Bones: The Maggots in the Meathead

This week on Bones: ratings bait in the form of a Jersey Shore-themed mystery. And Booth and Hannah settle down. But it’s not as bad as you might have feared, I promise.

The Mystery of the Week starts when a man using a metal detector at the beach finds a cross necklace that’s attached to human remains. A wallet identifies the victim as Richard Dominic Genaro, and he died from a skull fracture. Fisher soon finds a sliver of concrete embedded in the skull wound. From the accelerated rate of decay and unusual number of maggots on the body, Hodgins can tell that Genaro was using some sort of stimulants. This is backed up by the ephedra (from energy drinks), alcohol, and beauty products found in the victim’s system. The team quickly figures out that he was a self-identified member of the Guido community, and known for exercise videos he made as Richie the V. Brennan begins to watch Jersey Shore and examines the Guido culture from an anthropological perspective. (Line of the night: “Eureka! A gathering of Guidos!”)

Richie the V’s outspoken, aggressive mother tells the team that her son used steroids briefly in high school but stopped. She claims that he was serious about school and that this was his last summer to party. The team next talks to a man named Lil’ Frankie Costello who appeared in most of the victim’s videos. Frankie says he last saw Richie on Thursday with a guy named Peppy, and that Richie and Peppy fought because they were wearing the same shirt. Booth and Brennan find Peppy at a club, where he’s trying to steal a bunch of ice. Clinton, the ice delivery man, complains that he’s just trying to do his job, but people always try to steal his ice. Peppy tells Booth and Brennan that Richie had a stalker.

Back at the lab, the team realizes that Richie’s skull had two breaks, so he didn’t die of a fall – he was hit on the head. The concrete is identified as “Minute Crete”, and Angela figures out that the murder weapon was some sort of concrete cylinder with a 3.75″ diameter. There’s yellow plastic embedded in the wound as well. Sweets decodes Richie’s texts and makes a map of people who texted him and the other people they texted. This leads the team to a woman named Marie who sent Richie some texts that might have been threats. When they find Marie, though, she tells them that they loved each other and had plans for the future, and that Richie was a gentleman. She also says that a trainer at the gym wanted Richie dead because he busted the trainer for steroids.

Booth and Brennan confront the trainer at the club where he works as a bouncer and find yellow plastic buckets full of concrete in the storage room. The suspect admits that he was mad at Richie but swears he didn’t see him; his alibi is that he took his mother to see Billy Elliot on the night Richie died, and Booth is skeptical until the suspect gives a full recap of the show and produces ticket stubs. Angela figures out that the murder weapon was plastic-covered concrete, which would be consistent with the buckets found at the club. But Brennan discovers that Richie’s mysterious microfractures are due to the body being frozen for two days, and, as Cam says, he was literally “put on ice”. When Booth and Brennan find Clinton the ice delivery man, he’s using a yellow bat to break up ice, and they quickly identify this as the murder weapon. Clinton was trying to teach Peppy a lesson about stealing ice – and not actually trying to kill him – but confused Richie with Peppy because they were wearing the same shirt. This sort of mistaken identity solution can sometimes be unsatisfying, but I thought it worked this time because the initial identification of the body was so much easier than it usually is.

After Booth and Hannah both get paged at 3 a.m. and Hannah has to go home to change before she can go to work, Booth invites her to move in with him. She wants to give him a housewarming gift, and Brennan suggests a rotary phone. Hannah says she’s lucky he “has a partner who knows him so well,” and there’s a little awkwardness between the two women as Brennan decides to be blunt about her concerns. She tells Hannah to be completely sure about her decision, because Booth will give himself completely; Hannah says that she’s serious about Booth but thanks Brennan for being a good friend to him. And in case we missed the obvious tension between the two, it’s encapsulated at the end of the episode: when Booth says “thank you” for the phone, both Hannah and Brennan say, “You’re welcome.” Sweets, meanwhile, is worried that Booth is moving too quickly with Hannah, and claims their dynamic must change now that they’re home rather than at war. Booth rejects this idea but says that Sweets is a good kid.

Throughout the episode, Brennan gets more literal as she gets more upset about the Hannah situation. And while Booth claims to everyone who will listen that he’s completely sure of his feelings for Hannah, there are some signs that he isn’t exactly over Brennan. When a bouncer shoves her, Booth gets defensive and offers to fight him. And at the end of the episode, Booth seems a little reluctant about Brennan leaving him alone with Hannah for their first evening together. Brennan has to reassure him that they will see each other at work the next day – that, at least theoretically, nothing between them has really changed.

There’s a cute subplot this week around the rest of the team gradually finding out that Angela‘s pregnant. Cam is very proud of herself for figuring it out – she says Angela is “glowy” and eating saltines – and Angela admits it to her but claims no one else knows (even though Brennan does). Angela swears Cam to secrecy because Hodgins wants to make a big announcement, but Booth figures it out when Angela turns down a glass of wine, and he’s rather adorably thrilled at the news.

The Rotating Intern is Colin Fisher, better known as the depressed guy. He is back at work after a breakdown during which he slept for months (though he claims he’s not suicidal), so people get worried every time he yawns. That was cute this week but could get annoying quickly if it continues. He’s now trying to “live joyously”, and Cam, trying to convince him that he’s good at his job, tells him that part of living joyously is giving himself the benefit of the doubt. But what actually gets through to him is when Brennan says he’s smart and then clarifies that she’s not being kind, just factual. Colin tells her “That’s what makes it awesome.”

I’ll admit that I was dreading this episode as a crossover stunt, but the mystery itself was better than I expected. And I know a lot of people are upset about Booth getting so serious with Hannah, but I’m willing to wait that one out. At least for a while.

Photo Courtesy of Fox

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