The case on this week’s Bones had a more obvious relationship to the characters’ lives than their cases usually do. Someone in love with more than one woman? Hit us over the head with it, why don’t you?
The Mystery of the Week: There’s a body in a cornfield, and the state of decomposition and height of the plants under it suggest that it’s been there for about four weeks. The victim, a male in his early forties wearing work clothes, has a bullet wound from a gun held close to his chest, but there’s no obvious exit wound and the bullet isn’t found at the site. When they get the remains to the Jeffersonian, Brennan’s examination shows that the victim did a lot of manual labor but also sat a lot, so Wendell suggests that he baled hay and drove a tractor. They also conclude that the victim had a lot of sex.
Booth finds a missing person case for a 41-year-old named Ed Samuel who was in the farm equipment rental business, and Booth and Brennan head to Samuel’s house, where they find his wife, Maryann, and their eleven children, along with Maryann’s father and two sisters, Beth and Carol. The widow says that Samuel just never came home one night; he had no enemies and everyone loved him. One of the sisters leads Booth and Brennan to the bedroom to show them Samuel’s gun, and on the way Brennan notices that three of the children in a picture on the wall are too close in age to be full siblings unless they have some sort of congenital deformation. When she finds an album that includes wedding pictures of Samuel with all three sisters, she realizes that the family is polygamous.
Back at the lab, Wendell finds potato particulates in the chest wound, and Booth tells him that potatoes are used as silencers. Hodgins finds some other unknown plant particulates. Meanwhile, Booth and Brennan meet with Sweets, who tells them about the type of polygamy practiced by fundamentalist Mormons. Brennan believes that polygamy can make anthropological sense, but Booth thinks the Samuels are just swingers, and Booth and Sweets agree that jealousy is a good motive for murder.
Dan, father of the Samuels sister wives, tells Booth that he thought their lifestyle was shocking and “nuts”, but that they didn’t deserve the big deal people made over it. Specifically, he points to a pecan orchard owner named Pete Mill who scratched “plig” – a slur meaning “polygamist” – in Beth’s windshield. Sweets talks to Mill, who rants for a while about how the Samuels were living in sin and brags about how many guns he has. His guns and Dan’s are all brought in for testing.
The team continues its scientific investigation: Wendell finds odd deterioration of the mandible and bruising to the pelvis. Cam figures out that someone was trying to poison Ed with radium salt, and that’s what caused the mandible damage. Blowback in the wound suggests that the bullet struck a hard surface right behind the victim, and Angela’s recreation suggests that Samuel was probably lying down on the floor rather than standing against a wall. Hodgins finds that a flower particulate was from the pecan tree, and another particulate in the wound is digested pecan, which points to a farmer using pecans to feed his animals.
Cam and Booth agree that the murder was probably about jealousy and love, and that all three wives couldn’t have been happy. Sure enough, Maryann filed for divorce six weeks ago, and says she didn’t mention it earlier because the other wives didn’t know. She’d found out that Ed was having an affair with grad student Heather Lakefish, who was tutoring one of his sons. Lakefish tells them that the wives all showed up at the lab one night and Maryann called her a whore. There’s also radium salt missing from the lab. Coincidence? When radium salt is found in the Samuel house, Carol confesses that she was poisoning her husband, but she didn’t want to kill him. She just wanted to make him sick so she could have more time with him, since nursing was her responsibility.
Carol insists that she didn’t kill her husband, though, and Brennan thinks the killer was a man because of the size and strength required to hold Samuel down while taking the shot. Hodgins figures out that it was a man who feeds turkeys, which leads them back to the wives’ father, Dan, who keeps turkeys. They find the bullet in his barn and the gun in his septic tank, and he confesses that he killed Samuel because of the affair with Lakefish.
From the beginning of the episode, Booth and Brennan clash over whether polygamy is ever understandable, and Brennan points out that Booth can’t take some parts of the Bible literally and not others. Booth is still hearing none of it: “You pick a wife and go with it.” Hmm. After they solve the case, Brennan asks Booth if he believes that Ed Samuel loved his wives equally, and Booth insists that he loved the first one the most. What does this mean?
Booth: “It means, Bones, that you can love a lot of people in this world, but there’s only one person that you love the most.”
Brennan: “But how do you know which person you love the most when you’re confused by chemical messages traveling throughout your limbic system?”
Booth: “You just do.”
Brennan: “What if you let that person get away?”
Booth: “That person’s not going anywhere.”
This conversation is chock full of smiles and earnest looks and meaningful pauses, and let’s just say that Booth/Brennan ‘shippers shouldn’t be losing hope any time soon.
Cam gets the main subplot this week as she tries to have a life outside of work. She’s still dating ob/gyn Paul, but he keeps cancelling dates. Cam goes to Booth for advice – a nice reminder of their history together – and Booth tells her that it’s all about communication and to give Paul a chance. Instead, Cam starts ignoring Paul’s calls and takes out her frustration by “testing” guns in the lab. Angela surmises that she’s blowing Paul off so that he’ll come crawling back, which Cam denies, but Angela then advises that Cam should just make her own plans and not wait around for Paul. Paul eventually comes to the lab and tells Cam that he cares about her more than his job. He made dinner reservations, and though Cam tells him she can’t make it because of the investigation, she ends up putting her work aside to go.
Hodgins and Angela continue to be adorable, especially when Angela feels the baby move and Hodgins is jealous. Angela jokes that she wants another wife to help out, but when she asks Hodgins if he’d want a second wife, he responds: “If I could marry you twice, I could do it in a heartbeat.” Aw. Angela’s reaction is to wish they could have sex at work, but – didn’t they used to do that pretty regularly? Huh.
The Rotating Intern is Wendell again, and he and Sweets lay low this episode, just helping with the case and occasionally providing a sounding board for the other characters.
Next week: Is Booth going to propose to Hannah? Oh, and there’s probably a murder too.
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