Bones - Season 8, Episode 20 (Review)

The Blood from the Stones
Episode Summary
A body is found in a car in an abandoned parking lot on federal land, necessitating the FBI and the Jeffersonian to investigate.  Based on the state of desiccated tissue, Saroyan puts time of death at 5 to 7 days ago.  Brennan notes that the body decomposed in two different ways, owing to microclimates in the car.  (At the lab, Hodgins notes the presence of Necrobia rufipes from cool, dry climates and cheese skippers from hot, humid climates. The microclimates are never mentioned again.)  Booth discovers a sawed-off shotgun in the trunk of the car.  The victim was shot at least twice; bullets shattered the right fifth and sixth ribs, but the slugs were gouged out of the car upholstery so they couldn't be traced.

"Did you notice, Mr. Jursic, that the pelvis on this
skeleton is completely upside down? I didn't, but
then again, I'm only the best forensic anthropologist
in the world."
At the Jeffersonian, Saroyan introduces Andrew Jursic, a documentary film maker who is shooting a promotional video for the Jeffersonian.  Saroyan instructs everyone to let him film anything he wants, because that's totally ok to do with ongoing forensic investigations.  She starts dissecting the stomach tissue and finds a balloon full of diamonds inside, which Hodgins estimates as being worth $200,000.  In order to get a facial reconstruction from the partially decomposed tissue, Saroyan attempts to rehydrate it with diluted maceration fluid and radiant heat.  This magically makes the tissue remodel like a shrinky-dink in reverse.

Angela creates a facial reconstruction from the reconstructed face and gets a hit - Quentin Coles, a security guard for Oscar Schultz diamonds.  When Booth investigates, he realizes that Coles was actually undercover cop Detective Ruben Martin, working under DC Metro cop Commander Joe Dinco.  Martin was closing in on a two-person crew that was hitting up ATMs around town, and had already made out with $1.5 million.  Dinco assumed that the ATM thieves were laundering the cash by buying diamonds.

Brennan and Edison, who is brought in by Jursic to make the forensic anthropology department seem more likeable, further examine the remains.  Martin had extensive remodeled, antemortem fractures that occurred between two and five years ago.  The injuries to the ribs and the ulna, however, are perimortem.  Directionality of the bone splinters suggests that Martin was hit twice in his torso and one in his ulna; the latter is a glancing blow and was made with a small caliber bullet, whereas the former were made with a large-caliber bullet.  Particulates from the glancing blow lead Booth and Brennan to the Benjamin Banneker Memorial Bridge, where peregrine falcons roost, whose feces were found in Martin's ulna wound.  Brennan finds a severed foot.  From the distal fibula and a histological analysis of the osteons, she thinks that the foot belonged to a Caucasian female in her early 20s.  The level of decay places time of dismemberment at about 6 days ago.  Foreign bodies in the foot suggest buckshot from Martin's shotgun.  Booth, meanwhile, talks to Lauren Martin, Ruben's wife, and she insists that Dinco is at fault -- he always got raises, Martin never did.

Angela pulls footage from the ATM robberies to attempt to find the suspects, which she does in a matter of minutes (and which the FBI couldn't do in days' worth of work).  The robbers remotely hacked the ATMs to spit out cash when a certain card was inserted.  Angela traces the card's root code to a server at Carlisle University, and to Paula Byrne and Marcos Herrera, cyber-criminology majors there.  Brennan and Booth head to the house they shared, and they find Paula confined to bed, with gangrene taking over her leg owing to lack of medical attention for her dismembered foot.  Booth tortures information out of Paula, who claims they were meeting the diamond fence under the bridge.  The fence held them up with a shotgun, but Marcos freaked out and shot the guy, who in return shot Paula in the foot and left.  

Edison finds out that the striations on the injuries to Martin's ribs suggest the shots were fired by a .38-caliber bullet, the kind fired by weapons issued by the DC police force.  Martin was shot at close range, by someone sitting next to him, someone he didn't have a reason to fear.  Booth's APB gets him information on the whereabouts of Marcos Herrera, and when he arrives at the scene, he finds Dinco threatening Herrera, telling him not to talk.  Booth questions Dinco, who lawyers up.  He also questions Herrera, who admits to robbing the ATMs but corroborates Paula's story about the fence shooting her.

