BONES Recap: 'The Mutilation of the Master Manipulator' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BONES Recap: ‘The Mutilation of the Master Manipulator’

December 5, 2014 by  

Hey BONES fans! How did you like the 199th episode, “The Mutilation of the Master Manipulator”? There were several suspects, shades of stalkers, and some handcuffs. There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s get to it!


The Scene of the Crime: Instead of a “body find,” this episode begins at the lab, where Brennan, Wendell and Hodgins examine a small piece of human remains. Hodgins can identify traces of different food products, but other than that, they don’t have much to go on, but they catch a break when they realize more body parts could be found in trash cans in a neighborhood. Brennan, Hodgins and Aubrey visit the street and see two young boys playing “human bowling”—racing in a shopping cart toward trash bins in bowling pin formation. They are “successful” and also cause a human skull to land in Brennan’s hands. Unlikely, but…the plot continues.

The Victim: Angela is able to use the skull to pull up a match: Dr. Randall Fairbanks, a psychology professor at a nearby college who recently went on sabbatical (thus not reported missing).

The Case Progression:

With Booth stuck in his office completing online traffic school (he says for tickets, but it’s probably for not wearing his seatbelt, AMIRITE BONES fans?), Aubrey and Brennan visit the victim’s house. Their banter is fun, and it’s clear that Aubrey respects Brennan a lot. They notice some hydrangeas have changed color from blue to red and Aubrey understands the chemistry of why — there’s blood involved. Brennan is impressed, and she confirms that the soil is soaked with blood, likely where Dr. Fairbanks was murdered. They are interrupted by three neighbors who tell them that Dr. F. always had sounds of screaming coming from his home, but when they called the police, they were always dismissed. One of the women is an avid birder and has birdhouses around her yard. One includes a camera, and Brennan wants the footage for Angela to examine.

Aubrey is joined by Hodgins and Wendell who examine more of the victim’s property. They find a cat (named Skinner) and Hodgins takes him back to the lab. Aubrey also finds a tablet in the house that holds a video of a woman screaming about being tortured (though she’s not being tortured).

Aubrey questions her at the FBI and learns she is Tabitha, one of Dr. Fairbanks’ students. He performed experiments on people, asking them to apply shocks to others, even when the victims begged for mercy. The data showed that many people would apply the pain, even to the point of death — but it was all a hoax. This caused many test subjects to be very angry with Dr. F.

Hodgins tries to recreate the hydrangea conditions in order to determine time of death, and Angela can’t get more than shadows from the birdhouse camera footage. Wendell and Brennan continue to examine the bones and notice evidence of them being cut by a saw. Brennan also notes that the victim was punctured by a metal object that went all the way through from back to front.

Angela is able to pull IDs from campus logs, and one of Fairbanks’ former subjects was Alex Heck, a man who has since gotten a record for aggressive behavior toward Fairbanks. But when Aubrey questions him, his answers are anguished, but vague. He still can’t live with himself over the fact that, even in a fake scenario/experiment, he continued to apply pain to someone to the point of death.

Hodgins figures out time of death (8.5 days ago), and Wendell and Brennan notice damage on the victim’s mandible; Wendell traces it back to a procedure in Brazil. Angela finds record of Fairbanks going there with an art student, Victoria, and the team finds out she trashed his lab and moved away.

Aubrey questions her and tells her that one of her sculptures was used to kill Fairbanks and that one of her saws is a match for a weapon used on him. She insists those are all coincidences and that she was on her way to a craft fair when he was killed. Aubrey tells her to get a lawyer.

Wendell and Brennan realized two parts of the bones indicate the victim was bitten. The pattern of the teeth is not a match for Victoria’s, but they are from a female. Angela is able to pull footage of Tabitha entering Randall’s home two hours before his death.

Aubrey questions her, and she admits to being there, but insists she is innocent. She was performing an experiment on Randall and was annoyed that he never gave her credit on projects, but she didn’t murder him.

When a finger bone arrives at the Jeffersonian, Hodgins finds traces of antifreeze on it, a match for the other hand that was found in a different dumpster. They realize the cat may have eaten some of the evidence, as some animals think antifreeze is sweet. Hodgins realizes the food traces he found earlier were all particles of cat food.
Brennan arrives to Booth’s office to tell him that her x-rays of the cat also showed feathers of a rare wren. Booth tells her to close the case with Aubrey.

