BONES Recap: 'The Patriot in Purgatory' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BONES Recap: ‘The Patriot in Purgatory’

November 12, 2012 by  

Hello, BONES fans! How did you like this episode, “The Patriot in Purgatory”? There was so much passion poured into the ep — from the writing and acting to the setting and score, and it really worked. When any show’s episode is driven by a definite plot (vs. character), it risks pushing the characters into the plot’s mold. This episode, centered around 9/11, straddled that line, and also tugged at the heartstrings. I loved this episode; veterans affairs is one of my passions, and I was moved to tears many times. But the show wanted that to happen, using tearful soliloquies and swelling music. Sometimes I resent that sort of deliberate emotionalism, but BONES has a way of keeping manipulation at bay with a mostly fresh take and an underlying genuineness, and major kudos to the actors for that.

Let’s discuss!


The Scene of the Crime: BONES sets up this bonus episode a little differently, having Brennan gather the male interns in the bone storage room to identify as many sets of remains as possible. Each intern wants her favor, so they start working individually, and for the most part, successfully. Only Arastoo Vasiri seems stumped with his set — the remains of a homeless man whose body was found in a parking garage but whose identity is hard to match up for several reasons, including a vague, incomplete police report. It’s estimated the remains are about 10 years old, and the victim suffered a bullet wound ten years before that.

The police report gives time of death at the exact moment the body was found — an unlikely scenario. The team estimates time of death about ten days before the police report. The report was written on September 21st, 2001, putting the time of death on September 11th, 2001.

Traces of jet fuel on the victim’s teeth and other rib fractures on the victim indicate he was at the Pentagon on 9/11, and it’s up to the team to determine if and why he was there as well as what caused the other injuries to his body.

The Victim: When Booth finds out the victim’s previous bullet wound held traces of uranium, he’s convinced the victim fought in the Gulf War. He enlists the help of a Pentagon friend, Ben Fordham, to get information on who the man might have been, but it’s after spending the day searching homeless shelters in the area that he is able to identify Tim Murphy, a veteran of Desert Storm.

The Case Progression: Booth and Brennan talk to Tim’s widow, who confesses that Tim was not the same after he came back. They tried to make it work, but they just couldn’t.  She also tells them it’s too hard to talk about, but when Booth shows her a picture of her with Tim and their son, she is visibly moved. As was Booth. And me.

Hodgins identifies the metal fragments in Tim’s body as parts of a nearby lamppost. Booth provides that information to Ben, and he does some asking around that side of the Pentagon. Ben tells Booth and Brennan that Tim could be found there daily, shouting “Walk in Moore Park” to Pentagon employees. The team begins to search for what that could possibly mean, but when no Moore Park is found, Sweets suggests Booth shouldn’t read too much into it.

Booth disagrees, and continues the search. He remembers a picture from Tim’s personal effects, and realizes that three men Tim fought with were Walken, Moore and Park. The men died in an ammo dump, the same one Tim was stuck in, resulting in his mental trauma. Tim sent petitions for those men to receive Purple Hearts, and when he didn’t receive the response he wanted, he began petitioning in person, sometimes even getting aggressive.

When Cam finds traces of blood from three different people on Tim’s clothing, Booth and Brennan go to investigate. They talk to Diane Rollins, who states she wishes she could thank the man who saved her life, causing Brennan to reexamine Tim’s wounds.

The Verdict: Brennan and the team realize that the injuries to Tim’s body weren’t caused by an attacker but by the trauma his body took when he rescued the three people in the Pentagon. He suffered injuries, but made it to the parking garage to rest before he passed away. An official funeral is held, honoring Tim’s life and memory. BONES has done a great job respecting their victims this year, but this episode was one of the best in series history.  Loved it.

