'Bones' recap: Even if we differ on art and humor, peanut butter helps us stick together

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"The But in the Joke" had everything we need from a "Bones" episode: A gruesome murder, vastly differing opinions on important things like art and humor, personal reflection, a living person covered in body parts, glue and peanut butter...

This recap explains how that all works.


Art and science, fused together as one

What is art, really? Is it the woman who can recreate human identities out of just a few skull fragments? Is it the man who defaces billboards in creative and interesting ways? Is it the human remains accidentally adhered onto the body of another person?

OK, so it's probably not that last one. But art was definitely an instigator when a street artist finds himself glued to the decomposing remains of a stand-up comedian.

The unfortunate young man, Seth Zalinski, is immediately transported to the Jeffersonian, where the squints determine that peanut butter is the only way to remove the bones from the artist's back. For Zalinski, this means a roofie-induced haze while Mr. Fisher ( Joel David Moore) paints nutty goo all over his body. For the audience, this means that none of us are ever going to look at a sandwich the same way again.

Oh, and as we find out when the peanut butter does its job, the victim's skull is filled with blowflies. "That explains the constant buzzing."


Angela used to have artistic sex. Now she draws "Charlie the Unicorn."

Because this is television, the arrival of an avant-garde artist to the Jeffersonian coincides nicely with Angela ( Michaela Conlin) having an existential art crisis. She used to be a free spirit who had sex with both boys and girls while creating beauty. Now she's married and builds models of dead people.

But life is exciting again when Angela realizes that Zalinski is actually Zed. Who is Zed? Think Banksy, only as an albino and totally incompetent.

Even though Zed is kind of a jerk... and even though he is drugged and covered with peanut butter... and even though Zed later insults Angela's paintings... She still kisses him.

This makes Hodgins ( T.J. Thyne) jealous, mostly because the scientist knows he isn't cool like the other people his wife usually likes. However, considering that Hodgins just slathered this man with peanut butter, he probably doesn't really have to feel this way.


Murder is funny because it's not true

Leaving aside questions of art and peanut butter, there is also this murder to be solved. The non-sandwich spread aspects of investigation job mostly fall to Booth ( David Boreanaz) and Brennan ( Emily Deschanel) this time. They soon find out that the dead guy is Morgan Donnelly, a telemarketer who also had a burgeoning career as a standup comedian.

Morgan's girlfriend, Alexa, initially looks like a good suspect. Especially when her initial reaction to the murder is hysterical laughter. But she didn't do it.

With the girlfriend no longer a suspect, the detectives turn first to a Prius commercial ("This is not how the cowboys settled this country!") and then to bone fragments. The key pieces of physical evidence in this case turn out to be the bashed in skull -- the victim was hit repeatedly with a blunt object -- and a few shards of porcelain.

Unsurprisingly, all of this amuses Fisher.


Is it just me, or are circles pointless?

The obvious suspects and the physical evidence going nowhere fast, Booth and Sweets ( John Francis Daley) dive into the world of standup comedy. Initially, this just means normal questioning. But that doesn't cut it. Sweets then comes up with the brilliant plan of sending Booth undercover to open-mic night.

Thus, we get to see Booth on a stage, telling jokes. Booth is actually pretty funny -- as long as he doesn't tell any jokes written by Sweets, that is.

The whole comedy investigation yields three results:

  • The comedy-club bartender who always heckled Morgan Donnelly was actually in on the act and didn't murder anyone.
  • The Gallagher-wannabe comedy rival may have killed many a turnip, but he isn't guilty either.
  • A woman who wrote many of the victim's jokes isn't jealous -- in fact, she provides the key clue that Donnelly was moving to New York to do comedy full-time.

There are a lot of toilets in Washington, DC

And Brennan can tell you how long it would take to inspect them all.

Why is this important? It turns out that the porcelain shards found inside the murder victim are slivers of toilet. Yes, Morgan Donnelly died when someone smashed his head repeatedly into a commode.

After an excellent, musical montage of Hodgins checking toilets, we learn that the porcelain throne at the girlfriend's house is the murder weapon. But it wasn't the girlfriend who did it -- her younger brother, an aspiring comedian himself, lost his temper when he found out that Donnelly was planning to ditch them all for his New York dreams.


Happy endings for everyone... Except for that dead comedian guy, of course

Out in the dark night, Angela and Hodgins wait at an intersection where Angela had gotten a traffic ticket. They're expecting Zed to show up and do his thing. The artist does show up, but he paints nothing. That's because Angela beat him to it with a rebellious and technique-free burst of her own street art.

She is now creatively fulfilled.

Booth and Brennan, meanwhile, have a bedtime conversation on the nature of comedy. Booth favors the arrow-through-the-head gag. Brennan favors humor of the Sweets variety.

And in the end, we learn the valuable lesson that everything can be funny. Except murder. (Unless you're Fisher -- in that case, even murder is worth a few laughs.)

Photo/Video credit: FOX