Stars: David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Michaela Conlin, T.J. Thyne, Tamara Taylor, John Francis Daley, Pej Vahdat, McKenzie Applegate
Writer: Janet Lin & Stephen Nathan
Director: Dwight Little
Network: Fox, Thursdays @ 9 PM
Airdate: May 5, 2011
Fans generally like it when the main characters’ back stories play into the plot, which is certainly the case with the BONES episode “The Sign in the Silence.” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) both have different experiences in their separate pasts that cause them to empathize with a teenage murder suspect (McKenzie Applegate).
Jane Doe, as the suspect is called, is brought in fighting, bloodied and, it turns out, congenitally deaf. However, this is not the only communication problem – Jane won’t speak, even through her court-appointed interpreter. Brennan’s interest in Jane’s state is misinterpreted as being coldly clinical instead of a desire to be helpful, especially by psychologist Sweets (John Francis Daley), which frustrates and hurts Brennan. When it is discovered that Jane is a victim of both abduction and physical abuse, Booth (who as a child suffered beatings by his father) becomes so incensed that he lashes out at one of the perpetrators. He is subsequently horrified by his loss of control.
On the lighter side, Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) also loses control when he thinks his wife Angela (Michaela Conlin) is going into labor and Pej Vahdat returns as the always likable squintern Arastoo Vaziri.
What’s especially cool about “Sign” is how writers Janet Lin & Stephen Nathan weave the emotional and procedural threads together, so that unlocking Jane’s reluctance to interact illuminates how Brennan shielded herself during her years in foster care, and how Booth worries that his own history of violence – both perpetrated upon him and by him – may somehow manifest itself in front of his own son. These notes are played very well by the actors.
The mystery of not only Jane Doe’s origins, but who she killed and why, has a gratifying amount of twists, false assumptions and finally good explanations. The resolution of her situation is perhaps a little more sentimental than BONES usually gets with its guest characters, but it satisfies all the same. The episode has a very good balance of investigative clues and visceral cues throughout.
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