A skydiver calls his wife to assure her he’s fine, while he’s stuck in a tree. Some branches break, shifting him farther down, where he finds himself next to something big in a net of webbing. Yeah, it’s a body. Yeah, he freaks out. As would we all.
At the scene, Cam investigates a Jeep and discovers blood that’s been wiped clean from the passenger seat. She slices into the cushion and finds it’s soaked with blood. The car was left in neutral so that it ran into the boulder, catapulting the body into the tree. Up in the tree, Hodgins really wants it to be a Mothman, but Brennan talks him into being serious. It’s a Caucasian male. As she slices into the cocoon to try to get to the body, worms fall on her face. She is much calmer, cooler, and collected about that than I would be. [AAAAH! ~ed.]
Thanks to its unique sinus cavities, the body is identified as James Sutton, an archaeologist who wrote a series of Indiana Jones-esque books. In each of his books, he features an artifact from one of his expeditions and goes on to sell that artifact for a great profit after.
Sutton’s pregnant widow, Marina, and her brother are brought in. She thought he died in a car accident. (Wait, how does she know that if he was only just found?) She and James met in Chechnya and married, and Marina only moved over a month ago. Her brother came over to support her when James disappeared. The last time Marina saw him was when he last came back from Russia, he was very excited about his discovery. She hands them a key and says (through her translating brother) that she’s very sad that he’ll never know his child.
The key is to a space at DC Art and Wine Storage, temperature controlled for special storage items. They enter Sutton’s space and Brennan licks one of the bones on the table. Since it’s porous and sticks to her tongue, it’s human. Booth jumps to serial killer, but Brennan says that there’s documentation that says they’re paleolithic. When they get back to the lab, Brennan is upset to find that those remains have been turned over to Clark Edison, since ancient remains are his territory. Brennan is upset, but Clark takes the bones away.
Hodgins, with the assistance of some worm-eating crows, has cleared off the body, and finds some particles in a wound on the back of the ribs. B&B visit Sutton’s publisher (hi there, Amy Yasbeck!), who last heard from him last week. Sutton was excited at a great find, which meant he could publish something of real merit. She doesn’t deal with the artifact sales, though, so she didn’t know who they were sold to. She just knew some guy in Texas bought most of them. Sweets finds the guy, a Mr. Wilson, a creationist with a museum. Sweets doesn’t understand why he would buy artifacts that contradicted what he believed. Wilson funded Sutton’s last trip and was getting angry that Sutton wouldn’t deliver the remains. Sweets brings him in and questions him about his beliefs and what he did with the artifacts he bought (none made it into his museum). Wilson says that Sutton stole the bones from him by refusing to sell them to him.
Brennan suspects that the particles in the wounds on Sutton’s back were the result of a flogging, about two months ago. Sweets brings Marina in again, she admits that her family is traditional. They didn’t want her to marry a foreigner, so her father had Sutton whipped. When he got better, she followed him to the U.S., so now she can’t go home; she’s dishonored her family by leaving. Brennan finds some more wounds, indicating that Sutton received a blow to the shoulder, then turned to defend himself, and got cut down into the armpit area, severing an artery, killing him in under a minute. Booth brings in Marina’s brother, who was Russian special forces trained. He was broke two weeks ago then got a transfer for $20K. Booth thinks that he asked daddy for a bailout and daddy told him to take out Sutton to honor the family. Brother lawyers up.
It’s okay, though, because Hodgins finds some book binder’s linen in a wound and Brennan knows where to look. B&B visit the publisher again and finds blood spatter on the floor and a book end missing. Publisher felt betrayed by Sutton publishing in a journal for no pay. Well, that’s convenient for the brother, who gets money without having to murder someone.
Brennan doesn’t think Clark can handle the ancient remains and Clark asks Hodgins to help him with some vegetation for a recreation of the scene where the bodies were found. Hodgins doesn’t want to be in the middle of this. Angela is helping Clark out. She’s excited to put faces on the ancient remains. When Brennan snoops around, she’s there for the discovery that not all the remains are homo sapiens, one male is a neanderthal. Brennan thinks the mixed tribe cohabitation is unprecedented and she finds reason to take over — the neanderthal male was murdered with a sharp object to the head. Since it’s a crime, it’s hers. They fight about publications and jurisdiction and Cam intercedes, saying Clark keeps the bones, but Brennan can have access, and if either of them complain, the other gets the bodies.
Back at the scene, Clark is sad that the happy mixed tribe theory is shot. Angela gives him a drawing and he says that the child is wrong — too short — unless… He realizes that the child is half neanderthal. Brennan is stunned at the revelation, too, and congratulates Clark, right before she takes credit for his training. After the case is solved, Clark, Brennan, and Angela show a recreation of their case for the gathered employees of the Jeffersonian. The family, a homo sapiens mom, neanderthal dad, and mixed child, were outcasts from their tribe. Another homo sapiens male threw a spear at the dad. Mom attacked the interloper, getting hit in the face. Dad picked up a stone hatchet to strike the interloper. The Dad bled out in less than three minutes, Mom suffocated to death. The child was only three. With no one to take her in, she starved to death. Angela’s dismayed that they found the world’s first hate crime that ended with the starvation of the little girl. Clark points out that the parents crawled over the the child before they died. When she died, her last action was to curl up with her parents. That’s how the bones were found, together. Sweet, but yeah, still depressing.
Brennan is worried that Christine isn’t grasping peekaboo yet, when she’s been so advanced at other skills. Booth tells her not to worry and “Uncle Sweets” (aww, he’s so part of the family now) takes Christine to daycare. Later, Booth is concerned about something and Sweets infers that what he’s really worried about is the competitive pressure that Brennan is putting on Christine. With her competitiveness with Clark, Booth can see what Sweets means.
At home, Brennan is pleased with herself for letting Clark have the moment. She even told Clark to replace her authorship credit with James Sutton’s, so his son would one day see the discovery his dad made. Brennan decides she doesn’t want to pass her failings (competitiveness, social awkwardness) on to Christine.
I really like the episodes where we get to explore forensics more than just for current crime, so I loved the B-Plot in this one. What did you think?