After two relatively unconventionally structured Bones episodes, we have once again returned to the more routine format of the show. This means opening up the episode with the standard body reveal. And as per usual, it was wonderfully unique. How do they come up with creative new ways to both murder and dump a corpse week after week? That really may be one of the most impressive things about this show. That and the fact that the characters are so rich and incredible. And speaking of characters, all of them had some great stories this week. So without further adieu- The Donor in the Drink!
“Ladies Up In New York Pay Big Bucks For This Stuff”
This week a couple of friends were indulging themselves in a discounted “spa treatment” for their ladies night. This apparently entails spraying some sort of substance that attracts fish (from “Billy Ray’s tackle box”) and submerging one’s feet in the water to be devoured by these fish. This really doesn’t sound like an appealing idea by any means. But to each their own. One woman claims that a fish tried to swallow her entire foot. Though we all know it’s not a fish. If we know our Bones, it’s definitely part of a skeleton. Cue the hysterical screams. It’s human remains! Bones is back!
“Daddy’s Looking For Uncle Jared”
Back at the Brennan-Booth house, Booth is clearly agitated. His brother’s remains have somehow gone missing. Brennan enters very calm and logical about the situation- “Don’t worry Booth, we’ll track it down.” Booth is distressed that he continuously failed to help Jared when he was alive, and now he cannot even help him rest in peace. It’s clear he’s going to have a few issues in this episode. Christine comes running in (looking absolutely adorable, by the way) wanting to know if she could wake up her baby brother. Brennan cautions her that you never wake a sleeping baby. “But he wants me to get in his crib and read him a story!” I love how enthusiastic she is about her big sister duties. She takes them quite seriously. Booth offers to come read her a book after he finishes his search. Christine wants to know what Booth is looking for, and Brennan answers in her always-glorious matter-of-fact way: “Daddy’s looking for Uncle Jared.” Christine was under the impression that Uncle Jared was in heaven. But Brennan continues on, informing the child that Uncle Jared was cremated. I know this isn’t necessarily a moment that should be hilarious, and yet, I can’t help but continue to love Brennan’s reluctance to sugarcoat. To her, it makes no sense to downplay “death.” Booth of course does not believe Christine needs the hard facts. Brennan spouts some anthropological reasons that a culture should embrace death. But this discussion would have to be put on hold, as a body was found at a fish farm. “Today is Mommy and Daddy’s first day back at work.” Christine is sent off to go get dressed, and our favorite duo is going back to work. All is right in the world. Almost.
“I’m Going Back To Work!”
Booth disembarks the elevator at the FBI with Bobblehead Bobby in tow. He initially looks a bit apprehensive, but who wouldn’t be after time away. Once he sees Aubrey he puts on the old Booth charm. “It’s great to be here! We’re back! I’m going back to work!” He’s excited to jump right in, it would appear, at first glance. Booth walks into his old office, and sees Aubrey has completely made it his own. This obviously includes bringing in a mini fridge because he’s Aubrey. Booth seems a bit alarmed. But it’s apparent he is trying not to be obvious about it. “What happened here?” Aubrey reminds him that he did retire a while back. But Booth was in that office a decade. I imagine it’s just a little surreal to see it occupied by someone else. They begin discussing the case with Aubrey taking a bit more initiative than he used to. But again, who can blame him? This has been his reality for the past six months.
“And I Intend To Retrieve Them By Any Means Necessary”
Back at the Jeffersonian, Brennan is absolutely thrilled to be back. She, Wendell, and Cam are draining the remains. Brennan’s face is quite reminiscent to that of a child’s on Christmas morning. “I really have missed this.” Bless you, Brennan. Cam and Wendell look to be pretty amused by her vivaciousness. This is just further evidence that the lab is Brennan’s second home. Brennan informs the others that Booth believes the body was transported to the pond for disposal. Ah, a body dump. Classic. Cam seems relatively surprised that Booth was back at work already after. But Brennan alleges that routine can be healing in times of stress. Brennan then asks how Arastoo’s job search is coming along. Cam lets her know that she wouldn’t know, as they have decided to take a break. Brennan hopes her return to the Jeffersonian was not a factor in their breakup. There a slight pause before Cam says “You coming back is what the Jeffersonian needed.” Brennan seems appeased by this response, though obviously there is something more going on in Cam’s mind. We will have to wait to find out precisely what it is. Wendell interrupts the moment with some findings on the body. And the fish predation on the body is really extensive. Enter Hodgins, who has discovered that the fish are “total carnivores.” It would appear that some missing pieces of mandible are possibly inside the fish. But no worries, Hodgins will figure out a way to retrieve said remains. He always does.
