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Death in the Saddle is the third episode of the third season of Bones.


When the decomposed body of a man is found in the woods, feet removed and arms bound, the team goes in to investigate; the autopsy leads Brennan and Booth to a lodge used as an S+M retreat, where women act as jockeys and the men as their horses; and Angela tries hypnosis in an effort to figure out her elusive husband's name.


While camping, a boy stumbles across a body. He’s been dead four days. His hands were tied before death, and his feet hacked off after death. A therapist wants to hypnotize Angela into remembering anything about her husband that could possibly help in hunting him down. The shiny substance on the victim’s nose and mouth is a specialized sunscreen used on horses. Searching through the stomach, Cam finds raw oats and molasses: horse food. Booth has the victim’s name: Ed Milner… or Mr. Ed.

Booth speaks with Alice Milner, the widow of the victim. According to Alice, Ed was away on business, nowhere near the woods where his body was found. Booth asks Alice if Ed had a fascination with horses. Alice says "no," and is confused by the question. Brennan finds that the hooves of dead champion-thoroughbreds are detached from the corpse and buried separately; they represent power, and need their own resting place. She thinks the removal of the victim’s feet was ritualistic. Booth has tracked down the victim’s last credit-card purchase: the Ambassadora Lodge. Booth and Brennan find that the lodge, run by a man named Lucky, is a place where people can go to experience pony play: a form of sexual role-playing involving "ponies" and "riders." Ed Milner (Mr. Ed) was a pony.

Booth and Brennan talk with “Annie Oakley,” Mr. Ed’s rider. She was in love with Mr. Ed, "the way a young girl feels for her first pony." Annie thinks they need to speak with Ed’s wife, who she claims showed up at the Ambassadora the night before Ed died. Apparently Alice Milner caught the two role-players together, in character. Booth and Brennan drive while discussing pony play. It's clear they have opposing viewpoints on the fetish; Booth strongly disapproves.

Booth and Brennan interrogate Alice Milner, who tells them she got a call from a man with an accent. The man told Alice that Ed was with another woman, and the mystery man knew where Alice could find the two together. Alice showed up at the Ambassadora that same evening, and walked in on Mr. Ed with Annie Oakley. Alice swears that after discovering the pony-players she left, and immediately contacted a divorce attorney. Booth’s not buying it, but Brennan doesn’t think Alice Milner did it. The ritual of removing and burying the feet points to the pony-play culture. They need to get hold of that mystery caller. In the lab Zack and Hodgins work on determining the murder weapon; a cantaloupe may be able to help them to do that.

Booth and Brennan are back at the Ambassadora. They’re looking for leads on the caller. They know he has an accent, and soon meet “Thor” from England. Thor (real name Calvin Johnson) admits to calling Ed’s wife, but claims he’d never commit murder. Angela’s combing her office for a wedding picture when Hodgins enters. She needs to bring a photo to the hypnotist, but isn’t having much luck. Back in the lab Zack’s got the murder weapon: a hoof knife. It’s a weapon used to slaughter horses with a single blow to the forehead. This is exactly the way Mr. Ed was killed. In the lab Hodgins tells Cam about the specialized twine used to tie together Ed’s hands. It’s a patented product only sold by one company. They should be able to get a list of customers directly from that company. They’ll then be able to cross-reference the customers with the pony-players. Angela is in her office trying to meditate when Brennan enters. The hypnotism didn’t take because Angela wasn’t relaxed enough. Brennan points out the anxiety indicators present in Angela. Angela tries to convince Brennan that she’s not anxious because sub-consciously she doesn’t want to find her husband’s real name. Brennan surmises that a "real name" will humanize him, diminishing that "untouchable fantasy-figure image" she has created for herself. Booth has Lucky in the interrogation room. The twine used to tie Ed’s hands was traced back to the Ambassadora. They also now know Lucky used to be married to Annie Oakley. Lucky admits to owning a hoof knife like the one used to kill Ed, but claims that his was stolen four days ago. He thinks Tom Mularz, a local butcher and former pony-player, is the one who stole it. In the lab Hodgins and Zack have separately come to the same conclusion. The hoof knife used to kill Mr. Ed was also used to hack off his feet. Booth and Brennan arrive at the butcher shop to question Tom Mularz. Mularz takes off, but doesn’t get far before Booth slams him into a wall and cuffs him. Booth and Brennan interrogate him, and find that he's an advocate for the human consumption of horse meat (an unpopular opinion among the pony players). He did break into Lucky’s car, but only to take back his horse-meat brochures (which Lucky had taken). Mularz has an alibi. In the lab Brennan has come to the conclusion that the victim’s eyes weren’t eaten by maggots, as initially thought: they were carefully gouged out. Whoever killed Ed is skilled with a medical instrument. They recall that Annie Oakley is a doctor.

In the therapist’s office Angela is going under. Her therapist, Dr. Jasper, has mentally placed Angela on an island in front of a door that leads to her husband. Angela is told to open the door, and greet her man by his proper name. Upon opening the door Angela is greeted by a giant, buzzing wasp. Bones and Booth confront Annie Oakley. She’s defiant at first, but finally breaks down. She left her husband and Thor for Ed, but Ed wasn’t willing to leave his wife for Annie. She confesses. Back at the lab Hodgins finds that a wasp represents anger in dream theory. Angela enters with a book that could help. On the cover is a giant wasp. Inside is a picture of Angela and Birimbau; even better, it’s got his name on it: Angela is legally married to a "Grayson Barasa" At the diner Brennan and Booth discuss the merits of vegetarianism and pony-play. Booth reveals himself to be a romantic, believing that fetishes are a poor substitute for love. For once Brennan agrees with him.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • 1- 16th century Turkey is non-existent. In Anatolia where Turkey is today was Ottoman Empire and they are definitely not the same thing.

I don't know what that means[]

Brennan is completely confused by the team's reference to "Mr. Ed"

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