Will no one let Seeley Booth forget that he’s related to John Wilkes Booth? He’s a good person. He doesn’t deserve this. Booth’s secret shame is back tonight for the first time since the 100th episode, which flashed back to his first case with Brennan. She could tell from her new partner’s bone structure that he was descended from the infamous assassin. The president can tell from Booth’s official files, which is much less cool than looking at his cheekbones.
Our team is taking calls from the highest office in the country this week after the murder of Secret Service Agent Graham Roberts. Roberts was last seen outside Richmond, where the president is scheduled to host a campaign fundraiser. Is this the first time Bones has confirmed that it’s moving on an alternate presidential timeline? Bones has always seemed to exist in a slightly kinder reality; a woman of color runs a government science lab, which is staffed mostly by women, and this week, an Indian woman is the unquestioned best agent on a Secret Service team. But most of her colleagues are middle-aged white guys, and so is the President of the United States. Maybe that’s intended as commentary, but it’s still a surprisingly boring move for this show.
In its continued quest to be an all-around buzzkill, the government also sidelines Booth from the first part of the investigation, citing concerns about his “heritage.” While Booth waits out a security check because of something his “nutcase relative did 100-plus years ago,” and Brennan, who’s sick, helicopter-moms her way around the lab via video chat, Aubrey and Secret Service Agent Marissa Patel team up to retrace Roberts’ last steps. Roberts was tasked with checking on anyone in the Richmond area who could be a security risk, and Neil Stockton raises all of the right red flags. Stockton owns a landscaping company; evidence on the victim’s shoe suggests the killer is in the business. There’s also the small matter of his tweet wishing that someone would shoot the president.
Patel and Aubrey find Stockton reading a magazine about guns in the bathroom (typical), but both of his shoulders are bad. He could never have killed the victim or swung a shovel at the face of the man who called in the body. Nobody here stops to think that maybe Stockton could have an accomplice, which seems like an oversight. This is why they need Booth. The president gives his consent for Booth to rejoin the investigation just as Brennan decides to rejoin the world. She’s not contagious anymore, and she WILL show you her tissue to prove it.
Brennan gets to Booth’s office just in time to charm Agent Brandt Walker, Secret Service legend, with her snot, and for all of the secondhand embarrassment I’m suffering, I’d watch her put Walker in uncomfortable situations for days. The guy is shady. He greets Booth by telling him that he’s “heard a lot about” him. I’ve been here for 11 seasons, Bones; you can’t fool me. People in important positions only praise Booth when they want to manipulate him. Piling suspicion on suspicion, Walker mixes up his words when he welcomes Booth back to the case: “It wasn’t protocol. It was just personal.” Booth attributes it to lack of sleep, but a Secret Service agent shouldn’t make that kind of mistake. The last straw: Walker questions Booth’s advice. On snipers. No.
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Things between Walker and Booth go from tense to hostile when the team starts to suspect an inside job. Roberts appears to have been murdered at his hotel, which was crawling with Secret Service agents — and the killer knew how to get around all of them. Even though the president is wheels up in an hour, Booth demands that Walker bring in every member of his advance team for interrogation. He’s not taking any chances, and he’s not backing down. “The Secret in the Service” won’t go down as my favorite hour of this generally solid season, but Booth is operating at peak Booth here, and I’m all for that.
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