A body in a septic tank, a new intern and Brennan Learns A Lesson About Religion — that’s a lot to cram into a one-hour episode, so let’s get to it!
Brennan has a new intern and because Daisy is apparently the only female forensic anthropology graduate student in the entire DC/Maryland/Virginia area, we get yet another male intern.
To be honest, I went into this episode prepared to dislike it. After the rampant sexism of “The Master in the Slop“and that fucking stupid pinup calendar idea, my tolerance level for that kind of bullshit on Bones is at zero. Yet another male intern, on a show that routinely hypes how pro-women in science it proclaims to be, is disturbing. But, happily enough, I actually mostly enjoyed the episode. The character of Rodolpho Fuentes could easily enough have been female, especially without the pandering, stereotypical hot-to-trot Latin lover who wants to have sex with Brennan trope, and that mishandled piece of casting was definitely a lost opportunity for the show. But written as a Cuban defector and given some lovely character moments, Fuentes was sympathetic and human. If he becomes a regular on the spinning Lazy Susan of interns, I’m okay with that.
To the case: a body is found in a septic tank and because this is ‘murica and to hell with budget constraints, the whole tank is dug up and delivered to the Jeffersonian. (Are we sure the lab isn’t part of the TARDIS? It seems to get bigger and bigger, as necessary.) Brennan is introduced to her new intern (guest star Ignacio Serricchio), who is foisted on the Jeffersonian by the Secretary of State. Fuentes already has a doctorate in forensic anthropology but his credentials aren’t recognized in the U.S. so he’s starting over. Brennan gives him a taste of what being her intern is like and orders him to dive into the sludge and goo left in the septic tank to search for the missing bits of the skeleton. While in there, Fuentes finds a fingernail embedded near the hatch, which indicates the victim, poor bastard, drowned in sewage. Cam also finds a piece of flesh marked by a tattoo and that, with evidence of an old injury caused by a shiv, directs them to a prison database which spits out the name of the victim, Benny Jergeson.
Benny spent two years in jail for grand theft auto but Officer Fowler, Benny’s very helpful parole officer, tells Booth and Sweets that Benny had a legitimate job as a repo man and was keeping his nose clean. On a visit to the repo company, Booth and Sweets meet Benny’s boss as she’s threatening the unhappy owner of a repossessed car with a baseball bat. She shrugs off a recent lawsuit as a nuisance and explains that all of her repo men carried digital recorders on every job for just that reason. When Booth asks to see Benny’s recorder, she explains that he probably had it on him. She suggests Booth and Sweets talk to Graham, the owner of a food truck Benny had repo’d, who had come after Benny with a knife. Graham is dutifully inspected and they discover he’s selling drugs along with hot dogs but that he was also in Mexico when Benny was killed.
At the lab, Brennan and Fuentes examine the bones and find injuries that suggest a car accident. Fuentes is so pleased that he propositions Brennan and for his trouble, gets turned down and threatened with firing and deportation. Hodgins is also playing with his bits of evidence and (without propositioning anyone — hooray for professionalism!) discovers nature stuff that indicates Benny was running through the area around the septic tank. Since Benny’s leg was broken, Fuentes says he must have been chased. Armed with this new information, Booth finds out that Benny’s car was found wrapped around a tree but since it was totaled, it was scrapped a week later. The towing company took pictures, though, and from those photos Brennan realizes there were two people in Benny’s car the night he died.
Helpful Officer Fowler pays Booth another visit to tell him about Benny’s childhood friend Horatio, who had gone to prison with Benny but who Benny had snitched on in return for an early release. One week before Benny’s death, Horatio had been freed, too, because of prison overcrowding.
Booth and Brennan pay a visit to Horatio, which gives Brennan an opportunity to tell Booth that Fuentes wants to have sex with her, as do all of her male interns (which is probably news to them, since we haven’t seen anyone but Zack, way back in S1.08 “The Girl in the Fridge,” even hint in that direction). Booth is predictably not very happy with her revelation, especially given Brennan’s pronouncements on monogamy in the past. Brennan tearfully reassures him that he’s her lobster (okay, sea anemone) and she would never jeopardize their life for a fling. Booth wheedles a kiss with enough resistance from her that I’m guessing a highway hummer is never gonna happen. Sorry, dude.
Back to Horatio, who has a job parking cars at an expensive restaurant. Since he’s also using that job to steal entry codes from the high-end cars, he runs and Booth and Brennan have to chase him through the restaurant’s kitchen. Booth drops his gun, there’s a sword fight with knives, Brennan throws lettuce, and finally, Booth knocks Horatio out with a skillet. Back at the Hoover, Horatio insists he loved Benny like a brother and that it was his idea for Benny to snitch on him, to save Benny from the beatings he was getting in prison. He reveals that Benny came to him one last time, looking for the codes for a BMW. When Horatio offered to steal the car instead, Benny admitted that he was being forced to steal cars for someone else.
The team at the lab discovers just enough silicone chip from the remains and septic sludge for Angela’s magic computer to pick up a fragment of audio from Benny’s digital recorder. In those few seconds, Benny is heard telling someone he’s not going to steal cars anymore.
That’s enough for Sweets to pull in Benny’s old boss again and accuse her of hiring cons to steal cars to supplement her income. She’s indignant but not stupid and refuses to say another word.
After another look at the bones, Brennan realizes the other mystery passenger in the car with Benny must have had injuries, too. A month has passed but Fuentes points out that X-rays might still show newly remodeled damage. Both Horatio and the repo owner submit to X-rays and both are ruled out.
Sweets, meanwhile, has been reviewing the notes brought to Booth by helpful Officer Fowler. He and Booth compare the dates of Benny’s parole visits with the dates of car thefts Benny is suspected of and realize the two coincide. Because Fowler is too slick to agree to be X-rayed, Booth asks him to come back to the Hoover, where he’ll have to pass through a body scanner. At the controls is Brennan who, after a couple of attempts, notices evidence of damage to Fowler’s head as well as embedded glass and metal under the skin. Case closed.
Hodgins celebrates Fuentes’ first successful case by cooking a Cuban dish for him in the lab. FYI, I think Angela would be better served if she stopped salivating over good-looking new interns and appreciated the amazing awesomeness that is Jack Hodgins. If she doesn’t want him, I’m next in line!
The other thread woven through this episode is Booth’s desire to take Christine, their invisible daughter, to church and Brennan’s pooh-poohing of the entire idea. Booth enlists Sweets, who offers up the tidbit that regular church going is said to be healthy. Brennan’s reply to that is to mention that 86% of holy water is said to contain fecal matter. Ewww.
A conversation with Fuentes, though, changes Brennan’s mind. Although he is an atheist, Fuentes wears a cross around his neck. He tells Brennan the necklace belonged to his father, whose religion was stolen from him in Cuba. He wears the pendant as a sign of respect, both for his father and for the freedom of choice, and because in order to choose, you must know what your choices are. Brennan Sees the Error of Her Ways and tells Booth he can take Christine to church, but she will also take their daughter to the Natural History Museum after.
As yet another Brennan Learns a Lesson moment, this one was less ham-handed than others, especially recently, but seriously — can we stop? Ever? We’re nine seasons deep, Bones. How about giving it a rest?