” We all know Booth well enough by now to know this is absolutely true.
“The Walking Dead”
Booth knows he’s running out of time. He needs to find a way to slow the bleeding-out process. He finds a batch of silver nitrate. And in one of the most horrifying displays I’ve seen on TV in recent years, Booth uses the substance to cauterize his wound. We hear him scream “bloody murder” as the nitrate literally burns his skin from the outside-in. To add insult to injury, we get a closeup of the process.
“Talk To Me My Elemental Friends”
Hodgins is swabbing the finger for trace particulates in the Ookey Room. Arastoo is especially hopeful that something can be gleaned from this finger, as he is still feeling dejected about Brennan’s words. “I think if Dr. Brennan had her way, she’d fire both me and Cam.” I was definitely in disagreement with him on this one, as it seemed to be more a case of Arastoo feeling sorry for himself. I am not trying to attack Arastoo by any means. He has been a valued member of the team for so many years. But he is expending a bit too much energy sulking, when he should be keeping his head down and focusing on the case. It’s not personal. Angela offers him words of encouragement, but Hodgins gently reminds them both that unsolved cases have increased since Brennan left the Jeffersonian. After shooting a glare at her husband, Angela tells Arastoo that at the end of the day, it was Brennan who quit. Any unsolved cases are on her conscience. This is also accurate. It is quite likely that Brennan is feeling directly responsible for the hit the Jeffersonian took after she left. I think emotions are just running really high across the board at this point. There is so much at stake. Now is not the time for blame. Now is the time for action. Luckily, Hodgins has made a discovery on the finger- it appears to have been severed by a pair of wire cutters at a battery recycling facility. And Hodgins can pinpoint the exact location. Aubrey and Miller investigate the abandoned facility. They spot blood spatter from a gunshot. But it’s already dry,indicating that they’ve arrived too late. The agents then come upon two corpses being fed on by vultures. Not a pretty sight. And yes, I’d agree that they are definitely too late.
“A World Where Booth Doesn’t Come Home”
The squints almost immediately conclude that neither body is Booth. But one set of remains is almost certainly Chloe- Agent Bannerman’s fiancee. While it is a relief to know that Booth is still out there, they still have no inkling as to where he is being held. Hodgins and Arastoo are worried that these bodies are providing no clues about Booth’s whereabouts. There is no point of intersection. But Brennan believes if they “press on” they will find the answers they need. Cam asks if she’s relying on faith. Faith is something that Brennan never historically put much stock in. She has always relied chiefly on evidence. But more and more, as this character evolves, we see her fall back on faith. I would imagine this has a lot to do with Booth’s almost-constant display of faith throughout the series. Brennan replies to Cam with yet another heart-crushing admission- “I’m saying, I can’t imagine a world where Booth doesn’t come home.” You are a treasure, Emily Deschanel. As I am crying once again.
“This Is Not A Good Time For A Massage Or A Striptease”
We are not given much time to dwell on Brennan’s words before we are introduced to handsome digital forensic scientist, Dr. Metzger. He is looking for Angela- a fact that Hodgins does not seem too enthused about. Let’s quickly note that he has carpal tunnel. It doesn’t really didn’t seem pertinent in this moment, but it’s worth being mentioned at this time.
Dr. Metzger and Angela are looking through Bannerman’s hard drive while Hodgins lurks in the corner. He claims to be swabbing the victim’s phone, but we all know he’s just keeping an eye on “things.” Metzger accuses him of worrying about the seven-year-itch. Angela assures the doctor that he’s incorrect, and their marriage is perfectly fine. Cam interrupts the tense moment with news that the second body has been identified as Bannerman. Dr. Metzger appears to be shocked and saddened. A little too much…
Arastoo informs Cam and Hodgins that he and Brennan determined Bannerman was in a fight the week before he died. But Arastoo is once again down on himself, as Brennan apparently requested some time alone with the bones. Again, he did not need to take this so personally. This is how Brennan works. He should know that by now. Cam found Doxepin in Chloe’s stomach, indicating that she was drugged. Hodgins exits the autopsy room to find out what exactly Chloe ingested, leaving Cam and Arastoo in an oddly awkward silence. Cam apologizes for Dr. Brennan, assuring Arastoo that she would have called another intern if she didn’t trust him with this case. He thanks her, but then drops a bombshell- He thinks it’s time to start searching for another job. Cam is taken aback, and tries to reason with him. “You’re my choice as head of forensic anthropology.” But Arastoo responds that if he truly was her choice, she would have submitted his candidacy months ago. And he’s absolutely correct.
“Hell’s An Improvement”
Booth is growing weaker by the hour. Kevin comes in to check on him. He tells Booth that he really admired the way he healed himself up, and let’s him know that it won’t be long before the trade. Kevin then shares that Jared was a good soldier. He didn’t deserve to die in the way he did. I believe Kevin became a bit more sympathetic throughout this episode, while the other two men in the basement become increasingly more heinous. Their moment was interrupted by an incoming text informing Kevin that Booth cannot be trusted. He must kill Booth or the trade is off. Kevin assures Booth there’s nothing to worry about. But on my end, this does not seem promising!
