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TV REVIEW: Bones “The Source in the Sludge”

By on March 11, 2014

Brennan (Emily Deschanel, L) and Booth (David Boreanaz, L) investigate. Co. Cr: Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Bones returns from a winter hiatus to deliver ‘The Source in the Sludge,” a poignant narrative on the inviolability of the human spirit when committed to curiosity, compassion, and equality in the battle against ignorance and subjugation.

Though the predominant storyline provides the most visible message, the secondary and tertiary subplots echo the same as we see Brennan and Booth struggle with perceived inequality between them, and then Hodgins and Angela ponder their own resilience despite considerable odds. Throughout, however, this episode highlights the considerable skill of David Boreanaz as he confronts a colleague, supports his partner and spouse, and doggedly tows the hard line of justice at all costs.

“The Source in the Sludge” portrays the tragic case of the abbreviated life of Sari Naziri, an Afghani CIA Asset, and her brother Aziz, who have sought political asylum in DC under the watchful eye of CIA Operative Danny Beck (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), Booth’s Special Forces cohort, who has assured the siblings a good life in America.

Years earlier in Afghanistan, Sari Nazeri (Nazneen Contractor) had identified Ibrahim Sajadi, a ruthless engineer in Ghazni who designed bombs for Al-Queda forces and was therefore a high value CIA target. Sari provided CIA handler Beck with Ibrahim’s location and then planted the transponder that resulted in an American drone strike which purportedly obliterated Ibrahim’s encampment. Sari herself was injured in the explosion, fracturing her humerus. It was the serial number of an American made pin used to set Sari’s bone that lead Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Squint Daisy (Carla Gallo) to identify the beautiful and courageous Sari Nazeri as their victim.

Guest star Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Danny Beck. Co.  Cr:  Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Guest star Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Danny Beck. Co. Cr: Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Not to be missed is the tension between colleagues CIA Operative Danny Beck and FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). These two square off numerous times throughout the episode and almost come to blows as the depth of Danny’s involvement is slowly revealed. Finally, Booth has no choice but to suspect Danny of murdering his own asset. Though not a complete jerk, Danny’s secrecy and his sometimes not so subtle dissention of Brennan (Emily Deschanel) almost end his relationship with Booth. In the end, Beck respects Booth’s partnership, and the two men together deliver the coup de gras, which we will get to in a moment.

Two issues become paramount in regard to Sari’s remains as the case progresses. First, the illusive mode of execution, and then the pageantry involved in the remains’ disposal. Care and consideration were paramount for the delivery of the specific message this particularly nefarious killer wanted to send. And it was personal. Very personal.

Before her death Sari had been brutally dragged across the ground until her joints came apart. She’d been bound and tethered, then managed to free herself. Bound and tethered once again, she had ferociously fought her captor, received cuts in her mouth and capturing his DNA in her throat. Finally, Cam identified the cause of death as dehydration and starvation. This is key going forward.

Now for the pageantry. Once dead, Sari’s remains were secured inside a brightly colored duffel bag containing two lamprey eels meant as a message of revulsion and degradation to the victim’s dignity. She was then dumped into shallow water where she was certain to be found. Surprise, surprise … this is exactly how Ibrahim Sajadi killed and exposed of his victims. The startling possibility emerges that Ibrahim ‘The Chameleon’ Sajadi might have actually escaped the drone attack in Afghan and come to America to kill Sari and many others.

In the end we learn that Sari’s disenfranchised brother Aziz (Homie Doroodian) had made contact with Ibrahim’s successor in Ghazni, Jamaal Ahmad. Aziz wanted to return to Afghanistan. Now aware of Sari’s location, Ahmad bribes Ibrahim’s old guard, retired Corporal Derek Johannessen (Chris Browning) to make the US think there was to be another attack on US soil and to use Ibrahim’s modus operandi to assassinate Sari, sending the message that Ibrahim was still alive.

Brennan (Emily Deschanel, R) and Booth (David Boreanaz, L). Co.  Cr:  Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Brennan (Emily Deschanel, R) and Booth (David Boreanaz, L). Co. Cr: Patrick McElhenney/FOX

The DNA from Sari’s throat identifies Johannessen as the killer. Johannessen is captured and interrogated, but then released and awarded $10 million in exchange for information about Ibrahim and Ahmad’s network. Beside himself with disgust, Booth finds a loophole in the military justice system, which provides Johannessen’s rehab and turns him over to the military for trial as a traitor and a murderer. And, voilà, justice is served once more.

In juxtaposition to the evening’s focal tragedy is Dr. Brennan’s quibble with the perceived inequity of her insurance premiums in comparison to her husband’s. It appears that Brennan’s upset is centered on an unfair assessment of her considerable skills in the field. However, Booth is trained Special Forces. Brennan, tactically, cannot compete with that. So, what is this really about? One might wonder if it’s the unspoken fear that she, by her own negligence, could one day be harmed and incapacitated while out fighting the bad guys with her partner. What if she had to give up that which she so very much enjoys … fighting evil, side by side, with the man she calls partner, lover, friend, and husband. This would be heart-crushing for them both.

In the final scene we see that this is indeed the crux of the matter. Brennan accepts the insurance company’s assessment of her tactical field skills and acknowledges that she’s willing to pay extra if it means she can continue doing what she loves with the man she loves. For his part, Booth gifts his partner, whom he occassionally kisses, he says, with an expensive thirty year old bottle of single malt whiskey, agreeing that he feels the same about her. In a adorable moment, the two sit companionably on the couch and Booth asks his wife to regale him with a story worthy of the Scotch.

On a tertiary level and adding levity to the proceedings is Angela’s (Michaela Conlin) blatant appreciation for her husband whose odd enthusiasms include a fascination and respect for the lamprey eel whose species’ morphology has remained nearly unchanged for more than 350 million years despite everything evolution has thrown at it. Hodgins (T. J. Thyne), Angela moons, has weathered the loss of his fortune and the discovery of an unknown brother and remains unshaken, unchanged.

With an understated style that exudes class and social responsibility, Bones continues a silky stride which seems freakishly incapable of delivering a mediocre product. I say ‘silky’ rather than ‘swaggery’ because swagger connotes a healthy dose of overt self-congratulatory pride. On the contrary, despite the time changes and the occasional dearth of promotional Whoop-di-doo, the Bones crew has managed to graciously keep their noses to the grindstone and crank out episode after episode of extraordinary entertainment.


  1. Amanda Hansen

    March 11, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Extraordinary entertainment and extraordinary review. Great review and I love the way Catherine has not only give a overview of the episode but given us again the underlying information we look for in BONES. I love this show but I really appreciate the way Catherine writes the review so that we can really think about how this episode unfolded. Bravo to Cat for always looking underneath and finding the treasure. This was a really good episode and does show how much class BONES has.

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 11, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Thanks so much, Amanda. It was such a solid delivery. Glad we both enjoyed it!

  2. Linda

    March 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    As usual, a wonderful article Catherine. It’s a pleasure reading a review from somebody who really knows her Bones! How’d you like all those callbacks to earlier seasons of the show? The show keeps getting better and better!

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 11, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Crud! I was gonna mention that! Yes, I loved the throw back with the Scotch and there were three other things … brain freeze! Did you mention the two nods to Flynn? Have a great day!


      • Linda

        March 12, 2014 at 1:13 am

        No, I didn’t catch the Flynn reference, but I would have loved if Brennan had taken out some paper cups for them to drink the scotch out of, and crushed them each round..

        • Catherine Cabanela

          March 12, 2014 at 10:02 pm

          That would have been PERFECT! Now I have to go back and watch that episode again!!!!

        • Julie SBXMomX

          March 14, 2014 at 7:27 pm

          Totally agree – that would have been awesome if they did the paper cups! Was a nice ending scene with B&B.

  3. sandra holl

    March 11, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Bones is the best show on TV, and I agree that this episode was great entertainment! as usual I love your insites into the episode!

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 11, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Thanks Sandra! Now I gotta go watch it again!

  4. Elizabeth Rettig

    March 11, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I love all of Catherine’s reviews, there’s this thing that she does when she writes that manages to say stuff no one else says ever. You make me see the episodes on different ways.
    I like that you remark the point of how much both Booth & Brennan are whilling to do in their own ways to stay together and do what they love with the people their love, and don’t even consider doing it differently.
    However this kinda worries me a little as I can see how the season finale will be, with the spoilers of Booth’s possible promotion and everything changing. I fear they will separate them and their partnership will be broken. Hope I’m wrong, that would be terrible!

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 12, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      I cannot even IMAGINE what they have planned for us ion the finale! Both HH and SN have been adamant that they will keep B&B together at home and at work … so where does that leave us? I want the rest of the season to last forever, but I also want to see that finale – know what I mean?

      Thanks for commenting. You made my day!


  5. Athena

    March 11, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Absolutely excellent review…this was yet another wonderfully written and acted episode of one of the best TV shows in the history of TV. I so enjoy the all-around talent of the cast and crew — and creator — led by David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel.

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 12, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Couldn’t have said it better myself, lady!

      Thanks a million for commenting. : ))))


  6. renee

    March 11, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Another excellent review, Catherine 🙂 This was a perfect episode for our man Booth. Freddie Prinze Jr seems a natural addition on the Bones set; hope he appears again this season. The Booth/Danny scenes were layered, comfortable, like old pros.

    Your reviews are like insightful Cliff notes for me. You narrow in on the intent of the writers so well. And when the episodes are as well written as this one…there’s that “silky stride.” Really appreciate your outline of the male/female dynamic between each couple; which seemed threaded from the purpose-driven murder victim. And the style of her death? horrible! another glimpse of the mind of terrorist 🙁 yuk yuk yuk

    And to me, Daisy was actually endearing this ep. When Brennan (being typical matter-of-fact Brennan) said she failed her “orals” too–the emotion on Daisy’s face was genuine, real, and hopeful.

    Thanks again, for an intelligent, perceptive peek into the heart of Bones <3

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 12, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      You are most welcome, Renee! I appreciated that there wasn’t any attempt at jocularity between Booth and Danny as there was (and appropriately so) in his other episode. I enjoyed Daisy, but then I usually do. It’s fabulous how Brennan guilelessly makes the statement that those tests are meaningless avenues for the professors to make themselves feel superior. I love how she looks at things of this nature. She’s just like the Unsinkable Molly Brown!

      Thank you of so much for commenting after the review. It’s good to know others enjoy/agree with what we put out there!


  7. S R Dewees

    March 11, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    You hit the nail on the head in describing the episode. I think this episode was exceptional. I loved the FBI/CIA drama and Booth out in the field doing his Boothy stuff. I miss that action! I appreciated Brennan’s sporadic, in the field work this time. But as you said, they shared an adorable moment, sitting and enjoy each other. Booth is always so truthful in his love and appreciation for her. He never fails to acknowledging her worth. Their tender moments are precious and unforgettable. ..I do wish they would take Brennan OUT of the JACKETS and BOOTS.. BONES is the #1 show in our home…Thanks…

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 12, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Agreed on the jackets! She used to have such lovely tops!! I appreciated that Brennan was the one who got to pop the suspect, but I wish they could have done it a little less awkwardly and perhaps forcefully – like as if she made him howl in pain by twisting his leg or arm in an unnatural direction. Remember when she flattened a guy just for touching her? That was awesome!

      Thanks so much for commenting. That’s what we’re here for … dialog about primetime entertainment at its best!


      • S R Dewees

        March 12, 2014 at 10:39 pm

        I do remember, all the enduring things and moments that have been put on the back burner on @BONES.As a wife and mother, I don’t forget those small things bc they are so meaningful. Honestly Catherine, I think who ever is writing and directing this needs to take a step back and re-evaluate. Sometimes I feel ppl are too close. You, yourself, would be a great candidate to read and help with changes…As much as I LOVE @BONES and that will NEVER CHANGE, I don’t feel they trust ppl from the outside or would take advice or ideas easily.. or ever for that matter..;) Like getting rid of the Jackets and BOOTS and TOUCHING MOMENTS!aGAIN

        • Catherine

          March 13, 2014 at 6:27 pm

          Hey there! There is so much that goes into the production of quality entertainment. We have no idea the choices they have to make about what to include in the mere 43-45 minutes of air time they are allotted after advertising time is scheduled (and that’s what pays their bills!). Some things about Bones will never change; some have to evolve or the programs allure will stagnate. If you look back, you will see that as things settle, some of our favorite elements return … like the affection and the emotive moments between B&B. Here’s to even more of that in the next 30 episodes!



          • S R Dewees

            March 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm

            You’re right. I truly love the show, no matter what they do..Each episode gets better and better..I wish they would make a movie or 2!…It would be EPIC! dream on, right!?

        • Catherine

          March 13, 2014 at 11:07 pm

          I’d buy a ticket for that movie … or three!!!!!

  8. slp

    March 12, 2014 at 2:32 am

    I thought this was a great episode to start with after the month long break they had. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Booth and Brennan and Booth and Danny and I’ll admit I did think for short time he killed her. I look forward to seeing him again.
    The only part that really disappointed me was the use, once again, of a foreign object in the deceased body that had a serial number on it so they could identify the victim. I really think they use that one a little too much now

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 12, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      My guess is that if they didn’t use devices like that it could take much much longer to identify the victim, then not enough time for the solving of the case. Hey, I’m all for two hour Bones episodes! They clearly have enough material for it!

      Thank you so much for commenting. It means a lot to writer! : )


  9. myrnama

    March 12, 2014 at 3:34 am

    Hi Catherine, Great review (as always)you retell an episode with spot on detail, most often pointing out this that I’ve missed. Always causing me to go back & re-watch (which I did again tonite after getting home from work!) I know I can’t fool you, I love to re-watch, regardless…:D
    Daisy was rather endearing, especially when she found out Bones had failed her orals once, too!! (Although, not for the same reasons!) LOL

    I noticed someone’s comment above remarking on shout-outs to previous Seasons/episodes. Three that stood out for me are as follows!
    “Mummy in the Maze” reference to shooting Booth down below the trains.
    “The Shot in the Dark” Victim-(besides Brennan) Johannes Groot. Name similar to perp in “the Source in the Sludge.”
    “Intern in the Incinerator” Boothe & Brennan drinking Scotch at the end of the day.

    But now I’m gonna have to watch again, to see if I can catch the references to Flynn.
    And, two other things I’d like to say/paraphrase are: Sari’s saying ‘who would be afraid of an educated woman?’ & the other is that I think when Booth came into Brennan’s office with the Scotch, he’s dialog to her was somewhat of a thank you for HER help in getting Johannessen re-arrested by the Military for what he had done!!

    I think this was a GREAT episode, this Season has had mostly OUTSTANDING episodes! It was also very nice & a bit teary to see Bones honor the passing of “Pops” Booth (Ralph Waite) at the end of the episode!! At the danger of saying this too often, I LOVE this show!!
    Catherine, Good job,

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 12, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Hey there!

      The two shootouts to Flynn that I saw were A) in the first scene at the dock Booth tells her all she needs is a bone and a beautiful brain and she can do anything. This is like when Flynn, at the beginning of The Sense in the Sacrifice” says he thinks Brennan can tell cause of death from a tooth. B) In that same episode, Flynn chipped and swallowed his own tooth to leave as evidence for Brennan. In “Source in the Sludge” Sari captured tissue in her throat and that’s what lead to Johannssen’s arrest.

      It might be a png stretch … but one could even say that Booth’s saying Brennan had a beautiful brain could be a nod to “The Spark in the Park” where Richard Schiff’s character, who was a lot like the character of John Nash in “A Beautiful Mind”, related with Brennan so well over the physics of his daughters movements. Okay, it’s a stretch …. LOL. But you can find 7 levels of separation between just about anything in life, right?

      Thanks so much for commenting!

      • myrnama

        March 13, 2014 at 3:26 am

        You’re right about 7 levels Catherine!
        I didn’t catch any of the Flynn references, even watching it a 3rd time. Thanks for enlightening me on those references.

        I also agree with the Beautiful Brain comment referring to “The Spark in the Park” although I didn’t catch it when Booth said it in “The Source in the Sludge.” I thought of that “A Beautiful Mind” movie when I watched “The Spark in the Park” & how much Bones & Dr. Watters (Richard Schiff) were alike!

        Thanks again for your work, I love reading what you write! Myrna

        • Catherine

          March 13, 2014 at 11:06 pm

          Watch the scene where Booth and Brennan are at the dock … there’s a Flynn AND Beautiful ind reference there. Booth says, “Look all you need is a singe bone and a beautiful brain and you can figure it out!” Flynn said almost the same thing to Bren as they loaded up the cadaver to deliver to the park to bait Pelant. Look again, you’ll see it!
          Great chatting with you, as always! ” )

  10. greatvonnie50

    March 12, 2014 at 6:04 am

    great job as usual this show gets better and better, and you do a great job reviewing all the ins and outs of the story line.

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 12, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks, babe! You rock! ; D

  11. Yatobu

    March 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Hi Catherine, it’s a excellent review for a great episode. I got a feelibg what Booth and Danny did in this episode, they must pay the consequence in the future. But I don’t know, I usually bad at guessing but we’ll see…. Thank you again for the review. I need to watch it again becauae everytime I read your review there are always some details that I missed. Until next time 😀

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 12, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      Hey there! Sometimes by the time the case closes everything goes so fast that I have to rewatch the last ten minutes a couple of times to get it too! Like – the fact that Ibrahim really was dead … and that it was his next in command trying to generate followers and fear across Afghanistan and the US.

      Thank you so much for commenting, Yatobu. It;s good to know people connect the same way with the work as I have!

