The Puzzler in the Pit
Some protestors at a fracking site found a body in the pit. The narrow subpubic concavity and irregularly lipped ventral margin of the pubic symphysis suggests the victim was a man in his 40s. His left ulna was fractured and he had a cast; a piece of fabric with blood on it was found caught in the cast, and there were clues written on it about vengeance. His bones were quite porous for his age. Saroyan and Brennan note that the remains have less flesh than they did when they were found, and Hodgins thinks someone added HCl to the pit. He pours baking soda on the body to stop the tissue decomposition. The entire body has similar pitting save the occipital, because it was a fake bone. Based on that, Angela finds that the victim was Lawrence Brooks, who had a severe injury during a boating accident. Brooks worked as a major national crossword puzzle creator and was known as somewhat of a recluse.
|"Hey, look, I just gave birth to a 2-month-old!"|
Booth talks to Amelia Brooks, his wife. She didn't report him missing, ostensibly because he often stayed out to work on his puzzles, and suggests that his assistant, Alexis Sherman, may have been responsible. While Alexis was upset that Lawrence hadn't made her co-editor yet, she insists she did not kill him. She plays a threatening voice mail for Booth and Aubrey and describes a man who came looking for Lawrence on several previous occasions. Based on Alexis' description, Angela draws the face of Emery Stewart. Emery was writing a book on Brooks, but his voice does not fit with the threatening phone call. He suggests Donald McKeon, a one-time friend of Brooks' but more recently bitter rival. McKeon was staying at the hotel to which Booth traced the threatening call. He admits to having made the call, but not to killing Brooks. He insists that Brooks stole one of his puzzles, and he was threatening legal action.
Back at the lab, Brennan and Daisy find remodelled fractures localized around the pelvis, ribs, ankles, and arms. An x-ray of his femoral shafts shows significantly thinning cortical bone. There is also bone bruising around the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints, suggesting he punched someone right before his death. There are also healed avulsion fractures from about two months ago, suggesting someone bent his fingers back. A tox screen of his bone marrow reveals Brooks had been taking a drug for Alzheimer's, and that drug caused the bone issues.
Booth and Aubrey talk to Amelia Brooks again. She admits she knew about the Alzheimer's and that she was publishing Brooks' old puzzles, because they needed the money from his job for his treatment. She accidentally published McKeon's puzzle. She didn't know where Brooks' money went. Angela tracks down Brooks' bank statements and finds he was doing gambling online. Aubrey finds the bookie, who admits to having broken Brooks' fingers but didn't kill him. Brooks was bankrolling Alexis. She admits to stealing his money, but did not kill him.
Finally, Daisy finds bilateral neural arch fractures on C5, C6, and C7, suggesting cause of death was a broken neck. Then her water breaks. At the hospital, the team realizes that Saroyan's partial match on the blood in the cast could mean the blood was from a close relative. Aubrey reads Emery's manuscript and realizes that he is Brooks' son. In college, Brooks got his girlfriend pregnant; the girlfriend died in childbirth, and he gave up the baby. After Emery's parents died in an accident, he learned he was adopted and figured out Brooks was his birth father. He had arranged with Brooks to meet at a cafe to talk, but Brooks didn't show. Emery tracked him to his house, saw Brooks out on a walk, and confronted him. Brooks claimed he didn't know Emery, and they got into a fist fight. Brooks fell backward down the hill and died. Emery decided to cover up the body. Aubrey tells him Brooks had Alzheimer's--that's why he didn't remember Emery; he wasn't ashamed of him.
- They used the pelvis for age-at-death and sex this episode! Woo!
- As usual, I question their ability to find "microfractures" and "bone bruising" all over the place, but especially so since the bones were compromised by acid.
- It seems odd that someone would bother to reconstruct the EOP and nuchal lines on a fake occipital. Are skull prostheses really that detailed with respect to anatomy?
- Amelia knew that Lawrence had Alzheimer's, and she didn't report him missing when he didn't come home? And she knew that he had Alzheimer's, and she didn't bother to look into their joint accounts to make sure the money was being managed properly?
- Hodgins was running around the lab with an erlenmeyer flask filled with red liquid. Not king of the lab safety team, eh?
- Hahahaha, another TV baby: cute, plump, pink 2-month-old. And Daisy doesn't have to deliver the placenta. And the nurse hands her the baby with a light blanket, rather than shoving a tightly-swaddled baby on her boob. Oh, TV birth. So funny. At least it was too late for an epidural; that was realistic.
- "I'm told my people skills are not very well developed." - Brennan
- "A human being is trying to escape from her vagina." - Angela
Forensic Mystery - B. Solid enough mystery. Some plot quibbles as above.
Forensic Solution - C. This episode relied on Angela to: find the positive ID, do a forensic artist sketch of the possible killer, and do forensic computing to find bank information. She's always doing crazy things, but this episode was egregious in how many hats they needed her to wear.
Drama - C+. Some solid pathos at the end from the guy who played Emery.