TODD and KAREN have just finished having sex in a parked car. TODD is ready to go again but first he has to go to the bathroom. He runs off to take a leak in a nearby evaporation pool. His relief soon turns to terror as body parts begin floating to the surface.
SWEETS has a session with ZACK ADDY. Zack feels remorse, not for the murder he committed, but "for succumbing to faulty logic." Sweets feels as though he and Zack are talking in circles. Something doesn't add up. Sweets swipes his card to leave but it won't work, giving Zack time to say that he is not delusional. "Perhaps you should consider that your delusion is that you're not delusional," Sweets replies.
DETECTIVE RANDY PAYNTER briefs Booth and Brennan on the case. There were twelve body parts floating in the pool. No head was found. Even stranger, the water in the pond is purple. The skull is vital to the investigation so Brennan decides they need to drain the whole pool, in case it sank to the bottom, and transport the water to the Jeffersonian.
At the lab, Angela, Cam and Brennan examine the remains. The fingertips appear to have been burned. WENDELL BRAY, Brennan's scholarship student, suggests that the victim purposely erased his fingertips in order to conceal his identity. The victim, a male, has been dead between two to four days. A pair of children's sneakers sized for an adult was found at the scene. Brennan notices that "all the cuts to the skeleton are clean except for several incomplete slices to the C-2 vertebra." The killer hesitated as they cut off the head. After examining the x-rays, Wendell believes the victim had Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Perhaps the victim was the patient of a local orthopedic physician. Hodgins appears. The purple water was caused by "a bottom growing algae called Lemanea." It was disturbed when Todd peed in the pool. Cam wants to know if Hodgins has moved his office. He says no, takes the shoes and ducks out. Apparently, Cam wants Hodgins to move into Zack's Ookey Room. Wendell wonders who Zack is.
Brennan drives because Booth's back hurts. He shouldn't have gone down that small slide with Parker. Brennan becomes annoyed when Booth offers to break in the new intern for her. "You don't need to fix everything for everyone all the time. I can handle myself." Booth pulls up the photo of the victim on his computer screen: JARED ADDISON, 25. He was identified after the FBI cross-referenced Ehlers-Danlos syndrome with the special sneakers. Brennan looks over and Booth reacts. "Watch the road!" Brennan gets angry because she is an excellent driver. She takes a deep breath.
Booth and Brennan speak with Jared's mother, TILDA ADDISON, as she works in her garden. When Booth shows her a picture of Jared's shoes, she accepts the terrible truth. Tilda allows Booth and Brennan to look around Jared's room. It's very child-like. In the closet, they find a dozen pairs of the same shoes. Tilda had no idea Jared was missing. He had checked into a hotel so he could finish writing his novel. She gives Brennan and Booth a copy of his last book: Robot Eyes. Booth looks at the picture on the back cover. It is not Jared Addison. Brennan concludes that the publisher created a more attractive persona for Jared using a different photo and life story. Her publisher had wanted to do the same for her. According to Tilda, Jared was dropped after only two books. His next book was an attempt to get his publisher to rehire him. Booth decides they need an "expert" to look at Jared's room.
Hodgins finds coffee grounds and sea kelp in the victim's shoes as well as an extremely small fly egg. He needs to hatch it to find out more. Cam calls Hodgins on his bad attitude as of late and he gets defensive. "If you want to make a change, you make a change. Otherwise, you let me do my job and hatch this egg." Cam relents and walks away.
Booth and Brennan bring Sweets, their "expert," to Jared's room. He observes a shelf full of action figures. "They're awesome." Despite what Booth may think, Sweets no longer lives at home. "I have my own place and before that I lived with a woman." Despite what Brennan may think, that woman was not his mother. Sweets notices that everything in the childish room is in perfect order: the victim had OCD. Those with OCD usually have a set pattern. If they find out what upset his pattern, they could find out what led to his death. "My first guess? At his age? Sex." Sweets searches for a "masturbatory aid." Booth knows where to look: the shoes. They find contact information and a list of sexual suggestions from KELLY SUTTON. There is also a photograph. Kelly, a woman in her fifties, relaxes in a bubble-filled tub.
Booth questions Kelly Sutton. Kelly and Jared loved each other. The age difference didn't matter. Jared wanted to get married. Brennan and Sweets listen to the conversation from the observation room. Sweets confesses that the woman he lived with was twenty-six. Therefore, he knows a thing or two about older women. Kelly met Jared at her son's nursery. She helped him pick out an orchid for his mother. They hit it off and Kelly asked Jared to dinner. The rest is history. Booth asks about the hotel. There is no record of Jared checking in. Kelly confirms that Jared was at the hotel but not to write. He attended a behavior modification conference.
