Science was never my favorite subject in school, but Bones makes me feel differently. It’s not because of Hodgins’ experiments, although his love of trial and error is as much the heart of this show as anything. It’s because of the way Brennan uses science to make sense of the world. Science, to Brennan, isn’t a set of answers so much as it is the context for those answers—a pattern that accepts the inevitability of change but leaves room for second chances. It’s safe to assume that one of those second chances will bring Booth and Brennan back to the team, but for now, they’re moving into the unknown.
After everything she and Booth have been through, it’s understandable that Brennan would want a fresh start. Booth takes a little more convincing: He loves the FBI, and what they’re doing is important. But, as Brennan points out, “There are other important things we could do that won’t get us killed.” Before they can make any decisions, the body of Franklin Holt, an independent computer consultant, is found flayed and impaled on an obelisk with a flower in his mouth. All signs point to Christopher Pelant, the hacker who once ruined Brennan’s marriage proposal for literally no good reason, but Pelant is dead. Is this the work of a copycat, or did he have an apprentice? If we find a silver skeleton in anyone’s basement, I’m out of here.
At least the murder’s Pelant undertones have the happy side effect of bringing together the entire team. Hodgins and Angela take a break from packing for Paris to lend a hand, not that Hodgins needs much of an excuse to do lab work, and Wendell and Daisy volunteer their time, too. It’s as good an excuse as any to give everyone a part to play in what might have been the series finale. Brennan could never even consider leaving if she didn’t believe that her interns were up to the task. Which they are—they learned from the best. She’s grilling them a little harder this time, because she cares.
Booth does the same with Aubrey, stepping back to watch him prove himself. Caroline can tell that something’s up, so Booth admits that this is going to be his last case. What are he and Brennan going to do next? He’s got an NSA job offer in Kansas, and she’s got an offer to take over at a nearby university, but they’re both also tempted by the idea of just having their baby and living their lives. In any case, Booth tells Caroline that he’s still got a few bones that haven’t been broken yet. He’d like to keep it that way. “There’s a lot of good agents here,” Booth says. “A lot better than me.” Caroline, speaking for us all, tells him to shut up: “There is no one better than you. But I’ll act like there is if you want me to.” Welcome to my first cry of the hour.
It’s hard to even focus on the case with all of this change in the air, so let’s not waste time: Holt consulted for a firm, Kevin Dunlop Investments, that handled money for dictators, drug lords, and other seedy characters—including Pelant. Using his experience with his father’s Wall Street schemes, Aubrey talks Dunlop into admitting that he had the $4.6 billion account that Pelant stole from Hodgins, but it disappeared when Holt’s body turned up. All of Holt’s hard drives are missing, and the only clue Angela has is a VHS tape of the 1983 movie Strange Brew. (Bones! Only you.) Holt encrypted his files on there, but decrypting them will take time that no one has.
Instead, the team focuses on a pizza. Holt had a pizza delivered on the night of his murder, so Hodgins uses an old school machine to test it for particulates. He has better equipment at his disposal; he’s just always wanted to use this one, and this is his last chance. Hodgins looks at isotopes falling on a graph like he’s staring into the sun. The machine does its job—I’m so glad it doesn’t break—and reveals gunshot residue. (“That’s why he didn’t eat the pizza: because he was DEAD.”) Is the pizza delivery man the killer?
NEXT: Chickens on a train