An explosive death scene leads the investigators back to school...with sexy results.
High school is pretty awful in real life, but it’s even worse on TV. All the students look about 27 (which is either poor casting or a stealth commentary on the failure of No Child Left Behind). Everyone gets bullied and/or pregnant. Everyone sleeps with a teacher or frames a teacher for sleeping with them. Important life lessons are learned every week, which just seems exhausting. Also, no one ever goes to college, and if they do, everything goes downhill. On last night’s Bones, Booth and Brennan went back to school to solve the Case of the Melting Skeleton. In the process, they experienced enough high school storylines to fill a complete season of The OC (or ten minutes of Glee.)
The episode began with a truck spontaneously combusting. The arson investigator couldn’t initially find a cause for the fire, and blamed it on an asteroid. Brennan figured out he was joking. She started joking, too. “This white powder could be the remnants of a highly localized blizzard!” she deadpanned. (Global warming isn’t a joke, Brennan!) Then they discovered a melty skeleton in the truck. Of course, as we all know, bones don’t melt. Even more confusing: there was a bullet lodged in the chest cavity.
Turned out, the truck was covered in magnesium scraps. Magnesium, as we all know, burns hot and fast, and it reacts badly to water. A magnesium explosion (implosion?) would’ve caused the bones to crystallize. (Man, don’t you wish chemistry had been this interesting in high school? You’d probably be a big-shot chemist by now, instead of a mere big-shot physicist.) Daisy and Hodgins had a delightful row about who, exactly, had thought up the Magnesium Theorem. Hodgins declared himself King of the Lab. (Somewhere, Zack shed a single tear.)
The truck was registered to one Jesse Wilson, whose company hauls magnesium. Jesse Wilson spoke eloquently about how his granddaddy killed a bunch of Nazis in World War II, which is exactly the curiously precise topic of conversation I would engage in when speaking to a law enforcement officer. Booth pointed out that Jesse owned a German Luger, which is sort of the Herbie the Love Bug of mid-century pistols. But Jesse demurred and noted that the dead guy (name: George Leifer) had a Nagging Wife. Suspect Zero!
Kathy Leifer took out an insurance policy on her husband’s life one week before he died, so clearly she didn’t do it. She was a teacher, and while Booth was interrogating her, Brennan sat in on detention and got to know the Breakfast Club. One fellow said, “If I want to smoke, it’s not Big Brother’s business,” which proves that even teenagers who actually read great literature are still pretty stupid. Brennan couldn’t believe all the hand-holding. “You’ve probably been menstruating for several years!” she said to the detentioneers. One teenager, a Taylor Momsen-bot named Amber, had cheated on a chem test. Her excuse: “I’m from a broken home! It’s gotta count for something.” (This was such an awesome line that it should’ve become instantly clear to everyone that Amber was the killer.)
NEXT: The writers work overtime to make Hannah a fleshed-out character.
Sweets came in to interrogate the Nagging Wife. He found out that she’d been buying lots of Star Wars Trading Cards. “I understand, I’m a Star Warrior myself,” said Sweets. (He just made that phrase up…right?) Then Sweets claimed this was the most quoted line from the movie: “Don’t you call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight gob of grease!” I thought we were thisclose to having a George Lucas-inflected repeat of Sweets’ Shakespearean interrogation…but no, the lady’s Star Wars fandom was fake. Turns out, she was paying inflated prices on ridiculously cheap cards as a way to pay off one of her students: Paul, aka Mr. Big Brother.
Paul, who looked sort of like a version of Arnold Schwarzenegger who discovered emo music instead of the gym, wouldn’t cop to any tomfoolery. So the wife admitted the truth: She was having an affair with another student named Randy, and Paul caught them together. And wouldn’t you know, Randy worked at Mr. “My Grandaddy Killed Nazi”‘s company…alongside the dead guy! “TV,” I said to my TV, “It’s totally a To Die For!”
Meanwhile, back at the lab, Hodgins and Daisy figured out that the cause of death wasn’t the bullet – it had gone off after the guy was already dead. Elsewhere, Angela waved her hands at her Minority Report screen, and the bones straightened out, until the stabbing wounds became very clear. So, to recap: the dead guy was stabbed, and then blown up, and then shot. If I were a cop, this is when I would throw up my hands and say, “Universe, you wanted him dead that badly, you can have him.”
(BRIEF PAUSE TO DISGORGE ROMANTIC SUBPLOTS IN ONE FELL SWOOP: This episode really made me invested in two plotlines I have been pretty immune to before: the expanding power of the Cute Blonde Contrivance and the rise of Daisy as a mini-Brennan. On the latter, there is just such a genuine kick to seeing Sweets and Daisy together. The scene where they slowly worked their way through the psych evaluation was hilarious, and a good reminder that both actors came from Apatow land.
Meanwhile, the writers gave us full barrels of Hannah. She had to win over Booth’s son Parker. She couldn’t just be nice to him. She had to utterly charm him…and, by extension, us. So, we learned that she’s a dog person who likes burgers, hot dogs, and chocolate ice cream. Also, she races camels. Listen, even if you’re not sold on Hannah — and who is? — you have to admire just how hard the creators of Bones are working at making her a real-live character. Also, according to Parker, Ben Bradlee cheated at a grade-school science fair. No wonder the Post is going downhill. END OF ROMANTIC SUBPLOT DISGORGEMENT.)
NEXT: Wrapping up the case.
Randy the Boytoy had a mysterious knife in his locker, so there’s no way he did it. Nope, that wasn’t a knife for killin’, it was a knife for pryin’ open a dude’s locker and shoving in a red herring dead trout. (God, high school is miserable.) Fortunately, Hodgins figured out that the killin’ knife was actually a super-rare Damascus blade, one of the 30 that Hitler hand-forged for his top commanders. And Hitler was a Nazi…just like all those Nazis that that one guy’s granddaddy killed! Booth returned to his truck shop, but it turned out, all his army paraphernalia was stolen six months earlier…by Randy’s mysterious girlfriend…who loves eye-shadow!
Brennan figured out that Amber was the murderer because of Amber’s highly specific method of breaking men’s zippers. Now, viewers, you’re probably saying “That’s a ridiculous plot point,” but that’s just because you aren’t properly considering the context of the watery magnesium firing a bullet into a stabbed cuckold’s melting skeleton and also Star Wars. Amber admitted that she did it, sort of, but promised she’d be out in under a year to terrorize more boyfriends’ mistresses’ husbands. (Fun fact! The actress who played Amber is named Stella Maeve, and at the tender age of [AGE UNLISTED], she’s achieved the rare Law & Order hat trick, appearing on Original Blend, SVU, and Criminal Intent. Kudos!)
So it was the end of a great day at school. Everybody met up at the diner. Parker had been charmed by Hannah, but Brennan reasserted her coolness by asserting that termites fart more than any other animal: “They produce as much methane gas as human industry!” And that’s our cue to exit.
Viewers, did you dig the schooltime shenanigans? Is Hannah growing on you? Is it just me, or is Sweets getting WAY more screen time now? Could this mean we’re moving ever closer to Dr. Sweets, PhD? It’s like House, except no!
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