Bones Episode 8.18 The Survivor in the Soap
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Bones Episode 8.18 The Survivor in the Soap

Episode Premiere
Mar 4, 2013
Drama, Crime
Production Company
Far Field, Josephson Ent., 20th Century Fox TV
Official Site
Episode Premiere
Mar 4, 2013
Drama, Crime
2005 - 2017
Production Co
Far Field, Josephson Ent., 20th Century Fox TV
Fox TV
Official Site
Tim Southam
Nkechi Okoro Carroll
Main Cast
  • Emily Deschanel as Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan
  • David Boreanaz as Special Agent Seeley Booth
  • Michaela Conlin
  • T.J. Thyne
  • Tamara Taylor
  • John Francis Daley
  • John Boyd
Additional Cast
  • Pej Vahdat
  • Danny Woodburn
  • Kareem Grimes
  • Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine


Cam spots Arastoo on his way out of the lab and pulls him into the autopsy room for a quick kiss. Sadly, they have to cut it short because they have dinner reservations. Arastoo will leave the lab first, of course, to avoid any suspicion of impropriety.

As Arastoo exits the lab an FBI tech with a barrel stops him. The tech is looking for Cam. Cam, overhearing the request, steps out of autopsy and joins the two men at the entrance. Both Arastoo and Cam try to avoid taking on any more work, but the remains found inside the techs barrel allay any such notions. It looks like they aren't going to make their dinner reservations after all.

Booth and Brennan's feed Christine in their kitchen. As they do so Booth floats the idea of the two of them taking a trip together. However, Booth and Brennan have disparate ideas of what would make for an ideal vacation spot. Booth wants sex and beaches; Brennan wants someplace she can learn from. The friendly disagreement is interrupted when both their cell phones ring: there's a body.

In Booth's Office, the tech that dropped off the body is now dropping off the mountain of paperwork that accompanied it, binders upon binders tracing every place that the barrel had anything to do with. The tech leaves as Booth begins looking for a needle in a haystack.

Meanwhile, back at the lab, preliminary investigation has already begun. Cam, Arastoo, Brennan, and Hodgins poke around in the barrel only to find that the remains are encased in what appears to be soap. Hodgins explains that whatever solvent that was poured into the barrel dissolved the victim's fat and combined with the dissolved fat to form the soap. One solitary arm pokes out which Brennan uses to determine the victim was male. Hodgins estimates that at least 36 to 48 hours have elapsed since the body as placed into the barrel. Using an air compressor he frees the soap covered remains, and Brennan departs requesting to be notified once the bones are cleaned.


On the lab platform, Brennan and Arastoo study the still encased body. Angela takes pictures to help with the facial reconstruction. An x-ray reveals strange bone lesions on the ribs. Brennan takes a closer look and see's evidence of Yaz, a rare bone disease that is common in young males raised in West Africa. It's possible that is where our victim hails from.

In her office, Angela uses her computer to show Cam missing person's reports. She comes across Symchay Conte. We believe that he is out victim, but the man who filed the report used a fake name. Listening to the voice recording of the initial 911 call, Angela and Cam believe that it was made from a gas station. Cam leaves with this information, Angela remains. Angela looks through the window out onto the lab floor where Cam has come across Arastoo. Hodgins enters to discuss lunch but Angela interrupts him pointing at the two. Angela insists that she would have already discovered their secret romance through intuition, but Hodgins denies that and asks her to keep her knowledge a secret.

Booth and Sweets are let into Symchay's apartment by the friendly Janitor. They get some quick information about Symchay before he leaves, but not much. The apartment is pretty sparse and there are few pictures of his youth or homeland. Sweets postulates this is because he wanted to leave behind painful memories. He does however have his diploma from chef school. The only significant clue is a box filled with carbon copy receipts from a cab driver. It would appear Symchay had a house guest.

Back in the lab Arastoo sends the remains through an industrial washer. He demonstrates for Cam. They discuss their missed date and the problems inherent in their "situation". Amidst Arastoo explaining that loving her is easy, but keeping the secret is hard, we find perfectly clean bones.

Booth and Brennan have lunch at the diner with Alex, a rep from the state department. He reveals several facts about Symchay. He came to the country at 14, and stayed because he was afraid for his life. He was granted citizenship after five years. Also, during the course of his adult life, he always had one steady stream of income which came from an immigration lawyer, Wilford Hamilton.

Booth and Brennan meet Wilford in the lobby of his law office. He beckons them into his office where they discuss Symchay. Turns out, Wilford was Symchay's lawyer when he applied for asylum, and then later hired him to help other refugee's get back on their feet. When asked if Symchay had any trouble, Wilford presents Booth and Brennan with a folder depicting Brima, a friend of Symchay's who entered the country illegally and had come to them for help, which they denied.


Back at Booth's office, he and Alex discuss this new found information. Alex explains that Baltimore Maryland has the largest population of Sierra Leone immigrants in the US, but Alex is confident they will track Brima down. Alex is going to help out in a supervisorial capacity, but he will make sure Booth gets all the credit, of course...

In the lab Angela updates Cam. She used the receipts found in Symchay's apartment to track down the cab company. She speculates that Brima was the houseguest, and was also the one who called in the missing persons report. But, since Brima was in the country illegally, he made the phone call anonymously. In order to prove it, she requested the dispatch recordings from the cab company and is going to compare them to the 911 call to see if Brima was indeed the caller.

Brennan enters the Bone Room to find Arastoo examining the now clean bones. The bones show a history of painful encounters throughout his youth, as well as difficult back breaking work. Also, they reveal that Symchay was a child soldier in Sierra Leone. Arastoo identifies with the victim, but acknowledges that his own privileged childhood would have been a cake walk compared to what Symchay went through.

Booth and Brennan ride in the SUV. Turns out that Symchay received a check for 1,000 dollars before he died. It came from a photo gallery that they are on their way to check out. Brennan suggests Paris as a vacation spot, but her intent on investigating the interesting sewage system dampens Booth's excitement.

At the photo gallery Booth and Brennan question the photographer, Kimberly Singer. She had hired Symchay to cater an event where she was displaying photos of the civil war that Symchay grew up in. Symchay had met Kimberly three days prior to discuss the job. During the meet and greet Symchay apparently had a break down, started crying. Brennan spots a photo of a child wielding an AK-47, and realizes that the child in the photo is Symchay as a boy.


Still at the photo gallery, Booth now questions Kimberly with more zeal. She does use potassium hydroxide (the chemical used to dissolve the body) in her work, but only has about a pound on hand. Since the gallery is the last place Symchay was seen alive, and the photo that caused the breakdown was the center piece of the show, the photographer is now a suspect. Booth asks her if she ever got any help for PTSD, sensing some of the symptoms in her. She did, in the past, have some problems with sleeping and memories, but has since recovered. Can Booth say the same thing?

In the Bone room Arastoo excitedly shows Brennan what he believes to be the cause of death. The bones show wounds that would correspond with a stab and twist motion. Arastoo postulates that it would have been from a bayonet. Brennan wants Hodgins to swab for particulates before they jump to any conclusions.

In Booth's office, Booth puts into a glass cup while discussing the case with Sweets and Alex. Symchay comes to the gallery and is forced to confront his past, but that doesn't necessarily give Kimberly motive to attack him. Alex suspects that when we find the "illegal alien" then we will find the killer, but Booth thinks he just wants the murderer to be a non us-citizen.

In the Angelatron, Angela updates Cam on her progress. Using her sophisticated computer she compares the original 911 call reporting Symchay missing with a dispatch recording from where Brima works. While their ears are unable to identify whether the voices are the same, the wavelengths represented on the Angelatron don't lie. The cab driver and the caller are the same person, but the cab isn't registered to Brima, it is registered to an Anthony Johnson. Cam mentions that back when she lived in New York, sometimes cab owners would let their friends work the cab under their name to make additional money.

In a DC Cab, Brima stops to pick up a fare. The fare, of course, is Booth. He flashes his badge and our next stop is the interrogation room.

In the interrogation room Booth and Alex question Brima, Sweets looks on from observation. Brima swears he didn't do anything to Symchay, that they were friends. Booth questions Brima regarding his left hand, or rather the absence there of. When Symchay was a boy in Sierra Leone he refused to kill his teacher, so the rebels cut of his hand as punishment (a common punitive measure at that time). Brima claims that his disability would have prevented him from killing Symchay, but Booth isn't convinced. Booth thinks maybe seeing the photo set Symchay off which would have led to a fight. But Brima explains that Symchay had already seen that photo a few years prior.

Outside the interrogation room Sweets talks to Booth and Alex. They all want to believe him but Sweets says there isn't enough evidence. The kind of post traumatic stress that Brima went through could have led him to Kill Symchay regardless of their relationship.


Arastoo enters the Ookey Room and talk to Hodgins. He claims that it couldn't have been Brima. The height differential and pattern of the attack imply the murderer had both arms. Hodgins has been analyzing the particulates found in the stab wound and has hit a wall. The material implies that it came from an AK-47 but obviously you can't stab someone with an AK-47. Arastoo demands that Hodgins go over the material again, that there must be a mistake. When Hodgins defends his work Arastoo loses it. He claims Hodgins is being uncaring. Things get heated but are interrupted by Cam who ends the fight before it can come to blows.

In the Autopsy Room Cam reprimands Arastoo. He agrees to apologize and wants to go back to work. When Cam softens and asks him to talk to her he stonewalls. The whole lab shouldn't see her concern for him and this is a professional situation. He was out of line and he'll apologize but that is all he willing to do, for now.

Late that night at Booth and Brennan's house, Brennan is sitting on the couch reviewing pictures from previous archaeological digs. Booth finds her downstairs and sits with her. She shows him pictures of the child soldiers who helped them, some wielding automatic rifles. She regrets that she did nothing, didn't stop them from fighting, and didn't ensure they had a normal life. Booth tries to comfort her, but doesn't make much progress. Sweets joins them, he also can't sleep because he is thinking about the case. All they are sure of is that there was some kind of inciting incident at the gallery that deeply affected Symchay. Since they have excluded Brima as a suspect, they decide to bring him to the gallery to see if he can figure out what affected Symchay so deeply.

At the Gallery, Kimberly is packing up her photos. Booth and Brennan stop to chat with her while Brima looks at the photos still on the wall. It brings back so much sadness. He stops by some pictures of boys he recognizes. Most of them died horrible deaths as children though, and couldn't help the case. Brima continues to wander the photographs. A picture of an adult solder cause Brima to fall to his knees. It's a picture of an RUF General named Joseph Mbarga, a monster who recruited thousands of child soldiers. He committed numerous war crimes but he disappeared after the war. Booth recognizes him. It is the same man working as a janitor in Symchay's building.


Booth sits with Mbarga in the interrogation room while Alex and Sweets look on from interrogation. Mbarga doesn't give anything up, and knows that Booth doesn't have any real evidence revealing his true identity. He maintains that his name is Tony Dennis, he is in the country legally, and that booth needs to let him go or get him a lawyer. The whole interrogation seems to be a wash, and Alex questions why Booth even bothered. Sweets has faith though, knowing that Booth always has a reason.

Alex and Booth stand by while Angela works the Angelatron. She is using the same voice recognition software that found Brima. Only this time, she is comparing a radio broadcast from Mbarga with a recording of the janitor's interrogation. It never really mattered if Mbarga answered the questions, Booth just wanted a voice sample to hand off to Angela. Alex is impressed with Booth's ingenuity.

In the Bone Room, Brennan scrutinizes the remains. Booth runs in with the exciting news of having collared Mbarga but Brennan doesn't care. She has yet to prove that he is responsible for killing Symchay and doesn't want to be distracted. In looking at the bones she came across another clue, a second stab wound; very similar to the first, but not identical. The most likely weapon was a two pronged stabbing weapon made of the same material found in an AK-47. Booth quotes a bible verse referencing the beating of swords into plowshares. Brennan realizes what happened, that the gun was turned into an African tribal mask. This is all but confirmed when Cam comes in with the news that Wilford Hamilton was Mbarga's lawyer. It was Hamilton's office where Brennan saw the mask.

At Hamilton's office Booth, Brennan and Alex storm in. Brennan checks the mask hanging on the wall and finds traces of blood on both the horns and the hanging wire. Brennan believes that further investigation will prove that the blood on the hanging wire came from Hamilton, and happened concurrently with the blood from Symchay. Symchay had come to Hamilton with the information that his janitor was Joseph Mbarga. Hamilton killed him because he didn't want to be exposed for shielding a war criminal.

After they march Hamilton through the lobby they notice that the rest of the refugee's look scared. They just saw the man who was supposed to help them taken away in cuffs. Brennan explains to them the situation in their native tongue so they won't be alarmed. She also seems to reference Alex in her speech. Whatever she said must have worked because they begin to cheer and swarm Alex and shake his hand.

Arastoo finds Cam in the Autopsy Room. Arastoo wants to explain why he reacted to this case the way that he did. During the Persian Gulf War his cousin was taken away. He saw it happen. He couldn't do anything to stop it. His cousin died fighting in the war. Overcome with sympathy Cam gives him a hug, and as she does so Hodgins and Angela walk by catching them in the embrace.

Arastoo and Cam exit the Autopsy Room and approach Cam and Hodgins who have been joined by Brennan. They awkwardly explain their relationship and how it won't affect their work. Everyone takes it with professional courtesy. Except for Hodgins, who claps and cheers in a most inappropriate fashion.

Back in their kitchen Booth and Brennan share a drink. Brennan has a final suggestion for their vacation; an island in the gulf of Thailand. It has been contested territory for years, and while rich in history it also offers sailing, fishing, and a beach. Booth seems happy with the compromise.