Wendell works with Bones and the now cleaned bones. Since they do not have the head, they cannot determine cause of death. Solving this case may be impossible. Wendell notices a boxer's fracture on one of the fingers. "It happens if you slug someone without keeping your wrist dead straight." Brennan is impressed with Wendell's findings. She moves closer to him. "Mr. Bray, have you ever conducted a sexual relationship with a woman over 20 years older than yourself?" Wendell does not know how to respond. Did Brennan just proposition him?
Hodgins visits Zack at the Psychiatric Facility. He brings Zack a difficult mathematical equation to solve. Zack doesn't believe he can do it so Hodgins almost calls himself "King of the Lab." Hodgins describes the details of the new case when Zack suddenly solves the equation. "I'm King of the Loony Bin." Hodgins gives Zack the case file to see if he can spot anything they've missed.
Booth and Brennan arrive at the hotel conference room. They find a dozen men and women in bathing suits, standing next to buckets of mud. JIM AMERIAN tells them to rub it all over their bodies. Many look horrified at the thought but do it anyway. RALPH cannot handle the task and bolts from the room. Booth pulls Jim aside for a conversation.
Outside the conference room, Jim reveals that Jared was one of his students. Booth asks about Jim's black eye. Did Jared punch him after an intense therapy? It wasn't Jared but another of his students. He couldn't handle the floor licking exercise. Jared, on the other hand, was a success. His severe phobia of germs had caused him to hold a flame under his fingertips to burn germs away. However, he was making real progress. "Jared was my star patient. It's a tragedy he died before he could fully enjoy his new freedoms." Ralph interrupts the interview. Jim suggests they try his therapy tomorrow but Ralph has something else on his mind. He confesses to Jared's murder. "Can you please sterilize your handcuffs before taking me in?"
Booth allows Sweets to question Ralph. "Crazy guy? Shrink? It's a no brainer." Ralph admits his terrible curse: if he does not eat breakfast each day at 8:14AM, the person nearest to him will die. Jim Amerian told him not to eat until 9AM that day. Ralph had breakfast with Jared so Jared died. "When you lock me up, I should either keep my watch or you should only put me next to terrible people who deserve to die." Sweets presses Ralph for some information they can actually use. After they ate together, Jared went to the coffee cart in the lobby of the building. Brennan recalls that Hodgins found coffee grounds in Jared's shoes.
The barista at the coffee cart immediately remembers Jared. Jared made him throw out so many perfectly good cups of coffee that he was going broke. Why? The cups were dirty on the outside, his hands weren't clean enough, too many germs. Last Thursday, everything changed. Jared came by and apologized. He shook hands without worrying about germs. Booth and Brennan realize Jim Amerian's techniques were working for Jared.
Wendell stands awkwardly at the door to Angela's office. He has a question. "I owe people money." Angela is confused, especially since that's not a question. Wendell explains that he has to work hard, do the best he can, graduate at the top of his class so he can find a great job to help pay off his debt. Angela thinks she understands. "You're worried about getting fired because you can't satisfy Dr. Brennan." Wendell gets flustered and retreats. Angela chases after him and pulls out the truth: he is concerned that he will have to be Brennan's "boy toy" in order to keep his job. After all, she was involved with Zack and Booth. Angela tells him how wrong he is but Wendell still looks concerned.
Angela is at her computer when Cam enters. She tells Cam about Jared's cell phone. After recreating a call list, Angela discovered that Jared called the same number everyday at the same time. The number belongs to Forward-Retro Publishing, the company that dropped Jared after his second book.
Brennan and Booth interrogate GARY TUSHMAN, Jared's former publisher. He let Jared go because he wasn't marketable, not like Dr. Brennan, the "hot scientist chick." Jared couldn't even shake hands. How could he meet fans at "nerd conventions?" Brennan sees that Gary's tooth is bothering him. Jared punched him. "I admit to that cause and effect situation." Jared went to see Gary to explain that he had overcome his OCD. He would do whatever Gary wanted to sell books. Gary refused. He thought Jared was making up some story. That's when Jared punched him. The old Jared would have been too worried about germs to do that. So Gary rehired him. Gary had no motive to kill Jared. "Can you imagine the sales I'd've gotten off of revealing the real Jared Addison? I'd've made a fortune."
Hodgins finally hatches his fly egg as Cam approaches. It is a white fly and these types of insects only live in humid climates. Cam recalls that Jared's girlfriend, Kelly, worked at a nursery. Before Cam leaves, Hodgins respectfully tells her that he cannot move into Zack's old office. Cam understands.
Angela joins Sweets at the Royal Diner. She has to tell someone about Wendell. He claims Brennan hit on him. When Sweets hears the whole story, he sets Angela straight. "Our murder victim was 28 years younger than his girlfriend. Dr. Brennan was probably looking for insight in her clumsy yet endearing way." Angela can't let it go. She mentions that Wendell also owes people money. Maybe the mob? That is not Sweets' area of expertise but she should definitely apologize to Wendell about the conversation with Brennan. Angela is hesitant about taking advice from Sweets. Last time, it ended her relationship with Hodgins. Sweets defends himself. That was not his fault and she knows it. Angela leaves.
