BONES 10×09 Debriefing: “I Got a High B in Chem Lab!”

bones cast s10

After taking last week off due to Thanksgiving, Bones is back tonight with its 199th episode. In order to justify David Boreanaz’s directional turn next week, Booth (Boreanaz) had to deal with traffic school and as a result, Aubrey (John Boyd) partnered up with Brennan (Emily Deschanel).  Meanwhile, Wendell (Michael Grant Terry) started dating his (now-former) chemo nurse, Andie (Shalita Grant).

But let’s talk about “The Mutilation in the Master Manipulation” after the cut.

Apologies for any typos you find! I promise they’ll be gone by morning. It’s been a long day.

THE CASE || Randall Fairbanks, a college psychology professor in his early 50s is this week’s victim. Even though there are barely any remains when we open the episode, there’s enough evidence to determine height, but not ID the victim.

Angela (Michaela Conlin) is able to show where the rest of the remains likely are, as they were in a dumpster route, so Aubrey, Hodgins (TJ Thyne) and Brennan go on location to find them. The skull turns out to be easy to find, as it is literally caught by Brennan after a couple of kids’ attempt at human bowling.

Angela eventually IDs the victim, despite the incomplete skull, thanks to Cam’s (Tamara Taylor) tip that the victim was biracial (as the DNA shows).  Randall Fairbanks (David L. King), the aforementioned professor, was apparently on sabbatical for the last couple of weeks.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Brennan and Aubrey then go to Fairbanks’ home. The hydrangeas in his garden catch Brennan’s attention, as some of the ones on the bottom are pink (when they should be blue) — as Aubrey notes, the pH of the blood affected it — and the soil is soaked with it, making it the possible murder site.

Also there? A trio of old ladies, who comment on how there were unusual screams often coming from the house. Fairbanks’ neighbor is also a bird watcher — something to be noted. One of the bird-feeders has a  camera that Brennan asks for.

Wendell and Hodgins, alongside Aubrey, further investigate Fairbanks’ home. For starters, Hodgins confirms it is the murder site (and is impressed by Aubrey’s suggestion as to how to find time of death using the absorption rate of the blood). Hodgins and Wendell also find that the garage is the place where the murderer dismembered the victim – there is plenty of blood and bone fragments in the floor and nearby tables – and a beautiful kitty in a cupboard. Aubrey finds a tablet inside the victim’s house with some videos of the distressing screams.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

The lady on the video turns out to be Tabitha Coleman (Shanna Collins), one of his grad students, and the screams weren’t real — they were all part of a experiment. Fairbanks was researching blind obedience. His subjects were told they were administering a quiz to a person in the other room; for every wrong answer, the participant in the other room get a shock. The shocks would also escalate in intensity: the highest one could be enough to kill. The catch? No one was in the other room, it was all prerecorded, but the subjects didn’t know that and this was traumatizing to them; some showed remorse.

Later, Wendell finds multiple stab wounds in the vertebrae — which means the left ventricle might have been punctured, causing him to bleed out. Based on some marks on the sternum, Brennan is able to determine that whatever penetrated his rib cage was able to go through his entire torso, from back to front.

Angela and Hodgins meanwhile find another possible suspect from the experiment subjects’ pool: Alex Heck (Grant Harvey), someone who had sent threatening emails to Fairbanks. He is not the killer, however, but a perfect example of what Tabitha mentioned earlier: he thinks he’s killed someone innocent and doesn’t know how to live with that. He also reiterates that this experiment has unleashed an inner beast inside him — the right circumstances can bring out the worst in people.

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(c) FOX

Back in the bone room the next morning, Brennan and Wendell find some remodeling (from around two years ago) in the lower left margin of the mandible and the sixth and seventh rib — the mandible one, particularly, has a color variation and the procedure was likely not performed in the US.

Meanwhile, Hodgins, who has been executing Aubrey’s idea to find time of death using simulated sun on the hydrangeas (to erroneous results, so far) decides to reenact a nighttime scenario in his ookey room and gets it right: time of death was 8 days and 14 hours ago. This will also allow Angela to look into the pictures from the bird feeder at around that time.

Wendell meanwhile determines the remodeling procedure was done in Brazil, where the victim parasailed a couple of years ago with another grad student, Victoria Andrews (Chastity Lynn Dotson). She recently came back to the area to sell her sculptures, including a sword-like one that matches the particulates Hodgins found as well as the sternum wound. The picture was also taken in Fairbanks’ yard, but turns out, the swords were a gift. When she is brought in, she admits to having had murderous impulses when she was dumped but that trashing his lab (and getting expelled) helped her get over it.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Wendell finds a female bite mark in the radial and scaphoid, while Angela finds evidence in the camera that Tabitha was in Fairbanks’ house two hours before he died. When Aubrey interrogates her and asks about possibly being jealous of Victoria – maybe because she didn’t get credit in her studies with Fairbanks, like she did? – and about the fighting the next door neighbor heard, Tabitha explains how she went into the house to perform her own study. She wanted to spray her perfume in his bedroom, to see whether Fairbanks would become more attentive or not; he caught her and they fought because she didn’t have her approval — she wanted credit, to be recognized for her accomplishments.

