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Recap, Bones, Episode 7.04, “The Male in the Mail”

A retiring postal employee shows a new guy the ropes around the dead letter office. He explains that twice a year, they open up the packages that end up there. As the new guy opens up a gross, bloody package, Retiree snarks that he found a dead cat once. New Guy has him beat”¦ it’s a human skull, complete with an eyeball still in there, I think.

The case is a pretty boring, yet, predictable one. The team identifies the victim as Oliver Lawrence, an employee at a Ship N Print in Maryland. After finding out that he was originally a joint winner of a big lotto jackpot with four of his coworkers, Booth and Sweets bring them all in to interrogate them all. The only interesting part of this is that we get to see Ben Savage all grown up. Fortunately for my childhood memories, Cory isn’t the killer. The actual killer is the front desk guy, who was shipping magic mushrooms after hours and accidentally sliced open Oliver’s neck with a tape gun. I buy it. Those things are scary. And then he used the industrial paper cutter to chop the body up. Which is really just in there as an excuse to let Hodgins and Squintern Clark Edison play with medieval weapons to determine the murder weapon.

The real story this week is that Booth’s wonderfully cantankerous Pops visits to let Booth know that his father has died. Booth pushes his very conflicted emotions down the entire episode, snapping at everyone who offers him sympathy or assistance (including Special Agent Shaw, bringing Tina Majorino back to the show). Interestingly, Sweets says nothing to Booth about it, showing a shocking amount of tact for him. Brennan confides to Angela that she doesn’t know what to do for Booth and Angela advises Brennan to figure out what she can give Booth that no one else can.

Booth finally starts to open up a little when at home with his Pops. Pops is filling out some forms that Booth needs to sign, having been deemed sole executor and beneficiary by his father. Booth tells Pops that he doesn’t need anything from his dad”¦ Pops was his father. Pops finally breaks and tells Booth that he was just trying to remind him that Booth’s dad was his son, good or bad, and he’s hurt that he lost him. He’s disappointed that Booth is failing to look past himself and see that. Booth realizes that Pops has a point and signs the forms. Before he heads back to the home (he’s got a lady friend and it’s movie night), Pops wants to read a letter that the senior Booth wrote. It was to Pops and it talks about how he didn’t write a letter to Seeley because he knew his son wouldn’t read it. “If you can find a way, let him know I loved him”¦ He deserved a better father, a father as good as I had”¦ Thank you for raising him to be the man I could never be.” Booth has nothing to say and won’t make eye contact, but Pops is just glad he listened. Pops hands over a box, but Booth doesn’t seem keen on opening it. As Pops leaves, Booth struggles with his emotions.

Bones sad music plays and you know it’s time to get the hankies ready. Brennan asks Booth if he misses his father, if he’s going to open the box. She wants to talk about it, and acknowledges that she might say the wrong things, but they’re sharing their lives, so he can’t shut her out. She puts the box in front of him and reminds him that he does have some good memories, ones that he shared with her. “You deserve to keep those alive.” He opens the box and finds an assortment of memories that his father kept: his purple heart, a Father’s Day card from young Seeley, many pictures of him and baby Booth. Booth tears up as he finds the ticket stubs and pictures from the World Series Game. He smiles a bittersweet, teary smile as he looks at the seats he recovered last season.

What really strikes me, when the show’s writers give Booth excellent moments like this, is how much David Boreanaz has grown as an actor since the days of Buffy. Watching his kind of clipped, awkward scenes in the first season of that show compared to episodes like this or “The Hero in the Hold,” or even “The Pain in the Heart,” is a world of difference. Everyone in this show puts out amazing performances, but seeing his evolution is especially touching.

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. http://thatgirlcrystal.com

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