Bones - Season 7, Episode 5 (Review)

I have to confess that I didn't have much patience for Bones tonight.  This morning, I took my Human Osteology class to Vanderbilt's spiffy gross anatomy lab.  We got an awesome tour of the lab space and got to poke around (and in) the cadavers that the med students are studying.  And we got regaled with stories by the lab manager, who studied forensic anthropology at UTK and worked at the Body Farm.  My hands still kinda smell like latex, but it was totally worth it.  Anyway, on to the show...

The Twist in the Twister

Episode Summary

A dead body with a stake through it is found on a campground that hasn't been used in two months.  Brennan concludes that the victim was male from the pelvis and in his 30s from dental wear.  There is obvious penetrating trauma, but there are additional compound fractures to various bones.  With the body back at the Jeffersonian, Hodgins estimates time of death at 5 weeks ago.  Saroyan finds that the penetrating trauma did not kill him, since there is no hemorrhagic staining in the wound.  Fisher thinks that the victim may have been in a tornado that came through about 5 weeks ago, and he finds three instances of blunt force trauma to the right parietal. Hemorrhaging in the skull later confirms this.  The murder weapon - which was cylindrical - left orange paint in the wound.  Angela reconstructs the victim's face, and he is identified as Scott Braley, a storm chaser.

Braley's brother is brought in to the FBI for questioning, and he asks about Scott's "mini moho" - an expensive, tricked-out motor home Braley used to chase storms.  Booth locates the vehicle in North Carolina and heads down with Sweets after lying to Brennan about his involvement in the expedition.  They find the mini moho, which Nolan - Braley's assistant - is living in.  Braley owed Nolan money, but Nolan did not kill him.  Booth also finds out that the National Science Federation awarded a $500,000 contract to Toni Lawrence to film tornadoes.  Toni and Scott had a rivalry, so Booth and Sweets track her down while she's filming a tornado.  As they're questioning Toni and her crew, the tornado comes closer.  They all duck into a cellar - and Brennan shows up.  Sweets questions a variety of people on the crew - Misty, who loves rainbows, and Wes, her ex-boyfriend who films tornadoes - but they claim to have alibis for the date of Braley's death.  Toni notes that Braley was yelling at someone about money shortly before his death.

Angela somehow manages to narrow down the location of Braley's death through a combination of particulate density ratios and a probability index ('cause those are real things).  She and Hodgins decide to go to southern Virginia to investigate, leaving their son with his grandfather.  They find Braley's tornado probe, as well as glass with colored paint and blood on it.  It's a rainbow-patterned bottle, so Booth calls in Misty for questioning.  She admits to having seen the mini moho before, but she slept with Nolan, not Braley.  Seems her boyfriend Wes found out (after seeing her water bottle in Braley's vehicle) and killed him.  The team proves that Wes doesn't have an alibi because he has footage of a tornado spinning clockwise, which is rare in the northern hemisphere.

Also, Booth is overprotective.  But not really, because Brennan does some stupid shit this episode.

Forensic (and Plot) Comments
  • There was a severe lack of skeletal material in this episode.  Mostly, the team talked about things like xrays, trauma, blood staining, but they were never shown.  That made for poor television.
  • While we do get tornadoes in my home state of Virginia and my now-home state of North Carolina, they're really quite minor.  Here's a news story from April about 7 tornadoes that touched down in central VA - and two houses were damaged.  That's a far cry from the destruction shown in this episode.  Now, a hurricane - that can do some damage to the Southeast.
  • The footage of the storm was also horribly, horribly fake.  I mean, we are expected to suspend disbelief for this kind of thing - no one's going to wait for a weather phenomenon to occur just to film an episode of Bones - but wow, their special effects budget has dropped in the past couple of years.
  • And then Brennan showed up in the cellar through the magic of teleportation apparently. Which made me write this in my notes: "W.T.F??!?!?!?! Bones?" Followed quickly by, "Seriously, is there no one who thinks of time continuity? NC is 4. Hours. Away. Fuck." Booth told Brennan that the mini moho was in NC. He and Sweets get there, find the truck, have lunch, and find Toni. Brennan decides - when Booth is almost to NC - to come down herself and gets there in less than half the time it should take (after finding him through a cell tower ping and a gratuitous shout-out for Vincent Nigel-Murray). Then she leaves Booth and Sweets at the storm site... to drive back 4 hours. I realize she's supposed to be pissed, but that's some passive-aggressive shit right there. She gets back by dinnertime, as does Booth, because time doesn't matter. 
  • To continue with the lack of continuity... Angela and Hodgins tell her father that they'll be gone "a couple of hours" to work a scene in southern VA. Which is at least 3 hours from D.C. They get back in time for bed (although ZZ Top said that the kid had been asleep for 4 hours). 
  • Angela and Hodgins work a destruction scene that looks pretty recent.  But the tornado in question happened 5 weeks ago.  Are we supposed to believe that there has been absolutely no attempt at cleanup in that time?  In what was clearly a neighborhood in Virginia?  I don't buy it.
  • And in 5 weeks, the blood hasn't washed off the waterbottle?  There's probably been some rain.
  • Oh yeah, so why did Hodgins have the baby in his lab? Saroyan cracked down on that a couple episodes ago. And the baby is in daycare. 
  • Who let ZZ Top in to the uber-protected, super-safe Jeffersonian lab? I hate how people can just walk in and out and around the lab with no one asking questions, signing them in, making them wear a visitor pass, etc.
  • National Science Federation?  Really?
  • Fisher thinks he and Dr. Brennan might end up "on the cover of the journal."  'cause there's only one journal.
Forensic Mystery - D.  Did not care at all about the victim.  We knew nothing about him.  The killer was a guy who had less than a minute of screen time and didn't say anything when confronted with evidence, just gave a hang-dog look.  Lame.

Forensic Solution - D+.  The age/sex of the victim was glossed over, as usual.  Angela's miraculous facial reconstruction (which we don't even see) ID'ed him.  The numerous traumas were mentioned, as were methods for figuring out directionality of wounds, etc., yet never shown.  Writers: please show, don't just tell.

Drama - D-.  I really, really didn't care about this episode.  The woman who loves rainbows was an offensively dumb character.  The "overprotective" storyline sucked because, well, Brennan is being an idiot about her pregnancy and a massive tool to Booth.  This is quite possibly the worst episode of the show I've seen yet (but I'm too lazy to check through the archives to see last season's grades).


petoskystone said…
The only disagreement I would have with your review, is that ZZTop (I keep forgetting which one he is) suddenly appearing in the lab is a running joke in the series. His character is ooo-spooky & just materializes whenever he wishes. It would be a more effective joke if the writers kept this forensic lab as secure as it should be.
ahsumaker said…
I've just gotta laugh b/c as I watched this episode I kept thinking "WTF", "YGBFKM", and "this is the worst episode of Bones, ever". Thank you for confirming it's not just me.

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