In the dead of night, TWO POACHERS trek through a government protected wooded preserve in search of the rare and valuble Black Walnut Tree. The first poacher tries to calm his scared colleague as they explore the creepy forest. They point their flashlights upward to determine if they've found the right tree. A dozen small bones hang in the branches. Part of a skull stares down at them. All they can do is scream.
At the lab, CAM informs BRENNAN that she has hired Brennan's father, MAX KEENAN, to work with children at the Jeffersonian. Brennan is very upset. She wants Cam to fire him. Cam thought Brennan would be happy to hear the news. Brennan stalks off to find her father.
In the Ookey Room, Max works with a group of school children known as "The Science Squad." After their experiment, Max introduces Brennan to the children. He asks her to speak about refraction. Brennan's scientific rant confuses the kids until Max intervenes and coerces her to talk about rainbows, a kid friendly example of refraction. The Science Squad has questions for Brennan but she hurries away to examine a dead person's skull.
At the scene, Brennan tells BOOTH that the wind blew the bones into the tree. She also discovers charring. As they work, park ranger OFFICER RANDALL becomes annoyed. The FBI is disturbing the migration path of the Masked Booby. WENDELL approaches with a hyoid bone. It suggests that the victim is male. It also suggests that the victim was murdered because the bone is fractured. Booth gives the bad news to Officer Randall. "According to my scientists, your boobies are out of luck."
At the lab, Booth is surprised to see Max. Cam explains that she hired Max but Brennan wants the offer rescinded. Brennan turns the focus back to the case. The victim was burned post mortem although Cam can't establish cause of death. Though they have only a few bones, Brennan deduces that the victim was less than 30 years old and suffered a painful compression fracture three to six months ago. Cam receives the results of the victim's DNA test. CALVIN WARREN was in the Marine Corps. He was honorably discharged three years ago and seems to have vanished since then. Booth decides it's his turn to do some digging.
In the Ookey Room, Hodgins and Wendell examine the bones with Cam. Because they are lighter in weight than average bones, they can only conclude that they were not burned in "an ordinary wood fire." To find out more about the way they were damaged, Wendell suggests they do an experiment.
Brennan eats with Max at the Royal Diner. She explains to him why he shouldn't work at the lab. "You're a convicted felon. Your presence taints the evidence." Max assures Brennan he will only work with kids. Sweets joins them. Talk turns to the latest case and Max thinks he can help. Brennan points out that Max just said he would stay away from evidence. Sweets speculates that Brennan is afraid of being abandoned again. The last time she was deserted, Max was working with children as a science teacher. Brennan's subconscious senses history may repeat itself. Max and Brennan dismiss Sweets' concept as nonsense.
Cam joins Angela in her office. A woman named DR. ANTONIA EZRALOW prescribed oxycodone for the victim. However, the doctor claims never to have heard of Calvin. What's more, she is a dermatologist. Dermatologists usually don't write prescriptions for oxycodone. Angela brings up the victim's MySpace page. In one of the pictures, Calvin stands in front of his house. If only they could see the address. The window reflects the image of the house across the street. Angela uses her computer to enhance the reflection until they get an address: 3294 7th Street.
Brennan and Booth search Calvin Warren's house. According to his landlord, Calvin was extremely private. The landlord didn't even know what Calvin did for a living. Booth finds a passport in a drawer as well as stacks of foreign currencies. Brennan finds a plastic key card in a coat pocket. For now, this is all they have to go on.
At the lab, Cam presents the key card to Angela. Angela inserts the card into a reader to see if she can determine what door it may open. Code dances across Angela's screen but she manages to find an address: Dupont Circle.
Booth pulls up to a security gate at Dupont Circle. He holds the card to the card reader and the gate opens. In the parking lot, security guards are everywhere. Booth presses the buzzer on the building door. What kind of place is this?
Inside, Booth meets with HEADMASTER DONNEGAN who welcomes him to the Woodbury School. Headmaster Donnegan mistakenly thinks Booth is here to enroll his son, Parker. As he goes on about the school's reputation and their honor code, Booth interrupts. This is about murder.
