“The Final Chapter: The Tutor in the Tussle” is quintessential Bones at its comedic best — from Brennan and Booth discussing boners and her audio book to Aubrey covered in guts and collecting dry cleaners’ names and Cam promising revenge on Hodgins for infesting her office with spiders. This hearty gut-buster also manages to insert some startlingly poignant moments between Aubrey and his colleagues in surprisingly brief scenes when he is confronted with his father’s appearance.
Bones once again manages to stuff an episode full of nods to their fans. Booth talks about his abusive childhood, Brennan mentions being in the welfare system, and the topic of her writing career is once again front and center. Perhaps the most affectionate acknowledgment is delivered by Brennan herself when she acknowledges the incredible body of real life amateur writers who have spent copious hours imagining and sharing scenarios involving the Jeffersonian family. Bones continues to pour out their love for their loyal viewers in this final season. It’s unprecedented, amazing and very much appreciated. Hopefully, the Bones Fairies are well aware of that.
Brennan and Booth Take a Stroll Down Boner Street to Morning Wood Lane
Twenty-four-year-old Austin Wilson, a high school tutor working to raise funds to put himself through Princeton medical school, is murdered and thrown in a ditch full of shotgun holes. Brennan and Booth are hilarious as they discuss the fact that Austin was found by a kid stealing the street sign for “Boner Street.” Brennan finds it particularly amusing since there are actually no bones in the penis. Typical Brennan-Booth humor.
On the way to the scene, Booth puts on the audio tape of Brennan’s most recent novel. Booth’s priceless facial expressions as he listens to the tape are worth a second and third (and maybe even fourth) viewing but only if you want to be filled with absolute joy over the comedy of it all. Of course, Brennan hates the recorded voice of the artist reading the story and decides that she should be the one to record her own books.
Also priceless is the visceral dropping out of the tree and onto Aubrey’s shoulders at the crime scene, then Cam, Booth, and Brennan offering up the names of the dry cleaners who excel at removing blood and poop from clothing. Yeah, just another everyday conversation in the lives of crime solvers. Awesome.
Fischer Makes a Dastardly Confession
You gotta love Joel David Moore’s, Fischer. I am going to sincerely miss this character when original episodes are no longer being cranked out. Wait, there’s always reruns. Yes!
Anyway, Fischer is the squint on deck in this episode. Since the topic of Brennan’s writing comes up, the team learns that Fischer hasn’t read any of her Kathy Reich novels (or so he says). As a matter of fact, he disdains them, calling them lowbrow. Oops.
Austin was the Most Popular Tutor at Bryan Achievement Academy
Austin’s roommate, Bennie, has a record of several benign legal infractions but professes to really love Austin. The two had been in the foster care system together as kids and have always had a tight bond. Bennie points Brennan and Booth toward Bryan Achievement Academy where Austin was a tutor.
At the academy, they meet the owner, Amy Bryan, who it turns out might have been helping Austin triple-bill their clients by taking online courses for the students to get good grades. Amy alibis out but points the Dynamic Duo to Psycho Sue Casey, a parent who recently slapped Austin for advising her son, Jacob, to consider colleges other than the one she had picked out for him. Amy owns some shotguns, but she somehow has an alibi as well.
Parents and Other Tutors Go Under the Microscope
Matt Ogden, a Bryan Achievement Academy tutor headed for law school, looks suspicious because several of his tutoring customers had switched to Austin. It turns out Matt was using tutoring to network with the parents of the students. Matt says Austin’s students’ test results weren’t that great, so his popularity with the parents was a mystery.
Another parent under the microscope is Cornelia Mills, whose wrinkle cream was found in Austin’s boxers. This presents a possible gigolo scenario where Austin might be servicing more than just the students, explaining why he was so popular with the students’ moms. Was he killed by an enraged husband? It turns out Austin wasn’t a gigolo, but Cornelia was an exhibitionist who got turned on by manhandling other men in front of her husband. Weird, weird, weird.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
It turns out Psycho Sue Casey’s son, Jacob, was the hapless killer. When Jacob, who felt a great deal of affinity for Austin, learned that his tutor was quitting, he asked if they could hang out with friends. Stupidly, Austin told the kid that he was just a paycheck, not a friend.
Jacob, pissed as hell, pushed Austin down the stairs, killing him. Then, fearing he might lose everything he’d “worked so hard for,” Jacob dumped Austin’s corpse in the ditch on Boner Street and shot it full of holes with a sawed-off shotgun. Case closed.
Aubrey Looses His Appetite When His Recidivist Dad Resurfaces
Aubrey’s dad shows up at the Royal Diner during this Bones episode. This is the man who left the country after Aubrey turned him in for running a Ponzi scheme, bilking hundreds of people out of millions of dollars. Philip Aubrey abandoned James and his mother when he left. Now Philip shows up asking Aubrey to lend him money to support his new wife and their son.
Booth figures out something are up when Aubrey doesn’t want to eat anything. No fries. No malt. No chocolate cake. Who is this man and what has he done with James Aubrey?! Aubrey tells Booth about his dad and receives some subtle, though excellent, advice from Booth, though Booth doesn’t press it as advice. He mentions that his own dad was a piece of work who beat the crap out of his kids and then died before Booth could confront him, man-to-man. He wishes he would have been able to do that.
Aubrey takes the subtle hint and meets with his dad. He doesn’t give him the money, despite Philip’s several attempts to flatter his son. Before long, Aubrey calls Booth over to arrest his father. In parting, Aubrey assures his dad that he turned out just fine but that Phillip was in no way responsible for the wonderfulness of James Aubrey. This is a very satisfying resolution to this little storyline.
Bones Nods Affectionate at Its Fan Fiction Writers and Readers
Eventually, Brennan finds out that Fischer doesn’t read her novels. She confronts him, and he lays his true feelings on the line for her, saying her books lack perspicacity. I looked the word up. It means “keenness of mental perception and understanding; discernment; penetration.” Okey dokey.
Fisher goes on to say that her stories are pulpy and cheap, even lowbrow. Brennan can’t believe it, of course, and delivers one of the best lines of the episode: “Maybe that’s enough speaking frankly for you today.” Oh, god. Awesome.
At the end of the episode, Brennan confronts Fischer with an intriguing discovery of her own. Fischer had written a fan fiction story based on Brennan’s characters! It was the word ‘perspicacity’ that tipped her off because it was in the title of the fanfiction he’d written. She finally gets a chance to give him her own evaluation of his fiction writing. She also makes him admit that he was one of her biggest fans.
More important, however, is Bones‘ acknowledgment of the tremendous flattery paid to it by fan fiction writers and readers all over the world. The most ardent Bones viewers have found a way to prolong the experience of the show’s magic and perhaps to participate in the Bones universe in a very unique and intimate way. That way is through fan fiction.
By the end of “The Final Chapter: The Tutor in the Tussle,” Brennan decides that she doesn’t need to have her own voice on the recording of her stories. She has already brought so much joy to her readers, she says. This couldn’t be truer. Thank you, Bones.
How do you continue the Bones experience? How has the show influenced your life? What lessons have you learned through watching the Jeffersonian crew battle criminals with science and relationships with love? As Bones winds down, what other ships are you seeking out? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Bones season 12 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on FOX.
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