Upon further examination, it seems as though the fish have devoured some internal organs while leaving others completely in tact. It also appears that the victim has been stabbed to death, which may have attracted the fish to that particular area. They find remnants of a knife in the ribs, and send it over to Hodgins for examination.
“Thank God For Handlebar Mustaches”
While trying to ID the victim, Angela attempts to sound nonchalant in asking Cam if she would like to join Hodgins and her for dinner. Cam declines and claims to have other plans. But I have a feeling Cam does not want a pity invite. She’s “fine.”
Angela is able to identify the victim based on his handlebar mustache. Yep. That’s a new one. The victim is Lloyd Nesbit, reported missing by his assistant. He was the inventor of the Flexi-Box, an indestructible mailbox made popular in the ‘90s. Hodgins has entered the room and is still apparently a huge fan of the invention. He seems to know the commercial by heart, even this many years later. Nesbit apparently has not had a “hit” since the Flexi-Box, and Hodgins expresses his admiration for a man who never gave up on his dream. There appears to be a greater meaning behind his words, as Angela is perturbed that he is “bringing that up” again. As it turns out, Angela has been dabbling in photography. She really enjoys it and is quite talented, but is not ready to show it to the world just yet. Hodgins remains adamant that everyone will love it.
“I Thought That Was For Rotisserie Chicken”
Aubrey and Booth are checking out Nesbit’s studio. Aubrey offers to make a call to check on the location of Jared’s remains, but Booth says he has it handled. That boy needs to learn how to accept help from others every so often. The weight of the world is NOT on his shoulders. But now is not that time. Aubrey mistakes an exercise machine for a rotisserie chicken device and Booth is once again perplexed by the younger agent. Has he ever even seen an exercise machine?
The duo meets up with Nesbit’s assistant, Tim. Aubrey introduces himself and tries to introduce his “partner,” but Booth announces himself. Let’s not get all panicked here, Aubrey is just doing what he’s been doing for half a year. And additionally, he’s allowed to call Booth his partner. Brennan can still be Booth’s partner as well. Tim is stunned that his “mentor” has been murdered. And there is a binding theme in this episode. Booth is/was Aubrey’s mentor. Booth and Aubrey accuse the man of wanting to steal Nesbit’s inventions. He even had a patent out on a jewelry polish. But Tim claims the polish was his own, independent of Nesbit. Booth and Aubrey remain completely unconvinced that this man is innocent since he wasn’t being fairly compensated for his work. But Tim maintains that working with a visionary such as Nesbit and doing what he loves, that was payment enough.
“Perhaps You Can Help By Focusing On The Case”
At the lab, Wendell finds Cam and asks her if she wants to see a movie with him and his girlfriend that evening. Once again, Cam declines. “Why is it that every happy couple I know treats me like I’m broken now that I’m not in a relationship.” It’s hard to really know what she is thinking here. Except for the fact that she’s not interested in hanging out with happy couples that particular evening. Cam’s a strong lady. She will seek help, advice, or company if and when she needs it.
Hodgins enters with a couple startling discoveries. The apparent stab marks are actually surgical incisions made from a scalpel. And the fish were not responsible for consuming the victim’s liver and kidneys. In actuality, the internal organs had been harvested before he was dumped.
“A Booming Business”
Booth and Brennan are back in the diner, and more and more I am feeling a wonderful sense of comfort wash over me. They are back. And they having a lively discussion relative to the illegal organ trade. As usual, Brennan argues one side (the pros) of the issue, while Booth agrees more with the other side (the cons). I love these moments. The two of them are not always on the same page with so many issues, but they always engage in healthy debates. They listen to the other, even if they are in complete disagreement. And in the end, they always respect the other’s opinion. Sometimes it takes a little longer to see both sides, but they eventually get there. And sometimes they even shift or evolve their own viewpoints. Though once Brennan starts chattering about the importance of “donor feces,” Booth seems to be ready for a change of topic.