In his office, Headmaster Donnegan does a search for Calvin Warren. Calvin worked for one of the families at the school. He was their nanny.
Booth drives as Brennan looks over the application to the Woodbury School. Tuition is $28,000 a year. Booth was thinking about sending Parker there but it's just too much money. Public school will have to do. Brennan agrees. It's likely Parker will be fine. Brennan went to public school. Booth realizes that Brennan's father was a science teacher and provided learning opportunities outside of school. What enrichment can Booth provide?
They arrive at the King family mansion. ELSBETH KING heads out of her house, giving directions to various staff. Booth and Brennan confront her about Calvin. She explains that Calvin was more like a bodyguard then a nanny. "My husband, Richard, handles defense contracts: Middle East, South America. There were kidnap threats a couple years ago." Was Calvin killed by one of the people who threatened to kidnap her children?
In the backyard, ROYCE and ALEXA KING play a life-sized game of chess while Booth and Brennan ask questions. The children are less than cooperative, speaking Mandarin Chinese to insult Booth. Booth finally learns that Royce was injured in his Lacrosse game on Sunday. One of the mothers at the game was a dermatologist so instead of going to the ER, Dr. Ezralow fixed the gash on Royce's head.
Booth and Brennan drive back to the FBI building to question Dr. Ezralow. She claimed to not know Calvin but clearly she had contact with him. Booth asks Brennan about the King children. Are they better off than Parker? Brennan thinks so. Booth argues that their parents barely spend any time with them. They may be smart but what about a loving home life? Brennan senses that Booth is under stress. "It's because you only have one child. When you procreate in multiples, there's less pressure."
Dr. Ezralow is all smiles and apologies as she enters Booth's office. She simply didn't put two and two together when Booth asked her about Calvin before. She knew him as Cal. Her son and Royce King are on the same Lacrosse team. Ezralow is a pilot and she once took Calvin and the King children on a ride in her plane. Other than that, she barely knew him. She believes that Calvin stole her prescription pad when she was tending to the injured Royce. That's how he ended up with a prescription from her. Booth thanks her for coming in.
At the lab, Hodgins has some new information for Cam. He's discovered tetra-ethyl lead in the accelerant sample from the bones. It is an additive in gasoline that isn't used anymore. However, it is still found in the gas of vintage cars and aviation gas. The dermatologist flies a plane so she would have access to aviation gas. Cam immediately calls Booth.
Booth questions Ezralow, this time in the interrogation room. She admits to lying. She wrote the prescription for Cal. He didn't steal her pad. Booth has other things to discuss. He produces her flight logs. Sometimes, she took Cal up in her plane without the children. Sometimes, they were gone for an entire weekend. Ezralow reluctantly confesses to an affair with Calvin but she didn't kill him. Her husband doesn't care who she sleeps with. Richard King meant to harm Calvin though. Of that much she is certain. Cal advised her to sell her stock in Richard King's company. He said it was in trouble. "I took the tip. Made a killing."
In the Ookey Room, Max helps Hodgins and Wendell with their experiment. Brennan enters and is livid to find Max involved with the investigation. Wendell defends him, saying he hasn't touched any evidence. They explain their experiment. Using a wind tunnel and casts of the bones, they can determine how strong the wind was that carried the remains. They can establish a time frame by referring to weather charts. They'll retrace the path of the wind and find the rest of the body. Brennan tells her father he is fired.
At Royce's Lacrosse game, Brennan and Booth find Ezralow for more questions. This time Brennan has one. "How did Richard King find out that Cal spilled insider knowledge?" Dr. Ezralow doesn't know. She does know that she has an alibi. She was out of town "doing skin grafts on a firefighter with third degree burns."
In Angela's office, Angela shows Cam and Hodgins the path the bones must have taken. She is able to tell them which area to search for the rest of the body. Cam is very impressed by their work. Hodgins says all the credit belongs to Max.
Meanwhile, Booth runs into Max at the lab. Max tells Booth he's been fired by his daughter. Booth apologizes and is about to leave but Max isn't done with their conversation. "Are you sleeping with my daughter?" When Booth says no, Max questions Booth's sexuality. To stop the third degree, Booth promises to talk to Bones about Max's job.
Booth, Brennan and the FBI search a wooded area for the missing remains. They come across a pit with burned bone. Brennan can tell that not only was Cal strangled, he was shot. In the distance, Booth sees the King's home. The murderer must have come from their estate.
Booth and Brennan meet with RICHARD KING in his mansion. He completely shuts them down. "Either accuse me of killing Cal because he betrayed business secrets or because he had sex with my wife. And then once you've chosen, contact my lawyers. I'd go with the business motive. I'm very happily married."
As they leave the King mansion, Booth notices a Ferrari. He walks over and opens the gas tank. He sticks in his tie for a sample of the gas and asks Brennan for an evidence bag. The squabbling begins when she says she doesn't have one.
At the Royal Diner, Brennan eats with Max and Sweets. Max tells Sweets that his time at the Jeffersonian is over. Sweets want to know why. Brennan admits it's because of her. Sweets concludes that his earlier theory was correct. "It isn't your father's presence that's causing you anxiety, it's the memory of his absence." Max tells Brennan he isn't leaving town just because he's leaving the Jeffersonian. He won't abandon her again. It's okay that she fired him. It won't make him disappear. Brennan decides to get back to work before Sweets weighs in with more theories.
Wendell approaches Cam at the lab. Perhaps strangulation did not cause the victim's broken hyoid. Wendell needs Brennan to take a look to confirm his findings. Hodgins interrupts. The gas on Booth's tie matches the gas that was used to burn Calvin Warren's body. It looks like Richard King is guilty. Cam calls Booth so he can get an arrest warrant.
In the Bone Room, Brennan reviews the X-rays with Wendell and Cam. Wendell's findings are correct. Calvin was not strangled. His hyoid was broken because he was dragged. Brennan examines the marks on the bone and realizes that he was dragged with a choke chain. Richard King did not commit this murder. He was strong enough to carry the body without the help of a chain. They examine the angle of fracture. "Assuming a standard four foot leash, whoever dragged the victim is at most 5'5." It must have been Elsbeth King.
Booth brings Elsbeth King to the interrogation room. At first, she denies any wrongdoing. Booth mentions that he knows about Cal's insider trading tips. Their lavish lifestyle would have fallen apart. Elsbeth camly confesses. She was protecting her family.
In the observation room, Sweets believes that Elsbeth is covering for the real murderer. Booth argues that she confessed but Sweets says it means nothing. "You pushed all the right buttons but instead of her ego defense system triggering a stress-response state, she went straight into a tacit confession." Not typical of a murderer. Booth accepts that they need to continue their search. Booth's phone rings. Brennan has news. The placement of the pellet wounds signifies that the murderer was shorter than Elsbeth King.
Booth and Brennan meet with Elsbeth, Richard and Alexa. After reviewing Alexa's text messages, they discovered she had a project on Ancient Greece. Instead of doing it herself, she demanded that Calvin do it. When he refused, Alexa paid another student to do her project. Calvin put a stop to that, too. He was going to report Alexa to the school so she would finally learn a lesson. Fearing expulsion, Alexa shot Calvin. When Elsbeth found out, she burned the body to protect her daughter. Alexa is about to face consequences for the first time in her life.
At the lab, Max does an experiment with Parker while Booth tells Brennan about the King's. Both mother and daughter will be back to their polished lifestyle after a few years of jail and institution time. Booth asks Brennan for a personal favor. Let Max keep his job. Since Parker won't be attending the Woodbury School, Max can provide the enrichment he needs outside of the classroom. Brennan watches as an excited Parker finishes the experiment with her dad. She breaks down and agrees to let Max stay for Booth and Parker.