Bones - Season 9, Episode 12 (Review)

The Ghost in the Killer
Episode Summary
Brennan has been having nightmares about Pelant's last days, as he told her that a female serial killer is still on the loose and that the killer's work connects several individuals in Brennan's lab.  For some reason I can't recall, she is known as the Ghost Killer (which I keep referring to in my mind as the Ghostface Killah).  Brennan wants to pursue the lead that Pelant gave her, but Saroyan doesn't want to divert Jeffersonian resources and personnel to the case, given the lack of solid evidence (which is weird because, well, that is what the Jeffersonian does -- find solid evidence from skeletons).  As Brennan and Booth are talking about this over breakfast, Booth goes to retrieve the newspaper and finds a box with a dead woman in it. The note exhorts Brennan to find out what really happened to her.

"When no one's around, I pile up the bones
like Lincoln Logs..."
Brennan takes the remains to the Jeffersonian, where she determines based on the shape of the frontal bone, the narrow nasal aperture, and the size of the mandible that they are dealing with a Caucasian female. Desiccated skin and soil suggest she had been interred for more than a decade.  Clark Edison is called in to help Brennan, as no interns were available. A couple scenes later, Angela has gotten a positive ID, (apparently "Caucasian female with unknown age and date-of-death" is unique in the missing persons database!) as Lana Brewster, a competitive sailor who died at age 18 in 1995. Her body was found washed up on the rocks weeks after she completed a solo circumnavigation of the globe. A remodelled fracture to the right tibia is helpful for ID: she set it herself during the race, and the injuries on the bone match her known injury history.  The team finds some very odd things, though, that weren't included in the autopsy or medical examiner's report: leather string around both wrists and traces of Trillium pusillum pollen, the latter of which suggests her body was somewhere else before being dropped off at B&B's house.  Saroyan is amazed by the death report: Lana supposedly died of drowning, and all the bone damage was listed as postmortem when much was clearly perimortem.  It turns out that the medical examiner, Leslie Dollinger, was paid nearly $2 million to lie. However, she died several years ago, having moved to Costa Rica. Brennan sees marks (sharp trauma) on Lana's sternum that are similar to those in other cases.  Booth, however, does not believe the evidence links the cases, and Saroyan and Edison seem skeptical too.

Booth and Sweets talk to Lana's brother, Dan.  He wasn't a fan of his sister's, as his parents clearly doted on her and ignored him.  He does seem to recall that she had a boyfriend her parents weren't fond of.  Another competitor, Erica Stamp, is also called in to the FBI for questioning.  Her life was ruined by Lana, who turned Erica in for cheating in a race. As a result, Erica was not allowed to compete and then committed insurance fraud by sinking her boat using the transducer. Interestingly, the transducer was also blamed for the sinking of Lana's boat at the time of her death.  Lana's dinghy was also never found, which raises the question of whether someone else was on her boat at the time of her death.

Angela tracks down the money used to pay off Leslie Dollinger.  It came from Cestech Transbow Corp., a part of McNamara Corporation.  Hodgins, having grown up with money and several companies, knew Trent McNamara from his school days.  He remembers Trent as a bad kid; his father eventually sent him to boarding school in another country, as Trent had gotten himself kicked out of every major fancy one in the U.S.  Trent happens to be in town for his father's funeral, so Hodgins and Sweets go talk to Trent and his sister Stephanie.  Neither of them, of course, wants to talk about Lana Brewster's death.  Trent was, however, in a relationship with Lana at the time of her death, even though he wasn't supposed to be because he was in Alcoholics Anonymous.  Hodgins returns later to talk to Trent and tell him that he doesn't think he killed Lana; he thinks Trent loved Lana and sent her bones to Brennan to find out what really happened to her. Shortly after Hodgins visits Trent, it is reported that Trent killed himself; gunshot residue is found on his hand. Brennan is skeptical, though, as Trent had a remodelled injury to his right carpals that indicates his median and ulnar nerves were severed. She doesn't think he had the strength in his right hand to shoot himself. Saroyan disagrees, as the weapon was a .357, which has a 3.5-lb trigger pull.  Dan Brewster visited Trent just hours before he was found dead, but Dan tells the FBI that Trent wanted to talk to him and make amends.  Traces of soil on Trent's remains confirm Brennan's suspicion that he was the one who dug up Lana's remains. Oddly, both Trent and Lana have avulsion fractures to the third distal phalanx of the left hand; a fingernail would have been ripped off the middle finger.  Brennan thinks the Ghost Killer was responsible for Trent's and Lana's deaths, and Booth is starting to believe her.

