In a seemingly abandoned building, a couple searches through a mushroom mound, looking for a treasure hunt clue. They definitely find something, but it’s not treasure, it’s a human skull.
At the scene, Hodgins is super excited about the mushrooms. Brennan does a quick ID of the victim as female, Caucasian, mid-20s, and Hodgins says that the mushrooms indicate she’s been there 20-30 days. Due to the area, Booth guesses that it was maybe a homeless woman, but the pristine teeth, manicure, and expensive shoes say otherwise.
Facial reconstruction IDs the victim as Rebecca Pierce, a producer on Citizen’s Court. Booth and Brennan interrupt a taping and inform Judge Trudy (who reported Rebecca missing) about the murder. The suspects include:
-Baliff Griff, Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend. Judge Trudy says they had a good relationship, though, and Griff says that he was getting palimony from Rebecca for their dog, Iris, so now that she’s gone, the checks will stop, too.
-An unnamed angry litigant who blamed Rebecca for losing her case and lived two blocks from where Rebecca was found. She has a rap sheet with a first degree murder charge, but her alibi clears.
-Gordie Rand, a guy that Rebecca met on a dating service who stalked her and sent her creepy bound Barbie pictures. He alibis out, too.
On further examination of raw footage from the show, Judge Trudy becomes a suspect herself. Trudy kept showing up drunk and Rebecca banned alcohol from the set (after getting an accidental gavel to the face, ouch). She lawyers up and alibis out.
Suspicion goes to interim assistant producer Jill Roberts, who was sneaking booze into the set for Trudy. Booth implies that Rebecca treated Jill like crap and they find a scarf in her apartment that possibly matches some fibers under Rebecca’s nails.
When the cause of death is narrowed to hanging and dander from a dog is found, they find indentations on Rebecca’s jaw that match spikes from a dog collar and Griff is brought in again. Iris’ collar matches and it turns out that Iris the dog is dead. Griff went to pick her up one day and Rebecca had left her chained up on the porch. He found her hanging by her collar from the railing, guessing the dog must have gone after a squirrel. He couldn’t let Rebecca get away with that, so lured her to the location and killed her the same way Iris had died.
Booth brings a sleeping Christine home from daycare and tells Brennan that the director wants to speak with them about Christine biting another kid. Brennan doesn’t think that’s possible and wants to know what kid. When Booth says it was Emma C, Brennan jumps into victim blaming, pointing out that Emma always cries during “Itsy, Bitsy Spider” and questions whether Emma has a history of false reporting. When someone dares to say that biting is normal, average, childhood behavior, she rebuts that Christine couldn’t have done it because she isn’t average. She even goes so far as to have Angela hack into the daycare’s system to compare a picture of Emma’s bite to a mold she made of Christine’s teeth. Angela can only give Brennan odds, and they’re not in Christine’s favor, but Brennan is totally in denial land.
She finally lets it go and doesn’t lose her cool with the director and Emma’s mom. Booth spots a mark on her neck and realizes that Brennan only chilled on it because Christine bit her, too.
Hodgins, with a new haircut, jokes about selling gourmet, body-grown mushrooms as a side business and Angela explains that they had to mortgage the house to pay some final debts from the whole Pelant situation. Later on, Finn approaches him, angry that Hodgins used the last of Finn’s hot sauce. Hodgins says it’s no big deal, he’ll buy some more, but Finn says that was the last bottle of his dead granny’s sauce. Oh, Hodgins, you dun goofed.
Trying to make up for his mistake, Hodgins runs the sauce through the mass spec, but one compound is stumping him. Finn says to just let it go, the secret ingredient is love, and Hodgins can’t replicate that. Later, though, Hodgins calls Finn in to enjoy some fried catfish and the completed sauce. Hey Mikey, Finn likes it! It tastes just like his granny’s! Hodgins discovered that the secret ingredient was actually an herb known as guinea grass, common to swamplands in western Africa. Finn says that his granny used to trade with an herbalist in the woods.
Hodgins and Finn agree that this hot sauce is too good to keep secret and scam their way into a southern food restaurant to get the chef to taste it. She’s hesitant, but Finn assures her it’s worth it, men have fought for this sauce, his cousin lost a hand. She tries it and likes it. She offers a 60/40 split to her with her name and branding. Hodgins rebuts with 80/20 their favor and it’s called Opie and Thurston’s Hot Sauce. She agrees because she is a terrible negotiator.
The case was just too sad and made me need to take a break and cuddle with my puppy. Brennan was just insufferable this episode with the victim blaming of a toddler and insistence that Christine is a special snowflake. But the Hodgins/Finn plot definitely was the highlight of the episode, especially Angela’s insistence that the secret ingredient really was love, the love that made Hodgins spend so much time and effort to make it up to Finn.