Stars: David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor, TJ Thyne, John Francis Daley, Pej Vahdat, Mackenzie Astin, Kenneth Mitchell, Laura Kai Chen, Lennie Loftin, Robert Mailhouse
Writer:
Kim Clements, series created by Hart Hanson, based on the life and writings of Kathy Reichs
Director:
Chad Lowe
Network:
Fox, Mondays @ 8 PM
Airdate:
April 22, 2013

BONES is usually fairly high-spirited. Then again, its episodes customarily begin with guest characters we’ll never see again discovering a body in some strange place. “The Pathos in the Pathogens” veers away from both of these BONES staples to open with the lab in biohazard mode. The team is examining a body that was found mixed in with animal remains from a biotech lab. The corpse seems to have died of a mysterious disease.

The victim was a journalist, Mia Garrett, who seems to have been investigating the facility that produced the waste. The case quickly becomes personal when lab intern Arastoo (Pej Vahdat) accidentally is stuck by a micro-needle embedded in Mia’s remains, which instantly conveys the disease to him. The micro-needle also proves that Mia’s death was murder.

It’s now a race against time to save Arastoo, whose body reacts quickly and badly to the disease. Lab bossCam(Tamara Taylor), who is also Arastoo’s lover, is distraught, but pulls herself together enough to be useful. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) deduces that anyone who created the virus would also have created an antidote (just in case the creator inadvertently infected him/herself). The culprit turns out to be the head of the biotech company, who stole another scientist’s work, and is poised to unleash the disease so that his company can then very profitably market the cure. When he won’t hand over the antidote, Brennan injects him with what she says is the virus. The panicked evildoer turns over the antidote in time to save Arastoo.

Brennan privately tells Booth (David Boreanaz) that she didn’t really inject the doctor with the virus – largely because she didn’t have any on hand. Booth admires her ingenuity in getting the murderer to talk.

We like Arastoo, and Vahdat does a fine job of putting across terror beneath a shield of professionalism as the character deals with likely imminent death.Taylor also gets a chance to shine here.

The topic of Big Pharma doing bad things for a profit seems to slot “Pathos” in with BONES’ topical episodes (“Survivor in the Soap,” “Patriot in Purgatory”), though since it’s not indicting the whole industry, it can afford to be – and is – a little less on the nose than some other message segments  in terms of explaining the situation. On the other hand, since everyone is understandably worried about the fate of their colleague, “Pathos” is light on humor compared to other BONES episodes, which makes perfect sense, but also shifts the tone into something more melancholy and traditionally procedural than what we usually get here.

There’s also the matter of Brennan stabbing the villain with a needle. In the real world, injecting anybody with anything would cause an immediate arrest, regardless of the righteousness of the injector’s motives or the badness of the injectee. The BONES-verse occasionally ventures into territory previously inhabited by the show’s old Fox stablemate 24 in this regard. Jack Bauer was at least a CIA agent; Brennan is a forensic anthropologist. She doesn’t have a license to kill. Granted, Booth is sometimes benched for exceeding his authority as an FBI agent and Brennan went on the run when framed for murder, but the series chooses when the couple’s unorthodox actions will have consequences and when these things will simply further the episode, never to be referenced again. It’s a little arbitrary, but it’s one of the things BONES fans roll with in order to get the good stuff.

“The Pathos in the Pathogens” indeed has pathos, along with suspense. It just lacks the customary amount of BONES banter.

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