|The Spark in the Park|
|Season 9, Episode 11|
|Air date||December 6, 2013|
|Written by||Emily Silver|
|Directed by||Chad Lowe|
The team works to find out why a promising young gymnast was murdered, while Cam confronts an identity thief.
THE CASE: The Scene of the Crime: A couple find a dead body and take pictures and selfies, so they will be able to talk to the police about it. They leave their umbrella over the victim, and it is struck by lightning, causing a small explosion. The Victim: Amanda Watters, a high school aged, incredibly skilled and competitive amateur gymnast currently on a break due to an injury. Her body shows intense signs of physical abuse, and the word on the street is that she was considering quitting the sport altogether. Primary Suspects: • Dr. Leon Watters, Amanda’s father (played by Richard Schiff). He’s a brilliant scientist, easily lost in the world of numbers and unable to quite connect with Booth during questioning. Brennan is able to interpret his statements and is convinced he is not the murderer. But Watters’ seeming detachment from Amanda is something Booth can’t get his mind around. • Amanda’s gymnastic coach. He has high expectations for his athletes, but insists he didn’t hurt Amanda. • Ellie (played by US Olympian gymnast McKayla Maroney), Amanda’s main competition, and the person who spotted Amanda during her last fall, causing some broken bones. Ellie is intense, stating that Amanda would want her to continue competing. She also tells B&B on the sly that Amanda was considering quitting gymnastics and had turned to drugs. • Mr. Howes, father of Rachel Howes. Rachel and Amanda became close friends (and sometimes co-drug doers). When he found out about Rachel wanting to quit playing the cello, he hit her, causing her to fall down the stairs. Rachel tells B&B that she and Amanda had agreed together to quit their mutual competitive tasks. The Case Progression: Cam, Arastoo, Hodgins, Angela and Cam continue to examine Amanda’s remains in the Jeffersonian lab. There are several breaks and spots of remodeling in her skeletal structure and also signs of a struggle when she died. Brennan visits Dr. Watters, surprised to find out he has erased all of the mathematic formulas from his chalkboard. She worries he is contemplating suicide, removing his work from his life. He doesn’t deny it. She convinces him that by doing so, he will essentially frame himself. He asks her to find out who killed Amanda. Sweets is able to trace some of Amanda’s drug activity, and he questions the drug dealer, who insists he liked Amanda (but not in an illegal way) and points Sweets toward Rachel. Rachel is covered in bruises when Booth talks with her and her parents, but they all come clean about what happened the night she told them she wanted to quit playing the cello. Their truths are ugly, but sincere. Angela and Hodgins restore a plastic card found on Amanda’s body, and identify it was an access card to Dr. Watters’ university. It shows access on the evening Amanda died, though Dr. Watters insisted he hadn’t seen Amanda since that morning. Booth and Brennan bring him in to the FBI for questioning. Booth can’t believe he doesn’t remember what he ate or if he saw his daughter that evening. Brennan jogs his memory, and Dr. Watters realizes Amanda did come to visit him and bring him dinner…also realizing he likely dismissed her and caused her pain. Brennan comes to his defense, which angers Booth. An amazing scene all around. Arastoo notices signs of strangulation, and Brennan realizes that is how Amanda was killed. Angela recreates the scenario, and Brennan identifies the murder weapon as a balance beam. She and Booth return to the gymnasium, where Brennan finds traces of vomit and part of Amanda’s tongue. Booth arrests the gymnastics coach. When he insists he is innocent and that any person on the team would have access to the building the night Amanda was killed, Brennan and Arastoo reexamine the remains. Brennan realizes the killer had one hand weaker than the other. The Verdict: With this information, Booth and Brennan bring Rachel and her parents back into the interrogation room. Her father immediately assumes he’s the suspect, but B&B question Rachel. When they present the evidence they found in Rachel’s car, she admits she was mad at Amanda for not quitting gymnastics liked she promised she would.
THE SQUINTS: The Booth/Brennan/Sweets dynamic really is magic when it’s done right, and this episode was so well done. It’s always two against one with those three, and the scene in the diner was such a fast paced example of that, leaving me (and Sweets) blinking as to what exactly happened and who agreed with whom. Major props to Boreanaz, Deschanel and Daley for that scene. I also liked Sweets work on the case. I liked that Hodgins and Angela were focused on the case, and it was fun to see them do little scenes together. I loved Hodgins “Excuse me for loving my job” line at the beginning, and I’m really (petulantly) glad that Brennan’s emotional strength in this episode had nothing to do with Angela. As far as Cam and Arastoo…the story could have tipped over into sappy and hamfisted, but it worked. It was an interesting (presumable) end to the identity theft arc — if it was just to teach Cam a lesson on the vice of vengeance, that is one long, drawn out lesson! So I’m wondering if there will be more to that story. Can’t see how her striking a suspect at the FBI building has zero ramifications though. Right?
BOOTH AND BRENNAN: First of all, Emily Deschanel for all of the wins and any subsequent wins. She is just such a good actress, so beautifully and purely good, and when that radiates through Brennan, I can’t take my eyes off of the screen, even when tears fall down my cheeks, like they did in the last scene of this episode. (And major kudos to Richard Schiff in his work in this scene as well. So very special.) I loved that Brennan really worked this case — in the lab and in and out of the interrogation room with Booth. I loved that the emotionally intellectual connection she felt with Dr. Watters as a suspect was heartfelt and not clinical. As for Booth, the bickering banter between him and Hodgins (and Brennan) at the crime scene was so delicious, I could have eaten it up. Just perfect old-school stuff, and I loved it. Like I said before, I thought Booth’s actions primarily felt like old-Booth, which in some ways was delightful…when he gets all riled up, it gets hot in December! But at this point in his relationship with Brennan, when he kind of rides roughshod over her opinions, it chafes. We know that an upset Brennan upsets Booth. There was definitely a moment in the interrogation room where Dr. Watters being upset made Brennan upset, which made Booth upset. But the rest of the episode didn’t really prove that Booth supports Brennan’s feelings or “gut” on this case or other matters — he wanted it to be Dr. Watters and had zero interest in her thoughts on it. To be fair, maybe she shouldn’t have spoken up in the interrogation room. But on the flip side of the fairness coin, she’d already expressed her opinion to Booth that he was being too harsh (in the office and in the SUV), and he continued his ways, making it fine for her to continue hers. That he still referred to Dr. Watters’ (and Brennan’s) way of thinking things through as “freakazoid” stings, especially after all this time. That he gets itchy when surrounded by smart people is in character, but if Brennan is learning lessons in their relationship, it would be nice if he would not necessarily include her in every diss of smart people. That he said she was right (at her prompting) soothes the sting a bit.
- Temperance Brennan - Emily Deschanel
- Seeley Booth - David Boreanaz
- Jack Hodgins - T.J Thyne
- Angela Montenegro - Michaela Conlin
- Camille Saroyan - Tamara Taylor
- Lance Sweets - John Francis Daley
Intern(s) of the WeekEdit
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