Bones - Season 9, Episode 13 (Review)

Big in the Philippines
Episode Summary
A body is discovered in some sort of urban-renewal garden. Animals unearthed the remains, and Brennan and Hodgins find traces of squirrels and coyotes, the latter based on their vomit. Calliphora vomitoria specimens suggest the dead body has been there about two days. There is severe trauma to the ribcage, and Brennan guesses from the slightly receding zygomatic that the person was Caucasian. She declines to figure out sex or age until they get the remains back to the Jeffersonian.

At the lab, Wendell notes blunt force trauma to the ribs; in addition, the tibiae and fibulae are fractured. He suggests that an assailant might have broken the bones to make the victim fit in the hastily dug grave. The rim around the auricular surface suggests to Wendell that the victim was late 20s or early 30s. He starts to mention the heart-shaped pelvic inlet as indicative of male sex when Saroyan holds up the fleshy penis. Saroyan runs the victim's DNA through CODIS and doesn't get a hit. Angela also gets no hits on her facial reconstruction from the DMV database. Hodgins finds a bloody napkin in the victim's clothing, and Angela uses her magic toys to see that it's from LeBemi's Bar. Wendell notes that the right fibula is full of cloacae, and Brennan confirms with the presence of a sequestrum that the victim was suffering from osteomyelitis.

Booth heads to LeBemi's to talk to the bar owner. He ID's the facial reconstruction as Colin Haynes, a country-and-western singer who frequently performed there. Booth and Sweets then head to Colin's apartment. They find lots of old records that inspired him, a sheet of lyrics he was typing up, and a torn-up check for $1,000 from War Hog Records. So they go to speak with the owner, Harriet, who had signed Colin but dropped him because his records weren't selling. She gave him the $1,000 to help him with his diseased leg. Angela and Sweets then attempt to suss out some clues from Colin's CDs -- whereas his first one was up-tempo, the second one was in a minor key and lacked love songs. The lyrics Sweets found in Colin's apartment, though, suggest he had once again started to be positive about life and love.

Back at the Jeffersonian, Wendell has isolated hemorrhagic staining as blunt trauma to the rib cage, which is Colin's cause of death. The weapon is a little more tricky, though. Jagged fracture lines on the anterior surface of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th sternal rib ends suggests the ribs were broken outward, as if a tool had been placed in his torso to get something out of the chest cavity.

Booth and Sweets return to Colin's apartment and talk more with Kara O'Malley, the superintendent of the complex.  While there, they notice an intruder.  Booth stops him and takes him in to the FBI for questioning.  The man, Adrian, is a recent visitor from the Philippines.  He simply wanted to get a souvenir of Colin to bring back for a museum dedicated to the singer. Colin's music is played all the time on the radio in the Philippines, and until last week no one knew how to find him. A video surfaced of a fan spotting and talking to Colin just outside his apartment. It was geotagged, so Adrian knew where to find Colin. His alibi checks out, though. Booth then questions Harriet from War Hog Records, since ASCAP lists over $100,000 in royalties for Colin's music. Harriet denies any knowledge of this and does not seem to know about the Philippino radio stations.

Wendell finally figures out cause-of-death. Ribs 2-5 show outward trauma, but heavy splintering on the posterior aspect also indicates inward trauma. The combination means the weapon was a fulcrum, likely a shovel. An incision on the third rib is more narrow, suggesting a stab wound from the blade of a knife. When the blade stuck into the rib, the assailant tried to dig it out by opening up Colin's torso with the shovel. A bit later, Wendell notices three parallel abrasions on a rib that are inconsistent with either a shovel or a knife.

Booth calls in Kara, the super, for more questioning after a waitress at a restaurant mentioned seeing her with Colin on the night of his death. She admits to the date and also admits to having thrown a drink in his face because of what she thought was braggadocio: he insisted he was big in the Philippines and that he was supposed to get tickets to fly over there, but he can't produce the tickets for her. Angela does some digging and finds out that the mysterious tickets were indeed delivered -- to Kara's apartment.  But the person who signed for them was the owner of LeBemi's, who was having an on-again-off-again affair with Kara. Apparently he didn't want Colin and Kara to go out. The three parallel abrasions were made by his watch, and Brennan finds blood under the bevel.