Other thoughts:

What didn’t work for me:

  • Brennan’s “epiphany” about “team mentality'”is an example of improper character shoved into a plot. She’s seen basketball before (season 2, at least) and we know she has observed and participated in teamwork. But the writers needed all of the squinterns at the lab for a reason, and so Brennan’s character was forced into creating that reason, whether it was logical or not. Brennan focusing her attention on a new idea is not out of character, but her “discovering basketball, teamwork and Phil Jackson” and also basically sexually harassing her interns was awful plot garbage. Given her status at the lab, a simple “I want all of you at the lab to sort through these bones in storage” would have sufficed — the fun, competitive vibe turned teamwork among the interns could still have happened, etc.
  • Cam’s statement that she was a coroner in New York TOTALLY WORKED in this episode, and I loved, loved, loved her speech. Tamara Taylor nailed it. But the fact that she’s mentioned the coroner thing in several other episodes this season (for seemingly no reason, writers!) soured this scene a bit. Likewise, I mostly liked Hodgins’ speech that “no one deserved to die that day” but just something about it felt more like an episode writer’s opinion than the character’s own words, if that makes sense. It’s an opinion I happen to agree with, but still, writers with passionate projects must still keep the characters tight
  • It would have been meaningful for Booth to also verbally share his feelings with Brennan at the very end of the episode. I LOVED what she said and how she described her thoughts. I just wish it had been more of him talking to her about his own experience instead of him just pulling her into his arms as comforter/protector. Not every moment HAS to be them both sharing — I get that. And I know that Brennan needed the moment and that touch is Booth’s way of communicating; I’m just being greedy is all.

What I loved:

  • I rolled my eyes when Vasiri was the first squintern dealing with the 9/11 case, because, yes BONES, we get it — please don’t be cliché and heavy handed. But the show proved me wrong by handling it well. When Finn asked Arastoo if he was comfortable with the examination and Vasiri absolutely went off on him for history’s sake? That was freaking amazing
    The subsequent Fischer-led scene where each guy shared his 9/11 memories was fantastic. In a recent interview, Stephen Nathan mentioned an episode focus was how young each intern had been on 9/11…and I loved that. It was great insight, and each story was very special. Well done, cast, especially Michael Grant Terry (Wendell) on that scene
    I loved seeing Booth’s passion for a Gulf War veteran — he has that innate sense of justice, but this was more than that, and we don’t always get to see it. David Boreanaz  (Booth) does such a great job keeping it so honest…I really appreciated it. Loved when Booth talked to Ben about helping get answers, loved when he confessed to Brennan that this case meant a lot, and I loved the funeral scene, where he spoke with such dignity. Booth!
  • Likewise, I loved that Brennan convinced him to keep looking into the victim’s identity, and I loved the way she verbally promised him he would get answers. Like I said before, I loved the end scene, and I really admired the way she talked about her own role after 9/11. Emily Deschanel (Brennan) was so terrific in this episode. With Brennan, it’s interesting; a lot of her success has been contingent on her ability to compartmentalize. When it seeped into her personal life is when she eventually had issues and had to make some choices. But there are many people, BONES fans or not, who work in similar situations and absolutely have to compartmentalize those horrors and beyond. So for Brennan to have diligently worked to uncover remains and to do so without crying isn’t shameful in my eyes — but I also appreciate that she doesn’t want to feel pride over it. What I’m trying to say is that while I love that her relationship with Booth means so much to her that she can’t just catalog human suffering away, at the same time, it’s an admirable quality required to do the work she does, and I want her to have a good balance there. No shame for Brennan!
  • On a lighter note, I loved the tiny moment in Booth’s office when he introduced Brennan to Ben, calling her his partner, and when he started to add more, Brennan spoke up, and told Ben she was Booth’s mate and that they had a daughter. Booth’s smile was fun, and Ben’s “Congratulations” was priceless.

