We have to admit that it's pretty clever to start an episode of Bones in what's called the dead letter office. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if this entire episode revolved around that pun. Neither one of these postal workers is laughing, though, because what looks like a box full of casserole is actually a box full of human goo!
Cut to Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) doing what they do best: arguing over where to live. Of course, Brennan wants a lavish mansion and/or castle in Costa Rica, but Booth's balking over the thirty-million-dollar price tag. He's even less pleased with the crime rate down there...because it's too low! After all, "I thrive off crime. That's my job."
But B&B are going to have to save their bickering for another day as Booth's grandfather (Ralph Waite) edges his way into the diner. And Pops has some bad news: as we (more or less) expected, Booth's father has passed on. Not surprisingly, it was liver failure that finished him off — as we’re sure that Booth will take note.
Of course, our favorite stalwart cop's not about to descend into waterworks in the middle of the diner. Luckily for him, the call comes in before Brennan can start probing. "Another day, another crime."
At the dead letter office, Cam (Tamara Taylor) has joined Booth and Brennan to check out the latest gore-fest. Lo and behold, the victim was a male (in the mail). In fact, he's so immaculately packaged that Cam can't help wondering if the killer does gift-wrapping! Booth's looking a little down, so Cam asks him what's wrong...whereupon Brennan blurts out that his dad died. Good going there, Tempe.
Back at the Jeffersonian, the crew have arranged the six boxes (each containing various human odds and ends) into a kinda-sorta human shape. Clark (Eugene Byrd)'s in rare form this episode, quipping that "I'm pretty sure my middle school served this for dessert." Hodgins (TJ Thyne), meanwhile, busts out a nifty laser to separate the cardboard from the goo. We'll give you a barf-warning here: the strings of flesh clinging to the separating cardboard certainly got our gorge up.
Wetpaint Entertainment veterans will doubtless be aware of our bated breath regarding Agent Genny Shaw (Tina Majorino) — and here she is! Sporting a snazzy new haircut, Shaw wastes no time in delivering valuable information about the case: the shipping labels on the boxes had no destinations or return addresses on them, making the cargo a perfect candidate for the dead letter office. Only an insider could have the presence of mind to plan something like that out...
Now let's take a little break from the horrifying gross-out spectacle and check in on Clark and Brennan. Clark might not be the boundaries-obsessed squintern he once was, but even reformed Clark can't help stuttering as Brennan sticks, like, half her arm down her own shirt. Turns out pregnancy results in some awkwardly placed soreness, but our Brennan has no problem fondling herself. But Clark should know better: "There was a whole lot of activity going on there, and I was thinking that maybe I could help you out." Uh...what?!
Angela makes a breakthrough with Genny Shaw: even if the boxes didn't have any shipping information on them, the Postal Service makes sure to log away that stuff whenever a label is made — Maryland, in this case. That means piling Booth and Brennan in the car to go visit the Ship 'n' Print!
Now that she's got him cornered, Brennan is not going to squander an opportunity to pester Booth about his father. But Booth's being his regular macho self, and macho guys know that the best way to distract a woman is to get her to talk about herself. Brennan's happy to oblige — her boobs are sore, she complains, so would it be okay if she walks around naked all day when the couple's at home? And if you know anything about guys, you can imagine what Booth has to say about that.
Unfortunately, a phone call interrupts all the nudie-talk: the victim's name was Oliver Lawrence, and he was a five-year veteran at the Ship 'n' Print. He was reported missing in May.
In the lab, Clark and Hodgins are getting frustrated — they've gone through every weapon they can think of, and nothing's slicing through the fake bone they're using in a way to match the victim's circumstances. But wait, Hodgins says: they've gone through only every modern weapon. Time to bust out the double-headed axes and scimitars!
At the Ship 'n' Print, Booth and Brennan meet Tony (Brian Michael Jones), an ardent Buddhist with a pendant made from the bone of a thousand-year-old shaman. Sadly, Brennan's all too eager to inform the hapless employee that that bone's not more than twenty years old. Lame.
Hodgins and Clark call our dynamic duo with the latest lead: the murder weapon was a guillotine. Not exactly the most subtle thing in the world, and Booth looks a little miffed about having to ask the entire Ship 'n' Print staff if they mail out such a thing. But he's saved from the task, as there's a big, nasty industrial-strength paper-cutter in the back of the store. We probably won't need any Luminol for this one!
Connor (Chris Tallman), the Ship 'n' Print manager, confides that Oliver had a magic touch with postal equipment. (Not the most awesome talent in the world, but...) Indeed, the old postal crew, which included Oliver, was super-tight, but they've all moved on to greener pastures. And we're talking the greenest fields of emerald verdure here, because — get this — the guys won the lottery. They pooled their resources, and Oliver scored the winning ticket. Could the others have offed Oliver to increase their individual winnings?
Now with four potential murderers to choose from, Booth and Shaw get together with Sweets (John Francis Daley) to compare notes. There's no way that they all took part in such a grisly murder, Sweets contends, but Shaw counters that maybe one guy did it and swore all the others to silence.
Just when we're starting to wonder when the Brennan-Angela friend-talk will come in, why, here it is! Brennan wants to help Booth through his father's death, but she doesn't know what to do. Angela's advice? "Figure out what you can give him that nobody else can." That's about all the Full House-style pep-talking Angela has time for, though — turns out that the paper-cutter/copy machine sent out 387 packages, so she's got to get to work sorting through them.