Booth receives a message from the mortuary, which still has not been able to locate his brother’s ashes. Yes, I am certain this would cause anyone great stress. But for Booth, this anger seems indicative of a more significant emotional issue. Brennan wants to know how she can help, but Booth says she can’t help him. “You’re clearly upset. How can I be there for you in your grief if you won’t let me in?” This is yet another case of Brennan’s evolution as well as her very deep and intimate knowledge of Booth. She still cannot always intuitively discern the emotional state of others. But she knows Booth. She knows there is something bigger going on with him. He is clearly upset about his brother’s death- more than just the inconvenience of the misplacement of his ashes. She wants to be there for him while he’s hurting. But she doesn’t quite know how if he won’t tell her. Booth may be a little short with her here, but she makes allowances. Booth claims his demeanor is not about grief, and more about being “pissed.” “There’s a difference.” Brennan’s face tells us she’s not fooled by his evasion.
“A Black Market Craigslist”
Hodgins lets Angela know he has determined time of death. But that’s not the reason he wants to see her. He has actually arranged a show for her at the Founding Fathers that very night to display her photography. He told her last minute so that she would not be able to back out. He has also invited some industry professionals. But Angela is perturbed, and still requests that he cancel the show immediately.
In the bone room, Cam and Wendell discover that the murderer also took Nesbit’s achilles tendons, and quite possibly his corneas as well. Additionally, Wendell has noticed some peri-mortem injuries to the ribs that could not have been caused by the scalpel.
Meanwhile, Angela is on the “Dark Web” looking at organ deals brokered online. She’s found a sale that matches up with the victim’s death and missing organs, but the Dark Web is “super encrypted,” making it near impossible to find out who was selling these organs. Aubrey has an idea of how to find the matchmaker. He pretends to want to sell part of his liver, and meets up with the organ “matchmaker” in question. He reveals his true identity to the matchmaker and she claims it was just a “theoretical” conversation with no transaction taking place. She denies having anything to do with Nesbit’s murder, and refuses to give up the names of the surgeons with whom she works.
“It’s Just Temporary”
Brennan walks into the FBI and heads to Booth’s (old) office, only to be quite confused to find him sitting out in the bullpen. Booth claims it’s “only temporary, no big deal.” Brennan disagrees. Booth has been through so much in such a short period of time. He should be given an office that allows him privacy. But no. Once again, he’s “fine.” He snaps at her a bit, accusing her of coming to check on him under the pretense of work. But it is partially about work, and she throws a folder on his desk. She adds “your behavior does nothing to assuage my concern.” Booth immediately apologizes. He recognizes he shouldn’t have been short with her. She was trying to help, and only ever has his best interest at heart. He has a lot going on in his head right now. She seems mollified by his apology and admission, and lets it go. For now.
The conversation is brought back to the case, and Brennan gives him a list of “potential subjects” who have recently obtained organs. The suspect pool was narrowed down to only those who were a match for Nesbit’s organs. This leads Booth to the conclusion that the killer had access to Nesbit’s medical records. Booth believes that the most viable suspect is a data entry employee at the insurance company through which Nesbit had medical coverage. His daughter was previously on the transplant list.
Aubrey interrogates the suspect. He confesses to buying his daughter a kidney online, but was unaware that a man died for it. He also refuses to give up the name of the surgeon, in hopes that he may be able to once again save his daughter’s life in the future.
“The Only Thing These Fish Are Pooping Is Poop”
Hodgins has been unsuccessful at getting the fish to defecate the remains, so he tries to make them regurgitate instead. Though if anyone can do it, it’s Hodgins. The man has a gift. And of course he ends up being successful in this particular endeavor. It won’t be long until they retrieve all the missing pieces of mandible from the fishes’ stomachs.
Wendell takes the opportunity to speak to Hodgins about Angela’s photography show. He acts like the middle man, telling him that Angela would like to cancel and that Hodgins is not really hearing her. But Hodgins isn’t backing down yet. He knows his wife, and is certain she will be thanking him by the end of the night.
