Bones - Season 9, Episode 20 (Review)

The High in the Low
Episode Summary
As police chase an escaped criminal, the man finds a dead body in a hollow log he's attempting to hide in.  He freaks out.  Brennan and Booth, who are at a shooting range so Booth can practice for his shooty-runny-thinky FBI exam, get the call about the body and head out to Great Falls National Park which, amazingly, is actually close to D.C. The body has been shoved into a tree stump two miles from the nearest road. Most of the bugs are residents of the log, but the fungi on the clothing suggests to Hodgins that the victim has been dead less than a year. The bones are riddled with holes from a preexisting pathology, but they are also being eaten by termites, who like bones for their nitrogen content. Based on the sharp nasal sill, Brennan concludes that the victim was Caucasian, and based on the presence of a ventral arc, she concludes the victim was female.

"... and this here's my very poorly-dressed partner..."
At the Jeffersonian, Hodgins narrows time-of-death down to four months ago based on Aspergillus spores and Stachybotrys chartarum. Erosive lesions on the metacarpophalangeal joints and remodelled vertebral fractures make Brennan think the victim had lupus.  Saroyan runs the victim's DNA but does not get a match. Angela uses the Jeffersonian's new holographic facial reconstruction system to create a model of the victim from her skull.  She gets a hit in the missing persons database: Abby Briggs.

Booth questions Abby's sister, who confirms that Abby was suffering from lupus, but that she managed to control her pain by using medical marijuana. She even got a job at the Full Health Wellness Center, a dispensary. Booth and Brennan got to the center to talk to Dr. Richard Burke. He doesn't think that anyone would hurt Abby, but the security guard mentions a student at Fulton University who was mad that Abby wouldn't take his fake medical marijuana card.  Booth questions Adam the college student, but he insists he did not do it. He simply wanted to celebrate winning the Fulton Emerging Writers Award but couldn't get any weed; he was treated for injured ribs around the time Abby went missing, but claims it resulted from the security guard getting physical with him. Sweets takes a look at Abby's sketch book and notes that she was clearly creeped out by the security guard, who seemed to like her. 

Meanwhile, a bunch of perimortem fractures are found on Abby's body: there's a Monteggia's fracture to the proximal left ulna, diffuse blunt force trauma to the right ulna and to the ascending ramus of the right mandible in a curvilinear shape.  Brennan thinks that the weapon used might have been the security guard's heavy flashlight, but a test with a similar model does not fit.  Further fractures are found: one to the superior aspect of the left clavicle, which has a V-shaped cleft.

Booth checks into Abby's credit card statements and finds she bought a lot of camping equipment.  Based on the bug from Virginia pines and the pollen from spear thistle found in Abby's lungs, they head to a particular part of the national park and quickly find remains of her campsite along with a grove of marijuana plants, half of which have been taken. They find that those plants had greater medicinal effects and lower toxication effects, making them good for medical marijuana users but inadequate for recreational users looking to get high. Abby was dealing pot out of the dispensary.

Finally, Brennan finds a nick to the right greater cornu of the hyoid, suggesting Abby's carotid artery was cut.  This makes the team immediately think of Dr. Burke, who as a doctor would know where and how to slice the carotid, but he has a rock-solid alibi. After finding a microscopic, cross-shaped puncture along the curvilinear fracture on the mandible, Brennan figures it out: the weapon used was round on top and triangular (inverted cone) on the bottom.  Angela comes up with the Fulton University Emerging Writers Award trophy.  Adam confesses to the murder.  He wanted more pot and followed Abby to the forest.  He claims he just wanted to knock her out, but he killed her then took some of her pot.  He never returned for the rest because it didn't get his customers high. 

In the end, Booth does well on his shooty-runny-thinking FBI thing, and Wendell is fired because of marijuana and then hired back as a consultant.

  • Forensic
    • I guess if Brennan's going to figure out ancestry and sex from one trait each, she picked the right ones: a sharp nasal sill is usually Caucasian, and the presence of a ventral arc is almost guaranteed to be female.  
    • It's not lupus!  (Oh wait, it is.)
    • Angela introduces the 3D Holographic Emulation Outlet (THEO for short).  But I'm positive they had a holographic thingamabob in past seasons.  It projected a victim getting killed from various angles.  (I can't immediately find it, so help me out?)
    • Missing persons hit on a hologram... I guess...
    • I really hate how the writers dole out the trauma to the bone at various times.  Like Brennan and Wendell just looked at one bone, drew some conclusions, chased some leads, and then decided to look at a second bone.  Just do all the damn trauma analysis at once, please?
  • Plot
    • This time on Bones Writers Don't Know Virginia - It is not illegal for kids to trick-or-treat on Halloween.  It is illegal for kids over 12 in some cities in Virginia to trick-or-treat. [Washington Times] I grew up in VA.  I went trick-or-treating plenty.  I did know, however, that we were not allowed to wear masks once we hit a certain age.  These laws have been on the books since the 1970s, ostensibly to protect people from getting their houses trashed, from getting scared by roving bands of teenagers with masks, etc.  But hey, it's totally believable that this sort of law would exist in a state that used to celebrate Lee-Jackson-King Day.
    • Why did the college kid move Abby's body?  I guess because it was near the pot plants?  But he dragged her pretty damned far. And then stuffed her in a log.  That takes a lot of effort... especially for a pot-head.
    • Awwww, Wendell has a giant wall-mounted CD rack.  That's so... quaint.
  • Dialogue

Forensic Mystery - C. Couldn't get too excited about this.

Forensic Solution - B-.  Reasonable solutions all around. But boring.

Drama - D. Eh.  I like Wendell, I do.  But his hangdog face about medical marijuana was too much to take.


Unknown said…
I remembered the old hologram machine too from earlier seasons. It was called the "Angellatron" and the hologram was confined to a cube shaped space and it emitted a golden light.

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