And in the B story, Wendell breaks his arm in a hockey game with Booth.  After reviewing the footage of the accident, Brennan disregards all medical privacy laws and looks at Wendell's xrays.  She notices permeated lytic lesions and lamellated periosteal reactions to the lesions, which allows her to diagnose him with Ewing's sarcoma, a particularly deadly cancer. Initially, Wendell plans to tour the world and make the most of the time he has left, which is only a matter of months.  But in the end, he decides to stay and fight with the help of his friends at the Jeffersonian.

  • Forensic
    • Ack, Tempe, don't stick your hands in the body goo and just root around. You might break something!  Also, the "femur bone" of a squirrel?  Redundant.
    • I guess it's good she didn't figure out age-at-death, sex, ancestry, and occupation of the deceased based on the body in situ, but...
    • Wendell, jeezum, no no no NO, "the heart-shaped pelvic inlet suggests gender..."  My intro human osteology students are going to get the gender/sex lecture next week (although most of them have already gotten it in Intro to Bioanth). There is no excuse for Wendell using the incorrect term "gender" when he means "sex."  Boo. Wendell fails my osteology class.
    • If they have the complete pelvis, they need to use the pubic symphysis to figure out both sex and age-at-death.  The auricular surface has issues.  Also, you need to figure out sex before age, since the age-at-death tables are sex-dependent.
    • Pretty sure Brennan was talking about the "sequester" in the bone, when it's "sequestrum." Also, the prop bone seemed to have cloacae, but there was no thickening; a bone with active osteomyelitis with a sequestrum would be swollen and kind of bulbous.
    • Ewing's sarcoma is not very common in the lower arm bones and is most common in kids (under 20); I guess Wendell is just different?
  • Plot
    • Holy crap, Brennan, HIPAA much?!?
    • And why do they keep killing off my favorite interns? Zack, Nigel-Murray, and now Wendell?
    • Alright, not much of this plot made sense to me... 
      • Why did the bartender break Colin's bones to make him fit in the grave? They speculated the reason was that the assailant was too small to dig the grave or something, but I guess that was a red herring.
      • Why did he dig in the chest for the knife blade? So that they couldn't trace the weapon or something?
      • If the War Hog Records woman didn't know about the royalties... who did? I mean, to whom were the royalties being paid?
      • Who kept leaking Colin's records and videos to the Philippines anyway? If he didn't have any fans in town, there was no one to bootleg his performances at the bar.
      • So Colin knew about the plane tickets to the Philippines a couple days before his date with Kara. But how did the bartender know what the tickets were? And how did he know Colin and Kara were seeing one another if they hadn't yet gone on a date? I mean, why did he sign for the tickets and then dispose of them if Colin and Kara weren't together at that point? So very confused...
  • Dialogue
    • "I recovered a portion of them as I was scooping vomit out of the victim's eye socket." -- Brennan.  (I used to be able to talk about anything gross and gory over dinner, and then I had kids. Something about pregnancy made me unable to do that anymore, and I guess it still lingers.)
    • Is this only the second time in the show's history that the title has not been The X in the Y? (The other time I remember was the attempt at a spin-off.)

Forensic Mystery - There were some really bizarre plot points, and I was confused, so I'm giving this a C- for lack of a coherent mystery.

Forensic Solution - Other than Wendell's assertion that he could tell gender from the bones, this was pretty reasonable forensic work. No positive ID, of course. So, I'll give it a C+.

Drama - The case-of-the-week was pretty boring, but because they may kill off Wendell, I'll give it a B.


#19 said…
I think the record lady was lying about not knowing. She was collecting the money, but they never followed up on that.

I didn't see how the bartender did it either. I know why, but not with that timing.

Does Wendell have another acting job coming up? B/c that's why Nigel-Murray had to die. And nobody in the ER noticed the whatsis in his arm x-ray?
Jables said…
Technically this has nothing to do with forensics, but how about that green screen when Wendell was standing in front of the diner? As inconsistent as the forensics (and just the story in general) tend to be, exactly what is the budget going into? Fake vomit?
Unknown said…
I was wondering. How often do TV shows use the incorrect term Gender when referring to a victim.

It seems to be a fairly prolific situation and I wonder if maybe it has to do with the broadcasting rules on certain terms like the word 'Sex' despite it being used in a correct context. Because most rules don't verify for context.
kurohiko said…
Thank you so much for writing this all out! I thought I was the only one confused about the record label not knowing about Colin being a "big hit" in the Philippines! (@^@;;;)

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