Now this is why I watch Bones — funny lines, great interactions between all the players, and some simply stellar Booth and Brennan moments. All this and another studly Booth to keep things interesting. If the case had been a little bit stronger, it would have been a perfect episode.
This spoiler will not be distracted by the shiny.
Let’s get the case out of the way quickly, because it’s a sideshow to the real attraction of the episode. The state police blow up a former meth lab as a training exercise, and body parts rain down. The corpse was carrying a sketchbook full of engineering drawings — was he an inventor? No, but he seems to have been the long-lost father of a struggling inventor type. He had reappeared in small-time inventor Paul Stegman’s life after an article about him had appeared in a magazine. But the bones don’t bear out what they know about the man — and it turns out he’s not Jim Stegman at all. He’s Anthony Pongetti, a con artist who’d served time for fraud. He’d also been methodically executed — possibly tortured. Did the real Jim Stegman do it?
Nope, because he’s dead, too — and he’d been shot in the same brutal fashion. Booth and Brennan investigate his house with the help of a friendly local sheriff. They discover that Stegman and Pongetti had worked together in the past. Booth and Brennan do a little more poking around the Stegmans’ house and discover a paper bag full of money, which leads them to a safe-deposit box full of more money, some of which still had evidence bands from the state police. It had been seized in a drug bust, then stolen by a fake driver who claimed he was supposed to take it into headquarters. That fake driver was obviously Pongetti.
But Pongetti couldn’t have been working alone — he had inside help. That came in the form of he friendly sheriff who helped Booth and Bones investigate Jim Stegman’s place. He’s at Paul and Lily’s house, looking for the rest of the money. Booth and Brennan interrupt him, and the sheriff takes Lily hostage. He makes a break for it and wings Brennan’s shoulder. When he throws Lily out of the car, Booth shoots him twice.
Booth and Brennan and Booth
The case was ok — I didn’t peg the sheriff as the culprit immediately, but perhaps I’m a bit slow — but the real fun came from meeting Booth’s younger brother, Jared. Jared seems to be everything Booth is not — he’s gleefully charismatic, obviously successful (he’s just been assigned a plum post at the Pentagon), very open, and willing to take emotional risks. He’s also willing to talk about himself — and his brother. Seeley is afraid of success and stays in his comfort zone. Jared strays into Brennan’s comfort zone by kissing her. "I bet you Seeley never took that risk," he says, post-smooch. Brennan looks a bit smitten.
Later, Brennan brings up the "afraid of success" theory to Booth after the RICO case he’d been crowing about goes away. What did you do wrong? she asks. That doesn’t go over well — Booth is furious, demanding to know whether Brennan thinks he’s a loser. Brennan doesn’t answer. That’s answer enough.
But all is not well with Jared. He sends Booth an urgent text — I’m in trouble! Booth drops everything and comes running. It seems Jared smashed up his car when he "fell asleep at the wheel," which translates into "was over the legal blood alcohol limit." Booth tries to talk to the cop who pulled Jared over, but there’s a snag — he’s greeted by the State Police Colonel who had earlier asked Booth to keep the little detail about Pongetti’s corpse being blown up during that training exercise. Booth had turned him down, saying it’s better to tell the truth and take the consequences. Ah, but if Jared faces his consequences, he’ll lose his career. Isn’t there something Booth can do?
Cut to the state police taking credit for that massive RICO case that Booth had headed up. He traded that glory to help his brother out. Cam knows something’s up, but Booth won’t talk about it. Sweets runs into Jared, who makes a few offhand remarks that let Sweets figure out that the Booths were raised by an abusive, alcoholic dad. Booth has been protecting Jared ever since.
Brennan confronts Jared — did you make Booth lose his RICO case? Jared confirms it, and Brennan goes ballistic: You’re taking advantage of your brother! "You made me think he’s a loser. And what really makes me angry is that I believed you!" She’s near tears.
Later, at Booth’s birthday party, Brennan makes up for it all in her toast to Original Recipe Booth. "I know who he is, but I forget sometimes because he never shines a light on himself He shines it on other people." Anthropologists, she says, talk about the alpha male as being the one with the shiniest trophies, the most obvious toys, the outward trapping that let you know he’s a big deal. After working with Booth, she thinks they’re wrong: "I’ve come to realize that the quiet man, the invisible man, the man who is always there for friends and family, that’s the real alpha male. And I promise that my eyes will never be caught by those shiny baubles again."
Then she takes Booth aside and talks to him about Jared. You’re not helping him by bailing him out. He could kill someone next time he drives drunk. It sinks in, and Booth tells Jared that he’s through covering for him. Jared does not take it well, and Booth sits outside, away from the party. Brennan comes out to join him, just to sit and make sure he’s ok. As they indulge in a little birthday cake, Booth finally starts to open up. "My father drank," he says. It’s a start.
Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends
- That poor, poor state cop: When the flaming body lands on the hood of his car, he says "We’re going to need a fire extinguisher. Then, maybe come sort of trauma counselor." Later, he finds out that he did not kill anyone. "Would you be at all upset if I had a little cry?"
- Booth is so proud of the RICO case and predicts great things: "Indictments any minute, followed by a pay raise, possibly a parade, and most definitely my face on a coin."
- Clark is back, and he’s as uncomfortable with oversharing as ever. He picked the wrong week to come back to the lab First he hears about Angela’s ex-ex-girlfriend, then he catches sight of Brennan dressed up for her date with Jared. Finally, he’s trapped in Brennan’s office when Cam and Angela talk to her about why she shouldn’t sleep with Jared. I like this guy! He’s a NotZack who can stick around!
- Angela’s explanation for why a Brennan/Jared hook-up wouldn’t be a good idea: "Because it’s Booth’s little brother, and it would just be a creepy way to have sex with a Booth without having sex with the real Booth." Cam is impressed by Angela’ pithy summary.
- Jared runs into Sweets and talks a bit about Booth. "Having a big brother is like having an extra dad — only a dad who protects you from your real dad, and always thinks of you as a kid… There’s nothing worse somebody who always things they’re right. And then they’re right." Get used to it, Jared!
- The scene where Booth asked Brennan whether she thought he was a loser was fantastically well done. Boreanaz has chops!
- As does Deschanel — I loved her getting teary when she realized she’d been distracted by the shiny object that was Jared.
- Brennan tells Booth that he really shouldn’t be bailing Jared out anymore. "Right — says the woman who got her father off murder charges. Face it – we do things for family." True — but I’d say that the bond between Booth and Brennan just as strong as the bond between people who just happen to share some DNA.