There were two very excellent dynamics in play here, and the episode in whole was a complete juxtaposition to last week’s miserable “The Method in the Madness.” It even went so far as to contradict some of Brennan’s changes on the job, which I’ll get to in a minute.
Every since Zack was revealed as a serial killer in training two years ago (we don’t want to revisit that fiasco), we’ve been playing with Squinterns, a rotating bunch of interns with vastly different personalities. While at first the idea seemed illogical, it’s worked out in favor of the series, because things at The Jeffersonian don’t get stale. Just when you’ve had enough of Finn and his southern charm, for example, they bring in Fisher, and you wish to God Finn were back.
Due to a backlog of unsolved cases, Brennan brings in her five best interns to help churn out identities to the remains. We were treated to Wendell Bray, Clark Edison, Finn Abernathy, Colin Fisher and Arastoo Vaziri all working together in the same room, with Hodgins overseeing them. Immediately, they were certain of a competition for best intern, a new position opening and bodies were being identified left and right. The more obscure, the better. Only Vaziri hadn’t yet identified a set of remains. Here’s where the strange part with Brennan comes in.
Last week she was with everyone else on how the body they were identifying was a human body and deserved respect, blah blah blah. This week, it was all about churning out identities. She questioned Vaziri’s use of resources and he reminded her of something she taught him; if he couldn’t use the resources at The Jeffersonian to give the victim back his identity when nobody else would, then nobody would ever know who he was. Could he really leave him an unknown again? Would that be fair?
So we had a turning point in room. The Squinterns realized they should be working together as a team and remembered the bodies were people, with families. Angels began to sing. No, not really. But, it was that kind of moment. As they poured all they could into this puzzling homeless man, they discovered he was so much more. A veteran of the first Gulf War. Homeless from PTSD. Married with a son. Killed not by murder, but from rescuing people in the Pentagon on 9/11 after he was injured outside by flying debris and ran inside to help.
Like some sort of superhuman, he crushed his knees and spine by lifting items weighing upwards of 400 pounds or more to free the injured. When it was all over, he drifted off into the night where he died, homeless, of a bleeding punctured lung. Thanks to The Jeffersonian, he was buried a hero.
Needless to say, the story hit all of them in some way. What worked was our ragtag group of interns comes from such a diverse background. There were near brawls about religion and misunderstandings about being raised in the south and race and all of it fit in well with the circumstances of the investigation. We also learned where each and every one of them was on 9/11. Cam was a coroner in New York City and personally identified over 900 remains, and notified their families. Brennan spent two weeks tirelessly running on adrenaline searching for survivors at the World Trade Center, telling Booth she never once cried. She did to Booth.
It’s amazing what the memories of that day can still do to people, and the way it was incorporated into Bones was done in such a way that it didn’t alienate anyone or pass judgement, but let everyone realize it was okay to feel. Just feel. Hodgins, who loves a great conspiracy theory, said the one conspiracy theory he finally took away from that day was that a bunch of people did things for extremist reasons, and absolutely nobody deserved to die on that day.
If for every applesauce episode we get one where we solve old cases and bring closure to loved ones, Bones can stay on the air as long as Fox wants it to run.