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'Bones' recap: Ghost busters

Season 9 | Episode 22 | “The Nail in the Coffin” | Aired Apr 21, 2014

When serial killer/aspiring Batman villain Christopher Pelant first told Brennan that there was another murderer out there — a “ghost killer” she’d never catch without his help — it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Bones to pull off a story about the serial killer who wasn’t. Sometimes there are no grand conspiracies to make everything make sense. Sometimes there are just a lot of killers with sad motives who somehow get away with it. That’s been the opinion of most of Brennan’s coworkers, but the harder she’s fought to give the Ghost Killer theory some credence, the crueler it would be if she were wrong. Brennan trusts her instincts for once, and Booth trusts her.

In her official partner evaluation of Booth — who is still up for promotion from the FBI — Brennan chalks up Booth’s intuition to his acute observational skills. That’s a strength that the two of them share, although the lab is less forgiving of instinct when it’s not backed by evidence. When Cam finds details linking their latest victim to the other Ghost Killer cases, she tries to keep Brennan out of it. Clark (Eugene Byrd) can keep things objective, and he’s already in charge of the case, but Booth fights for Brennan to be allowed on the investigation. Then Brennan just shows up at the scene anyway, because nobody puts her in the corner, unless that’s where the dead body is.

Thanks to a convenient genetic marker, Brennan realizes that the victim has to be a member of the McNamara family, last seen being incredibly rich and getting framed for murder by the Ghost Killer. Since Trent McNamara is dead, the body can only belong to his sister, Stephanie. This kind of high-profile name recognition sends the Deputy Director of the FBI straight to Booth, who will have absolutely none of these politics. He isn’t going to treat this case any differently or rush it along on account of the publicity. The deputy director thanks Booth for his integrity, so he’s probably hiding something.

Booth and Brennan visit the McNamaras’ stable, where Stephanie was last seen alive. In addition to some recent scuff marks on the ground, they find old scratches inside the door to the tack room, along with a fingernail. Someone was clawing to get out, years ago, and the DNA from the nail matches Stephanie’s. The gardener admits that Stephanie’s father used to lock her in the tack room as punishment. Brennan checks out the gardener’s bone structure (“Can I feel your mandible?”) and realizes that she’s likely Stephanie’s half-sister, making her an excellent suspect. Booth forces the SEC to turn over all of its investigations on the family, because today is one of those days when Booth knows his power.

Angela checks the McNamaras’ paperwork against the other cases and realizes that Stephanie can be traced to every murder location. She wasn’t the killer’s latest victim — she was the Ghost Killer. Stephanie took a fingernail from each victim and glued them all to her hands (enjoy your nightmares), and there’s only one nail that doesn’t fit an open case. It belongs to Maya Zinkow, a classmate of Stephanie’s who was murdered while they were in high school. Stephanie’s father raped Maya, so Stephanie killed her in a perverse attempt to get her father’s attention.

A teacher, Dr. Herman Kessler, was set up to take the fall for Maya’s murder. Kessler has just been released from jail after a 20-year sentence, and a quick sweep of his apartment suggests that he’s consumed with the case: Booth and Sweets find blueprints of the McNamara home, as well as the home of a congressman who served as the judge at Kessler’s trial. Based on the very fixed autopsy report, it seems like Stephanie’s father paid off both the congressman and the medical examiner to keep details of his abuse from coming to light. Booth figures that if Kessler killed Stephanie out of revenge, he’s coming for the congressman next.

Booth and Brennan pull up to the congressman’s immaculate mansion, where a fancy car sits in the driveway, door open. A single coffee cup is spilled on the pavement. Booth: “Looks like a struggle.” They’re too late to save either the coffee or the congressman, but they can at least use his body to identify the murder weapon as an old tobacco scythe. They track Kessler to an old tobacco factory, where he’s ready to hang himself. As he steps off the ledge, Booth shoots the rope, sending Kessler to the ground with possibly a broken leg but definitely no snapped neck. Marksmanship saved a life tonight, and it was good.

Back at home, Booth uses cowboy morality on Brennan: In the Old West, Kessler might have been a hero. It’s the same argument he made when her dad blew into town years ago. Booth just likes imagining a world where he could be a rogue bandit. He understands why people break the rules, but he’s never been able to disobey orders himself. If he gets this promotion, will he feel obligated to take it? He has been officially recommended, and he doesn’t seem nearly as upset by the job as he was last week, although that’s partially because he knows the FBI will let Brennan come along.

What do you think is in their future? Is the Ghost Killer case really all wrapped up? And whom can I talk to about getting a copy of Brennan’s long essay about her relationship with Booth?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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