Welcome back to Part Deux of Season 11, Boneheads. Yes, it's been a long, hard hiatus. Yes, we are beside ourselves with excitement that, a) Bones' 12th season got the green light while we were apart over the hiatus from hell, and b) that although the 12th will be the final season, the Bones Fairies will now have ample time to craft the final chapters of this beloved romantic crimedy in exactly the way its creator Hart Hanson intended from day one. Hallelujah!
As "The Death in the Defense" opens, the question foremost on everyone's minds is, "How is Hodgins?" What an unmitigated disaster Jack and Angela are facing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, let's have a case during the episode, but more importantly, we want to know how this tragedy will impact each colleague and every friend in the Bones
And for Jack specifically, does paralysis from the waist down mean those babies he was intending to sire have no hope of ever seeing daylight? How will he adapt to working in an environment clearly designed for the able bodied? Is this naturally hopeful and genuinely affectionate man going to fall prey to his own emotional hell? Not all of those questions get answered in this one episode, but it's a great set up for what we will see in the next two episodes and as the rest of the season unfolds.
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Hodgins Is Released From the Hospital
Angela picks Hodgins up from the hospital in his wheelchair. Hodgins is optimistic while his wife is uncertain and watchful of how this entire situation is affecting her husband. The doctor announces that Hodgins' lumbar nerves haven't been completely crushed by the hematoma, so he has to take it easy or risk complete paralysis. Hodgins insists he feels the tingle of nerves regenerating, but right now he only has mobility from the waist up. That means no nookie for the foreseeable future. Whaaaaaaaa?
Hodgins wants to get right back to work and prove that he's still worth something, but Angela wants to preserve whatever parts of her husband that remain. Thus begins the tension of the entire episode, and by the end (spoiler alert) some devastating news forces Hodgins to get a reality check.
A Public Defender Is Defenseless Against the Grim Reaper
So, yes, there is a case and it's an interesting one. An unidentified decomposing body is delivered to the Jeffersonian. Wendell, as the squint on deck, can't determine the time of death because tropical storm Bertha mucked up the larvae growth schedule. This gives a visiting Hodgins the chance to jump into the case. A broken necklace Hodgins finds in the woman's belongings leads the team to her priest who reveals that Andrea "Drea" Torres was a public defender who fought cases for those who couldn't afford their own lawyer. Booth wonders if a dissatisfied client could be the murderer and we're off to the races.
Hodgins Uses Bertha to Insinuate Himself Into the Case
Hodgins talks Cam into letting him stay on the case when it's discovered that flooding washed some of the bones down stream where only he could predict they'd land. Hodgins is happy to be doing what he loves and remains charming to all, including Angela, until he's forced to leave. After the bones are found, Cam catapults Hodgins from the case and sends him home to rest, forcing him to realize he's not as able as he used to be. Wendell, however, continues to work with him on the sly through Skype until Angela catches them at it.
A Motley Collection of Suspects Alibi Out or Lack Motive and Means
The first suspect is D'Shawn Ames, the husband of a defendant whose case Drea lost in court. He explains that Drea wasn't the reason his wife lost her case and there were no hard feelings. Drea's boss, Senior Public Defender Alex Pollack, seems genuinely stunned by her death and directs the Avengers to look into Drea's possible drug dealer, Carl "DJ Python" Johanssen, a disc jockey who owns a woma python and spins at a bar she frequented. Competitive Assistant United States Attorney and Olympic shot putter, Theresa Diorio, accosted Drea in a jealous rage at the bar on the night of her death, but alibis out.
Drea was seen leaving the bar that night to shag DJ Python. The deejay admits he and Drea got a little sweaty between the sheets, but says that when he accidentally broke her necklace, she went ballistic until he kicked her out. She insisted on walking instead of taking a cab that night. So, where did she go on her last night alive?
The Public Defender Hides Behind a High Profile Case to Prevent a Search of His Home
It's not until Angela finds spyware on Drea's computer that the team is led to intern Taylor Watkins at the public defender's office. Watkins lawyers up, but Booth and Aubrey figure out that DJ Python's home is in walking distance from Alex Pollack's pad, the boss who admitted he and Drea were "lose." When Drea left Python's house she must have gone to see Pollack.
