When a body with horns and a tail is found burning on the altar of a church, everyone starts acting like Satan is lurking around every corner. I know we’ve done the “Booth and Brennan debate religion” thing several times before on “Bones,” but it’s a nice cross between actual philosophical discourse and Brennan being amusingly sacrilegious. I’m not sure that’ll ever get old for me.
The Case: Our horny victim, Neal Lowery, was being treated for schizophrenia in a sanitarium (are we really still calling them that these days?). And the head doctor there is played by Joshua Malina, who’s really been getting around lately. Does anyone else harbor a vague dislike toward any character he plays just because you associate him with Will on “The West Wing”? Because I was totally convinced the doctor did it from the moment Joshua Malina popped up, and I can’t think of any other reason why.
Neal’s horns were implants, but the tail was vestigial, leading him to believe he was marked by God as the son of Satan. I guess that’s as good an explanation as any? A gangrenous foot points to heroin use, confirmed when a nurse gets busted for trading heroin for Neal’s drugs. Neviah, a spectacularly creepy and quite lovely patient who’s convinced she’s an angel, confesses to killing Neal with a holy lance because he was a demon. Unfortunately, the holy lance is invisible and thus, as is pointed out, difficult to dust for prints.
The drug dealing nurse’s nunchakus, while ultimately ruled out as the murder weapon, do provide some amusement when Hodgins knocks himself out while trying to hit a dummy. I never thought about it, but I guess that’d be pretty easy to do. Makes me respect Michaelangelo all the more – sure, he had the “party dude” reputation, but he wielded those nunchakus with deadly accuracy even when he was stuffed full of pizza. Arastoo is similarly skilled, leading Hodgins to question whether he’s “some kind of Persian ninja.” For the record, Arastoo doesn’t deny it.
Cam discovers that Neal was electrocuted, leading our heroes to his secret heroin hideout, complete with electrical transformer, bloody pipes, and “WELCOME TO HELL” painted in blood on the wall. Cozy. For reasons still mysterious to me, the murderer put Neal’s boots back on after his death, leaving DNA on the shoelaces and leading us to Gabe, Neal’s brother. When he found Neal shooting up heroin, Gabe struck him with a pipe, knocking him into the transformer – the dramatic altar bonfire was an expression of Gabe’s anger at God. Well, fair enough, I suppose. The anger, I mean, not the murder. Though their mother has much more reason to be angry, now.
Booth and Brennan: In one of those surprisingly deep and sweet scenes that catch you off-guard in over-the-top episodes such as this one, Brennan asks Booth how he can believe in a kind God after these types of cases. He admits that his faith is shaken and that he’ll question everything tonight, but is confident that he’ll get it back, “because the sun will come up, and tomorrow’s a new day.”
Brennan agrees that her faith in logic is also sometimes shaken, but two plus two still equals four, and the sun rises because the earth turns – things of beauty to her. God, that’s endearing. And you can tell Booth thinks so, too. Everywhere she looks there’s a cause for each effect, which she finds reassuring. I can see that.
The Squint Squad: I honestly thought we were done with Arastoo – it’s been a while, after all. I guess I just wish that they’d develop his character beyond the “religious Muslim guy” thing – though we’re learning more about him, it’s basically all along those same lines (unless he actually is a ninja!). When he mentions to Cam that he looks at the Devil every day, she wonders if he means “the Great Satan,” which Muslim extremists apparently call Westerners. Hodgins and Cam understandably don’t want to be the Great Satan…or even a minor demon.
Cam awkwardly brushes it off when Arastoo brings up her discomfort around him, but he pushes on, clarifying that when he says he sees the face of the Devil daily, he’s speaking of himself. While a translator in Iraq, he shot an insurgent who was about to shoot him – a man with a family. And while the insurgent had some of the Devil in him, so must have Arastoo in order to shoot him, allowing the Devil to chalk up a win that day.
This guy is like the opposite of Clark – he’s quite the sharer. And I do appreciate the insight, but now that our other NotZack’s are moving beyond “poor guy,” “depressed guy,” “weird facts guy,” and “overly professional guy,” it’s time for Arastoo to move past “Muslim guy.”
Odds and Ends:
- I cracked up when Brennan, mistaking a window for a two-way mirror, commented on Neviah’s eerie ability to follow her movements. Someone’s spending too much time in the FBI building…
- It was nice to see Sweets get to stretch his psych muscles a bit more. As he said: “I’m an excellent loony bin crazy-ass sifter.”
- My favorite scene may have been when Brennan was a bit taken with Phillip, an institution psychiatrist who shares many of her views on the specialty. Turns out he’s a delusional patient. Brennan: “I thought we had quite a lot in common.” They really zigged when I thought they were going to zag there – great job by the actors in creating an instant connection (all the better to fool us).
- I also loved that Phillip isn’t as helpful as he could be, due to patient-doctor confidentiality. Quite the consumate professional.
- Props to Joshua Malina for calling Brennan on her psych-hating, and pointing out that he helps people while they’re still alive – a not completely worthless endeavor. She gives him a non-apology at first, but comes around when she sees him react to Phillip’s freakout. I was a psych major in college, and we once had to read an article entitled “Psychology: the Rodney Dangerfield of the Sciences.” You know, because we don’t get no respect. I doubt Brennan has truly seen the light, though. And to be honest, I do enjoy her jibes at Sweets.
How did you feel about Arastoo’s return? What did you think about the latest “Booth’s faith vs. Brennan’s science” conflict?
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