By Kimberley Veart
This week’s Bones episode was truly fantastic, cleverly managing the topic of human trafficking with compassion and sensitivity, and also exploring the relationships of the characters we have grown to love, all while solving a murder of course.
Rather unconventionally, the episode opens with a scene between Dr. Cam Saroyan and intern Arastoo (Pej Vahdat), sitting in bed discussing their day, as Arastoo is due to hear from Brennan regarding his dissertation proposal. There is also an awkward moment about marriage; Cam says ‘if’ when Arastoo says ‘when’. It’s rare we get to see Cam out of the lab, and the dynamic between her and Arastoo is an interesting one that is worth exploring further. Alas, they are interrupted by that call that means a dead body has been found.
This time the body has been found in a field, where it’s clothes are being eaten by goats, which leads to an amusing bit of slapstick humour as Hodgins and Aubrey chase after one particularly active goat who has the victim’s watch in it’s mouth.
Back at the lab, Brennan is in fine form, as she is convinced by Angela and Cam to tell Arastoo early about his dissertation to put him out of suspense, so she smilingly delivers the news that she does not approve. Oh the awkwardness… It all gets a whole lot more awkward though as Cam tries to intervene on Arastoo’s behalf, with Brennan putting her squarely in her place.
Back to the case where Aubrey is hard at work making his way through a huge amount of food and looking forward to the publicity of an arrest. Booth is unimpressed, and reminds him they are there to catch killers. The murder victim is revealed to be a young Chinese girl, and it is soon discovered that she was also a victim of human trafficking.
This is when the episode truly becomes heartbreaking as they find many women, bruised, beaten and afraid in the basement of the sleazy Mr. Lee. They all approach Booth with pictures of their children, desperate to know if they are okay. The women had all been ‘imprisoned’ in appalling conditions under threat of harm to their loved ones. However, the team aren’t any closer to discovering who murdered the young girl.
A reconstructed picture from the victim’s clothing leads the team to a young man, who had murdered her father back in China as it turns out for abusing the victim. Booth is in full interrogation mode when he realises that the young man was also trafficked, and that the young couple were in love and trying to find each other. The visiting State Department official tells a shaken Aubrey, “welcome to hell, kid.”
Eventually, Brennan and Arastoo figure out the murder weapon, which points the crime back to one of the young women from the basement, who tearfully confesses she killed the victim to protect her own child. Mr. Lee had threatened all the women because of the victim’s wandering off in an attempt to find her love. It’s a credit to the Bones creative team that we sympathise with the murderer and reflect, like the characters, on the awfulness of the situation.
Everyone at the Jeffersonian is sad and appreciative for what they have. Cam and Arastoo make up, Aubrey apologises for his earlier cavalier attitude and Angela and Hodgins just want to get home to their kid.
The only flaw in this otherwise well-rounded episode was a lack of Booth and Brennan scenes, which is partly made up for with the especially poignant sequence at the end. A grateful Brennan tells Booth “I would thank a god if I believed in one”, to which Booth replies, “then I’ll do it for you.”
Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)