Of course, scientific research supporting the use of profanity as a healthy alternative to physical violence. Only on Bones, right? But what kind of jackass had the idea to study that? Well, the kind that I’d like to have a drink with, fellow Boneheads!

“The Money Maker on the Merry-Go-Round” opens with a bloody skull flying out from underneath a merry-go-round of the old, metal variety. Apparently real men allow their kids to play on the old lethal kinds of playground equipment. Or, at least the divorced ones do. But the first fun thread of this week’s Bones installment is introduced immediately following the flying cranium: 4-year-old Christine Booth calls her stuffed bunny a jackass. #Awesome #Naughty

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Mouthy Oliver on Deck

The second highly amusing bit threading itself even more deeply through “The Money Maker inthe Merry-Go-Round, is that of the fierce competition between Brennan and the squint on deck: Dr. Oliver Wells. 

So the early evidence reveals the victim is male, missing a wedding ring — so either robbed or recently divorced — and sporting a mouth full of $30,000 veneers. Already Oliver’s got his competitive panties on and he’s calling Cam ‘delightfully naive’. Wow, and she doesn’t even chastise him for it. Wait till you hear what he says to Brennan a little later on. Talk about brazen. #Dang

Aubrey Assumes the Sale

Aubrey wants in on the case but instead of asking Booth or waiting to be invited, he conducts some research and presents it to Booth with the purpose of insinuating himself into the fray. Booth calls him on it and the young upstart’s assumptive response lands on Booth awkwardly. Booth’s a pretty tolerant guy, despite what he wants people to believe, so instead of ordering young James to desk duty post haste, he sarcastically offers him his lunch, so Aubrey takes it. What? Now the grimace on the sniper’s face begins to fade. The final straw? Booth’s bobble-head Bobby bounces. Whoa, now he’s done it. 

Booth follows Aubrey to the elevator and something dark occurs. Booth alludes, hell, he doesn’t simply allude, he comes right out with it. Aubrey’s got something dark and painful in his past having to do with the wealthy 1% of the population. A tense stillness falls between the two men and time stops. You can almost hear the hair standing up on the back of Aubrey’s neck. Now I’m dying to know what’s going on, and I’m thinking we are finally going to get into Aubrey’s past. Excellent. This is going to be juicy.

Booth Is Deeply Concerned for Aubrey

Before long, we have Brennan and Booth deep in discussion at the counter of the diner. Booth reveals that Aubrey’s father was arrested for securities fraud when the kid was 13 years old. It seems Mr. Aubrey Senior bilked his clients out of millions, then skipped bail and sailed off to Croatia to leave mom and teen boy to fend for themselves with nothing to live on. Okay, I’ll say it: what a douche! No wonder Aubrey has a score to settle with the perpetrators of this entire case. Whether or not Aubrey can be objective at this point is yet to be seen, but Booth is definitely concerned about it, and feeling a little protective of James at the same time. 

I love protective Booth when it comes to other people. He’s protective of Brennan, naturally. He’s in love with her, so that’s expected. But I love it when he’s protective of those whom he doesn’t have to be protective of. And there’s a mixture of protectiveness that goes along with his mentoring side. Booth is a fantastic mentor. Some of my favorite mentoring scenes are between Booth and Special Agent Genevieve Shaw in “The Bump in the Road” when she shares with him that she’s a single mom, and in “The Male in the Mail” when Booth gives her a lesson in teamwork.

A Face is Just a Mask for Your Brain

Pardon me while I toss my cookies and then dry heave a couple of times. Did you see that fleshy face mask thingy Cam and Angela were putting together? OMG, I almost hurled for real. Bones has desensitized me from all levels of gore, but this partially assembled face takes the cake. What was your reaction? Dammit, Bones fairies, I know you always try to up an ante that’s already been upped way past whatever, but this time you’ve surpassed several heights. As Stephen Nathan said in an interview last spring, “it’s when the remains look the most human that they gross us out the most,” and he ain’t wrong. Not one bit. 

As a result of Cam and Angela’s Frankensteinian arts and crafts project, the victim is identified as Toby Wachlin, whose useless wife is then interviewed. Dead end there so far. Next up for interrogation is Toby’s employer at the $4 billion hedge fund where he was a trader. 

Money Maketh The Merry-Go-Round

Aubrey and Booth visit Horizon Equities and meet with Toby’s boss, the cocky and loaded Mason Barnes (Gil Bellows), who tells them Toby lost the fund a ton of money awhile back, but also generated a lot of profit as well. They then meet with one of his colleagues, old-style broker Blair Ellis (LaMonica Garrett) who has some major anger management issues. The interview of Blair, who turns out to be an ex athlete, leads nowhere.