“Projecting The Same Scenario”
In the bone room, Brennan informs Arastoo that the body sustained the same gunshot wound as Booth. It was not fatal, but was quite serious. “I keep picturing how this man died, and then projecting the same scenario with Booth as the victim.” Let’s count how many times Brennan crushes my poor heart in the first two episodes. I’ve lost count. Brennan is unable to discern any differences between Bannerman’s circumstances and Booth’s- both FBI, both well-trained. She needs to stop thinking like this. But I imagine she’s trying to prepare herself for the worst.
A phone call from Christine disrupts some talk about injuries to the zygomatic. In a wonderfully sweet and equally heart-wrenching moment, Brennan tries to assuage her daughter’s fears. She tells her that her dad is not there, but she’s working very hard to bring him home to her. I’m not sure any of us predicted how perfect Brennan would be in her role as a mother. Even just a few years ago, it was inconceivable. But she has this innate and genuine ability to both connect with and comfort her child. And it’s a beautiful thing to see. Especially knowing how this character started the series.
“Maybe You Just Didn’t Know Your Partner As Well As You Thought You Did”
Aubrey and Miller have determined that someone in a blue van had been following Agent Bannerman in the week before he died. Metzger and Angela discover footage identifying the owner of the car. He is Nathan Barlow, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. When brought in for questioning, it was revealed that he was actually Bannerman’s CI. Caroline is less than pleased that this scumbag is one of the “good guys.” Eh, I wouldn’t really call him a “good guy.”
“She Took Over This Investigation So It Wouldn’t Lead Back To Her”
Hodgins learns that Chloe ingested wine and cheese before she died. As it turns out, both these items were found partially consumed in the apartment she shared with Bannerman. And that was how the drug was administered. This implies that Chloe knew her killer. Angela has made a little discovery of her own. Through Agent Bannerman’s cloud account, she was able to access photos he deleted of Agent Miller and him- personal photos. Their relationship was definitely more than professional. Cam shows the photos to Aubrey and Caroline. As an added bonus, the photos were deleted by Bannerman six months prior- right when he met Chloe. This makes Miller look just a teeny bit guilty of something.
In the interrogation room, Miller admits to the affair. But she is adamant- She did not murder her partner. She didn’t need or want the list. But she does admit to threatening Chloe after Bannerman left her. So Aubrey confiscates her gun.
“This Is Where I Belong”
Not surprisingly, Agent Miller’s gun is not a match. Brennan informs Cam that Arastoo is cataloging the injuries, and Cam expresses her relief that Brennan is back to trusting him.
“In a few years, I am sure he will be able to run a major forensic lab such as this one.” But no, she does not believe he is ready now. “The Jeffersonian defines itself by only hiring the most experienced, the best in their field.” Arastoo has only just received his doctorate. It would be like skipping steps if he was to be handed this position. And it wouldn’t be fair to anyone, including himself, if he was chosen. Brennan then takes the opportunity to request her job back. “If Booth dies, then I think being here would help. To have work to focus on, to be surrounded by friends. This situation has made me realize it was a mistake to quit. This is where I belong.” I don’t believe Brennan took the decision to leave her job hastily and without consideration. That is not in her nature. But I do know she was under a great deal of stress at the time. She and Booth had endured more in the past year than any family should in a lifetime. It was natural to want a change. To dream of a more peaceful existence. She wanted to keep her expanding family safe from harm. But danger found them anyway. It didn’t matter whether or not she was at the Jeffersonian solving crimes, or at her kitchen counter cataloging artifacts with Christine and Hank the Tank. She also has to face the possibility here that Booth may not survive the day. How can she go on after a loss like that? She has to find a way to at least survive. If for no other reason than for their children. Booth is her home. But the Jeffersonian has also been a home to her as well. Her friends are there. And they have always been her family. This is truly the place she belongs.
Arastoo interrupts the moment to show Brennan his reconstruction of the skull. With his “flawless” work, Brennan is able to determine cause of the death. The weapon was a set of brass knuckles. The killer struck the skull repeatedly and with great force using the brass knuckles. Whoever was responsible for this would have sustained a significant wrist injury. Ding ding ding, Dr. Metzger has a wrist injury. And there’s our murderer!
In the interrogation room, Metzger is not talking. Caroline assures Brennan that Aubrey and Miller just need time to find the right button to press. But Brennan knows that Booth doesn’t have time. So she does what she has to do. After bursting into the interrogation room, she threatens Metzger and forces him to tell her where Booth is by twisting his wrist rather forcefully. Badass Brennan- doing whatever is necessary in order to save the man she loves.
