It’s a quadruple-y excellent evening for Bones fans tonight. Not only do we get an original episode with the airing of “The Mutilation of the Master Manipulator,” but we’re exactly seven days away from the most highly anticipated Bones episode since “The Woman in White” and “The Conspiracy in the Corpse.” Add to that that FOX just released an amazing Bones Infographic that illustrates every single important detail from the first 200 Booth-y hours of Bones-y goodness (which, I’m sorry, but is the coolest Bones-centric thing I’ve seen in, like, forever) and… and, there are rumors that the possibility of an eleventh season is looking more and more likely every minute. You may now take a moment to quietly explode with glee, Boneheads. And enjoy it, because we are about to endure a winter of bitter discontent until Bones picks up again in Spring.

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A Scant Case of Murder With Only a Leg to Stand On

We open with one leg on the platform. That’s all The Avengers have to go by to solve this murder in “The Mutilation in the Master Manipulator.” Brennan identifies it as a 51-year-old African American man who stands about 6’2. The blood tells Cam that the blood found belongs to one person, but he is biracial. Before long Aubrey, Hodgins and Brennan are out in the field rummaging in the garbage cans for more body parts when a couple of kids with a grocery cart decide to go human bowling with the full garbage cans. When the kids crash into the assembled garbage pins, a bloody cranium flies right into Brennan’s hands. 

Back at the lab, Angela identifies the victim as 51-year-old psychology professor, Dr. Randall Fairbanks, who has been on sabbatical for two weeks.

Wendell’s Remission Continues

He only has one more chemo session of the trial he’s been involved in and he looks fantastic. He even looks like he has put on a little healthy weight. While he’s getting his final dose, a lovely young medical assistant (a Michelle Saroyan look-alike, did anyone else notice?) named Andie Roberts (Shalita Grant) shows romantic interest in him and asks if they can see each other later. Yay! Later at a picnic, they interrogate each other, flirt heavily and share some super sweet kisses to the back drop of an ’80s power ballad. Let’s do it all together this time. Ready? Awwwwww!

Then the two of them have a nooner and she’s really into him, but Wendel is hesitant. He hasn’t said why yet, but I suspect it might have something to do with his need to go chase a lot of tail and climb a lot of mountains isn’t conducive to a serious relationship. This Andie is so forward that I’m squirming in my seat and embarrassed for her and I’m not a very shy girl when it comes to flirting (it’s actually my superpower). Still, I’m thinking this girl is a little cray-cray. Kinda like those gals who date prisoners — looking for the dramatic and needy. Maybe she finds men who’ve narrowly escaped death to be more adventurous, more lascivious or more promiscuous? We’ll know by the end of the episode what the real deal was. This is getting interesting.

Where in the World is Special Agent Seeley Booth?

Booth is on desk duty, taking a driving test being administered by the electronic Officer Stop-N-Go because he’s had a couple of tickets. This plot devise is great for the injection of occasional humor into the episode. I caught myself laughing out loud several times. Especially when Brennan answers one of the officer’s questions incorrectly for Booth and he gets irritated with her. I digress. 

That’s why Booth will be scarcely appearing in this episode. We Boneheads know the truth, though. David Boreanaz, king of the director’s chair, is off designing and perfecting the 200th episode for the ultimate Bones fan’s viewing pleasure exactly one week from now. That’s just fine by me because the episodes Booth Boreanaz directs are the absolute best of the best. The cool thing about this is that it gives Brennan and Aubrey time in the field together. We’ve already seen that these two have gotten off to a good start throughout the first half of the season. Let’s see how it goes tonight!

A Hydrangea By Any Other Color is Just … Yech!

In the field with Aubrey, Brennan notices a change in the blue garden flower colors. Aubrey already knows this means a profusion of blood has soaked into the soil and affected the petal development and color. Brennan is impressed by his knowledge. Inside the house, Wendell and Hodgins find a cat in the garage while Aubrey finds a video inside of a woman being tortured at the good professor’s house. 

All in the Name of Science, Right?

What a sick duck. It turns out the professor was conducting some nasty psychological blind obedience experiments on his students. I’ve heard of these before and can’t believe they actually exist, but I know they do. This is one of those stress tests that determines how much pain humans are willing to inflict on others when given permission. Sick. Sick. Sick. All of this is explained to the team by Fairbanks’ current girlfriend, Tabitha ‘Mealy-Mouthed’ Coleman (Shanna Collins). One of the participants from this macabre experiment is discovered to have gone a little crazy and been hospitalized for it. 

Aubrey, excellently portrayed by John Boyd during his interrogation of deranged student Alex Heck (Grant Harvey), does an impressive job of remaining calm while this kid comes unraveled right before his eyes. He speaks in lower tones as the kid’s anxiety ramps up. He lowers his chin a fraction in an almost subjective indication that the kid is safe in the room. Well done, James.