In the hot seat, Pollack admits that Drea stopped by his apartment, but insists she stayed only a few moments before leaving. Why hadn't he mentioned this before? Because he is GUILTY, that's why. He has a slick answer for all the curve balls Booth throws at him and is let go from the interrogation. Shortly after, he takes home the files of a high profile case he's working on so that Booth cannot search his house, without just cause without getting that case thrown out. Sneaky, sneaky.
Drea's Wounds Point to an Unusually Large and Public Murder Weapon
Brennan and Wendell figure out that the fractures to Drea's shins and arms make a pattern suggesting she was struck with, or fell hard upon, a metal instrument at right angles. She was also poked in the eye with a shard of glass from a wine goblet. Angela's technical wizardry reveals that there is a dumpster right below Pollack's apartment balcony. And wouldn't you know it, the edges of the dumpster match Drea's injuries. The bastard threw her over the balcony and down into the dumpster!
Substances found in the wound proves that Drea had been drinking a very rare kind of wine that Pollack happened to have purchased that very night. This gives Brennan and Booth enough for a warrant. At Pollack's apartment, Brennan finds blood hidden in the nail prints of the balcony rail. Finally, Pollack admits that he was pissed off when Drea spurned his love-making attempts even though she frequently sleep with druggies and python-owning deejays. He "accidentally" killed her. Right. Hmmm.
In the Face of Hodgins' Limitations, Everyone Provides Their Own Wisdom
While everyone deals with Hodgins' situation differently (Booth with hope, Brennan with stark pragmatism and frustration, Wendell with encouragement, Cam with extreme caution and guilt and Aubrey with awe) Caroline is the one who cuts straight to the heart of the matter. In a conversation with Aubrey, she points out that Hodgins being alive is a miracle in and of itself because now he gets to watch little Michael Vincent grow up. Way to go, Caroline.
Other characters provided insights as well and push against the conventional mantra of "go home and heal because that's what's best for you." Wendell asks Brennan, "What if it's more detrimental to Hodgins if he stays at home rather than being here at the lab and doing what he knows he can do? Booth argues that the emotional damage from an injury can be far more devastating than the physical damage and that Hodgins should get to choose how, and where, he seeks inspiration for the hope that will help him heal. Hodgins explains to Angela that he doesn't know how to be all the things she loves about him if he can't be who he is in the lab. Angela reminds him that he is essential to her regardless of the state of his body.
Cam finally admits to Hodgins that she feels guilty because she let him work right after the explosion. Coming back to work so soon, she says, is what landed him in the hospital with a hematoma choking the life out of his spinal cord. Given the choice, Hodgins gleefully chose to return to work. At that point, Hodgins is still hopeful that his nerve cells are regenerating.
Science Can Be Sad, But Hope is Miraculous
The case solved and Hodgins freed to return to work, Brennan and Booth have a little spouse time back at The Mighty Hut 2.0. Brennan admits to being very worried about Angela and Hodgins. She believes in science rather than ephemeral hope, but sometimes the science just makes her sad. Booth reminds her that Angela and Hodgins love each other and they will get through this together. If a miracle, like the two of them getting together and having what they now have can occur, anything is possible. Brennan, of course, tells Booth she hopes Christine has faith like he does. Awwwwww. Interesting coming from an atheist, but it fits in this context.
In true Bones form, we have to have a little humor between our two crime fighters in the end. Booth notices Christine's adorable Tim Burton-ish Crayon drawing of a skeleton. Brennan notices errors in the number of ribs and phalanges and, of course, wants to draw in her own corrections. (Would Brennan really do that? I don't think so, but it does make for a funny moment). Booth refuses to let her do it (Good for you, Booth) and decides he's taking the art to work. Hopefully we will see it in his office in future episodes.
Just When You Think Things Couldn't Get Worse
In the final scene, Hodgins receives the news that there has not been any regrowth of his spinal nerves. In other words, no recovery. This is as good as it gets. Woah, woah, woah. Then it gets even worse. He lies to Angela and says everything is fine.
So, in the next couple of episodes, will Brennan locate the most brilliant surgeon in the world who has been doing groundbreaking research into regrowing spinal cord cells using embryonic stem cells? Will the King of the Lab throw off his wheels and walk again? What do you think?
Bones season 11 airs Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.