BONES Recap: 'The Nail in the Coffin' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BONES Recap: ‘The Nail in the Coffin’

April 22, 2014 by  

Hey, BONES fans! You know, I was a little bummed when I read the episode description for “The Nail in the Coffin,” because it seemed my guess for the Ghost Killer’s identity (Stephanie McNamara) was incorrect since she was listed as the victim whose death the team would be investigating. But as this episode went on, I realized that not everything was tied up so neatly, and I couldn’t be happier. I thought this episode was suspenseful and intricate and supremely focused on the case. I liked it.

The episode began as most do, with unsuspecting people (this time a camping family) coming into contact with a skeleton. This one fell from a tree, and it doesn’t take long for Cam and Clark to see a resemblance between these remains and those included in the Ghost Killer case. Cam doesn’t want Brennan at the crime scene, because she doesn’t want her to jump to conclusions. Brennan is less than pleased with this development, as you can imagine. To Booth’s credit, he took Brennan’s side, especially when she showed up at the crime scene uninvited.

It turns out Brennan, Clark and Cam are correct — this body is connected to the Ghost Killer’s trail of bodies and includes the token missing fingernail. But this victim had fingertip damage to all fingers and evidence of adhering fingernails from other people onto her hands. Ew.

At the lab, Brennan recognizes hereditary markers on the victim’s mandible as similar to those of Trent McNamara, a previous victim of the Ghost Killer. She identifies the victim as Stephanie McNamara, Trent’s sister.

FBI Director Stark tells Booth that he wants this case solved. The McNamara family is a powerful one in the DC area, and it has to go well. Booth agrees and is just this side of disrespectful toward the director. It’s clear Booth doesn’t like power plays; it’s not about a promotion…his priority is to solve the case.

Hodgins has found all fingernails from the crime scene. He also has found some sort of homemade substance possibly used as an anesthetic to drug and kill Stephanie.  Booth and Brennan visit the McNamara mansion and discuss whether or not the gardener could be the killer. They also talk about the evaluation Brennan was asked to complete on Booth’s work performance. She gives him high marks, but tells him she’s still convinced his “gut instinct” is really highly developed observational skills. Either way, Booth is (I believe) genuinely charmed by her words and support.

At the McNamara home, the gardener tells B&B that she didn’t keep up with Stephanie’s schedule. B&B find traces of severe fingernail scratching and blood inside a tack room in a stable. They also find a piece of another fingernail. The gardener continues to claim she knows nothing about it.

At the lab, Clark has determined that Stephanie’s original fingernails were ripped off over 15 years ago, and the ones she’d applied to her fingers were added on her own — it is possible she was the one trapped in the stable. He also tells Brennan that he is going to do his best to help her prove Pelant wrong; they will solve this case without Pelant’s help.

Booth grows edgy, wanting to know who could benefit from Stephanie’s death. Sweets suggests that if a serial killer is involved, the
“benefit” might not be a logical one. It could only be a motive of power or revenge. Booth and Caroline meet with the SEC, who have years of records of financial cover-ups on behalf of the McNamara family. Meanwhile, when Hodgins finds evidence of the chemicals inside Stephanie’s stab wounds, he figures they were on the murder weapon.

Booth and Brennan question the family gardener, who insists she is innocent. Brennan realizes she shares the same mandible shape as Trent and Stephanie, making her the only legitimate heir to the McNamara fortune, and Booth then realizes she has about a billion dollar motive to kill Stephanie. The gardener still insists she is innocent. When Cam finds out all of the fingernails can be traced to other ghost killer victims AND all of those deaths coincide with Stephanie’s locations, they realize Stephanie herself was the Ghost Killer. They must then figure out who killed her…and why, and who the last fingernail belonged to. The plot thickens.

It’s no surprise that Director Stark is less than pleased with this development, including that Stephanie was abused by her father, Giles McNamara.  The Jeffersonian team identify the stable fingernail as belonging to Maya Zinkow, a girl killed several years ago. Her death was pinned on a local teacher named Kessler. He was found guilty of raping and murdering Maya, and Brennan insists the body be exhumed, especially when they find out the teacher was recently released from prison.

Maya’s body reveals identical stab wound damage to that on Stephanie’s body, and the team finds that the medical examiner’s original autopsy was fraudulent, just like that of another ghost killer victim, Lana Brewster. Cam finds evidence on Maya’s body that suggests she was raped by Giles McNamara. Hodgins wasn’t kidding when he said there was always a dark cloud over that family.

Booth and Sweets visit Kessler’s apartment, and the scene with the landlord was very funny, playing perfectly on the dry wit that comes so easily to David Boreanaz and John Francis Daley.  Booth and Sweets find several file boxes with info on the McNamara family. They also find a set a blueprints of the McNamara estate another set of an unknown home. Kessler got all of the information while in prison. He allegedly was planning an appeal, thus had access to all of the files. But since he never filed an appeal, it seems likely he was really planning revenge.  And when previously buried files from Maya’s crime scene surface, Booth realizes someone in the FBI was likely helping Kessler. Naturally this makes him mad.

