The episode opens with Booth and his son, Parker, playing ball in the park. Parker looks in a birds nest and finds somebody's finger! Gross. He wanted to put it in his pocket and take it home... even grosser.
At the lab, we meet Mr. Starret, Brennen's oldest grad student, and the newest "Zack's replacement". Turns out he's had many many careers, including a used car salesman. He sold Hodgins a lemon and Hodgins hates him. I, on the other hand, think he's quite brilliant.
The finger got into the nest because the body has been picked apart by crows and opossums in a nearby park. Booth is worried that Parker will be traumatized, and asks Sweets for advice, who says to look for "symptoms of stress". Brennan found a dead neighbor when she was a child and "she turned out alright". A fanny pack and PDA are found with the victim's body, and all are sent back to the Jeffersonian for analysis.
Looks like the victim was killed somewhere else, with some kind of weapon piercing his jugular, then dumped in the park. Hodgins is examining particulates (bull penis... yeah), and Sweets is watching him intently. He seems to think Hodgins needs to "talk". He's been rather grouchy since the episode started. Angela and new-guy Starlett identify the victim, a vet (uses bull penis as a dog treat, apparently).
B&B talk to the vet's ex wife. Brennan loves dogs, even the yappy little "compact" thing that the ex-wife brings in. She tells us that the vet had a big gambling problem, and that we should talk to the receptionist at his office. From there we're led to an ex-con who was stealing drugs from the vet and had been put away, but released lately.
The squints figure out that the murder weapon was actually a dog with filed teeth, who attacked the victim. Hodgins and Starlett interrupt each other a lot. The ex-con is brought in with his dog – he seems innocent, but the dog has filed teeth and is taken to be examined.
Ex-Con: Aw man, you got a warrant for my dog?? That's cold.
Impressions of the wound, and the dog's teeth don't match. This dog didn't do it. Hodgins (and the FBI) find pills in the vet's car. Hodgins is taking out some anger on the FBI guys, and uses some nasty sarcasm on Starlett. Something is seriously bugging him. I can't imagine what! (THAT was sarcasm.)
B&B go to the house of the pills owner, Donald Timmons. It's a junky farmyard, with two very large dogs on the lookout. Booth is still worried about Parker, and we learn Brennan liked to stage her own death when she was younger. Anyways, the vet was a friend of Donald, and his son, Robby. Robby used to work for the vet, but didn't see the victim on the night he was murdered. He was at his tutors place, and so the tutor is brought in to verify.
Sweets is still trying to analyze Hodgins. He has concerns that Hodgins has abandoned his conspiracy theories, a change that indicates intense stress. He encourages Hodgins to "talk to someone". Anyone.
The tutor comes in, seems straight and narrow. He's going through med school and Brennan sees a pillow he's been practicing suturing on. Angela has found pictures on the victim's PDA, photos of a dog-fighting ring, where animals are pitted against each other to the death. It looks like the photos were taken on the junkyard farm – Donald's place.
Booth leaves Parker with Sweets, because apparently he's been acting up, AND he's scared of meteors.
Booth: This is exactly why I brought him here, in person. Cure him!
Sweets finds out that poor Parker is being picked on by a girl (a large girl) at school. Parker was always taught by his dad to never hit girls, and don't run away from problems... so he doesn't know how to do. Booth is proud, but has to have a talk with Parker.
Hodgins and Angela link some Astro-turf treatments to the dog-fighting ring. Things are awkward for a moment when they call each other geniuses, and give a longing/sad/upset look at each other for a little while. B&B get a warrant for the junkyard farm, and they've brought along Cesar Millan (playing himself) to help as a Dog Whisperer. Very cool.
They find the dog-fighting area, plus a barn full of very angry large dogs. Cesar calms them instantly, and leaves me very impressed. The farm owner, Donald, is brought in. He denies, and provides proof that he's been out of town, renting the barn to an unidentified company.
With all the angry dogs in the lab, Cesar helps Brennan identify "Ripley" as the killer dog. He's as sweet as pie, and clearly only killed the victim on orders from his master. With the stitching on the dogs, we are able to identify the med school tutor (remember the pillow of practiced suturing?).
Hodgins has a moment with the new-guy, Starlett, and ends up confessing all his problems. "My best friend who used to work here, he got himself into a lot of trouble. I really miss the guy. You know Angela? She and I, we were engaged to be married, and that went south too. I do, I do feel responsible." The new guy tells Hodgins that he's not going to be around very long (he's leaving the intern job), and that Hodgins should talk to one of the other many people around there that seem to care about him. Did I mention I really liked this new guy?
The victim had devoted his life to saving dogs, and took those pictures on his PDA so that he could turn in the people who started it. Brennan is getting attached to Ripley, who is actually a very nice dog.
Brennan: He reminds me of you (Booth). He's got warm and reassuring brown eyes, and he's capable of great violence.
Booth: Great, thanks.
B&B prove that the tutor was Ripley's master. Cesar Millan has the suspect clap his hands, and the dog goes right to him, waiting for his masters orders. Robby confesses that he saw the tutor make the dog attack the vet, because he had been taking pictures of the dog fights and would've turned him in. Case closed.
Hodgins finally goes to talk to Sweets. He "hates everyone". Angela, the most, but also Zack, Brennan, Cam, Booth, and Sweets himself. Hodgins thinks he needs therapy or medication because of the hate. But Sweets is "good with the hate", saying that Hodgins is coping. It's actually healthy.
Brennan is excited, she's decided to adopt Ripley, and has made all the arrangements. Booth has to tell her that Ripley was put down. He killed someone, that is what had to happen. Brennan is upset, and asks about Ripley's remains. They go out to bury the dog, and Booth convinces Brennan to speak from her heart, to God, or the Universe, or whatever. Reluctantly, she does, and gets very sincere and sad.
Brennan: Ripley was a good dog. He just wanted to please his master. It wasn't his fault that his master was cruel and selfish. Like all dogs, Ripley only saw the good in people. Dogs are like that. People should take a lesson.
Booth comforts a very upset Brennan, and as I'm wiping my own tears away, I realize that this season is making Brennan seem much more human. A very good thing.
So - The speech Brennan made at the end - the one you quoted, I honestly thought that when she finished she was going to reveal that she was talking about Zack, not the dog. It just fit perfectly!
"Wanted to please his master" (wanting to make the gormagon guy happy)
"Not his fault the master was cruel and selfish" (gormagon was a horrible guy...that suckered Zack in with his logic)
"Saw the good in people" (Zack liked everyone and even saw the good in what gormagon was doing)
I was disappointed when she continued and wasn't talking about Zack! Hodgens seems to be the only one who remembers/misses him!!
You are SO right. Dude.