Enough from me–what did you think of the episode? Also, regarding Veterans Affairs, here are a few sites/articles I’ve read in the past year or so that I’ve found interesting:

US Department of Veterans Affairs— US national government site; you can search for local VA hospitals, etc. for volunteer opportunities

Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Task Force Report— Published in March 2012, it details needs and plans for supporting Gulf War veterans

VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) – national coalition of localized support units for veterans – providing military veterans with support and advocacy for higher education and beyond — committed to providing PTSD treatment to veterans and their families in a public/private partnership with the Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, etc.

In the meantime, the comments are open. Sound off!

Filed under Bones


20 Responses to “BONES Recap: ‘The Patriot in Purgatory’”

  1. Sarah on November 12th, 2012 9:37 pm

    Hey everyone!
    A friend pointed out that my ‘time of death’ timeline is off, and that is probably true. I was thinking the police report was 10 days before time of death, etc. So, if that is incorrect…just know that I’m aware. 🙂

  2. scout on November 12th, 2012 10:42 pm

    As someone who lived in NYC during 9/11 this was both an emotional and difficult episode to watch. I know it is your job sarah to deconstruct tv shows–this is not one that should be deconstructed. it should be watched in it’s totality emotionally. in totality, not comparmentalized.
    Booth was TOTALLY emotional throughout–he was the soldier here, not a 9/11 observer. And they did share everything in this episode so I didn’t need a speech from him. I loved all of their moments–I loved Brennan’s team work idea. It’s EXACTLY who she is. Yeah she knows what B-ball is but never sat and watched a game with Booth. And typical Brennan she jumps in and reads a book. I LOVED this about her

    And that last scene when she admits that she was actually afraid to live before she met booth was one of her most revealing moments–not since Doctor have we seen such self revelation. THe fact that she didn’t cry–It is who she WAS. You can’t cry and do the work. I do not for one minute think it dehumanizes her.
    LOVED this episode. I think best script of the series….met every aspect of the show–humor. victim we totally cared about. Characters shined and Booth and Brennan together.

  3. madbengalsfan85 on November 12th, 2012 10:56 pm

    Arastoo’s lecture and the last scene made this episode absolutely amazing…my favorite episode of the entire series.

    And I noticed where you knit-picked basketball, remember the only reason she cared back then was because Sully was playing. Now she watches with Booth

  4. E on November 12th, 2012 11:42 pm

    Sarah, I agree about the basketball and the rest of your review. Great episode.

  5. andrea on November 13th, 2012 8:33 am

    Scout, I totally agree with all that you said. It was definitely in character for Brennan to research basketball coach Phil Jackson and apply his approach to her “team”. When she slapped her “players” on their “hindquarters” it was so hilarious but still within keeping of her character; I didn’t consider it harassment and neither did the interns. They know Brennan is quirky and direct in her approach-there’s nothing sexual intended by her. Like she said, this was how she as “the coach” encouraged the interns for a job well done. The entire episode, the writing all the emotions from each character, sharing where they were on 9/11, the story of the forgotten soldier Murphy and his quest to have his fellow soldiers who saved his life honored… brought tears to my eyes numerous times! The end when Brennan was able to cry and tell Booth her feelings was amazing. Emily was on point as she portrayed Brennan crying then trying to control herself before finally breaking! Booth holding her and being there was exactly the right reaction. I didn’t think that he needed to “share” his thoughts/feelings about how 9/11 affected him. He shared these emotions throughout the episode as he was determined to find out the truth about the homeless soldier Murphy. Brennan knew his feelings; remember how she kept looking at Booth when he spoke at the soldier’s funeral? I think this was one of the best Bones episodes of all time. I watched it once with my husband and then again with my daughter when she got home. I haven’t done that in a long time! Kudos to Bones, keep up the great work!

  6. ProfeJMarie (Janet Rundquist) on November 13th, 2012 10:53 am

    An excellent episode. I admit to always gettings worried that something is over-hyped and then feeling let down when I see it… but I also knew that the topic of this episode and the handling of it would likely work, so I was happy to see that it was just as well done as I hoped.

