Bones - Season 8, Episode 14 (Review)

The Doll in the Derby
Episode Summary
Two rookie cops called to investigate a breaking and entering in a slaughterhouse stumble upon a dead person.  The Jeffersonian team investigates and thinks that the killer's plan was to dismember the body and dispose of it down one of the large drains.  Based on insect activity, Hodgins puts time of death at about 8 hours prior.  Based on the size and robusticity of the cranium, Brennan thinks the victim was female, and striations between cervical vertebrae 5 and 6 suggest a crosscut saw was used to dismember her. Saroyan thinks the killer doused the body in corrosive liquid, which seems to have burned the hand of the rookie who accidentally fell into the remains.  Hodgins takes a big sniff of the rotting flesh and thinks it's formic or acetic acid, likely a household cleaner.  He and Saroyan spray the remains with water to halt decomposition of the flesh, much to Brennan's chagrin, so that Saroyan can do a tox screen.

At the Jeffersonian, Wendell examines the cleaned bones and notes that all cuts were made at joints.  Inbending and stellate fractures to the frontal and temporal bones are suggestive of blunt force trauma.  There's also an antemortem fracture to the iliac crest, calluses on the left 5th and 6th ribs from recurring trauma, a fracture to the left nasal bone, and several missing front teeth.  These injuries are consistent with domestic abuse.  Saroyan finds a dental bridge; she runs it for a serial number to identify the victim and finds that the victim was Melinda Perkins, who until recently was married to Dr. Bradley Perkins.  

Angela meanwhile has taken Melinda's fancy sports watch to see if she can pinpoint time and place of death. The watch recorded Melinda's heart rate, which was substantially elevated for the two minutes prior to her death.  The GPS places Melinda across the street from the slaughterhouse around the time of her death.  Booth and Brennan investigate and find that it's a roller derby arena.  Melinda skated under the name Pummel-ya Anderson, with teammates Ivana Kickass and Emily Kickinson.  The manager, Nick Bennett, seems pretty guilty, but he and Emily note that Ivana didn't show up for practice that day.

Booth calls Ivana in for questioning.  She wasn't at practice, she says, because she is going to school to be a physical therapist and had class that day.  She also confirms that Melinda was separated and that she had lived a wild life, with lots of drugs and lots of men.  Saroyan meanwhile manages to get a tox screen from the decomposing remains, and she finds that Melinda had hydrocodone in her system, but also ecstasy, marijuana, and meth.

Angela decides to go undercover as Smackie Kennedy to see if she can find out more information.  She manages to make the team and does some investigating while in the locker room.  Hodgins found particulates in Melinda's head wound from polyurethane and sandarac resin, leading him to believe that she was killed with a skate.  Angela checks the team's skates with a black light, but they all have blood on them.

The length and directionality of the blood spatter on Melinda's shirt suggest to Saroyan and Hodgins that she was stabbed in addition to being beaten.  Brennan and Wendell profile the dismemberment tool: the false start kerf on the left distal ulna is at 70 degrees, meaning it wasn't made by a rip cut saw.  The striae at the cuts on the femora suggest very fine teeth, and the breakaway spurs and deep gullets(?) lead Wendell to conclude that Melinda was dismembered with a wood saw.  Another laceration to the right acromion of the scapula seems to have been made perimortem.

Angela goes out to the bar with Emily Kickinson to get more information.  Emily talks about how things went missing from the locker room and how everyone assumed that Nick was skimming off the top.  Booth brings Nick in for questioning, but he claims he didn't kill her.  He had been sleeping with her, but he thought she was the one skimming.  No one asks for his alibi.

Wendell pores over the sternum and finds microfractures, suggesting someone did CPR on Melinda.  However, the postmortem cuts to the femora are in line with the femoral artery on each side.  The killer knew where to cut the legs and how to administer CPR to prevent arterial spurting; basically, knew how to hasten death.  This leads Booth to suspect the ex-husband again, as he is a doctor.  Hodgins, though, finds on the victim's shirt evidence of vitreous humor.  She was stabbed in the eye before she died.  Nickel, copper, and lint in the bony eye socket are likely from a key.  This clears the husband, who apparently has no keys at all for anything.  Brennan suspects one of the roller derby ladies, as using a key in self-defense is a tactic often taught to women.  Booth and Brennan confront the derby team and ask them to hand over their keys.  One key looks like it could have created the wound, but it has no residue on it.  The key belongs to Ivana, and it goes to the team van.  Brennan swabs the ignition keyhole and finds blood.  Ivana confesses to the murder, claiming she caught Melinda stealing.

Oh, right, and Booth is secretive about helping out sick kids who have neurofibromatosis at the hospital, and Wendell is worried that he's only 29 and his life hasn't amounted to anything yet.

