Who can turn a case of mistaken identity into a tale of compassion, sacrifice, and the compulsion to protect those one loves the most? Bones can, and did, with “The Turn In the Urn” … all while showcasing three particularly extraordinary performances, several poignant messages, a completely different way to identify a murderer, and finally the oldest and most expensive murder weapon in Bones history: a 4,000 year old chalice.
Once again the significance in the messaging of this week’s Bones episode was conspicuously displayed through the interactions of the murder suspects as the case unfolded, and then cleverly mirrored in the subtle yet intimate subtext involving Brennan and The Avengers.
Though adding dimension to the tertiary characters–the squinterns–has been a theme this season, “The Turn In the Urn” used Finn Abernathy (Luke Kleintank) as springboard for three singularly outstanding performances. Emily Deschanel and Tamara Taylor both shone gold in their executions of empathy and compassion in their scenes supporting Finn through his broken relationship with Michelle. Guest star Tiffany Hines, who plays Cam’s adopted daughter and Finn’s girlfriend, however, delivered the most heart-breaking break-up we’ve seen in a good long while.
As the messaging and these three extraordinary performances are intertwined, we’ll discuss them together in a moment. First, let’s look at the case.
Before our episode even began, the disgustingly bloated and nearly unrecognizable three-week-old remains of recluse billionaire Todd Mirge (John Sloan), a hedge fund manager, rare artifact aficionado, and benefactor of Brennan’s digs in the Middle East and Africa, were found in the locked safe room of Mirge’s mansion. Cause of death was assumed to be a heroin overdose and no foul play was suspected. As it was Mirge’s house, the Church Falls Police Department assumed the remains were Mirge’s and released the body to Mirga’s mother, Drina ‘You-May-Sit-In-The-Section-For-Whores’ Mirga, who promptly cremated her son at the cheapest mortuary she could find, and then took over his estate.
Teased in the previews as a potential triple homicide, “The Turn in the Urn” focused on one victim, one killer, and one 4,000 year old murder weapon.
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Each of these elements are extraordinarily confounding at the outset as nothing at all is as it seems. The victim? Not Mirge at all, but his heroine-pushing concierge. The killer? Not Mirge’s felonious Gypsy mother, Drina ‘What-Are-Those-Horns-On-Your-Head, Pretty-Boy’ Mirga (Joanna Pacula). Not even Todd ‘I’m-A-Cocky-Bastard’ Mirge. Not even the poised and visually stunning Satima ‘I-Didn’t-Fence-the-Chalice’ Gupta (Anjali Bhimani), curator of Najjar Antiquities.
How the hell did this all happen? Well, Mirge had anonymously sequestered himself in a Costa Rican rehab center for three weeks to kick a heroin addiction … so he was MIA and assumed dead. Mirge, who uses women like paper cups and purchases multimillion dollar antiquities by proxy at the drop of a hat, also has his very own personal concierge and doppelgänger, a Mr. Daniel ‘Drugs-R-Us’ Barr. Yeah, a concierge, just like five star hotels have, but this concierge, or, lifestyle manager, is just for the one guy.
As a side note, Booth is predictably disgusted by Mirge’s entitled attitude and so are we. The nerve of some people (!) … though Mirge points out that the public doesn’t give the wealthy enough credit for their philanthropic activities, like, um, bank-rolling Brennan’s foreign digs? Yeah. Hm. He does have a point, darn it all.
Booth elsewhere is maddeningly fixated on seeing a Flyers game. He was goofy at times, to say the least. I about passed out when he picked up The Slaughterer’s Chalice at the museum. Time out for Booth! Though … this scene in the museum did bring back fond memories of another evening spent at a museum by these two, a night when they agreed that what’s theirs is theirs. And now it’s until death do us part. So, you go ahead and be goofy every once in a while, Booth. That’s how we know you are secure in your relationship.
Okay. Since we mentioned Booth, lets address some of his seemingly uncharacteristic behavior of late. This season has brought some startlingly serious events and themes. These Bones episodes are intense, rife with action and pregnant with passion and sentiment. More recently , however, we have seen a Booth who at times comes off as uncultured or goofy, as mentioned above. Silly, childish, you know what I mean.
We have to remember that Booth is married and happy now, content. Romance doesn’t disappear altogether, but intimacy brings with it a level of comfort that allows committed people the freedom to let their freak flags fly without fear of rejection or derision. One’s partner is one’s home (thank you, Brennan), one’s soft place to fall, the conferrer of grace despite one’s shortcomings. Forever and for always. Be it joy, sorrow, fear, rage, or bliss, this is where he can bring it knowing that he will be received with love. It’s a beautiful thing. Messy, but beautiful.
That being said, Booth’s mockery of the 4,000 year old Slaughterer’s Chalice defied believability for his character. Booth has a great deal of respect for Brennan and her work. He may have kept that hidden for a while in their first season–though I suspect he did it mostly to goad her into proving her wrong; this is Booth we’re talking about and that is his superpower–but we know he has always respected her. That’s what was missing in the final scene of “The Turn in the Urn.”
