Wow. It's been quite a while since we've had a holiday episode on Bones. That's exactly what "High Treason in the Holiday Season" gives us, though we don't get to see Brennan determining the cause of death over a turkey carcass like we did eons ago when the Jeffersonian crew shared Thanksgiving. An even bigger surprise is that Brennan has secretly arranged to have a full grown Parker Booth (Gavin MacIntosh) flown in from Britain. Her awkward sneakiness about the whole thing has Booth salivating over Christmas gift possibilities as well as accusing her of having her pants justifiably set on fire fire (as in "liar, liar, etc").
The central issue in "High Treason in the Holiday Season," however, is the delicate balance between American freedoms and their consequences. A prolific political reporter had gone hog wild in using intel from a government snitch to write articles that proved fatal to herself and possibly for thousands of others. The debate is fodder for interesting discussion among all the Avengers, but most especially between Jack "Free-Speech-Is-Everything" Hodgins and Seeley "Patriotism-Is-My-Life" Booth.
FoFurkey and Divisive Diner Invitations
The Booth family is preparing for Thanksgiving and it's nice to see holidays on Bones once again. Amid decorating the house in fake autumn leaves, Brennan is planning a surprise for Booth, but he catches her red handed. She unconvincingly plays dumb and won't fess up. So, Mrs. Booth, how does it feel to have the shoe on the other foot?
Right away, a central theme of the episode is center stage. Later, Brennan insists that "some secrets are good ones." (Are they? This is a dilemma we all have to face on a daily basis. Just as free people are not equal and equal people are not free, it just goes to show you that neither transparency nor secrecy can guarantee security. There has to be a balance. And who gets the power to choose what to keep secret and what to keep hidden. Who will take responsibility for the repercussions, is another biggie. More on this later.)
Back to the Mighty Hut 2.0. How does Brennan get her super sleuth Superman off the scent of her surprise? Why, she tries the whole shiny baubles strategy of distracting him with talk of turkey dinner, er, Fofurkey dinner. Brennan will only have a real dead bird on her Thanksgiving table if Booth does all the dirty work to get it there. We know he can cook, but a turkey is a whole different beast. (Just ask the fire department where I used to live when I attempted my first bird.) The other part of the agreement is that there be other bird eaters at the table to devour the former foul. Booth has the solution: Invite the whole cast! Of course, later, over a completely grossified corpse, Brennan grosses everyone out even more by announcing that turkeys and people taste the same, or at least feel the same when you're chewing them. Ewwww. You're supposed to be a anthropologist, not an anthropophagist (cannibal), Brennan.
Vivian Prince Was A Big Mouth Newspaper Reporter
The victim's messy corpse was dumped at an exclusive golf course after being carved-up like a turkey -- thanks for the second tasty analogy of the episode, Hodgins. Vivian Prince was in her 50's and no stranger to plastic surgery, so she must have been in the public eye a lot and worried about her face's expiration date.
Holy Watergate, people. Vivian was a famous political reporter who wrote about how the National Security Agency (NSA) was illegally audio-taping people. Sounds like we have a Edward Snowden wannabe here, except that this one is a fading reporter, rather than a political activist. Apparently, she also released (or almost released) the names of undercover operatives working for the government. Wait - isn't this just like the list Booth was fighting to keep secret in the "The Brother in the Basement?" Maybe there's a connection.
The victim's boss, David Pyne, is a writer for the D.C. Sentinel. Vivian was working with her own "Deep Throat" whom she called "The American." The American had given Vivian a jump drive loaded with incriminating secrets including proof of a government sanctioned hit squad called Graystream Solutions who was using the illegally captured intel to catch people doing nasty stuff (or merely government-ally inconvenient, perhaps? Sounds like the plot to NBC's new thriller, Blindspot (which is a kickass show, by the way).
While at the Sentinel, Booth and Aubrey meet Vivian's assistant, Kate "Way-Hotter-Than-Old-Vivian" Kolfax, who might be gunning for Vivian's job. Keep that in mind.
Cam Goes Head to Head with Uncle Sam
Ryan Gill from the NSA shows up to horn-in on the Jeffersonian investigation, but Cam hands young Gill his ass and escorts him to the door. Leave it to Hodgins to suggest Gill may have been in the building just to bug the lab and offices. You'd think they'd already have bugs all over the place if the were the NSA, right? So ... why the ruse?