    I agree about the “what didn’t work” points you raise. I thought it was okay to have Brennan emulate Phil Jackson, but the butt-slaps made me uncomfortable. I am glad you called out the “No one deserved to die that day” comment from Hodgins because that whole speech from him felt off to me, too – even Hodgins dismissing the idea that there was no other hidden conspiracy. Obviously they couldn’t have him spouting off stuff about that w/o somehow sounding disrespectful, but they also could have skipped the whole conspiracy talk in the first place.

    Vaziri’s reaction to Finn’s comments and Finn’s response was fantastic.

    Cheers for character consistency for Booth being more focused on the military side. He has always been super sensitive to vets and his need to find out Murphy’s story and give him an honorable send-off were pitch perfect for his character. In this way, I am impressed with how they were able to give respect to both 9/11 and military veterans without short-changing either side.

    Brennan’s actions in the last scene were also fantastic. How she described herself seems exactly right and I agree wholeheartedly that she should not look upon her clinical side as a strike against her personality – and I think that last scene did justice to this aspect to who she has been, who she is, and who she continues to be.

    (BTW, I think your irritation with emotional manipulation is funny because the devices you mention are standard, no? I might be inclined to say that perhaps the writing and directing did not work seamlessly if you actually felt this manipulation. Maybe that’s a different conversation though.. 😀 )

  7. LanaSweet on November 13th, 2012 12:33 pm

    I hate to say it but I didn’t like this episode. Where is the continuity? Didn’t Cam announce in the season premiere that Clark would head some other part of the Jeffersonian? Why is he an intern if he’s already a doctor? I didn’t understand what Brennan was talking about at the end? Why could it have been Booth who died on 911? I didn’t like Arostoo (sp) going all sanctimonious on the kid. He did look like he was having a hard time. You can be passionate in your beliefs and not embarrass someone. What is wrong with Cam’s hair (wig?) I can’t stand her so her speech meant little to me. I also don’t like the 3 minute wrap up at the house they’re doing this season. They used to be longer and they feel rushed. Bones was cute with the whole Phil Jackson thing and the but slapping wasn’t sexual harassment by definition.

  8. FF on November 13th, 2012 1:20 pm

    The only problem I had with the episode, which is nitpicky, though Sarah mentioned it as well, was the fact that everyone had a ‘sharing story’ about 9/11 EXCEPT for Booth. We know from The Finder episode that Booth was active duty Army stateside when Parker was born, and according to show history, Parker would either have been a small infant or Rebecca pregnant with him in 2001. My own daughter was a baby during 9/11, and I know how emotional and scared I was as a civilian about the unknown. With Booth as a new father in the military during that time? Can you imagine!? Now, perhaps Stephen Nathan didn’t want a Booth backstory to overshadow the victim’s story or Brennan’s emotional confession at the end, or maybe there just wasn’t enough time to get into it, but I still would’ve liked them to have touch on Booth’s story.

  9. SueK on November 13th, 2012 1:45 pm

    @FF Yes, Parker was born in 2001 but The Finder timeline for Booth was way off. Booth has been with the FBI since at least 1997 (Season 4, Episode 5 [2008]The Crank in the Shaft) Booth says he has been an FBI Agent for 12 years. As for Booth’s back story, or lack there of, in this episode, I didn’t miss it or feel the need for it. Booth’s contribution to this episode was the do just what he did; make sure no man was left behind.

  10. Laffers on November 13th, 2012 1:47 pm

    Okay….I’ve literally just finished watching this episode and I’ve realised I shouldn’t have read this so soon after. As I am crying. Again.

    I loved everything about this episode. Everything.

    I liked that the beginning had that lighter touch, with the ass slapping (I can kind of see what you’re saying, Sarah, regards to the basketball thing not really being necessary, but I still liked it. It added a touch of humour to the episode, before things got serious. Also, I LOVED the reactions on the interns faces. Hilarious).

