While "The Loyalty in the Lie" isn't as catastrophically shocking as Bones' season ten premiere was, it's an intense and satisfying vintage B&B episode. If you are expecting a plethora of head-scratching quandaries, cool lab toys, an irritating character with murky intentions, lots of blood and gore, a hero putting his life on the line, a message about the family loyalty, some even-handed sentimentality, and smatterings of romance and humor ... then you will not be disappointed. The Bones fairies seem to have sensed that the drama had to be good, but not as severe as before, and the reason behind the "wrongdoing" had to be compelling enough that viewers would believe Booth would take the risks he takes with his life, and more importantly, with his marriage, in this premiere.
Despite having two new bosses at the helm at the outset of its 11th season, Bones continues to honor canonical details which its most ardent fans hold close to their hearts. In this instance I'm referring generally to all the elements listed above, and specifically to the incorporation of "447" in the storyline and the perpetuation of the family loyalty theme.
Baby Boy Booth is Both a Flyers Defenseman and a Sharpshooter, Just Like His Old Man
Well, look at that. It's six months later and the Booth family is doing exactly what the B&B partners said they would in their spring finale ... living life, having a baby, and being happy. Though jobs have been changes and babies have been born, we've still got an adorable Christine-riddled opening, and the Mighty Hut 2.0 is still the center of familial grace. Let's investigate as what's new unfolds.
Named after his great grandfather, Hank 'Pops' Booth
(Ralphe Waite), the man who raised Seeley and Jared Booth, a bouncing baby Hank Booth is in top form as Daddy Seeley Booth takes him through the motions of jubilantly scoring a point for the Philadelphia Flyers. Brennan and Christine pour over artifacts sent from the Munich Museum, which Brennan is showing her daughter how to categorize and catalog. It's domestic bliss - including a stinky diaper and a well-aimed golden arc that surprises Booth when cold air hits baby Hank's bare bottom. (At our house, we call that a baptism and every new father gets one. Besides, few things are sexier on a man than his acts of paternal love when that baby is your own.) Since the Booth family belongs to all of us, we share in Brennan's joy over her husband bonding with mini Booth.
Thanks to Christine's segue, we learn about Booth's new career as a freelance instructor contracted by the FBI to train baby agents at Quantico. We also learn that Brennan has finished writing two more of her books. Of course she has. Not to be overlooked is Christine's request of her father that he say hello to "Uncle Aubrey." Awwwwww.
Honey, I Wont Be Home For Dinner
Life does go on ... but it's not always what it seems on the surface, is it? We're all wondering what's so important at work that Booth wants to reschedule dinner with the Hodgins family. And what's with the ominous, regretful expression on that beautiful, masculine, Boothy face (pardon the triple redundancy there, ladies) as he bids goodbye to three of his four greatest reasons for living? Brennan doesn't seem to notice the look, but my Spidey senses are tingling off the charts. The last time we saw that look cross those zygomatic arches, Booth was trying to place $200 on the Cardinals through his old bookie.
Brennan seems oblivious that something wonky is troubling Booth. After last season's trials, though, I choose to trust that whatever Booth is involved in, is righteous. That doesn't mean that I not a little freaked out, though. I know you feel me, Boneheads.
Another Reason to Fear '447'
In the midst of Hodgins starting his own microbrewery and Cam agitating over Brennan's replacement (Is it appropriate to hire her lover to take over Brennan's vacated position?), Aubrey calls in an unidentified corpse. The unfortunate victim was found torched in a car that looks like it drove over an IED in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. (Research it, people.) Nasty doesn't begin to cover what happened there or what we're about to find out now in the Bones universe.
The victim's athletic build, the gun fused to his ankle, and the titanium from a high end tactical boot tell the crew that this victim was a professional. A trained military professional. Angela's search on the firearm reveals that it was registered to Booth. Snap. The fact that no one can reach the sniper by phone is upsetting, but not nearly as upsetting as Booth's empty gun case (whose combination just so happens to be "447") and his left-behind wedding ring. Sh*t just got real, people.
Is Booth Really the Burned-up Victim?
The signs continue to point in Booth's direction. Brennan rampages to the Jeffersonian to examine the remains. She's seen her husband's x-rays and she knows his history. As Brennan points out, she is the best qualified to identify, or eliminate, these remains as those of her husband and partner.
The calcanei and scapulae fractures witness to the fact that the victim was an experienced paratrooper, had shrapnel blown through his body, and had been traumatically abused as a child. All of these signs fit Seeley Booth's history.
Brennan demands to be left alone with the remains. She's understandably upset. Isn't this the whole reason they both quit the crime-solving business? It's amazing how good the Bones Fairies are at conveying a boatload of intensity with mere facial expressions, camera angle, and emotive musical accompaniment.
