Bones: “The Maiden in the Mushroom”

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Grade: B-

Airdate: 4/1/12

This episode of Bones was almost more about biting and hot sauce than it was about murder. The whole team from Bones (Emily Deschanel) to squintern Finn (Luke Kleintank) seemed to focus more attention on their personal problems than the murder. Did that make it a bad episode? No, because it’s Bones. If I was looking for a serious show about murder I would not be watching. But, maybe a little seriousness is good sometimes.

Also themed episode make up for any problems, especially when they are possibly unintentional references to The Amanda Show. The team finds body burned in an abandoned warehouse covered in mushrooms. Cam (Tamara Taylor) is able to figure out the victim has expensive clothes on and Angela (Michaela Conlin) is able to identify her as the producer of a courtroom reality television show called “Judge Trudie”. Really Bones? You are going to go with Judge Trudie? Well, bring in the dancing lobsters and take out my ability to take this episode seriously.

On top of a that, Booth (David Boreanaz) and Bones’ major problem is that Christine bit another kid at daycare. Multiple people tell Bones biting is average behavior for a toddler, but she refuses to accept Christine could be average. And if that wasn’t goofy enough, Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) uses the last of super-southern Finn’s granny’s special secret recipe hot sauce.

Booth and Bones go talk to Judge Trudie/Judy/Amanda Bynes, the production intern and the bailiff, who dated the victim and has joint custody of a dog with her. The list of suspects gets pretty long because the victim’s job was to fire them up before they went on camera.

Back in the — I’ll use the word loosely — lab, Bones recruits Angela to look into Christine’s alleged biting charge by hacking into the daycare center’s records and security footage. Angela is able to get it and a picture of the other kids bit mark and it is a 21 percent match the model of Christine’s teeth that Bones made. But, she still believes in her daughter’s innocent.

Back to that pesky murder, the team figures out the victim was bond by her hands when she died, was whacked in the head by an ex-boyfriend three months before and was hung of the balcony in the warehouse. I do applaud the show for making it seem like the second seemingly innocent person, the intern, did it for a while until Sweets (John Francis Daley) tells Booth it doesn’t make sense. It turns out the ex-boyfriend/bailiff killed the victim because she neglected the dog and it hung itself off the victim’s porch. Yes, the victim was killed over a dog. Goofiness: level 100, seriousness: level zero.

Hodgins is able to remake Finn’s granny’s sauce and they decide to sell it to a restaurant as “Opie and Thirsten’s Hot Sauce.” Apparently, Bones handled the biting meeting at the preschool rather well and accepts that Christine will make some mistakes along the way. Booth realizes that is because Christine also bit Bones.

The episode had a cute little lesson, a hilarious theme and a bunch of light and goofy plot lines. It wasn’t a great episode, but I don’t think it was trying to be. It was a good episode, not the kind I will remember for being just plain fun — the Halloween episode from season three — but good all the same.

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