Season 8, Episode 18: The Survivor in the Soap
“Wow. Skeletons and poop. Way to ruin Paris” – Booth
As seen earlier this season, Cam has been dating intern Arastoo Vaziri. Since this name is complicated, we will continue to refer to him as “Intern A” for the remainder of this episode. As these two love birds are on their way out the door for a romantic get-together, they are of course stopped with their new case, which included a barrel of what seemed to be solid goop with a human hand protruding from it. What’s interesting from this scene is that it steps away from your usual “Bones” format, which is some innocent stumbles across human remains in a strange fashion, making them immediately scream for their lives (usually with really bad acting). This season as a whole has been doing changes, however small they may be. Instead of screaming, a lot of the remain findings would be sarcastic, as the writers of the show seemed to start understanding that different people have different reactions to crazy things. I like that. Anyway, lets get on with the show.
At home, Bones and Booth are busy talking about possible future vacations together. Bones, of course, would like a educational vacation where she could learn things about other cultures, while Booth wants to go to the stereotypical beach. Their conversation is cut short when they are called into see the dude (or dudette) who is found in the barrel seen earlier. While Booth goes through the numerous loggings of barrel processing through the past years, Bones takes a look at the remains and finds out it is a male while Hodgins finds out the goop is actually soap; so while the credits role…they clean them bones.
Through the magic of recognizing a rare bone…thing…Bones realized that this person was most likely born in West Africa, which allowed Angela to immediately find an image of their victim without having to reconstruct the face. After doing some research as to who called in his 911 missing persons report, they found out it was someone who lied about their name in what sounded like a gas station in the background. Booth and Sweets investigate the victims house while Sweets tries to profile what kind of a person this was, which very well may be someone who wanted to leave their old life behind…escaping it….(maybe…like a vacation?). That’s when it quickly gets into the victim’s refugee status, which can get a bit confusing, and you might miss it if you blink or are talking to someone, so try to pay attention.
As many episodes before, it seems like this murdered victim was a saint that everyone loved. He enjoyed helping his community, making people from other cultures feel welcome, it’s all strange. That is until Booth and Bones get word that someone was in the country illegally after being deported, and the victim told him that there was nothing they could do for him when he was there illegally, hello red flag. Earlier, we knew someone was lying when calling in the missing persons report, and if someone is there illegally…that’s a good reason to fake your name…make that red flags.
From this point forward, the episode clearly starts trudging forward with a strong message about the brutality and inhumane nature of other cultures. Young boys taught to kill, etc. Immediately, you can tell this isn’t a typical episode of Bones. Good morals and messages in episodes like this are nice theoretically, but think about the overall arc of the series, it just feels independent and not all the special. Before there is even a halfway point, you’re thinking there is going to be some kind of PSA at the end of the episode.
Angela finally found out that the caller of the 911 call earlier matched the voice of a cab driver, but it is still unclear if it is the illegal alien, because Cam recalls a neighbor who was legal, but let an illegal work in their place. Booth immediately calls the cab company and gets the cab to pick him up, and it is indeed the illegal alien they have been looking for. He of course swears up and down that he didn’t do it, Booth actually believes him while Sweets isn’t quite convinced, because mentally…he could still very well be the killer.
Turns out, back at the lab, the squints found out the illegal couldn’t have killed the victim, as the killer needed both hands. The illegal alien was a amputee. Intern A then got into a squabble with Hodgins…well squabble may be a bit light, but they argued. Intern A thought Hodgins made a mistake about the cause of death, which was somehow cut by an AK-47 while Intern A thought it was a bayonet.
They finally catch the killer when the illegal alien has flashbacks back to the war when he is in an art gallery. One image depicted one of the ruthless killing leaders, and Booth recognized him as a man he saw earlier and thought nothing of. I have to admit I thought nothing about either, which is at least decent writing. Well, get ready for this, because he wasn’t the killer…and it gets realllllllllly confusing here. The killer was the american lawyer seen earlier in the refugee place, killed the guy because the victim realized his janitor was the crime leader and he didn’t want to be recognized for shielding a war criminal….or SOMETHING. You may understand it better than I did there.
The episode, of course, ended with more conversation of Booth and Bones future vacation, which predictably was the best of both worlds, something they could both enjoy for separate reasons.