In an intense episode rife with suspenseful revelations and dramatic performances, Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz once again deliver a white-knuckle roller coaster ride which proves equal parts intrigue and mindful balance between heart and head. “The Brother in the Basement” is a mind-bending tale of extortion, murder, deceit, courage, suspense, reconciliation and grief. Enfin, the first case of Bones 11th season makes good on its promise to bring Brennan (Deschanel) and Booth (Boreanaz) back into the fold as crime-fighters for the Jeffersonian and the FBI. The road to that end, however, is as rocky as they get. This episode brings to a close the two-part premiere and gives birth to a new generation of yet-to-be-told stories.
When BuddyTV spoke with Emily Deschanel and newly-minted showrunner Michael Peterson, they promised unrivaled undercover episodes, an explosive mid-season finale, returning guest writers (for example, Karine Rosenthal who wrote “The Woman in White,” which received rave reviews) and a myriad of challenging story arcs, not to mention the arrival of guest star Betty White, and a two part cross-over with Sleepy Hollow. If “The Loyalty in the Lie” and “The Brother in the Basement” are a taste of what is to come, you are going to want to sign up for the whole buffet. They are that good.
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A Body Count of Four, and a Brother in a Basement
“The Brother in the Basement” opens with a reminder that despite having left behind crime-solving field work, lying, and extracurricular gambling in exchange for tranquil domesticity, Booth has secretly loaned Jared thousands of dollars, taken his own guns and disappeared without a trace. Scorched remains found in an abandoned van, first thought to be Booth’s, have proven to be those of his brother, Jared Booth. Three other people have been killed during an interrupted heist in which the Booth brothers appear to have been involved in.
Booth, bleeding out from a gunshot wound to the gut, is holed up in a grimy basement with the purloined two million dollars. With him are two of Jared’s Navy comrades and their retired commanding officer, Kevin O’Donnell. They await details of an exchange of the stolen booty for a super secret list of undercover FBI agents (Though we don’t find that out until a little later). Booth is fading fast and could die if he doesn’t get to a hospital, pronto.
A Horror No Man Should Have to Endure
Part two of the premiere opens with a 24-hour flashback of Booth, O’Donnell, and two other hoods in the ditch with the van and Jared’s pre-incendiary corpse. Booth’s abdominal gunshot wound is bleeding out and, according to the look on his face during this tragic scene and the rough sketchiness of his voice, his heart has been broken into a thousand irreparable pieces. He can barely stand.
O’Donnell insists there can be no trace of their treachery left behind, which means the van and the corpse have to be burned to a crisp. Though he’s weak and fading, Booth insists that he be the one to detonate the explosive that starts the fire that will remove his brother from the face of the earth. To say that this is a horror no human being should ever have to experience, doesn’t even cover it. Especially not for Booth, whose name directly translates in Bonespeak as “Family Loyalty.” (I’m praying to God that later Booth will explain everything and we’ll find out that the brothers were both undercover doing something noble. Here’s what I do know, however: The only thing in God’s green world that would compel devoted husband and father, Seeley Booth, to keep secrets from his wife, put himself in harm’s way, and jeopardize his entire future, is his love for Jared or Pops. In Booth’s book, he had no choice. Now I am going to go off and have a little weep. BRB.)
Booth Goes Into Shock and a Plan Gets a Green Flag
Returning to the present, Booth is still in the basement with the three jackasses and two million dollars. As Booth goes into shock, O’Donnell gets a text that a trade of money for “a list” will take place five hours later. O’Donnell seems genuinely compassionate toward Booth. He also seems to respect Jared and considers him a brother. Perhaps O’Donnell is one of the good guys as well? (Man, I hope so, cuz he’s super gorgeous, but we have to assume he isn’t. Or do we? Can you tell how conflicted I am? If the details are turning your brain to mush, just relax, there’s a 10 point explanation further down.)
Brennan Takes Over and a Finger is Found in the Freezer
Caroline, Aubrey and Brennan confront Miller about her missing partner, Richard Bannerman. She begrudgingly confesses that before going missing, Bannerman stole a list of undercover FBI agents who are embedded in criminal or terrorist investigations. It looks like the plan was to sell that list for — let me guess — two million dollars? Brennan insists on being the forensic anthropologist on the case.
Aubrey, Miller and Brennan go to Bannerman’s house and find a dis-articulated index finger in the freezer. (Parker Booth would have loved this case.) They also find half-eaten cheese and some wine in the fridge, which becomes important later. Miller reveals that Bannerman’s fiance, Chloe Robertson, went missing at the same time as Bannerman. So, now this whole mess is looking like a kidnapping, a heist gone awry, AND a massacre. Man, Bones know how to throw a party, doesn’t it?
