Whoa. Did that really just happen? Bones has shown us in the past that it can Blow. Our. Minds. And that’s exactly what it did in “The Conspiracy in the Corpse,” the season 10 premiere episode. I still can’t get my head around it and neither can all the fans who have broken the Internet tonight with the explosion of fevered tweets, Facebook entires and Tumblr gifs. 

Let’s take a moment of silence to pull ourselves together. Pardon me while I blow my nose and go splash cold water on my face. I had my entire narrative for this recap written out in my head as I furiously jotted notes during the commercials. I had my focal image all picked out and downloaded, and I was ready to write my very first BuddyTV.com Bones recap. And then — BOOM! — “The Conspiracy in the Corpse” threw us this curve fast ball that turned my notes into a hot mess of garbage. I’m exaggerating, I know that. But give me a break, give us all a break: Dr. Lance Sweets’ murder was the best kept secret in Bones history. And that, my friends, is no exaggeration. 

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The Best Kept Secret In Television Premiere History

I personally challenge you to name one season premiere that delivered a whopper as enormous as this one. I double dog dare you. My buddy at FOX says there were hints all over the place in the promotional materials and interviews, but they were so dang sneaky that it all went over our heads, and now we in the press know why there was no preview screener for “The Conspiracy in the Corpse.” … It’s because a secret like this is too big, too juicy, too tantalizing, that there’s no way people wouldn’t figure it out if we wrote any kind of teasers about it whatsoever because we’d be all: “Something really big happens in the end that’s the biggest shock ever,” and you’d be all like: “Does someone die?” And we’d be all … “I can’t tell, but you are going to bawl your eyes out.” And then you’d be all: “Holy crap, someone’s gonna die and it has to be a main character.” And Bones would be busted; a golden opportunity lost for all of us, really. 

Remember the Bones finale last May? It was “Riveting. Disquieting. Masterful,” I recall writing in an article for shesgotmoxiedotnet which we put on ourBuddyTV.com Bones Ultimate Fan Facebook Page. “Leaving viewers stunned and relieved in equal measure, this year’s Bones finale, “The Recluse in the Recliner,” was possibly the most riveting hour of entertainment in Bones history.” 

So, in view of the phenominalness of that finale, some were concerned (and by ‘some’ I mean me) that there was nowhere to go but down a couple of notches in “The Conspiracy in the Corpse.” In the natural ebb and flow of storytelling you can’t be that intense and riveting all the time. After the cast and crew put their everything into a kick-ass finale — especially David Boreanaz who plays Booth, and David Boreanaz who directed the episode, and then there’s that other guy who’s always fighting with the first two guys —  what was his name? Oh yeah, David Stinkin’ Boreanaz, who helped produce the thing — he had to be unbelievable exhausted after the taxing physicality and emotional stamina it took to deliver that finale. Who can put out that much power on a continual basis, right? Who does that? Well, the Bones Stinkin’ Fairies do that. But wait a minute … I’m getting ahead of myself.

Booth is the New Orange

We open with Booth, bearded and nearly broken, still in prison after three months awaiting his trial for the deaths of the Delta Force operatives who decimated his home and nearly took his life. All of the previews floating around the web were of those first moments of the episode: Booth getting pushed around, threatened, and punished for being a “cop killer.” We see an inmate stealing Booth’s photo of Brennan and Christine, threatens to go after her when he himself gets out. Well, that does it for Booth who had been holding back (and was being held back) but he loses it at that point and head-butts the guy. As a result, Booth gets the crap beat out of him.

Brennan and Booth talk on the phone and Brennan tells him about a video she has for one of Christine singing a song for her. All I can think of at this point is that I hope they show that video during the episode. How adorable and heart-crushing would that be? 

Brennan arrives at the prison and sees Booth, who favors his right side and can barely hold his head up completely. She’s visibly disturbed by his demeanor and his hidden but obvious injuries. She tells Booth that Brady, the prosecutor, is on the chip they captured from the remains of Wesley Foster, the conspiracy theorist-com-human Molotov cocktail who had all the goods on the FBI conspiracy. Brennan wants to go after Brady because she fears Booth will get (intentionally) killed in prison. Booth commands her to lay low and it looks like she might, and I’m still hoping to see the video of Christine singing to her Daddy. 

My God, Booth was a mess. He can barely sit. He can barely breathe. Boreanaz was convincing throughout the episode in regards to the injuries and the sheer cold terror in his eyes which manifested itself in a vengefulness that deeply concerns Brennan and Sweets. 

Brennan Verbally Kicks Brady in His Figurative Testicles

Leaving the prison teary-eyed, Brennan goes straight to Brady’s office with a folder chock-full of proof of illegal activities Brady has been involved in. Deschanel plays this part perfectly. She doesn’t portray Brennan as a woman shaking in her boots as she ticks off Brady’s wrong doings. When she parries the final stroke we understand why she’s not shaking: she has so much dirt on this guy that he has absolutely no recourse but to do what she commands. 

Remember hard-ass Brennan? Once she got pregnant and since she’s become a mother she’s far less physical. She hardly ever wields a gun or slaps any one in the face. I miss that a bit. I do. But in “The Conspiracy in the Corpse” we see that feisty side of Brennan reemerging in spades. Her psychological sparring is much fiercer (and way more effective) than her literal ass-kicking. As she blatantly admits to blackmailing Brady, you can feel the cold sweat sprouting unseen from each and every one of his pores. Her final line: “I’m new to blackmailing, but I’m pretty sure I covered it.” Way to go, Bones! This scene has me whooping and hollering.

