An NBA athlete enters the war. The story goes that he died taking out insurgents and saving his unit, but the men who were there with him the night he died know how he really died and can't live with the guilt of hiding the fact that the athlete was actually killed by a fellow officer, not by an Iraqi insurgent. One of the men in the unit is murdered before he can talk. Take off on the Pat Tillman case. Tillman was a football player who gave up a multi-million contract to go to war and was killed in action in 2004 in Afghanistan. It was reported that he was killed by insurgents, but later established that he was killed by friendly fire. The same is true of the athlete in this show, Charles Kent. This is a 2006 episode.
Kent's family says (after slapping Booth for the exhumation that Brennan ordered) they want the truth, rather than the silver medal for their son, as Tillman's parents said.
The fact that Brennan knows older movies like Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Stagecoach means she was not always the socially removed person she is now. As a younger person, she was more up on pop culture than Zack is today.
When Booth sees a friend's grave by the murder scene, he feels that the friend saw what happened. He knows Bones doesn't see it that way. She says that she knows he thought his friend was a good man and that's enough for her. Nice gesture of comradeship, support and trust in his judgment on her part.
Did people really go to fight after 9/11 to help others gain their freedom, like to help people in Afghanistan get the right to vote, like the victims mother says he did, because his grandfather never had the right to vote? Sounds quite unrealistic. People went there to protect America and then had to expand their initial motivation after the fact, when it seems like it was unclear what we protecting America from in Afghanistan or that our methods were the right ones to do it. We may have done more harm to our country by our efforts over there than good, so we had to switch the focus to protecting THEM, those citizens, not ours. This episode acknowledges that strategic switch in perceptions, through Hodgins' skeptical comments, but I don't think it's realistic to hear the victims' mother offer that "liberation" motive.
Booth runs into an old friend in a wheelchair and introduces him to Brennan. What happened to him? He got hurt. I liked that, because it happened right after he told Booth that soldiers like to be around innocent kids because they don't expect anything from you (don't know if this is true or if that's a rational for soldiers who hang around kids). But he tells Temp that it's because, unlike kids that adults like to hear your war stories, like it's entertainment and soldiers don't want to do that.
Well, when he doesn't elaborate with Temp, I feel it's because he feels that her curiousity is invasive and she doesn't need to hear the "story," because what matters is the man. I think he's proving his point that adults are insensitive to veterans. But no, turns out he just snapped at her because he is hiding what he and the friend were doing when the friend was injured.
I don't know why Brennan said that it was unusual for a grown man, wizened from combat, to spend so much time with his little sister anyway. Was she suspecting the murder victim of something untoward? I don't know why she asked. I guess it was just to give Booth the opening to say that veterans like innocent kids who don't ask anything of them. That's a little uncomfortable. Too Michael Jacksony for me.
She gets mad when Brennan gives the commanding officer too much information. initially they weren't even going to tell anyone it was a murder. They were going to let the killer think he'd successfully framed a suicide, but Booth blurts it out to the C. O. She is right that he's lost his objectivity, but she's the one who frequently tells too much to suspects, so I don't know what she's complaining about.
I don't sympathize with the near breakdown Booth is having over the exhumation and investigation into kent's death. If he feels a fellowship for these other officers, then he should WANT the truth, not the cover up. The cover up already killed two men, Kent and the murder victim. It's driving the other survivor crazy. Booth should be more motivated to do the job of finding answers for them, than worried about disturbing the war hero's grave. I don't like him being the soldier who doesn't ask questions about war. I'd rather have him be the soldier who questions more, as the best way to respect those who died.
I am relieved when Booth concludes, after all the survivors say they heard a "pop, pop, pop" that they are all rehearsed and have been hiding something. He knows their stories don't match and starts acting like a detective, instead of a guy with flag-colored glasses.
We learn that Booth had a gambling problem. I know he's going to fall off the wagon and start gambling again, just like Angel fell off the wagon and became Angelus again.
His old pal assumes that the doctor is his girlfriend. He says she's just his partner. There's no reason anyone would assume that she was his girlfriend anyway. So, it's cutesy of the writers to have everyone do this. People did it with Mulder and Scully too, but the difference was that Mulder and Scully were evidencing couple traits and B & B really don't.
Although the way Brennan feels bad that she's upsetting Booth is kind of like she thinks of him more than a business partner and not only wants his work support, but doesn't want him to think she is undermining him, doesn't want him to think she would hurt him for no reason, but is only doing it because she wants to solve the murder, not because she's insensitive. She cares what he thinks of her and what he thinks she thinks of him and that does lay a nice groundwork for romance, a pebble on the path of love.
Turns out the unit killed a family of innocents. Booth talks about it with his paralyzed friend. Turns out Booth saved his life on their last assignment, but couldn't save his legs.
Booth and his friend (now a judge whose family, wife and kids, Booth visits) have done something they feel guilty about. The friend says it's not wrong and Booth wants to know if it's not, why do they keep it a secret? Well, it sounds more sinister than it is. The friend suggested he tell his girlfriend, but he said that Bones was just his partner, not his girlfriend, but he ends up telling her in the end. He says what he's done is not all right, as long as it stays a secret. He had been sent in as a ranger sniper to assassinate a man who killed many people. He found him at his son's birthday party and shot him there, in front of the kid. The way Booth was acting, I was thinking maybe he'd mistakenly shot the kid too. No, he's just all cut up over having killed the father in front of the child and changing that boy's life forever. A bullet never kills one person, he tells Bones. "We all die a little bit." She puts her arm on him and he holds her hand.
That line about them all dying a little bit reminds me of "every day a bit of death, in the butter, in the bread," from A Little Night Music. I just don't think the revelation is as moving as they wanted it to be. Maybe because they had Booth acting too nervous and jumpy, then angry. The emotional moment was too aware of itself as we were led up to it and as it happened, for me to be that moved. Plus, Brennan had felt guilty about disillusioning Booth's patriotism with her evidence of wrongdoing and Angela had advised her to reach out to him, not as a lover or friend with benefits ( as Bones first suspected that Angela meant) but as a friend. So, we knew that Brennan was going to do that. Booth's friend tells him to tell his doctor/girlfriend the truth, because he needs to talk to somebody about it, so I didn't know that Booth was going to do that, since she's not his girlfriends, but when Booth DID do just that, it didn't come as a surprise.