Stars: David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Michaela Conlin, TJ Thyne, Tamara Taylor, John Boyd, Patricia Belcher, Ignacio Serrichio, Gabriel Salvador, Sam Sarpong, Jessica Camacho, Jason Gray-Stanford, Linda Lavin
Writer: Nkechi Okoro Carroll, series created by Hart Hanson, based on the life and writings of Kathy Reichs
Director: Michael Lange
Network: Fox, Thursdays @ 8 PM
Airdate: May 7, 2015

David Boreanaz as Booth and John Boyd as Aubrey in BONES "The Verdict in the Victims" | © 2015 Patrick McElhenney/FOX

David Boreanaz as Booth and John Boyd as Aubrey in BONES "The Verdict in the Victims" | © 2015 Patrick McElhenney/FOX

“The Verdict in the Victims,” the 18th episode of Season 10 of BONES, makes the season’s 13th episode, “The Baker in the Bits,” look better in retrospect. This isn’t a matter of comparison, but rather a matter of resolution. “The Baker in the Bits,” when it aired, seemed a rush job on a serial killer case. “The Verdict in the Victims” unexpectedly continues the story, turning things around and providing more explanation. Granted, seven months of TV-universe time (in this instance, one month of real time) seems awfully short for someone to go from arrest to death chamber, but, well, see the TV-universe time clause for explanation.

Booth (David Boreanaz) is worried that Brennan (Emily Deschanel) has been working late for days. She’s looking into case of Alex Rockwell (Gabriel Salvador), who will be executed in forty-eight hours for a series of murders of ex-convicts in which the victims had their tattoos skinned off and preserved. Brennan finds evidence that Rockwell had rotator cuff injuries that made it impossible for him to be the killer. Since she and Booth put Rockwell on Death Row in the first place, Brennan feels it’s their responsibility to exonerate the man.

Rockwell is no help in his own defense – he leaves a message for his young son, but otherwise won’t speak up. Even with the aid of district attorney Caroline Julien (Patricia Belcher), the judge (Linda Lavin) won’t grant a stay of execution unless our people can produce hard evidence. The killer turns out to be Rockwell’s boss at the bakery, Roger Flender (Jason Gray-Stanford). Although Roger employs ex-cons and preaches redemption, he has it in for a whole group of people. Rockwell kept quiet for him because Roger did give him a second chance.

The B story here is a debate about the death penalty, with Brennan and Hodgins (TJ Thyne) solidly against it, Cam (Tamara Taylor) for it and Booth going from for to against as the result of the near-execution of an innocent man. The arguments are given their due, and if this isn’t the most engrossing debate you’ve ever seen, it’s still reasonable and in character.

The C story involves Angela’s (Michaela Conlin) desire to move to Paris, because she thinks it’s safer. Presumably, this episode was written before the spate of tragic events in and around the City of Light, but even so, it seems naïve for Angela to think that the city, rather than her workplace, is the danger zone. If she wants to move to Paris because she thinks it’s romantic, or she thinks it has a better art community, or she wants to speak French, she can say so. As it is, this seems like a hollow rationale.

The explanation of Roger’s killing spree (basically, revenge plus mania) is a little less psychologically nuanced than it could be, but this is still a reasonable resolution to a decent two-parter.

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