Bones - Season 6, Episode 23 (Review)

The Change in the Game

Episode Summary

As little kids are bowling, a lane gets reset and instead of pins, blood, gore, and bits of skeleton come pouring out. Brennan and Booth arrive at the scene. Based on a piece of the pelvis, Brennan estimates the person was male and in his mid-30s, and the mandible tells her he was Caucasian. He was already dead when he was ripped apart in the pin-setting machine, but Brennan can see perimortem defensive injuries in the form of bruising on the ulna and pisiform and a slight fracture on the radial tuberosity. The entire contraption with the "meat puppet puzzle" is taken back to the Jeffersonian.

At the lab, Wendell "Brennanizes" Hodgins, rattling off the things he sees in the skeleton: "there's a transverse fracture of the metacarpal of the right thumb, chondromalacia patellae on the left knee, a notch in the notch of the ulna... with exostosis of the medial surface." Based on these skeletal indicators, the man bowled a lot - which was confirmed by the finding that his shirt was polyester with his name and his bowling team on it. The victim was Jeff Fowler, a member of the Thunderballs.

Brennan's dad Max just happened to be on the Thunderballs, which seems a bit improbable since it's only a team of four. Max, however, has injured himself and is in a wheelchair. So he suggests that Booth go undercover as the newest Thunderball and find out the gossip about Fowler, also called "The Closer." The other team members are Hercules Navarro and Amber Tremblay, a little red-headed girl with a temper. The be-mulleted Booth as Buck and Brennan as Wanda also meet The Raven, Todd Bellacleese, the director of the tournament. They learn that The Closer was big into talismans - lucky rental shoes, lane #12, a lucky shirt and beer mug, etc.

Back at the Jeffersonian, Wendell finds a perimortem fracture to the nasal bone. When he bangs his hands on the lab table, something rattles. Bone fragments fall out of the foramen magnum, and Wendell realizes that when Fowler's nose was hit, it shattered his cribriform plate and the shards probably flew into his brain, killing him. The question remains, what kind of implement caused the injury? A 2x4 is quickly ruled out, as it would have crushed his face and caused a Le Fort fracture. Nor is it a hammer, a bottle, or a bat. A red flake from the skeleton is put into the mass spec, and Hodgins identifies it as a piece of polyurethane. The team thinks it could be a bowling ball.

Booth thinks that The Raven might have killed Fowler, as the latter superglued the former's hand into his bowling ball. The Raven's pro bowling career was ended, possibly leading him to seek revenge. Sweets interrogates The Raven, who passes with flying colors, even though his alibi is shaky.

Based on the reconstruction of the injury, Wendell thinks that the murder weapon couldn't have weighed more than 5 lbs. Brennan thinks the murderer might be Amber, the red-headed girl, and also suspects that she had been cheating by recalibrating the pins in lane 12 so that they're closer together. Hodgins reminds the team that bowling balls wouldn't flake, they'd chip, so they're looking for a different murder weapon: a motorcycle helmet. The person with a motorcycle and red helmet is Shoe Rental Guy, who admits to having killed Fowler because he never washed his feet, leading Shoe Rental Guy to lose his fingernails through a fungal infection and his girlfriend to The Raven.

Meanwhile, Angela is finally in labor after her water breaks in the Jeffersonian. The entire birth process is horribly unrealistic, as noted in the comments below. The child is named Michael Staccato Vincent Hodgins, and he has a wee tiny hat that looks like Angela's dad's hat. The baby is not blind.

Brennan is excited and anxious about the birth, and the cliffhanger (as this is the season finale) is that she is pregnant with Booth's child. They both seem pretty happy about it. (In real life, Emily Deschanel is expecting a baby with Cricket.)

