Bones - Season 6, Episode 4 (Review)
The Body and the Bounty
A couple of adorable freegans are out on their first dinner date. While rummaging in a Dumpster, they find a decomposing head. Brennan and team are called to the scene, where they also find the victim's hands. Booth and Brennan continue an earlier conversation about committing the perfect crime, to the confusion of Saroyan. The victim's teeth were shattered, Brennan suggests in order to hinder identification. Additionally, the victim's hands were sawed off: striations (evidence of sharp trauma probably from a serrated knife) are evident on the distal ulna. Saroyan notes something unusual about the phalanges. Brennan corrects her and notes that there is a flattened exostosis on the (right) first metacarpal and proximal phalanx. Booth chimes in and suggests that the anatomical change resulted from the victim's holding a gun often. At the lab, Saroyan introduces Professor Jude the Science Dude, who conveniently is offered an intern position for the case in order to convince Brennan to come on his children's science TV show. Jude looks at the sloughed off hair under a microscope and determines that its deltoid appearance suggests it was beard hair rather than head hair. Angela reconstructs the face and beard, and Booth seems to quickly find out who the missing person is: a bounty hunter, Wolf, thus explaining the gun-related hand exostosis. Meanwhile, Jude and Hodgins analyze particulates from Wolf's beard and find a combination of pine needles, a rare bug, and a special kind of barbecue sauce. All of these items add up to a half-mile stretch off of 250 in Virginia. Booth goes out with a cadaver dog, and they find the rest of Wolf near the cabin that Braverman, the fleeing suspect, had rented or owned. Back at the lab, Jude determines cause of death: a bowing-inward fracture of the left fourth rib indicates high-velocity (projectile) trauma, likely a gunshot wound. Brennan, however, notices that the two sides of the fractured rib don't match up - the gap is from a small sliver of rib that was actually forced out of place and into the heart. The question remains, though, what kind of tool could do this? Brennan and Booth head over to find Braverman's wife; they also find Braverman, who escapes as they tussle with a female bounty hunter, Janet. Hodgins and Jude set to work figuring out the speed, force, and velocity of the object that killed Wolf, and begin by throwing a baseball and a golf ball. Angela attempts to convince Brennan to go on Jude's TV show by claiming she will name a daughter after her. During this, Brennan has an epiphany and shows Jude that the rib was healing when Wolf died, so that injury was not the proximal cause of death. At the FBI, Janet the bounty hunter has given them a tape showing that Gering, the bounty boss, struck Wolf in the rib with a pool cue during a heated argument. The team brainstorms, and Sweets thinks Braverman and his wife are headed west, and Brennan thinks they will stop at a hospital because Braverman likely dislocated his hip when he jumped out of the window to evade capture and landed flat-footed. Hodgins and Jude conclude that the object that caused Wolf's rib fragment to dislodge and kill him was a blunt, malleable projectile moving at a relative low speed. When Booth and Brennan get to the hospital in search of Braverman, they find Janet - who happens to be carrying a bean bag gun. Booth arrests her for Wolf's murder. Brennan goes on the science show dressed in a skeleton onesie, comically-oversized hands, a bright red tutu, and pigtails.
- The writers this week deserve credit for fitting in sharp, blunt, and projectile trauma to the case, without making them feel forced or confusing.
- The director deserves credit for ensuring the proper pronunciation of difficult-to-say words, like acetabulum, and words that have confusing singular and plural forms, like phalanx.
- In my quick-and-dirty research, I couldn't find anything on finger exostoses that would indicate heavy gun use. I've never used a gun, so I would have thought any exostosis that formed would be on the trigger finger (the second metacarpal/phalanx). But perhaps if it's a heavy gun, the thumb is used to steady the weapon?
- I also had never heard about the "deltoid" appearance of hair before. Hair follicles are generally round or oval, which result in straight or wavy hair, respectively. Deltoid means it's triangular - are the facial hair follicles triangular?
- When Hodgins and Jude analyze the beard contents, how do they know that all of that material came from the victim and not from the Dumpster full of food? (I guess because they all indicated he had previously been elsewhere.)
- I was going to be picky about "cause of death" - since the cause of death is really that the victim's heart stopped and he stopped breathing. But a quick flip through Byers' Intro to Forensic Anthropology resulted in calling myself on being overly pedantic.
- Why didn't Brennan notice the healing rib earlier? Seems like it would be pretty standard to assess the edges of the break for healing.
- My biggest problem with this episode is in the Hodgins-and-Jude re-enactment in an attempt to figure out the weapon that caused the rib fracture. Jude had already concluded that it was high-velocity trauma with a narrow impact - so why in the world did they start throwing a baseball and a golf ball at the fake ribs? Neither of those has a narrow enough impact point to cause the rib fracture. Before the cut-away, Hodgins was going to throw a hammer of some sort - really? That injury was caused by something long, narrow, and cylindrical - but with less force than a bullet. The pool cue fits fine, but the writers were clearly just giving Hodgins and Jude more to do in this episode, as both of them are smart enough not to start with a baseball.
- Today's nitpicky detail: in the Angela-Brennan scene in the lab, the left radius and ulna are switched. Anatomical position requires the hands to be palm-up, which puts the radius lateral and the ulna medial, rather than what they had on the lab table. I am probably the only one who noticed, but seriously, can't they just pay one person each week to get it right and lay out the skeleton properly?
- "The Bone Lady" moniker has already been taken, Dr. Brennan.
- If Brennan was so concerned with teaching children empiricism, etc., why did she agree to infantilize herself on Jude's show? He was wearing a lab coat, while she had pigtails and donned skeleton pajamas, enormous gloves, and a red tutu. There is no way an anthropologist so concerned with questions of performance of gender and age roles would do that.
- That said, I desperately want to buy Brennan's skeleton jammies. :)
This episode's dialogue wasn't too bad. The Brennan-Booth conversation about the perfect murder was a time-waster. Also, if a forensic anthropologist could commit the perfect murder, Zack wouldn't be behind bars. I did not buy that Angela would name a kid after Brennan. That's just a weird piece of (I hope) throw-away dialogue.
Forensic Mystery - B. The double injury was pretty interesting, even if Brennan should have noticed the healing earlier. And I honestly thought at the beginning that the bounty boss would turn out to be the killer. But again, no real mystery about the ID of the victim.
Forensic Solution - B-. The solution was reasonable except for the Hodgins and Jude re-enactment issues.
Drama - B+. A few characters were squeezed in with nothing to do (Angela and Sweets). The drama that unfolded basically all related to the forensic mystery, and having Booth stalk the bounty hunter (and try to get to the hunted first) was pretty good.
* Bones is on hiatus for the end of baseball season (ooh, maybe the baseball in the re-enactment was a reference?), but regularly-scheduled reviewing should be back in November along with the show! *