The Verdict: Aubrey and Brennan interrogate Marilyn, one of the neighbor women. She just wanted him to make his cat wear a bell so as not to scare off birds — she admits they argued, but it’s not her fault Fairbanks impaled himself. She doesn’t really show remorse, and instead just comments on the beauty of the rare bird.


I liked the way Aubrey worked with both Booth and Brennan in this episode, and I think he was good in the interrogation room. It’s nice that the writers have cut back on his quirks (like the overeating and such), and while I don’t want to see this dynamic every week, it worked in this one.

I really liked how Cam, Hodgins, and Angela worked the case — this episode had a nice, lighthearted feel without ever crossing that line into obnoxious. It was also nice to see how they treated Wendell in his remission.

Regarding the storyline of Wendell and his oncology nurse — I thought it was a little too much too soon. I liked Andie a lot at first, and while I’m not sure how she managed to get into the Jeffersonian lab, I thought their final scene together was nice. But the in between stuff was kind of intense. I get that she’s not caught off guard by his fear of cancer coming back, but essentially calling them soul mates and texting him CONSTANTLY after one picnic (and a nooner) is kind of much. I love Shalita Grant though, and I think she and Michael Grant Terry had good chemistry, so I hope she’s back at some point!


Since David Boreanaz was busy prepping to direct episode 200, this one was definitely light on the B&B. But I did like what we saw. I thought the scenes in Booth’s office about the traffic sign were funny, and it was even funnier when Booth teased her about it later at their home. The end scene was cute as they did a little trash-talking in their own way. Also: HANDCUFFS! Boothchickawowwow!

It’s hard to believe the show is hitting 200 episodes and that it’s next week! Until then, the comments are open on this one — what did you like, what didn’t work for you?

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13 Responses to “BONES Recap: ‘The Mutilation of the Master Manipulator’”

  1. amy on December 5th, 2014 2:19 am

    I literally will NEVER watch this ep ever again, it is dead to me….I dont care that they are using David directing as an excuse to cover up for the fact that Booth never once talked to a suspect or did an interrogation (he did them before in other pre-directing ep) HE IS THE LEAD AGENT for petes sake, how the hell can driving school take up so much of his time, it only takes 1hr or 2 tops for an experienced driver to do it…what a weakass excuse of plot to sideline him with….Driving school explained why Booth couldnt do field work but it did NOT EXPLAIN why he could talk to suspects. Are they trying to make Booth look weak and the worst agent? ….why the hell did we need so many Aubrey scenes sucking the life out of the ep, there was no need for him to have so many crime scenes with the squints, when was the last time they even had Booth out in a crime scene? thats right ep 6 people…they dont have to right those scenes in every ep but we got a crap load just to showcase Aubrey….frakking hell…then interrogation after interrogation BORING…and what, David cldnt do ONE interrogation scene with Brennan at the end? give me a break…..and the WORST thing about the ep I saved for the end just like the writer did: B&B didnt have one scene until the 45min mark..WTF…who the hell is passing these scripts to allow the first of only two B&B scenes to be in the last 45mins of the ep?…get Aubrey off my screen…I am sick to death of him…spin him off. Bring back B&B

  2. Addie on December 5th, 2014 4:30 am

    Ok maybe driving school wasn’t the best excuse, but David couldn’t do any more scenes because the 200th episode is pretty big and it took more days to shoot, there was a lot of things they had to do. If you are a fan of David, I’d think you would understand. what do you want? He needs some time to rest too, it must have been already exhausting, and if he had to shoot even more scenes for 10×09. Ugh, some people are just so inconsiderate.

    I enjoyed this episode a lot. Brennan and Aubrey working together was a lot of fun. I agree about the nurse though, she was nice at first and sort of at the end, but it was definitely too fast and she was almost scary in the way she was pursuing Wendell.

  3. Linda on December 5th, 2014 8:23 am

    I agree the situation with the nurse felt rushed, but given that Wendell’s character is only seen every four or five episodes, it is understandable.

