Stars: David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor, TJ Thyne, John Francis Daley, Patricia Belcher, Eugene Byrd, Sterling Macer Jr., Eileen Grabba, Jeff Hayenga, Christine Dunford, Courtney Gains
Writer: Dean Lopata, series created by Hart Hanson, based on the life and writings of Kathy Reichs
Director: Ian Toynton
Network: Fox, Mondays @ 8 PM
Airdate: April 21, 2014
On a scripted drama that’s in its ninth season, especially one about murder investigation, it’s understood that not every episode will be outstanding. However, when BONES sets up a season-long arc where Brennan’s (Emily Deschanel) credibility and objectivity are questioned, it’s reasonable to expect a better wrap-up than we get in “The Nail in the Coffin.”
The unknown serial murderer dubbed the Ghost Killer appears to be back, and her latest victim appears to be Stephanie McNamara, sister of the late Trent McNamara. Trent, a troubled former schoolmate of Hodgins (TJ Thyne), died in what was ruled a suicide, though Brennan has been sure it’s murder.
When Stephanie’s remains are found hanging from a tree, Cam (Tamara Taylor) at first doesn’t want Brennan working on the case, as she’s sure Brennan is too certain of the Ghost Killer’s existence to be objective. Brennan shows up at the crime scene anyway, with Booth (David Boreanaz) defending her right to be there and everybody else trying to stay out of the way.
It turns out that Stephanie was the Ghost Killer. Stephanie’s abusive, super-rich father, the late Giles McNamara, framed a teacher named Kessler (Jeff Hayenga) for Stephanie’s first kill, a young woman whom the elder McNamara had raped. The evidence was suppressed, thanks to McNamara bribing both local law enforcement and a judge. Kessler, now free from prison, has killed Stephanie and hangs the judge-turned-politician. He tries to hang himself, but Booth shoots the rope apart. Kessler agrees to testify so that the FBI can weed out any remaining bad apples associated with the miscarriage of justice.
Booth is still on track for promotion, and Brennan is taking great pleasure in filling out the recommendation forms for him in much more detail than the FBI ever expected.
This last is amusing, though it resurfaces enough times within the episode to become worn by the end. It also underscores a big continuity question, which is what the heck happened to Booth’s concerns about moving the family to an anti-terrorism staging site? Are the episodes being shown out of order? Has Booth decided it’s not that dangerous after all? Was there a breakdown in communication in the BONES writers’ room?
Beyond this, though, there’s a kind of hurried, indifferent feeling to the case. Brennan’s ego may be a bit prickly (justifiably, in this instance) because of Cam’s counter intuitive handling of the first stages of examining the remains, but otherwise this all feels very low risk. After all the stress of worrying about whether or not to keep serial killer Pelant alive (it turned out not) so he could provide the identity of the Ghost Killer, there seems nothing dangerous to anyone on the team about her existence. By the end of the episode, it seems that no one was in any danger, apart from serial killer Stephanie and a very corrupt lawmaker, and these don’t much count – as Booth says of Kessler, “If this was the Old West, they’d have made him a sheriff.”
Hodgins knew both Stephanie and Trent, but the script doesn’t give him much in the way of reaction this time around (there’s only so much actor Thyne can do when the writing doesn’t oblige). No one known to Brennan or Booth has a connection to the killings and/or the cover-up, and after all the anxiety in previous episodes, there’s no sense of relief, just the same satisfaction that comes at the close of any case. The Ghost Killer arc didn’t have to end with a bang, but this is almost a whisper.
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Related: Part 1 of AX’s EXCLUSIVE HART HANSON Interview
Related: Part 2 of AX’s EXCLUSIVE HART HANSON INTERVIEW
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: TV Review: BONES – Season 9 – “The Nail in the Coffin”