What the above picture from the latest episode of Bones does not reveal is that the yellow goop on the victim is glue and that underneath the rotting remains is a very much alive human being.
The man under the remains is Seth Zalinsky (Jay Paulson), and while it may seem implausible that a man would fall from a billboard directly onto a set of remains, his presence brings out a story that's been bubbling just below the show's surface all season long.
Seth, as it turns out, also goes by the name Zed and is the Batman of the underground art scene in DC. He spends a third of the hour hopped up on Fisher's (Joel David Moore) happy pills spouting one-liners that are funnier than the comedy acts featured in the rest of the episode, so it doesn't take long for Angela (Michaela Conlin) to unearth his secret. Season 8 has hinted about the artist's growing sense of dissatisfaction with her work at the Jeffersonian, and while there are no shocking revelations made here, the writers do a good job of acknowledging her feelings, tipping a hat to her talent, and allowing her an outlet to express that talent outside of the lab. Hopefully, she'll never be compelled to draw another horrid unicorn and rainbow painting again.
Another character who got to express a hidden talent this episode was Booth (David Boreanaz). The victim, Morgan Donnely (Ralph Garman), is a telemarketer by day and stand-up comic by night. At one point in the investigation, Sweets (John Francis Daley) discerns that Morgan's jokes were written by several different people and his hypothesis is that Morgan was stealing another comic's jokes. Cue one undercover assignment for Booth at a local club during open mic night. Booth's timing and delivery leave much to be desired when it comes to reading jokes from a cue card, but once he loosens up, he's not half-bad and his work sets them onto the real killer.
The dour squintern Fisher also moonlights as a stand-up comic, and it should come as no surprise that his routine tends toward the macabre. What is revealed is that he, like Zed, is something of an underground sensation. For all of the time the show spends investing in its main characters, it's nice that they take the time to flesh out the recurring ones as well.
One of the problems with a long-running series like Bones is that eventually it slips into the predictable. The killer has certain tells; the evidence is assembled in a zany, yet similar fashion; the peripheral characters do little more than walk in and out of any given scene from week to week. One of this show's nasty habits of late is killing off people - such as tonight's victim - who were such jerks in lives that their deaths fail to resonate. Fortunately, they do change things up here and there, such as having the remains glued to a living person, or airing specialized episodes like the touching "Patriot in Purgatory." Next week marks the 150th episode of Bones, and in a vast deviation from the norm, the victim is a child and the episode was shot entirely from his point of view. From the looks of it, this will be one Bones you won't want to miss.
Bones airs Mondays @8pm on Fox.