    Logistics is the name of the game. There is a lot more B&B in the monumental 200th episode, and added to that that David directed the episode, he needed a break in his on-camera time in this one. Still the few B&B scenes were entertaining, but in the final one at home, I would have expected a little “peck'” at least. I still do not understand how this show, and others with similar couple dynamics, do not give the fans what they expect – affection, yea, even passion, during the “private” moments. We have had one scene of “implied” passion all season – after Booth returns home from being in jail, and we glimpse B&B preparing for bed. Most of B&B’s “coupling” seems to take place in dreams and off screen.

    Over the years we have seen more with the other couples in the show – Angela and Hodgins, Angela and Wendell, Booth and Cam, Booth and Hannah, Brennan and Sully, Cam and Arastoo, the list goes on.

  4. Ruth Ann Walker on December 5th, 2014 11:45 am

    No I did not like Aubrey & Brennan together. The show is called Bones and is suppose to center around B&B, with Angela, Hodgins, Cam & Squints filling in, but now that Sweets is gone (Whom I & many, many fans, miss him dearly). You replaced Sweets with Aubrey and I like the guy, but again TO MUCH OF HIM, the show is not about him, but seems like you are building the show around him. The episode/story line was ok, but, PLEASE LISTEN TO FANS, We want B&B back solving cases, bantering and yes loving each other. There is only like two miinutes at the end of show where there is a little affection, where is the romance, laughing, dancing, talking together about family matters???? I understand David being exaulted from directing & unable to be more present In the show, but come on, the test for him being an FBI man, shouldn’t take that long????? Sorry this is sooo long, I sure hope the writers, directors, etc, whomever make the decisions about the show reads these posts and seriously listen to fans. I love Bones, it’s the only Show I watch on TV, I even watch Netflix re-runs.I want the show to continue for many, many more seasons, but if the show continues on this path with very little of B&B, & more & more of Aubrey, then sadly😥😥 I will quit watching & look for other shows to watch.

  5. Paige on December 5th, 2014 2:35 pm

    Who cares about Booth having handcuffs if what we saw was as far as it goes. I understand David’s limited screen time but did it have to be spent mostly with Aubrey? Looking back it would be hard to call David and Emily leads this year. They have had so little screen time together. Looking forward to next week even though it is an alternate reality instead of the real thing. A little scared of what might happen after the break. I hope way more B&B.

  6. Diana on December 5th, 2014 8:18 pm

    Thank you to the folks that are with me in saying that the absence of B&B is digusting! I understand the lack of David in this episode, but that does not explain the rest of the season! Again, no romance at the end – yeah, it was funny, but no hug, NO KISS, no arm around each other-NOTHING!!!! Heck, Booth didn’t even sit beside her at first! I still hate Aubrey – I would not feel that way if he had not taken over our show! Does 9 years of loyalty not at least get fans an explanation of what is going on with Emily and David? No B&B = falling ratings, and angry fans!! If we have to wait 30 min + to see a B&B scene in the 200th episode, then I am done! This season SUCKS so far – it certainly has not been Bones!!

  7. kmw on December 6th, 2014 2:16 pm

    Yes this episode was not the best and yes David Boreanaz was not available and this has not really been their best season so far but I think we all are going to find out why pretty soon. this episode did have good moments but yes I am with al of you about Booth and Brennans screen time. I was unhappy when I found out it was going to be off the air for so long, but this actually might help the show. I Hope Stephan Nathan does not turn this show into a soap opera with Booths story coming up. That story needs Booth and Brennan handling it together and NOT Aubrey helping him . With this season going the way it is I REALLY hope they get another year with David and Emily to go out right. Bones without either one would not work. One more thing, more Angela and Hodgins and LESS AUBREY!!!

  8. Jo on December 6th, 2014 4:26 pm

    I love this show but it isn’t the show I fell in love with. Give me more B&B together. I like Aubrey but not as the main character, less Aubrey more Booth. I can understand David & Emily wanting less time on the set but they have to know it’s affecting the show. They have been acting these characters for ten years and they are producers of the show surely they are not that dense. When Booth & Bones were looking into each others eyes face to face that required them to be in the scene together also when they were on the crime scene they were in the scene together. Now we don’t see them face to face or walking side by side on the crime scene or even walking on the side walk together with Booth’s hand on her lower back or his arm over her shoulders. The hand on the lower back has been missing since season 6. The beginning scene Booth or Brennan have anything that separates them so they are not in the scene together. The same in the ending scene they very seldom sit side by side. Something is always separating them that way they can film with only one or the other on the set, less time working more time with family or what ever they like to do in their spare time. I imagine Booth watching hockey games or playing hockey with his son or daughter. Emily may be playing with her son or at the organic health store buying vegan food.
    I believe the lack of B&B and lack of the romance of B&B is the result of Emily giving birth to her son. The spark between them starting waning when Emily was pregnant. That also was the time when we started seeing the no kissing and no hugging and no more sizzling scenes between B&B.
    I’m looking forward to the 200th episode. Hopefully there will be some of the old spark that B&B had in the past when it returns. I don’t like that it will be off for 3 months. Maybe they will take that time and wake up and listen to the fans and gives us what we know will be best for the show. HA, HA they have never listened to the fans before. Hart Hanson was so arrogant, he always said it was his show & he could write it anyway he wanted to hell with the fans. Maybe Stephan Nathan will listen to the fans, I wont hold my breath. Hart Hanson is involved with other projects turning the reins over to Stephan Nathan. Hart Hanson felt B&B were the main draw of the show. Stephan Nathan believes the show is more about the case and the more gore the better. That could be part of the reason we see less B&B.
    What ever the reasons are how do we the fans get TPTB to listen to us. I’m so frustrated I love this show I don’t want to give up on it but I don’t want an ulcer. I’m a loyal fan of Bones but maybe I’ll have to give up & concentrate of my other favorites like NCIS, The Good Wife, Criminal Minds an some others. No it won’t be Castel I haven’t watched it. I’ve read some of the reviews & read the reactions of some fans but I feel like it’s a rip off of Bones with name changes.
    This is my ramblings, sorry it’s so long, just had to write my feelings down.

  9. kmw on December 6th, 2014 8:38 pm

    While I agree that David Boreanaz was not really available in this episode, that does not change the fact that he had three early scenes all with Aubrey. The last scenes at the FBI and at home were good but not giving them scenes together for 20 to almost 45 minutes from the previous 5 episodes is not good. I think I know why this has occurred so hopefully the second part of season is better. David and Emily are the reason I watch and they are so great together on screen I also am afraid about second half if for no other reason is that some of the episodes sound dark . I really wish the show would lighten its tone a little bit. Booth and Brennan are just as good being funny with each other as serious. Bones had a great season finale and they have lost the momentum from that Please more Booth and Brennan SOLVING CASES TOGETHER AND ROMANCE

  10. Emily on December 6th, 2014 10:17 pm

    I found this episode kind of boring and I wish there was more Booth and Brennan, but I did like ‘Skinner’ the cat! I hope someone in the team adopts him (I love cats and it’d be nice to see more of Skinner)!

  11. Diana on December 7th, 2014 5:17 pm

    I actually hope Stephen Nathan does turn Bones into more of a (B&B) soap opera for one reason – AT LEAST SOAP OPERAS OFFER SOME ROMANCE BETWEEN THE FAN FAVORITES!@! B&B don’t even tell each other “I love you” – you would think they would do that ALL THE TIME after all the crap they have been through!!!!!

  12. Meo on December 12th, 2014 1:28 am

    I must be the only one not too bothered by the lack of B&B. And being all lovey-dovey/touchie-feelie would seem out of character for them.

    I don’t mind Aubrey, I don’t hate him, don’t particular love him either. Though maybe they should’ve made Brennan compliment him less (since I don’t think she should be so easily impressed).

    WORST thing about this episode was that nurse. I’m glad Wendell is OK, but in this episode his relationship with that nurse did not feel natural. Not to mention I thought she was going to turn into a psycho stalker.

  13. vland on October 26th, 2015 1:14 am

    I’m just getting to this season on Netflix, but I just wanted to chime in and say I fell in the same camp as Meo; for some reason the lack of on-screen romance between B&B doesn’t bother me much either. The cases have been interesting, I’m enjoying the focus on the side characters – with actual character/plot development to boot! – and what I personally love best about B&B is how well they work together. Of course that wasn’t under the spotlight in this episode anyway, but apparently this was a special case. I enjoy watching them tackle cases and parenting together, which shows off their chemistry too. I agree that too much sugar and roses would seem out of character. But we might have been in the minority of the fandom. I have yet to see how things have been panning out. Hopefully that right blend of what it takes to keep the show going strong.