Bones - Season 8, Episode 24 (Review)
The Secret in the Siege
Pelant and his nasty, mangled face is back! And he's hiding out in some sort of Batman-evil-supervillain computer lair, watching the Jeffersonian and FBI gang on various surveillance cameras around the city. Meanwhile, chez Booth & Brennan (which is always "the B&B" in my notes), Brennan doesn't want to buy Booth jerky, and Booth whines about not being married when a gift comes from his honeymooning mother. He then gets a call about a dead body, and they head out to investigate.
A nature trail that's been closed for two months has turned up a partially scavenged body that's been dead for only about five days based on blowfly larvae. Based on the gonial angle, dental wear, and shape of the palate, Brennan assesses the deceased as a Caucasian male in his mid-50s. The bullet wound to the base of the occipital likely killed him, and yet there are additional gunshot wounds. Booth suspects a hit man or some other trained killer who lured the unsuspecting man to the picnic area. Sweets begins to suspect Pelant, and then realizes that Pelant is using Sweets' old papers from grad school as a how-to guide.
At the Jeffersonian, Brennan notices several remodelled gunshot wounds to the man's body, dating to about 8 to 10 years ago. Overall, he seems to have been shot 12 times with a USP 9mm. Angela's facial reconstruction gets a hit: Alan Friedlander, a retired FBI agent who was Booth's partner years ago. Further analysis of Friedlander's body reveals puncture wounds on the tibia and humerus. Brennan suggests these date to about 10 years ago as well (based on Harris lines, which aren't what she thinks they are -- more below). There is no record of Friedlander's having been shot or bitten in the FBI's file on him, though.
Cut to Booth at the FBI, talking about a massacre at a compound called Crystal Creek (which I suppose is like Waco or Jonestown). Agents were attacked by guard dogs, and some were killed by being shot in the back -- likely by the cult members, but there was some disagreement that it could have been friendly fire. Booth was also involved with the Crystal Creek incident. Since Sweets thinks that Pelant is working through a surrogate, rather than killing people himself, he enlists the help of Angela and her google-fu to find Zane Reynolds, the child of one of the cult members whose parents were killed but who was unharmed in the incident, as he has a dagger tattoo. Booth waylays Reynolds and manages to prevent him from offing himself; at the FBI, he says he didn't kill those agents but wishes he had. Following all this drama, Brennan realizes she wants to marry Booth and proposes and gives him a big bag of jerky. But Pelant witnesses the proposal and gets upset because he is no longer center stage.
Brennan and Saroyan look over the remains of Friedlander and Stone again. Brennan realizes that both were shot 11 times; it seemed like Friedlander was shot 12 times, but the copper-jacketed bullet separated in his body and created two wounds instead of one. Sweets then thinks that perhaps the surrogate is the child of an agent who died at Crystal Creek. Sure enough, Harris Samuels was shot 11 times, including once to the back of the head, and his daughter Anna is an expert shot with complex grief disorder. She also happens to be the "witness" to the Stone murder. Anna, meanwhile, has been getting video messages from Pelant, who has virtually disguised himself as Samuels, and she has been carrying out instructions to kill various people. She is instructed to call Booth and arrange a meeting.
Booth shows up to meet with Anna, but she doesn't show. Cell phone coverage in the area is out, so Booth can't reach anyone. Brennan gets the information on Anna over to the FBI, who immediately recognize her as the fake witness to the shooting. Booth finds a pay phone and calls to get this information. The FBI meanwhile is searching Anna's apartment and gets Angela access to her computer. Angela decodes some mysterious message and realizes that Booth is not the target; Sweets is. Pelant has orchestrated a massive traffic jam so that Anna can kill him. Fortunately, Angela has car-recognition software too, so she finds Sweets' car instantly. Booth heads over there, as does Brennan, and he gets there in the nick of time: he wounds Anna, preventing her from killing Sweets.
