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The Skull in the Sculpture is the eighth episode of the fourth season of Bones.


Car junk yard robbers find a press-crushed wreck containing a corpse. It's identified as postmodernist 'crushing art' sculptor Geoffrey Thorne. Gallery owner Helen Bridenbecker claims that he planned to commit suicide by becoming part of his last sculpture, which can't be deconstructed until it's proven to be a murder case. His assistant and heir, Roxie Lyon, was Angela's ex-girlfriend at college. A 89th fracture on his skull proves he was first murdered. Suspects also include his rival, forger Lucas 'Anton Deluca' Denton. Sweets convinces Angela it's time to dare date again.


Two men break into a junkyard to steal car parts. They find a crushed car with an untouched golden side mirror. The car is bleeding. Upon closer inspection they realize it's not the car but the mangled corpse inside.

Angela meets Sweets at a bar. She needs to talk about sex. Sweets believes that Angela could be hesitant to form a new connection with someone in order to protect herself from possible heartache.

Cam, Hodgins, Angela and Brennan examine the crushed car and what they can see of the body inside. Daisy Wick stands by, trying to help.

The car was crushed for B&B Enterprises, a company that also had five other cars crushed. Brennan wonders if that means more bodies. Booth sees a silver lining. "If this is mob-related and we bring down the big boys, we will sell the movie rights for a fortune!" Booth and Brennan make their way to the building through the dark streets. Crushed cars litter the floor of the warehouse. Booth and Brennan hear movement and Helen Bridenbecker, a short woman with heavy make-up, appears. Brennan notices something on the floor: blood.

The crushed cars are actually sculptures that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Helen Bridenbecker informs Booth and Brennan that she has called her lawyer. If they so much as scratch one of Geoffrey Thorne's magnificent works of art, they'll pay for it. Helen explains that it is pig's blood. One of the performance artists she hosted at the gallery uses pig's blood as a medium. Roxie Lyon approaches. She is Thorne's assistant. Brennan produces a photo of the body. She asks Helen and Roxie to look at the victim's ring. Roxie confirms that it belongs to Thorne. They know who their victim is. She tells Booth that Thorne argued with rival artist Anton Deluca at the gallery a few nights ago.

At the lab, Cam reviews the results of the victim's tox screen. Hodgins enters with the Jaws of Life. Cam reports that she found anti-anxiety medication, mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, anti depressants and painkillers in Thorne's system. He may very well have killed himself.

Daisy and Angela watch from the sidelines as Hodgins approaches the car with the Jaws of Life. Before he can get to work, Caroline Julian appears with Helen and Roxie in tow. The car has been declared an "historic piece of art" by a judge. They can't so much as scratch the sculpture. Roxie is revealed as an old friend of Angela's from college.

Booth questions Anton Deluca at his studio. He believes Thorne's girlfriend, Roxie, killed him. Thorne was leaving all of his money to her.

At the lab, Cam attempts to examine the body without disturbing the art. She inserts an endoscope into the vehicle. Daisy hovers over her, making comments. She hands the endoscope to Daisy. As they work, Brennan dumps a bucketful of dermestid beetles into the car. "They'll strip the flesh off our victim in no time." Daisy succeeds at getting the endoscope into the car but there is too much flesh to gather any helpful data.

Booth questions Roxie at the FBI. Roxie filled Thorne's prescriptions and made sure he took them. He was clinically depressed and suicidal. Booth wonders why Thorne didn't leave her a suicide note. He did leave her with nearly one million dollars though. Roxie is shocked. Booth wants to know if this changes her answer. Did she sleep with him? Roxie still denies it. Didn't Angela tell them? She's a lesbian.

At the lab, Booth and Brennan speak with Angela. She confirms that Roxie is a lesbian. "At least she was when we were together." Angela and Roxie had a relationship for over a year. All signs point to suicide on this investigation.

Meanwhile, the beetles have finished their meal. The bones are clean and Daisy once again works the endoscope to examine them. She impresses Cam with her skills on the equipment. Brennan joins them and is also impressed by what Daisy has managed to discover. Perhaps Daisy may find a home at the Jeffersonian after all. Hodgins interrupts to report his findings. "The victim's clothing shows traces of calcium oxide, ferric oxide and magnesium oxide." He won't know what it means until he can get into the car. Caroline Julian finds the Squints to let them know they are in trouble. A judge heard about the beetles and he's not pleased with the way the Squints tried to circumvent the injunction. The Squints have been given two days to detect foul play. If they can't, the murderer will walk.