Bannerman’s Fiance Was Kidnapped and Ransomed for ‘The List’
Using a classic, though effective and revolting Bones technique, Cam de-gloves the dis-articulated digit, slips the skin over her own phalanx, and runs a print, identifying the finger found in Bannerman’s apartment as belonging to his fiance, Chloe. That finger was proof of life in a kidnapping. Brennan and Arastoo figure out that the finger was cut with hinged blades, such as a pair of scissors or sheers, which becomes very important. Now we know Bannerman must have stolen that list to give to get Chloe back. Caroline puts together a theory that Jared got in over his head with the crew that wanted to buy the list, and that Booth got involved to make sure the wrong people didn’t get their grubby fingers on that list. What a convoluted intriguing storyline.
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Hodgins’ mass spectrometer reveals that whatever Chloe’s finger was cut with had also cut a chain length fence. This leads Miller and Aubrey to an abandoned battery-recycling factory where they find vultures noshing on the torched remains of Chloe and Bannerman. (Five points to Gryffindor for fantastic and disgusting Bones-y gore, and to Hodgins and Angela for the science-y assist.)
A Ballsy Booth Cauterizes His Own Wound
Booth is still going into shock from loss of blood. He knows that he’s a goner if he can’t get the bleeding to stop. He finds some silver nitrate in the basement, bites down on a piece of broken wood, and cauterizes that gaping wound all by himself. This scene makes my butt tingle in shock and discomfort, but I can’t help but be impressed with the size of Booth’s testicles. Desperate times; desperate measures. Well, the man is a trained soldier and a Ranger. So, none of us should be surprised.
Okay, is it just me, or was that a little harsh when Angela said all the unsolved cases at the Jeffersonian are Brennan’s fault because she quit working there?
A Sexy Digital Forensic Scientist or a Professional Poll Dancer?
Into the Jeffersonian walks poll dancer-slash-Happy Ending masseuse, er, Dr. Benjamin Metzker, the FBI’s smoking hot digital forensic scientist. He introduces himself, making odd mention of his carpal tunnel and geeky habits. Unfortunately for Metzker, this TMI later spells his undoing.
Angela and Metzker get started reviewing Bannerman’s data and there’s mention of Angela having a “seven year itch,” (which I can’t help wonder is foreshadowing of the big Angela-Jack shake-up showrunner Michael Peterson teased us about during our interview last week.) When it’s confirmed that Bannerman was killed with Chloe, Metzker gets choked up, explaining that he knew and worked frequently with Bannerman. Metzker is pretty good at spontaneous crocodile tears, isn’t he?
O’Donnell Admires Booth’s Brass Balls and Pays Homage to Jared
Meanwhile, back in the hidey-hole from Hades, O’Donnell compliments Booth on cauterizing his own wound and says Jared was a good soldier. Small comfort for the brother who lit his own brother’s remains on fire. But maybe this who mess was because Jared was doing something noble. The eternal optimist still wants to believe that.
O’Donnell receives a text from the FBI list-seller, saying, “Booth is FBI. Kill Booth or the deal is off.” (Insert the colorful expletive of your choice). Unfortunately, this isn’t the only creepy text O’Donnell receives before this whole ordeal is over.
Brennan Can’t Imagine A Future Where Booth Doesn’t Come Home
Bannerman has green stick fractures indicating that he’d been in a fight. Brennan admits to Arastoo that she isn’t doing well when he asks. I sorta expected Brennan to break down at least once during the episode. Her husband is bleeding out for God’s sake. I could see her forcing herself to stop crying and get back to work, but this never happens on-screen. If nothing else, I expected her to say something like this to Arastoo: “When I look at the corpse and see Booth, my endocrine system overflows with adrenaline, and my hypothalamus floods me with cortisol to keep me alert and in denial so that I don’t fall completely apart. Well, not literally fall apart … ” But how is she not falling apart? That girl needs a good cry right about now. Then she can get back to work.
Barlow Is Innocent; Miller Is Hiding That She Was Screwed
Angela and Metzker find video of Bannerman in an altercation with Nathan Barlow of the Aryan Brotherhood. That explains Bannerman’s week-old fractures. Under interrogation, Barlow says he was Bannerman’s confidential informant and the fistfight had been just for show. Miller and Caroline aren’t buying it. Angela finds images on Bannerman’s cloud account confirming Barlow was Bannerman’s CI, and that Miller and Bannerman had been lovers before Bannerman met Chloe. Before they can do a complete colonoscopy on Miller, she’s found to be completely clean.
Kick Ass Brennan Solves the Case and Forces a Confession
Arastoo notices a pattern in the fractures to the cranium, which Brennan recognizes must be from brass knuckles. The killer hit Bannerman so many times and with such force that he would have fractured his own wrist, she says. This points her to Dr. Metzker, the hottie digital scientist form the FBI who worked with Bannerman regularly and knew Chloe.