A sweet vignette rolls out three dreamy scenes from Brennan and Booth's past, including their very first kiss in "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole." (That scene still gives me a tickle in my tummy, but I am disappointed in the other two flashbacks chosen for the vignette. At first I thought that maybe they held a special meaning or message for the episode, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Why couldn't they have chosen one of the other 22 Most Romantic Bones Episodes of All Time
Further tugging at the heartstrings is the acoustical accompaniment and the words, "There's a hole in my heart that's missing you," ring in the air. This vignette reminds me of the scene in "The Partners in the Divorce" when Booth watches Brennan in the bone room. It's bittersweet. Things were in the balance then as well, if you remember the terrible fight they were in at the time.
One Hell of a Problem
Aubrey confirms that Booth hadn't shown up at work or used his credit cards since he left for work that morning, but he did access the armory at Quantico - that means guns. What fresh hell are you into, Booth buddy? He also hasn't used his phone. Now, why the hell would he take his guns and leave his wedding ring? (As an aside, did anyone else hear Richard Castellano's Clemenza in The Godfather saying, "Leave the gun, take the cannoli?" during that scene? I must be craving spaghetti and meatballs. I digress.)
Since Booth hadn't made any calls, Aubrey suggests that he may be using a burner phone. Also, his car is parked at the airport, but there's no record of him having taken a flight out. Hmm. This plot is getting thicker and thicker.
Internal Affairs Sicks FBI Agent Grace Miller On Booth
Agent Grace Miller, portrayed by guest star Kim Raver of Grey's Anatomy and 24 fame, is begrudgingly
welcomed accepted onto the case since Booth's gun was found on the victim's body making him a suspect if not the victim himself. Miller manages to ruffle scorch everyone's feathers with every step.
Which Do You Want First: The Good News or the Bad?
Some answers finally surface, but they are not all happy ones. Angela uses her facial recognition software and Booth's face pops up on the screen. Brennan runs in to announce that this victim is definitely not Seeley Booth because of a particular exit wound fracture that Booth has, but these remains do not. As the case is not yet solved and her husband is still missing, Brennan insists upon continuing on the case until the skeleton leads her back to her husband. She calls into question Arastoo's abilities throughout the first half of the episode and calls him out for upsetting her with unsubstantiated suppositions about Booth. Arastoo feels emasculated after his disappointing performance at the lab, so he reconsiders proposing to Cam.
Hodgins finds a buffelgrass seed on the remains. What this has to do with anything is unclear up to this point. Also, the victim's alcohol-induced osteoporosis further confirms that the victim couldn't have been Booth ... well, it isn't Seeley Booth, at least. With some Boy Scout decryption wizardry that still baffles me, Aubrey and Angela figure out that someone had sent Booth a message. Someone who bought 14 other burner cell phones, activating only five per week, then discarding and replacing them with five others. So this has been going on for a couple weeks at least. Yikes, and ... what the hell, Booth?
Arastoo finally redeems himself in Brennan's eyes by identifying a gunshot wound through the iliac artery as cause of death. (We won't get our Bones proposal before the end of the show, but perhaps it will materialize in Part Deux.) Striations on the wound tell Brennan that the remains belong to Jared Booth, Seeley's brother. (Oh, sheisa, that ain't good.) So, what were these two up to together that involved guns, burner cell phones, and complete secrecy? #WhyTheFace?
Apparently Jared Was On the Highway to Hell
Jared and his ex-prostitute wife, Padma (played by returning guest star Dilshad Vadsaria who stole our hearts in "The Dentist in the Ditch") apparently had recently separated after eight years of marriage. Jared was suffering from PTSD after his last tour in the Navy. The fact that he had shrapnel wounds equal to his older brother's tells us that he saw considerable action while deployed. He struggled from job to job and owed money to some really bad people. Padma is none too pleased that Brennan hadn't wanted Booth to give his brother money.
A conversation with Padma reveals that Jared (whom she kicked to the curb three months previously) had recently secured an income source that allowed him to buy lots of expensive gifts that he hoped would regain Padma's love for him. Padma says highly-decorated Navy General Kevin O'Donnell (Roger R. Cross, Continuum), who served with Jared, was helping his comrade get his life back together. A visit with O'Donnell confirms that Jared was indeed trying to get his life together and had recently gotten a job in security. (O'Donnell, one can't help but notice, has some really nice biceps. TMI?) He's uncooperative during his interview with Aubrey and Miller, but ... (did I mention he has some very nice biceps? Beautiful milk chocolate man.)
