After taking a sudden interest in basketball, Bones (Emily Deschanel) assembles five of her most talented interns (Eugene Byrd, Michael Grant Terry, Joel David Moore, Pej Vahdat, Luke Kleintank) to work together to try to identify as many sets of the Jeffersonian Institute’s collection of unidentifiable remains as possible. While the others try to score points on identifying as many remains as possible, Vaziri (Vahdat) becomes fixated on a homeless man who was wounded during the attacks on 9/11 and died 10 days later.
While Sweets (John Francis Daley) suggests the possibility that their mystery men may have been working with the terrorists who attacked the Pentagon on 9/11, Booth’s (David Boreanaz) gut tells him the victim is a Desert Storm vet and does his part to help identify the victim by hitting the pavement and showing the man’s reconstructed photograph around homeless shelters which allows him to finally give some closure to the soldier’s wife (Stephanie Erb). The situation brings back memories for Dr. Saroyan (Tamara Taylor) who worked as a coroner post-9/11, and, despite their differences, does exactly what Bones hoped the exercise would do – make a true team out of the interns.
As the interns share their own 9/11 experiences, Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) examines the shrapnel fragments found in the victim to determine the man was within 500ft. of the Pentagon when the plane crashed. Booth calls in favors from an old friend (Dylan Neal) to learn the vet was obsessed with protesting to get his fallen friends awarded the Silver Star in the months leading up to his death, which is what he was doing on 9/11. Booth and Bones interview a survivor (Charlayne Woodard) who was one of three people the victim saved during the attack putting unnecessary stress on his body including a rib fractured during the crash that punctured his lung leading to his death ten days later.
Well-timed, airing the day after Veterans Day, “The Patriot in Purgatory” gives the Jeffersonian team all their own personal motivations to help solve the case giving the episode a unique feel. Although I’m a little disappointed Daisy (Carla Gallo) didn’t make the cut, Bones’ latest quirk of the week (which the show could certainly use less of, especially with as often as its been used as a storyline crutch this season) does provide a unique set of circumstances for all the characters to interact on-screen for the first time.