'Bones' Season 9, episode 16: Terrorism and life insurance in 'The Source in the Sludge'

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"Bones" Season 9 is back on Mondays with episode 16, the "The Source in the Sludge." The show wastes no time in showing its stuff, bringing in CIA Agent Danny Beck (Freddie Prinze Jr.), terrorism and chopping up eyeballs.

Also, there is a lot about eels, life insurance and PhD orals exams. Those parts are integral to the story if not obviously as fascinating at first glance. Find out why in this recap.

Terrorism and murder sometimes look a lot alike

The victim of the week is Sari Nazeri, a young refugee from Afghanistan. Sari and her brother, Aziz, had been brought over to the US by the CIA after Sari led the military to a terrorist leader named Ibrahim. With her help, the man was killed in a targeted airstrike.

Or was he? Sari is found dead in a trout pond, left in a bag full of eels. It turns out that this was once Ibrahim's trademark method of murder, leading the government to believe that the terrorist might have survived his supposed death. An interview with Ibrahim's one-time prison guard, Eric Johansson, confirms that other prisoners had called the man a chameleon. Could that chameleon have sneaked into the United States?

Two alternatives to this theory come up early in the episode. One is that Aziz killed his sister, apparently because that's the default thinking when it comes to Muslim men on TV shows. There is even briefly some evidence for this, when Booth finds out that Aziz had a burner phone he had used to call one of Ibrahim's former colleagues back in Afghanistan.

But it turns out that Aziz just loved his sister and wanted to go home.

The end of this line of investigation leads directly to another: Aziz claims that Sari had been sneaking out at nights. Booth's old friend, Danny, happens to be the case handler for Sari and at first doesn't seem to know anything about where the young woman had been going.

That's a lie. As we soon learn, Sari and Danny were in love and had been having an illicit relationship. Booth now treats Danny as a prime suspect, only backing off when further evidence finally exonerates the CIA agent.

When the squints do their investigation, they find two important things: Sari was left to die of dehydration, and she bit her killer in a struggle. The first finding leads away from Danny, since that's not exactly an angry lover's method. The second provides DNA evidence that points to the real killer: Derek Johansson, the ex-military guard.

This isn't an ideological "Homeland"-type scenario though -- Derek is just in it for money. He gets even more money when he promises to deliver the entire terrorist network to the US government.

Of course, Booth isn't OK with this. Fortunately, Derek is still getting rehab at the military's expense and therefore qualifies for a court martial for murder and terrorism. Yay justice!

Thank goodness Brennan has money

The Booth-Brennan subplot of "The Source in the Sludge" deals with life insurance. Because why not? It seems that Brennan's premiums have been raised because her insurance feels that running after Booth to crime scenes and facing down criminals is dangerous.

Considering that Brennan has almost died a few times, that might be fair. Well, it would be fair if she didn't almost-die just as often at home or in the lab. But you can't expect insurance to take such things into account. They just look at the running around with guns.

Especially irksome to Brennan is that she is paying more for insurance, despite the fact that Booth is totally likely to die first. Again, all the insurance cares about here is which of the partners is actually trained to chase criminals and fire guns.

In the end, however, Brennan's worries are eased when she runs the actuarial numbers from the insurance company and decides the higher premiums are warranted. She decides -- fortunately for viewers -- to keep going out in the field and to pay higher premiums. Staying at home or in the lab would not have been an entertaining choice.

Oral exams are awful, stressful, terrible things

Take it from someone who has taken a PhD orals exam: The test is awful. Literally months of studying everything one could know on a subject boiled down to the questions asked by a handful of professors. It's not a huge shock that someone as odd and high-strung as Daisy might fail it.

It is only slightly more surprising that Brennan failed too (even if she stumbled by being rude to the professors). Fortunately, Daisy gets to take the test again -- and she only needs a little pep talk (not sex) from Sweets!

If you love someone, call him a lamprey

Hodgins spends most of this episode obsessing over the lamprey eels found with the body. He especially likes the way they poop and their non-evolution for 360 million years. Angela is less impressed with the poop, but she does see the eels as a metaphor for her husband.

It's a good point -- losing millions and gaining a mentally handicapped brother would throw most people. Hodgins is still just playing with the stoic, unchanging eels.


"Bones" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on FOX.
Photo/Video credit: FOX