Heck learned through the experiments what he was capable of, and it destroyed him. Nice people like those in Rwanda, Serbia or Seria, given the right circumstances can hack people to death, he explains to Aubrey. Extraordinary (and sometimes horrific) behavior surfaces in extraordinary circumstances. In other words, we never know the choices we will make or what we area capable of until we are right there in a situation. This is a fact of life. Not the torture, but the not knowing what we’d do. We may think we know. It’s more likely that we don’t. #Experience

While participating in one of Dr. Fairbanks’ experiments, the kid pushed an innocent subject to the point of death. The subject didn’t really die, but Heck pushed the button to inflict a mortal dose of injury that would have ended the subject’s life. It destroyed him. Could he have killed Fairbanks? It looks like maybe, but that would be too easy, right?

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Fairbanks Got His First Brazilian Waxing

Brennan and her team discover that the victim had a bone graft from an injury sustained while parasailing in Brazil with one of his female students, Victoria. It turns out that Victoria Andrews (Chastity Lynn Dotson), had a falling out with the good doctor when they broke-up. She apparently returned to his lab and completely trashed it in a rage. Now she’s an artist whose tools and materials match those that killed the professor. She is now back in the states and conveniently in town, but says it’s a coincidence that Fairbanks’ wounds match instruments like her art tools. She says her work with Fairbanks awakened a rage in her which her art quells. I’m thinking she’s not the doer of this crime. She says she gave Fairbanks one of her pieces of art back when they were together. Perhaps someone used her lawn sculpture to dismember the guy?

Back at the lab, Wendell is distracted and his new girlfriend is exhibiting some stalker-y behavior. While ignoring texts from Andie he recognizes that the victim had been bitten. Do those teeth marks match Victoria Andrews?

Brennan for Dummies

“The Mutilation of the Master Manipulator” gives us some awesome Booth comments here and there as he attempts to coach Aubrey on how to partner with his wife. “Just nod, she’s gonna explain it to you in a minute.” More laugh out loud moments, though not the kind of belly laughs we’ve had in other episodes. I did watch the scene where Brennan gets the driving question wrong over and over and over. Booth reaction is priceless. Aubrey’s eyes bouncing from Brennan to Booth and back and his expression (as usual) are entertaining.

It turns out that the videos also have evidence of Fairbanks’ current girlfriend Tabitha having been in the house when she said she wasn’t. She said she snuck into his house to spray her pheromones all over his bed to see if it would make him more attentive. He caught her there and she left. Aubrey suspects that she still may be the killer who offed the guy out of revenge for not sharing credit for his work. As we know from that fabulous infographic FOX just put out, revenge accounts for 23% of murders and another 35% of murders can be attributed to greed and power. Looks like baby girl has plenty of cause, if you ask me. 

Death is Part of the Deal

Wendell is finally forced to come clean with Andie. He says he doesn’t want to put her through watching him die if they get close. I’m sorry, folks, this is way too fast. I’m not buying that there’s been enough relationship development from one picnic, a nooner and a bunch of needy texts. The evidence suggests that this case only took a day or two to solve, so not much time has passed. One could say that these two had known each other for many months since he had been receiving chemo at the oncology floor where she works, but they didn’t seem to know each other well enough for that either. We needed to see at least another three episodes of Wendell with Andie before this would have been believable. Perhaps a second, or third viewing will change my mind on this. It’s been known to happen to me before. 

That aside, Michael Grant Terry does a wonderful job when he chokes up as he tells her why he doesn’t want to be involved. That I was convinced of. 

Holy Crap! It’s the Bird Lady!

The Avengers figure out that Fairbanks had cut his finger on a can opener immediately before he died. Hodgins and Wendell figure out that someone was trying to kill the cat with anti-freeze. It turns out the cat ate a precious and rare bird Fairbanks’ neighbor was trying to protect. Fairbanks caught her in the act, she bit him, they scuffled, he fell back and impaled himself on the garden art from his ex-girlfriend and he died. She then chopped him up and threw him in the garbage. Man, how can anyone chop up a body? That makes me want to hurl right here and now. #CaseSolved

Aubrey and Brennan Have a Shorthand

The final scene between Aubrey, Brennan and Booth at the Hoover is awesome as Aubrey and Brennan know exactly what’s going on while Booth remains clueless. That’s okay, Booth. when you’re the man in the field with Brennan it’s the same between the two of you. No worries. Again I have to say it’s great fun seeing Brennan and Aubrey interact as they do. He’s got my seal of approval, though he always has. 

Final notes: The closing scene was cute with Brennan and Booth at home discussing who’s the better driver. It reminded me of the final scene in season 4’s “The Bones That Foam” when Brennan wants to drive the Audi Booth has parked outside Founding Fathers. “I am an excellent driver,” she yells. That was a great final scene. This one was cute too though.

Next week is Bones‘ spectacular 200th episode. Make sure to catch it, because after that we have three months without any new Bones episodes. 

Bones airs Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.

(Images courtesy of FOX)

Catherine Cabanela

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV