After reading the manuscript for SWEETS' book, BRENNAN has a bone to pick with him. She informs him that her first case with BOOTH was NOT the murder of Cleo Eller. Sweets begins to panic. They have to tell him about their first case so he can determine if his theories hold up. A year before, Booth and Brennan worked the murder of GEMMA ARRINGTON. She was last seen in D.C. but her body was found in a New York landfill...
Booth plays pool and is winning good money when a phone call pulls him away to meet JOCELYN ARRINGTON. The New York Coroner is releasing her daughter's remains for burial. Jocelyn can't accept that the case has gone cold. She begs Booth to find Gemma's murderer.
Booth decides to meet with the New York Coroner, CAMILLE SAROYAN. Cam suggests that Booth get another point of view. She read about a forensic anthropologist that solved a 4000 year old murder. Maybe she can help. Booth is reluctant to partner up. "Forensics don't solve crimes, cops do." Cam believes that if he always does the same thing, he will get the same result. Booth asks for her name: Temperance Brennan.
Booth drops in on Brennan's lecture at American University. He inquires as to whether or not removing the flesh destroys evidence. Brennan sets him straight: important indicators are in the bone and she is the best in the world. They shake hands.
At the Lab, ZACK ADDY and Brennan look over the remains. The FBI has tasked them with identifying the victim. Zack reviews important details: the victim is a female who has never given birth. Eruption of the third molar signifies adolescence. She received a blow to the forehead that may have caused unconsciousness but not death. HODGINS stumbles onto the platform. His interest is piqued when he learns they are identifying a victim from this century. He grabs the clothing to search for particulates. Brennan sends Hodgins away as Zack notices symmetrical trauma to the right and left temporals.
Brennan approaches ANGELA MONTENEGRO in Urban Square where she draws caricatures for $10. She has a proposition for her friend. Brennan produces a skull and asks Angela to draw an accurate likeness. Angela is grossed out but decides to help because Brennan will pay and she is saving to return to Paris.
At the FBI, Cam drops off evidence: transcripts, interviews, phone logs, etc. Booth thanks her but Cam replies that nobody wants this case. On her way out, Cam bumps into Brennan. She apologizes and reminds Brennan that they met at a conference on decapitation. Brennan simply walks away.
She approaches Booth at his desk in the bullpen and begins to list her findings: the victim was a 16-year-old African-American. Her body was in a landfill for roughly one year but she died between three and four years ago. Her ribcage indicates she was a swimmer or a singer. She even presents a preliminary sketch of the victim. Booth is quite impressed.
In the Conference Room, Booth shows Brennan a tape of the victim. Gemma Arrington was a talented singer. Booth admits he withheld her identity to test the Squints. Brennan understands and inquires about their next step. Booth wants to catch Gemma's murderer: Federal Judge Myles Hasty. He needs Brennan to get enough proof to arrest the bastard. Brennan only agrees to help find the truth.
Brennan tells Sweets that it was Hodgins who determined the remains were in a landfill for a year. Previously, she had only had limited interaction with him and believed him to be an unpleasant authority on ancient spores and insects...
Zack places bones in a boiler as Hodgins flaunts his discovery: a sliver of maple wood on the victim's clothing. Zack calls the find meaningless and Hodgins feels his anger flare up. Brennan believes Hodgins has an anger management problem. Hodgins is in a program. He snaps his rubber band when he gets angry. Brennan realizes that Gemma's boyfriend was in town the day she disappeared. He was trying out for a minor league baseball team. Bats are made of maple. Brennan instructs Hodgins and Zack to design an experiment to see if a bat would splinter. They are not keen on the idea.
To assuage Brennan's concerns, Booth has Gemma's boyfriend ready for questioning in the Interrogation Room. TUCKER HENRY describes how he fell apart after Gemma's death. Not only does Tucker have an alibi but anthropologically speaking, he considers himself the protector of his mate. Brennan is satisfied that Tucker is innocent.
At the Lab, Hodgins prepares to hit Zack with a bat. Zack is outfitted with protective gear but he is still apprehensive. Hodgins swings and hits Zack but there are no slivers left behind. Brennan arrives and takes her turn, striking Zack in the soft tissue. They would have noticed if the bat had struck bone. Still, there are no slivers so Brennan stops the experiment.
On the victim's X-ray, Zack indicates that the inner ear bones are missing. They may have been extracted during the assault. They examine the skeleton under a UV light source and find repeated bone bruising all the way down the body.
At the Opera House, Booth explains that Gemma sang here with her choir at 6:30PM the day she disappeared. Judge Myles Hasty was in attendance. A reception began at 9PM and Gemma disappeared shortly after. Brennan explains that they need to find the source of bone bruising. It occurred shortly before her death and spans from forehead to mid femur. They begin to search for a bookcase or a ladder, something made of maple.
During the search, Brennan sees Booth's shiny shoes and notes that military organizations tend to constrain individuality but free thinkers find ways to declare their distinctiveness. She wonders if Booth is dating. Booth admits he is but it's casual. In fact, if it weren't against regulations, he would ask Brennan out. They come across a maple staircase. The bruises could have been caused when the victim fell down the stairs. The proximity to the exit means the killer could have loaded the body into a car without being seen.
At the FBI, Angela displays a flipbook of Gemma being pursued by Judge Hasty. He tackles Gemma, grabbing her ankles so she falls down the stairs. CAROLINE JULIAN isn't convinced. They do not have enough for a warrant. Booth decides to try another tactic.
At the Opera House, Booth and Brennan confront JUDGE MYLES HASTY with their evidence but he isn't rattled. He calls Brennan ridiculous. She is making Booth look like a fool. Brennan punches Judge Hasty...twice.
Caroline is not happy. Brennan assaulted a federal judge so she is off the case. She tells Booth to deliver the news.
At the Lab, Zack reports that the damage to the skull was caused by 250 pounds of force. Angela wanders in. She shares that the victim's head was slammed with something that has a protuberance. The Squints posit different weapons until Brennan settles on a car trunk with a catch and a latch. Zack determines that would generate 260 pounds of force. It fits. Brennan rushes to meet Booth.
Booth and Brennan drink shots at the Pool Hall. She tells him that they have to search Judge Hasty's cars. Booth turns talk from the case by showing her his new rebellious tie. It has a scantily clad woman on one side. After another shot, Booth tells Brennan she is fired. Brennan is upset but then suggests they have sex.
Booth hails a cab and confesses to Brennan that he has a gambling problem. He thinks this thing with her might be going somewhere. They kiss but Brennan gets into the cab alone, believing they are too drunk to spend the night together.
Hodgins, Angela and Zack wait for Brennan at the Lab. Brennan has a hangover. Hodgins found particulates on the bones: steel and lubricating oil. They matched them to a '57 Bel Air, a vehicle Hasty owns. Brennan informs the group they've been fired. She instructs Zack to take everything to the FBI so they can get back to their normal jobs. Angela laments that she won't make it to Paris but Brennan assures her she can stay on at the Jeffersonian reconstructing ancient remains.
Zack brings the evidence to the FBI. Booth was stupid to fire them because they found proof that Judge Myles Hasty killed Gemma Arrington. Cam arrives moments later and Booth gives her the files to interpret. Cam confirms it. They got the Judge.
Cam and Booth bring the evidence to Caroline Julian. Gemma's head was smashed in by the locking mechanism of a '57 Bel Air. Caroline hopes they are right. Otherwise, her career is dead. She will have a warrant for them in an hour.
At the Jeffersonian, Booth finds Brennan and gives her the good news: she is rehired. Brennan is no longer interested. She has moved on to another project. Booth insists that she join him for the search of the cars. Brennan reluctantly acquiesces.
As the cars are searched, Brennan admits she is annoyed with Booth. He got her drunk to fire her and have sex with her. Booth defends himself. He got drunk to make it easier to fire her and she turned him down for sex. Brennan is glad they didn't have sex. An FBI Tech informs them that the car has been cleaned. They found nothing. Brennan takes it upon herself to look at the locking mechanism. She wants it removed. She insults Booth and the FBI Tech, who finally locates something. Brennan confirms it is an inner ear bone. Booth arrests Judge Myles Hasty.
Sweets takes deep breaths as Booth hands him a glass of water. He feels that the partners missed their moment and he is paying the price. Even so, the story must continue.
Booth interrogates Judge Myles Hasty, who is crumbling. Gemma was in his car and a valet saw him drive into the alley. Booth just isn't sure why. Brennan notices the way Hasty touches his nose. He had his septum replaced. Gemma must have seen him snorting something. She ran and the Judge tackled her. He thought he killed her but she regained consciousness while he loaded her into his car. So he smashed her head with the trunk. Judge Hasty can't hide the truth any longer.
Though they solved the case, Brennan and Booth begin to argue in front of Jocelyn Arrington. Booth escorts Brennan out of the room and she slaps him, calling him a bully. Booth believes Brennan makes everyone around her feel stupid. She hates Booth. He scoffs, saying he isn't her father. Brennan storms out. She will never work with Booth again.
Judge Hasty will be eligible for parole in ten years. Sweets is beside himself. He will have to start his book from scratch. Brennan insists she and Booth are not in love while Sweets tries to make them see the opposite. Booth is a gambler. He should take a chance.
Outside, Booth confesses that he wants a relationship with Brennan. He kisses her. She responds but then pushes him away. She doesn't have an open heart like Booth does. Ultimately, Booth will get hurt because Brennan can't change. Booth is defeated but Brennan still wants to work with him. Booth agrees but he has to move on. He has to find someone that will love him. Brennan understands. They walk away arm in arm.