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Double Trouble in the Panhandle

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Air Date 1/22/09

ACT 1

On the border between Texas and Oklahoma, BOOTH and BRENNAN meet with a TEXAS RANGER and an OKLAHOMA SHERIFF. The bickering cops are in the middle of a jurisdictional dispute. They show Brennan to a set of remains. The harsh, dry climate has obliterated everything but the bones. Brennan determines there are two females in the shallow grave. "A lesbian suicide pact," suggests the Texas Ranger. Brennan disagrees. These females were not lovers: they were conjoined twin sisters.

At the lab, Brennan examines the bones with CAM and VINCENT NIGEL-MURRAY. "Conjoined twin births occur once every 85,000 births," Vincent notes. ANGELA joins the group with news that a sandstorm eight days ago unearthed the remains. Brennan and Vincent agree that the victims were between 19 and 21 years old. Angela believes they will be easy to identify. "How many sets of conjoined twins can there be?" She sets off to conduct a search. HODGINS enters with a theory. In the soil beneath the victims, he found popcorn and mites from hundreds of miles away. Could the girls be from a traveling circus? Angela returns, her search a success. The victims are JENNY and JULIE VAN OWEN, juggling Siamese twins.

Booth and Brennan consult with SWEETS in his office. Sweets doesn't believe an investigation at the circus will produce results. "Circus folk are extremely tight-lipped and close-knit. They won't tell you anything." Sweets knows firsthand. He was adopted and when he tried to find his birth mother, a circus psychic, no one would give him any information. Brennan agrees. "I studied a carnival for six weeks as research for my cultural anthropology dissertation and they wouldn't tell me anything. Even though I became quite adept at the high wire." She and Booth come up with a plan: they must join the circus.

ACT 2

Before they become circus folk, Booth and Brennan speak to SANDRA HICKS, the mother of the twins. Sandra blames the circus for stealing her daughters. She has plans to sue them, with the help of her lawyer and husband DELL HICKS. Sandra last saw Jenny and Julie four months ago. Jenny told her to stay away and Julie didn't argue with her overbearing sister. Brennan asks about surgical separation. Jenny and their doctor, DR. MUIR, believed separation was possible. Julie and Sandra thought the procedure was too dangerous.

At the doctor's office, Dr. Muir explains that even though he thought Jenny and Julie could have been separated, it didn't matter. The twins had to make the decision. Brennan is curious if the twins thought being separated might hurt their circus career. Dr. Muir isn't sure, but he does know that the girls loved the circus and had big plans for their act. Booth asks Dr. Muir to send their file to the FBI. They have another appointment.

A trailer emblazoned with Booth and Brennan's faces pulls up to Bingham's Circus of Wonders, currently located in Texas. The trailer reads Buck and Wanda Moosejaw's Knives of Death. Booth and Brennan (as Buck and Wanda) speak with HENRY SIMON, the owner and ringleader. He agrees to let Brennan and Booth perform. They'll do the first show for free. If Henry likes it, then they'll talk payment. Booth gives Henry a little taste. He throws three knives into a wooden post. Brennan is impressed. Booth wasn't lying about having the best knife-throwing skills in the Rangers. Henry calls LAVALLE, a little person, to show Booth and Brennan where to set up.

Back in their trailer, Booth immediately calls Sweets. Sweets offers to send the pair a lexicon so they can learn the circus lingo. Sweets also gives them some advice. "Act like you're more interested in each other than any of them; they will come to you." Later, Booth and Brennan rock their trailer so that Henry and Lavalle think they are more interested in each other. "Let's just hope they're as good outside the trailer as they are in," remarks Henry.

ACT 3

Booth approaches Henry and Lavalle inside the Big Top Tent. He asks about Jenny and Julie. "We worked a carnie up in Alaska last year. Nice kids. Said they were coming down here to work at Bingham's." Henry and Lavalle report that the twins left the circus. Brennan approaches just as Henry pulls out a note from Jenny and Julie. The girls write that though they love the circus, they have to move on. Henry and Lavalle walk off, allowing Brennan to pocket the note.

At the lab, Cam and Vincent watch a video of Jenny and Julie during their juggling act. Hodgins reports that there were chalk particulates on both bodies. Angela has more news. Brennan sent her a picture of Jenny and Julie's note. According to Vincent, Jenny was the left-handed twin, yet on the note, Jenny signed her name with her right hand. The note is a fake.

In the Mess Tent, Brennan and Booth have their first circus meal. Booth scoffs at the clowns as he passes by and sits with Henry, Lavalle, MADAME NINA and MAGNUM THE STRONGMAN. Luckily for Buck and Wanda, talk turns to Jenny and Julie. Everyone at the table misses them, but they mention that the clowns were not fond of the girls. Jenny and Julie borrowed their equipment without asking so they could expand their act. Madame Nina mentions that Julie had a boyfriend: an outsider boyfriend.

Booth and Brennan sit in their trailer. They speak to Hodgins and Cam via laptop. Hodgins can't believe one of the girls had a boyfriend. He wonders how that might work. Cam wonders if there is only one bed in Wanda and Buck's tiny trailer. Brennan gets them back on track. "Ask yourself if you found anything that suggested a relationship." Hodgins found hair gel under Julie's fingernails. Julie must have run her fingers through someone's hair. Hodgins mentions that the gel would smell like sandalwood. Booth immediately knows the brand: Smoothsure Power Hold. Dr. Muir was wearing a ton of it.

Booth and Brennan borrow a motorcycle and sidecar so they can question Dr. Muir. Meanwhile, at the lab, Vincent discovers matching fractures on both Jenny and Julie's skulls. They are sometimes known as kissing fractures.

At Dr. Muir's office, Dr. Muir admits to a relationship with Julie. He dated Jenny first, but then fell in love with her sister. Jenny wasn't happy about it. Sandra Hicks wouldn't have been happy about it either, so the relationship was a secret. Dr. Muir tries to explain himself. "A fair amount of privacy could be achieved by an eye mask and an MP3 player turned up very loud." Booth doesn't need to hear anymore. He arrests the doctor on suspicion of murder. The other stuff may not be illegal, but it sure is troubling.

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