The Woman in White
Brennan, Booth, and much of the Jeffersonian team are at the church for the wedding rehearsal. A call comes in about a murder, and everyone's cell phone goes off. At the Jeffersonian, the team immediately notes that the body is that of a woman in her mid-30s with multiple stab wounds to the chest. Her clothing suggests she died in the 1970s; a cicada caught in her sleeve tells Hodgins that she died in 1979. An ID with the body says she is Nancy Amelin, born in 1943, and she worked in the manuscript division of the Library of Congress.
Booth finds out that the body was found in a spot that used to be a part of Adams University, where there was grad student housing and faculty office space. Hodgins finds that the stab wounds contained traces of steel but also a huge number of foliage fragments and particulates from various parts of the East Coast. A splinter of wood is found in one of the fractures, and Hodgins identifies it as cocobolo. Angela goes through the woman's documents from her purse and finds a protective sleeve but can't figure out what document was in it. Fortuitously, she finds a photocopy of the document in the woman's wallet.
Saroyan calls in Dr. Edison to help with the case so Brennan doesn't get bogged down before her wedding. He notes that the sheer number of microfractures to the bones will take him and Dr. Brennan two days to catalogue. So Saroyan suggests calling in all the interns... initially, to just look like they're working, but ultimately to do the work. Brennan assigns Wells to the task of analyzing the document found with the victim, so that she and Angela can work on wedding prep (which seems to involve mani-pedis and hair styling). The interns find bruising to the sacrum and coccyx, a microfracture of the left olecranon, and multiple microfractures to the calcanei. The majority of the microfractures are confined to the heels and feet as well as the ischial tuberosities, which suggests to Wells that the victim was dragged down the stairs. Based on the number and patterning of the injuries, he guesses 72 stairs and 8 landings, which means she was killed on the 5th floor. Fortunately, there was only one building at Adams University with five floors. Further, Wells' documentary research leads him to conclude that the document in the protective sleeve was a poem by Emily Dickinson suggesting she had a lover. This document runs counter to the research of Professor Janet McCann, a Dickinson scholar, who was communicating with the victim. Further, McCann's book jacket bio says she's an avid hiker, particularly along the Appalachian Trail. The murder weapon was her trekking pole, which was made of cocobolo wood and tipped with steel. This explains the flora and particulates in the victim's wounds. McCann had a stroke two years ago, though, and therefore cannot stand trial for the murder.
In B&B wedding news, the church burns down (possibly because of Booth?) and Brennan can't find another one that will accommodate their wedding. Angela ends up setting it up on the lawn of the Jeffersonian, and Booth's ex-priest bartender friend officiates while Cyndi Lauper sings a very credible version of "At Last." I'm glad that the government shut-down is over, or else Booth and Brennan would have had no place to get married, what with the Jeffersonian being closed and all its employees furloughed and all...
- So, there was really very little here. Nothing about the body gave them age-at-death or sex. I mean, they did say she was female and in her mid-30s, but not based on any specified forensic criteria.
- Love that the exact number of stairs she was dragged down could be ascertained from the calcaneal fractures 30 years later. Sure.
- Fun fact: The priest at the church in the beginning is Emily Deschanel's real-life husband, David Hornsby (better known as Cricket from Always Sunny).
- So, were there photocopiers in 1979? I know there were mimeographs, the kind that made those hilarious blue copies (that some of my high school teachers still had in the 1990s!), but the document found in the woman's wallet was not a mimeograph. Well, wikipedia tells me that by the late 1970s, Xerox machines were fairly widespread in offices. So I suppose it stands to reason that someone at the Library of Congress would have had access to one.
- Where's the country boy intern? They brought in Wells, Daisy, Wendell, Fisher, and Vaziri. But no one thought to invite Abernathy?
- Why does Saroyan have two fancy party dresses in her office?
- Why did Brennan get giant rollers in her hair, only to have relatively straight hair in the next scene?
- Why is Angela whiny that Brennan wants to work the day before her wedding? She is an in-demand forensic anthropologist and loves her job; of course she'd want to be at work. Mani-pedis don't take that long.
- How did Booth figure out that the victim was corresponding with McCann? It's not like there was email in 1979. He managed to find paper records within, what, an hour?
- How did all the guests find out about the change in venue, like, 2 hours before the wedding? And the caterer, and the chair rental, etc. etc.?
- The invitations say Ms. Temperance Brennan. I'm not an expert on manners and such, but shouldn't they say Dr. Temperance Brennan? Seems like something she'd insist on...
- So what are the literary ramifications of this new Dickinson letter?
- "Angela's office smells like sage." - Wells, on why he is hanging out on the platform rather than in an office to do documentary research.
- Interestingly, Wendell pronounces "ischial" IS-kee-al rather than the more Anglicized ISH-i-al that I tend to use in class. (Neither is very true to the original Greek pronunciation, of course.)
- Edison mocks Wendell, asking if he needs to show him again where the iliopectineal line is. It actually can be hard to find, though...
- "This is not one man ceremonially handing over a woman to another man as though she's property. OK?" - Brennan
Forensic Mystery - D. That was the quickest solved case-of-the-week ever. I guess when you don't have to interview any suspects or discuss the forensic context of the skeleton, you save enough time to have a TV wedding.
Forensic Solution - D+. No age-at-death or sex from the remains. Presumably a positive ID was made somehow other than by the ID card the victim was carrying.
Drama - C-. The only drama was in the location of the wedding, and even that was pretty boring and predictable. There was way, way too much dialogue consisting of empty platitudes in this episode. Blah.