Angela has found the home belonging to the second set of blueprints. It belongs to a local congressman who received financial help from the McNamara family and who once presided over a case that benefited them. The evidence begins to come together. If Giles raped Maya, it could have pushed Stephanie into a killing rage of a mental state, even at her young age. She couldn’t deal with the attention Giles was paying to anyone else, and so she killed Maya. Giles took it upon himself to cover up his tracks, and Kessler was framed.

B&B visit the congressman’s house with full authority from the FBI. They see sign of a struggle, and Brennan spots puddles of blood inside. Booth shoots their way in, and they see the congressman hanged from the ceiling. Intense.

Examination of his body reveals the same killing pattern used on Maya and Stephanie. With both of them dead, all signs point to Kessler. The FBI is even more riled up by this development, but Booth is more concerned about who could be the next victim.
Hodgins discovers more tobacco in the congressman’s wound, and since he wasn’t a smoker, it is likely from the murder weapon. Angela, Clark, Brennan and Cam posit various weapon scenarios, finally landing on a tobacco scythe. It also matches up with the old pesticides found as well as outdated kerf marks on all of the victims.

Booth and Brennan visit a local dilapidated tobacco factory. There are lights inside and they arrive just in time to see a man standing on a ledge with a rope around his neck. It’s Kessler and he admits he had to set the record straight. He doesn’t want any additional justice; he just wants to end it. Booth and Brennan try to talk him out of it, but he doesn’t want to hear it. When he jumps, Booth shoots the rope. And his aim is still excellent, and instead of falling to his death, Kessler falls to the building floor. Kessler is visibly upset, but Booth promises him he’ll be allowed to live.

The episode ends as Booth tells Brennan that Stark and Caroline are working to get a deal done for Kessler. Brennan is less than convinced it is the right thing to do — after all, Kessler did kill Stephanie and the congressman. But Booth tells her they should celebrate the fact they caught the ghost killer.  They toast one another with some Missouri beer, and he tells her that he is officially up for the promotion with the FBI.

They discuss what that would mean, and he assures her that he insisted they would stay a team. But that’s before she told him that she was required to include details on their personal life in her evaluation. Of course, where he previously wanted her to submit the info to the FBI, he’s now thinking that maybe they don’t need to know every detail.

It is a sweet scene, though as intense as the episode was, the end was almost disconcertingly…easygoing. Kind of a “yay, we got it, clink glasses, goodnight” thing, after weeks of suspense. I really liked this episode, and I thought the ending was mostly fine; I was just a little caught off guard by how neatly wrapped up it ended up being — particularly because the Ghost Killer was a major mental and personal challenge for Brennan. It almost seemed too easy, especially when the resolution didn’t tie back to Pelant in any way either. Of course, the Pelant storyline did drag out for freaking forever with what felt like a hundred red herrings, so I’m mostly glad his name wasn’t really mentioned at the end here. But I admit I was left wondering how he even knew about Stephanie or how he was connected to it. My impression of his involvement in it had been that the Ghost Killer was going to eventually target Brennan and/or other members of her team. Of course, there could be more we don’t know, including information on Booth’s promotion. I’m sure it won’t be smooth sailing for B&B and the others in the final two episodes of the season.

What do you think? Is the Ghost Killer silenced for good, or do her murders still have roots in other places? Were you surprised who the killer ended up being? And what do you think of FBI Director Stark? The comments are open — speak your mind!

Filed under Bones


4 Responses to “BONES Recap: ‘The Nail in the Coffin’”

  1. madbengalsfan85 on April 22nd, 2014 12:50 am

    The kicker is that this isn’t really over. Sure, the Ghost Killer has been caught, but who’s the man inside the FBI and what’s his/her purpose. Also, how are they going to react to Booth uncovering the network of insiders? If they had the capability to frame a man for murder, they can torch the career of an FBI agent. I don’t think Booth or Brennan realize how big a can of worms they just opened.

  2. Jo on April 22nd, 2014 11:13 pm

    I thought it was a good episode a bit anticlimatic. They solved who the Ghost Killer was now how much more is there to uncover and how deep into the FBI does it go. A new FBI Director was introduced could it be him? What happened to Director Cullen and Assitant Director Hacker? The promotion must not involve Germany and snipers as last mentioned. Booth seems more agreeable to the promotion and sounds like Brennan will come along with him. Will we find out or will that be part of the cliff hanger. I’m anxious about the cliff hanger. TPTB have stated that there will be a change for Booth & Brennan. I hope the change will be postive, please no angst with their working or personal relationship.

  3. FF on April 23rd, 2014 9:41 am

    I thought this episode was maybe the best of the season next to the wedding. Bones is strongest when they tap into their more dramatic side as opposed to when they are more slapstick-y. The acting and directing were superb. The plot had twists, but nothing so ridiculously over-the-top twisty that it felt like a Scooby Doo mystery. It had a refreshing ‘Bones of the good old days’ kind of feel to it. That said, the resolution of the Ghost Killer – if it really is a resolution – did feel anticlimactic. I’m really hoping that things aren’t as simple as they seem in that regard.

  4. doretha on April 27th, 2014 7:47 pm

    I had a strong feeling that Stephaine was the Ghost Killer, it was something about the way she reacted when her brother Trent was found dead at their home. this was a very good episode it can only get better from here. Great Job guys I look forward to the rest of the season. I love Bones a gonna hate to see it end.