“The Promise in the Palace” delivers a quintessential Bones episode. Starting with Brennan’s rejection of Booth’s tooth fairy ideas and the discovery of yet another puke-your-guts-out set of remains (this corpse has one open eye staring straight at us), Bones tells a tale centered around screwed-up allegiances. Not only does the victim betray both her benefactor and her roommate,Cam struggles to let go of the remnants of her relationship with Arastoo, while Angela persists is maintaining her own commitment to Hodgins.

On the Brennan and Booth front, we have several enjoyable scenes in addition to the tooth fairy conundrum (which illicits a surprising and brilliant response from Aubrey). There’s a warm domestic scene in the Boothy bedroom, some good old driving competitiveness on the way to visit a suspect, and finally we see Booth shock the pants off Brennan with his own magical brilliance. 

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Booth Is Totally Cool With Goblins Stealing Christine’s Body Parts

In “The Promise at the Palace” Christine losing her first tooth provides an opportunity for Mom and Pop Booth to discuss the wonderfulness of the Tooth Fairy. Booth plans to sneak a dollar under Christine’s pillow in exchange for her little incisor. However, as we all gleefully anticipated, Brennan, being the pragmatic mother, contends that the whole airy fairy folklore idiocy insults Christine’s intelligence, and leads her to believe that her parents would allow a goblin to climb in through her window and steal her body parts. Well, when you put it like that…

Booth gives Brennan his famous “You-know-how-to-suck-the-fun-out-of everything” look as she explains that they should tell Christine all about the biology of growing up and the real reason why her teeth fall out, etc. Then murder calls.

Angela and Hodgins Welcome Cannibalistic Goblins As Well

Hodgins weighs in on the Tooth Fairy debate, saying Michael Vincent has yet to be traumatized by finding money where he left a tooth the night before. Brennan still thinks it’s stupid and frightening. She was equally critical of Santa and the Easter Bunny, if you recall, but she is always willing to at least hear what others have to say.

(I do find it a little irritating that everyone thinks Brennan is crazy for her practical approach to some of the crap we routinely expect kids to swallow. I can just see Christine interrogating Booth when she learns the truth about the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause. “Why did you lie, Daddy?” What could he possibly say that doesn’t sound terrible? “Because I thought it would be fun? Because my parents lied to me? Because everyone does it?” Like those are the lessons we want to teach our kids? Tell me Brennan doesn’t have a good point here and I’ll send you my teeth.)

Cinderella Gets Lost on the Way Home from the Ball

What’s left of Klarissa Mott is a creepy green eyeball, lots of creepy contorted body parts, and one solitary shoe. The victim is found in a ditch by three guys off-roading in the forest. One of the guys face plants into the ditch and ends up with a bone embedded in his arm! This guy better get a tetanus shot. And an HIV test, too.

Klarissa’s face is beyond recognition but she has one witchy finger to scan for a print. Inside her throat the squints find a small key which she must have swallowed during her attack. Her skin has burn marks with traces of mercury and nitrocellulose, whatever that means.

This Isn’t Your Run-of-the-Mill Escapism We’re Talking About

Once the Jeffersonian contingency supplies an ID, Booth and Aubrey head over to talk to Karissa’s roommate, Anna Lloyd, and her sexy boyfriend, Victor (who ends up being a douche), who just started a catering business together. No, they know nothing about Klarissa’s disappearance, but they do know about Klarissa’s otherworldly pursuits. A room full of straightjackets and handcuffs point Booth and mini-Booth to The Magic Palace where Klarissa “Escapologist” Bilbao (her stage name – the Bilbao part, at least) has recently begun performing in the pimp spot, which is the main stage on Friday nights.

‘Bones’ Goes Back to the Circus

Mr. Lenny Jay, owner and patriarch of The Magic Palace, knows nothing about Klarissa’s disappearance, and neither does his son, or so they say. (Nobody ever knows anything in the first half hour, do they?) Anyway, they point to Big Phil who lost that pimpy performance spot to Klarissa. He fesses-up to burning her skin using the mercury and nitrocellulose as part of a prank, but says she only got burned because she was distracted. (I’m thinking she’s been sniffing too much of that mercury and nitrocellulose stuff. Ick.)

