It was the first-ever Bones Thanksgiving! Well, obviously it was not the first Thanksgiving our characters have ever had in their world. But it was certainly the first we were privy to observing. But it wasn’t all fun, games and “fofurkey.” The case was actually quite serious and a bit complex. Definitely not the run-of-the-mill holiday episode we have seen in the past. But I do believe we got the right dose of holiday fun and an engaging case to boot. And the ending was an absolute gift to fans. So all in all, it was a perfect Thanksgiving for me!
It’s A Secret
The episode opens with Brennan sorting Thanksgiving decorations in the kitchen. She is on the phone with an unknown caller discussing a secret that is to be kept from Booth. But Booth chooses this moment to enter the room, which forces Brennan to adjust her wording accordingly. Poor Brennan. We know she cannot “act cool” in situations such as these. She may have been able to trick Booth into believing he ate a real brain a few weeks back, but straight up lying? Her technique leave much to be desired. Though her attempt at fabrication is of course, adorable. She tells Booth that she was speaking to a telemarketer. And she does not seem to try very hard to hold back an obvious smile as she lies to her husband. But really, she is going to call a telemarketer back? “I don’t want to be rude.” Booth tells her that “God definitely didn’t give you the lying gene.” Brennan tries to distract him with some “mumbo jumbo” about the genetic origins of mendacity, but Booth is still not falling for it. Brennan changes the subject to Thanksgiving. She doesn’t think they should have a turkey since it will just be the four of them (and Booth is the only one who eats turkey). The four of them. Booth and Brennan. Married. And their two children. Pinch me. Brennan thinks an entire turkey will be a huge waste (and there is also a bit about a “turkey dance” in there that I’m sure our dear Emily requested), but Booth says they’ll just invite Aubrey over. Problem solved. Actually that is probably very true. They can also invite Angela, Hodgins, and everyone else at the lab. And we are back to the original issue at hand- what is Brennan hiding from Booth? But as per usual, Brennan is saved by the body find bell!
I’m Not Your Caddy
From the kitchen to a golf course, Booth and Brennan will bicker (lovingly) anywhere. They are on their way to the site of the remains, using a golf cart as transport. Apparently the couple had played the exclusive course before, and are talking about its quality. Booth did not like the greens, but Brennan tells him it’s all about mathematics. Truth. What I wouldn’t give to see these two play a round of golf. That could be an episode of Bones all on its own! Aubrey is in the “backseat” and wants to know if he’s allowed to talk. “Typically caddies don’t speak.” The group then talks about whether golf is a game or a sport. Booth says there’s no defense- hence, not a sport. And Brennan acknowledges that, according to Booth, if she can beat him at something then it is not a sport. Aubrey is surprised that the pair has actually played the course, as not many people have had that privilege. “Well you know when you’re married to, I don’t know, a best-selling novelist, you can get in pretty much anywhere you want. Right?” Booth says this with the biggest smirk on his face, and my metaphorical heart skips a beat. Apparently that same advantage doesn’t extend to Aubrey for merely being professionally associated with Booth and his novelist wife. “That doesn’t count.” Booth changes the subject to Thanksgiving, and invites Aubrey over to their home. He assures the hungry agent that there will be real turkey. Brennan chimes in: “Or a very tasty ‘fofurkey’ recipe that will change the way you think about meat substitutes.” That’s not exactly a thrilling selling point for Aubrey, but I’m certainly intrigued.
The group finally meets up with Cam and Hodgins at the area where the body was found, and Brennan begins to examine the remains. Hodgins is able to determine time of death based on the victim’s watch. Brennan announces that the victim was a female between 55 and 60 years old. And apparently this is the perfect window for her to invite everyone else to Thanksgiving dinner. “Oh, wow, that is a nice segue there, Bones.” But she felt it seemed appropriate due to the similarities between the texture of human and turkey tissue. If I didn’t already eschew animal products from my diet, this episode may have convinced me to forgo turkey this thanksgiving. Because really, Brennan is doing a sufficient job of disgusting me here. She seems to be affecting Aubrey as well- “Meat substitute doesn’t sound too bad right now.” The gang debates the reasoning behind the location of the body dump. “Smart kill, smart method of disposal.”
Dr. Fuentes is the intern of the week, and he has discovered that the victim was not a golfer. Angela asks him if he plays golf, but he explains that Castro turned all Cuban golf courses into public housing and military schools when he came into power. I do rather enjoy how every intern comes to the lab with a uniquely special backstory. And I never tire of Fuentes’s. He finds shrapnel on the victim, which is confusing because of her more advanced age. The killer also appears to have been intelligent. “He” knew that the decomp gases would bring the body to the surface of the water, “so he carved her open like a Thanksgiving turkey.”
Even Murder Doesn’t Come Cheap These Days
After adjusting for all the alterations made to her face, Hodgins recognizes the victim from Angela’s reconstruction. She was Vivian Prince, a well-known and nationally renowned political reporter from “The DC Sentinel.” Brennan recognizes her as the one who “broke the NSA story.” Apparently she had been revealing how the NSA has been spying on Americans.
On the way to the newspaper, Aubrey and Booth debate where to draw the line between freedom of the press and treason. Booth is of course very passionate about his stance. Aubrey quickly changes the subject to the victim’s ex-husband who had been enjoying a mediocre career covering high school sports. But given the controversial nature of Vivian’s job, her work seems like the best place to the begin the investigation.
I Get The Front Page Left?
At the paper, Booth is revealing his luddite and old fashioned tendency to read physical newspapers each and every morning. I actually didn’t think that was completely out of style, but Aubrey implies that he’s old. Actually he flat out tells Booth he is old. But to Booth, it’s just tradition. They meet with Vivian’s editor who informs them that she had exposed a cooperation as a NSA hit squad. He believes her death is a direct result of the “outing.” Vivian apparently had a source for all of her documents- “The American.” The editor has no idea as to the identity of The American, since he wants to remain anonymous and avoid exile (like Snowden). The editor has a moment of realization and calls in an eager young reporter, Kate, to his office. He informs her that Vivian has been murdered, and Kate immediately gets on the story so the paper doesn’t get scooped. Of course this behavior is suspicious to Booth, as there wasn’t even a moment of mourning. “I report the news. I can’t afford to react to it.” Aubrey is beginning to see why Vivian had so much plastic surgery- there was a newer younger model waiting to pounce. But the editor claims that he is in a dying business, and Kate’s photo will attract a lot of eyeballs to their site. Suspicious? Or just the sad truth?
Goodbye, Mr. Gill
Ryan Gill from the NSA shows up in Cam’s office. He says he is there to supervise the investigation, and that everything the Jeffersonian finds must pass through him. Immediately, I do not care for this man. And apparently, neither does Cam. She goes into boss-mode, telling him to leave. She is reluctant to turn over anything to an agency with motive to kill Vivian Prince. He’s “afraid” that the refusal is unacceptable. “And I’m afraid I don’t work for you, I don’t answer to you, and until I see a court order saying I have to share information with you, I’m gonna have to ask you to leave the building.” Don’t screw with Cam.
I Like Her Style
Booth and Brennan are in the car, but it’s not one of those sweet joyous car rides this time around. They have a heated discussion about the alleged NSA-operated “Greystream Solutions.” Booth thinks Vivian was as much in the wrong as Greystream. Brennan takes “the long view,” which obviously means she goes back to the days of George Washington who could have been looked at as a traitor instead of a “patriot agitating for change.” But Booth firmly believes that Vivian Prince was “wrong.” What I love about these two people is that they feel free to be their true selves around each other. They are never hesitant to share all of who they are and what they believe. Because at the end of the day it’s always a safe space. No matter how intense the debate may get, they are still able to respect one another and understand from where the other one is coming. Even if they are unable to always understand the “why” behind it.
At the FBI, Booth and Brennan are interviewing a higher-up, Cooper Blackthorn, from Greystream Solutions. He is being rather stingy with information, as he tells the two most everything is above their clearance level. That must be some pretty secretive stuff, as I thought very few had a higher clearance level than Booth and Brennan. Brennan flat out asks if he killed Vivian, since she figures they may as well cut to the chase. Blackthorn likes her style and answers that question. No. He didn’t kill her. Nor did he have her killed. However, he did admit that he was not too torn up about her death. She “decimated” his organization and “put lives on the line.” He adds that the FBI should be “going after The American for treason” and not looking into Greystream Solutions. But Brennan tells him that he’s a suspect because the forensics suggest that Vivian was killed by a professional, “such as yourself.” Blackthorn begins to speak in hypotheticals. He tells Booth and Brennan that if his organization killed Vivian, the FBI would never have found her. He also adds that the evidence they have found was “amatuerish.” Booth wants to know how he knows what they have. “Didn’t you read the articles? NSA listens in on everything.” But Blackthorn’s not really saying anything at all. This was all purely hypothetical. IF the NSA was listening in on everything the FBI was doing, then he would know that they “don’t have jack.” So he gets up and leaves a suspicious and frustrated pair of partners.
It Was All For Show
Dr. Fuentes has discovered the shape of the weapon which killed Vivian. He explains to Cam why he doesn’t believe Vivian was killed by a professional anymore. There was not just one crushing blow. Hodgins comes in with a more precise time of death (after spending $8,000 on a watch identical to Vivian’s to test), and Cam casually mentions billing the NSA who had previously tried to take over the investigation. Hodgins goes into full-conspiracy mode. He doesn’t know if they actually killed Vivian, “but they sure as hell want to find The American.” If the Jeffersonian and FBI’s investigation leads the NSA to The American, “he’s dead.” Hodgins requests everyone’s phones. “Big Brother is watching here.” He wants everyone to write everything down (or whisper) from that moment on.
Like A Kid On Christmas Morning
Booth and Brennan are in the car again, and this time it is a “YAY” moment. Brennan believes there may be something to Hodgins’ paranoia. And Booth says that they shouldn’t talk about the case in case anyone is listening in. He wants to return to the subject of the mysterious phone call from that morning. She tells him that he’s imagining things, but he thinks the only thing he’s imagining is that Brennan is shopping “early” for the Jet Ski Booth has been salivating over. “I am not Christmas shopping, and if I were, I assure you I would not be buying you a Jet Ski so you could kill yourself riding around like a 16 year old.” He tells her “it would make your HUSBAND very happy, like a kid on Christmas morning” Swoon. But she assures him that “Hank and Christine will be like kids on Christmas morning. You will be like a grownup. Or, as grownup as you can be.” She knows that he is really just a giant kid sometimes. But she loves it. He tells her Christmas morning is a time when everybody acts like a kid. They do their little banter game back and forth with Booth talking about “feetie pajamas” and the Jet Ski, and Brennan trying to stand her ground. The fact that some of this was ad-libbed just makes me adore David and Emily that much more. It’s always so natural for them.
At the victim’s apartment, it’s back to business. Booth figures out that someone had been there since Vivian died. Booth thinks it may be the NSA, but amended alimony documents on Vivian’s desk suggest that maybe the ex-husband had more to do with it than they initially thought.Vivian was cutting him off entirely. Brennan also finds a glucometer, though she didn’t see anything in the files that indicated Vivian was diabetic. Additionally, her laptop is also missing from the scene.
Aubrey brings the ex-husband into the interrogation room. He tells Aubrey that the two were amicable, and that he was hoping they would become friends again. Cutting him off was the ex’s idea. He realized that he didn’t want to live off Vivian anymore. He denies breaking into her home. He loved her. He did not want her dead. He tells Aubrey to go after the eager reporter at the Sentinel, Kate.
