Bones - Season 10, Episode 15 (Review)
The Eye in the Sky
Let's just get this out of the way right here: on this Very Special Episode of Bones, Booth and Brennan find out they're going to have another baby, and Booth relapses and starts gambling again. There. The rest of the episode summary can commence (and will be really short because those two terrible dramatic points take up a sizable chunk of the episode).
A body is found in an industrial shredder. Due to her not-yet-disclosed pregnancy, Brennan does not go to the scene and sends intern Jessica Wick instead. Jessica estimates based on the head of the femur and the auricular surface of the ilium that the victim was a white male in his 30s. No sign of blow flies suggests to Hodgins that the man has been dead less than 24 hours. The team recovers pieces of the victim's cell phone. Saroyan notices a yellow discoloration to his flesh that suggests he was dead before he was shredded. They also find the victim's facial tissue and skull in pieces.
Angela takes the reconstructed (off-screen) skull and fills in the missing pieces with clay. Saroyan stitches together the facial tissue and lays it on the skull so that Angela can do a reconstruction. But since the victim was recently deceased, no one has yet reported him missing. Jessica and Brennan notice somehow that he worked with his hands, and there are Schmorl's nodes on his vertebrae. Together, these suggest the victim lifted and/or carried heavy objects. Cardboard pieces in or on his arms(?) may mean he worked for a moving company. Angela gets 12 matches in a database and narrows that down to Jeff Dover, who worked for Oz Storage and Moving.
Aubrey talks to the manager at the moving company, and she says Dover had a recent argument with Dustin West, a fellow employee. Angela finds on Dover's cell phone that he had loads of online poker apps. West admits that he and Dover were arguing over money; West lent him $10,000 to play in a high-stakes game. Dover won $28,000, though, and told West this right before Dover died. Booth contacts his former bookie to get in on the game, so he can figure out if one of the card sharks killed Dover.
The Jeffersonian team finds a bunch of stuff on Dover's skeleton while looking for cause of death. Multiple healed pelvic fractures and oblique fractures of the femur were from a car accident two years prior that killed his wife and child. A perimortem depression fracture on the right temporal resulting from a blow with a cylindrical weapon does not seem to have killed him. His left forearm tissue has abrasions, possibly defensive wounds, and are covered with an oily substance. A swab of the substance comes back as palm oil used in cooking. Grooved perimortem abrasions to the right scapula and humerus don't match the teeth of the shredder. Hodgins checks for particulates and finds ingredients common in Thai food. The team suspects Dover was cut by an aluminum trash can outside a Thai restaurant. After narrowing the search to places near the card game, the team looks for more evidence at the murder scene. They find pieces of muscle and cartilage from the throat, and the splinters in the tissue are not bone but wood. It seems someone jammed something in the victim's neck and pulled out part of his throat. More wood splinters are found on the hyoid, and Hodgins finds out it is maple wood. He also finds pine tar in the victim's remains, meaning it was a baseball bat that killed Dover.
Meanwhile, Booth infiltrates the card game and finds out that there is an "eye in the sky" - a camera recording the proceedings. He realizes there might be footage of the night of Dover's death, so he asks Angela to hack in. She does by... pairing his phone magically with the security system by his being within a few feet of it? She gets footage, but it doesn't really tell her much. Aubrey and Angela look into all the card sharks' financial information (at least what is available online) and their general lives. Nate Crowe ("Mid Life") is their best suspect, since he was having major money issues. He also happens to be a Little League coach, and there is a photo of him online, smiling, holding a baseball bat. Saroyan manages to get epithelial cells from the pine tar (in Dover's tissue that's been sitting outside the Thai restaurant for two days?), and they are a match for Crowe.
Oh jeez, also, Hodgins runs with an idea an intern him, invents something magical, and he will now be a millionaire. Kinda like the time he ran with the idea for hot sauce, and no one's seen that intern since. The writers are definitely wrapping up some story lines, seemingly in case Bones is not picked up for an 11th season. Gotta make sure Hodgins gets his billions back, right?
- Demographics: Diameter of the femoral head can give you a general estimate of whether the person is male or female. Auricular surface is a fine way of figuring out age-at-death, but it's better for older individuals (over 40) and can't give you a 10-year age range. I don't know how Jessica intuited race/ancestry (I mean, other than the fact that skin remained).
- If Angela had a nearly complete, reconstructed skull, why couldn't she do her facial search from that? My guess is because it's way ickier to have Saroyan stitch a face back together...
- I'm not sure how they figure out the victim "worked with his hands" (usually they mention muscle markers or something), nor how they got cardboard from his arms when he was in an industrial shredder (and wasn't carrying cardboard... from his clothing?).
- How did the victim have severe fracturing of his pelvis and femora from a car accident and not have pins and/or plates in his body (whose serial numbers could be easily traced)?
- I didn't understand the mechanism of the murder. Did Mid Life shove the narrow end of the baseball bat... down Dover's throat? Or just bash him in the neck (but then the hyoid would be broken)? But he also hit him in the side of the head?
- My beginning osteology students know what Schmorl's nodes are. There's no way Saroyan -- one of the best forensic pathologists in the country -- doesn't know what they are.
- In forensic computing... reconstructing a cell phone motherboard? Really? And hacking into a security system via a phone that's simply in proximity to... a router? Really?
- The team finds tiny bits of cartilage and muscle at least 48 hours after a murder in a trash-filled alley in summer in Virginia and... Saroyan manages to get DNA from epithelial cells to match someone in a way that would stand up in court? Mmmm, no.
- I love how every pregnancy on TV is always unplanned. Like, how often do you see a woman charting her cycle, figuring out the best days to get pregnant, going off birth control, etc.? I mean, outside the context of a discussion about infertility? Maybe I'm weird for planning both my pregnancies, but if I am, I'm weird in a way that Brennan would be weird. Her first unplanned pregnancy makes sense; this one doesn't really. (Maybe we'll get another Christian allegory birth, though?)
- Is the @DrBrennan twitter feed still a thing? I stopped paying attention after it was clear it was just a promo for the show and didn't actually, you know, offer interesting links for viewers to learn more. (Also, @DrBrennan hasn't retweeted me, so we are now frenemies.) To fill that gap, here you go - a news story about how researchers employed Schmorl's nodes (among other aspects) to study the evolution of bipedalism and back pain.
Forensic Mystery - C. It was alright, I guess.
Forensic Solution - C-. Also ok, but hinged on implausible things like recovery of DNA outside.
Drama - D. I wasn't really looking forward to the Brennan-pregnancy-reveal episode, but then the writers also threw in Booth-relapses, Hodgins-creates-lucrative-product, and Aubrey-reminisces-about-deadbeat-dad. Too much plot, not enough case-of-the-week.