The Spark in the Park is the eleventh episode of the ninth season of Bones.
A couple find a dead body and take pictures and selfies, so they will be able to talk to the police about it. They leave their umbrella over the victim, and it is struck by lightning, causing a small explosion.
The victim was Amanda Watters, a high school aged, incredibly skilled and competitive amateur gymnast currently on a break due to an injury. Her body shows intense signs of physical abuse, and the word on the street is that she was considering quitting the sport altogether.
Booth and Brennan question Dr. Leon Watters, Amanda's father. He is a brilliant scientist, easily lost in the world of numbers and unable to quite connect with Booth during questioning. Brennan is able to interpret his statements and is convinced he is not the murderer. But Watters' seeming detachment from Amanda is something Booth can't get his mind around.
They then speak to Amanda's gymnastic coach. He has high expectations for his athletes, but insists he didn't hurt Amanda.
Brennan visits Dr. Watters, surprised to find out he has erased all of the mathematic formulas from his chalkboard. She worries he is contemplating suicide, removing his work from his life. He doesn’t deny it. She convinces him that by doing so, he will essentially frame himself. He asks her to find out who killed Amanda.
The question Ellie, Amanda's main competition, and the person who spotted Amanda during her last fall, causing some broken bones. Ellie is intense, stating that Amanda would want her to continue competing. She also tells Booth and Brennan on the sly that Amanda was considering quitting gymnastics and had turned to drugs.
Sweets is able to trace some of Amanda's drug activity, and he questions the drug dealer, who insists he liked Amanda (but not in an illegal way) and points Sweets toward Rachel.
Angela and Hodgins restore a plastic card found on Amanda's body, and identify it was an access card to Dr. Watters’ university. It shows access on the evening Amanda died, though Dr. Watters insisted he hadn't seen Amanda since that morning. Booth and Brennan bring him in to the FBI for questioning. Booth can't believe he doesn't remember what he ate or if he saw his daughter that evening. Brennan jogs his memory, and Dr. Watters realizes Amanda did come to visit him and bring him dinner, also realizing he likely dismissed her and caused her pain. Brennan comes to his defense, which angers Booth.
They speak to Mr. Howes, father of Rachel Howes. Rachel and Amanda became close friends (and sometimes co-drug doers). When he found out about Rachel wanting to quit playing the cello, he hit her, causing her to fall down the stairs. Rachel tells Booth and Brennan that she and Amanda had agreed together to quit their mutual competitive tasks.
Cam, Arastoo, Hodgins, Angela and Cam continue to examine Amanda's remains in the Jeffersonian lab. There are several breaks and spots of remodeling in her skeletal structure and also signs of a struggle when she died.
Rachel is covered in bruises when Booth talks with her and her parents, but they all come clean about what happened the night she told them she wanted to quit playing the cello.
Arastoo notices signs of strangulation, and Brennan realizes that is how Amanda was killed. Angela recreates the scenario, and Brennan identifies the murder weapon as a balance beam. She and Booth return to the gymnasium, where Brennan finds traces of vomit and part of Amanda’s tongue. Booth arrests the gymnastics coach. When he insists he is innocent and that any person on the team would have access to the building the night Amanda was killed, Brennan and Arastoo reexamine the remains. Brennan realizes the killer had one hand weaker than the other.
With this information, Booth and Brennan bring Rachel and her parents back into the interrogation room. Her father immediately assumes he’s the suspect, but Bones and Booth question Rachel. When they present the evidence they found in Rachel’s car, she admits she was mad at Amanda for not quitting gymnastics liked she promised she would.
After talking to Arastoo and Haley Kent, Cam decides not to press aggravated identity theft charges against Haley. Worried about Doctor Watters giving up without his daughter there for him, Brennan visits the man to find that he has memorialized Amanda's life in the form of an equation, "her life in movement." Brennan finds it to be "perfectly beautiful" and a perfect tribute to Amanda.
Main Cast Edit
- Temperance Brennan - Emily Deschanel
- Seeley Booth - David Boreanaz
- Jack Hodgins - T.J Thyne
- Angela Montenegro - Michaela Conlin
- Camille Saroyan - Tamara Taylor
- Lance Sweets - John Francis Daley
Intern of the Week Edit
Guest Cast Edit
- Ellie - McKayla Maroney
- Leon Watters - Richard Schiff
- Rachel Howes - Cherami Leigh
- Coach Davis McIntyre - McKinley Freeman
- Melissa Howes - Laura Niemi
- Adam Howes - Mark Derwin
- Haley Kent - Bonnie Root
- Bonnie Johnson - Nancy Stone
- Norman Johnson - Steve Monroe
- Julian Anton - J. Michael Trautmann
Featured Music Edit
"Top of the World" by Kanary Diamonds
Video Gallery Edit
- The character of Ellie, a gymnast, is played by multiple gold-medal-awarded artistic gymnast McKayla Maroney.