Brennan and Booth are happy as newly affianced people, but Pelant calls Booth back. He threatens to kill five innocent people if Booth doesn't break off the engagement. Booth complies, upsetting Brennan. Season 8 cliffhanger, dun dun dunnnnn!
- Hoo boy. Well, as usual, Brennan's identification of Friedlander relied on really variable skeletal indicators of sex (gonial angle), age (dental wear), and ancestry (palate shape). I mean, generally I argue that the writers are simply trying to mix things up, but I just complained about the issues with dental wear and palate shape in the last two episodes...
- As usual, Friedlander's ID was never confirmed with dental records, fingerprints, DNA, etc.
- But the weirdest thing of all was Brennan's reference -- not once, but twice -- to using Harris lines to figure out when an injury happened. Now, Harris lines are radiopaque lines that indicate growth arrest. Or, in layman's terms, on xray you can sometimes tell if a person was malnourished or sick while a child, since the growth of the bone stops for a while (similar to enamel hypoplasias on teeth). So using Harris lines to figure out the chronology of an injury is possible... but only if the person is young and injuries happened when the bones were still growing. Both FBI agents were in their 50s, which means Harris lines can't tell Brennan when they were bitten by dogs. Brennan also diagnoses Harris lines on Stone's body from a cursory glance at the tibia, which is impossible.
- Generally, the Pelant plot lines don't make a whole lot of sense (but are dramatic and interesting), but this was definitely the worst of all of them. I gather that Pelant convinced Anna to kill the FBI agents by telling her (in the guise of her dead father) that there was a conspiracy and the FBI actually killed her dad. So it would make sense that he'd send her after Booth, but Pelant actually wanted Sweets. Why did he want Sweets dead? (Because he understood him too well?) How did he convince Anna to kill Sweets, who was clearly not part of the Crystal Creek task force? If he didn't decide until after the B&B proposal that he wanted to target Sweets, what was he planning on doing before then? Alright, head hurts.
- Angela's microfiche-looking google thingymabob is pretty impressive. It takes a few search terms from Sweets and finds the tattooed dude who didn't kill anyone.
- Pelant can knock out cell service for a giant section of metro D.C.? Angela can find Sweets' car on grainy security video in a few seconds' time? This is pretty spiffy technology.
- "When I thought about living with Booth for the rest of my life, my phenylethylamine and grealine(?) levels were elevated..." - Brennan
- "I thought you'd want some weird tribal wedding and I'd have to pay for you with giraffes." - Booth
- "The archaic Catholic wedding ritual is important to you. Even as an atheist, I see the beauty in it. Besides, I speak Latin. Tu fueres asciationibus, Christine?" First, Catholicism isn't exactly archaic; I mean, the entire religion is historical. And second, I also know Latin, and Deschanel's pronunciation was horrific. Just butchery. I honestly cannot figure out what she's trying to say. Regardless, sounds like classical Latin rather than ecclesiastical. I'll save judgment on the grammar until I can figure out what the hell she was trying to pronounce.
Forensic Mystery - C+. Victims ID'ed pretty quickly, as were their injuries (nothing too complicated).
Forensic Solution - F. Seriously, that's not what Harris lines are. This is a giant, glaring error (I mean, a quick check of wikipedia would have told the writers that), hence the grade. (Yes, it's finals week.)
Drama - C-. Boo. I was so looking forward to a Pelant season finale. And that was a giant let-down. I guess I was worried about Sweets for all of about a minute, but that was it. And the B&B marriage drama was a snooze, honestly.
At any rate, thanks for joining me for the eighth season of Bones! Hope you've enjoyed these reviews. Every year, I wonder aloud if I should continue to do these in the coming season, and every year I whine that it takes too much time and just makes me cranky about the show. Then again, I'd be watching this show anyway and yelling at the TV anyway, so I might as well write it all down...
So what do you think will happen in season 9? A resolution to the Pelant drama?