Arastoo's Un-Marriage Proposal
While in the bone room examining the remains with Arastoo, Cam accidentally discovers the engagement ring box in Arastoo's knapsack. You'd think she would have learned not to go looking around after that prescription drug fiasco with Dr. Fuentes. Anyway, Cam is shocked about the ring, but not exactly in a bad way. They agree that this is not a good time to be discussing proposals. Arastoo lets Cam look at the ring, though he insists, "This is not me asking you." It's kinda cute. And this means we're going to have another Bones wedding soon.
Once again, as with Arastoo and Cam's first juicy kiss at the Jeffersonian, Hodgins awkwardly interrupts, injecting a much needed moment of humor into an otherwise intense episode.
Booth is ALIVE ... Barely
In a scene without dialog, we finally see what's become of our man, Booth. He's slumped on the floor in a very dark place, both physically and emotionally. He's sweaty and gasping for air. Someone has triaged his abdominal bullet wound, but he's bleeding through it. A lot. But least he's alive, which is all the Bones fans (meaning me) care about. Can I get an 'Amen' from the peanut gallery on this?
Was Booth Covertly Conspiring With Jared to Do No Good?
Jared's tax returns reveal that he hadn't been employed as a security guard as O'Donnell had said. His only source of cash was money Booth had secretly given him. Snap. (Booth, have you not learned your lesson about going behind Brennan's back? What in holy hell is this going to do to their marriage?) Agent Miller, of course, assumes Booth is rotten.
The Turkish glass embedded in Jared's skull, together with some buffelgrass seed Hodgins finds, point to a location Caroline recognizes as the home of Victor Masborian, the worst of the worst kind of criminal who is into drugs, racketeering and human trafficking. They are all those heinous activities that Booth will not stand for. I'm betting it's the human trafficking ring that Booth was secretly trying to obliterate. That would be so like our Booth.
A $2 million Robbery Turned Hot Lethal Mess
Holy blood splatter, Batman! The tactical team descend upon Masborian's crib to find a blood bath that would make Caligula blush in the second floor study. The place has been destroyed. Three are dead. Execution style. None are Booth. (Wait, is that the same mansion they used for "The 200 in the 10th?")
An empty safe points to this being a $2 million dollar robbery gone hella wrong. Is that what Jared was up to? And what the hell was Booth doing there? (I still believe in our Booth, but this is looking really very bad.) Brennan is understandably pissed at Booth, but Arastoo explains the indelible bond between brothers. Very poignant insight by Arastoo (Pej Vahdat) in perhaps one of the best tiny scenes of the episode. A million memories and sentiments emerge during this brief, but pregnant moment between the two anthropologists. It's a moment reflecting the basis the entire franchise was built upon; the sacrifices one is willing to make for those they love.
Caroline Outs Agent Miller's Dirty Little Secret
Carolina calls in a butt load of favors and finds out that Agent Miller's partner disappeared four days previously. Aubrey is hot on the trail of Miller's secret. Even though Miller has been witchy throughout this investigation, she doesn't strike me as a bad person. More likely, she's a freaked-out agent under tremendous strain as she tries to move heaven and earth to find and rescue her partner.
Cam interprets all of the blood splatter from the crime scene and confirms that Booth was in that study and has lost lots of blood. Finally, we get another view of my man Booth. He's in a dingy bathroom trying to clean up his ghastly wound. He's in a basement with two other guys who are superficially concerned about him. On the counter top is a bag with $2 million spilling out of it. In walks none other than Jared's military friend (with the impressive biceps), Kevin O'Connell, to ask Booth if he's "still with us." Booth looks around the dismal room as ominous music crescendos. Booth's response: "Yeah, till the end, right?" What are they planning next, for God's sake? Does the intrigue ever end? Of course not. This is Bones we're talking about.
So, I say Booth is definitely undercover. The burner cells were purchased for a team of five. In this basement we have Booth, O'Donnell, and the two stooges. Adding Jared, that makes five people. This is the crew. Is one of those guys Miller's missing partner who is also undercover? Is my new boyfriend, O'Donnell, a good guy or a bad guy?
Many Disturbing Questions Remain
What do you think happened and why did Booth hide it all from Brennan? Was Booth bailing Jared out of trouble once again? What had Booth's plan been ... because it went terribly wrong since the robbers were ambushed by three guys at Masborian's estate. The second season 11 Bones episode is entitled, "The Brother in the Basement." Clearly the Jeffersonian team and the FBI are going to find Booth in that basement, but what else will unfold when that happens? Will Brennan be pissed as hell at Booth again? Does this have anything to do with his gambling? (I doubt it, but you never know), or Pelant (say it ain't so) as some on social media are suggesting? Will Brennan kick Booth out again? When will Arastoo re-emasculate himself and take a knee?
Tune in next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.
Bones airs Thursday's at 8pm on FOX.
(Images courtesy of FOX)