Bones Review: Who's In The Box?

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I'd like to start out with an administrative note. Miranda Wicker has begun her busy season, and I'll be taking over the Bones reviews for the New Year. I hope to get to know all of the regular Bones fans and that we can have some fun chatting about the series.

On Bones Season 9 Episode 12, Brennan found herself haunted by Christopher Pelant, and much like the other dreams featured in series this year, she's having nightmares within nightmares.

Booth doesn't understand why she can't let his last words go. He wants to support her, but he's not having an easy time of it. None of her colleagues are able to bridge that gap.

What's in the Package?

When a box appears on their front door, nobody could have imagined how close to home it would hit for so many at the Jeffersonian. I do have to point something out. Brennan said, "Someone took great care in packaging these remains." Really, Brennan? If the box had been tipped just slightly to the left or right they would have been completely scattered. 

It was mentioned more than once how carefully the bones were wrapped in cloth, etc., but the head was just hanging out with hair all over. Granted, whoever delivered it probably did the posing, but still -- saying it was carefully done drove me crazy. 

At the top of Brennan's mind was the female serial killer she was certain was out there, and through the power of screenwriting the case of the girl in the box, sailing champion Lana Brewster who was found after her boat sank 18 years earlier, it appeared that the case shared similarities with other cases Brennan believed were actually killed by the serial killer.

Things got really interesting when Lana Brewster was further linked to an old acquaintance of Hodgins from his prep school days. 

Hodgins is such an interestingly written character. To have lost his entire fortune, he still believes he has more than he needs in life and is blessed beyond so many others. Revisiting his past and the life he came from, realizing how he could have ended up and the people he could have missed meeting had he chosen a different path without his love of bugs seemed to give him an appreciation for a man he once really disliked.

Trent was in love with Lana, and the most likely candidate to have murdered her. The only person who didn't think he did it was Hodgins, and he was one of the only two relatively certain Trent didn't kill himself when he was found with a bullet wound to his head.

Was I right that Steph, the woman with Trent, was his sister? At first I thought she was his wife, but after his death, as she talked about Daddy and how Trent was the last male in the family and how it was better that way, I thought, "OH, I've been wrong here." I also wondered if she might not be the serial killer. She knew both victims this hour, probably knows how to fence and seems to have issues with men thanks to her dad. 

Additionally, Kelly Rutherford is a well-known actress, and having a bit part without the potential of it going longer seems unlikely to me. So there's my theory. Steph is the serial killer -- especially because of the ties to Hodgins and his past and how many other potential people they can bring in with that material.

I really like stories that don't end happily on Bones. It keeps the story fresh and reminds us that it's so much more than a procedural. I'm not going to lie; I also greatly appreciated the lack of gore. Somehow I always find myself eating while watching Bones, and sometimes the more grizzly images can be nauseating.

The entire episode felt very emotional and family oriented -- Hodgins appreciation for his life and care for a man he had long since forgotten, Booth putting his faith into Brennan's hunches about the serial killer, Edison's breakup and Brennan letting go of some of her control over things at the lab by allowing Cam to do things her way. 

By the end of the hour, even though nothing was resolved and the overall feeling was one of sadness, I felt as if I was wrapped in a warm blanket, with friends.

Do you think we've already met the serial killer?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (56 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Hated the episode. There is this "serial killer" that no one knew about until Pellant (the worst story arc of all time) pointed it out to Brennan and then she starts behaving like a spoiled five year old stomping around screaming that everyone should believe her in her PTSD state of mind. Then, all of a sudden, this "serial killer" who no one saw any evidence of existing was the cause of a murder that just so happens to be delivered to Bones' doorstep and the next victim is also killed by this same person. Talk about forcing a story. I was hoping that it was going to be proven that it was all a mind game of Pellant but it seems the way things ended that the writers are going to be jumping the shark with a continuation of the worst arc by taking a thread from it and expanding on the utter mess. I've read where Boreanz wants off the show at the end of the season -- I think he has the correct idea. The show has run it's course. Each episode is getting harder and harder to watch but I've continued (not as dedicated) out of habit. Personally, the habit is about to be kicked.


been a fan of bones since it first started but when saw pelant again i thought oh no please no more pelant just ridiculous!!!!!!!!

@ barbara

Rest assured, he's dead. It's only the mind games he played with Brennan that live on. And, that's pretty realistic. With what he put her through it she'd carry it a very long time. It's natural for her to want to make sure every last possibility of any damage he may do is erased off of this earth.


immortalfrieza:I kind of feel sorry for the people that work on this show sometimes….they have to live with the ‘damned if you do damned if you don’t’ fans a lot in recent years Are you the same person you were 10 years ago?
Are you the same person you were 5 years ago?
Are you the same person you were last year? I would hope not. People change all the time it’s part of life. Sometimes it good sometimes it’s not so good. How can she have the ‘physical evidence’ unless she looks. She’s looking at the bones of the people associated with the numbers Pelant gave her, looking for the evidence. I totally think she would drag out the bones and look. Yea she got a little lost and now needs to step back and get some perspective which, with a little push, she is doing

@ What?