Money, Drugs and a Physical Therapist’s Nards

Klarissa’s tox screen reveals high doses of Dilaudid, a heavy duty opiod used for pain suppression. Was she a druggie looking for a fix? Her bank account leads Booth and Aubrey to a muscle bound dude who claims he was helping Klarissa gain greater muscle flexibility.

At this point my hypothesis is that Klarissa, an ambitious escape artist, was trying to limber up so she could escape some impossible restraints. She was using the Dilaudid to dull the muscle and bone pain from her contortionist act. But I am proven wrong.

Special Agent James Aubry, Font of Wisdom

Booth discusses Brennan’s opinion about the Tooth Fairy with Aubrey and, finally, we have someone who appreciates Brennan’s viewpoint. Since Booth says she’s so smart, Aubrey tosses back to his superior that maybe Brennan knows something that we don’t. People used to think that the world was flat until other people, like Dr. Brennan, proved them wrong. Booth is nonplussed by this response, but I’m giving the future Senator Aubrey a standing ovation. I knew there was a compelling reason I liked this Aubrey kid. Finally an intellect who accepts that just because you think something, doesn’t mean it’s true. You go, Aubrey. It’s impressive that Booth takes what Aubrey has to say seriously as well.

Magic Boy Was Stalking the Victim

It turns out that Mr. Jay’s son at The Magic Palace was sending threatening emails to Klarissa and stalking her. Creepy kid. He saw her practicing one of his father’s signature magic tricks, the drunken monkey. The drunken monkey is an escapist move that involves being submerged in a vat of scotch. The kid had assumed he was next in line for the Magic Palace throne, and was pissed as hell to find out that Klarissa was usurping his inheritance. Unfortunately, his worst fears are realized when his dad admits that Klarissa was his protege and that he had given her those tricks willingly. Well, hell.

The kid then suggests maybe it was the guy he saw her kissing one night.

I Want Your Boyfriend, I Ain’t Gonna Lie

Just like the lyrics in Meghan Trainor’s hit single suggests, Klarissa wanted her roommate’s boyfriend. Klarissa and Victor were having a skanky affair behind Anna’s back. (What’s with kids these days? Can no one keep their body parts in park?) Turns out that Anna knew about the affair, but chose to sulk quietly in the corner for the sake of the catering business. (Again, what’s with kids these days? Damn, have a little respect for yourself, sister.)

When the squints figure out that Klarissa had hives from an allergic reaction to the truffles in the fancy oil Victor uses, Booth and Brennan go back to interrogate Victor again. Meanwhile, research uncovers that Klarissa had recently received flowers from an unknown person. Was it Victor? He says no. Of course, that would be too easy right?

The Mystery Is Almost Solved With Magic

So, Squint Clark Edison finds defensive wounds on Klarissa’s ulna and a constellation of equidistant bone bruises on the maxilla and zygomatic. Hodgins finds the exact same particulates in all the wounds. This means all of the wounds were made from the same weapon, but what would leave such disparate marks? Isn’t that always the question? Clark does figure out that the cause of death is ligature strangulation. I don’t know what that is exactly, but it sounds painful. And then you die.

So, was this death the result of a magic trick gone terribly wrong? If so, who dumped the body? And where is the murder weapon now? Someone at that circus of a palace has got to be guilty.

Dr. Edison Makes Brennan Disappear

Brennan doesn’t trust magic any more than she trusts the Tooth Fairy. Brennan asks Clark why he enjoys magic, and actually complements him about being a child with superior intellect when he explains that magic got him through a tough adolescence. Brennan agrees to let Clark show her some magic. He does a “disappearing quarter” trick which Brennan completely deconstructs, leaving Clark with an “I just got bitchslapped” look on his face.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a sweet Brennan-Clark moment, but we have one now. These two pick at each other, step on each other’s toes, and challenge each other, but there is a tacit respect between them under it all. Clark is the only squint Brennan has invited to call her by her first name, and I love that we still get to see him in the occasional episode.

