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Bones Retro Recap 1.09 “The Man in the Fallout Shelter”

It’s time for the Christmas quarantine episode already? Yay!!! It’s like”¦ Christmas!

The on-screen text tells us it’s 6pm on December 23rd and if you didn’t already know something bad was going to happen from the plot description on your tivo or Netflix, you should know by the countdown. Angela is trying to harangue Brennan into going to the company Christmas party with her. Brennan is not down for it. She’s more interested in a skull, but eventually agrees to leave in 20 minutes. In a case of great timing, Booth comes in with a case… there was a body found in a fallout shelter; it looks like a suicide, but Brennan says it’s not on one glance at some pictures and tells him to bring the skeleton in and she’ll prove it. He has it already and some guys wheel it in behind him. Brennan asks Booth to escort Angela to the party since she’ll be a little while.

Up in another part of the lab, Zack has made a voice-activated robot and Hodgins has makes vodka to spike the eggnog with. Later, Brennan works on the body as Brennan finds tickets in the pocket and a bullet in the skull. Booth comes up to get away from the party and wants to know if Brennan has looked in the suitcase yet. She doesn’t want to because she doesn’t think it will contain relevant information. Brennan puts everyone to work as Angela comes in and demands that everyone come to the party so she can kiss them all, including Brennan, “in a festive, non lesbian manner.” I guess she doesn’t get her Christmas wish, because in the next cut, Zack is sawing through the bone for some core samples. Hodgins is drinking eggnog, good supervisor that he is. Particles from the bone fly up into the vents and the lab goes into a biological contamination shut down. Hodgins pushes Zack and himself into the shower.

A CDC official teleconferences in to let the team know that the contaminant was Valley Fever, a potentially fatal airborne toxin. And since Hodgins might have inhaled spores and exhaled them all over everyone, they’re under quarantine until they know if any of them are carrying it or not. Everyone is pissed and the blame game starts. CDC people in Hazmat suits come in to give everyone doses of shots and pills and let them know that sleeping bags will be delivered; they’ll be there at least until Christmas.

Zack and Hodgins are bunking together and Hodgins laments that he was supposed to go to Quebec with his gorgeous girlfriend. You know, like a real Christmas. Zack tells him that a real Christmas is going to Michigan and chopping down a tree and celebrating with 40 people who all love you and are happy to see you. Oh, Zack, how do you fall so far later on? Dr. Goodman and Booth are sharing quarters, too, and Booth is a bit loopy from the injections. Dr. Goodman remarks that he is Christmas at his house for his wife and twin five-year-old daughters. Booth reveals that he has a kid, too: Parker, who’s also five. He and Parker’s mom weren’t married, so his parental rights are “vague.” Angela and Brennan are sleeping together in Brennan’s office and Angela asks for help making Christmas for everyone. Angela wonders what the guy’s story was; two tickets to Paris, a wedding ring they found sewn into his pocket. She wonders who the girl was, what happened to her, whether she ever knew. Brennan knows exactly what to do for Christmas and jumps out of the sleeping bag to go work solving the murder.

They discover that the man in the fallout shelter was Lionel Little and that he had accidentally gotten a girl pregnant in 1959. Not just anyone, an African-American woman, against the law at that time. He was planning to take her to Paris where they could be married and raise their child. To finance the trip, he sold many of his valuable coins to Gil Atkins (owner of the fallout shelter he was found in). Looks like Gil got greedy and killed Lionel to take all his coins.

Throughout the episode, the juxtaposition of the faithful Booth and the atheist Brennan is brought up. While the rest of the group decides to make and exchange gifts, Brennan abstains, and it’s revealed that her parents disappeared shortly before Christmas when she was 15. Her brother, Russ, 19 at the time, was taking care of her and had found their Christmas presents hidden. Thinking it would add some normality, on Christmas Eve he put the tree up and put all the presents out. When young Temperance came down, she thought that her parents had come back. She refused to open any of the presents, causing Russ to think she was rejecting him.

This episode also features one of the first times Bones made me flat-out bawl (and still does every time). As Tori Amos’ version of “Have Yourself A Merry Christmas” plays, the team’s families (and Hodgins’ girlfriend) come to visit. Brennan watches as there’s a crowd for Zack. Hogdins kisses the girl through the glass. Booth touches hands with Parker. Angela touches hands with her dad (a member of ZZ Top. She warned them they might recognize him and that she didn’t want to talk about it). Hogdins touches hands with the girl. Goodman touches hands with his kids. Zach touches hands with everyone. I hate how this scene makes me cry.

They figure out that the girl who Lionel was going to meet was named Ivy Gillespie, and as Brennan tracks her down to an assisted living facility in Maryland, Brennan also finds something curious: one penny. The penny turns out to be extremely rare and worth over $100,000. Lionel never revealed the best part of his collection. As the CDC people give the all-clear and everyone rushes out, Brennan stays as an older African-American woman and her granddaughter arrive. Brennan sits with Ivy and Lisa and Ivy explains that she gave birth to her and Lionel’a daughter in 1960, raised her, got her to college, nursing school. She died 8 years ago and Ivy took over raising her granddaughter, who wants to be a doctor. Lisa laughs this off, saying she can’t afford it. Brennan shows Ivy the tickets and Ivy is touched. That’s what Lionel had promised her; she thought the worst of him. She tears up and Lisa thanks Brennan. Brennan says she has something even better and hands her the penny. Ivy asks what could be better: “You gave me back my life.” Brennan replies, “There’s something you ought to know about that penny.”

After stopping at Wong Fu’s for a bit to meet Booth’s adorable son, Brennan heads back to her office. As Tori Amos plays again, she pulls out a box, which has some wrapped presents. She opens a card from her parents and holds back tears. She opens a present and smiles as she sees what it is, but we never see.

Wow. The past three episodes have all been ones that were etched into my memory. It’s amazing that they were all in such close succession to each other. Within the first half a season, Bones had already cemented itself as something unique. A procedural with humor, with bite; most importantly, with heart.

By Crystal Coleman

Florida girl living on the west coast. During the day, I consult in social media and community management. I have a really cute puppy (Elphaba) and a British husband (I keep him for his accent) as well as an unhealthy relationship with parentheses.

2 replies on “Bones Retro Recap 1.09 “The Man in the Fallout Shelter””

I will never understand why they got rid of Zack and embarked upon a manner of intern rotation that similarly never worked on House. I was done with this show when they offed Vincent. You can’t just dick around with the cast instead of writing plots.

I actually don’t mind them getting rid of Zack (since they weren’t evolving his character a whole lot) and I can see the minor ways in which they led up to that twist, but it was designed to come out of the blue and make no sense and that’s what I bristle against. The shock for shock’s sake.

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