    The interns were brilliant, both individually and collectively, to the point that I’d like them all in every episode! Their dynamic is so much fun. The conflicts they had while their emotions were running high were also brilliant, and really gave them all a time to shine. The Arastoo/Finn confrontation (not quite a confrontation, but ‘talk’ didn’t seem appropriate considering the passion in that moment) was, in particular, a highlight for me. It was perfectly in character for both of them, I think, and Pej really delivered in that scene (that entire speech, really, had me torn between cheering and crying, all at once.)

    I was both nervous and excited for this episode, because while I think Bones is at it’s best when dealing with hard hitting cases, it’s a very delicate subject that could have easily been handled incorrectly. Kudos to Stephen Nathan on that, because it was a fine line to tread and he handled it perfectly.

    I also think the scene Fisher led was amazing. I think most people on the planet remember exactly where they were on that day, and could tell you exactly what they were doing, and the way they handled that with each intern giving his account? It was brilliant. All 5 actors in that scene nailed it.

    The scene with Cam also broke my heart (although I am programmed to cry whenever Tamara Taylor does), and I disagree re Hodgins because I think that speech was VERY Hodgins. Written brilliantly, and wonderfull acted (although that’s a given with TJ 🙂 )

    Aaaaaand I’ve just realised I haven’t even mentioned Booth or Brennan yet. Emily and David were, of course, brilliant and I really enjoyed their moments together, and with the rest of the cast.

    Brennan’s assurance to Booth that they would find out who their victim was was a lovely moment. I also loved her ‘I’m his mate’ comment too, because it lightened the mood for a moment. Booth’s smile and Ben’s reaction were just the icing on the cake!

    I also loved Booth this episode too. His pride & loyaltly to his country and the men/woman that serve it is one of the aspects of Booth that I admire the most, and I always love cases where we get to see that. We get to see just how far he’ll go, and just what it means to him to ensure that he/she gets justice.

    I also loved how, near the end, she was almost vibrating with pride in her interns. We know from VNM (RIP) that she is attached to them (even if she doesn’t show it), and I think this was one of the few times where we actually see her pride in them. She was like a proud mama, and it made me smile. (The smile promptly fell as the interns did their thing because….this entire case was heartbreaking.)

    The funeral scene was….ah man. It left me a wreck. I got all teary at a PHOTO of Booth stood with the caskett in front of him, so it shouldn’t have surprised me that the actual scene had me sobbing.

    And then the final scene with Booth and Brennan in the kitchen? Perfection. I thought Emily was brilliant in that seem, fully portraying the emotional turmoil Brennan was feeling. I agree Sarah, that Brennan should feel no shame in having compartmentalised that time in her life, as I think to survive situations like that you have too. But I loved that she recognised that, while she did what she needed to, it’s not necessarily something she should have felt pride in. It shows just how far Brennan has come from S1, and the woman we first met (anyone who claims Brennan hasn’t changed is watching a whole different show, IMO).

    And I think ending with Booth wrapping her in his arms was perfect. I don’t think she needed him to share, at that point, I just think she needed him to hold her. To touch her, and to comfort her. As only he can.

    So……… sum up, I loved it 😀

  11. Laffers on November 13th, 2012 1:49 pm

    Now….after all that, on a purely shallow note? I loved ALL Booth’s ties in this episode. Seriously. I want them…I WANT THEM ALL!

  12. Laffers on November 13th, 2012 1:55 pm


    See, I had the opposite reaction. I was pleased that we didn’t have Booth’s story, because I wanted the episode to be about more than that. I loved that, instead of Booth focusing on himself he was focused 100% on ensuring that this man received justice, and that he received in death what he didn’t receive in life.

    I think it would have been easy for them to have focused on Booth (his background makes him the obvious choose), but they went in a different direction. And I liked that.

  13. SueK on November 13th, 2012 2:08 pm

    What Laffers said. Well, not so sure about the ties.

  14. Tracie on November 13th, 2012 2:09 pm

    My favorite episode in a long, long, long time! I loved it and agree with Scout…let’s not break it down into pieces…let’s just watch it again!!!