Back to the case, Hodgins finds skin cells on the wound to the ribs. And they do not match the victim’s pigment. Angela and Cam figure out that the mark on the rib was made by a trocar button, used by morticians in the embalming process. This indicates that the surgeon was also probably a mortician. It is also plausible that when the scalpel broke off on the rib, the surgeon grabbed “whatever sharp object he could find.” Before she has time to inform Booth, Cam gets a DNA match on the skin cells. It turns out they belong to a victim of a fatal drive by shooting ten days prior. If they can find the mortician, then they likely have found the surgeon.
Brennan is concerned about Booth visiting a funeral home, given everything that has been going on. “It’s only natural that being in a mortuary could stir up feelings of grief.” Once again, Booth asserts that he’s not having an emotional breakdown. He just wants to find his brother’s ashes. Brennan tells him that Jared his gone, and his ashes are “merely a physical representation of the man he was.” But Booth doesn’t see it that way. To Booth, the ashes are Jared. And Jared was his brother. “His life was troubled enough, alright. The least I can do is help him rest in peace.” Brennan seems satisfied with his explanation. She knows Booth. He’s not an open book. It takes him time to process his emotions, especially when there is guilt involved. I think she knows that if experience is any indicator, he will share the full weight of his grief when he’s ready. He knows he can trust her. He trusts her with his life and his heart. She literally said the words “I won’t hurt you.” He knows he’s safe with her. They just need to get through this case. I also always find their differing opinions on death quite fascinating. It’s clear who believes in an afterlife and who does not.
We take a quick trip back to the lab where Hodgins has come to apologize to Angela. He knows her photography is very personal, and he feels badly for pressuring her. It is so difficult to ever be angry with that man. He has the purest heart of anyone, metaphorically speaking. Anything he does, he does it out of love. And he only wants Angela to be happy. Her art is a huge of her being, it makes her happy. And he truly believed she was talented enough to impress some big names. He offers to cancel the party, and tells her he’s proud of her. Apparently his words worked because she is now willing to go on with the show.
At the funeral home, I was feeling a bit nostalgic. Booth and Brennan have arrived, and it’s somewhat reminiscent of Double Death of the Dearly Departed- minus Booth’s exuberant rendition of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Booth pretends they are there to “celebrate” the life of the deceased. And Brennan gives him one of my favorite “WTF” looks, for lack of a better description. Booth advises Brennan to play it cool. But she notices that the body’s abdominal cavity looks a bit deflated. And just as in Double Death, Brennan spends a bit too much time examining the deceased. Definitely drawing a bit of attention to herself. And in true Brennan fashion, she declares “Aha! Just as I suspected.” Booth tells her it’s probably not the best place to “do this right now.” I love that he’s not at all shocked. Just very standard behavior of his partner and wife.
No “Free Pass”
Aubrey has the mortician in the interrogation room, where he admits to occasionally taking a body part from a client. After all, he wasn’t hurting anyone. The bodies were already dead. Aubrey tries to get him to admit to murdering for the purpose of obtaining more organs to harvest. He disputes the “ridiculous” assumption. He didn’t know the body was a murder victim. He was told Nesbit died in a car accident. And the body was delivered by “a trusted friend.” Aubrey brings up phone records between him and the matchmaker, and he offers to talk if given a pardon. But Aubrey walks to the door and says “guys like you do not get a free pass.” Bravo!
Everyone has pooled together their findings at the lab, determining that the mortician was telling the truth and Nesbit was apparently hit by a car. The car seemed to ram into his legs, knocking him to the ground. And then it proceeded to smash his jaw and kill him. Cause of death alert? Brennan displays a barely noticeable smirk at the end of the scene. While she’s not one to take pleasure in the demise of others, she seems so elated to be back solving crimes.
“Please Don’t Tell Me There’s A Grown Man Digging Through My Trash”
Aubrey has apparently been working hard to help Booth find Jared’s ashes. He finds a box matching the weight and dimensions of the missing box. Booth tells him he was already taking care of it. But Aubrey tells Booth that he would have done the same if the situation was reversed. Aubrey respects Booth. He is always looking out for him. They haven’t known each other long, but they have already been through a lot. And Booth has definitely served as a mentor to Aubrey. He represents the kind of agent and the kind of man that Aubrey aspires to be. Booth finally relents, and tells Aubrey that he appreciates his help. Sadly for Booth though, the box turns out to be a package of flavored marmalade. Lucky for Aubrey, there’s a jar of apple fig- “it’s a high-quality marmalade.”