Booth, Brennan and Hodgins arrive at DAVID SUTTON'S greenhouse. Hodgins agrees that the white fly could have come from here. He begins to take samples. Brennan, meanwhile, takes a sample of her own. She puts fertilizer in her mouth. Booth freaks out. "Now you're gonna get sick, your stomach's gonna go upside down. It's gonna be a mess." David says the fertilizer is organic. Brennan tastes sea kelp and coffee grounds. Jared was at the greenhouse before he was killed. David doesn't have anything to hide. Jared came by to ask for his mother's hand in marriage. David wasn't receptive. Jared was ten years younger and it would be "creepy" to have him as a stepfather. Brennan notices a shovel covered in white flies. She tests it and it is positive for blood.
Angela confronts Wendell. She explains why Dr. Brennan asked him the question she did. Wendell is relieved he doesn't have to have sex with his boss. Angela asks him about his debts. Are they to the wrong kind of people? Wendell becomes very defensive. "My whole neighborhood ponied up to send me to school. They're working people. They make money with their hands. I need to pay them back." Angela didn't realize. She thought he owed money to the mob. Wendell admits he wants to work at the lab but it seems like a lot to deal with. Angela wishes him luck.
At the lab, the squints tell Booth that there were potato proteins on the shovel and that gave the test a false positive. Brennan tells the group that without the head, this case is going nowhere. Hodgins can't help but wish Zack were here. "You gotta get over it. Zack's not coming back," Booth gives him the hard truth. That's when Zack enters the lab proclaiming, "I know where to find the victim's head." Everyone is shocked to see him. After the shock wears off, they rush over and hug their friend. Booth wants to know how he got out and Zack says Sweets helped him. He just doesn't know he helped him. Booth takes control. "All right, Zack, you're with me and Bones. The rest of you, go play with your microscopes or whatever it is you do."
Zack explains his discovery. "Everything in the room is organized in sets of twelve. A dozen shoes in the closet. A dozen action figures on the shelf." Jared was afraid of germs. He did not group items. Zack gives them more clues. "They live at 12 Kindergarden Street. Kindergarden has 12 letters." The name Jared Addison also has twelve letters but Jared didn't choose the house or name himself. His mother has OCD. The groups of twelve are a manifestation of her disorder. Sweets enters. He agrees with their findings. There were hesitation marks on the body because she found it hard to kill her son. He turns his attention to Zack. How could he have used him to escape? Booth wants to get back to the murder at hand. He needs a motive. "He was overcoming his disorder. Jared Addison was ready to take control of his professional life. He'd found love and was ready to leave her house. It wasn't just his patterns he was destroying. It was his mother's. And as a result, she suffered a psychotic break and murdered her own child." Zack confesses that he switched out the magnetic strip from Sweets' card and used it to get out of the Psychiatric Ward. Booth needs to know where the head is. Zack points to the photo and to the only thing not in a group of twelve.
Tilda Addison watches as the FBI removes her birdbath and discovers what's underneath: Jared's head in a box labeled with his name. She can't look at the head and turns away. The squints and Zack go out to the diner, everyone happy and talking at once. Sweets waits outside the psychiatric hospital, checking his watch and looking for Zack. Wendell exits a dark lab all alone.
Cam reports that Zack was right. They found the head where he said it would be. Zack brings everyone back to reality when he says he should go. Booth drops him off. Sweets is apprehensive when Booth turns to leave. He thought they were going to "return" Zack together. After all, Zack has killed a man. Booth laughs and drives off. On their way into the hospital, Zack tells Sweets that he never actually ended a life. Sweets is confused. "You confessed to plunging a knife into a man's chest." Zack only confessed because his actions led to the man's death. He did kill him, but not literally. Sweets wants to tell Brennan right away but Zack stops him. He can't tell. If he does, he will be taken out of the Psychiatric Facility and put into prison. "Hodgins assures me I would not do well in prison." Zack walks towards the hospital leaving Sweets conflicted.
In her office, Brennan throws out her latest manuscript. Booth enters in time to save the precious pages from the trash. Brennan doesn't want to be a writer anymore. Not after meeting Gary Tushman and being called a "sexy scientist." Booth tries to change her mind. "That's like me saying I don't want to be a sexy FBI agent. We can't change who we are." He puts the manuscript back together and tells her he has read all of her work. She takes her book. Booth helped Brennan so now she wants to help him with his back. "How do I know you won't paralyze me or make it worse?" She steps behind him and performs a maneuver that fixes his back. Booth feels better. He also feels better when Brennan lets him help. "When I fix things, I feel like I am one with the universe." Brennan isn't going to let Booth do everything though. She's glad she gets to help him too.