Bones - Season 8, Episode 22 (Review)
The Party in the Pants
A newbie attempting to work a backhoe at a building demolition site scoops up a decomposing human corpse and accidentally drops it on the forewoman. She gets it off, but somewhere off-camera, the remaining load falls on the corpse, crushing the skull. Brennan thinks that the individual was male, based on the crushed skull I guess, and Caucasian based on the parabolic dental arcade. A uniform that the victim was wearing makes him appear to be a firefighter, but it is quickly revealed that the pants are tear-away and he was wearing a thong -- so he was more likely a stripper. Flesh tone and ambient temperature put time-of-death at about four days prior.
Back at the Jeffersonian, Wendell notes that based on the epiphyseal union of the sternoclavicle, the victim was in his mid 20s. This makes sense, Brennan avers, as those are the prime years for a man to strip. Saroyan concludes, based on the lack of plaster and dust in the posterior pharynx, that the victim was dead before he was put in the building. Wendell finds a calf implant, which carries a serial number and ID's him as Jack Spindler, an investment broker at Duncorp Investments. Jack's boss, Seth Erikson, reported him missing, as Jack was one of their biggest earners, bringing in over $5 million in client investments as a rookie.
Angela gets to work attempting to find where Jack worked as a stripper, hoping to find some colleagues or a place he could have been killed. Wendell finds another clue in the bones: the left proximal tibia was cut and realigned, indicative of a tibial osteotomy, but it is an old, well-healed injury. Brennan suggests that Jack had Blount's disease, common in severely overweight children. Saroyan starts working on the vaginal fluid found in Jack's underwear, and Angela notices some of the cash Jack was carrying had been rolled up, leading Saroyan to think they might get nasal epithelial cells if it had been used to snort cocaine.
Sweets and Booth head to Jack's apartment, where they find evidence that he had been an overweight kid and also a voice message from his girlfriend, Kristi. Booth questions Kristi at the FBI, but she insists that they always fought. She does mention that her father invested over $1 million in Jack's company, and we later find out that she lost over $200,000 of that. She fingers Jack's friend Storm, as Jack kept stealing Storm's stripping clients, about which they got into a fight at the gym. Booth tracks down Storm at a bachelorette party and brings him back to the FBI for questioning. Jack's right distal fourth metacarpal is fractured at the neck, suggesting he landed a punch shortly before his death.
Meanwhile, at the Jeffersonian, Wendell finds a v-shaped cut at a near 90-degree angle to the posterior aspect of the third cervical vertebra, which would have caused a severe contusion to the spinal cord. Trace evidence wedged in the wound includes synthetic fiber and bedbugs. Epithelial cells are found on the rolled up cash, and they match Cynthia White, a bachelorette who had Jack strip at her party. The partial DNA evidence from the vaginal fluid matches her as well. Her fiance, Jason, found out about the affair, but only post-hoc. He pushed Cynthia, but he never saw Jack. Angela traces records and emails on Jack's computer and notices he was engaging in a felony: buying up stock cheap, artificially inflating its price, and then selling it to clients before it crashed. Seth Erikson is looking more guilty, but he has an alibi in Vegas for the night of Jack's death.
Additional fractures that Wendell notes to the cranium and ossicles finally give the team cause of death. Displaced fractures to the incus and stapes suggest Jack was pistol-whipped with the butt of a gun. Hodgins also finds evidence (oxidized malachite) in the wound that the victim may have been killed at the seedy Kingford Hotel. Brennan thinks that Jack was beaten with a fake gun, the kind a stripper such as Storm would carry. Storm had invested $5,000, all his savings, in Jack's fake stock and was devastated when he lost it all. While in his hotel room, Storm got angry at Jack. Meaning to give him a good beating, Storm pistol-whipped him, but Jack fell, knocking his neck on the edge of the bed. Storm didn't want Jack dead, but he isn't sad that he is.
Oh, also, Booth's long-lost mother comes back, to tell him she's getting remarried to a long-term partner. Booth is happy to see her at first, then pissed that she started a life without him (and his brother... what's his name? Jared? Isn't he in jail or something?), then forgives her and wishes her well by giving her away at her wedding. Brennan, predictably, catches the bouquet.
- Apparently now Brennan can just look at a crushed skull and tell it's male without reference to any bony landmarks. Handy! Caucasian based on dental arcade alone is sketchy (as all humans have a parabolic arcade in comparison to, say, australopithecines). I do buy the age-at-death, though, which was a nice vague range ("mid-20s") and also appropriately estimated based on epiphyseal closure of the medial clavicle.
- Kind of pointless to throw in the stuff about the tibial osteotomy and childhood obesity. Not really relevant to anything in the plot.
- Saroyan sure can work magic with epithelial cells. And Hodgins has that magic machine that identifies all sorts of bizarre particulates.
- Is it just me, or was the neck injury never fully explained? I assumed in the summary that Jack fell while he was being beaten by Storm and hit his head and neck on the bed.
- I still find it annoying that every single fracture in the prop bones looks the same -- all jagged and strangely discolored -- even on the teeny tiny incus and stapes.
- Inconsistency: In the first scene, the body is whole when it drops on the forewoman. And then after the intro music, suddenly the head has been crushed.
- Booth's mother has a longstanding injury to her left greater trochanter and femoral head, caused by being pushed down a flight of stairs by Booth's father.
- Why does the 20-something victim have a land line? Seriously, who under the age of 30 has one of those anymore? (How I Met Your Mother hilariously mocked this TV plot contrivance in a recent episode...)
- Most boring Bones-themed drinking game ever: Take a drink every time the show mentions Parker, Jared, or Russ.
- "Based on your robust frame, muscular build, and symmetrical features, you could make a good income as an exotic dancer." -- Brennan to Wendell (actually, isn't Wendell a bit too old?)
- "You have an alluring personality and a wonderful physique." -- Brennan to Booth
- "I did [strip]. For my paper. I wouldn't be much of a scientist if I didn't." -- Brennan, getting really into anthropological participant-observation.
- "The Jesus myth is all about forgiveness, isn't it? ... Water to wine, raising the dead, walking on water... these defy the basic laws of physics. But forgiveness... that's its value. That's why the myth has endured." -- Brennan going all anthropological on religion. (Still galls me, though, that she named her daughter after Jesus, yet this hypocrisy never comes up...)
Forensic Mystery - C. Eh. Calf implant ID'ed the victim quickly. Not a lot of mystery, except perhaps in cause-of-death, and that was annoying because the team should thoroughly document all injuries at once, not look for them as a plot device at the end.
Forensic Solution - B. The way they ID'ed him, though, was entirely reasonable, if boring.
Drama - D+. If there had been some lead-up to the return of Booth's mother, I might have been interested in it. There was a bunch of drama surrounding the reveal of Max as Brennan's father a few seasons ago. But I honestly don't remember the story of Booth's mom abandoning him and his brother, so I wasn't invested in this storyline that took up a good chunk of the show tonight.