After 10 years, Bones has been around the block, and so has Booth. When he left his old job with the FBI last season, he told Caroline that there were still a few places on him that hadn’t been shot or broken, and he’d like to keep it that way — but look at him now. He’s chemically burning his own bullet wound while he bites down on a piece of wood that he just kicked out of a crate. That’s Booth for you. If he can’t slow down, then why should the show?
Booth is still very much in danger of dying, and since his fellow conspirators don’t care enough to help him bandage his injury (buying gauze is too risky; death before they’ll buy more gauze), he takes care of it himself. Their current hideout used to be a home photography studio, so Booth uses silver nitrate to cauterize his wound and stop the bleeding. Whatever you do, don’t think about the fact that Booth saves his life with science he likely picked up from Brennan, and don’t think about how they’d be dead without each other. Brennan is thinking about it for you.
Brennan “can’t imagine a world where Booth doesn’t come home,” so she keeps hope alive by throwing herself into the case. And as if her missing husband weren’t enough of a motivator, there’s also the fact that the Jeffersonian is apparently no longer considered the foremost forensics lab in the country. There are others! And they rank them! I can’t believe it took so long to mine this plot. Brennan pretends to blame everyone else, but in the end, she can only blame herself. She’s the one who quit.
In her absence, one of those other, lesser labs combed the apartment of Miller’s missing FBI partner, Richard Bannerman. They saw no evidence of a struggle, but they aren’t Brennan: She finds a finger tucked in the back of the freezer. (“Are you still doubting the Jeffersonian even after your lab somehow missed a severed finger next to a box of meat pockets?”) The print is a match for Bannerman’s fiancée, Chloe; it looks like her finger was sent to him in the mail. All signs point to a kidnapping, meaning that Bannerman’s suspicious activity before he went missing — he downloaded a list of every undercover agent in the Bureau — might not make him dirty. He could just be a man trying to save someone he loves. Sound like anyone we know?
Jared got in over his head with a crew trying to buy that list, hence the $2 million they stole from Victor Mosborian’s safe. Booth stepped in to ensure the list didn’t fall into the wrong hands — and save his brother in the process, though that obviously went wrong. This still feels like something he could have told his wife, but if he had to lie, at least it was to protect some vintage Booth values: his country and his family. And Booth and Brennan have a bad habit of making sacrifices for each other that neither of them actually want; it’s how they wound up denying their feelings for so long. Booth didn’t think he could count on Brennan’s support because he believed that she wanted to leave their old life behind. Which she did, for a while.
WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.
But now that she’s back in the lab, Brennan’s resignation doesn’t feel like such a good idea anymore. She formally requests her old job back from Cam. “If Booth dies,” she reasons, “then I think being here would help. To have work to focus on. To be surrounded by friends.” Brennan has always buried herself in her work, but this time is different: She’s conscious of it. Brennan wants to be back at work not to avoid her feelings, but to channel them in a supportive community. We really are in season 11.
NEXT: She’s the best scientist at the Jeffersonian Institute. Who are you? NOBODY[pagebreak]
And now that she’s back, she might as well solve some murders. Hodgins traces the evidence on Chloe’s finger to an abandoned battery-recycling factory that just screams “secret hideout,” but where Aubrey and Miller hope to Booth, they find only two dead bodies. Arastoo goes right for the scapula to rule out the worst possible scenario: Neither body belongs to Booth. Bannerman and Chloe aren’t so lucky. While the FBI tracks Bannerman’s last movements, Miller sends attractive digital forensic scientist/avowed cat person Dr. Benjamin Metzger to help Angela recover Bannerman’s files. Since when has Angela ever needed help?
Since Miller was trying to distract the team, maybe. She had a relationship with Bannerman before he met his fiancée. Miller admits to threatening Chloe, but her gun isn’t a match. (Brennan, who thinks about murder: “She could have just used another gun and then destroyed it. That’s what I would have done.”) Arastoo turns his attention to Chloe, whose skull is in pieces. When he reconstructs it, Brennan recognizes a fracture pattern unique to brass knuckles. Miller is too experienced to telegraph a hit like that, but Metzger has a wrist injury. Who’s going to care for his cats while he’s in prison?
Metzger won’t give up Booth’s location, so Brennan barges in. She knows how to make this guy talk. (Miller, winning me over: “Do it!”) And here is where Brennan lays out her customarily brilliant scientific argument: She jams Metzger’s wrist back. While Booth is out there sciencing somewhere to save his life, Brennan is in the interrogation room using physical threats to get an answer. Partners learn from each other.
Metzger gives in, and just in time: Booth’s cover has been blown. Kevin gets a text that Booth is FBI; if he doesn’t kill him, the deal for the list is off. Kevin might be a grade-A jerk (and he is that), but he’s no killer, except for all of those times when he killed people during an armed robbery or was willing to let Booth die over some gauze. He suggests that they all split the $2 million and call it a day, but his thugs start a fight. Booth knocks them out one by one and stumbles into the sun just in time to fall into Brennan’s arms. He insists that it’s just a scratch, but he doesn’t fight the extra support.
Everything is getting back to normal. Booth survives the surgery for his “scratch,” Hodgins and Angela celebrate by hosting a sleepover for the kids (does she want more?), and Brennan sits by Booth’s hospital bedside to forgive him for going rogue. He’s always going to be the person who risks his life for the sake of others. She likes that about him, and she thinks he should go back to his old job. Then at least he can wind up in the hospital after working with her.
Ten complete seasons in, it needed addressing: Booth and Brennan have been doing this job a long time. They owed it to themselves to try to get away. But they owe it to each other (and themselves) to come back. This is who they are. So the elderly crime-solvers bicker on, wheelchairs against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Someone get Booth some pudding.
Bits and pieces:
- Arastoo is making bad choices this week. Just when he was all set to propose, Brennan showed up to shake his confidence and take back the job he was up for. He’s decided to look for a new job, but that means he’s probably moving somewhere else, and he can’t make Cam join him. Is he really so impatient with being an intern? This is like the end of Center Stage all over again. Sure, he could be a principal in Cooper Nielson’s dance company right now, but wouldn’t it be better to wait and learn from the best?
- Cam gets a minute to mourn Jared: “He was like a kid brother.”
- Did the layout of Booth’s hospital room give anyone else flashbacks to that time Brennan’s fridge blew him up and they watched The Grapes of Wrath?
- I feel like this episode missed a prime opportunity to draw parallels between Miller, who missed her chance with her partner, and Brennan, who got hers.
- It’s weird how much Metzger, an attractive scientist, confuses our team of attractive scientists. Did they think they were the only ones?
- “Whoever you are, this is not a good time for a massage or a striptease or whatever societal function you may perform.”
- “Agent Aubrey, this is not the time or place for a snack.”
- “Talk to me, my elemental friends. Who is here?”
- “I lost a lot of blood here, Bones. At least half.” “Not half. Two-fifths at most.” “That’s a lot!”