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'Bones' recap: Say crackphone again

Season 9 | Episode 21 | “The Cold in the Case” | Aired Apr 14, 2014

If Booth and Brennan are still looking for a pet, I’d like to submit the dog that plays fetch with a piece of skull. The skull belongs to a body in an idyllic neighborhood swamp — and if Hodgins and Angela are ever looking for a new home, I’d like to submit any neighborhood where the phrase “idyllic swamp” isn’t oxymoronic. Domesticity looks a little different when you work for the Jeffersonian.

That’s certainly the case for Cam and Arastoo (Pej Vahdat), who are pressed to reevaluate their relationship when his parents come to town. Cam is worried that Arastoo’s parents won’t approve of her — the non-Iranian, non-Muslim black girlfriend — and that he’ll be forced to choose between his family and his love. She doesn’t even want to go to dinner with them, but Arastoo essentially schools Cam into accepting the invitation by challenging her to prove that she isn’t scared. This is an adult debate by adult scientists.

The team uses bone marrow to identify the victim as Madeline Papadelis, but the evidence is wonky. The bugs are giving Hodgins three different times of death, and none of the bone fractures make sense until Brennan puts together the pieces: Madeline was cryogenically frozen. Her 6-year-old daughter, who recently passed away from cystic fibrosis, is currently being kept at a facility called Cryonova. Let the record show that Brennan doesn’t want this for her future, even though it would be the doctors’ honor to preserve her brain. (Brennan: “I’m sure it would.”)

She’s got bigger concerns right now. The FBI is piling old case work on Booth, asking him how he would have handled similar scenarios. They’ve even got Sweets helping out, profiling Booth’s work with the Army. Booth seems to be up for a promotion, and according to Sweets, the job in question might be at a new field office in Germany. Brennan is excited — Booth deserves to be recognized for his great work, and if their daughter gets to be a multilingual world traveler in the process, that’s just fine. It’s not even a question that they would uproot their lives for each other, even if he seems hesitant to do it.

Booth at a desk would deprive the world of Booth in the interrogation room, and that’s a serious loss that should not be taken lightly. He’s all business when questioning Madeline’s ex-husband, who objected to their daughter’s grueling cystic fibrosis treatments. Parents: If they’re not freezing their kids, they’re freezing out their kids’ girlfriends. Dinner with Arastoo’s parents is already stage-five awkward when his mother starts into the old not-getting-any-younger routine. When she comments that she’s surprised Cam likes Arastoo’s Persian cooking, as cultural differences can often be a challenge, Arastoo has had enough. He insists that love is all that matters, and leaves the table with Cam as she trails behind waving goodbye.

Cam never expected that dinner to be rainbows and unicorns (although Hodgins honestly thinks unicorns sound kind of dangerous, which is great mostly because it means Hodgins thinks about unicorns), but Arastoo had high hopes. Brennan offers the kind of comfort she does best — the rational kind that comes from experience: “I believe on some level our parents are supposed to disappoint us, so we can surpass them and improve the species.” Brennan would know. She also knows how to use work to avoid her personal life, which Arastoo has been doing all night. He’s found something: The fractures in the skull were caused by the insertion of a microphone, called a crackphone, that doctors use to listen for cracking during the cryogenic freezing process.

The crackphone caught Michelle, one-half of Cryonova’s husband-and-wife doctor team, threatening someone to stay away from her husband. Then again, Michelle never would have preserved Madeline with that kind of care. Her husband would. Noah developed feelings for Madeline, who appreciated and believed in his work. When she didn’t reciprocate, he killed her, hoping to revive her in 10 years’ time, when everyone she loved was gone and she had no choice but to learn to love him. Noah has either never seen Frozen or has seen it one too many times.

Back at Cam’s apartment, Arastoo’s parents have something more to say. Years of experience have led Arastoo to expect his mother to be strict, but what looked like an interrogation is actually just curiosity. Arastoo’s parents are impressed by Cam’s bravery and accomplishments. He just had to let them finish what they were saying at dinner. To be fair to Arastoo, though, it helps when curious questions are paired with the occasional kind word. Hopefully everyone will smile a lot more as they try to convince these two to marry each other. Cam needs some Scotch now.

But the real question of the hour still belongs to Booth and Brennan: What are they going to do about Germany? Booth’s gut is telling him not to trust this job, if it’s even offered to him. They’re asking too many questions about his military history. Brennan reminds Booth that he doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do, but he isn’t so sure. Booth is big on duty. The last time the Army came calling, he went. Then again, the last time the Army called, he didn’t have anyone waiting for him. Now he does. If he’s about to start carrying the weight of the world again, then let’s hope Brennan can keep him from giving in to it.

How do you think the end of the season is shaping up? What will Booth and Brennan do about the job offer? Is there a wedding in store for Cam and Arastoo? And please also share your thoughts re: Hodgins’ opinions of mythical creatures.