The sixth season of FOX’s Bones ended with Angela and Hodgins’ baby being born, and in keeping with the whole nativity theme, Brennan revealing to Booth that she was pregnant, and that he’s the father. After a season where we saw Brennan showing some real regret over rejecting Booth’s declaration of love, and where Booth asked his new girlfriend Hannah to marry him (and being rejected), seeing these two tied together through a shared child was at once fitting, and at the same time, frustrating. For those of who have been shipping for these two to get together for a while now, having their consummation happen off screen seemed painfully like Mulder and Scully redux.
However, as the writers of Bones have shown us over the years, one thing we can always count on, no matter how Booth and Brennan’s relationship is going, is for the FBI and the Squint Squad to solve crimes in which the murder victim’s body undergoes some interestingly creeptastic disintegration process. And the opener of Season 7 is no exception. This season opens with a group of paintballers in war game simulations stumbling upon the partially decomposed body of a young woman whose corpse is now infested with coffin flies.
Anyone who thought that the personality conflicts between Booth and Brennan were going to be magically resolved thanks to the pregnancy should find that pipe dream floating away with their first scene together. Before they’re called to the crime scene, we find Booth and Brennan in Booth’s tiny apartment, navigating through his even tinier kitchen. Five months have passed since the previous episode, and they’ve apparently been spending their time divided between their two places. What they really need, Booth says, is a place of that’s theirs together. Brennan doesn’t disagree, but she doesn’t agree either. And when they leave to go to the crime scene, the issue is tabled.
On the scene, we find an emotional Brennan weeping over the body thanks to her pregnancy hormones and Hodgins reveling in the various bugs covering the bodies. The body is a female, with damage to the soft palate that could be the cause of death. When Booth suggests that the dead bodies are finally getting to her and dismisses it as normal, she protests in her usual Bones fashion that she is “not normal. I’m extraordinary.” But Bones afficianodos know that this situation is far from normal.
Back at the lab we find more not-normalcy. Wendell is hovering over the body as Cam uses a saw to cut through the skull and removes the brain. Why? Because Dr. Brennan asked him to make sure that Cam didn’t damage the skull fractures. The pregnancy, it would seem, has everyone on edge. Including Sweets, who hovers around Booth.
While Angela takes pictures of the body, Brennan and Wendell discuss the fractures in the skull, which appear to have occurred about six months earlier. They also talk about the fact that Brennan was weeping over the body at the crime scene, something Wendell has a hard time believing. One thing that hasn’t changed is Angela’s appreciation for a fine male specimen and when she learns that Brennan has a photo of Booth cooking an omelet while naked—which Brennan will use to keep him from showing anyone the pic of her weeping over the body—Angela stresses that, as Brennan’s BFF, she should be able to see that picture. But Brennan isn’t changed enough to respond to that kind of nonsense. Meanwhile, Hodgins and Cam have discovered that, in addition to the six-month-old skull fracture,s the victim had brain damage that would affect cognitive function and had been taking anti-anxiety medication.
Another old familiar scene is the heart to heart talk between Angela and Brennan. Explaining that Booth might be upset with her because she doesn’t want to move in together, Brennan goes on to say that she’s always been on her own. Angela points out that she’s never going to be on her own again. It’s a strong message, and Brennan isn’t unmoved, saying she’s “actually feeling very affectionate toward you.” But then claims it could just be hormones. And while they were having their little talk, Angela’s fancy machine has found a name for their victim: Claire Serrano.
Two missing persons reports have been filed by Claire Serrano’s husband in the last six months. When Sweets and Booth go in to meet him, Serrano explains that he is a pastor and that his wife went missing some months ago, but he’d just gotten her back. The first time was six months ago. She just disappeared one afternoon. They looked everywhere to no avail. Then, she showed up again in their neighborhood. She didn’t know who she was or where she’d been. The doctor said she’d suffered head trauma. Sweets explains she was in a fugue state. She was just starting to remember her past and where she’d been all that time when she disappeared again. The husband says it’s all the Lord’s work.
At the coffee shop, Booth and Brennan are having coffee and pie and in another familiar conversation Brennan says that God of the Old Testament is a sociopath. Cue Booth denying this, and pregnant Bones eating Booth’s pie. She says they should move in together. And like the Iroquois, who were a matriarchal society, she says they should move into her place. She says she is more financially secure than he is, and she should be the one to make the decision and she says her place. Booth gets angry and says they’re family and that she should know what that means. He’s insulted and his pride is wounded. Sweets interrupts with the news that Claire was being treated by Dr. David Yazrick, a neuropsychologist specializing in memory loss.
