Bones Recap: “The Past in the Present”–Home Sweet Home

“No wonder he went crazy. You can’t really turn people into equations.”

Christopher Pelant puts me through every emotion usually reserved for the NFL replacement refs. Over the course of the season seven finale, I yelled at the TV, cried, paced the floor, and hugged a pillow. I wish Booth could be that pillow.

We open on Pelant’s parole hearing, where he’s doing his best impression of a non-murderer. His lawyer, doing her best impression of Leslie Mann circa George of the Jungle, is convinced that Pelant should be set free, arguing that the Jeffersonian has no proof of his guilt. Caroline’s response: “This isn’t a court of law. We don’t need proof. That’s why I like it.” And that’s why I like you, Caroline.

I never tire of watching Booth and Brennan in legal situations, when killers are chained up just a few feet away. There are just so many reassuring glances. They know they’re safe together. Brennan presents the panel with a few photos of mangled body parts, which they discovered after cracking Pelant’s code earlier this season. Is that a bloody arm? Parole application DENIED.

Pelant’s innocent schoolboy act is convincing until B&B’s phones starts howling. Someone changed their ringtones. He looks over at them with crazy eyes and juuust a hint of a smile, and in that moment, Pelant becomes the most terrifying serial killer Bones has ever had. And they had a guy who ate people.

Today’s dead body shows signs of a wolf attack. Oh snap, the ringtones. Brennan recognizes an old injury and identifies the body as Ethan Sawyer, her friend from grad school. The two were conferring on the Pelant case. Ethan was a mathematical genius, and we all know it takes one to fight one, so it was only logical for Brennan to ask for his help—except for the tiny detail that Ethan was also a paranoid schizophrenic confined to a mental institution. This will not look good in court. Brennan knows that conferring with Ethan was both the rational and the irrational thing to do, and Booth understands. “Sometimes you gotta work a little outside the system, Bones. For a greater good.” If Bones were Grey’s Anatomy, he would’ve said that in a voice over.

At the mental institution, B&B watch old footage of Ethan as he yells about killing baby Christine. Booth is rattled, but Brennan just sighs. “Poor Ethan.” This is one of those times when her supreme rationality really does make her more compassionate. Where Booth senses a threat, Brennan sees past that threat because she so rarely is afraid. If Ethan is confined to a secure facility, then he isn’t a danger. That’s all there is to it. She trusts the system to protect her, and that frees her up to see the good in people.

The system failed her this time, though. A “computer glitch” helped Ethan escape, and Brennan is on the security footage from the night he disappeared. Angela spends the rest of the episode trying to prove that the footage was altered, while also acting as Brennan’s fake alibi, visiting her against Cam’s orders, and generally being as fierce and loyal as she’s ever been–even when the evidence piles up against Brennan. She had a clear motive and everything. Booth’s gut tells him that this is bad. I nominate “This is bad” for understatement of the night.

Have we ever seen Booth and Brennan look so helpless? They insist that they don’t want Pelant to change their lives, but he already is. The only thing he can’t change is their support for each other. Booth needs Brennan to know that he doesn’t think she did it, and Brennan, with the utmost generosity and rationality, says she wouldn’t blame him if he did. She’s even willing to go to Christine’s christening just to have some normal family time, and Booth so desperately wants her there too. But more than that, he needs her to know that she doesn’t need to change for him. He loves her the way she is. Seeley Booth ruins me for other men.

Brennan shows up at the Jeffersonian to pull an all-nighter in the bone room, and she looks so small standing there at the end of the table.

She’s there because she missed something—the hypodermic needle used to drug Ethan. Brennan thinks the oversight is due to her friendship with the victim, but she’s willing to hear Wendell’s opinion.

Brennan: Why do you think I missed it?

Wendell: Not because you’re the murderer!

Tell us how you really feel, Wendell. His answer is a bit too quick and nervous, but he insists that he really doesn’t think she’s guilty. Everyone should be able to make mistakes—and Wendell missed a faint cut mark on the skull. Brennan smiles. “Perhaps you’re the murderer.”

YES. Is it too soon to call this my new favorite Brennan moment? She’s so gracious. Her friend may or may not have just accused her of murder, but she turns the tables on him, makes a very deliberate point, shows him exactly how it feels, and does so respectfully, gently, and in joke form. Wendell has never found her more intriguing or intimidating. Brennan is so the bigger person here.

Next page: WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY

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