Bones is back, but first we’ve got to get the team back together, clear Brennan’s name, and put Pelant behind bars once and for all. None of which is as easy as it seems…When we said goodbye last season, hacker-genius Christopher Pelant had won the chess game and Brennan was on the run for murder. Poor Booth was left behind, not knowing where his love and baby were going or when he’d next see them.
Three months later, Brennan is now blonde, but still on the move with Max and Christine. Brennan tells Max to watch the baby for a while so she can go out and do something that Max doesn’t agree with. Angela is still trying to crack the forged security tape of Brennan, but can’t figure out the code in the triangle that Ethan Sawyer left. She’s butting heads with former Squintern, now Resident Forensic Anthropologist Clark Edison, who’s set up in Brennan’s office. She won’t play along with Clark’s binder system but Cam reminds her that if she wants to stay at the Jeffersonian and use the facility to help bring Brennan home, she has to cooperate with Clark. Agent Flynn is still assuming Booth’s responsibilities and questioning Booth weekly to find out if he knows Brennan’s whereabouts, which he doesn’t. Booth suggests that Flynn keep investigating Pelant, but since Pelant removed himself from the security tapes of B&B’s house, there’s nothing to investigate him for. Booth leaves to go to “lunch,” but really ends up going to a homeless shelter where Pelant is teaching Excel classes just to stare at Pelant all crazy-like. Pelant makes a phone call.
Later, at a body discovery site, Flynn tells Cam about Booth’s visit to Pelant and that Pelant is threatening to file stalking charges. Cam, unsurprisingly, does not seem concerned. This body was called in via anonymous (and voice changed) tip and has already been uncovered with the precision of an archaeology dig. Hodgins suggests that it could be Pelant framing Brennan, to which Flynn suggests that it could be Brennan herself. Why would you suggest that? Jeez! Angela finds a snowdrop flower and she’s sure that Brennan left it. Back at the lab, she talks about the snowdrop as a symbol of hope. Clark wants to talk about the body, which he’s determined is a Caucasian female who has never given birth (clearing the idea of the body being Brennan). Cam instructs Clark to send all the info about the body to Booth via email, including about the flower. Hodgins questions this, as they’ve been making sure not to email anything related to the Pelant case. Cam says that there’s no indication that Pelant is involved, so email it.
Angela walks and talks with Booth and tells him that she got a message from Brennan saying “Have Hope.” He’s upset and wants to know how she’s been communicating with Brennan for three months. She won’t tell him… she hasn’t even told Hodgins. Booth gets the email about the new case and the body matches Carol Morrissey, a high school guidance counselor who went missing ten years ago. On TV that night, Brennan watches news coverage about the body discovery, happy to see her friends, but wishing to see Booth there. Pelant is watching news coverage, too. He rewinds and stops on Angela holding the flower. Pelant goes to his computer and hacks into the FBI database, finding the email about the case. He looks worried as he downloads the email. Booth calls Cam to tell her that he discovered that Morrissey was the guidance counselor at the high school that Pelant went to. Booth is absolutely not going to that town to investigate, he assures Cam… he’s going to Atlantic City, and anyone who’s listening in on that phone call can hear that’s where he’s going. Agent Flynn approaches Sweets the next day to find Booth, but Sweets can only express his sadness at hearing that Agent Booth “is still struggling with his gambling addiction.” Ha! Nice cover. Sweets insists that there’s no way Booth will call him… Booth doesn’t want anyone lying on his behalf.
At Booth’s motel, someone’s walking past his window. On guard, Booth grabs the person as they try to enter, but the person lays Booth out as a struggle ensues. Fortunately, Booth quickly realizes that it’s Brennan. “I knew you’d come.” As Booth cuddles his daughter, Brennan drops some exposition about what she’s been doing for three months. She and Max have been looking into Pelant’s history and found out about his guidance counselor disappearing. Since she was a runner, Brennan combed the area for weeks looking for discolored vegetation. Booth chimes in an explanation about decaying matter changing the composition of new plants and Brennan’s impressed. Booth explains that he missed her so he read some of her books… which are thick… really thick. Aww. Brennan got a lot of photos before she called in the body, but she still needs to examine it for clues. But first, they’ve got to get moving again, before someone finds them.