Aubrey runs into Ryan Gill outside the interrogation room. This guy is just everywhere. He wants to help the FBI, as he believes the NSA needs to do better. If a member of the NSA killed Vivian, then he wants to know about it so he can bring that person and the organization to justice. He tells Aubrey to ask Kate about the encryption key when he goes to “interview” her. Kate has apparently been using the key to try to decode the emails between Vivian and The American.
Aubrey is pretending to let Kate interview him, but is refusing to comment on any of her questions. He asks her about what Vivian was really like, and she talks about the victim as a sort of career template for when she first began. But she later realized that Vivian wasn’t going to let anyone actually work with her. She begins to pick up on Aubrey’s intentions in wanting to speak with her. He informs her that the FBI has fingerprints from whoever broke into Vivian’s home, and that they also know about the encryption key. Kate admits to being in her apartment and stealing both her laptop and the encryption key. She wasn’t able to crack it, but is hoping the FBI will call her if they can get into it. Because she’s being “so cooperative.”
Hodgins is being his usual paranoid self, but Angela assures him that they already swept for bugs at the lab. She cannot, however, seem to fully crack the key. Enter Cam, who has discovered that Vivian was not a diabetic, and that the glucometer was really part of a dual passcode system. As it turns out, the messages from The American could only be decoded with a passcode and a verification code drawn from her own blood. Dr. Fuentes extracts a bit of Vivian’s blood from her femur, and they are able to unlock the files. Angela gets the last email from The American to Vivian. They were supposed to meet at an inn, and he instructed her to make sure that she was not followed. This was the same night her body was dumped.
Booth and Brennan journey to the hotel where Vivian supposedly met The American. They attempt to get records or footage from the manager, but it turns out that it actually was a popular DC hotspot for Washington Insiders to conduct off-the-grid meetings. There is no cell service, wifi, cameras, or anything that could or would interfere with privacy. B&B want to inspect the room last occupied by Vivian, and he has no problem with that. He tells the partners that he told their “associate” a few minutes prior that he’s all for them doing their job. But that’s not right, there is no associate with the partners.
Booth throws open the door to the room only to find that pesky NSA man, Ryan Gill once again. He claims he just wants to help, but Booth orders him not to touch anything. I do love how Brennan just goes off on her own all the time to inspect possible crime scenes. In this particular room, she has discovered some fluids on the bed. We’ll just leave it at that. Gill tells them that they should work together, as they both have a case to solve. Brennan finds blood spatter on the curtain. They’ll need to do a full workup. Just then, Brennan spots a hotel employee pushing a food cart through the hallway. She runs out yelling “Sir! Stop! FBI!…Partner of the FBI.” And it is completely adorable. As is most everything she does, in my opinion at least. The silver food lid is the exact shape of what allegedly hit the victim. She believes it to be the murder weapon. Booth asks the employee if he recognizes Vivian. He does, but not from the night of her murder. It was actually six months prior when her husband caught her at the hotel with another man.
The Word That You Used Was Amicable
Aubrey brings the ex-husband back in for interrogation. He accuses him of killing Vivian after catching her with another man. The ex vehemently denies it. But they did fight when she admitted the affair to him. He claims they were on good terms before she died. He tells Aubrey that perhaps the man she was seeing was her killer. He doesn’t know the identity of the man, but he does know that he has “nice shoes.” That’s all he saw before Vivian slammed the door. Aubrey is still suspicious of the ex-husband. But he was actually in Tallahassee the night his ex-wife was killed. The ex initially lied to his company because he had an interview. If he was going to make it without Vivian, he couldn’t stay in DC.
