All the hype threatened to raise expectations unfairly high, but Bones delivered with an intense, compelling episode Thursday night, the first installment of its sniper story arc.
I loved the symmetry of "The Bullet in the Brain." The introduction of a new, murderous foil for Booth dovetailed with the end of the Gravedigger, who went out in epic fashion.
The first five minutes leading up to the opening credits were awesome, plain and simple.
Pushing Sweets' buttons like a true puppet master while offering no remorse for her monstrous acts, Deirdre Lovejoy's incarcerated child killer is as creepy as a TV villain gets.
Just as she arrived in court for her appeal, her head was blown off by an unknown gunman. The effects were such that I recoiled in horror even when I knew it was coming!
The Bones producers openly admit having fun with gross-out gags to open episodes, but the demise of Heather Taffet was all-time. Not just gory for the sake of it, but terrifying.
With the image of her headless corpse spewing blood outside the courthouse burning in our brains, viewers (and Sweets) tried to shake off the horror and make sense of it all.
Should we be glad Taffet is gone? Hodgins clearly was. Others had mixed feelings, or two conflicting thoughts at the same time. Cognitive dissonance, as Sweets informed us.
Regardless, the Gravedigger as the "victim" provided a surprisingly thought-provoking element to the episode as Booth made it his mission to track down this gun-for-hire.Thanks to the Bones spoilers we've posted for months, we knew it was a sniper played by guest star Arnold Vosloo. In that respect we were steps ahead of our FBI hero.
Anyone who might've wanted Taffet dead was a suspect at the onset, including Max Brennan (Ryan O'Neal), who also stopped by. His alibi was being drunk ... naturally.
There's no way Max has the skill to pull this hit off anyway, Angela later concluded. It was a 1,500-yard shot from an apartment whose location she's able to triangulate.
The head hooker found in the tub was nearly as gruesome as Taffet's corpse, and shed new light on our sniper. This was no vigilante justice, a la Dexter. Just personal.
After paring down the list to elite snipers, Booth singles out the wrong one at first, but soon realizes that his man can be none other than his own mentor, Jake Brodsky.
They come face to face when Booth learns of a tract of land Brodsky made under the name of Seeley Booth. He did this to lure Booth out there, for reasons unknown.
When they meet, he denies involvement, and doesn't really explain how Booth ties into this, although when he takes off running, that sort of implies he's responsible.
After a chase through the woods, Booth separates his shoulder and sprains his ankle after Brodsky blows up his own trailer (!) but still has a chance to take him out.
He doesn't take it. As Brodsky said, almost tauntingly, he won't do it if he's not 100 percent sure. Did Brodsky's denial, however bogus, plant just enough doubt?
The killer escapes, and will surely be heard from again.
It was a little odd that Booth and Evil Booth met face-to-face soon, and some of the details leading up to it were dubious, but the episode as a whole was strong.
Naturally, Good Booth was going to err on the side of caution, especially for a man he knows and wants to believe the best in. But he's probably regretting it now.
We're already looking forward to seeing this creep's next move, and for him to eventually meet his end at Booth's hands. But how many more will die before that?
A few closing thoughts and observations on this episode:
- Should Angela have questioned Hodgins' morals when he says he's happy about the shooting, given what he went through personally because of Taffet?
- I love how a confused Max flat-out asked what's going on with Brennan and Booth. It's as if Ryan O'Neal speaks for nine million Bones fans collectively.
- Perhaps our favorite scene? Caroline helping Sweets snap out of it. She had a bunch of great moments this week, but none better than the last.
What did you think of last night's Bones? Comment away below!