This week’s Bones episode,“The High in the Low,” gave viewers a truly scrummy conundrum to chew on. Real life, we are reminded, is unscripted. Real life is lived in the in-between spaces where who we are, who we will become, is defined by the choices we make.
Our eventual choices–how we choose to answer life’s most confronting questions–are unpredictable without foreknowledge of the variables and circumstances under which we will face them, as Brennan, ever the realist, has said many times.
The Bones crew tackled one of these defining questions this week and everyone took a stand, even though some of those stands were hard to take. The beauty of this episode is in the steadfast friendship and support the Avengers surround Wendell with. In the end we see a creative solution brought about by Booth’s resourcefulness and determination and Caroline’s expertise. Though Deschanel’s Brennan and Taylor’s Cam were spot-on in their compassionate portrayals, the greatness was brought to this episode in David Boreanaz’s Booth and Michael Grant Terry’s Wendell. More on this later.
Abby ‘Doobie Dealer’ Briggs, a straight-laced art student who risked her own life to help others regain lost vitality paid the ultimate price when she refused to sell medical marijuana to a recreational user and dealer. Her case ushers in the controversial issue of legalizing the use of medical cannabis, and polarizes the Jeffersonian team members when the stands they each take have real life implications.
Beloved Bones squintern and recently diagnosed cancer warrior, Wendell ‘I-Love-The-Smell-Of-Science-In-The-Morning’ Bray, returns to the Jeffersonian ruddy-skinned, baggy-eyed, and naked noggin-ed after several rounds of intense chemotherapy and radiation, the side affects of which are/were brutal. Everyone is thrilled to see him, including Brennan who is particularly sweet and hopeful in her support of him. He appears in good humor, taking his disease in stride as well as anyone could in his position. Concerned that his colleagues might question his ability to perform his duties, he insists they treat him no differently, and jumps right in with his characteristically astute observations in regard to the remains.
Remember the good old days when Angela’s Matrix-like Angelator would project a rotating simulation inside an enormous holographic cube of streaming green numbers? Well, happy days are here again! Angela has a fancy new high-tech toy called the Three-dimensional Holographic Emulation Outlet, or THEO for short, which Cam immediately falls in love with when it reconstructs the badly ravaged skull and identifies the victim. Unfortunately, we only get to see Theo once, this episode, but perhaps he’ll be back to help catch the Ghost Killer in an upcoming episode.
By the way, Dr. Jack ‘The-Pied-Piper-Of-Termites’ Hodgins wows Wendell with his rudimentary method of extracting horned-up termites from bones using a plastic tube and a line of black ballpoint pen ink which is just as impressive as Angela’s new buddy, Theo. #JustSayin
As the case unfolds in “The High in the Low,” Brennan and Booth discover that Abby, having experienced debilitating pain from lupus, had been prescribed medicinal cannabis by her physician and referred to Dr. Richard ‘Stinkin-Adorable-In-A-Suit’ Burke (Larry Sullivan) at Full Health Wellness Center who filled the prescription which she reported gave her her life back. So moved was Abby by her improved health that she became a fierce advocate, wrote many articles on the medicinal properties of ganga and began working at the wellness center dispensary to spread the love.
Visiting the dispensary, Temperance ‘We’re-Practically-Outlaws’ Brennan and partner, Seeley ‘I-Was-Born-Ready’ Booth question Dr. Burke and the security guard, Carl ‘She’s-Just-Not-Into-Me’ Collins (Roshawn Franklin) who shows them security footage of a belligerent customer, droopy-lidded Adam ‘I’m-No-Dumb-Ass-Kid’ Caputo (P.J. Boudousqué) harassing Abby when she refused to accept his bogus medical marijuana card. Yes, you are a dumb ass kid, Caputo. #Turd
Through a combination of Angela’s sharp eye noticing handshake hand-offs in the video of Abby at the wellness center, and the case-cracking expertise of the resident forensic entomologist/botanist who reveals the crime scene, a secret Wildwood Weed camping/farming destination, the team realizes Abby had been covertly growing and distributing Mary Jane. Wow. That takes chutzpa for a little girl from the right side of the tracks. See, there’s a choice she never would have predicted five years ago, but there she was peddling the world’s smallest and most expensive enchiladas.
Once again Hodgins earns ‘King of the Lab’ distinction when he analyzes the crop confiscated from the camping crime scene and discovers–plot twist–that Abby was growing wacky tabacky that was a little light on the wacky side of the equation. What? Yeah. So … what good is that, you ask?