“You’re A Dead Man Booth”
Kevin wants to call the deal off. See, he’s a relatively decent guy. He won’t sacrifice Booth’s life for this trade. But his words trigger the suspicions of the other two scumbags. One of them snatches Kevin’s phone and finds out the stipulations of the trade. He attempts to shoot Booth. But Booth swerves, and the four men get into a scuffle. Booth manages to escape into a back room. As one of the men tries to bust down the door, Booth pries open a window. When the man finally gets in, he believes Booth to have escaped. But Booth comes around the corner to incapacitate the man with a shovel.
“I Got You”
Aubrey and Brennan rush to the supposed location of where Booth has been “kept.” Aubrey cautions her to stay back, but when has Brennan ever listened to those words? Booth comes stumbling out of the basement door, and Brennan rushes to him. He essentially falls onto her, relieved to have made it out alive and back into his wife’s loving arms. No longer having to be strong in order to stay alive. Brennan sobs in relief. She tells him she’s got him. She can be strong for him in that moment. He can lean on her. He can always lean on her. These two continue to save each other. Both literally and metaphorically. They have always saved each other, in every way there is. Since the beginning. That is what makes the two of them such a beautiful and compelling duo. They are equals. And they are partners. Always.
“Any Chance We Can Do This Tomorrow?”
After receiving the news that Booth was going to make it, Hodgins and Angela leave the Jeffersonian to go pick up Christine and “Little Hank” for a celebratory sleepover. Arastoo and Cam are left alone to finally address the mastodon in the room. Cam pleads with him not to “do this.” She loves him. And he loves her. But he has to move on. He can’t just stay at the Jeffersonian as an intern forever. He has to see what’s out there. Get experience. BE a forensic anthropologist. She tells him that if he proposes to her right then, she will say yes. “But then what?” No, Cam is not going to follow him to a different state or country. She has her life. And it’s at the Jeffersonian. It’s in Washington D.C. Now he has to “start” his. He doesn’t want her to resent him for the rest of their lives. She agrees. It will take some time for Cam to move on. They have been together for so many years. But she will be okay. She has her friends and family. She has her work. She’s going to be just fine.
“People Are Talking”
Agent Miller stops by Aubrey’s office to deliver a bottle of his favorite whiskey before she leaves. Caroline comments on the cheapness of the liquor, but in actuality, it’s Aubrey’s favorite. “Smart girl. She knows who to make nice to.” Aubrey says he’s “nobody,” But Caroline assures him that people are talking. All he needs to do is wait. “Here’s to waiting.”
“I Can Change”
This last scene was also my favorite scene in this episode. And if we’re being honest, one of my favorite Booth and Brennan scenes of all time. Brennan is by Booth’s side at the hospital. She’s going to bring Christine and Hank by in the morning- if he’s up to it. But of course he’s always up to seeing his children. Brennan has also brought it upon herself to provide Booth with photos of herself and their children (including Parker). A bit hesitantly, she pulls out a photo of Jared and him when they were younger. She’s unsure if he wants it. But Booth tears up and tells her it was from Jared’s 9th birthday. She’s tells him she’s so sorry.
I suspect next week is when we will see more of the emotional fallout from Jared’s death. But for now, Booth wants to apologize for keeping this whole ordeal from her. She tells him he doesn’t need to apologize. “You did what you thought was necessary in order to save your brother.” She understands. It took her a while to get there, but it’s that disturbingly steep learning curve in action again. He calls her “incredible.” I tend to say this often, but these two have such a wonderful, mature, loving, and adult relationship. And they understand each other like no one else. They know what the other needs. They know how to be that person that the other needs.
Brennan tells Booth that she is going to return to her job at the Jeffersonian. She thinks he should go back to his job as well. He tells her that they were done. They already decided that they were going to stop doing this- together. “We quit our jobs. We’re done.” I cannot describe the next part of this scene better than they act it. So:
“If you’re done, Booth, why am I sitting with you in a hospital room? You’ve always done this. Risked your life for the sake of others- the army, the FBI.”
“…I can change.”
“I don’t want you to. Booth you are the bravest most selfless man I have ever met. And as much as I hate seeing you here in pain and suffering, I also know this is who you genuinely are.”
Brennan’s words to him are so poignant. She has always known who he is. She loves this man. All of him. And he loves her. JUST as she is. She cannot ask him to be anyone else, to refrain from helping others in need. Because that would be going against everything he is. Every trait she fell in love with from the beginning. She does caveat her message, telling him he is not allowed to be reckless. He absolutely cannot die on her. This is a fair warning, since he has come too close for comfort several times over the past few years. Look at these two. Look how far they have come. But also, look how much they are still those same stubborn glorious fools we met over a decade ago. As the episode closes, they are bickering away about the amount of blood loss Booth sustained. Come on! No one loves like B&B. And no one BICKERS like B&B.
The evolution of this couple has been so perfect. So beautiful. So fulfilling. After a bit of a setback towards the end last season, they are definitely on solid ground again. They are a unit. They are partners. And they can conquer any obstacle this season throws at them- together.
See you next week for The Donor in the Drink!