Forensic Comments
  • As always, the mandible can't tell you someone's race or ancestry. Glad they used the pubic symphysis for age and sex, though.
  • Wendell probably shouldn't be banging on the lab table. Wendell also should not shake the skull like it's a piggy bank. And Wendell should not shake the skull such that the bone fragments fall out from a height. Seriously, if any of my Osteology students did that, they'd be getting an F on the lab for the day. The cranium could be seriously damaged, as could any fragments of bone inside the skull that are needed to figure out cause of death.
  • The cribriform plate is part of the sinuses, so I'm not sure why Wendell describes that as part of the "back of the skull."
  • How is "nail fungus" motive for murder? Why did Shoe Rental Guy reset lane 4 at the beginning of the episode if he knew there was a dead body in it? Why did he keep the murder weapon and not just buy a new helmet? Why didn't he move the body somewhere else, like the dumpster behind the alley? Doesn't the murderer on Bones usually have a name? I was so concerned with Amber Tremblay and Todd Bellacleese that I didn't pay attention, and IMDb is no help with this episode.
  • So who screwed with the lane? Amber or Jeff? I got confused there.
  • And now for my rant about TV birth...
    • Angela's water breaks before her labor starts. This happens in less than 10% of cases in real life and, like, 100% of cases on TV.
    • There was only one medical professional ever in the room (until the very end), and it was a doctor. I saw some med students or interns a few times but rarely saw the doctor. But I guess Angela is special.
    • There was no mention of Angela's being fully dilated. Just because your water breaks doesn't mean you're going into labor and doesn't mean the baby's coming right then.
    • The doctor did say Angela can't push until the contractions get closer together. Which doesn't really make a lot of sense. You push when you're fully dilated, and you push during a contraction.
    • At some point, Angela is talking while having a contraction. Sure, it's possible in the early phase of labor, but for the amount she was screaming, I was assuming she was in the later stages (and then talking as much as she was would be unlikely).
    • When the baby was finally born, the doctor whisked the baby away to be cleaned up and have his eyes tested. Leaving Angela to deliver the placenta herself? To bleed all over the table? Did she need stitches? Compresses? Apparently the hospital couldn't afford another doctor or nurse to make sure she was ok.
    • The doctor gives Angela a fully swaddled baby. Which is fine, but Angela and Hodgins do the silly TV mooning-over-baby thing. Whereas in reality (maybe just my reality?) the nurse's aim is to get that baby on your boob as quickly as humanly possible, even if you are basically numb from the neck down.
    • Do they normally let fathers just whisk a 5-minute-old baby to the germy waiting room for a bunch of people off the street to gawk at? Did the baby already have his first feeding?
    • It was all very, very weird. But fake TV births usually are - and they usually involve a crapload of screaming and cries of "you did this to me" and "I hate you."
    • At least the baby has a middle name in honor of Vincent Nigel-Murray.
  • Hodgins calls Wendell a "man taking apart a meat puppet puzzle."
  • Zuni Indians believed labor could be hastened by silence. - Brennan
  • I can't find the info for the god-awful bowling song ("I like to go bowling with my friend Bert, my bowling ball, and my bowling shirt. Bowling is my kind of game."). It pains me to type those lyrics. They were clearly written by a 2nd grader.
    • Update: Several of you commented and emailed to say that it's Raffi's, "The Bowling Song" from the album "One Light, One Sun." Which explains why the lyrics suck but doesn't explain why it was used in the show.
  • "Sometimes when you speak, you sound like you watch PBS on purpose." - Bowler on the opposite team who had a crush on Brennan.


Forensic Mystery - D. The guy had his name sewn into his shirt. Hard to screw that one up. Even the murder weapon was telegraphed from the beginning (although it was a motorcycle helmet and not a bowling ball, in a keee-razy twist). Wendell's discovery that a broken nose killed the guy was not earthshattering or inspired.

Forensic Solution - C. Eh. Wendell tried to shine, but the case was just too damned boring.

Drama – F. I hate season finales. The writers have to give short shrift to the actual forensic plot, which was confused and boring, to focus on Angela's labor and delivery, and then Brennan's bombshell. I'm not invested in the Angelodgins baby. Any goodwill I had went out the window when the writers treated the whole pregancy and delivery in textbook TV cliches. The will-they-won't-they storyline has been wrapped up, which means I guess Season 7 will be the last for the show. If Season 3 hadn't already had an intern becoming a santanic serial killer, I'd say that the Booth-Brennan baby jumped the shark with this.

P.S. Ooooh, TV Club reviewed the finale. As always, I love their media analyses.

Thanks to everyone for reading my reviews this season! I haven't decided whether or not to continue in the fall with Season 7. Watching the episode, taking notes, summarizing the plot, and looking up the facts behind the forensics of the show take several hours of my time each week. So, if you've read any of my reviews over the year, drop me a line in the comments - yea or nay, should I review Season 7? Give up? Outsource some to other biological anthropologists (meaning: my former students)?


Heather B. said…
I'd vote for outsourcing (of course) but after reading about the baby bombshell in your review, I'm not sure I'll be able to get through an episode of S7 without retching.

Enh, I know to where to find Zofran. I vote for outsourcing.
Anonymous said…
The Bowling Song:
adaws77 said…
It's the bowling song , by asleep at the wheel .... and its on a children's album.
Anonymous said…
I think the Booth-Brennan baby was just mainly because Emily Deschanel is pregnant. I mean, it'd be pretty hard to cover that up during the show.
Johanna said…
Oh, I found your blog because of the Bones reviews, and I love them (although season 6 is not out in my country - yes, overseas, Europe, ahh - yet, so I haven't seen any of the reviewed episodes, because I am law-abiding and unskilled in piracy on the web) and I love your blog also. So I'd love you to continue.

Now, if you outsource, please link to the new thing, because I'd happily continue reading reviews of stuff to be seen before it is here. And if you know of people doing the same to seasons 1-5, please do tell me (or us on the blog).
emily said…
i love your Bones reviews and i think it would be great if you continued them. i'd also be okay with outsourcing though.
Anonymous said…
You missed the "RAVEN" being pulled out by the FBI in the middle of a tournament. Yet never having it brought up or seen by the bowlers. Then he is just mysteriously back.
Anonymous said…
After my two birth experiences, I have to say Angela's actually didn't seem too unrealistic. I just had a midwife at the hospital who basically came in when I got there and not again until time to push. Aside from one nurse, I never saw anyone else. Second child was a birth center baby and that was REALLY hands-off. First child I talked through the whole thing - even when I was pushing. Second child I screamed for contractions and then immediately started asking questions about what I couldn't see. No drugs for either delivery.

I agree though that season finales are bit a overdone though. And nail fungus? Get some lotrimin!
Thanks for all the clues to The Bowling Song! My google skills failed me last night.

If I outsource some of these, they'll still be hosted here. I've also considered doing reviews for another season (perhaps season one to see if the show has really gotten crappier or if I'm imagining it), but honestly each one of them takes at least 3 hours. And I have more pressing writing projects to do - projects that might actually get me a job. :)

Anon 2 - I was wondering about the timing with Emily Deschanel's baby. But she was clearly starting to show in this episode (watch her in her Jeffersonian outfit and especially at the bowling alley for a baby bump), so I imagine they could delay the fall season until she gives birth.

Anon 3 - Yeah, I was wondering about how they got The Raven out without anyone noticing. Hm.

Anon 4 - I guess everyone's birth experience is different. Nothing about mine resembled what I'd seen on TV, and very little of it resembled what I learned in birthing class. Still not sure if I was the weirdo or if they just neglect to tell you how variable birth can be!
amber said…
dear bone girl, i would like to express my greatest gratitude to you for taking the time to write these reviews of bones eps. the selfish kid in me wants you to continue making these reviews yourself because i just find you passionate and smart, but whatever you deem right is fine.

again, just thanks for writing and ultimately being an educational big sister. i wish you well :)
Anonymous said…
I thought this episode was the worst I've seen (except maybe The Finder). The bowlers were badly written cliches, the premise was silly, the resolution was boring. The whole 7-10 split business was stupid. The childbirth soap opera was obvious.

I guess I missed some recent episode where Booth and Brennan slept together?
Anonymous said…
Personally, (and selfishly) I would love for you to continue these yourself. However, I would be fine with you outsourcing, as if you're not always enjoying the episodes (But maybe Pregnant!Brennan will push the show to do more foresic work --her at the lab more... We can only hope!)and you use so much of your time in the science behind it, it's unfair to ask you to do that.
So, thank you for this season, and I hope you'll chose to stay! :D
Unknown said…
actually, i didn't think the birth was that unrealistic. when i had my son, my water broke and i hadn't had labor pain one. and after my son was born,my husband took him as soon as the nurse cleaned him up, took him out into the hall to show him off.
Anonymous said…
I recently found your Bones reviews and really enjoy them...some of the information is very informational (what I didn't know or already looked up for myself). As for the TV birth I know my own birth was similar to Angela's. Water broke first, there were hardly any people in the room and as soon as she was cleaned up my daughter was shown off to everyone in the waiting room (you made a good point about the placenta though...I actually commented about that out loud when watching). However, I have watched several birth videos as well as worked in a hospital...each experience is unique to the individual as well as the place where you actually have the child. It all depends...on another note I loved the baby's name!
Anonymous said…
I LOVE your bones reviews...esp the science part :) I just found it on google and then I shared it around.
Anonymous said…
dood it!!

seriously; my favorite part of bones is to read your site afterwards!
Anonymous said…
note: while this IS my fave part about watching bones; you should only do it if you enjoy it.

I can only hope tho, that you at LEAST critique the anthropology behind the show a little!!
Anonymous said…
Would the FBI allow them to stay partners if Booth and Bones are in a relationship?
Dutch Bieber said…
Jumped the shark? Yep.
Thanks for all the comments, Amber, Eydie, Dutch, and all the anonymous posters. Glad to hear that you are all enjoying my posts!
Anonymous said…
My favorite part was how long Angela was pushing. Did you notice that the doc said it was time to push and then Bones had time to go home, take a shower, defrizz her hair, pick up the bunny gift and still make it to the hospital while Anglea was still pushing. You think by then, the vacuum or forceps would have been brought out!
Eh, I pushed for 2.5 hours because my daughter wasn't descending (I think they euphemistically call it "labor down"). So I didn't even notice that. :)
Anonymous said…
What I wanna know is, how did Bones even know she was pregnant? Unless I'm very much mistaken, judging by the progress of Angela's pregnancy, there wasn't much time between the two episodes - does she take a pregnancy test every day? For that matter, do they even work that soon after?
Anonymous said…
please please continue!! im a skeptic when it comes to the science of tv shows and i love all your research!
@Anon - There are pregnancy tests that will work nearly a week before your missed period (so a week or two after conception). It does seem as if 2-3 weeks needed to pass between last episode and this one in order for Brennan to think she was pregnant and get a positive pregnancy test, though. Unless, as you say, she was taking pregnancy tests for fun (or because she knew she'd had unprotected sex, which doesn't seem in keeping with the character).
Frances said…
I vote for you to continue doing these reviews (as selfishly as some others on the board) :)

But outsourcing is OK too.

Thanks for your hard work on these and good luck on the job front.
scott said…
Your reviews have a unique perspective and they are quite enjoyable. Personally, I would like for you to continue. I would suggest that you forward them to Hart Hanson so he can tune-up their science.
Sarina said…
In the last episode didn't Angela say she was a month before her due date? So if she's a couple of days over then it has been 4 weeks, which might be enough time for Brennan to find out she was pregnant.
I think you should just keep it going.
I mean, if it is too much I understand but I find your work very interesting.
Kanker said…
I vote for you to continue doing these reviews (as selfishly as some others on the board) :)
Nokia 700 said…
My favorite part was how long Angela was pushing. Did you notice that the doc said it was time to push and then Bones had time to go home
Unknown said…
Its mostly up to you it if u enjoy doing it.. But then again, I'd absolutely love love it if you continued to. I enjoy bones and i enjoyed reading what you have had to say about it so far..
Anonymous said…
I liked the bowling song. I couldn't place who sang it but thanks to "adaws77" I know and I love "Asleep at the Wheel."
brandon427 said…
I have enjoyed reading what you have to say ever since stumbling across this page (which is now my companion whenever I watch Bones). Thanks for all the research time you save me. Also-loved your "Cricket" reference- I haven't seen anyone else make that connection
Unknown said…
I do enjoy getting the science background on eps when I’m watching. It’s interesting.

I ended up very much a shipper and into the personal storylines so I liked the ep and the surprise at the end. And I don’t think it ever jumped the shark at all though we didn’t need so much of Pelant. Several of his eps really broke credibility...Corpse in the Canopy bring the worst. But I still like the later seasons.

They should have made it more clear that Booth and Brennan slept together the episode before.

I don’t mind some of the license tv takes with births, though not leaving Angela alone post delivery would’ve helped.

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