Sweets and Booth take off to see Yazrick, who explains that a lot of his techniques are unorthodox. (Also, apparently the good doctor was kicked out of Vegas for counting cards, which Booth remembers from his gambling days.) When Yasrick starting treating Claire she had no distinct memory of her past. He says that in their last meeting she remembered her wedding and was really move,d so he knew his methods were working. Asked if he had any idea of who would want to hurt her, Yasrick says that in her last group session, one of the other patients, a musician, seemed to have developed strong feelings for Claire.
Booth and Sweets go to see the aphasia-afflicted man,Trevor. While playing the violin he says that “She belonged with me, we both knew it. Claire was afraid of her husband. We belonged together. That man wanted to change her, but if she changed what would happen to me?” They find linseed oil in Trevor’s violin case, which was found on the body. Looks like the case is solved and the episode’s only halfway over! But the linseed oil is not a match for the kind in Trevor’s violin case. Red herring! There’s also a red-faced Angela who gets busted by Cam for bringing the baby into the Jeffersonian to see Hodgins. Cam is firm in her rule that babies do not belong in the lab and warns them not to break it again.
Brennan apologizes to Booth. She is trying to be rational about their living arrangements. He counter-argues that he loves her and that isn’t rational. And they’re having a baby, which also isn’t rational. They’re interrupted by the phone again, this time with the news about the linseed oil. Booth heads back to the bureau where he learns that Claire accused her husband of assault in, not one, but two domestic disturbance reports to the cops.
And Wendell and Cam have discovered something very interesting. Claire was shot during the period when she was missing from her family. Her head injuries hid the bullet wound. And while the bullet was removed—clumsily by someone too afraid to go to the hospital?—Angela just might be able to match the striations from the wound to determine what kind of bullet and weapon were used.
Booth confronts the husband about the police visits to the house and the neighborhood’s complaints about yelling. The husband explains it away by saying that Claire woke up sometimes, didn’t know who he was, and claimed he was holding her against her will. She came at him with a pair of scissors, which he also claims he explained to the cops at the time.
Angela asks if Brennan has decided to move in together with Booth. Brennan explains that he won’t move into her place, so no. Angela reminds Brennan not to think about her time in foster care, but instead to remember the good times with her mom and dad. And while they were chatting, Angela’s magical machine works its…magic again. Now, it’s matched the bullet wound in Claire’s body to a gun. A gun registered to a homeowner who shot one of a pair of robbers in his home.
Booth and Sweets go back to ask Dr. Yasrick if Claire might have joined with someone else and committed robbery while she was in a fugue state. He says it’s possible. Thanking him for the information, they go to Claire’s partner in crime, Ricky Duval, who is living in a halfway house only a half-mile from the state park where her body was found. After some persuasion, he reveals that he stashed their haul at the state park, some 80,000 dollars. He is angry, especially since the money is now gone.
While Booth and Sweets talk over the timeline of the crime, Brennan calls in an SOS to Booth. She’s stuck in her office behind her desk. She fell. Her center of gravity was off and she couldn’t get up. Booth rushes to her aid, and Brennan uses this as an example of why she is now okay with the idea of their moving in together. Booth apologizes for his attitude earlier. He admits that he just wants their kid to know he’s not his Dad and that he gave it a good home. They have a very brief moment of smoochery before Brennan notices something on the crime scene photos—there is paint from the paintball folks that could be covering up evidence. Which she would have seen was she not awash in hormones.
Hodgins and Wendell are dispatched to look at the paint-covered rocks, and Booth and Sweets look over Yazrick’s notes to see if they say anything about Claire’s past. But they don’t. Still, Booth notices notes on the patient file. They’re notes about gambling, which Booth recognizes from his time as a gambler. A check of his bank records shows that the good doctor is broke. Meanwhile, Wendell and Hodgins find chewed gum on the rocks at the site with Dr. Yazrick’s dental impressions on them. When confronted with his crime, he says he gave Claire her life back. He wasn’t asking for much in return.
Now that the mystery is solved, Booth and Brennan are in bed together. Fully clothed, I should add. Booth is watching the game while Brennan looks for houses online. They agree—reluctantly on Brennan’s part—that they will choose something that they can both afford. It’s a sweetly domestic scene, not unlike the opening scene in Booth’s kitchen.
In an episode that centered around remembering and forgetting, it seems particularly apt that this final scene of the season premiere shows us something familiar but also something new. And what sounds like a vow from Brennan: new memories, new life.
Manda Collins has been reading mysteries since her first Nancy Drew at the age of six. An academic librarian by day, by night she writes historical romance blended with mystery for St. Martin’s Press. Her first book, How to Dance with a Duke, is scheduled for release in February, 2012. To learn more, check out her webpage or follow her on Twitter @MandaCollins.