Aye yi yi yi yi, this episode. *sigh* Let’s just get it over with.
We have a dead guy, of course, since there’s always a dead guy. This one was found on a pig farm, covered with chestnuts so he would make a more appetizing treat for the pigs. The pigs do what pigs do when faced with a tasty meal and when the troughs are delivered, it’s a big mess of goo and slime, mixed with body parts and bones and a few leafy greens thrown in for roughage. Dark hair is found mixed with the people bits, but blonde hair is attached to the skull and sure enough, the DNA on the hair turns out to be from a dreadlock shed by a guy named Jerrick, who found the body tossed over the wall of property he owns. Jerrick’s DNA is in the system because feeding people to pigs is sort of his thing; he’d done it once before and beaten the rap because the pigs had eaten everything.
Jerrick swears to Booth that someone is setting him up and that this time, he had only fed the body to the pigs because he didn’t want to call the cops and report that he had found a dead body. He can provide a description of the man, though, and from that description Angela discovers the identity of the victim.
He is Albert Magnuson, a local chess master who managed to use his prowess to make a lot of money by marketing and licensing his likeness and brand on equipment, gear, etc. The money all goes into a company called Levitt Holdings which has only one officer, a woman named Suzanne Levitt. Now that Albert is dead, she’s left to reap the windfall.
Booth brings her in for questioning and discovers that while Albert was a boorish asshole who no one liked, the two of them were engaged and she didn’t kill him. She instead sends Booth in the direction of Albert’s ex-wife, Ingrid, a woman she describes as crazy. The ex-wife calls Suzanne a hell hag so, yeah, there’s no love lost there.
Ingrid is a Dutch national who belongs to a very strict religious sect. When she received anonymously sent pornographic photos of Albert and Suzanne, she decided he needed to be cleansed by fire and burned his apartment down. Since then, though, she’s been living off of the grid as a nanny.
Booth and Sweets check out the local chess club where Albert played. Sweets is instantly recognized (he had mad skillz in his youth) and they talk to the other members of the club, who generally meet all the basic “chess club” stereotypes. They also meet Suzanne’s son Tim, who was being mentored by Albert and is very sorry for his loss. Booth and Sweets check out the garage and find blood and shattered lights and realize that is where Albert was killed.
They get one viable suspect lead from the chess club, a man named Olin who was kicked out of the club after breaking Albert’s hand with a timer. Booth finds Olin playing chess in a park but also finds out that on the night Albert died, Olin was in jail for soliciting a prostitute who, unfortunately, also turned out to be an undercover cop.
Back at the lab, Brennan is working with Dr. Filmore, our favorite Canadian forensic podiatrist, who has since earned his Ph.D. in forensic anthropology and is at the Jeffersonian conducting research for a paper on cross-border cooperation in solving crimes. Studying the X-rays and bones, he and Brennan discover injuries to the feet that prove how Albert died: someone spilled water and salt on the floor of the garage and exposed the water to live electrical wires. The surge in power destroyed the lights in the garage as well as the security camera, giving them a time of death. The only potential suspect who doesn’t have an alibi for that time is Suzanne.
Well, not so fast. Sweets goes back to the chess club and takes on all comers, defeating them all one after the other until Tim sits down. The young man has been studying Sweets’ game play and has figured out a way to win. Unfortunately, during the game Tim also passes up an opportunity to sacrifice his queen, a quirk that arouses Sweets’ suspicions. Those suspicions turn to certainty when Sweets deliberately yawns and Tim doesn’t respond, which apparently proves him to be a sociopath. In a smooooooooth trick of a move, Sweets reaches out to shake hands with the victor and handcuffs him instead, arresting Tim for the murder of Albert Magnuson.
At the Hoover, Sweets wants to interrogate Tim himself, but Booth is skeptical. Sweets insists that Tim is playing a chess match and that his earlier inability to sacrifice his queen is symbolic of the boy’s too-close relationship with his mother. Tim plays it cool while he’s being questioned, though, and insists he’s innocent. Sure that they’ve got their man, though, Booth, Brennan and Sweets set up a sting. Sweets tells Tim that he’s being released, and that his mother instead has been arrested and she confessed to killing Albert. Tim is distraught, especially when he sees Suzanne being led through the room in handcuffs and yells out his own confession that he did, in fact, kill Albert.
That’s the case, and the case was fine. The other theme for this episode, not so much.
Christine (Brennan and Booth’s invisible daughter) received an award for coming in 15th in a preschool egg race. Since there are only 15 kids in the class, Brennan points out that Christine actually lost and that children should learn that sometimes you lose.
Judging by what happens in the rest of the episode, however, it appears that what Brennan already knows and what she apparently wants to teach her daughter is not a lesson Brennan feels applies to her personally. You might think that after nine and a half years, Bones would no longer feel the need to bash viewers over the head with BRENNAN LEARNS A LESSON episodes. You might think that, but you would be wrong because, lo and behold, that’s what we’re in for.
Cam, who seems to go from “I’m the boss, bitch!” to “OMG, I’m so afraid to tell Brennan, what do I do?!?” fast enough to induce whiplash, scurries to Angela with the news that Science Monthly has named her that year’s Outstanding Woman of Science.
Even though Brennan has won that award herself numerous times, and even though she has in the past recognized Cam’s skill and ability in the lab, everyone seems to expect Brennan to stomp her foot and throw a hissy fit. This leads to her being patronizingly lectured not just once, by Angela, and not just a second time, by Dr. Filmore, but also a third time, by Booth.
Wait. It gets worse.
Despite the fact that Cam won the honor, on her own merits, she decides that the appropriate course of action is to share it with Angela and Brennan. Because accepting it as something she’d actually earned would be so… unfeminine, right? Because if you’re female and you acknowledge your accomplishments and your achievements then you get treated as Brennan has been treated — as someone who is arrogant or worse, hubristic. No, no, no. As women we have to share those accomplishments. Sharing is gentle. Sharing is kind. Sharing is so… female.
Is that it? No, it’s not.
This honor, this recognition by a scientific journal of a woman’s achievements in grossly underrepresented STEM fields, is turned into a bikini pinup calendar. In this episode of Bones, the Nobel Prize winning contributions of women like Marie Curie, Barbara McClintock and Rita Levi-Montalcini were devalued to the point where they were just faces on bikini cups.
Thank you, Bones, for reinforcing what every little girl is taught from the moment she’s born. No matter what a woman does, no matter how brilliant and accomplished she might be, her body is still property to be marketed and profited from.
There you go. That’s this episode of Bones. I’m sure they’re proud.