Back in DC, Angela (on Hodgins’ advice to look at everything from a fresh point), has figured out how the digital signatures that made it look like Brennan was bribing Caroline Julian were forged. And she can prove it. It can’t be tracked to Pelant, but it can clear Caroline and get her back on the case. And if Caroline’s back, so is Sweets, who gets the approval to go through Pelant’s school records. He was suspended for hacking into the computers to change his grade, yet somehow got a sparkling recommendation letter from – surprise! – Carol Morrissey. Which was the last letter she sent before going missing. Sweets compares the letter to Morrissey’s other letters and finds that the style is much closer to than of another writer: Pelant. Logical, factual, not many adjectives. He can hack, but he can’t change his style.
The wounds on Morrissey’s body are giving the team trouble, though. There’s fracturing on the skull from a rock, but going in a weird wound track and not fatal. There are cuts, but to be made by the slight figured teenage Pelant, would have had to have been from a heavy weapon and they can’t find one that matches. Angela asks Hodgins for a favor: to put flowers somewhere for her. He realizes this is how she’s been communicating with Brennan and asks for the code, but Angela insists that if she’s the only one who knows, everyone else is clean and it has to be that way. Hodgins, like the good husband he is, trusts his beautiful, caring, and intelligent wife. When he goes to make the flower drop, Pelant is there. Hodgins confronts Pelant, telling him that if he threatens or hurts anyone on the team, he’ll kill him. Pelant spits back that he’s read Hodgins file that claims he’s “no threat.” “People change,” Hodgins retorts as he wraps his hands around Pelant’s throat and begins describing exactly what the body’s reaction to choking is. As Pelant smiles, Hodgins comes to his senses and releases him.
Obviously, the jig is up on Angela’s communications now and Flynn interrogates her and the rest of the team. Angela admits she was passing messages, but mostly it was just Brennan letting her know that she was okay. Hodgins admits that Pelant was there, but claims that they didn’t speak. Privately, Hodgins confides to Sweets about his altercation with Pelant and admits that he only stopped because he remembered that Brennan needed to come home. Sweets thinks they need to talk about the fact that Hodgins is now capable of murder, but Hodgins insists that Pelant wanted Hodgins to kill him… he could see it in his face. Sweets concedes that as valuable info. Flynn tries to get the next drop location out of Angela, but admits that Brennan won’t show now that Pelant cracked the code. And he’s right… Max shows up instead, informing a hidden Pelant that he won’t be leading him back to Brennan, but “if you want to follow me, I hope you like Mexican food because we’re heading for the border.”
At the lab, Cam apologizes to Clark for not realizing sooner that what he’s working toward (along with everyone else) will lead to him losing his job. He had thought of that. “What didn’t occur to you…,” Cam replies, “…was to do a bad job. I’ll never forget that.”
When Max doesn’t come back, Brennan and Booth discuss when to leave. Brennan tries to apologize for leaving, but Booth’s focused on something else. Meanwhile, Pelant is searching through vehicle registrations and stops on Clark Edison’s. “Should have stolen a car, Agent Booth,” he remarks. Back in hiding, Max is back and taking the car Booth brought, telling him to take Max’s, which is stolen and harder to track. Max is going to lead Pelant away and then kill him. After Booth leaves, he calls the car in to Agent Flynn, saying that Brennan is in it. Flynn remarks that he’s the second person to call that car in stolen. Oh crap. Crunch time.
Hodgins goes to Cam’s office and tells her that she needs to leave. And take Clark. And all the security guards. And what will Hodgins be doing? Catching up on the white binders in his office and not seeing any fugitives that might be coming into the lab. Cam, somehow, makes it happen and Hodgins and Angela reunite with Booth and Brennan and it’s glorious and beautiful. Brennan gets to work and she likes Clark’s binder system. Angela gives a flashdrive with proof that Pelant hacked into FBI email to Booth. (Hodgins later realizes that Cam purposefully had them send that email to trap Pelant… nice one Cam!) Sweets arrives, happy to see Brennan, but super-uncomfortable. Booth wanted him there to protect Brennan while he was gone. Aww… that’s a huge step for them. Booth takes the evidence to Flynn, who wants answers from Booth first. Booth shoot back at him, “How will you feel when it’s one of your friends Pelant hurts?” Flynn calls it in.