Semi-defeated, Booth sends Aubrey to go with Angela, who has identified the car that supposedly killed Nesbit. It appears to be the same car belonging to the matchmaker. Hodgins, Aubrey, and Angela inspect the vehicle for anything indicating it to be the murder weapon. And they are in luck, as there appears to be a massive blood stain inside the vehicle. Of course the blood belongs to Nesbit.
“The Right Thing”
Matchmaker (fine I’ll give her a name now) Nina admits to tossing his body into the pond, but claims she had nothing to do with Nesbit’s murder. She’s “in the business of saving lives, not ending them.” I believe her, as there is too much time left in the episode for her to be the killer. Nina claims the body was brought to her and she couldn’t bear to let all the organs go to waste. She won’t reveal the identity of the deliverer. How could any of her donors trust her? And if they don’t trust her, how can she save lives? She is one of those people with a strange sense of justice, I suppose. Aubrey accuses her of protecting a murderer. But Nina delivers the moral message of the episode- “But doing the right thing is rarely the same as doing the easy thing.” That gets Aubrey thinking.
Wendell is struggling with the “right thing” himself. The situation according to him is lose-lose. If Nina is the murderer, then they apprehend a killer and dozens of people who need organs may die. Brennan reminds him that their sole job is to catch the murderer. Objectivity is key. As always. After further examination it does not appear that the victim was run down by a car. The angle of impact doesn’t match. He may have been hit by a PIECE of car. Angela recreates a scenario in which an assailant uses the bumper guard to strike the victim. The revised murder weapon is agreed upon by all.
“Mr Big Shot”
Booth walks to his temporary desk only to discover that Bobblehead Bobby has gone missing. Aubrey leads Booth into his new (old) office, where everything was back in its rightful place. I think something Nina said really stuck with Aubrey. Booth asks him if he’s sure. “What do you think, I’m going to steal an office from the guy who taught me everything I know?” Say what you will about Aubrey. Put aside your personal feelings about him for a moment. He did NOT have to give Booth his office back. Booth retired. That office and this job were rightfully his, per Booth’s request (well at least the job was). Booth would have eventually been given an office. And I’m sure it would have more than sufficient. But Booth is of the belief that some “things” carry greater meaning. His poker chip, his St. Christopher medallion, the stadium seats, Bobblehead Bobby- these things all mean something deeper to him. They all represent a part of him. A part of his past, his present, and his future. A part of his life. Through these objects, he can remember parts of himself and moments of his life- good and bad. He carries them with him like totems. The office, while not necessarily an object (at least not a small one), certainly holds great meaning for him. It is the office he moved into when he first began working with Brennan. He has lived through the best and worst times of his life while working in that office. It represents hard work. Dedication to the job. A successful partnership. And most importantly, a life well-lived. Aubrey did a touching thing by returning his office to its “rightful” owner. Even in their short time together, he knows what it meant to him. I don’t think Aubrey would have felt at ease keeping it. Besides, he will be just fine. He is getting his own corner office upstairs. Moving on up, James. Aubrey did make sure to acknowledge that he learned from the best. They make a good team.
“I Was Just Trying To Make Something Good Out Of What Happened”
Brennan relays the news of the bumper guard to Booth and Aubrey. As Nina’s car did not have a metal bumper guard, she could not have murdered Nesbit. Aubrey may be stumped, but Booth’s “got this one.” That’s why he’s the best. Turns out that Nesbit’s assistant, Tim, tried to repurpose his jewelry polish as a car polish because Nesbit detested the jewelry polish. Though apparently he also hated it as a car polish. Tim sold his right kidney for $30K- Nesbit told him it was the only way he could keep his job. Tim was sure that their big payday was right around the corner. But it never came. So he hit Nesbit. And killed him. It was an accident, but then Tim went and sold his organs to Nina. That wasn’t an accident. His rationale- he “hacked up” his boss’s body to save lives and make up for the one that he took. “Isn’t that worth anything?” Not enough.