Roxie shows Angela around Thorne's studio. Angela finds an old painting of herself, a nude, in Roxie's section of the studio. Helen wanted to buy the painting from Roxie but Roxie wouldn't sell. . The moment is broken when Angela leaves hurriedly with an idea to prove Roxie's innocence.

At the lab, Angela watches as a metal scanning machine X-rays the crushed car. This will give Angela digital images of the bones inside. "You've found out how to show what bone damage came from the actual crushing of the car," Daisy says admiringly. With only 40 hours left, Angela hopes her idea works.

Angela presents her findings to Brennan and Booth. Booth watches in horror as the Angelator recreates Thorne being crushed. His body started in the trunk. "His bones sustained 88 fractures, all of which can be explained by the crushing in the car." Angela is relieved that she has proved the death a suicide but the Angelator has one more thing to add. There is an 89th fracture on the skull that was not caused by the car crushing. Thorne's death is officially a murder.

The judge has removed the injunction on the car since the Squints have proved that the car is a crime scene and not a piece of art. Hodgins finally gets to use the Jaws of Life. He pulls the car apart to reveal the victim's skull. As Brennan stresses the importance of being careful at this juncture, Daisy grabs the skull. It breaks into various pieces and scatters across the floor. Now, to prove that the 89th fracture was the lethal blow, Brennan will have to reconstruct the shattered skull. Daisy vows to help put it back together but Brennan wants to complete the task alone.

Booth and Angela drive to meet DeLuca. Placing the blame on Roxie did not clear him. It turns out that DeLuca has spent time in prison for forgery. Booth tells Angela that because of this new information, Roxie isn't the prime suspect anymore. This cheers Angela but she really wants to know what Booth thinks of her relationship with another woman. Booth supports her. If she had feelings for Roxie, that's all that matters.

Booth questions DeLuca at his studio. His bank account is not exactly empty. Angela notices that the brush strokes on DeLuca's paintings exactly match the strokes found on Thorne's sculptures. DeLuca must have painted Thorne's work. That's why they were arguing. DeLuca insists he didn't kill Thorne. Why would he put himself out of a job? Booth cuffs him.

Angela finds Brennan at the lab. Brennan is nearly done reconstructing Thorne's shattered skull. Angela is heartened that there is a new, viable suspect because she knows Roxie didn't do it. Brennan turns her attention to Angela. Could she still have romantic feelings for Roxie? Angela admits that she does but that doesn't matter. She hurt Roxie worse than she hurt Hodgins when she broke off their relationship in art school. She has no right to start something again. Brennan puts the last shard of skull into place and it's clear what the murder weapon was: a fire ax.

Back at the Bridenbecker Gallery, Booth gets another earful from Helen about damaging the art. The FBI Techs find human blood on the floor this time but it has been cleaned away with turpentine. They also commandeer the gallery's fire ax. Brennan asks for Booth's lighter for an experiment. She touches the open flame to the floor. The turpentine ignites and a trail of flames leads to the loading dock. Thorne was killed at the gallery and dragged along the trail of fire. With the turpentine burned away, the blood trace appears under a UV light. The pattern of spatter suggests that Thorne was rolled to the loading dock. His body was too heavy for his killer. Helen was home alone the night Thorne was murdered, which isn't a solid alibi but she has no motive. Only Roxie had motive and means.

Sweets and Angela have lunch at the bar. She's decided whom she wants to have sex with: Roxie. Sweets warns her to be careful. Roxie is going to be her rebound and love will not be involved. Angela disagrees. "You have this bourgeois notion that in order for love to be real it has to be permanent." Angela has had multiple true loves. Sweets counters by saying that Angela does not want to commit. She always has a way to end each of her relationships. All Angela knows is that she doesn't want to do that to Roxie again. Sweets suggests that Angela let Roxie decide. If Roxie wants the relationship fine, but if not, Angela has to accept that.

