“A Boy in a Tree”
In our Bones Retro Recap today, the case takes a little bit of the backseat this week as our team of Squints and Booth get some of the spotlight. The makings of the team becoming more like a family are started and we get to see Booth and Brennan cracking each other’s shells a little.
Victim of the Week is, as the title states, a boy in a tree. What makes this case unusual is that this tree in on the grounds of a prestigious Prep School, known for confidentially housing the students of many diplomats and high-ranking government officials. The Headmaster is keen to have this case considered a suicide, which is what it appears to be on the surface. Brennan, however is as always, committed to finding out the truth of the case. Thanks to a cochlear implant, they are able to quickly ID the victim as Nestor Olivos, the son of the Venezuelan ambassador. His parents are shocked at the possibility that he committed suicide and his mother approached Bones to show her video of the first time Nestor could hear after receiving his implant. A boy who received a miracle like that would not throw it away by killing himself, she’s sure. Brennan promises her that she will find the truth.
The investigation mainly focuses on Nestor’s roommate, Tucker Pattison, whom Nestor was supposedly in Nova Scotia with at the time of his death. B&B manage to catch him in his first lie when they realize that an email that Nestor sent to his parents was sent three days into his death. Tucker admits to sending the email, claiming that Nestor had left to meet a girl (who he wasn’t sure existed) and that he was just covering for him. When B&B are searching Nestor’s room, Booth spots a CD in the trash and finds a burned disc in the CD’s former case. On the disc is a homemade porn video of Nestor with a girl (who was apparently very real). The headmaster, unwillingly, gives over the girl’s name: Camden Destry. She denies knowing Nestor at first, but when confronted with the video evidence (and in front of her parents), she breaks down, crying on her mother’s shoulder, leading Brennan to question Booth about who the tactless one of them really is. When they investigate other homemade tapes from students, they discover that not only is Camden featured on one… her mother is, too. With Nestor’s roommate, Tucker.
After Tucker initially comes up with a story that Nestor was trying to blackmail all of them, and killed himself because he felt bad about it, Brennan notices something odd about the video of Camden. She had Angela’s magic screen zoom in and it’s clear that Camden knew that the camera was there… she rolls her eyes at it. The true story comes to light. Tucker was banging and blackmailing Camden’s mom (with her permission) and then said it was her turn, leading her to make the tape with Nestor. When Nestor found out, he was angry and threatened to out them to the headmaster. They drugged him and hung him on a tree to make it look like a suicide. The headmaster and head of security are fired, the kids taken in to custody, and Nestor is able to be returned to Venezuela and buried in consecrated ground.
In squint-land, Zach is having woman problems. He just doesn’t get women and worries that he doesn’t know how to please them, as well. He seeks out Hodgins for advice, who says that he prefers to keep their working relationship more intellectual. Next, he seeks out Angela, who says it’s really more of a guy to guy conversation. He tries to seek out Booth, who threatens to shoot him if he even tries to talk about sex to him. In the end, Angela takes pity and suggests that he explain to the girl that he’s interested in that he knows about sex, but not about love-making and that she should teach him. Zach thinks this is counter-intuitive, but Angela advises him to “reap the benefits of [her] sexual wisdom.”
Booth spends a lot of this episode showing one of the many chips on his shoulder his dislike of privilege. From the beginning, he is sure that this is a murder and urges Brennan to declare it one so that they can investigate. He’s much more short-tempered and easy to blow than we’ve seen in the previous two episodes, even getting annoyed when alarms go off as he enters the evidence area (he doesn’t have an access badge, they can’t let just anyone in, you know). He just knows that it’s murder in his gut, but in this case, his gut is definitely biased by his own personal biases. He just doesn’t like people who think they’re better than other people, he explains. But his own behavior displays his hypocrisy, most especially in the way that he regards and treats Zach in particular. Whenever Brennan or one of the Squints refers to themselves as crime-solvers, he is quick to point out that they are scientists and he is the crime solver. He thinks that his gut instincts make him better than the logic of the squints, whether he admits this outright or not. This Instinct vs Intellect conversation is one that will become a common theme throughout all seasons of Bones.
Brennan spends some time this episode trying to become more humane, as well. After being chastised by Booth to be a little more tactful with this parental notification than she was with the last (in “Pilot”), you can see that Brennan makes a real effort to be considerate and thoughtful to the Ambassador. When B&B inform her of the result of their investigation, Brennan takes the time to explain to the grieving mother, who was so worried that her son would never be able to grow up to be a good man, that he already was and that he’d died trying to do the right thing. Even Booth regards her words as an impressive effort.
The episode ends with the squints invading Booth’s Chinese place and his favorite booth (who else misses Heavy D as Sid, the Chinese place owner who knows what everyone needs?). He clearly delineates the territory: they can have the booth, that’s it; the rest of the place is his. Brennan joins him at the counter to let him know that she’s decided that what he calls instinct is actually a highly attuned, subconscious knack for reading body language and she is impressed at his skill in it. She vows to regard it more in the future. He thanks you, but shoos her away from his counter space anyway. As she leaves, she places an access badge with his name on it on the counter. Booth smiles, touched. He’s one of the privileged ones in the club now.