The Jeffersonian and the FBI crime units are inspecting the hotel room. Hodgins is frustrated that Ryan Gill’s prints keep coming up. “Like an elephant in a china shop.” The killer was able to eliminate all trace evidence, so the team isn’t coming up with much. Hodgins realizes that that Ryan Gill was not stupid for touching everything, he actually contaminated the scene on purpose to cover up the fact that he had been to the room before. Perhaps he was either the killer or the man with whom Vivian was sleeping. “He did have nice shoes.” But Hodgins comes up with a third option. And he writes it down on a napkin- Ryan Gill is The American.
Must Be All the Fish And Chips In London
Booth, Brennan and Hodgins are at the diner discussing the latest case developments. Booth wants to bring in Gill for questioning, but Hodgins tells him he can’t. The NSA will figure out that he’s The American and they will have him killed. But Booth isn’t feeling too generous towards Gill, as he committed treason. “This guy put dozens of agents’ lives in jeopardy.” Booth served, Hodgins didn’t. He doesn’t want to give this guy special treatment. Before Booth can storm out, Brennan wants him to hear what Hodgins has to say. But Booth isn’t having it. He brings up the fact that Brennan has been “all about secrets” this week. But she tries to tell him that “some secrets are good secrets.” Booth tells her he disagrees, but turns around to the sound of “hi Dad.” And there is Parker. Booth is surprised, and Brennan is elated. This was the secret she had been keeping. Brennan also lets Booth know that she’s procured seats behind the glass for the “Flyers” game. Hey! Look who knows the name of Booth’s hockey team, now. Someone was giving Booth a taste of his own “Mapoopoo Islands” medicine. Booth finally admits that some secrets, he likes. He tells Parker that he’s getting big. Which makes perfect sense, since he has been recast since last we saw him at the wedding. But this recasting was pretty seamless. It didn’t feel awkward or like a disruption of any sort. Booth thanks Brennan, and tells her he really appreciates this. And she looks happy to have made him so happy. Because she knows that nothing makes Booth happier than his family. And now he gets to have his WHOLE family for the holiday. Look at you Dr. Brennan, you are proving to be quite the pro at this whole romance/marriage/mate thing.
That Changes Everything
Dr. Fuentes is telling Cam about some peri-mortem avulsion fractures to the victim. He believes they were caused by restraints. Vivian was tied down and tortured for information before she was murdered. The unique method used was the same one used in West Africa. And the head of Greystream Solutions, Cooper Blackthorn, was also stationed in West Africa.
Booth meets Ryan Gill, aka The American, back at the hotel later that night. He wants to stay completely off the grid because he knows that Gill is The American. Gill tries to scan the room for bugs using a metal detector (paranoid much??), but Booth assures him they are not being recorded. He lays out all of Gill’s violations, but Gill knows what he did. He just doesn’t think he should be executed for it. The night Vivian was killed, they were deciding what to do with all the information. She was going to continue “hammering” Greystream Solutions. He “knows” that Cooper Blackthorn was the one who came back to kill Vivian that night. Because he also knows that Cam and Dr. Fuentes found evidence that Blackthorn tortured Vivian “ten minutes ago.” Booth tells him that this bit of information changes everything. If they have Vivian’s killer than his life isn’t in danger. Booth can arrest him for treason. Sneaky Booth.
Aubrey has Cooper Blackthorn in the interrogation room with his lawyer. He was operating under the orders of the NSA. But the order was not to murder her. He was instructed to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” to recover stolen NSA documents. And he admits to doing just that. But Vivian knew that if she died, then Greystream Solutions would be “on the hook.” So Vivian did not give up the location of the jump drive. Blackthorn knows all the evidence the FBI has. And he knows that they have him for torture, but not for murder. Because he did not kill Vivian that night.
Even Paranoids Have Enemies
Back at the lab, Hodgins and Angela are talking about the confirmation that the NSA really does listen to every word they say. Hodgins is scanning the room with a metal detector, presumably for bugs. Brennan comes in telling the pair that the lid is actually not the murder weapon. It’s only a match for one of the blows to the body. The other blows do not match. She was killed with two weapons. With information from Brennan and Fuentes, they determine that Vivian must have been hit with something akin to a “long rectangular computer.” As if on cue, Hodgins finds Angela’s earring with the metal detector. Apparently the couple has been having a few office romps as of late. But Brennan realizes in that moment that he’s actually holding the murder weapon. Booth took that metal detector from Ryan Gill. So not only is he The American, he is also the killer.
Booth and Aubrey have Gill in the interrogation room. They have him for both treason and murder. He’s done. So he spills. He did not want Vivian to expose Greystream Solutions. She crossed a line between what the public should know and what would endanger lives. She wanted a bigger story. He tried to get his drive back, but Vivian fought to secure the only leverage she had to keep her job from Kate’s younger grubby hands. He was trying to find the jump drive with his metal detector and Vivian collided with it. It was an accident. But he carved the body and dumped it in the pond. That’s not an accident.
Just when you think the episode is going to turn to “fofurkey” time, we cut to Hodgins who is in Vivian’s office searching for something. He finally finds the elusive jump drive under Vivian’s George Orwell piece on her desk. Kate catches him and asks about any loose ends he may know about. He tells her it’s Thanksgiving. And that she should go home. But she says that “news doesn’t sleep for the holidays.” I think that may have startled him just a bit into doing what he does at the very end of the episode.
Chicken Squares Are Awesome
The last scene at Booth and Brennan’s home was obviously the most anticipated of the episode, and it definitely did not disappoint. In such a short period of time, every type of fan got a little something. We see Booth playing video games with Parker. Christine and Michael Vincent are coloring, and Cam and Fuentes are drinking wine. Brennan and Angela are having a lovely little moment of their own. “It’s nice to have your boys together, huh?” For whatever reason, I’m still not used to Brennan carting around this adorable baby boy, and it’s honestly just the most precious thing ever. “Yea and they all have the same maturity level.” I think Hank wins with that comment. Angela says that big families are nice. And Brennan asks whether Angela and Hodgins are thinking about expanding. She sort of shrugs and admits that she is.” Brennan offers her a little practice and hands Hank to “Auntie Angela.” I take it back, this is the most precious thing. Aubrey walks over to where Cam and Fuentes are gathered to talk about how delicious the “chicken squares” are. But sadly for Aubrey, they are actually baked tofu with artichoke hearts. He tells them that if there isn’t turkey, he is going to the diner.
Hodgins enters and asks to speak with Booth. He wants to show Booth the recovered jump drive. Booth asks him if he’s going to broadcast everything contained on the drive. But Hodgins says he’s going to give it to Booth. He admits he does not believe he is qualified to decide the right thing to do with the information. He trusts Booth to know what to do with it. Booth tells him to destroy it so no one else gets hurt. This is a huge step for conspiracy-obsessed Hodgins. And it was just a nice moment we don’t often see between the two men.
Brennan announces it’s time to eat. “Fofurkey for everyone!.” Booth assures Aubrey that she’s joking, and that they also have a huge turkey cooking. Compromise. Everyone gets ready to sit down to dinner. Booth stops Brennan who is holding a pie and kisses her on the cheek. And as a fandom, you can hear a collective swoon as the episode fades out and he hugs her close to him.
I am a broken record of positivity and love when it comes to this show, but I adored every aspect of this episode. It was fun, thrilling, and just really sweet. It is fascinating that after 11 seasons, this is the first Thanksgiving episode. And they really found a fresh way to present us with a holiday story. I loved seeing everyone together at the end. And all the kids were present, which was also a new dynamic. We have a bit of a break before the two-episode finale. But I think we will all need it to prepare. The undercover episode, I’m quite certain, will be really enjoyable for all. But I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the spoilers for the second part. More to come on that in the next couple weeks. Until then, enjoy the break!