Bones: The Killer in the Crosshairs

It’s a big week on Bones – the sniper returns! It’s just unfortunate that he had to return in an episode in which the actual mystery bordered on the idiotic.

The Mystery of the Week starts with a long scene of Broadsky in a hotel in DC, getting ready for “work”. He’s on the phone with someone named Paula and promises to meet her at “the cabin” on Friday night. He then goes to a parking garage, where he promptly murders someone. The victim has a suitcase full of money, and rats eat the body quickly. When Booth and Brennan get there, Brennan identifies the victim as male, and Booth recognizes Broadsky’s custom-made bullet and difficult shot.

The victim’s license says he’s Walter Crane, a construction worker born and raised in Virginia, but an analysis of the remains indicates that the victim grew up on a midwestern diet. Hodgins finds bleach on the money – it turns out that it was a suitcase of five dollar bills that had been bleached and then reprinted as counterfeit hundreds. Caroline discovers that the victim was in witness protection: his real name was Walter Kulich, and he flipped on a criminal he was working with named Ortiz, so the team assumes that Ortiz was the one who ordered the hit. In exchange for a deal involving transfer to a more pleasant prison, Ortiz confirms his involvement but tells Booth and Caroline that Broadsky was the one who approached him and picked the victim.

Booth and Brennan investigate the local US Marshals in order to figure out who gave Broadsky information from the witness protection program, and they find Paula Ashwaldt, whose life Broadsky saved in Afghanistan. Booth gets Ashwaldt to admit that she helped Broadsky go after The Gravedigger, but she denies helping him with any of the other murders. She did leave him alone with her computer, though, and there are thousands of names in her files. Booth agrees to give Ashwaldt some time to try to figure out Broadsky’s next move before he arrests her, but he soon hears that she has killed herself at her desk.

Booth and Brennan next head to Ashwaldt’s hunting cabin, where they see ravens and therefore know there’s “meat” nearby. They find a weird hallway structure in the middle of nowhere with a dead deer inside, and determine that Broadsky was using it for some sort of target practice. The deer has been shot with mysterious fragmented ammunition. When Booth gets home, he finds Broadsky in his apartment, apparently intending to mess with Booth’s head but not particularly advance the plot.

Back at the lab, Hodgins and Angela determine that the bullet was made of normal metals, but it was huge and it somehow exploded in the air. They find circuitry and theorize that the bullet had a computer chip that allowed it to be programmed to explode, and Angela calls this technology “from the future”. Since the bullet could explode in midair, the sniper could shoot through a window without knowing where the person was in the room. Winkler, an arms manufacturer Booth knows, admits to making the bullet for Broadsky and claims that Broadsky gave him fake paperwork that said he was working for the government. Winkler gives the team the information that Broadsky had given him about the target room, and tells them that the next shooting is planned for that day.

Angela figures out the parameters of the room, and Caroline recognizes it as the women’s bathroom in the federal courthouse. Angela then determines the spot from which Broadsky will shoot, and Booth and Brennan go there, but they’re in the wrong place because the target is actually the men’s bathroom. And that’s where it all fell apart for me, because seriously, none of them thought to check whether there was another bathroom with the same layout? I figured it out way before they did and was yelling at my screen. I get that Broadsky’s supposed to be scary and all, but if buying into this plot means accepting that I am better at the characters’ jobs than they are … no. Just no. Anyway, they eventually find Broadsky, and Booth shoots Broadsky’s gun and stops the murder, but Broadsky gets away.

Booth and Brennan start the episode with a scene that’s cute but seems completely out of place. Brennan’s out for a run, and Booth surprises her by appearing along her route, and they have a little race. Then she tells him she’s going to a lecture about the Peloponnesian Wars, and he insists that he wants to go along because it’s about war, but she totally doesn’t get that he just wants to go because she’s going. As I said, it’s sweet, but doesn’t match the tense and uneasy tone they’ve had with each other recently.

Booth spends most of the episode being upset that people – especially Brennan – are comparing him to Broadsky, and insists that murder is always wrong regardless of what the victim has done. He is being a little oversensitive in his reactions to Brennan, but it also seemed unrealistic that she was completely ignoring the fact that she was obviously upsetting him. (I know she tends to be oblivious to this stuff, but this was extreme.) When Sweets suggests that Booth talk to Brennan about it, he says “We don’t go there anymore. It’s over.” By the end of the episode, though, they’re talking, and they have this powerful exchange:

Brennan: “You are similar in many ways, but not in the most important way. How can I put this in a way that you will understand?”
Booth: “Why don’t you try and say it in teeny tiny words.”
Brennan: “Okay … Broadsky is bad. You are good.”

While I don’t like the “let’s pretend that Booth’s dumb” thing they do, I did think they both acted this scene well. And Brennan ended things on a hopeful note: “I’m standing right beside you, Booth. Like always. Like I always will.”

Caroline has a big presence this week, and I usually love her, but I just couldn’t get a handle on what they were trying to do with her here. For much of the episode, she was going on about how Broadsky only targets bad guys, and seemed to imply that it wasn’t actually all that important to catch him. But when Booth tells her that Broadsky was in his apartment, Caroline suddenly wants to get Broadsky, and she comes out and says that his invasion of Booth’s privacy is worse than his murders. And I … honestly could not tell whether that was supposed to be a joke. Opinions, anyone?

The pregnancy storyline for Hodgins and Angela continues when Angela’s dad shows up with big plans to name the baby Staccato Mamba. Angela is apparently willing to go along with whatever her father picks, even though she herself changed the name her father gave her, but Hodgins refuses. Angela’s dad takes him drinking and makes him get another tattoo, but eventually backs off about the name. The actual name picks: Michael Joseph or Katherine Temperance. Aww. Also, may I just point out that either a lot of time is passing on this show, or Angela is having the quickest (or at least most unevenly paced) pregnancy ever?

Sweets is too afraid of Angela’s father to give an opinion on the naming issue, but he gets involved when Booth goes to him about his anger at Brennan equating him with Broadsky. Sweets suggests that Booth is projecting his own guilt and ambivalence about his past onto Brennan. He points out that people who have killed use many different ways to deal with it afterwards, and says that it’s a testament to Booth that he’s built a whole life after his sniper past.

Our Rotating Intern is Vincent Nigel-Murray, who is trying to stop blurting random facts, because he uses it as a way to keep his distance from people. Why are all the interns suddenly making a big deal out of eradicating their distinguishing characteristics? Why?

Next Week: There’s a blizzard! And Booth and Brennan are trapped in an elevator together! Maybe they’ll Talk About Stuff!

Photo Courtesy of FOX

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