Bones 7.11 The Family in the Feud
Case of the Week:
A truffle hunter in West Virginia is hunting for truffles at night with his pig when they find more than they bargained for – a mostly decomposed body, hung up in a tree. Bones identifies the body as being in his 80s but when it gets back to the Jeffersonian, Cam thinks he is in his 40s, based on the musculature. The body is identified (partially due to his 6 toes) as Tug Babcock, a 65-yr old man – both Cam and Bones are [uncharacteristically] wrong. The victim died from a gunshot wound that shattered his pelvis and major blood vessels. Hodgins and Angela go back to the scene to look for the bullet (Hodgins actually just wants to hunt for truffles). They find the bullet (lodged in a tree near where he was found), a vein of copper in the ground, and a truffle.
Booth and Brennan go to visit the victim’s hillbilly family. They had assumed that he was out camping and hunting as he would go away for several days at a time in the past and come home with a bunch of dead animals. Once they learn of his death, they all blame the Mobley family. The Mobley and Babcock families have apparently been fighting since the 1890s – murders, assaults, lawsuits, etc. No one knows the real story, but a Babcock married a Mobley and they both were poisoned – both families blamed the other.
When they approach the Mobley homestead (a shack in a virtual junkyard would be a better description) the family patriarch, Norbert, greets them with a rifle. Booth manages to get the gun from him, but in the struggle it goes off, thankfully not hitting anyone. Once Booth takes the gun, he starts trying to punch Booth. When Norbert finally calms down, he tells Booth that people have been sneaking around on his land, digging holes.
Hodgins determines that a company had a deal with Tug to mine the copper on his property, but only after his death. The FBI brings in the owner of the company, Mr. Timmons. He admits to having a deal with the victim but denies killing him. His business is bankrupt, so he snuck onto the land to dig up some copper to use to secure a loan for his company. During these nighttime excursions, he saw a blond woman walking around in the woods, shooting a gun. He then saw her get into a blue pick-up with a missing tail light.
Daisy and Angela examine the bullet from the tree closely to figure out what kind of gun it came from and realize it’s covered in bone dust – but not from the victim! Daisy pieces together the fractured pelvis and finds a hole in the pelvis – the kind made by a biopsy needle. It turns out the victim had terminal bone cancer and had only weeks to live. Meanwhile, the team can’t find any evidence of another victim. They date the bone dust and realize that the bone is 125 years old. The bone must have been *in* the bullet, rather than from another victim. Apparently the bullet was filled with ashes from Norbert’s grandfather’s body….which is really more than a little weird (the company that makes them is called Ashes to Ammo).
Booth tracks down the blond with the truck with help from the local police. The girl, SueBob Mobley, denies that she shot Tug Babcock – she was only firing warning shots, to scare off bears. She finally admits that she was on the Babcock land to see Junior – they are in love, but can’t tell their families. Booth interviews Junior (with his mother, Claire, acting as his attorney) and he admits to his relationship with SueBob. Junior tells his mother (who actually is a lawyer) than his grandfather gave him his blessing, plus money for a ring for SueBob, so he definitely didn’t kill him.
Meanwhile, instead of working, Hodgins is cooking his truffle. The problem is that it tastes *really* terrible. He analyzes it and finds it’s full of arsenic, cadmium, lead and other toxic heavy metals. They assume that the contamination is from mining at the turn of the century. Daisy surmises that maybe the Mobley-Babcock feud started because both were poisoned by something in the environment, rather than purposely by each other.
The suspicion turns to the victim’s daughter, Claire – if Tug really was trying to end the feud, then all the money she was making helping neighbors suing the Mobleys would dry up. They find the ash-filled bullets at Claire’s house, but she says she collected them with other stuff, after winning the last lawsuit. They really think Claire did it, but how to prove it?
Hodgins is still hung up on truffles and realizes that there is only one truffle patch on the land – near where the body was found. If they can find truffle spores on her clothes, then it would put her at the crime scene. When her clothing tests positive, she admits that they fought and she killed him because they were one lawsuit away from having the money to escape the area.
Daisy, who is fascinated by the family story, does some digging and realizes that the original couple died from heavy-metal toxicosis due to a contaminated stream that flowed past their cabin – not murder after all. So the entire 100 year + feud was based on a tragic misunderstanding. SueBob and Junior make it their mission to reunite the families.
Little Christine gets suspended from the Jefferson daycare due to Brennan’s constant harassing of the staff. They interview multiple nannies but of course none of them are good enough for Brennan. Booth tells her that he’s going to make the decision and he does. Much to Brennan’s dismay, however, Booth recruits her father, Max. Brennan’s wounds from her father leaving her as a young child are still too fresh and she’s uncomfortable leaving the baby with him, but she agrees to give him a chance.
It turns out that Max is actually pretty good with babies, but Bones freaks out when he doesn’t answer his phone and all but sends out a SWAT team to find him and Christine. Turns out that Max had taken her to the park and lost his cell phone along the way. He pleads with Bones to give him another chance but she fires him anyway. Later, he comes over to drop off a toy of Christine’s. He manages to get Brennan to talk to him and he apologizes. They have a heart-to-heart and he tells her that he doesn’t want to lose her again. She tells him that she wants him to be part of Christine’s life and invites him to stay for dinner. Brennan hands him Christine so she can help Booth cook. Another longstanding family feud put aside…
It’s probably my western Pennsylvania upbringing – West Virginia jokes were almost a sport – but I found this episode to be very entertaining. Some of the funniest lines that we’ve heard all season kept me laughing this week. The plot was interesting and the personal issues wove into the story much better than they have in recent episodes. The reveal that the whole long-standing, deadly, family feud was actually due to a tragic misunderstanding was a nice twist, although I wish that any character other than Daisy had been the one to figure it out (you know I’m a Daisy hater!). It was also great to see Brennan finally bury the hatchet (for good?) with her father.
Memorable Quotes (lots this week!):
It’s a congenital anomaly common in Egyptian nobles and heritage chickens – Bones
Well, since he’s neither nobility or a chicken, getting an ID and the correct age should be a piece of cake – Cam
Mawma is a supermarket girl – Junior Babcock
Their cannibalism was responsible for some excellent recipes that are still in use today – Brennan
How ’bout you let her [Brennan] cuff me? She’s reeeal pretty – Norbert Mobley
It was a university…you can’t really graduate Phi Beta Kappa from [shrink] camp – Sweets
How is barn burning different from arson? – Booth
One’s a misdemeaner, and the other’s a felony – Tug’s grandson
Can’t you get your government funded asses in gear and find me something? – Caroline