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'Bones' 'The Recluse in the Recliner' review: Gaining and losing control

Booth (David Boreanaz, C) is rushed to the hospital after receiving multiple gunshot wounds in the "The Recluse in the Recliner" Season Finale episode of BONES.
Booth (David Boreanaz, C) is rushed to the hospital after receiving multiple gunshot wounds in the "The Recluse in the Recliner" Season Finale episode of BONES.
Adam Taylor/FOX, used with permission

The Monday, May 19 episode of "Bones," 9x24, "The Recluse in the Recliner," may leave you a bit speechless. It all begins (at least chronologically) with Booth receiving a call to his secure line from someone who wants to talk about the McNamaras and the FBI, and it ends with Booth in the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds.

"I am totally on board with this conspiracy," squintern-of-the-week Fisher says after they discover where the conspiracy blogger hid all his files. Anyone else feel that way about the entire episode? "The Recluse in the Recliner" showcases "Bones" at its best, with the Jeffersonian team working together (and trying to do so under the radar), highlights Booth's military past, maybe reminding some that he's more than just an FBI agent, brings out the conspiracy theorist in Hodgins, recalls what Pelant did to them with a failsafe Angela implemented and features Booth and Brennan working as a team, whether that's in planning to fool the world or taking down Delta Force operatives destroying their home and taking aim at their life together. Plus, there's a crazy cliffhanger, and instead of taking what could've been the easy way out and ending with Booth's fate "in question" (because that wouldn't be a true cliffhanger), they go one step further and introduce a game-changer.

The season 9 finale shows that this show still has it and deserves that 10th season it's already been renewed for, because there are still more stories to tell, especially with the last moments teasing quite the change. The episode itself shows the Booth and the Jeffersonian team losing control and gaining it back only to lose it again in a major way, with Booth in cuffs in a hospital bed for killing three FBI agents and Brennan in custody for questioning, and everyone put in a position where the only ones they can really trust are each other.

With a conspiracy in the FBI and the files Angela recovers from Foster's memory hip, everyone's in question. Where do they go after that? How deep does this conspiracy go? As seen in the "previously on," the wheels were put in motion for this episode for quite a while. Even when they get to the bottom of it (which we know they will, because there's no "Bones" without Booth and Brennan working together), where will that leave everyone and the FBI? Getting to the bottom of this won't erase what happened at the subcommittee hearing.

Like stated above, this sets up quite the change, something a show going into double-digit season needs. Yes, there are still stories to tell, cases to solve, gross remains to cringe at, but at the same time, you don’t want is to see a show like the FOX hit begin dragging when a move like this could keep that from happening. As also stated above, it's hard to imagine the show just going back to how things used to be after the way the finale ended. Even a time jump couldn't help in that regard. Instead, this could very well help to breath some fresh air into a show at a time that it didn't necessarily need it, but it couldn't hurt.

Now, let's get to the full recap of the "Bones" season 9 finale:

How to make a conspiracy theorist happy Brennan's German lesson for Booth in preparation for their potential move is interrupted when he receives a call to his secure line from a guy wanting to meet to talk about the McNamaras and the FBI. However, by the time Booth has the number traced, it's too late; the guy's been cooked to a crisp in his trailer, and the fire department says he set himself on fire smoking and sleeping. The blast originated in his stomach, and it is possible to drink enough booze to explode, but someone melted the circuit breaker in the off position outside the trailer. Someone made sure he wouldn't talk. Once they have the body back at the Jeffersonian (and have confirmed his identity), Cam discovers that he was dead before the fire started. Further proof this is a murder case.

Wesley Foster was a journalist whose career fell apart five years ago, and he lost everything. He's been writing a conspiracy blog since, about the McNamaras, the corrupt government, the FBI, etc., but with a probable conspiracy in the FBI, Booth tells the Director that he's likely just a harmless crank. But he wasn't a harmless crank, not if someone felt the need to force a funnel down his throat to fill him up with alcohol and remove the hard drive from his computer, which brings out the conspiracy theorist in Hodgins, who insists he wouldn't have kept anything on his computer; he would've made sure his files were secure and hidden.

As for what files he may have, the answer comes when they find out he worked as a night janitor at a company owned by the McNamaras, and they're denied access to any information without a warrant, one Caroline can't get even one of three judges to sign. They might not need that though; Cam, Hodgins and Fisher find Foster's nipple and nipple ring in the trailer, and his nipple ring is a memory chip.