When Aubrey and Miller fail to turn Metzker in, in comes kick ass Brennan who demands to know where Booth is while she twists the hell out of Metzker’s fractured wrist until he squeals like a little girlie.
The Deal is Off and Booth Escapes … Right into Brennan’s Arms
O’Donnell gets nervous and calls off the deal, suggesting they split the money and run. He won’t kill Booth. The two thugs don’t want just the two million, they want the 40 million they can get for the FBI undercover list in the open market. A tussle ensues and Booth goes for a gun but doesn’t get it. One of the thugs puts a gun to O’Donnell’s neck and the other grabs O’Donnell’s phone where he reads the last texts between O’Donnell and the killer whom we now know is Metzker. “Booth is a rat. He’s going to arrest you.” O’Donnell had replied, “I’m not killing anyone,” to which Metzker answered,” —- You have 30 minutes.”
One of the thugs tries to shoot Booth who escapes and slams the door just before the other thug (?) covers it in machine gun fire. The thug bursts down the door and sees an open transom window. This distracts him just long enough for a hidden Booth springs from the shadows and clocks the guy unconscious with a shovel.
Police cars, sirens blazing, descend upon the hidey-hole with Brennan in the lead. A battered and dehydrated Booth ambles through the basement stairwell door and stumbles up into the street where he falls into Brennan’s arms and collapses. Brennan is, and will always be, Booth’s safe place to fall. The look of relief on her face as she catches him is one of pure joy. As for Booth, he can finally feel safe and give in to the relief and exhaustion, knowing that he’s finally made it home.
Are Camille and Arastoo Done For Good?
Hodgins and Angela go off to talk about having more babies (hint, hint) and to take care of Michael, Hank, and Christine while Brennan is with a recovering Booth at the hospital. Then comes a tete-a-tete between Arastoo and Cam. Will there be a proposal? Will there? Well, quite the opposite happens even though Cam promises to say yes if he proposes. However, Arastoo says he has to move on. (WTF?) The jobs he’ll be applying for would require her to leave the Jeffersonian if they are married. Arastoo fears Cam would forever resent him for that. Cam takes the news with nary a tear. Is this woman made of titanium, or what? We’ve seen her bawl before, what has gotten into her (or been erased from her character)?
If you had to choose between losing the one you love, or keeping and resenting them, which would you choose? That is a “scrummy conundrum,” people. Shouldn’t Arastoo let Cam make her own decision. Then if she resents him it’s her own damn fault. #ThatIsAll
Miller makes her exit, but not before gifting Aubrey with a rare bottle of 25-year-old Glenlivet Single Malt, er, I mean, skanky Old Foglesong Rye, his favorite whiskey. With a wink and a nod the FBI agent everyone hated (including we viewers) rides off into the sunset. Will she return? Who knows. Does she have a love connection with Aubrey? Perhaps in the future, but not right now. However, Caroline does comment that people are noticing what an awesome job Aubrey is doing as Booth’s replacement. Now what?
Brennan Drags Smacks the Crap Out of Booth For Lying — NOT!
Sitting bedside Booth after his surgery, Brennan gives a Polaroid of Booth and Jared at the younger brother’s ninth birthday. Booth is visibly moved, and apologizes to Brennan for lying; an apology, which she tells him, is unnecessary. This is who he genuinely is: the most selfless man in the world who would do anything to save and protect others. And Brennan wouldn’t have him any other way.
Here’s What Really Happened In This Complicated Case
It is unclear how Jared and Booth got messed up in everything, and whether or not Jared was doing something noble — though our Superman Booth clearly was — but here is how it went down:
- Metzker was a selfish bastard who wanted to make money by selling a list of FBI agents.
- He drugged, kidnappped, and cut the finger off of Chloe to force an uncooperative Bannerman to get that list.
- When Bannerman met Metzker for the swap, Metzker killed both Bannerman and Chloe.
- Somehow Booth and Jared found out that the list was about to be compromised.
- The thugs needed two million to buy the list and flip it for $40 million, but they don’t have it.
- The thugs decided to rob Masborian.
- The two thugs, O’Donnell, Jared, and Booth stole the money, but Booth got shot while Jared and three others were killed.
- O’Donnell, the thugs and Booth disposed their van with Jared’s remains and then hid in the basement.
- Mitzker made contact with O’Donnell to arrange for the drop, then warned O’Donnell that Booth was FBI and ordered him to “off” the agent.
- O’Donnell refused to kill Booth and the deal went south.
That took me three viewings to figure out. The rest is self-explanatory. Hopefully we will learn more about Jared’s involvement in this mess when episode three, “The Donor in the Drink,” airs.
Bones airs Thursday’s at 8pm on FOX.
(Images courtesy of FOX)