  15. Lisa on November 13th, 2012 2:34 pm

    So glad I’m not the only one who didn’t like Brennans basketball nonsense with the squints. I thought it made her look ridiculous. I was embarrassed for her and would have much preferred that she had just called them in because it was important and necessary to label the remains.

    If that had been Booth with a group of female FBI agents no one would have thought it was funny or cute. You don’t slap people who are your subordinates on the behind even in an “atta boy” kind of way no matter if you’re encouraging teamwork among them.

    Lana-This was one of the Season 7 extras, that’s why Clark does not have his own position as forensic anthropologist in a different department. That is Tamaras real hair, not a wig. I actually think it’s very cute on her.

    Cams “I was a coroner in New York” remark I can forgive since it was actually spoken in season 7 and not in season 8 where it seems like she needs to mention it every episode.

    I love how Arastoo corrected Finn. He was passionate, but not mean. Finn spoke in ignorance and Arastoo taught him what he needed to know. Love how Finn appreciated the correct information.

    To learn what and where the interns were on 9/11 was very touching. I really love this group and I wanted to hug each of them.

    I always love fierce and proud Booth…my favorite version of him. Brennan in his office proclaiming herself his mate-Yay! loved that.

    The widow breaking down while meeting with Booth and Brennan was just heartbreaking. The eulogy and flag folding funeral scene totally had me in tears.

    The final scene with Booth & Brennan was perfect. I think we’ve seen Booth break before over what’s happened to him (Soldiers on a Grave) and I always attributed his gambling problem as part of his PTSD, so to see Brennan completely break down at the idea of what might have been lost to her was amazing. Better than a dozen “I love yous”. We get it now. If there was every any doubt before, this is a woman who deeply loves her “mate”. Their embrace was more than any “guy hug” and I think the most physically romantic thing they’ve done since they’ve been together as a couple.

  16. Leo on November 13th, 2012 5:20 pm

    Like so many others I’ve read, this is, by far (IMHO) THE BEST Bones episode in the entire series–and I’ve watched them all many times. My congratulations to everyone associated with the making of this story and all accolades are well deserved. It’s one I will watch repeteadly, so I can hardly wait for the DVD of Season 8! A fitting tribute to the heroes of 9/11 and to all our military veterans. An Emmy would definitely be fitting recognition.

  17. Ellen on November 13th, 2012 5:47 pm

    Veteran’s Day is so often remembered with AMC or TCM showing old war movies throughout the day (which is fine.) However, this episode of Bones gave us a fresh, current, carefully constructed and compassionate treatment of Veterans Day. I applaud the writers and the actors. Job well done!

  18. Teresa on November 13th, 2012 10:06 pm

    I was blown away by this episode! I was expecting mediocre filler since it was just a bonus episode, but in my opinion, we got so much more. I think the episode was very well done, it was one of those episodes that just felt like it really worked. I was moved by the story of the victim. I also liked seeing all of the squinterns (minus Daisy! 🙂 ) work together and I think the funeral scene was really well done. And the end scene was very good too!

  19. Sandy on November 13th, 2012 10:40 pm

    First of all, I’ve never commented on a tv series, and have only done so 3 times for movies, so for me to take the time to write this means I REALLY liked the episode.

    For me, this was the perfect Veteran’s day program. I enjoyed the way the writers slowly eased me into the plot, surprised me with the realization of where it was headed (I never read the summary before watching an episode – I like the show and don’t need to be told what’s in store….it’s not rocket science, after all), twisted the story a little, and then left me with a tissue, puffy eyes and runny nose.

    I do disagree with the basketball issue many of you had – to me, Bones explained everything at the end; how, during 911, while she worked at ground zero, she did it, never shedding a tear. But, now that she has a family, people to love that love her, her life has changed – her perspective has changed, hence, her idea of introducing team work in the lab. To me, it was a nice, neat little circle.

    Excellent job, writers!

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