The Hot Dog in the Competition
Brennan and Hodgins are called to the scene of a murder, in which a female in her early 30s was thrown through a terrarium. Her body is covered in rats and, it turns out, filled with a python (who'd eaten a rat, who'd eaten her distal phalanx). Death came as the result of a piece of glass puncturing her L1 vertebra, which would have severed the posterior spinal vein and arteries.
sternal rib ends and the state of fusion of the medial clavicle, he narrows her age to 30-31. He further discovers sharp trauma to the ribs, posterior ulna, humerus, and supraspinous fossa (of the scapula). Brennan notes that there is partially chewed food in the victim's teeth. The team further notes that the victim's mandibular fossa is shallow, allowing the condylar process to slip - she could dislocate or unhinge her jaw. Abernathy discovers an extra piece of bone in the victim's abdomen and thinks it's fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. Angela gets a match from her facial reconstruction to Tina Thomas, a competitive eating champion, and Saroyan finds a piece of human tissue in Tina's teeth, which she sends out for DNA analysis.
Booth has narrowed down the suspects to the victim's husband, Brian Tobin (PR at Hankfurter Hot Dogs), and Mitch Clancy, Tina's coach. The husband denies killing his wife, in spite of the fact that neighbors heard them arguing all the time. Clancy noted that Tina was done with competitive eating because she would throw up, which is a no-no in the sport.
This leads Brennan to check Tina's teeth, which show evidence of increased stomach acid. Rather than assuming the vomiting was the result of Tina's competitive eating, Brennan thinks that she may have been pregnant. She notes some diastasis of the pubic symphysis and concludes that the widening of the pelvis indicated Tina was 8 weeks pregnant.
Angela and Abernathy recreate the attack, estimating that the attacker would have been over 300 pounds, which rules out Tina's husband. Booth can't figure out if the attacker was Tobin or Clancy, but Brennan discovers eggs from a parasite on a distal phalanx. Hodgins finds out that the parasite was Paragonimus westermani, which is endemic to freshwater crabs in Japan. While Tina hadn't been to Japan, Clancy had - he was trying to set up a tour with Tina as the star. When she told him she was out of the competitive eating game, he got mad. Clancy shoved Tina but their weight disparity did not work in her favor - she was pushed into the terrarium accidentally.
- Another episode in which Brennan is written as the most clueless person on the planet rather than, duh, an anthropologist.
- The new intern already annoys me. He's supposed to be from NC, but clearly doesn't have any sort of accent coach. His accent is all over the place, none of it from NC. (And trust me, I've lived in NC for a decade and have heard the range of accents in the state.) When Brennan identifies the chicken bone, Abernathy says that he should have recognized it, since he "grew up on barbecue." If that were true, he'd know that barbecue is made from pork, not chicken. Is it too much to ask for a writer who's spent any time in the South? And finally, it's hard enough figuring out what the other characters are saying (since they often mispronounce words) - add to that a fake NC accent, and the technical terms are, at best, garbled.
- Why doesn't anyone ever wear a mask? Saroyan in particular always works on gross, drippy bodies and never wears a mask.
- Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva is an incredibly rare condition, and diagnosing it based on a tiny fragment of bone is absurd, especially when that bone is in the abdomen (and is from an animal).
- Morning sickness doesn't start immediately with pregnancy, and it isn't always all that frequent, so I'm incredulous that Tina's teeth would show any evidence (demineralization, e.g.) from throwing up.
- The determination that Tina was pregnant was ridiculous and got the first "WTF?" of the season in my notes:
- First, they had her lower abdomen (and genitalia) - did Saroyan not do her job well? Sure, the fetus is only about half an inch long at 8 weeks, but there would have been a growing placenta and swollen uterus, etc. How was that missed? And wouldn't a standard set of blood tests reveal that Tina was pregnant?
- Second, the pelvis doesn't separate that early into a pregnancy. By the end of the third trimester, around the time the baby "drops," there's a definite relaxing of the cartilage at the pubic symphysis and a widening of the pelvic inlet in preparation for birth. Widening too early means pelvic instability.
- Third, even if the pelvis did separate, Brennan would not be able to see that from measuring... well, what exactly was she measuring? She just waved a ruler in front of disarticulated ossa coxarum. Just ridiculous.
- At least everything else seemed fine. In spite of Abernathy's horrendous accent, the description of age at death, traumatic injuries, and Tina's ability to dislocate (sorry, "unhinge") her jaw all seemed reasonable to me.
- "At the height of the Roman Empire, some contestants would gorge until they die." It seems like I should know this, but were there eating competitions? Sure, there were banquets and symposia. But often people use evidence of "vomitoria" to incorrectly claim people were binging and purging. Vomitoria were just passageways under an amphitheater, not special rooms to go to vomit.
- "He's using the Valsalva maneuver to increase thoracic pressure."
- Brennan's delivery in, really, all her lines was super wooden tonight. More so than usual, it seems. Between that and the fake-Nawth Cackilackian intern, I was not too happy with the dialogue.
Forensic Mystery - C. It was pretty obvious what killed the woman, and she was ID'ed quickly. So it wasn't really a forensic mystery as much as it was a police mystery.
Forensic Solution - D. The main way the team discovered the killer was by figuring out from bones that the victim was pregnant. Very low marks for that silliness.
Drama - D. I was not at all invested in this episode. The plot was boring, and the new intern annoys the crap out of me.
Next week: Daisy's back!
Next week: Daisy's back!
The faster I raise money, the sooner this notice goes away. It's like an NPR or PBS fund drive, but instead of a lame tote bag, you get pictures of real Roman skeletons!