      Keep Lovin’ Bones!


  12. viggie4

    March 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Catherine a great review. I thought this show out did it self. A great way to come back. Bones out did herself telling Daisy about her oral’s. Booth shows his heart. Great scenes. There was so many and you said it the best. This show is amazing. I just love Bones! I hope they honor Pops in a show that fits him as being Booth’s Pop.

    • Catherine Cabanela

      March 12, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      There have been so many this season that have knocked it out of the park. I can only imagine what season 10 will bring!

      Thank you so much for commenting, Viggie. It lets me know people are out there connecting with my work!



  13. Becke

    March 13, 2014 at 12:19 am

    What a wonderful episode! This is proving to be my favorite one of all and that’s saying a lot. I loved Caroline too. Her love for Booth is clear and did you notice how open the scenes at the Hoover looked? It was so much more spacious and we got a better look at the bull pen than we have in a long time. Kudos to the director too.

    Always enjoy your reviews.

    • Catherine

      March 13, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      Oh – Carolina is such a delight to watch isn’t she? : ) I totally missed the bullpen details – thanks so much for bringing that up! It’s great to see Brennan at the FBI ~ hopefully we’ll see Booth at the Jeffersonian more going forward. Rob Hardy is a brilliant director. He also directed “The Corpse in the Canopy”, a favorite of mine … and even “The Sin in the Sisterhood” way back in season 6. I hope we’ll get to see more of his work on Bones going forward.

      Thanks so much for commenting, Becke. It means a lot to us writers and editors to hear your thoughts on every show!


  14. Diane

    March 13, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Catherine, I love to read your reviews, you are all brain and heart when it comes to Bones. We really think alike on our analysis of the show. I love the way you see everything and relay it to us. We are all unique in our thoughts about the show but you unite us.

    I also love increasing my vocabulary!

    Thanks for synchronizing our thoughts.

    • Catherine

      March 13, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      Ah, Diane … you always put a smile on my face! Thanks for sharing your love for Bones with us! And thanks a mil for commenting. Have a great week. : )



    March 13, 2014 at 7:23 pm


    As Catherine, usually your review is excellent. Thank you. It’s always a treat to read your comments. You put light on details that are totally unnoticed for me. Yet I always tend to watch an episode several times.

    Honestly this episode was absolutely great. The writing is great, the dynamic between the characters is absolutely amazing.

    It is a complex world in which we live. What are the issues of geopolitics now?

    I love the character of Danny Beck because it highlights small touches Booth’s past. It is not visible at first glance but it’s really interresting. These two have a common history and I would like to know more, because it will allow us to learn more about Booth’s past. Brennan and the issue of the insurance premium. I think it isn’t trivial. I think his reaction says a lot more than we think. It is clear that this episode is an introduction to what will happen in the next episodes, particularly on the question of their partnership in the field.

    Wonderful episode, great review. Definitely I love this show. After all these years we have still the chance to enjoy a quality program. Too bad that the promotion of this show is really minimalist if not virtually absent. Finally, it isn’t as if we could do something.

    Thank you Catherine.

    • Catherine

      March 13, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      Tere you are! I was afraid we’d lost you! : ) I’m just baffled about what it means that their working relationship is going to change. I can’t imagine Bones, the show, without the FBI and Carolina and the backing of the govt. Nor can I imagine it without the resources and team a the Jeffersonian. So, If Brennan and Booth keep working together on screen … but differently … what on earth could that mean? Can you see me scratching me head over here? We’ll all have to wait and see. Circumspection makes me crazy. But resistance is fu-tile. I can’t help it!

      So good to hear from you Gabriel!


      • GABRIEL

        March 14, 2014 at 6:27 am


        Thank you Catherine.
        I’m here, I appreciate coming here because the reception is really nice.
        I know I know Catherine, since I read the interview with Stefan Nathan and Hart Hanson, I’m like but what does this mean? You end up making knots with your brain. So as you said so well, we’ll wait and see. A small reassuring precision: our two friends insist that Booth and Brennan are solid to cross it. Their relationship is solid but they will live in difficult times. I think we have to be very attentive, coming episodes because they will maybe give some clues before the final.

        Probably next week for the next episode and review

        • Catherine

          March 14, 2014 at 5:48 pm

          I’ll see you then! : ) Glad to have you back!

  16. Julie SBXMomX

    March 14, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Always enjoy reading your reviews Catherine. Another fine job!

    • Catherine

      March 14, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks for commenting, and more importantly, READING! Rock on, Bones lover!


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