Bones - Season 8, Episode 8 (Review)
The But in the Joke
A clandestine artist papering over a billboard trips over his glue bucket and falls to the ground, landing on decomposing human remains and getting stuck to them. The FBI takes the artist back to the Jeffersonian, where he and the remains are scanned with some mysterious scanner. The pelvis is large and rugged, which for some reason suggests to Fisher that it was from a Caucasian male. Hand-waving about upper margin formation on the pubic symphysis means the man was in his early 30s. Because of a prematurely fused C5 and C6 in his neck, Saroyan thinks that she can find the doctor who performed the surgery and ID the victim. The artist, meanwhile, is recognized by Angela as Zed, a wannabe Banksy (and recognized by me as Adam Whitman).
Saroyan does track down the doctor who performed the surgery, finds the name of the victim, and confirms the ID - at least, I can hope, since literally all of that happened during the commercial break. The victim was Morgan Donnelly, who worked at a telemarketing job by day but was a comedian by night. His manager reported him missing and suggests Booth go talk to Alexa, Morgan's girlfriend who might have been cheating on him. Brennan insists on driving Booth to Alexa's so that she can schill shamelessly for Toyota. Alexa and her brother Elliot laugh at the idea of Morgan's death, thinking it was a practical joke. Elliot knew Morgan, as he recorded all his shows and was chummy with him, so it's completely obvious he did it.
Meanwhile, the Jeffersonian team is still trying to figure out who killed Morgan and how. There was massive blunt force trauma to the facial bones, including the zygomatics, suggesting Morgan was struck several times. Saroyan and Hodgins figure based on the state of decomp and the presence of blow flies that Morgan was killed 5 days ago. At this point, I figure based on the amount of time left in the show that this episode is gonna be a slog. Hodgins and Fisher clean the bones using both dermestid beetles (to get the flesh off) and Madagascar hissing cockroaches (to get the peanut butter off; oh yeah, the PB was used to de-stick the remains from Zed).
Booth and Bones head to the comedy club, Laughtastics, and end up interviewing a whole bunch of people who didn't do it: the bartender, who wrote jokes for Morgan; the female comedian who wrote jokes for Morgan; and the Gallagher-wannabe who hated Morgan. None of them killed him, even though Gallagher-dude's mallet tested positive for blood (it was just a turnip).
Brennan, Angela, and Fisher attempt to reconstruct the sequence of blunt force trauma. The first blow was so hard that it broke bones we hadn't even learned were damaged! The second blow oddly doesn't follow Le Fort fracture lines. And the third blow smashed in Morgan's face. Fisher suggests, based on Hodgins' identification of the fragments in Morgan's stomach as ceramic, that Morgan was hit with a vase. But it ended up being a toilet. No one mentions what was used on the other end in order to force his head into the toilet - a hand? The top of the toilet seat? A blunt object?
Hodgins draws the short straw, apparently, and has to go looking in all the toilets that Morgan possibly frequented in order to find the one he was killed in. He finds something mysterious (a bone fragment?) in the toilet at Alexa's house. Elliot admits to having killed Morgan since he was planning to move to New York and leave Elliot, his sometimes joke-writing partner, behind. Alexa is very, very sad.
- What did they scan the Zed-remains dyad with at the Jeffersonian? Some random open scanny thingy?
- A large, rugged pelvis doesn't give you any indication of ancestry/race. It does suggest male, but since they had the pubis, that will give you a better estimation.
- Not sure what they meant by the "upper margin formation" of the pubic symphysis. Maybe they meant the "upper extremity" is forming? Or "symphyseal margin" is complete at the upper extremity? Sloppy writing, as these terms don't really mean anything. (That said, examining changes to the pubic symphysis is the best way to estimate age.)
- I can't get over the fact that the entire ID was done off-camera. Laaaaazy.
- Why weren't the fractures to the metacarpals mentioned until the very end? Just super lazy writing.
- I'd expect at least one of the blows to the face/toilet to cause Le Fort fractures. I suppose not all blunt trauma to the face causes these, but it would have been a nice touch to see those reconstructed on the Angelatron.
- There was never an explanation of how Morgan's head was forced into the toilet. Because of the lack of trauma to the back of the skull, I guess it wasn't with another object or the toilet lid. Then again, since the writers didn't feel like telling me about the metacarpal fractures until it was relevant to the plot, perhaps they didn't care to explain this either.
- So, the theme this week was about being true to yourself. But only for the "sensitive" cast members, Angela and Fisher. Angela gets sad because Zed doesn't think her art is good. So she Bansky'ies him right back, and he likes it, so she feels good about herself. Fisher is apparently an underground comedian who bares his soul because looking into the abyss is the heart of comedy. Fisher's story was actually kind of interesting, simply because it's not standard dramedy trope. I still hate Fisher, though.
- Oh yeah, Booth goes on stage at the comedy club. He is natural at comedy, whereas some aren't naturally funny but can write funny jokes. This, of course, parallels the Booth-Brennan dichotomy, where he's the one with the gut instinct, and she's the cerebral one.
- This week in Saroyan Fashion Watch: Now I want that black dress with the pink flecks. Gorgeous. One, please.
- Did Brennan seriously say "of the uttermost importance"? I rewound and listened to it twice. I think she did. Clearly, the writers were phoning it in this week. (Update: Alright, so Merriam-Webster says that "uttermost" is fine. Who says that?)
- "Everyone here is this weird combo of smart and dumb." - Zed. (Can I just say that I do appreciate it when the writers give me an audience surrogate.)
- "Cowboys didn't settle this country. Farmers did." - Brennan. (Wait, didn't hunter-gatherer Native Americans settle this country? Or does "settle" imply staying in one place?)
- "Mecca is the center of the Muslim world. It would be completely rational for a Jew to avoid Mecca. Especially during Hajj." - Brennan
- "I am incapable of ever loving another human being. For that reason, I will never sire an heir." - Fisher's comedy gold
- Medicinal Physics Quarterly (which Brennan is reading in bed) is not a real journal. I checked. You're welcome.
- Booth asks a rhetorical question: "How many toilets are there in the metro DC area?" Brennan answers it: "Approximately 5 and a half million... There's approximately one toilet per person in the USA... 250,000 man-hours. That's how long it would take to check out every toilet in DC." I laughed. Because my husband does this to me. All. The. Time.
Forensic Mystery - D+. They ID'ed the victim off camera. Off camera! Seriously.
Forensic Solution - C-. And they neglected to mention key information about the victim's injuries until the very end of the episode. Lazy.
Drama - D+. Arrggh, I don't care that Angela is sad. Tonight's plot themes were ridiculous. There was no urgency in finding the killer, whose identity was telegraphed from very early in the episode. And any episode with product placement makes me cranky.
Next Week: Uh, something about creepy kid eyes? I dunno, that teaser made no sense.