It's no secret that Bones star Emily Deschanel is an outspoken animal-rights activist, having been honored earlier this year for her advocacy work by Mercy for Animals as well as a 2010 "Human Advocate Award" from the Humane Society of the US. Bones itself also ventured into the animal cruelty activist arena in 2008's "The Finger in the Nest," in which the team stumbles upon an illegal dog fighting ring. Since then they have not shied away from touching on animals rights issues up to, and including, this week's "The Tale in the Tiger."
On the whole, the episode is a cautionary tale about the growing number of exotic animals being raised as personal pets. This is a somewhat tricky path to tread as the show rarely ventures into the more serious topics, and in the past they've delivered similar messages with mixed results. Here, they manage to touch several emotional cords without becoming overly sanctimonious, though only Brennan's past history with Ripley the dog lends credence to her emotional breakdown upon discovering a dismembered Siberian tiger.
The events that led she and Booth (David Boreanaz) to the tiger came about in typical Bones fashion, and while it seems as if every dead body this year has been especially gory, it's hard to argue that the skin being peeled off the victim's face by a tire and splattered onto a man's shirt doesn't rank among the grossest of the gross. The most disgusting evidence retrieval method award was also earned here when Brennan whips out a bottle of ipecac and proceeds to make a witness throw up the victim's tooth. Who knew people carried ipecac outside of Anne of Green Gables?
Far less nauseating was the vacuum Hodgins (TJ Thyne) calls the "bug rapture," though the same can't be said with the revelation that Daisy (Carla Gallo) and Sweets (John Francis Daley) are moving in together complete with vomit-inducing animal key fobs. After last week's flirtation with the blonde FBI gal the tack this secondary story took wasn't terribly surprising.
After subjecting the audience to all of the superfluous details involved in the upcoming move, Sweets is struck with a revelation. Where Daisy views moving in as a prelude to marriage, Sweets simply isn't as invested in the relationship, so instead of the pealing of wedding bells this relationship ends with a death knell. All things considered the show will be better for it, though if they are going for an "S&S" monogram to match the "B&B" can they at least bring back Shaw (Tina Majorino) over Sparling (Danielle Panabaker)?
Meanwhile, there's still Jared Drew's murder to be solved and a litany of potential suspects to run through including the victim's ex-wife, Marcy (Heather Mazur). While selfish, however, she doesn't quite fit the bill for murder. Juan Chiquez (Arturo del Puerto) is also on the short list as he hired Drew as a temp for the expo center. The microscope zooms in further on Chiquez when it's discovered he and Drew were in on transporting the ill-fated tiger to its new owner just before Drew's death.
The puppeteer pulling the strings however, is none other than the pet expo owner Eric Neilbling (Brian McNamara). While his expo might all be above-board as far as the government is concerned, his employee relations skills are not. It's he who pulled the trigger on Jared Drew and he who arranged for the illegal sale of the tiger. Booth and Brennan are able to trap him once and for all by pointing out he is suffering from the same blood poisoning Drew had.
Amidst the talk of animal cruelty, Brennan comes out yet again in favor of the death penalty. This, along with other statements in her quirky bid for President, seems oddly out of place in this episode, even if they do make for fun pillow talk. Also odd is Hodgins' "High tide raises all boats" mantra that accompanies a storyline with Angela (Michaela Conlin) and is never quite resolved, along with the fact that they never once mention their kid. Yes, baby actors don't come cheap but that hasn't stopped Booth and Brennan from mentioning baby Christine every so often. Hodgins does get bonus points for his "government keeps all the good ones" comment in relation to satellites, along with the subsequent flight of his replica spy plane.
All in all, the episode gives viewers plenty of ethical food for thought and even more time to digest it all.Bones now faces its annual hiatus due to the Major League Baseball postseason on Fox, coupled with an interruption for the upcoming presidential debates. Look for its return in early November.
Bones airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.