Booth, Shaw, and Sweets, meanwhile, are filtering all the suspects' hang-ups. Sheila (Briana Lane) married Hugh (Cory Matthews...er, we mean Ben Savage) and clearly has him about as whipped as a guy can be. Ralph (Wayne Wilderson) just went through a bitter divorce. And then there's Connor, who struck gold but decided to remain at Ship 'n' Print. Maybe he feels guilty about how he got the money?
But a phone call from Angela sets the FBI agents' suspicion in a new direction. Turns out you have to enter a code to use the copier, and the code that corresponds to the Oliver-packages belongs to none other than Ralph the divorcé.
Of course, Ralph insists that he didn't kill Oliver. He's got a good defense, though: his code is 1234, so every single employee in the Ship 'n' Print used it for convenience. Booth will have to look into that, but for now, they've got to let Ralph go. But there's a new and exciting (not to mention saucy lead): among the many goodies to come out of the copy machine is a classic butt-print — with Oliver's hands wrapped around the cheeks! Could this female posterior belong to the decidedly saucy Sheila? Let's bring her in!
Unfortunately, Sheila's got her lawyer, who's telling her not to say anything...like, at all. But Brennan and Booth have come to the interrogation room prepared: the moment Sheila sits down, Brennan's ready to take a measurement of the special cushion planted in Sheila's chair. Lo and behold, Sheila's "ass-bones," as Booth calls them, are a perfect match with the copy-machine image.
Fine, Sheila admits (despite her lawyer's caterwauling): she might have banged Oliver a few times, but she sure didn't kill him. And she's not mincing words here: "I'm a slut, not a killer." But it's not looking good for Sheila — even if her husband knew about the affair but was too whipped to do anything about it, Oliver did happen to die two days after he and Sheila broke things off.
At the Jeffersonian, Clark and Cam are making progress on the cause of death. Turns out there's a piece of artery stuck to a strip of tape from the goo-boxes, which points the squints to a toothed tape-dispenser as the murder weapon. And considering that Oliver sustained telltale wounds on the right side of his body, the killer had to be left-handed. Better tell Booth...
...But unfortunately, Booth's a little busy. Pops has come to visit him at the FBI, and he's got a few presents in tow. (It's kind of like a tear-jerking Christmas.) First there's a letter from Booth's father — Booth doesn't want to read it, but Pops informs him (in standard acerbic Pops fashion) that the letter's for Pops, not Booth. Turns out Booth's dad implored Pops to at least let Booth know that he loved his son, and he thanked Pops for raising Booth to be the man his father "could never be." And if that's not heart-wrenching enough, Pops also hands over a box from father, meant for son, before he heads on back to the nursery home. Booth's not about to crack that baby open, but heck, this here is Chekhov's gun. That thing is gonna get opened, or we don't know Bones.
Now armed with all the latest info, Booth brings cuckolded Hugh in for questioning. But Hugh, as it turns out, has commissioned the very same curmudgeonly lawyer retained by Sheila. (Gee, who would have thought?) That's okay, though, because Booth doesn't actually have any questions. He tosses an object to Hugh, who catches it with catlike reflexes...and also with his left hand. Jeez...at this point, the murderer could be anyone!
Genny Shaw, out to lunch with Booth, needs a reality check. Booth's all too happy to give it to her: the case is not about Genny Shaw, and Genny Shaw will not impress Booth by working overtime to provide him with the case-solving puzzle piece. (Of course, this is exactly what Shaw's been trying to do the entire episode.) True to form, Shaw takes the advice immediately to heart.
With six boxes of goo to sift through, Hodgins has his work cut out for him. But he's found a tantalizing curiosity: one particular packing peanut (pretty poetic, no?) has a sliver of bone jammed in it, but Oliver's entire skeleton has already been accounted for. Hodgins calls in Brennan for a look, and a look is all Brennan needs — after all, she's seen this bone before, and recently. It comes from a cheap Buddhist necklace. Uh-oh!
Throw out all those old leads — with Tony in the interrogation room, everything comes together. Turns out Tony was using the post office to mail out some highly illegal shrooms to his shady customers. Oliver caught him in the act, a struggle ensued, and bam! Tape-cutter to the throat! Not exactly the most Buddhist way to handle a problem, we're thinking, but Tony says that he's been nonviolent for over twenty years. In the grand scheme of things, how bad is one little dismemberment? Booth's answer: pretty bad.
Now that the murder's been solved, we can get back to that mysterious box (you didn't forget about it, did you?). Brennan, who's been prying all through the episode, is not about to let Booth get away with not opening it. When Booth predictably demurs, though, she takes a different tack this time. Here's what Brennan can give Booth that no one else can: a litany of the few but powerful good memories Booth has of his father. There's that time on the frozen pond, that time in the barber shop...and the World Series game, from which Booth got those seats that caused him so much consternation last season!
Booth looks at the box and clearly thinks, What the heck. Inside rests the kind of assortment that would make Amélie Poulain proud: a Purple Heart, a collection of old father-son photos, and about a bucket of tears for all of us watching the episode. And what's that at the bottom? Why, a ticket stub to the very game from which Booth got those blue seats. Even the men will have to get their tear ducts surgically removed to stop the bawling at this point.
But it's okay, because the episode is over. Guys, you can head on over to the bathroom — clearly, there's just something in your eye.
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