Credit: FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: Jared Booth, Seeley Booth and Hank Booth

Update: Fox's just-released sneak peek clips of the episode give us a difinitive answer on the possible Bones death. Click here to watch — but only if you're okay with major spoilers!

In Bones Season 7, Episode 4: “The Male in the Male”, Booth’s grandfather Hank (Ralph Waite) will give Booth some “unexpected news.”

So is Pops facing some sort of terminal illness? Or is he delivering news about the passing of another Booth family member?

Credit: Greg Gayne/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: Booth and His Grandfather, Hank, in Bones Season 5, Episode 8: “The Foot in the Foreclosure”

We know the episode will feature a Booth “family crisis” of some kind — but the details are sparse. Bones executive producer Hart Hanson has stated that “we have a really, really strong ‘Booth’s dad’ story” coming up. Could Booth’s dad be the one in peril?

Over the years, Seeley and his father have had quite the rocky relationship. Booth’s dad was an alcoholic who abused young Seeley as a child. We’ve never met Booth, Sr. — but we’re assuming that father and son aren’t exactly on speaking terms!

Other candidates for the family tragedy include Booth’s mother and his little brother, Jared. Except, Hart Hanson has insisted that the attention this season will be focused on Booth’s dad. Unless he’s just trying to throw us off... (Dodging the question much, Hart?)

Credit: FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: Cam and Booth's Brother, Jared, in Bones Season 4, Episode 13: "The Hero in the Hold"

It’s also possible that Jared Booth could be the one in trouble. (Though we hope not. Because we really enjoy Brendan Fehr’s occasional Bones cameos!)

So while the death of Jared or Mama Booth would be a shocking twist (and a well-kept secret on the part of Bones’ writers), all the evidence so far seems to point towards Booth’s father as the one biting the dust.

- We already know to expect a “strong Booth’s dad” story, but there is no word yet of any actor being cast to play Booth’s father.

- Originally, the episode was supposed to feature a flashback of Daddy Booth and young Seeley, but the scene was scrapped when producers decided it wasn’t needed because “David’s performance was powerful enough [on its own].”

Credit: via Bones Picture Arcive/Flickr.com Photo: Booth and Brennan Get Connected in Season 6, Episode 16: "The Blackout in the Blizzard"

Okay, but those teasers could be applicable to a death of anyone in Booth’s family. So what’s the tease that really has us convinced that something big is happening to Booth’s dad.

- Spoiler king Michael Ausiello has seen the episode, and he promises that, “By the end of the episode, you’ll be looking at those blue Veterans Stadium seats in Booth’s apartment in a whole new light.”

As we learned in Bones Season 6, Episode 16: “The Blackout in the Blizzard,” those blue stadium seats represent one of Booth’s few happy memories of time spent with his father. Dad and son went to the game together, and Seeley remembers it as an absolutely perfect day.

So, unless Jared or Mama Booth somehow figure into the stadium seats story in a way we’re not yet aware of — we’re going to have to conclude that Booth’s father is indeed the one at the center of Thursday night’s family crisis.

Do you agree with our analysis? Vote below or sound off in the comments to let us know what you think!

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