What would have made more sense to some (me in particular) would be if Booth had teased Brennan by almost touching the chalice. If he’d danced around it, poking at it, always dangerously close but never touching it. THAT is the Booth we know. Brennan could have then flattened him, landing him on the ground from where we’d hear him weakly proclaim, “I’m O-Kay!” Just a thought.
I digress … where were we? Oh, yes, a case of the faux Mirge …
Turns out, the dead man is Daniel ‘You-Want-I-Should-Get-You-Some-Dope’ Barr, Mirge’s hapless concierge and drug buddy who was in the safe room, unbidden, stashing heroin for his and Mirge’s private welcome home party from rehab. With friends like that … Shesh!
So, the Jeffersonian team does all kinds of scientific mumbo jumbo and discovers that Barr had been shot two weeks before his death and, even more interestingly, had all manner of rare particulates lodged in the contusion to his occipital. Hodgins identifies these particulates–crystal, silver, gold, and narwal tusk–as those only found a thousand years ago and only in the Hetao Plain of Inner Mongolia. Wha? This points the team to the legend of The Slaughterer’s Chalice (no, it’s not a real thing), a rare artifact that had been missing for 300 years. What’s more, the chalice, once fought over by a dozen empires, dates back 2018 B. C. That’s over two thousand years before Jesus was in diapers. So – this $50+ million artifact was used to conk Barr on the head and kill him. Wow.
Evidence leads Brennan and Booth to question everyone, but no one is looking like their guy. Booth likes Mirge for the kill. Brennan likes Mama Mirge.
Plot twist … Mirge is brought in to answer for the gunshot wound and confesses to the murder after putting his face through several transformations that tell us he’s figured something out. At this point, Mirge’s actually becomes a sympathetic character. Maybe he’s not a complete douche after all.
But that’s too easy, says Booth, of the confession. Intuition is Booth’s super power; he knows a stinker when he smells it and Mirge is far too cocky and shameless to give himself over that fast. You go, Booth.
Hodgins uses a tube from Archie Bunker’s living room exhibit at the Jeffersonian and identifies 100 carats of micro diamonds and lacquer melted into the pores of the bone matrix. Angela identifies the combination as that from some million dollar finger nail polish she’d read about being auctioned away to three buyers including Beyoncé and Mirge’s girlfriend, Sarah ‘Brain-Surgeon-In-My-Spare-Time’ Metzler (Christie Ann Burson).
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On a personal note, have you ever found yourself giving Bones-inspired advice to someone? Well, I have, and it goes something like this: “Carolina, sweetheart, if you ever kill someone, don’t hide it, call the police right away.” Thank you, Bones, for helping me keep my kids out of prison. #ValuableBonesLessons #Truth
I digress once again. Where were we? Oh, yes. The damning million dollar fingernail polish …
Herein lies the message about sacrificial and protective love. Though it seemed that Mirge had commitment issues when it came to women, he really loved Metzler. He figured out that Metzler killed Barr and took the fall for her. Sarah, on the other hand, was attempting to protect Mirge from the anti-friend and concierge, Barr, who planned to sabotage Mirge’s sobriety. Both Mirge and Metzler were convincingly convicted in their explanations. It was clear they loved each other.
In a more subtle display, both Brennan and Cam express their, dare I say, maternal affection for Finn as he mourns the end of his relationship. Brennan blew us away with her impromptu query, “Have you wept yet? Have you cried for your loss?” Wow. Motherhood, her deep and abiding symbiotic love with Booth, and, perhaps even her recent experience with Wendell have transformed Brennan into someone willing to address the complex emotional needs of those she cares about … and that includes her squints.
Astounding as her bold yet gentle and compassionate confrontation of Finn was, even more impactful for yours truly was her identification of what Finn was experiencing as a loss. Labeling it such somehow legitimized his pain and elevated it to something that should be respected and mourned. People don’t acknowledge their losses enough in this world.
As Brennan pointed out, failing to process the emotions loss inspires is physiologically unhealthy. The body needs to discharge from the shock of amputation. Animals in the wild do it or else they die. Humans are the only ones who stuff, and swallow, and deny how we really feel … and that can have fatal repercussions. So, dear Boneheads, feel free to get down with your bad self and have a good cry when you need to. After the rain comes the rainbow. So bring on that healthy rain. #ThatIsAll
Cam’s ‘Michelle is better for having known you and so am I’ speech was beautifully and uncharacteristically intimate for this perfectly poised, meticulously dressed and manicured woman who, as a rule, prefers to keep things professional. It was heart-warming, and generous, and inspiring. Well done, Tamara, er, I mean, Cam.
Finally, we have Michelle. Since we last saw her in the year two-thousand-and-I-don’t-remember-when, this girl has matured and was stunningly beautiful in this Bones episode. As for her performance, it was masterful. Who knows where actors go inside themselves or what it costs them to pull out whatever it takes for them to deliver powerfully emotional and tearful performances like Tiffany Hines did in “The Turn In the Urn?” Her devastation and courage to a) to break-up when she knew it was time, and b) to do it so powerfully left me speechless.
Compassion. Sacrifice. Protecting those we love. These themes are not new on Bones, but the way they were served-up to viewers this week was exemplary. Thank you, Bones, for another hour of fantastic and meaningful entertainment.
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