BONES Recap: ‘The Survivor in the Soap’
March 5, 2013 by Sarah Curtis
Hello BONES fans! How did you like this episode, “The Survivor in the Soap”? I enjoyed it. The case was sad and moving, and it was nice to see Booth and Brennan react to the historical war within the contexts of their own pasts. There’s more to discuss, so let’s get to it.
The Scene of the Crime: Cam and Arastoo are talking at the lab, getting ready for a night out, when they are approached by an FBI tech with a body in a barrel. The body is encased in congealed soap, and only the hand is outside of the soap.
Hodgins is able to push the soap and remains out of the barrel for further investigation. Brennan and Arastoo determine that the victim was from Africa.
The Victim: The victim is Symchay Contay, a Sierra Leonean who immigrated to the US when he was a teenager and had become a US citizen. His disappearance was reported by an “Alvin James,” which seems to be an alias for someone else.
The Case Progression: Booth and Sweets investigate Symchay’s apartment for clues. They are let in by an apartment landlord or janitor who tells them that Symchay had friends. Booth and Sweets find an unmade bed and a made couch, suggesting that someone else is living there. They spot a box of cab receipts.
As Arastoo runs the remains and congealed soap through a dishwasher, effectively cleaning the bones, Booth and Brennan speak with Alex Radziwell from the State Department (and also from Season 2’s “The Girl in Room 2103”). They travel to a local immigration lawyer’s office and meet up with Wilford Hamilton, a man who helped Symchay and who had hired him in return to assist other refugees with getting set up with jobs and housing, etc. Wilford says Symchay was a great kid and gives Booth and Brennan a file about Burima, one of Symchay’s friends. B&B have a new suspect.
Angela is able to match Burima’s voice (under a cabbie named Anthony Johnson) with the voice used to notify the policy about Symchay’s death. Arastoo and Brennan find bone damage on Symchay’s body to suggest he was a child soldier. And after finding out that Symchay had been hired as a chef for an art exhibit, Booth and Brennan question the photographer, Kimberly, about her work documenting the Sierra Leonean Civil War. She tells them that Symchay was visibly upset by some of the photographs, but that she never wanted to hurt him, physically or emotionally.
Booth calls a cab and gets into the backseat, quickly identifying Burima and himself as an FBI agent. He brings him in for questioning, and Burima insists that he’s innocent. Sweets, Alex and Booth all want to believe him, and later, after Booth and Brennan discuss their experiences in war privately, they take Burima with them to the exhibit.
He quickly identifies a picture with Symchay as a child, holding a gun. He also grows distressed when he sees a picture of Joseph Mbarga, a war criminal. Booth recognizes the man in the photo as the same one who showed them into Symchay’s apartment.
Booth questions Mbarga in the interrogation room, while Alex thinks it’s a waste of time. Sweets insists that Booth always has a reason for what he does, and the reason is revealed when Angela is able to match the Mbarga’s voice from the interrogation to previous war video footage of him from Sierra Leon. I’m not sure if that is legal for the FBI to provide, but I’m willing to go with it. The voices are a match, but Brennan isn’t comfortable pinning Symchay’s murder on Mbarga.
The Verdict: Brennan realizes Symchay was stabbed in two locations, with a double pronged weapon. Booth suggests that an Ak47 was turned into a plowshare, metaphorically, and Brennan realizes Symchay was stabbed with an African mask–one she remembers from Wilford Hamilton’s office.
Because he was working with Mbarga, Booth arrests Hamilton for murder, and he and Brennan leave Alex there to assist the rest of the immigrants who need assistance.
The episode began with Cam and Arastoo’s relationship, and that thread continued throughout the episode. I’m not a fan of their relationship, but I’m glad that it’s out in the open and that they were able to work through the whole process of how they’ll act in the lab and out of it.
What were your thoughts on Arastoo’s argument with Hodgins? I thought it was interesting and pretty realistic. I also liked the way Hodgins and Angela worked this case and the way they supported Cam and Arastoo at the end of the episode.
As for Sweets, I thought he did well on the case. I still don’t approve of him living with Booth and Brennan for “hilarious plot points” or whatever the writers want to wring out of that storyline, but at least he was wearing clothes when he decided to join Booth and Brennan in the living room in the middle of the night!
BOOTH & BRENNAN:
Like I said at the beginning, I like how the case of this episode brought out discussions of war between Booth and Brennan — without getting too personal. In other words, their personal experiences didn’t overshadow the plot. It was a great balance.
I also liked their discussion of vacation plans and the way it turned out with them agreeing on a location in the Gulf of Thailand. It was a nice choice where neither one had to compromise too much. Very nice.
Okay, enough from me. Weigh in on the episode in the comments! Did you like the case? What do you think about Cam and Arastoo? And do you think we’ll actually get to see Booth on a beach?
Filed under Bones