Vivian's laptop is missing from her apartment. Who has it? What was left at Vivian's apartment was her glucometer, though she didn't have diabetes. Booth and Aubrey talk to Cooper Blackthorn, the head honcho at Graystream Solutions, who gives them bupkis, then to Vivian's husband, a high school sports reporter who caught her cheating six months earlier and had motive. Not only was this guy cuckolded, he also couldn't put two and two together with a calculator, but even if he did, he probably wouldn't have stayed married to his fame and youth-hungry wife for much longer.
The Encryption Game Gets Bloody
The coolest part of the episode has to do with the passwords to the computer containing traded emails between Vivian and The American. It turns out that Kate "Willing-To-Naively-Trust-A-Climber" Kolfax, the assistant at the Sentinel, had stolen the computer. I was hoping it was her that knocked her off, but my hypothesis about the death bows to the incredibly interesting way the whole case unfolds.
Kate does become a suspect because her fingerprints are all over the apartment, but she says she couldn't find anything useful on the computer even with the encryption. It turns out that along with a password, you need a drop of blood to get access to the hot info on the laptop, and that's what the glucometer was for. By extracting bone marrow from the corpse, they are able to get Vivian's blood and crack the code.
Young Gill is Everywhere
Every time the Jeffersonian team finds something out or figures it out, Gill is right on their tail. He knows about the encryption thing before even Aubrey did, and more.
Once inside the computer, they find a reference to a meeting at a hotel the night Vivian was hacked to pieces. At the hotel, they find blood, and, of course, Gill. Gill beat them to the location and was having his own little look-see. Brennan stops a bellboy pushing a room service cart and realizes the murder weapon is the thingy on the top of the room service lid. Bam! The bellboy recognizes Vivian's picture and says he saw her in that very room six months previously, but he didn't see her lover. He did see Vivian's ex throwing a fit over the infidelity.
The husband, wimpy douche though he is, alibis out. Then I find myself yelling at the television: "Check the sperm from the bed quilt!" They don't hear me, but they do figure out that Gill was the other guy in the room with Vivian. His prints are all over the place - more than they could ever be with just one visit. So ... Gill is the lover? He is kinda cute in an Ivory Soap kind of way. No, perhaps he is The American?
Vivian Was a Tough Cookie Under Pressure
Squintern Dr. Rudolpho Fuentes (Ignacio Serricchio) and Brennan find evidence of some rare torture done to Vivian's body. This leads back to Cooper Blackthorn, who freely admits he beat the crap out of Vivian in some very interesting and illegal ways, though he says that in a way that sugar coats it to the point that he really says nothing actionable at all. He tortured Vivian on behalf of the NSA, trying to get that jump drive from her, but he didn't kill her, he says. She was a lot tougher than they had anticipated. Dirt bag.
Booth Confronts The American
Booth calls Gill to the hotel room and it's very hush-hush. He confronts Gill about being The American and gives him what-for. Gill says that jump drive has thousands of names on it. He didn't know she was going to expose people and put them in danger. He just wanted her to expose hit squad Graystream Solutions and Dirt Bag Cooper Blackthorn. He hadn't realized how crazed Vivian was about staying on top in the business of publishing news at all costs.
Booth is pissed as hell, of course, because this is the country he put his life on the line for. This information, revealed several years earlier, could have contained Booth's own name and the names of the brothers he fought beside. But when you realize that Gill hadn't intended for some of that information to get out, you feel a little sorry for him. He tells Booth that there's a fine line between what the people should know and what will put people in danger. He was trying to get the jump drive back from Vivian. He still says he didn't kill her until Brennan realizes that the murder weapon was a metal detector wand just like the one Gill attempted to use on Booth. Cuffs. Miranda. Stick a fork in this turkey, he's done.
Hodgins Saves the Nation
Before heading over the the Booth house, Hodgins takes the metal detector and sweeps Vivian's office, uncovering the hiding place for the jump drive. He brings it to Booth at Thanksgiving dinner. It was right and good that Hodgins gave the drive to Booth. He knows Booth would know what should be done with it. Booth tells him to destroy it so no one else is in danger. Then, everyone gathers for fofurkey and turkey. Oh, and Angela says outright that she would like to have another kid. This is leading up to the two-hour fall finale which is supposed to have major surprises for Planet Angela.
Bones returns for a two-hour special Thursday, December 10, at 8pm on FOX.
(Images courtesy of FOX)