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The Tough Man in the Tender Chicken is the sixth episode of the fifth season of Bones


Remains of a chicken farmer are found on the bank of a nearby river, and Booth and Brennan are called in to investigate. The farmer, who was an animal right activist, was about to inherit a chicken factory and had many enemies with motive to kill him -- leaving the team with a lot of murder suspects to sort through.


A troop of young girl scouts are in the lab, happy to show off a decomposing body they discovered while on a hike. While Hodgins and Cam congratulate the girls on their find, Brennan chastises them for ruining the crime scene. Cam and Wendell start examining the body, which has evidence of gangrene. The toes and fingertips are gone, and there is a sulfur-like smell emanating from the corpse. Hodgins thinks the body might have been a part of a suspended animation experiment conducted by the US government. As Booth is briefed, Hodgins and Wendell head for the crime scene to see if they can find those fingertips.

Booth tells Angela and Brennan about Hodgins' theory and hands Angela a DARPA file, which is supposedly genetically developing a group of super soldiers. After Angela recreates the victim's face, the details seem strangely chicken-like. The team wonders if the experiment was to create human/animal hybrids. Hodgins discovers a parasite only found in chickens in the neck of the body, while Cam points out that the victim's nasal cavities have severe deformities.

Booth is trying to see if there are any DARPA employees reported missing, but so far he hasn't had much luck. However, seeing out a match through the DMV comes up with a match: Nick Rabin. Rabin works for Clucksten Farms as the head of personnel. Booth and Brennan travel to Clucksten Farms and run into group of protesters sounding off on the farm's supposed animal cruelty. Booth and Brennan talk to Nick's wife, Gaynor. Nick's strange deformity was a direct result of working at the farm. Gaynor wonders if one of the protesters killed Nick because he worked at the farm. Meanwhile, Angela gives Hodgins an update on her celibacy. When Hodgins admits that he still doesn't want to be the first one she sleeps with, Angela just tells him that she's just making conversation.

Back at the farm, Booth and Brennan are being escorted by Head of Security John Collins to the protesters when they see one of the farm workers, Gina, accosted by the mob. John successfully halts the altercation, but then riles up the protesters again when he accuses their leader, Josh Parsons, of killing Nick. Booth and Brennan try to talk to Josh but are attacked by the protesters, who end up coating the pair with corn syrup and paper feathers.

Parsons is taken in for questioning, and Sweets and Booth show him one of his videos he made, showing the bad conditions at the farm. The theory is that Nick was killed because he got in the way while Parsons was filming. Parsons denies killing Nick because he wasn't the one who was filming. Booth then brings up that he could bring Parsons in for assault, and Parsons shares that he has the raw footage from the video on a USB thumbdrive.

Cam and Wendell discover that Nick was killed by having his neck wrung, like a chicken. Meanwhile, Parsons' raw video of the conditions at the farm disturb Angela, but Brennan tells her to concentrate on the fact that a human being was killed, and not on how the chickens are being treated. Angela figures out that the video was shot with a camera bought by Gaynor, Nick's wife. Frustrated by the cruelty she saw, Angela asks Brennan to help donate some money to save a pig from being slaughtered. Brennan refuses, thinking that saving a pig from being killed makes no sense. Angela is furious by Brennan's reaction.

Sweets talks to Booth and Brennan about why Gaynor would be involved in her own husband's murder. When Booth points out that Brennan appears upset, Brennan explains that she had a fight with Angela and quickly switches to talking about something else. There was a story in the news about human fingers discovered in a batch of chicken nuggets of a local restaurant. Perhaps those fingers were Nick's. Cam and Brennan later examine those fingers and they match with Nick. Angela asks Sweets to donate money for the piglet, but Sweets is much more interested in why Angela wants to save the piglet so much. Since she has taken a vow of celibacy, Angela might be steering all that energy towards the piglet.

Gaynor admits to Booth that she shot the video at Clucksten Farms, but says it was solely because she wanted to force her husband from working in a place where he is constantly harassed by protesters. She says that Nick's fingers must have gone out on a shipment directly from the farm, which means that the killer must work at the farm. Gaynor then gives the name of a baker, Roy Meyers, whose business is suffering because of the farm's bad odor, giving him motive to kill Nick.

Angela approaches Wendell for a piglet donation, but he doesn't want to give up his money at first because he doesn't have that much to begin with. But Angela eventually wins him over, and he gives her all the money in his wallet. Angela kisses him in thanks, and Wendell kisses back eagerly. Meanwhile, Booth and Brennan talk to Meyers, who readily says that he wants to get the farm shut down because the really bad smell is driving customers away. He has a cigar cutter, which Brennan believes could also be used to cut fingers.

Angela and Wendell find a weird pattern in the skull injury, which suggests that the blow was caused by some kind of machine. Also, something else was in the way, blocking the weapon from smashing into the skull with full force. Hodgins states that a cigar cutter couldn't have lopped off Nick's fingers. However, he's figured out that the injuries were caused by some kind of self-cauterizing blade. He's also discovered evidence of Beak and Feather Disease Virus in Nick's thumb. Nick's fingers were hacked off by something used to cut beaks.

Gina, who works as a Beak Clipper at the farm, is questioned. She admits that she was given a lower position at the plant because she accused Nick of sexually harassing her. And since then, she's been thinking about hurting Nick but hasn't gone through with it. She even asks to be locked up just so she doesn't have to go to work. Meanwhile, Brennan talks to Sweets about her conflict with Angela. Sweets says that she should give up logic in order to make Angela happy again. Brennan isn't sure about this advice, but she does find the piglet cute.

Brennan, Hodgins and Wendell try to reconstruct the multiple blows which killed Nick on order to figure out the weapon. Wendell is in an office chair and is spun around as paintbrushes are used to show where the weapon struck on Nick's body. Wendell's head is covered in paint, and then suddenly Brennan figures out what was used to kill the victim.

Booth brings in the Chicken Plucking Machine from the farm, and they discover human blood and pieces of a necktie within it. Nick was shoved into the machine, and the killer's hand must have also been caught in the machine, which caused the odd markings on Nick's skull. They just need to find the plant worker with a broken hand. Booth and Brennan talk to John Collins again, and he was recently in the emergency room for a broken hand. John admits that he had an argument with Nick over amount of gas allowance. He says that Nick was accidentally caught in the machine and he tried to pull him out. Booth is about to buy that story, but Brennan reminds him that the injuries show that Nick was pushed into the machine. John then confesses to the murder.

Booth and Brennan are at the Founding Fathers bar, and Booth wonders why he couldn't instinctively sense that John was lying. The tumor must have done something to his ability to identify people who aren't telling the truth. Brennan says that he's still a lot sharper than many other people. Brennan asks Booth about Sweets' advice on dealing with Angela. Booth agrees with Sweets. Brennan gives Angela a check for the piglet, and Booth later spots Wendell and Angela together.


Main Cast[]

Intern of the Week[]

Guest Cast[]

Featured Music[]

"When The Devil's Loose" - A.A Bondy


  • Angela and Wendell start hooking up in this episode.


I don't know what that means[]

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