After 10 years, Bones has been around the block, and so has Booth. When he left his old job with the FBI last season, he told Caroline that there were still a few places on him that hadn’t been shot or broken, and he’d like to keep it that way — but look at him now. He’s chemically burning his own bullet wound while he bites down on a piece of wood that he just kicked out of a crate. That’s Booth for you. If he can’t slow down, then why should the show?
Booth is still very much in danger of dying, and since his fellow conspirators don’t care enough to help him bandage his injury (buying gauze is too risky; death before they’ll buy more gauze), he takes care of it himself. Their current hideout used to be a home photography studio, so Booth uses silver nitrate to cauterize his wound and stop the bleeding. Whatever you do, don’t think about the fact that Booth saves his life with science he likely picked up from Brennan, and don’t think about how they’d be dead without each other. Brennan is thinking about it for you.
Brennan “can’t imagine a world where Booth doesn’t come home,” so she keeps hope alive by throwing herself into the case. And as if her missing husband weren’t enough of a motivator, there’s also the fact that the Jeffersonian is apparently no longer considered the foremost forensics lab in the country. There are others! And they rank them! I can’t believe it took so long to mine this plot. Brennan pretends to blame everyone else, but in the end, she can only blame herself. She’s the one who quit.
In her absence, one of those other, lesser labs combed the apartment of Miller’s missing FBI partner, Richard Bannerman. They saw no evidence of a struggle, but they aren’t Brennan: She finds a finger tucked in the back of the freezer. (“Are you still doubting the Jeffersonian even after your lab somehow missed a severed finger next to a box of meat pockets?”) The print is a match for Bannerman’s fiancée, Chloe; it looks like her finger was sent to him in the mail. All signs point to a kidnapping, meaning that Bannerman’s suspicious activity before he went missing — he downloaded a list of every undercover agent in the Bureau — might not make him dirty. He could just be a man trying to save someone he loves. Sound like anyone we know?
Jared got in over his head with a crew trying to buy that list, hence the $2 million they stole from Victor Mosborian’s safe. Booth stepped in to ensure the list didn’t fall into the wrong hands — and save his brother in the process, though that obviously went wrong. This still feels like something he could have told his wife, but if he had to lie, at least it was to protect some vintage Booth values: his country and his family. And Booth and Brennan have a bad habit of making sacrifices for each other that neither of them actually want; it’s how they wound up denying their feelings for so long. Booth didn’t think he could count on Brennan’s support because he believed that she wanted to leave their old life behind. Which she did, for a while.
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But now that she’s back in the lab, Brennan’s resignation doesn’t feel like such a good idea anymore. She formally requests her old job back from Cam. “If Booth dies,” she reasons, “then I think being here would help. To have work to focus on. To be surrounded by friends.” Brennan has always buried herself in her work, but this time is different: She’s conscious of it. Brennan wants to be back at work not to avoid her feelings, but to channel them in a supportive community. We really are in season 11.
NEXT: She’s the best scientist at the Jeffersonian Institute. Who are you? NOBODY