Bones must have the largest collection of emotionally significant rings on television. From her mother’s old family ring to the dolphin that sent her into an existential tailspin, Temperance Brennan doesn’t put a ring on her finger unless it Means Something. (And now she’s married, so the tradition continues.) Maybe this is all her way of compensating for a ring she lost when she was little—which, like everything in her childhood, turns out to be the start of a much deeper and creepier story. Nothing is easy when your dad is a criminal in hiding.
Having a daughter has brought Brennan closer to her father; she needs the child care, she wants Christine to have a bigger family than the one she grew up with, and Max did help her evade the FBI’s arrest one time. But there’s still a part of her that always expects him to run away, so when Max announces that he has to go out of town—and he can’t tell her why—Brennan jumps to the worst-case scenario. Booth jokingly offers to track Max’s movements, which Brennan takes him up on—so he actually does it, because that’s how these two work. And then they distract themselves by solving a murder.
The body of a man named Troy Carter is found on a bridge; Troy worked in landscaping, but his passion was mini golf, and no one on this show has ever taken passion lightly. Hodgins is passionate about his toys. Brennan is passionate about being angry at Max. The guy who found the body was passionate about being the least important man in the world. Competitive miniature golf is an entire subculture that no one knew about—least of all Aubrey, who repeats everything Troy’s brother says with escalating shock. “Mini golf has a Masters?” It does. It’s called the Mini Masters, and this year, it’s being held on Troy’s home turf: Sammy’s Tropical Tiki.
Owner Sammy Tucker and his hand-model wife Lori are the only people at the course to express any sadness for Troy’s passing; everyone else would just like Booth and Brennan to get out of the way so they can get back to lint-rolling their argyle sweater vests and diagramming the physics of putt putt. “This whole game’s about physics, sweetheart!” says golfer Winston Suggs. Brennan doesn’t punch him for it, but she does shoot him a warning glance, mom-style, and then request that an entire tiki hut be moved to the lab for examination.
Troy was emailing—and sleeping with—an 18-year-old contestant named Darla Simms, who says that a man once burst in on them together and dragged Troy out of their hotel room. It was dark, and she didn’t get a clear look at him, but she’s able to give the sketch artist a perfect description anyway. The man who grabbed Troy was his brother Jake, who claims that he just wanted to stop him from getting inappropriate with a girl half his age. Jake isn’t without motive, though; their landscaping business has been in a financial freefall ever since Troy got serious about mini golf.
The tiki hut has equidistant holes in the wall that appear to be made by bullet fragments. When Hodgins and intern-of-the-week Wendell clean Troy’s bones, they find bullet wounds in three points of his chest, but all from different angles. If someone tied Troy to a spinning windmill before shooting him, that would really be the mini golf murder I never knew I needed, but it’s nothing so colorful. Troy was actually shot by a new style of bullet called a multiple-impact round, which splits into three projectiles connected by kevlar strands. The initial wounds weren’t enough to kill him, so Troy hid in the hut, where he was murdered with a shot to the head.
NEXT: A hand model, mama. A finger jockey.