Okay, so maybe I ragged on Bones a little bit in my first recaps of the season, but episode 3 seems to be getting back on track: Booth and Brennan are back, and so is the familiar format of the show.

The opening scene was, as usual, the discovery of a gruesome corpse by a couple of random unsuspecting characters who had nothing to do with the murder: two women thought it might be a good idea to visit a remote fish farm out in the boonies for a redneck pedicure, and end up getting more than they bargained for. Instead of having fish nibble on the dead skin of their feet, which is pretty gross in an of itself if you ask me, one of them gets her foot lodged in a floating skull. Yuck. I think we should really give the writers props for continuously coming up with new disgusting ways to discover the bodies.

The rest of the episode follows the familiar path we’ve all grown to love: the body gets taken back to the Jeffersonian, the team work their magic, and after discovering several clues and interviewing suspects, they arrest the culprit, who is usually the first person we meet – and who seems above board, but turns out to have had a serious motive to kill the victim.

In this case, the entire episode centers around the idea that the victim was killed for his organs, which were purchased online on the black market found in the ‘deep web’, facilitated by a lady who operates under the misguided notion that she’s helping people and a mortician with enough medical knowledge to operate on the corpses to remove their organs and transplant them into patients. Finally, and after a lot of speculation over cause of death, we learn that the killer was not the woman responsible for the donor organ sale, but by the victim’s loyal assistant, who was frustrated because his boss, an inventor, wasn’t keen on his furniture polish (re-purposed as a car polish) invention.

Our favorite team of experts, aided by intern Wendell, whom I always enjoy, collaborates brilliantly to figure out the various aspects of the murder – Brennan is, of course, on bone duty, Cam examines what little flesh the fish left intact (and by the way, rainbow trout are carnivorous? Who knew?!), Booth and his protege, Agent Aubrey, work their detective magic, and Angela’s simulator saves the day by figuring out the murder weapon.

In addition to the main murder case, we see the happy couples of the show try to help Cam get over the break up with Arastoo by asking her to be the third wheel on their date night, which goes to show that nerdy lab people are still socially awkward despite their attractiveness and high IQs. Booth’s grief over his brother’s loss manifests itself by way of irritation and frustration because somehow the box of Jared’s ashes got lost on the way to him. Angela’s many talents now include photography, and Hodgins arranges a show to display her awesome pictures.

Which brings me to something that’s been bothering me for ages now: Angela is an artist, right? We’ve been practically bludgeoned over the head with this fact repeatedly over the course of the show. That’s who she was before Brennan took her to work with her, that’s who she wanted to be when she and Hodgins contemplated leaving the Jeffersonian. That also means that she hasn’t really studied biology, or physics, or IT for that matter; indeed, she’s not officially an expert in any of the science required to perform any number of duties she appears to be adept at in each episode, from facial reconstruction to tracing credit card purchases, to figuring out murder weapons and trajectories or to even write code for the software she uses in her simulations, for that matter. If anything, given her diverse talents in all these disciplines, she’s probably more of a genius than Brennan, Hodgins and all the interns combined.

Oh well. Her talent extends to photography, of course, so by the end of the episode she not only reluctantly agrees to host the show, but gets a surprise visit from one of the world’s best photo-reporters, who loves her work. Eh, let’s say I’ll buy it. Nothing about the show is actually realistic, anyway.

We also get the other side-storylines neatly tied up:

  • Booth’s quest to find his brother’s ashes concludes in a sweet scene with him and Brennan realizing that Christine had been using the box all along as a step ladder to reach her baby brother’s crib.
  • He also gets his old office back, which Aubrey had been using while he was gone (so a rookie was given the office of one of the top Agents? Sigh.)
  • Cam admits to Brennan that she’s okay with her decision to choose her work over the relationship, and Brennan, in a rare display of understanding human emotions, sees that her friend is feeling guilty about her decision.

By the end of the episode, everything’s back to normal in Bones-land. Oh, before I sign off, one more thing: the Donor in the Drink? I get that the episode titles all have to feature alliteration for some reason, but how is a pond full of carnivorous fish a drink? Also, if we get to ponder the ethics of using a dead body’s organs for transplant, despite the fact that every single medical show insists on the fact that the body has to be plugged in and technically alive for the organs to be viable, why not make the moral of the story that it’s not okay to kill (or mutilate corpses), but it’s perfectly okay to become an organ donor while you’re alive? This show isn’t exactly one for subtlety, and I feel this was a lost opportunity on its part.