There’s Something New and Precious About Brennan

Emily Deschanel has successfully infused into the character of Temperance Brennan a subtle change that I hope we will see continue to develop over the coming season. First we see it in her care of Booth once they arrive home and she assures him that she spent his money on the new home. Then, in the scene where she helps Booth undress and then proceeds to kiss and touch him, she portrays a compassionate tenderness co-mingled with enormous strength and confidence. Like Angela advised her to, Brennan knew she had to show him that he is more important than everything they are going through. And that’s just what she so gently does. This is a far cry from “The Male in the Mail” when Brennan seeks Angela’s advice when she doesn’t know how to comfort Booth in the wake of his father’s death. 

She knows that he is worried about how she will react when she sees him. Many concerns are overwhelming him at this point, but what you can see behind his eyes, and what he never says aloud, is that he doesn’t want Brennan hurt by what’s happened to him. She knows all this, so she doesn’t make a fuss. Her tone, her gentle touch, and her confidence that is taking the lead with him are masterfully portrayed.

Deschanel has Brennan unflinchingly looking at her husband’s battered body while giving him a love-filled smile that could melt away any misgivings he may have had about how this particular aspect of their relationship might be altered. What a wonderful scene. 

This scene isn’t about those horrendous bruises, it’s about a woman comforting the man she loves in the gentle and loving way that lets him know that for her he is still the strong, protective, beautiful and whole man that she has been in love with for a decade. 

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Brennan And Sweets: Old Friends

In the middle of the Bones premiere, Brennan calls Sweets to the diner to talk as friends, not professionals. There unfurls a mutually affectionate conversation whose words slip my mind because my memory is filled with the tender way Brennan looked at Sweets. This is the second scene we see where Brennan displays this new softness. I’ll put her exact words in my slide show of the best quotes from the show, but I think you know what I mean about how she looked at him. At the end of that scene, I found myself thinking: She really loves him. Now I know there was more to it: this was a fantastic set-up for the shocking death at the end, and, it was also one of the final times Emily Deschanel and John Francis Daley will share the screen. That had to be a bitter sweet moment for the actors. The affection Emily has for Sweets, and he for her, was evident in this scene. *Sniff*

A Corpse to Hide a Conspiracy

So there was a case in this episode. Yes, there was. Here’s the short and long of it, just so we can really call this article a recap. The name Howard Cooper appears many times in the encrypted files contained in the nipple ring chip found with Foster’s remains in “The Recluse in the Recliner.” When they exhume Foster they discover that his remains were buried after being treated so no evidence would remain to point to a discovery. The autopsy report says the guy died of leukemia; however, the bones tell a different story. The man had caused (?) a car accident which broke many of his bones. 

During the accident, he killed a homeless man. The people at the bottom of this whole conspiracy thing used Cooper’s drunk driving homicide to black mail him into doing really bad things for them. Later, the man gets leukemia and figures he has nothing to lose, so he stands up to the nameless bad guys and perhaps even threatens to go public with what he knows. While he’s in the hospital, probably receiving chemotherapy, someone comes into his room to put antacid in his IV — the antacid combined with the chemo chemicals would become lethal, thereby killing Cooper. He fought back, and was killed. The death certificate still said he dies of leukemia.

A Deadly Cinderella Warrant

Behind this whole mess is Hugo Sanderson and his company, Sanderson Chemical, a company whose permit was denied by Cooper right before Cooper was killed. Somehow, lots of incriminating information is in the files at Sanderson Chemical — files that could prove that Sanderson created the drugs involved in the poisoning of Cooper.

A New Guy With Promise

There, a new FBI Special Agent James Aubrey (John Boyd) who I thought would be a smarmy tight-ass, but grew on me as the episode progressed. He was congenial and unafraid to mention Christine. He also put his neck on the line for Booth by providing him with information that the FBI didn’t want him to have. I think he’s going to be a great addition to the team.

A Death More Devastating that Vincent Nigel-Murray’s

I didn’t think it was possible. I loved, loved, loved VNM, but when Sweets died this was my exact thought: That was more devastating than when Vincent died!

Sweets convinces Booth to allow him to take the Cinderella warrant (a warrant that would be made useless as soon as Sanderson’s lawyers got to a judge) to Sanderson and collect the incriminating files. While talking to someone else, Booth and Brennan get the call that Sweets has been hurt. they run to the parking garage and find that someone behind the conspiracy has beat Sweets to a bloody pulp and taken the files. In an agonizing and reality-defying final scene, we watch as Sweets bleeds out. I still can’t believe it. Brennan and Booth were there, holding and comforting him.

The greatest concern going forward (other than a pregnant Daisy left behind) is the impact Sweets’ death will have on Booth. Booth was clearly overwhelmed and in significant shock over Sweets’ death. Sweets was the brother that Booth never had in Jared. He was a great friend and comfort to Brennan. And he was an involved uncle for Christine.

Sweets, rest in peace. You will be missed. I still can’t believe it. But I have to add, from the bottom of my heart…  Well done, Bones fairies. Extraordinarily well done. 

J. Edgar Hoover on the Take?

Tune in next week when the Jeffersonain team continue to search for the complete truth about who is behind the conspiracy that involves the FBI which possibly goes all the way back to J. Edgar Hoover, and Booth and Brennan begin to deal with all of their losses.

Final note: How adorable was that scene of Christine asleep with her head on Booth’s lap?

Bones aires Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.

(Images courtesy of FOX)

Catherine Cabanela

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV