Well, Bones fans, we are ticking down to this season’s finale in a few weeks. This has certainly been a season of change with Wendell’s diagnosis, Pelant’s death, Hodgins’ secret brother and a Brennan and Booth wedding (finally!)
This week’s episode of Bones, “The Nail in the Coffin,” sees the team uncovering another possible victim of the Ghost Killer. Lana Brewster and Trent McNamara both had the exact same wound — a missing fingernail. Is this the killer’s signature, and will Brennan finally find some concrete evidence in the case?
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The episode starts off with a family camping in the woods, and when a body falls out of a tree and lands on them, it makes the ghost story they were telling seem like child’s play. At home, Brennan is filling out Booth’s FBI assessment as his partner. Booth receives a call from Cam about a body, and she wants Booth to go without his wife. Cam put Clark in charge of the Ghost Killer cases, and Clark is at the scene. Brennan is furious but agrees to listen to Cam at Booth’s insistence.
The victim has been stabbed and was hung from a tree. Even Caroline is at the scene, and when Booth argues that Brennan should be there, she appears. Did we really expect her to stay off this case? Brennan notes that the victim’s fingernail has been ripped off and turns her anger at Clark. He calls her “arrogant” and he shows her that all the victim’s fingernails were removed. Of course, they find real human fingernails at the scene. No press-on nails for our killer in what can only be termed a bizarre twist.
A Surprising Victim
At the lab, the team discovers that the victim suffered stab wounds and blunt force trauma. Brennan notices something about the skull and asks to have Trent McNamara’s skull X-ray pulled up. She notices a rare genetic jaw condition, prognathism. Brennan thinks that the victim is Trent’s sister, Stephanie.
Sweets, Caroline and Booth meet to discuss all the Ghost Killer cases. Why would the killer target the McNamara family? They are interrupted by the Deputy Director, who wants to make sure that they realize how important the case is to the FBI, and that people higher up the chain of command want it solved quickly.
Cam runs a toxicology test, and Hodgins is surprised that Stephanie tested positive for a component of legumes which can be made into a homemade anesthetic.
The gardener at the McNamara estate was the last person to report seeing Stephanie alive. Brennan and Booth talk with the gardener, and while in the stable they notice the tack room has scratch marks on the inside of the door, with a piece of fingernail. Brennan thinks that it happened a long time ago. The marks on the floor look like someone kicked their way out of the room and was trying to escape. I think that the gardener is creepy and is starting to look mighty guilty.
Clark and Brennan share a warm moment when he tells her that he is appreciative of her willingness to work on the Ghost Killer case with him, and he vows that they will find the killer — together. Clark discusses his finding that Stephanie’s nails were torn out years ago because she clawed at something, and it is Stephanie’s blood and nail fragment in the stable door. The nails found in the forest were not Stephanie’s, and Brennan believes that the killer glued the other victim’s nails onto Stephanie’s fingers. Yikes!
Follow the Money
Booth calls in Ms. Kent of the SEC because he thinks that the killer may have been after the McNamaras’ fortune. It turns out that the SEC has been investigating the McNamaras for various reasons over the last 18 years. Meanwhile, Hodgins works his magic at the lab and finds a chemical used in a pesticide inside Stephanie’s stab wounds.
Booth and Brennan bring the gardener in for a chat, and she tells them that she grew up at the mansion. Brennan is focused on the gardener’s chin. After feeling the gardener’s mandible, Brennan is sure that the gardener is actually Stephanie’s half-sister. I did not see that coming!
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The Ghost Killer Unmasked
Cam pulls Clark aside because his theory that Stephanie was wearing the fingernails of the other Ghost Killer’s victims is correct, and since the victim is also wearing one of her brother Trent’s nails, then Trent was killed by the Ghost Killer.
Angela uses the records sent over by the SEC along with the times and locations that the victims died, and they have one thing in common: Stephanie was at each location. So if Stephanie was the Ghost Killer, then who killed her?
The team meets with the Deputy Director, and he is shocked that Stephanie was the Ghost Killer. The gardener finally admitted that Giles locked Stephanie in the tack room as a punishment.
The Final Victim
There is also one nail from the forest that hasn’t been identified yet. Cam finally figures out that the owner of the nail is Maya Zinkow, a 15-year-old who died 20 years earlier. Hodgins is shocked because Zinkow was a classmate of Stephanie’s, and a teacher was convicted of the crime. Dr. Herman Kessler was released from prison six months ago after a lengthy prison term, and vaults to the top of the suspect list for Stephanie’s murder.
They get an order to exhume Zinkow’s body, which was sent to the cemetery right after the original autopsy without being embalmed. The wounds to Zinkow mirror almost identically the injuries that Stephanie suffered. The incompetency of the medical examiner leads to the discovery that it is the same doctor who was bribed by Giles McNamara to falsify Lana Brewster’s autopsy findings.
Waiting for Revenge
Sweets and Booth head over to Kessler’s apartment to speak with him. They find an apartment filled with file boxes about the McNamaras, as well as blueprints of the McNamara mansion. Booth finds other blueprints, and is certain that Kessler is going after someone else. Kessler’s obsession with revenge led him to obtain information about the McNamaras, which he was allegedly using for his appeal. He also found the photos of Maya Zinkow that Giles McNamara tried to bury. Brennan is sure that Kessler is the killer, but Cam notices that Zinkow was raped.
Cam is able to do the nearly impossible and pull a DNA sample, which is a match for Giles McNamara. Sweets thinks that Stephanie killed Zinkow because she was jealous that someone else had her father’s attention. Once again, yikes!
Racing the Clock
Angela finds that the other set of blueprints belong to the house of Congressman Palter, who was the judge on Zinkow’s case. Booth and Brennan enter Palter’s residence and find Palter hanging from the ceiling. The injuries are the same as Stephanie’s. The Deputy Director is very unhappy to have a dead congressman on his hands, and even more unhappy that Kessler may kill again to avenge the cover-up.
Hodgins finds tobacco traces in Palter’s wound, which was transferred by the weapon. Angela is able to finally identify the weapon as a tobacco scythe. Booth and Brennan speed over to an abandoned cigarette factory. They find Kessler on a catwalk, with a rope tied around his neck. When Kessler jumps, Booth shoots the rope and Kessler lives.
Booth tells his wife that he is being recommended for the promotion, and that they will always be a team. Booth also discovers that his wife wrote about their sex life and Booth’s messiness in her evaluation. I love it!
I enjoyed this episode of Bones, especially the twists in the Ghost Killer case.
Bones airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)