But it is back at the lab where Hodgins and Cam further the investigation. A new delivery (the left hand) shows a deep cut in one of the fingers, where Hodgins found most of the trace. The first thing that came up was antifreeze (which he also found in the right hand, too); the rest of the trace seemed consistent with cat food. Thus, they realize that whoever killed him was trying to kill Skinner, the cat (by making him ingest antifreeze). Thanks to some X rays, Brennan is also able to deduce that the cat ate an endangered bird.

So, the next-door neighbor – Fancie Von Mertens (Miriam Flynn) – did it.

Fairbanks caught her trying to poison Skinner; he tried to take the poisoned can of cat food from her (and cut his hand in the process). During the struggle, she bit him and then she pushed him, causing him to stumble backward into the garden sculpture, impaling himself. They also have the saw she used to dismember him, with blood on the blade.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

She just wanted Fairbanks to put a bell on Skinner, as she was trying to protect the bird.


Overall, a really interesting case. I liked how they slowly kept getting body parts from different dump sites, and how each of them ultimately held some evidence that ultimately helped. What I found most interesting was Aubrey taking over Booth for this episode: he proved to have smart ideas and to be a good interrogator. His dynamic with Brennan was every bit as great as it’s been so far — she even complimented him!

WENDELL || Last time we saw Wendell, he had recently lost someone close to him who was also going undergoing the same clinical trial — and it affected him greatly. Tonight’s episode found him in the last of those treatments. He flirts with his nurse — they agree to go on a lunch date.

It is all very cute — including their kiss with Foreigner in the background — but it is after they sleep together that Wendell’s demeanor changes. Andie keeps talking about how it feels like they’ve known each other forever and about their connection, whereas Wendell noticeably clams up. While he was all smiles on the first day, he was distraught for most of the second day.

My guess, before he tearfully opened up to Andie, was that he was thinking about his fallen friend and his own mortality — how he doesn’t want to get close to her for her to see him die, if the worst happens and he isn’t in remission anymore. She is tough (her story about her aunt is a good example) and determined to make him see he does not need to be alone.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

I love the chemistry between Andie and Wendell. It felt natural, and I like they are giving Wendell a love interest. They were so cute together, before he had to confront his fears, but her determination sold me on their long term chances. (I truly hope they are good!)

OFFICER STOP AND GO || Booth’s storyline was a mere justification for David Boreanaz’s need to prep the big 200th episode, but it was still really amusing. Officer ‘Stop and Go’ seemed to judge him at times, and it cracked me up.

The funniest part might have been when, after being debriefed on the case thus far, Booth decides to resume with his traffic school test and starts to banter with Brennan about what a sign means. He eventually goes with what his wife says, but it turns out what he was going to initially answer was right. (“You’re supposed to be a genius!”) I loved Booth and Brennan’s bickering about this — Brennan’s incredulity was awesome, but I loved some of Aubrey’s reactions (“Is this going to turn into a fight?”). Hee.

That eventually bleeds into the last scene, when Booth gifts Brennan with a traffic sign flash card– he finally has something to hold over her head! Their banter about who is a better driver is adorable — her argument is that she is and the state of Virginia agrees. She also admits to having driven at 83mph in an interstate before… and Booth tries to mockingly arrest her, holding his handcuffs and all.

(Heh, pretty sure I can figure out how that ends.)

Based on smiles and laughs alone, this might have been one of my favorite excuses they’ve made up so far so that David could prep to direct.

Odds and Ends

  • Props to Hilary Graham — this was her first episode but I wouldn’t have been able to tell had I not known.
  • I hope that human bowling video went viral in the show’s universe. That was a fun sequence.
  • Loved the Nicaragua reference when looking at the hydrangeas.
  • So many great quotables in this episode. Aubrey had a bunch of one liners early on that cracked me up — especially since his Chemistry knowledge came in handy. His fist pump after proudly saying “I’ve got a high B in my Chem lab” was cute.
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    (c) FOX

    Before I forget: Skinner, the cat, was adorable. I want one. Kitty!

  • Booth’s “No, you’re just supposed to nod. Eventually, she’s going to tell you what it means.” in response to Aubrey’s “Was I supposed to know what it means?” was fun, if only because I noticed the exaggerated nodding there. Booth knows what he’s doing.
  • I liked the shorthand between Brennan and Aubrey at the end, while Booth was confused.
  • Booth’s celebration upon the course completion was fun. Brennan’s reactions as she witnessed it, even moreso.
  • Andie asking if it was okay to kiss Wendell in the lab — she is obviously new around here, ha.
  • “Fast and Furious” vs. “Slow and Serious” — which driving style do you pick? I know that I was just very glad to have a callback to their driving styles again.
  • Not specifically related to the episode, but how about that 200th promo, am I right?
  • In other 200th-related things, this infographic is pretty sweet. Props to everyone involved — it’s amazing. (You can download a pdf here.)


… is a young graduate student that has been way too passionate about television ever since she was little. While she insists she doesn’t have a specific type of show, they all usually have strong but flawed lady characters, some derivation of the stubborn friends-in-love/friends-to-lovers trope, and they all make her yell at her tv a lot. She just wishes she had more hours in the day so she could actually write about this.
You can usually find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and at cassidy at

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