The much-awaited episode “The Patriot in Purgatory” provided a poignant and touching look at veterans issues and the events of September 11. It proved to be one of the best episodes of season 8 of Bones and arguably of the entire series. What follows is a recap, so naturally spoilers are included from this episode.

The five male squinterns are called together, including fan favorites Clark (Eugene Byrd) and Wendell (Michael Grant Terry), to await Dr. Brennan’s (Emily Deschanel) arrival. Inspired by basketball coach Phil Jackson, Brennan wants the squinterns to work as a team for once.

After examining the wrong body and competing with one another, Brennan directs the squinterns to the vault of over 1,000 unidentified corpses. Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) gives the squinterns bodies as well as conspiracy theories. The squinterns continue to identify bodies, all while working alone, rather than together. Hodgins is amused, while Dr. Vaziri (Pej Vahdat) is unable to identify a homeless man and remains stuck on the corpse.

In total, they identified 18 sets of remains leaving Sweets (John Francis Daley) the duty of notifying families. Booth (David Boreanaz) explains this delegation of duties, describing himself as Superman, which we’re sure fans can concur with.

Dr. Vaziri remains stuck on the one case, much to Brennan’s dismay. The man was beaten up and was shot 10 years prior to his death. Vaziri wants the victim to be remembered, not “forgotten for the second time.” The victim was covered in jet fuel, yet was no longer near the airport.

The victim’s death was short-handed by the police department as his bullet wound was not recorded, nor was his time of death accurate, providing a commentary on what can often happen to those who are homeless. Angela (Michaela Conlin) and Cam (Tamara Taylor) figure out that he died on September 21. Finally the squinterns work together as a team, realizing the importance of this case, connecting it to September 11.

Sweets theorizes that the victim may have wanted to remain anonymous and was a terrorist. With his high levels of uranium, Booth connects him to Operation Desert Storm and identifies him as a veteran, providing an opposite theory.

The Jeffersonian team begin to emote about the events of September 11. Hodgins, the head conspiracy theorist at the Jeffersonian, denies the viability of any of the 9/11 conspiracy theories. Cam worked as a coroner in New York before, during, after the traumatic event and was in charge of identifying the victims of the attacks.

Booth meets with one of the Pentagon’s top brass, trying to figure out who the victim is, emphasizing the importance of not leaving anyone behind. Finn asks if it would be too difficult for Dr. Vaziri to work on this case pointing to his practice of Islam. In a monologue that should be read by all, Vaziri puts Finn in his place and points out that religion plays no part in the terrorist attacks.

Booth identifies the victim as Tim Murphy after going to homeless shelters and meeting with Desert Storm veterans. Meeting with Mrs. Murphy, she relates the hardships that Tim had returning from the Gulf War and in being inside due to an attack he experienced during the war. He vanished 17 years ago with post-traumatic stress disorder but was still attached to his family, carrying a photo of them. This scene was especially touching and demonstrated the hardships of adapting back into civilian society and of institutions being able to appropriately respond to the needs of veterans.

Hodgins pinpoints that the victim was standing in the West side of the Pentagon. Wendell feels the pressure to solve this case, given the solemnity of the event. Mr. Fisher points out that the team (and America in general) has to acknowledge that 9/11 occurred and affected all of them. The squinterns relate where they were on 9/11 with Wendell losing his firefighter uncle in the attacks.

Another Pentagon friend of Booth stops by and relates that Murphy would yell “Walken Moor Park” outside the Pentagon every day. Sweets looks at a report by a homeless activist of 12 attacks against the homeless in 2001, trying to figure out who could have killed Tim Murphy. Booth figures out that the victim’s three fellow soldiers during Desert Storm had last names of Walken, Moor, and Park respectively. All of his colleagues were killed in an ammo attack in 2001, which Murphy was also caught in. He wrote to the Army 56 times to try to award his comrades silver stars, with no luck.

Murphy had blood on his clothes from three survivors of the Pentagon attack. He rescued the survivors, lifting a 400-pound concrete beam off of them, suffering a multitude of fractures including a rib fracture, taking ten days to bleed out.

The episode ends with a moving tribute by Booth at Arlington cemetery, about the heroic act of Tim Murphy and interconnectedness of us all. As Booth and Brennan attempt to get back to normal, Brennan breaks down and reveals that she unearthed the remains from the Two Towers for two weeks not shedding a tear. She admits that she has become more emotional since she’s met Booth and realizes the randomness of the event.


What did you think of this episode? Were you moved by the touching monologues and case?

Bones airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.

Photo Credit: Fox Broadcasting

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