Gunpowder and other particulates found in the rib fractures are further analyzed by Hodgins.  He also finds leather particulates and aerosolized alcohol mixed with jasmine.  Martin didn't have any leather on his clothing or in his car.  Booth gets a warrant to search Martin's house and finds his DC police-issued gun and a huge wad of money in his home safe.  He realizes that Lauren Martin shot her husband with his own gun, through the leather of her purse.  The bullet broke her bottle of perfume along the way.  Martin stole the diamonds for his wife, which she wanted, but she didn't want her husband anymore, so she admits to having killed him.

  • Forensic
    • Sooo, there wasn't that much forensic work in this episode.  I mean, why deprive me of the joy of making fun of the age/sex/height/ancestry assessment?
    • I don't buy that Saroyan's method would work.  I guess she's making the tissue more pliable, but at the same time, drying it out again, to reshape it?  Yeah, still no.
    • But hey, both innominates were upside down on the Jeffersonian's lab table for the entire episode.  I didn't bother to look more closely at the rest of the bones since the upside-down pelvis annoyed me enough.
    • Histological analysis can certainly give Brennan the age of the person whose severed foot they found, but sex and ancestry too?  Not buying that part.
    • Finally, would aerosolized alcohol stay in a decomposing body for a week?  Wouldn't it evaporate pretty quickly?  The leather particulates I get, but not the perfume.
  • Plot
    • Yeah, so filming an active, ongoing forensic case is rarely cool.  Not entirely sure who would need to give permission for this, since the victim's wife was the killer, but I suspect some sort of legal agreement needs to be in place for this case to be filmed.
    • Why would there be a hit in a forensic database for the fictional Quentin Coles?  Is that standard procedure for undercover cops, to plant facial reconstructions and other quasi-identifying information?
    • Once again, Angela does in five minutes with a computer what dozens of FBI agents and a couple undercover cops couldn't do in weeks' worth of work.  Because she's a l33t hax0r.
    • Why does Dinco tell Herrera not to talk to anyone?  I didn't really get that.  There was also no resolution with Booth; I mean, he did accuse Dinco of murdering his employee and fellow cop, after all.  A simple "oops, my bad" might have been nice.
    • So why did Martin swallow the balloon of diamonds?  And when did he do that?  Before he went to rob the students?  After, but before he told his wife?  (Then he would have been out of danger, though.)
    • Caroline and Andrew, sittin' in a tree... K-I-S-S-oh who'm I kidding, I don't really care about this plot line.
  • Dialogue
    • I've got nothing this week, except repeated expressions from Brennan of disbelief about sarcasm.  Has she always been confused by sarcasm?

Forensic Mystery - C-.  There was no real forensic work needed to ID the victim.  The work with the gunshots was pretty decent, though.

Forensic Solution - C+.  Again, not much forensic anthropology in this episode.  But the gunshot wounds themselves helped solve the case.

Drama - C.  When the height of drama in the episode is a new relationship between Miss Julian and Dave Thomas, it's a pretty boring episode of television.


Anonymous said…
I sometimes disagree with the methods that Booth questions suspects. I was really not impressed with him questioning the girl on a stretcher as she's about to be loaded onto an ambulance. She was almost dead and begging for medication. He wouldn't allow that until his question was answered. That sounds like torture to me...
Anonymous said…
I guess Dinco was trying to keep him quiet because he didnt want a dirty cop scandal on his watch, but yeah. Kinda unresolved at the end, just more lazy writing.
Rebecka said…
I was getting excited about the microclimate aspect. Really wanted to know how exactly that happened. But nope.

So much about this episode made me cringe. Urgh.

I did however learn about peregrine falcons having been deemed endangered once. I just got interested in birds recently and just the other week there was a peregrine falcon perching on one of the towers of the local cathedral. But then again, my quick wiki look (just now) didn't really tell me about the state of peregrines in Sweden. I've just assumed they're common enough for a bird of prey, maybe they weren't endangered here *shrug*
Chris said…
Living in DC, sometimes it's the landmark errors that get to me the most. There is no Banneker Bridge (though there is a Banneker Park in Falls Church/Arlington in Northern VA and a Banneker Circle near L'Enfant Plaza downtown) and the bridge they show a photo of in that scene doesn't exist. At first I thought it was Key Bridge, but its on the wrong side of the Washington Monument (south, whereas Key Bridge is north) and Key Bridge doesn't have the vertical steel beams above the arches. Also, Wheaton Plaza is nowhere near 10 min from the Watergate Hotel, where Brennan and Booth are driving when Booth gets the call about the thief's car being spotted. The Watergate is in Foggy Bottom, near the Potomac; Wheaton is an MD suburb near the District boundary on the NE side. No way is that a 10 min drive, even not accounting for lights and traffic.

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