Actually, it’s fantastic–this Virgin Mary (Jane)–and here’s why. The strain Abby was growing was very high in canabidiol, the chemical compound that takes away the pain and swelling, but extremely low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical compound with psychotropic side affects. As Brennan so astutely puts it: You can feel better without getting high. How awesome is that? #ReallyAwesomeForNonPotHeads
As it turns out, Temperance ‘We-Had-Sex-In-Virginia-Before-We-Were-Married’ Brennan figures out the configuration of the murder weapon and, together with Seeley ‘Clyde (of Bonnie &)’ Booth, who discovers Caputo’s failed career as a doobie dealer at school, fingers Caputo as the murderer. Case solved. Turd in the slammer.
Here comes the gold of “The High in the Low;” Here’s where this Bones review got the title, Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them.’
In 1601, William Shakespeare wrote, ‘Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.’
That greatness Shakespeare spoke of is made in those squishy in-between spaces of real, unscripted life where who we are, who we will become, is defined by our choices. This episode of Bones may have been scripted, but the message remains the same.
Adversity inspired greatness in Abby. She took what life gave her and she transformed it into something that changed other people’s lives, gave other people back their lives at personal risk to her own freedom. Abby achieved greatness in this life.
Wendell’s life has just been turned upside down like a junk drawer during spring cleaning. He feels like he’s running in dry sand at high noon on a Floridian July day. Nothing is certain any longer and all he really wants is to not have cancer. He holds onto Booth’s encouragement to fight this disease for his friends who need him, and for that wife he’s yet to meet and those babies who are waiting to be born.
More than anything, he needs to know that his family will stand by him. So he makes a courageous decision to tell the truth, to share his burden, even if it means risking everything he has. To combat apatite loss and the torturous side affects of pumping cytotoxic chemicals into to his body, he’s been using medicinal cannabis. Hodgins, Angela and Brennan assure him that they don’t ascribe to hysteria fueled by ignorance.
Not only that, Wendell, a young man who never considered himself heroic, finds himself on the receiving end of high praise from Brennan. He didn’t seek recognition; he didn’t expect it. When Brennan praises him, his response hangs in the air unspoken: I never wanted to be a hero, and certainly not this way. I’d rather not have this battle to fight, but with support like yours, I can see that I can do it. No matter what happens, I will make you proud, even though I’m so scared I can barely breathe most of the time.
Never afraid to make the hard call, and though it makes her visibly ill to do it, Cam must put the mission of the MedicoLegal Lab ahead of Wendell’s need to belong and be employed. For better or for worse, this is what defines her.
Wendell is crushed. So, this is my life now? He wonders. This is how my story ends?
Hodgins and Angela punish Cam with the cold shoulder. Brennan boycotts the offer of another squintern for the case. Seeking assurance that Booth won’t abandon him, Wendell meets Booth at the diner in a heart-crushing scene depicted below.
Booth, a man defined by his faith in the system and his responsibility as a federal agent, cannot deny he would have to do the same thing Cam did. However, Booth, seeing Wendell’s floundering spirit and respecting his courage and their relationship, stands by his friend. In the end, it is Booth who pushes Caroline for an agreeable option to keep Wendell at the Jeffersonian while remaining within the law. When it comes to his family, Booth will always find a way.
Wendell’s fortitude and honesty brings about his greatness, despite the fact that it was forced upon him. The wonderful thing about greatness is that it inspires greatness in others; it opens doors for others to achieve greatness as well. By having the courage and greatness to allow his friends to walk beside him in his vulnerability, Wendell gives each of them the opportunity for greatness … a greatness the power of which at this point they cannot even imagine.
Being great takes a boatload of courage in a world where people like to poke sharp sticks at anything that might be different or anyone who dares speak out. It takes moxie and commitment to be great. It takes that special kind of stupidity that expands our brains and allows us to believe we can do something that is impossible, and should do something that is not in our best interest … because it is something that will make a difference. God bless that kind of stupidity because without we wouldn’t have flight or penicillin or a way to communicate with people whose voices we may never hear, faces we may never see, but whose kindness and compassion could save our life or theirs.
Anyone who has risked scrutiny by selflessly giving the world a part of themselves, who has exposed their soft underbelly for the potential good of another person, has achieved greatness.
The evidence is clear: we have a lot of greatness headed our way in the final episodes of season nine.
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Next Monday, April 14 at 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on FOX catch “The Cold in the Case” when the Jeffersonian team investigates the death of a victim whose remains had been cryogenically frozen, Cam meets Arastoo’s parents, and Booth is up for a huge promotion that could uproot his whole family.
(Photos courtesy of Fox Broadcasting)