The Jeffersonian team investigates the murder of a decapitated former Marine sergeant obsessed with the apocalypse whose body, and entire workshop, was burned to a crisp. As Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) and Daisy (Carla Gallo) work to recreate the circumstances of the explosion looking for cause of death (an explosive shotgun blast), Booth (David Boreanaz) and Sweets (John Francis Daley) talk with a former friend (Gloria Garayua) of the victim whose relationship was strained given the victim’s obsession with apocalyptic beliefs and prophecies.
While examining the remains, Bones (Emily Deschanel) discovers a prior injury most likely caused by a cannonball but can find no record of any medical attention the victim may have received. Despite Angela (Michaela Conlin) confirming the cause of the wound, Hodgins performs another experiment using a Civil War cannon from a Jeffersonian exhibit. Booth and the FBI head out to a ten-acre field where the survivalist (J.D. Walsh) who owned the cannon that caused the victim’s previous injury has hole up in an underground bunker with a bunch of other “whackjobs” (Rona Benson. Wilmer Calderon) and several farm animals.
During another of Angela’s recreations Hodgins discovers the inconsistencies with his analysis of fire, which must have burned for a much shorter time than the team originally believed (and provides an alibi for every member of the whackjobs who were already locked in the bunker at the time of the murder). Certain one of the survivalists is their killer, Hodgins and Angela go over the plans for the bunker searching for a second exit the killer used to sneak out to commit the crime only to find a dead end. However, this time it’s Booth, and not the squints, who discovers the method behind the murder (and allows Hodgins to perform his third, and most humorous, explosive lab experiment of the episode).
Although “The Doom in the Gloom” goes a little overboard with Hodgins’ experiments, I’m always happy to see the King of the Lab have some fun (although, several seasons later, I still miss Zack’s participation). Even if the mystery itself isn’t one of the show’s best, the odd circumstances surrounding it (cannons, booby-trapped incendiary shotgun blasts) certainly add to the story. In the episode’s B-story Sweets finally finds his perfect apartment, and a pair of Three’s Company-style roommates in fellow psychiatrists Janet (Tiffany Brouwer) and Chrissie (Nishi Munshi), and moves out of Bones and Booth’s home ending the episode on a humorous, if somewhat bittersweet, note.