Brennan determines that the body was hung upside down, then gutted and bled. It’s not a sufficient explanation, though. She calls on Hodgins about the trace materials on the skull (and chastises him for not putting it in the binder) when it clicks: the tracks were the wrong way because she was snared while running. She hit the rock when she fell, but was then pulled upwards. There are still two tricky things to work out, though: Ethan’s code and the murder weapon. Brennan doesn’t think they’ll work it out; Ethan was so illogical and mentally ill by that point. Sweets says that they have to look at it as a scientist’s effort to distill human motivation into a logical construct and points out that there are three sides to a triangle, and three sides to Pelant: the side he shows the world, the inner killer side, and the side that wants one of them to kill him and stop it all. Angela’s face goes blank and Sweets thinks that he’s wrong, but that’s Angela’s thinking face… she’s working on it. On the weapon problem, Brennan points out that they’ve been looking for a heavy weapon, but really, Pelant was overweight as a teen – all the photos they have were digitally manipulated. Brennan spotted lingering symptoms of osteoarthritis in him. The weapon would have been much lighter and match the Japanese steel fragments Hodgins found. Max had met with Pelant’s grandfather – a WWII vet who was stationed in the Pacific and had some souvenirs from the time. Cam says that Caroline will get a warrant and tells Brennan, “You got him.”
At the shelter, Flynn and Booth arrest Pelant and Booth gets the satisfaction of cuffing him. Pelant is smiling when Booth enters the interrogation room, but his smile fades as Booth shows him a sword they found. To top things off, Angela cracks the code and finds out how Pelant inserted Brennan in the security video… the last straw clearing her.
Back at Casa B&B, the whole gang, Flynn included, celebrates. Flynn speaks up and announces that he’s relinquished control to Seeley Booth and is going back to Homeland Security where there are fewer “prickly characters.” But he wants to keep Booth’s chair. Caroline has an announcement, too: Brennan is no longer a murder suspect and can resume her duties at the Jeffersonian. Everyone’s happy, except Clark. Cam has a surprise announcement, too: it’s been decided that the Jeffersonian needs two forensic anthropologists, one for crime and one for serious archaeological work. Clark perks up: “I hate crime and love serious archaeology!” Brennan chimes in “I love crime!” so I guess that’s decided. Booth apologizes to Angela for being upset with her and thanks her for getting his family back. Aww… oh, wait, we’re not done yet? Booth is doing some laundry as a back to brunette Brennan comes and asks if he’s still mad at her. He insists that he’s not and she did the right thing, but she apologizes for how he must have felt. Aw, Brennan, you’ve come so far. They start to do it on the machine and… episode over, right? Right? Nope… Booth gets a phone call. Not a happy one.
Back at FBI HQ, Caroline meets them and explains that Egyptian reps have come to take Pelant. Well… not-Pelant. Asam El-Fayat. Which is what all his fingerprints, DNA, work history… everything… identify him as. He wiped his ID and created a new one somehow and the Egyptians are taking him home. Flynn says there’s nothing he can do. As he passes Brennan, Pelant hands her a flower. She slaps him and he mentions pressing charges. Caroline says he’s welcome to stay in the country and do so. As Pelant leaves, Booth asks Brennan what the flower meant. “Pain and grief,” she replies. He throws it away and herds her out. Flynn picks the discarded marigold out of the trash ominously. COME ON!!! Now you’ve got me thinking Flynn is a bad guy!
Definitely a satisfying return. We all knew that Brennan was going to have to be cleared in the first episode, but I’m really happy with how non-easy they made it, especially with the end twist of Pelant still being on the loose. I’d love to know if the kinds of things Pelant’s hacking are actually possible, though, because he’s seeming like an impossible to beat supervillain now. Most of all, I’m happy with the characterizations in this episode. From Angela’s fervent passion for exonerating Brennan to Hodgins’ “people change,” (I mean, really… that profile was practically a LIFETIME ago for Hodgins, he’s come so far since season 1) to Booth understanding that Brennan made the right choice and Brennan’s empathy for the effect that choice had on Booth. So happy to have the team back together, but seriously dreading the next time Pelant pops up in their lives.
What did you think? Yay? Nay? Were you happy that Brennan’s terrible blonde wig isn’t here to stay?