  • Forensic
    • Couldn't they at least have estimated the age-at-death from the skeleton before magically coming up with a positive ID?  Epiphyseal closure and dental development would likely have narrowed the age to with a few years.
    • The clavicles are mis-sided in the long shot of Brennan laying out Lana's remains, then properly sided in the close-up.
    • Brennan at one point puts all the Ghost Killer victims' bones into giant piles in the lab.  They're the Jeffersonian... don't they have more tables than that?!  Those piles made my eye twitch. If my undergrads did that, we'd have a Very Important Conversation about how to handle skeletal remains.
  • Plot
    • Having lots of bones fall and smash on the floor would be a nightmare for me too.
    • The pollen tells Hodgins that Lana's body was somewhere else after excavation and prior to being left at B&B's house.  That never comes into play again, does it?
    • Wait, was the "Please find out..." note written in Comic Sans?
    • Clark has been sleeping at the Jeffersonian, as he broke up with his long-time girlfriend... whom I don't ever remember hearing anything about.  But hey, it got us a gratuitous shot of Eugene Byrd's abs, so I can't complain.
    • Saroyan doesn't want to fund Brennan's examination of the Ghost Killer's victims because she'd have to justify the expense to the Jeffersonian board, so she... agrees to pay someone from another department to oversee Brennan's work? Makes no sense.  Also, who has to justify in a budget every single expense their employees incur? It's not like my department chair has to account for the time I spend, oh I dunno, writing this blog...
    • Saroyan thinks Brennan lacks objectivity and is too close to Pelant/idea of the Ghost Killer and makes Edison oversee her. And yet in another scene, Saroyan lets Hodgins work Trent's death scene, knowing full well Hodgins was a childhood friend?
  • Dialogue
    • "I don't need another forensic anthropologist; I need an intern." Uhhh, Brennan?  You've got someone with a PhD and years of experience offering to help you, and you want to turn it down for someone with less experience?  Just, no.
    • "[Sailing around the world is] an amazing achievement until you realize that she didn't actually achieve anything." -- Brennan is not impressed.
    • "I was a rich kid. I had to sail and have at least one girlfriend named Muffy. It was in the charter." -- Hodgins
    • "I think you should call me Temperance. At least when we're alone." -- Brennan, to Clark.  I've said this before, but anthropologists really don't stand on ceremony. Sure, I ask my undergrads to call me Dr. Killgrove.  And I'd expect students and other non-colleagues to use that form of address if they don't know me.  But the people I work with?  No, we're all on a first-name basis. Mostly, I get annoyed at this presentation of Brennan/Saroyan/Edison because it's not consistent.  Hodgins calls Saroyan by her first name (her nickname, even) in this episode, as does Brennan, even though Saroyan is actually an MD (and possibly an MD/PhD?).  But Saroyan calls Brennan and Edison by their titles.  If you're going to write scripts in which anthropologists and other forensic professionals are so uptight that they call one another Dr., at least make it consistent.
  • Bones Fashion
    • I like Saroyan's chevron dress.  I'm partial to chevrons.
    • What is up with Booth's hair color?  It is not consistent from episode to episode.

Forensic Mystery - B-. Not much to go on in this episode, as it's clearly a set-up for a Ghost Killer arc.  I'll tentatively give the mystery a B-, then, in the hopes that it gets more interesting.

Forensic Solution - D+. But I can't score the solution very high.  I mean, Angela got a positive ID from race and sex alone.  Some of the other forensic stuff was glossed over or not shown (e.g., Trent's remodelled injuries).

Drama - D. When the biggest dramatic moment in the episode is a character who isn't seen all that often crying about the end of a relationship the audience doesn't remember... yeah, not good.  I still have high hopes for this arc, though.


LilJuel said…
the nickname probably to do more with how they think the characters act than being professional.
Hodgins seem like a type of character who's not as strict compared to Saroyan and maybe that's why she's the one calling everyone with title?

No idea, just a guess.
Unknown said…
Why was it when they (Brennan, Cam, Clark) examined Trent McNamara's wrist in autopsy it was so completely decomposed?!? He shot himself, there would be no reason for his body to be in that condition.
Unknown said…
Edison's girlfirend was briefly mentioned in the episode Brennan and Booth got wed. He said he would gladly bring her to the ceremony because she is beautiful.
Unknown said…
Clark's girlfriend has been mentioned in several episodes. She was not mentioned for a while simply because Clark was so determined to keep his personal and private lives separate. When Angela was going through her celibacy period and was hitting on Clark every 5 seconds, he told her all about his girlfriend, and then even brought her to meet Angela so Angela would leave him alone. She was also discussed in depth in the Valentine's episode, and was on camera at the end of it. So this girlfriend is not a new thing and has been mentioned several times before, as well as actually on camera in at least two episodes. :-)

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