Several scenes later, Brennan begrudgingly allows Clark to do another trick. Clark makes a spoon disappear in a glass of water. Again Brennan deconstructs it. The spoon was made of Gallium which dissolves in warm water. Brennan turns on her heel, and exits, to which Hodgins responds, “You just made Dr. B. disappear.”

The Swallowed Key Unlocks the Identity of the Killer

Clark and Hodgins root through the Jeffersonian’s collection of magic artifacts. On the table Brennan sees a chain and padlock and runs off with her secret. Angela uses her technical wizardry to prove that those odd bone bruising on the ulna and mandible were caused by Klarissa being beaten and choked with a padlock and chain. Remember that key they found in the victim’s throat? It belonged to the lock that strangled Klarissa.

Brennan and Booth descend upon Mr. Jay at The Magic Palace, examine the lock and chain in the magician’s showcase, then insert the key into the lock. It fits. Brennan swabs the keyhole and finds blood, but doesn’t admit that she can’t prove that its Klarissa’s blood. Instead, she says something like, “The frequency of luminescence matches that of the blood found with the remains … bla bla bla.” And Bingo. Mr. Jay confesses.

It turns out that the flowers were from The Gold Pro Casino thanking Klarissa for agreeing to leave The Magic Palace to work for them. Mr. Jay had taught Klarissa all of his tricks after she promised to work at the Palace for the rest of her life. Deception kills. Boom.

Cam is Weird About Angela Being Mentored

Cam notices that Sebastian Kohl, the photojournalist who purchased one of Angela’s photos, is visiting rather frequently. She goads Angela that there is more to his interest than just mentoring. What’s with you, Cam? This seemed a little forced, but sometimes Cam can do strange things like that. Angela is happily married; we all know that. Yes, we’ve been teased that there’s a huge Hodgela upset waiting for us in the 10th episode, but this can’t be it. By the end of the episode we find that we are right about this. At least, as far as romance between Angela and Sebastian is concerned. He still might have a job offer for our frustrated artist.

So what is the deal with Sebastian? Well, he takes Cam (and us) by complete surprise when he asks Cam out on a date. She stumbles through a gentle rejection, saying she’s not ready yet, but just being asked put a big smile on her face.

Seriously? A brilliant woman with a smoking figure like Cam’s cannot doubt her own desirableness, could she? Maybe her insecurity has to do with her Morticia Addams tresses and Pulp Fiction bangs which do her no favors. This season we’ve seen more to-die-for dresses, but these last two episodes have left the beautiful chocolate wonder woman a little drab. Maybe this is supposed to be a reflection of her mourning period?

A Little Mystery Is Good for the Soul

Other than the B&B morning Tooth Fairy discussion, we have three other warm and fuzzy B&B moments in “The Promise at the palace.” They bicker in the car about who is the better driver. They have a bedroom discussion about whether or not it’s too early for Cam to move on after breaking up with Arastoo. (Side note: That phone is worse for their sex life than the flat screen Brennan leased for Booth in “The Senator in the Street Sweep!”)  Finally, they share a domestic scene at the end of the episode to complete the familial issues of the day.

Brennan admits that she used a touch of deception to elicit a confession from Mr. Jay. She admits that sometimes it is necessary. Brennan is bothered by people who use trickery to make them selves look smarter than everyone else. Well, that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

My favorite part of their time together is when Booth shocks the crap out of Brennan by tearing up an important document she was working on. Brennan freaks until he tells her she’ll find it in her breast pocket. She is stunned when she finds it there and cannot, for the life of her, figure out how he got it there. “A little mystery is good for the soul,” says Booth. Awesome. Another excellent Bones episode for the books, Boneheads.

Bones airs Thursday’s at 8pm on FOX.

(Images courtesy of FOX)

Catherine Cabanela

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV