Sure, there was only a little bit of blood and gore in “The Pathos in the Pathogen,” but it was still one of the more terrifying episodes of “Bones” in recent memory. It was especially rough on a young man named Arastoo Vaziri (Pej Vahdat).
The case of the week deals with a young female blogger who was killed by an exotic illness and then decomposed into a bone-laden soup. Unfortunately, Vaziri gets a poke from a broken needle and quickly starts falling prey to the same horrifying disease. It turns out that corporate greed and unethical biologists are behind the whole thing.
All of this is pretty rotten for Cam.
Unknown pathogens and Cam’s relationships don’t go well together
Back in Season 2, shortly after Tamara Taylor joined the “Bones” cast as Dr. Camille Saroyan, a serial killer planted a booby trap that blew up in Cam’s face. She almost died.
What does that have to do with “The Pathos in the Pathogen”?
The similarity comes in how Cam’s illness affected her love life. It seems weird now, but Booth (David Boreanaz) and Cam were actually an item in the first half of the second season. They kept it a secret for the most part, but Cam almost dying made things a little more obvious.
Near-death also changed Booth’s mind about what he could take. Having nearly lost Cam, Booth decided that he couldn’t handle a relationship with someone in their dangerous line of work. They broke up, and Cam — as far as we know — didn’t have much of a love life for quite awhile after that.
At least this time, nobody broke up after narrowly missing death.
Brennan gets away with attempted murder an awful lot
It may have been for a good cause, but Brennan (Emily Deschanel) sticking an infected needle into the neck of the evil, murderous scientist should technically count as attempted murder. Or at least assault.
Whatever. This is hardly the first time in which Dr. Temperance Brennan has gotten away with an attempt at bodily harm. Thank goodness everyone understands her motives!
(Also, it’s probably for the best that her actions were a bit of a bluff. Sticking someone with a big needle is scary but rarely fatal.)
How to make “Bones” even more disturbing than usual
“The Pathos in the Pathogen” begins with a body that has decomposed into pinkish soup. But that’s nothing in an episode that deals with an unidentified illness transferred via itty-bitty needles that get shoved into bones without someone noticing.
The result is that this may be the single most disturbing “Bones” ever.
It kind of tells you why a show like this — a program that glories in its yucky remains — isn’t such a big deal most of the time. We can happily squeal at goop and slimy bones all we want. When you throw in one little virus, however, and viewers want to scream.
You’ve got to love the fear of the unknown. Invisible killers floating through the air and trying to kill beloved squinterns are far eerier than actual murderers with guns and knives. Yucky isn’t so scary when you can see it.
Maybe it’s the visual and visceral nature of “Bones” that makes it more fun than terrifying. Most of the time.
How was “The Pathos in the Pathogen” for you? Did the episode bother you more than normal, or are icky remains still the worst?