No, but my entire personality doesn't do a complete 180 at random after years of consistency like the writers are doing with Bones. The real Dr. Brennan would not even have considered Pelant's statements valid until she had reason to believe them. At most she may have examined the bones thoroughly for a few days at most and if she didn't find anything would drop it until she got actual evidence to go on. This entire episode is people basically telling her exactly that. Besides, Bones hasn't really changed that much over the years, and one thing that's always been consistent for her is the need for actual evidence above everything everything she does.


Was anybody else's reaction to seeing Pelant at the start "GOOD GOD NO!!!!". The guy is dead and the writers still can't avoid bringing him out. The last couple seasons it appears that the writers just LOVE derailing Bones' entire character to make the plot work. This so called serial killer? The REAL Dr. Brennan would've decided that Pelant was blowing smoke until she had real physical evidence to the contrary and would never allow her emotions to interfere with her work. She would never grow obsessed with finding a killer she had no actual evidence even existed.


I really enjoyed this episode. And when Pelant made mention of serial killer before he died I wondered if they were going to bring it up again. Brennan has a somewhat ‘addictive’ personality before Booth she buried herself in her work and in the previous episode (before the break) she even said if she lost Booth (and/or Christine) she would bury herself in her work. I think Booth had genuine concern for her well-being and health and going behind her back might not have been the best thing but I don’t blame him.
The storyline I really liked was Hodgins. Carissa I agree with the way you described the way Jack handled revisiting the life that he no longer has with grace, sweetness and style it made me want to hug him
The part I disliked (that a lot of people seemed to like) was the “You should call me Temperance” statement to Clark. I just don’t understand it. Only 3 people on a regular basis calls or have her Temperance or Tempe her Father, her brother and that ex-lover Sully. We can all count with only our 2 hands the number of times that Booth has called her Temperance (apart from introducing her during investigations) because he has his nickname for her. Angela (her best friend) calls her Brennan and most everyone else calls her Dr. Brennan so I thought it odd and really out of character for her to say that to Clark (I know I’m in the minority)


The killer is the woman gardener who confronted Jack.

@ Libby

Half of my bids are with her too, the other half with trent sister.

@ annihilator

i agree with you. i think its def one of these 2... or maybe both?

@ annihilator

I think the sister killed Trent but the gardener is the serial killer, with each victim having some connection to Trent.


This was an interesting episode in many ways. I too think Booth is concerned that Brennan is "losing herself" in her quest of the Ghost Killer but in the end he believes in Brennan. His concern for her is that be wants her to believe in herself. Pelant succeeded in planting doubt on Brennan, something that in the past would not have happened. She is more vulnerable, and in that regard she has become more human, all part of her evolved nature since the series began. The episode opens up a plethora of possibilities for future episodes and the story arc is intriguing. We are also beginning to see more and more about the back stories of the supporting cast, and I think that is what will help this series to its goal of a tenth season - expanding the show's horizons, while keeping true to the core of the show - B&B and their evolving relationship now that they are married. I do still enjoy the lighter moments and hope this does not signal a total move to the dark side. Bones has always been a show that delicately balanced the macabre with the everyday.


I almost gave up on the show when it went all One Tree Hill on us but this storyline sounds interesting.

@ Mike

I gave up on Bones. I've watched sporadically after Brennan and Booth had their baby, got married and then the last episode before Christmas was beautiful and I realized how much the show has changed overall. It still has some goofy installments like all series, but it's back from the weird space it had drifted into a while back.


show annoyed me. her husband goes behind her back, to his ex-lover. No one believes her premise, and she is dismissed by her collegues. Suddenly everything is Ok with Brennan, and Booth believes or is just humoring her. She is why the team is in place and functional, why depict her as weak. weak leader, weak in theory. I can only guess they want to play this like Palant and visit this story line in the future, but I did not like it with Palant and I do not want this to be dragged out.

@ anon

I didn't see it that way. Brennan can be so stubborn -- to the point that she loses sight of all else. Booth and her friends were more worried about her getting lost because of what happened with Pelant than that they didn't trust her hunches. It was incredibly strong of Brennan to give control to Cam, and showed growth of character, something she does very slowly.

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Bones Season 9 Episode 12 Quotes

Now put on that wrinkled shirt and get to work.


Angela: I never knew you sailed.
Hodgins: Yeah, I was a rich kid, you know. We had to sail and date at least one girl named Muffy. It's in the charter.