The Tiger in the Tale
A couple whose car is stuck in a muddy ditch finds a body when the rear tire spins and flings bits of corpse at the husband. The Jeffersonian team is called to the scene, and in spite of the flattened face that ended up on the husband's shirt, Brennan identifies the deceased as a white male in his late 20s from some tiny bit of cranium. When the witness complains of having something in his throat, Brennan gives him ipecac and makes him hork up a tooth.
At the Jeffersonian, Brennan and Daisy go over the damage to the skeleton. Trauma to the capitate, hamate, and styloid process of the third metacarpal is significant and suggests a high-velocity gunshot wound to the hand, likely from a 9mm, that happened around the time of death. A crown on the lower left third molar suggests a trip to the dentist in the past 5 years, but additional fillings and heavy calculus on the remainder of the mandibular dentition suggest lack of very recent dental work. Hodgins finds a plethora of stuff in the victim's boots and thinks he may have been at the fairgrounds recently.
Brennan and Booth visit the fairgrounds and talk to Juan, the foreman of a day laborer crew. He looks at some of Angela's proposed reconstructions and thinks one looks like Jared Drew. Drew's ex-wife took out a restraining order on him, so B&B talk to her and her new husband back at the FBI.
Meanwhile, Daisy is still working on the skeleton. She reconstructs the skull and Brennan identifies the most hilariously shaped exit wound ever. The size of the projectile trauma suggests a 45 caliber bullet and possibly two guns. Daisy notes the beginning of asymmetrical arthritis on the skeleton, which is not a typical pattern of day laborers. It's not normal arthritis, she finds; it's osteonecrosis that resulted from blood poisoning. Linear striations on the lunate and trapezium suggest the victim was slashed so deeply that bacteria were introduced into his blood stream. Saroyan's DNA analysis reveals the cause of the slashes was a Siberian tiger, a pure-bred animal that is illegal to buy and sell in the U.S. She also realizes that the victim held his hand up to his face when he was shot with a hollow-point bullet, which explains the patterning of the trauma as well as the differences in size of the projectile trauma in the hand and head.
With a victim identified, cause of death revealed, and motive established, all that's left is finding the bad guy. There were several farms nearby that could have housed a Siberian tiger. Booth can't get a warrant, so Hodgins flies a WWII Spitfire replica model airplane around and homes in on a farm with cages. Booth and Brennan pay the landowner a visit; he has a number of exotic animals, but the tiger-sized cage is empty. Brennan follows some circling vultures and finds the decomposing remains of the tiger, which the landowner insists he had to kill in self-defense. The guy who bought the tiger could tell that Drew was sick when he delivered it, but he knew there was another guy who stayed in the truck. Booth and Brennan go back and talk to Juan, who was the middleman for the money, as he took an envelope from the tiger-buyer. He claims he passed it on to Nibling, the owner of the exotic show-pet business that was just at the fairgrounds, and that Nibling asked him to send his best day laborer as well. Juan realizes that Nibling had been illegally dealing in exotic animals, in spite of all his protestations that his business was legit.
Booth and Brennan confront Nibling in the FBI interrogation room. Nibling isn't looking so hot, though, and Brennan realizes that he was injured by a piece of Drew's bone when he killed him, thereby causing blood poisoning. Nibling insists this isn't true, but Brennan finds a fresh, festering wound on his right pinkie. He gets charged with murder and, presumably, illegally dealing in exotic animals.
- Not much to go on for ancestry. I guess there was some skin there still. But not sure how the completely squashed cranium gave Brennan white male in mid-20s at a glance.
- Saroyan notes that they've found cause of death: suspected homicide. Technically, homicide is the manner of death. Cause of death is consistent with projectile trauma (gunshot wound).
- Daisy's reconstruction was pretty ludicrous - so complete, so perfect - and the exit wound on the skull was laughable (I actually lol'ed and jumped back to watch it a second time).
- Daisy says "ulnar" instead of "ulna." And yet can stay "styloid" and "olecranon" just fine.
- One of my very first notes for this episode was, "Get that witness to a hospital now! Who knows what's on that tooth!" And yet... for all the fuss made about septicemia, there was no mention of the poor schmuck who had a diseased tooth stuck in his throat. Ewwwww.
- Anyone else notice on the map of the generic Fairgrounds that it was in a small town called Romney? There is a Romney, West Virginia. But it seems unlikely to be a coincidence. I expect the next episode to have an Obama, Maryland, or something. Equal time!
- Oooh, Brennan has an iPad just like me! Hers may have nifty facial reconstructions on it, but mine has Anthropomotron.
- I am pretty sure the FAA would have a problem with Hodgins' camera-laden plane. I know from archaeologist friends that UAVs are pretty highly regulated, but maybe his doesn't count as a UAV.
- Did not like the whole "Brennan gets emotional about animals" thread. I guess it kind of goes with her persona, but really, she deals with dead people all the time and doesn't seem to give a crap about them.
- "I've never seen a presidential candidate ID remains before." -- Booth. I'm gonna volunteer UWF to host the next presidential debate, and I will make both candidates figure out - at the very least - age and sex of a skeleton.
- "She was wanted for murder, she took peyote with the Indians, and her dad was a hard-core criminal. I don’t think they should start printing up ‘Bones for President’ campaign buttons anytime soon.” – Booth. And that is precisely why anthropologists cannot run for office.
- "Yes, I took your excrement. I wanted to study it." -- Saroyan
- "Is there anything else, or do you intend to berate me because we see the world differently?" -- Nibling, showing that Brennan is not always a great anthropologist.
- "I give them faces, which is more and more just not the way to identify victims." -- Angela
- "Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was a bartender? Grover Cleveland was a hangman. Andrew Johnson was a tailor. James Garfield could simultaneously write Greek with one hand and Latin with another." -- Brennan. From the other room, my husband shouted, "Wrong. It was TJ!" Turns out, both Garfield and Jefferson are reported to have been able to write the two classical languages at the same time. The more you know.
Forensic Mystery - A-. I thought it was pretty good this week, actually. Took some effort to identify the victim, the cause of death was moderately interesting, and the search for the murderer turned up some surprises.
Forensic Solution - B+. Pretty good as well, but Brennan far too quickly and from far too little figured out the age, sex, and ancestry of the victim.
Drama - C+. The murder mystery was alright. I'm glad that Sweets and Daisy broke up (actually, I thought they already had, so it was weird seeing them plan to move in together). The Brennan-as-president plot line was a non-starter. Not sure why Angela felt useless, especially since her facial reconstruction helped Juan identify the victim, but I guess it was to give her more to do.
Bones returns on November 5, which is good, since I need a bit of a break to finish up writing a new article!