November 5, 2013

Bones - Season 9, Episode 7 (Review)

The Nazi in the Honeymoon
Episode Summary
Booth and Brennan are on honeymoon in Buenos Aires. Bored with hanging out on the beach, Brennan wants to go tour a morgue where a bunch of "desaparecidos" skeletons from Argentina's Dirty War are being identified by Dr. Leticia Perez. Brennan and Booth get a tour from an annoyed Perez, who hurries them out.  But Brennan notices one skeleton that's different from the rest: it's recent, judging by the black charring on the underside of the skeleton. Brennan estimates the age-at-death as 90 based on sternal rib ends and that he (no mention of how she determined sex) was Caucasian based on the long, narrow nasal aperture. Brennan ships some samples and artifacts back to the Jeffersonian and also sends x-rays of the bones. Perez determines time of death to within one month based on insect activity.

Perez is not interested in Brennan's help with this forensic case, but Brennan insists on talking to the police, so Perez brings Brennan and Booth to see Raphael Valenza, who operates out of a cafe.  Booth is initially skeptical of Valenza, knowing that cops in Buenos Aires are notoriously corrupt, but Sweets checks him out and finds that Valenza is clean. Valenza shows Booth the security camera footage from the archaeological site where the deceased was found. Meanwhile, Angela's facial reconstruction returns a hit: Miguel Silva. The Mercedes seen entering the site was his. Booth and Valenza go check out Silva's car and find a mysterious key.

Back at the Jeffersonian, Edison is working on the x-rays. Brennan and Perez note that some of the bones are calcined from the fire, but most are intact. Perez estimates the fire burned between 300-700 degrees, which Hodgins asserts was a wood fire.  He finds traces of gasoline, an accelerant, on the wood fragments Brennan sent. Edison finds interesting histological results: prolonged exposure to hydrogen cyanide or Zyklon B, a gas used in Nazi concentration camps.

Booth and Valenza check out Silva's basement, having initially determined that his much younger wife is not a suspect in her husband's murder.  They find the wine cellar full of Nazi paraphernalia and treasures like a van Gogh painting.  There is blood all over the place, along with a wooden splinter likely belonging to some sort of trunk or crate whose outline can still be seen on the floor.

Angela finds out that Silva was actually Hermann Haupt, the so-called Monster of Majdanek, and does some age-regression to show a resemblance between the 90-year-old man's driver's licence and his military ID. Perez finds perimortem fractures on the radius, ulna, metacarpals, and carpals, suggesting Haupt fought his attacker.  Then she drops the skull on the floor.  Oopsy daisy.  However, Brennan can now see the coronal suture interdigitations quite well and notes fragments of gold in them as well as intracranial discoloration suggesting a subdural hematoma.

Hodgins finds out that the wood splinter is from a larch tree and that it predates 1945 based on the fact that there is no cesium-134 or strontium-90 in it, both of which became prevalent in the atomic age.  Angela notes that crates of Nazi treasures were stored in larch crates, suggesting that what was at Haupt's home was indeed a crate, likely full of gold bars.  He was beaten to death with a bar of Nazi gold.

Booth and Valenza question a local fence about the gold. He admits finally that he bought it from Haupt's wife, Bianca.  They go question Bianca again; she admits to selling the gold but denies killing her husband. The wine cellar was open, she insists, and she simply took what she wanted, apparently not noticing all the blood all over the floor.  But Booth and Valenza think she did it and arrest her.

Perez tells Brennan that the case is over, since Bianca has been arrested.  Brennan shakes Perez's hand and notices the same avulsion near her thumb that the victim had.  She puts two and two together: Perez was Haupt's granddaughter, as the trait indicates polydactyly that was remedied in childhood. Perez admits everything: she found out about her grandfather's secret when he showed her the wine cellar. She refused to be a party to mass killing and refused his suggested inheritance. When Haupt started mocking her, calling her weak and a mestiza, Perez snapped and killed him with the bar of gold.

Comments
  • Forensic
    • They never did estimate sex from the skeleton. Sternal rib ends are good for people over 50. As usual, estimating ancestry from the nose is problematic. (For a good reason this is problematic, see the slur Haupt called his granddaughter above.)
    • Facial reconstruction is, as always, a crappy way to ID someone. Dental records, please.
    • What does Edison say he used for histology? A plane grading spectrograph?
    • Considering the femur is the largest bone in the body and it fully turns over about every 20 years, how exactly is there still trace gas from a concentration camp 50+ years ago that would show up on histological examination? I call BS.
    • Perez's hand does not have an avulsion, which is when a bone or muscle or tendon or something is pulled apart; it has an amputation, which is a cut.
    • Anyone know the frequency of polydactyly of the thumb? I thought that the extra finger was usually lateral to the pinkie. Nevermind, wikipedia confirms radial polydactyly is rare.
  • Plot
    • Why are Angela and Hodgins babysitting in Booth and Brennan's house? That's weird. (My guess is to save on set design...) Also, would Brennan allow Christine to watch TV? Isn't she like 2? Kids that age are supposed to get virtually no screen time. And finally, isn't Michael Vincent a full 9 months older than Christine? (Seeing as how he was named after Vincent Nigel-Murray, whose death prompted Brennan and Booth to have unprotected sex.) The boy actor looks much smaller than the girl.
    • Why didn't Bianca report all the blood in her house? Or leave sooner? It seemed like she had a few days or weeks between finding the gold and her husband turning up dead?
  • Dialogue
    • "We've all dropped human remains before." - Brennan. This is surely true, but a skull? No, I've never dropped something as big and important as a skull (nor have my students). That was my clue that Perez did it.



Ratings
Forensic Mystery - C-. More than most episodes, the killer was telegraphed pretty early on.

Forensic Solution - C-. No evidence was reported for sex estimation, and ancestry was sketchy. At least the age estimation was reasonable.

Drama - C-. Eh. Hard to have a lot of drama with a bunch of new people we don't know or care about in a far-away country.

Next week: Two episodes of Bones in one week?  We'll see if I can find time for that.  The real question is, since Bones is moving to Fridays, the day that TV dies, does this mean it's the last season?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

There were a bunch of things that triggered fridge logic in this one.

All of the police work was conducted in English, evidently purely for the sake of letting Booth tag along.

Is hydrogen cyanide ever referred to as Zyklon B outside of discussing its use in the Holocaust?

The victim was about 90. Let's bump that up to 95 to give the writers the benefit of the doubt. Assuming this takes okace in 2013, that would make him 27 in 1945. A 27 year old was in charge of a concentration camp?

Kristina Killgrove said...

Good point about his age. I didn't bother to do the math. I guess I wrote off the English-only interrogations as related to everyone's excitement about seeing "Agent Andy" in the flesh. I always like it when they refer to Brennan's main character, Dr. Kathy Reichs, too.

And I learned something from the above comment. I'd never heard the term "fridge logic" before.

Anonymous said...

I know Brennan has poor social skills but isn't it safe to assume that after all of the time she's spent around Booth, the people at the Jeffersonian as well as strangers she's encounters, she would have developed a modicum of social etiquette? Given her way of interacting with people, I'm surprised she isn't "taken down a peg" more often -- and I don't attribute that to the people being kowtowed by her knowledge, brilliance and reputation.

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