Note: This is a bit of a different show, with only one story line through the whole show. No jumping back and forth between the murder story and a personal sideline.
Booth and Brennan take an airboat out to the middle of the everglades where they are shown the remains of a man. They quickly identify the man by the serial number on a glass eye. He’s a museum guard and after examining the last known footage of him on museum surveillance cameras, the team notices he took something from the museum. It turns out to be a scrap of a suspected treasure map (or chart as Bones later corrects booth: maps are of land, charts of of water.) The map is suspected to lead them to the Spanish wreck of the Santa Esparansa that went down with a huge treasure. Sounds like a good murder motive to me!
Booth begrudgingly employs the talents of someone he knew years before who is exceptionally gifted at finding things. They find one Walter “Wally” Sherman in a sunny Florida bar with his legal advisor, Leo Knox (played by Michael Clarke Duncan – remember John Coffey, the big dude from “The Green Mile”), and his bartender/pilot Ike Latulippe (Saffron Burrows). We find out later in the show that Booth doesn’t like Wally because he was hired to find Booth when he went AWOL to be there when Parker was born. Wally found him and Booth was arrested. No fun. Wally agrees to help find the map, but Booth and Brennan have to find the killer.
Bones is skeptical that Wally has a gift so she gives him a test to find her lost science fair award medal from 7th grade. When Wally comes through with the goods (and a surprise newspaper clipping of Bones and her mom), she’s overcome with emotion and starts believing that he can find anything. Can he find the map?
Wally checks out the museum guard’s crappy apartment and turns up an interesting clue – receipt from a pawn shop who is holding a ukelele. Through some clever negotiating tactics, Wally and his team retrieve not only the instrument (which is smashed), but the person who damaged it. It seems that the guard hid the scrap of map in the uke and a woman with an interesting tattoo reclaimed it unceremoniously. They find the woman, Brittany Stephenson (played by Mini Anden – you know Carina from “Chuck”) by means of a local tattoo shop whose owner is in debt to Wally (this becomes a theme). Wally is smitten by Brittany who rebuffs his advances. He follows her to her boat and notices an old sextant on board. She tells him it’s some sort of old telescope, but he knows she’s lying and up to something.
At the Jeffersonian, Wally shows up with Brennan’s lost medal who says that Angela can help provide details about the missing piece of map from museum footage (of course.) He comments how attractive Angela is and when Hodgins perks up Wally asks “Who are you?” to which he replies “Her husband.” Wally’s comeback is priceless “You rich?” and goes on to explain that “She’s an 11 and you’re a 7, so to figure the difference, you must be rich.” Gotta love those writers. Of course, Angela pieces together the coordinates in nice clear format from several blurry camera angles of the map so clear you can discern latitude and longitude along with an inscription around the compass rose. Based on the inscription, they determine that the coordinates need to be offset from the Greenwich meridian to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
I did note one disturbing continuity/editing issue in this show (which is pretty rare.) While Wally and Ike are flying in her plane having a discussion, their headphones switch back and forth. They are clearly two different models. One has a green mic and one has a black. One has rounded ear cups and one has a more complex design. When the camera is shooting from Wally’s side, he’s wearing one, and when the camera is on Ike’s side, they’ve switched. It was so noticeable, I don’t even recall what the conversation was about.
When Wally arrives at those coordinates with his team, he makes a dive and discovers Brittany’s drowned body instead of the treasure ship. They get her body back to the Jeffersonian where Cam extracts from the victim’s throat the missing chunk of map. They notice some blood on it and continue to extract a finger further down her throat. It seems there was a struggle and Brittany bit off someone’s finger. That should make it easier to find the killer!
While the map is laying aside, Wally runs his finger over the blood and smears it to reveal a Jesuit symbol on the map. He immediately announces that he’s done with his contract to find the map and turns in his expense receipts to Booth. He goes to a Bishop, who also owes him a favor, and tells him that the Jesuit symbol means the prime meridian isn’t Rome, but the Copernican Observatory, just a short distance away. Angela, working in the lab, also figures out the same fact about the same time and relays the information to Booth.
Also part of the back story is the fact that Wally suffered some sort of mentor or physical trauma while in Iraq years ago which gave him his “gift”, but also causes him to be rather paranoid. His friends only want to help him get better, but he doesn’t want to lose his gift. This is a bit of tension between them throughout the show, but it works well.
Wally dives the wreck and heads to the museum with evidence. There we find the museum curator with his hand bandaged up – missing a finger perhaps? He was very helpful earlier in te show to identify the guard and show the footage of him taking the map. See how that diversion went so the guard would get pinned? Ahhhhh! Wally wants to beat him to a pulp, but Leo advises him not to. Instead they throw him in a box where Leo and Ike dump him at Booth’s feet. Booth thinks Wally should be arrested for taking the treasure while under FBI contract, but Leo reminds him that his contract was up when he found the map so he’s in the clear.
In the closing shots, Wally is back in the tropical bar with Ike and Leo having one of their “philosophical debates” on the chalkboard as we first found the trio and Ike exclaims that Wally will never find long lasting love, but Wally makes a comment that the Bones lady might be the one. The camera does a nice switch from there to the Founding Fathers bar as two beer bottles are put down and Booth is still grumbling over Wally having him arrested while holding Parker. Bones states that Wally likely could have had him arrested sooner, but wanted to wait until after Booth had a chance to hold Parker. He feels better and we’re left with another happy ending.
Rating: 9.5/10 (would have 10 had it not been for the plane scene.)
My notes: I rather enjoyed the mono-story-format. It certainly was easier to write during the show rather than weaving two story lines. 🙂 I also liked the trio of Ike, Leo, and Wally. An interesting combination. It may have just been me, but I swear Wally sounds an awful lot like Tee Morris. 🙂 Don’t believe me? Have another listen. Season 6 is winding down – only four shows left. Will they bring Wally back? Will they leave us with a cliff hanger? Stay tuned…