  • Forensic
    • Size and robusticity of the skull are even less specific than usual on this show.  But since the ID was confirmed through a dental appliance, I suppose I can let that slide.
    • "Residual" striations to C5 and C6?  I didn't realize striations could be "residual."  Not sure what that means.
    • Really, Saroyan can do a full tox screen on a victim whose flesh is gooey, falling off her body, and has been soaking in household cleaner for 8 hours?
    • Wendell is extremely precise about noting the perimortem fractures and antemortem injuries, but he just mentions "three missing front teeth."  Not which teeth they are.  Not even calling them "anterior" teeth.
    • Apparently, the 220 minus age formula for predicting maximum heartrate was discredited... in 2001.
    • The fake skeleton was laid out weirdly this week.  As usual, the radius and ulna were switched (radius goes on the outside in anatomical position).  But there was something odd about the femora... like they'd sectioned the superior and inferior parts of the bone near the epiphyses then flipped the shaft upside down.
    • Unclear why Brennan and Wendell were talking about whether the tool used to dismember Melinda was a rip cut or crosscut handsaw, since in the opening scene, Brennan figured out from the skull that it was a crosscut saw.
    • What was the cut to the acromion about?  And was she stabbed with the key in her shoulder?  Then whacked on the head with a skate?  Confused about the timing of the injuries that caused her death.
    • I also don't get the whole eye injury part.  What exactly did Hodgins swab to find particulates? The bony eye socket?  And he found lint in it after the body was decomposing in caustic liquid and then the skeleton was macerated and cleaned?  How did Brennan know that the bus key was the shape that made the injury?  What evidence on the body gave her information about the shape of the weapon?
  • Plot
    • Jeez, why do people who find dead bodies always shriek?  It's a dead body.  It's not going to hurt you.  You don't need to run away from it screaming.
    • Jeez, Hodgins, stop sniffing stuff!  Don't you remember what happened the last time you did that?
    • Jeez, Angela, stop prying into Brennan's life.  She may share details of her own life with you, but friendship doesn't mean she has to share her partner's life with you.  And stop attempting to guilt-trip her.
    • Jeez, Cam, haven't you ever heard of doctor-patient confidentiality?  Or HIPAA?  I mean, you are a trained medical doctor.  Seriously.
    • Jeez, Wendell, you don't really believe that Saroyan was deputy coroner for the city of NY at 29, do you?  Or that Hodgins had already finished his, what, four different PhDs by the age of 29?  Just to demonstrate what real anthropologists are like: at 29, I had just gotten enough grant funding to go into the field to start my dissertation research.  And I actually went through grad school relatively quickly.
  • Dialogue
    • I didn't realize you could say "asshat" on primetime TV.  But it was in, like, the first sentence of the show.
    • "The remains were found in an abattoir?"  "A slaughterhouse is fine, ok?  French doesn't make murder any classier."  I think that we all need to use fancy French terms to describe mundane objects from now on, n'est-ce pas?

Forensic Mystery - C+.  Considering the team was still trying to solve the murder up through the final minutes of the show, the mystery was decent.  The grade would have been higher, though, had it not been painfully obvious that the roller derby chick who was a physical therapist was the killer.

Forensic Solution - C+.  The victim was positively ID'ed through a dental appliance, and there were enough clues to her antemortem and perimortem injuries to make the solution slightly interesting.  Not all of the clues made sense, though.

Drama - C-.  No one believed Booth was sick.  No one cares about Wendell's age.  Angela didn't get to do much in her undercover role.  It was a pretty ehhhh episode of TV tonight.  Probably better than next week, though, when Brennan dies and gets religion.  Not looking forward to that.  At all.


Anonymous said…
Why have these people never heard of pH strips? Or a PH meter? You can determine the pH in seconds, no need for a sniff test.

And acetic acid has a very strong smell, vinegar is weak acetic acid. They all would have smelled it if it had been used.
Anthro_Explorer said…
Yeah, after looking at next week's preview, my first thought was that I will be so annoyed if they have Brennan "finding" religion! Although, I guess I shouldn't be surprised because the show has been inserting Christian messages through Booth even more than usual lately. We'll see how it goes.
Anonymous said…
The interaction with Dr. Saroyan and the NF doc was just...bad. She is a medical doctor, yet they constantly give her the medical knowledge of the high school biology student. She doesn't understand HIPAA and the other doctor is surprised she's familiar with NF?!
Philo said…
This seemed to be "dysfunctional 'friends' week" - Cam and Angela prying into the personal affairs of a married couple; Hodgkins being a complete dick to Wendell...

"I figured you were the kind of person who would keep asking questions..." - you mean the kind of person who has no respect for privacy whatsoever?

I found all the characters completely unlikeable this week, undoing eight years of character building.
Mark said…
And here I thought Bones made to be entertaining.

I didn't realize it was meant to be a completely accurate portrayal of forensic science.

Anonymous said…
I think you are all way too attached to a damn tv show where things are obviously going to be faked and statements made as 'facts' in the show will be wrong. Its made for entertainment, This is like watching CSI: Miami and calling out every little detail they use to catch bad guys that isn't even possibly in this day and age yet. Congratulations you can understand what they are saying, But posting reviews on every little factual error for each and every episode is pitiful and sad, Maybe your job suites you.
Rae said…
People shriek because, dead body in public could possibly equal murder. murder means there has to be a murderer. and a murderer would make anyone scream and run away..

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