Bring It, Brennan

Throughout the episode, Oliver Wells and Brennan are engaged in a fierce competition of brains and wills. Early on, Wells interjects his intention to be a better forensic anthropologist than Brennan. She takes that as an immediate challenge and keeps him mindful of the fact that she is the boss. It’s fun to watch these two battle it out. If you recall, in  “The Fact in the Fiction” Brennan admitted to Booth that she feared Wells may be smarter than she is. She also, at that time, admitted that she enjoyed making Oliver feel stupid. I believe her exact words to Booth were, “Well, I confess that in a moment of weakness, I took the opportunity to make Dr. Wells feel bad about himself.” Once again in “The Money Maker in the Merry-Go-Round,” Brennan’s glee at besting Wells is clear when she says, “As long as you are here, I will consider it my obligation to continue to trying to destroy you, Dr. Wells.”

In the process, Brennan blurts out “You are a pain in my ass, Dr. Wells,” and it’s as refreshing as a crisp breeze on a sun-filled autumn morning. The gauntlet is thrown down. No one has ever bettered Brennan, insists Hodgins to Wells later, which spurs on the young doctor ever more. This ought to be good.

Toby Was Just a Big Termite

Toby was somewhere that had been fumigated by Insects No More, a company that uses the specific insecticide Hodgins found on the remains. Turns out Toby also had a special blend of cocaine in his nose, which, because of regular use, had burned a hole through his septum. The cocaine was (unintentionally?) cut with a pollen only found at a park nearby Horizon Equities where Toby worked. Aubrey and Booth visit the home of colleague Derek Kaplan (Adam Bartley) who is throwing a ‘hooker and cocaine’ party in the middle of the afternoon. Blood is found in the bedroom. 

Concurrently, Wells finds a puncture wound in the bones. Putting two and two together, Angela deduces that the weapon might have been a candlestick seen in photos of the bedroom where the blood was found. Fingerprints on that candlestick are identified as those of one Mackenzie Sallowway (Lisa Datz), a hooker at the afternoon coke party. 

Was it the Strumpet in the Boudoir With the Candlestick?

Booth gives Aubrey the directive to bring in the hooker and interrogate her. Notice that this is actually a sig that Booth is succeeding a little control over to the younger agent, whom he must feel has earned the bone. Throughout the episode, we see Booth scanning Aubrey for evidence that he might not be able to handle working the case. As Aubrey proves more and more valuable, Booth loosens the leash around Aubrey’s neck until, finally, he lets Aubrey handle the hooker all on his own. Very interesting.

Mackenzie claims to be a linen saleswoman. So, I guess that’s what they are calling themselves these days. I hadn’t heard that one before. She says she was delivering *cough, cough* $4,000 sheets to Toby, who couldn’t pay for them. She snatched his ring, wallet and phone to keep until he coughed up a payment. In anger Toby came at her, so she swung at him with the candlestick and caught him on the arm. He wigged out about not getting his phone back and left. That was the last she saw of him, she says. Later it’s discovered that the blood in the bedroom was from the nasal cavity. Let’s see: cocaine, a ruptured septum and bloody sinuses. There’s a puzzle coming together here but we’ve still got a lot of the edges to complete and the very center to fill in. What’s up next?

My Life is in That Phone

So, Toby freaked out about his cell even more than his wedding ring or his wallet. What is on that phone, Angela wonders. In another entirely gross scene, Cam blows up an eyeball and socket the same way she blew up a stitched-together face like a balloon way back in season whatever. I call double fantastic gross and thank curse the Bones fairies for putting that image in my head. I close my eyes and still I see it. Now I’m going to be dealing with the full-on willies for the rest of the night. Blech!

But the eyeball trick is genius because scanning it unlocks a great big huge enormous motive for murder. Cam and Angela listen as Toby’s boss, Mason Barnes harangues Toby about paying off Kevin Rovito, the Chief Technical Officer of the of the Citicor stock exchange, to ensure that Horizon Equities’ computers are closest to the main server, so they get all the trading information nanoseconds faster than their competition and are able to churn out billions of dollars in profit as a result. So, it seems Toby was blackmailing his boss with a recording! I don’t really get all the technical stuff, or any of the stock exchange shenanigans, but I’ll take the writers’ word for it about all those details.

The Naive Anti-Feminist and Double Blind Wife

Can you believe this chick? I mean, what in the name of all invertebrates is with this woman? She takes the cake when it comes to being a shell of a human being. How did she ever get dressed in the morning, or does her mother come over every morning to help her do it? This naive ingenue act is a little too over-the-top. Don’t you find that a bit suspicious? Maybe she was the brain in the family and she’s orchestrated the whole thing, stolen all her husband’s money, killed him and will now head of to Greece herself to live the high life with her own narcotic of choice and a stable of pool boys to fulfill her every whim. 

