The Partners in the Divorce
A couple of homeless men stumble upon a burning corpse. As they try to figure out what it is, the brain explodes through the side of the skull.
nasal root and brow ridge. She notices something metallic adhering to the sixth cervical vertebra.
In the lab, Abernathy is squicked out by the gooey body. Xrays confirm the metallic object in the neck and reveal multiple fractures to the ribs, both femora, and the tibiae. Based on the serial numbers on the stents in the heart, Saroyan gets a positive ID on the victim: Richard Bartlett, a divorce attorney for wealthy couples. Hodgins and Angela figure out that the metal in the victim was a fountain pen. Abernathy realizes that the concentric microfracturing to the occipital was the result of a fall not of the brain exploding when it was heated.
Meanwhile, Booth and Sweets are trying to figure out who had motive to kill Bartlett. Former clients Melanie and Gavin were the last ones seen with Bartlett, but when Booth and Brennan visit them, they claim to have reconciled in anticipation of a new baby. Hodgins puts Sweets on the trail of a chef who was a former client after he finds that Bartlett's last meal was a burger made of Rattus norvegicus, the common brown rat. But the chef, although he had motive, had served Bartlett the same rat burger every week for two years and was waiting to see the look on his face when he told him. Angela puts Booth on the trail of Margo Sandoval, Bartlett's assistant who was also having an affair with his wife. But she was simply protecting Bartlett's wife by shredding things that documented their affair.
After Abernathy and Angela mock up some possible scenarios that could explain Bartlett's injuries, Brennan has an a-ha moment: he was tossed down something similar to stairs, namely, the chute from Bartlett's penthouse office to the ground that the construction workers had set up. Brennan peers down into the chute and confirms there is blood and tissue stuck to it. Hodgins identifies the substance in the fissures on the squamosal suture as a solvent used by architects in modeling. This points to Gavin, and he and Melanie outdo one another in the FBI questioning room by alternately confessing to various parts of the murder.
- Nothing for you all today, other than the usual complaint that you can't tell race from just a couple facial features.
- OK, fine, here's a picky one: Brennan pronounced "squamosal" funny (could be right, though; as usual, my pronunciations tend toward the Latin rather than the medical).
- I could have sworn Hodgins called the rat "Radisson norvegicus," which is not the proper taxonomic name.
- Nelma Bell, one of my grad students (who took forensic anthropology with the below-referenced expert on burned remains), commented, "It's been shown that skulls do not explode from fire, trauma or not! Sometimes they appear to have 'exploded' but they actually fragment and fall in on themselves." She even sent along a citation: Pope et al. 2004, Exploding skulls and other myths about how the human body burns. Fire and Arson Investigator: Journal of the International Association of Arson Investigators 55(4)23-28.
- I must have missed why Margo was no longer a suspect. I mean, other than that Gavin and Melanie were clearly the murderers all along.
- Even Brennan isn't stupid enough to attempt to get into a chute that goes straight to the ground. That was a ridiculous game of chicken, and if I were Booth, I'd be pissed about that passive-aggressive display.
- Not specifically plot-related, but those ankle booties Brennan was wearing while examining the body at the Jeffersonian are ridiculously impractical. And kinda ugly.
- "In Christian Byzantium, a woman could divorce her husband... for leprosy or impotence." - Brennan (Not sure what this is referring to... perhaps the Justinian Code? Where are my late Antique classics scholars?)
- "I don't want to hear about any anthropological crap." - Angela
- "I assure you, I'm not that good." - Sweets, on his psychologist'ing abilities
- "2000 was a questionable year for merlot." - Sweets
Forensic Mystery - C-. All parts of this mystery were telegraphed from a mile away. Not a particularly interesting case this week.
Forensic Solution - B+. I mean, they ID'ed the guy... from his stents. And I guess the injury pattern was sufficiently interesting (if implausible) to help with the cause of death.
Drama - C. The plot wasn't terribly interesting this week, since it was clear from their introduction that Gavin and Melanie did it. The character drama this week was focused on how Booth and Brennan need to rebuild their relationship. That's a good idea, and I'm glad the writers aren't just sweeping the past three months under the rug, but something about the Booth-Brennan pairing still just doesn't work for me. It's just too awkward, even when it's not supposed to be awkward.
Next week: Doppelganger!?