At the lab, Daisy seems to have recovered slightly from her skull debacle. She isn't winning any points with Hodgins though. Cam asks for a report on the ax. All traces of blood were wiped away but there was sweat on the handle. After learning the pH, Daisy realizes the murderer is a woman. They have to compare a sample of Roxie's sweat to the handle.

Sweets enters his office to find Cam waiting for him. He doesn't appreciate her barging in without an appointment. Cam asks his opinion about Daisy and how she can go about firing her since Daisy doesn't lack the necessary skills to be a part of the team. The Squints simply don't like her. Sweets tells Cam that he will deliver the news to Daisy. Cam is grateful. She tells him that they barge into his office wanting advice for a reason. He should be flattered.

At the lab, Hodgins shares his new findings with Brennan and Cam. Female sweat was found on the victim's clothing and on the ax. Upon further analysis, Hodgins found traces of other chemicals in the sweat. Cam recognizes the combination: they are medications that treat leukemia. She can also tell right away that based on these findings, Roxie is not the killer. The drug busulfan causes highly visible skin discoloration which Roxie does not display. The three of them are happy to have cleared Roxie. Suddenly, Brennan gets quiet and hurries off. Hodgins realizes she knows who the murderer is.

At the FBI, Booth and Brennan interrogate Helen. She is tight-lipped even when Brennan and Booth present the evidence. Helen owns many of Thorne's pieces, all of which increased in price when the artist died. Her phone records prove that she'd been speaking with a cancer clinic in Mexico, one that she could not afford. Brennan asks her to remove her make-up. Helen refuses until Brennan tells her the cancer clinic was a scam. Their treatments would have only served to make her poor, not well. Helen breaks down. She takes a tissue and wipes her make-up away, revealing stained skin. Helen believes Booth and Brennan have tainted Thorne's legacy. Now, he will only be remembered as a murder victim, not the ultimate artist. Booth thinks Thorne wanted to live. Helen knows the feeling.

Angela meets Roxie at the Bridenbecker Gallery. She encourages her to use her new money and the art gallery to concentrate on her own pieces. That's not what Roxie wants to concentrate on right now. She leans in and gives Angela a passionate kiss.

At the lab, Booth, Brennan, Cam and Hodgins watch as Sweets approaches Daisy. They all agree he will use logic to convince her she'd be better off somewhere else. Sweets bluntly tells Daisy she's fired again because nobody likes her. However, he has some good news. They can go public with their relationship. Daisy is excited as she thought he was ashamed of her. Sweets notices the others watching him so he kisses Daisy. Brennan, Booth, Cam and Hodgins are shocked. Brennan doesn't think it will last. Sweets and Daisy have nothing in common. After all, Daisy is a woman of science and Sweets is a man of human emotion. Booth agrees. He steals a look at Brennan and she does the same when he turns away.


Main Cast[]

Intern of the Week[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Featured Music[]

  • "Shiver" - Edita Malovcic
  • "Happy Ground" - Pete Murray


  • Daisy: (after shattering a skull) I can't believe I did that!
  • Sweets: (after Cam comes to him with no appointment) How come none of you people never book an appointment?!
  • Bones: (about Sweets and Daisy kissing) They should not be doing that on the forensic platform!
    Cam: That's a method of termination I've never tried! But bravo, Doctor Sweets!
  • Booth (after Sweets tells Daisy that she is fired, they decide to come out with their relationship and begin making out on the forensic platform): Whoa. They'll never work. They're like complete opposites.
    Bones: I agree. For all her faults she's a woman of science. Sweets bases his life on the vagaries of psychology and emotion. You know, there's no common ground.
    Booth: Right.
    Brennan: You need common ground. What else is there?
    Booth: Absolutely.
  • Booth: Okay, all right, if you're gonna hit on Angela, you should do it with a little respect. Okay? Let's go.
  • Bones: Wait, what changed? It was a million-dollar piece of art yesterday, and today it's a piece of junk.
    Caroline: Cherie, you proved murder. That changed it from a work of art into a crime scene.
    Bones: This is crazy! I don't understand, and I'm not used to not understanding things.
  • Caroline: Does the Spirit of the Law mean anything to you people?


  • First appearance of Founding Fathers.
  • The ending song "Happy Ground" by Pete Murray played during the credits was used for the first time in this episode.

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