For the fourth time in two seasons, the Bones universe is invaded by Christopher Pelant (Andrew Leeds), the genius, psychotic killer with the crosshairs of his target fixed on the Jeffersonian crew. What started out in season 7 as a bored man's desire to match wits with the best crime-solving team the FBI has going for them has evolved into an all-out grudge match between the two.
Making things more interesting is Booth's (David Boreanaz) unwavering commitment to staying on the side of the law, no matter how far below the belt Pelant hits.
Tonight's episode - "The Corpse on the Canopy" - marked an all-time low for this evil genius whose opening act is just about as creepy and gross as it gets. A very woozy Hodgins (TJ Thyne) and Angela (Michaela Conlin) awaken to find a flayed corpse caught in the top of their canopy bed and dripping blood on them. The spine-tingling part comes when they discover their crying son's pillow outlined with blood-stained flowers, though fortunately the little man himself is okay. However, Pelant's revenge on the bug man has only just begun.
The gauntlet has been thrown and the team presses on. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is able to convince Hodgins to work within the law as working outside of it would make the onus of any violent actions fall on Booth. As in previous cases, Pelant remains elusive as an eel throughout most of the episode, even finding the time to taunt Brennan with a call to her burner cell for the sole purpose of letting her know she's missing what's right in front of her.
Meanwhile, Sweets (John Francis Daley) questions whether Hodgins should be allowed to stay on the case given the manic state he's in thanks to the "attack" on his family. Cam (Tamara Taylor) is as firm as Booth, however, recognizing that if Hodgins is the one Pelant is gunning for, that means he's the one scientist Pelant probably fears.
Like "The Archaeologist in the Cocoon," this episode highlights the strength of Bones' ensemble cast, with the delightful addition of Patricia Belcher as Prosecutor Caroline Julian, as well as Reed Diamond's return as Special Agent Flynn. Caroline's quick, sharp wit keeps the team ever on their toes while giving the audience a ray of comic relief no matter how dark the situation may become. Flynn, on the other hand, feels like the gawky boy trying to get in with the cool kids by impressing them with his loyalty.
That loyalty may have been sound after all, as it is Flynn who takes a round of bullets to the chest, and his fate is still hanging in the balance at the end of the episode. If nothing else, he brings a much needed balance to the FBI side of the table. The end scene would have felt cheap and not nearly as tense had it been Sweets, not Flynn, who had accompanied Booth on the final hunt for Pelant, and no doubt would have been filled with incessant chatter as opposed to quiet efficiency.
But the hardest blow to the team is not that Pelant snuck into Hodgins' house or even Flynn going down under fire. Rather, it's the split-second decision Hodgins must make between losing his massive fortune - something that has defined him since season 1 - or saving a schoolyard full of young girls. He chooses the girls, which should make for interesting story arc as the season continues on.
As for Pelant, for the first time, he doesn't escape without paying a price. Booth's final shot didn't kill Pelant, but he is maimed and there's a tremor in his hands now. One can only hope that the Pelant arc will continue in this suspenseful, tightly-written fashion as the season continues.
Bones airs Mondays @8pm on Fox.