“Doesn’t Mean You Made The Wrong Choice”
Cam comes to Brennan’s office and asks for a minute of her time. She tells Brennan that she does not blame her for what happened between her and Arastoo. “Nor should you.” Always the logical one, Brennan. Cam admits that she’s having trouble accepting that she has to choose between her relationship and her job. Brennan knows this scenario well. “That’s not an easy dilemma.” Cam’s upset because everyone’s being overly kind to her, and she misses Arastoo. But most of all, she may actually be okay with her choice- choosing work over Arastoo. I suspect she has come to Brennan with this because while everyone else has been treating her like a glass doll, Brennan knows what this feels like. And she is the best person to dole out advise. She will not hold back. “And it makes you feel guilty.” Brennan has chosen work over men. Several times over. And she knows that is is more than okay. Even if Cam feels an overwhelming sense of guilt about it all, Brennan declares that “it doesn’t mean you made the wrong choice.” Whether or not it was just bad timing or “not meant to be” (if you believe in such things), Arastoo and Cam needed to choose themselves over their coupling. They were not in the same place. Arastoo needed to start his career, and Cam needed to stay because she was excelling in hers. Like Brennan, the Jeffersonian is where she belongs. It was clearly not where Arastoo belonged- yet. And that’s okay. It’s okay to choose yourself. Brennan confirmed this sentiment with Cam. Talking to Brennan allowed her to gain reassurance, a sense of relief, and a sense of peace. This was a short but very meaningful scene. And also extremely important. Brennan never let any man (or anyone) stand in the way of her career. It wasn’t until Booth came along that she attempted a long-term relationship, complete with love and strings. Booth never stood in her way. He only ever stood beside her. With him, she knew she could have both- a relationship and her work. Even this last sabbatical was her choice. Sometimes Bones has these really wonderful scenes that are so relatable to everyday life. I love this show for that. And for so much more
“Guy Can’t Enjoy A Little Culture With His Free Cheese?”
That night at Founding Fathers, Angela is disappointed (but not surprised) that no one attended her show. Hodgins points out Aubrey (getting food, of course), Cam and Wendell. “Wow, three whole people. And four if you count that homeless guy.” Everyone is really complimentary of her work, and Hodgins even fudged a bidding war for her photographs. He just wants her to feel fulfilled. And accomplished. And he wants her to be recognized for the talented artist she is. The whole thing has her feeling a bit deflated. Until she realizes the homeless guy is actually a famous photographer. And he wants to buy one of her pieces. Yay Angie! Hodgins is proud. We’re all proud. You keep doing what you do.
“Girl Really Loves Her Brother”
Back in their home, Brennan tells Booth to be quiet because she has something to show him. She grabs his arm and leads him into baby Hank’s bedroom where both their sleeping children lay. Christine wanted to have a sleepover with her brother. But that’s not what Brennan wanted to show her husband. She lifts a blanket to reveal the missing box of ashes. Apparently Christine had been using the box as a step stool to get into Hank’s crib.
Brennan asks if Booth if he wants to open it, but Booth just says “maybe later.” Brennan is slightly confused. She was under the impression Booth was frantic over the missing remains. Their discovery should help ease some of that. But as we figured, it was not really all about Jared’s ashes. It was about Jared being gone. Something she basically knew from the beginning. She understands how much he misses his brother. And it doesn’t help that Booth feels like he failed Jared. But she will be there for him, like she always is.
Booth wants them to leave the room so as not to wake up their kids (KIDS…THEY HAVE MULTIPLE KIDS). He also wants to let the box stay in the bedroom so Christine has a way to visit her brother in the morning. Booth wistfully observes how much Christine loves her baby brother. I imagine he wants to protect his children from the childhood he and his brother shared, and keep their relationship as pure and good as it is now. Brennan agrees with Booth- Christine really loves her brother. This moment is so wonderfully sweet. Teeth. Hurting. Booth gets another glimpse of his sleeping children, and then takes a quick look over to his wife. And back to his children as he shuts the door. There are still demons with which he will contend over time. But it will all be okay. They have each other. They are a family. No one has to be alone. And life is good again. “Yes, life is very good.”
NEXT WEEK: BETTY WHITE!!