Booth and Brennan against the world Booth sits down for lunch with Director Stark and Congressman Hadley from the subcommittee, and Hadley assures him he has his support. They want him for the new job because it's hard to pull him out of the field. When his phone rings, Hadley lets him go, assuring him he has his records and to just keep the phone on vibrate for the hearing. But that hearing may just be the last thing on Booth's mind when he sees what Angela recovered from the memory chip: confidential bank records, transcripts of private meetings, hacked emails, surveillance photos, and more, you know, the types of files that can be used to get people to do what you want them to do. In fact, Booth took one of those photos and had been told it was for a routine drug stakeout. It turns out that someone didn't want a Senator in office and it was for blackmail.

Further examination of the bones reveals evidence of torture and that there were three assailants. Brennan recognizes a fracture as one she's also seen when identifying remains in Iraq, caused by a takedown strangle hold, used by Delta Force operatives – and their DNA isn't on file to match to the epithelial cells Cam found. So what do they do next? The only thing they can do: let them win. Booth wants Brennan to issue a report ruling Foster's death an accident, and when she argues that she's never wrong, he explains that's why they'll believe it. It will give them time without eyes on them, and so they can keep digging while pretending they've moved on. They'll regain the control they lost.

Brennan does just that in time to be there to support Booth for his hearing, and he needs that support when Hadley questions him about Daniel Johnson, a U.S. citizen he assassinated in Pakistan in 2002. Booth says he can't discuss it because of government directives and those files are supposed to be classified, but the damage is done, and the media begins hounding Booth with questions as he and Brennan leave. Booth knows someone gave Hadley those files to bring him down and wonders if the promotion was a set-up because he looked too closely at McNamara during the Ghost Killer case. He's just a warning to the others. Stark tells him he has to withdraw the nomination and put him on administrative leave, but Booth knows he's being fired.

That doesn't mean Booth and Brennan will give up. Cam begins to look through all the Delta Force personnel to find who doesn't have DNA on file, while Angela discovers why Hadley turned on Booth: a photo of him with a man. Brennan discreetly lets Booth know what they found out, and Booth's waiting in Hadley's car at the end of the day. "I am trying to help you. This is bigger than you can imagine," Hadley says, refusing to give up who approached him. "Why don't you just go away like they want?" But this is Booth. Booth is not going to go anywhere. Did Hadley forget that conversation over lunch? Did seeing that photo just erase it from his memory? Booth has everything, and he's not going to keep it to himself, he informs Hadley, who takes the bait and makes a call.

Booth, bomb(shell)s and bad guys Like Booth expected, Hadley called a burner cell, and a team is coming after him, which means he needs Brennan to take Christine and go to Max's, and it's not up for discussion. With that, Booth takes out C4, which, yes, he's been keeping in the house. As much as Brennan wants to stay, Booth reminds her that they have a daughter to think about. "I hate you for telling me to walk away," she tells him as they say goodbye. "Don't you die." Once Brennan and Christine are gone, Booth sets up the entire house: a little C4 here, an explosion waiting to happen there, a gun here, a gun there, a gun everywhere. With an explosion at the front door, it begins.

Meanwhile, Fisher calls Brennan to tell her that he figured out that two of the Delta Force operatives are right-handed, one left-handed, information that could be vital to Booth, but it's too late. He won't answer his phone. Thanks to a trick Hodgins cooked up, Angela gets access to everything on the chip, and the three judges who denied Caroline's warrants are on there. As Angela begins decrypting, an Intruder Alert warning pops up. They're being hacked, but Angela installed a failsafe program on the server because of Pelant, so while the hackers will think they shut them down, they haven't.

Back at the house, it's pure insanity, as Booth uses everything he has set up against the operatives, but still gets hit multiple times as the fight tears the house apart. Sure, we know that Booth makes it to the hospital, thanks to the opening scene, but when he gets there, he has multiple gunshot wounds, so our anxiety reaches new levels during this sequence. Brennan races in and shoots one of the guys, there to tell Booth what Fisher had told her, and in the end, Booth breaks the final operative's neck with his bare hands before collapsing, Brennan at his side, begging him, "Don't you die."

When the episode begins, it's Thursday at 9:23 p.m., with Booth being brought into the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds and Brennan running in after him, and as it ends, the others join her in the waiting room. The doctor finally comes out to tell her he's alive, but there's a problem, and she doesn't wait to hear the rest. She runs to his room, but FBI agents stop her. Booth is handcuffed before he killed three agents coming to serve a warrant (because all FBI agents serve warrants decked out like these guys were?), and when Brennan argues that they were trying to kill him, Stark has her taken into custody for questioning.

"Bones" returns for its 10th season this fall on FOX. What did you think of the season 9 finale, "The Recluse in the Recliner"?

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