Would someone please tell my mom I’ve been right all these years? Nevermind, it’s gonna take more than a Bones episode to make Mom eradicate the ‘swear jar’ she brings out every time I go visit. Interestingly, my dad finally said the four-letter-fence-word a month before he passed away and I suggest the freedom it gave him is what kept us with him the four extra weeks!

Back to reality, we have Annie Wachin (Charlene Amoia) visiting Booth’s office all aflutter because she’s just ‘learned’ of her husband’s lecherous behavior. Aubrey goes off on her about Toby never loving Annie because if he did he wouldn’t have abandoned her. This is an odd scene. The dialog is off somehow. Annie halts Aubrey’s tirade with the proclamation that Toby was a very loving and caring man and a good husband? No, that he is dead. Errr, what? Strange argument, but okay, for now. The mission of letting Aubrey freak out for the purpose of exposing the emotional depth of his character has been accomplished, even if it was delivered rather awkwardly.

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Special Agent James Aubrey Barely Holding On

The powerful delivery comes a moment later when Booth approaches Aubrey during his timeout in the breakroom. John Boyd does a masterful job of portraying a man barely holding back his confused and frustrated emotions. Okay, he’s not Boreanaz-quality masterful, but he’s a diamond in the rough, folks. Well done, good and faithful servant. Without words, Boyd conveys that he’s angry at himself. He’s disappointed and ashamed, and worst of all, he’s all that right there in front of his mentor, whose respect means the world to him. All that bravado from earlier episodes was a thin veneer for the fury just below the surface. And now it’s coming out. 

I’m loving that Aubrey wasn’t physically abused and that he’s powered by anger. This is different from what Brennan and Booth have experienced in their troubled youths. Booth has dealt with a lot of anger, but Aubrey’s is such a fresh wound that he’s literally grappling with it right before our eyes. Booth’s anger was sewn together with equal parts regret and despair. Aubrey hasn’t healed enough for those two sentiments because he is still red-hot-poker furious. 

Booth sees Aubrey’s pain and wants him to work it off, in a sense, by accompanying him to pick up Barnes. Aubrey declines. His behavior makes it clear that he has flipped into self-preservation mode and needs a little distance from the case. 

Booth and Brennan Bag Barnes

So, Booth and Brennan take off to Barnes’ office to bring him in. In response, Barnes pretty much says, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing son, my d*ck is really big, er, I mean, I’m a really powerful man.” Wow. Brennan also finds evidence that suggests Toby was killed on the corner of the desk and drawer fob in Barnes’ office. And the plot thickens. Once in the interrogation room, Barnes gives nothing away and I’m still suspicious of the Bimbette wifey.

Brennan Bests Boy Wonder, Wells

Brennan and Oliver are back in the lab where Oliver continues to try and outsmart Brennan to solve the case all on his own. Brennan finally bests Wells by finding a particulate in one of the cranial sutures. It’s a pretty cool exchange; Brennan is mildly snarky as she puts Wells in his place without being even a little obnoxious. Bravo to what I can only assume is the Keith Foglesong factor making the Emily Deschanel delivery spot-on as representative of more true Brennan, just like we had last week with Silver’s narrative. 

The Quarterback in the Study With the Emerald

Turns out it was Blair Ellis who beat the crap out of Toby in Barnes’ office. He claims it was for the team. He claims he just wanted to teach him a lesson about loyalty. He claims he didn’t mean to kill him. Oh, really? But you bashed his head against the corner of the desk nine times. Doh! Off to prison for you, meathead.

Sweet, Sweet, Sweet Brainy Brennan

Brennan meets Aubrey at the Founding Fathers and gives him a speech about not fighting the anger; accepting it because it is a part of who we are. “Nothing of value is easy,” she tells him. He’s clearly feeling honored that she’s taken the time to seek him out and he appreciates her brainy analogy. It’s a great exchange and it actually brought tears to my eyes as it made me realize that the pain of losing my own father is a part of me and I should embrace it. If I had not loved him so incredibly much, I would not have this pain to experience. Again, is that you, Foglesong, or is it Collier? Whomever wrote this exchange did it exquisitely if they were able to make one person like me actually embrace my own broken heart.

On a final note, how stinking adorable was that final scene at The Mighty Hut 2.0 with Brennan, Booth and Christine? Way to go, Booth, for making Mommy Brennan accountable for her own philosophy about the benefits of profanity even for children. What I want to know, however, is how are they now going to explain to little Sunnie Pelant that ‘jackass’ isn’t an appropriate word for 4-year-olds to use, even if they are paid thousands of dollars to say it?

Wait a minute. Oh. My. God. The wife was innocent.

Next week, Bones returns with “The Puzzler in the Pit,” when a crossword puzzle master is found dead and Daisy gives birth to Sweets’ progeny. Will Daisy name the baby ‘Seeley’? Check in next week to find out.

Bones airs Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.

(Images courtesy of FOX)

Catherine Cabanela

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV