BONES 10×05 Debriefing: “Three cheers for modern science!”

bones cast s10

After taking last week off, Bones was back on our TV screens with the fun “The Corpse at the Convention,” featuring the return of Brennan’s (Emily Deschanel) author rival Tess Brown (Nora Dunn of SNL fame) and the reappearance of Wendell (Michael Grant Terry), who as you might recall upon last viewing was entering an experimental clinical trial that used medical cannabis.

So, how is Wendell doing? Who killed the Ginger at the Convention? And more importantly, did Brennan’s Schrödinger joke bomb?

Let’s follow the team along as they attend the 19th National Forensic Science Convention.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

THE CASE OF THE WEEK ||Brennan id the keynote speaker at the convention (something she considers to be a terrible responsibility). Just as she takes the stage and is about to tell her Schrödinger joke, the fire alarms go off: there is a fire in the plumbing and electric room! The victim turns out to be Dr. Leona Saunders (Amy Davidson)- the ginger doctor who had “ancient history” with Hodgins (TJ Thyne). Now,  he has a motive! And he is quickly deemed a suspect – his third time.

The fire used to conceal the body left a unique residue. As the team later finds out, the killer dumped some trash on her (and possibly used a garbage can to transport her) to mislead them. However, the team finds an ID belonging to someone in the convention and a footprint on the crime scene floor. Thanks to some fine technology and Angela’s (Michaela Conlin) expertise, they are able to identify Dr. Saunders and obtain a cast of the footprint.

But to better understand this, let’s break this down into the possible suspects:

MALIK FARRIS (Keston Johns) is a dishwasher at the hotel, who is just about to leave due to the stomach flu. The footprint incriminates him, as it’s a perfect match. It doesn’t help that he is an ex-convict previously charged with arson. He admits to sometimes using that  room to “herb down” — he had done that this time, but once he saw the body, he ran. There is also video evidence that shows he was in the dining hall moments before the fire started – he didn’t have time to go to the crime scene in time.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

JACK HODGINS, as established, had some bad blood with the victim. However, Wendell finds a band aid that, as Cam (Tamara Taylor) later determines, contained his DNA. Booth (David Boreanaz) and Aubrey (John Boyd) don’t have any choice but to call him into the interrogation room, even if Booth doesn’t believe he did it. (Aubrey is very committed and even gets a “I thought I was going to like you, Aubrey” from Hodgins. Hee.) Hodgins quickly explains that he cut his finger while making his son’s lunch and put a bandaid on it; by the time he got to the convention, it had stopped bleeding, so he threw it in the trash. (And, as mentioned before, the killer threw some trash over the body before the fire to mislead them.)

DR. EDWARD HARKNESS (John Billingsley): The director of the convention, who we first see when he escorts Brennan to the stage. He becomes a suspect soon after the teams finds out, from her stomach contents, that Leona had had a romantic dinner with someone who apparently knows his wines. My mind immediately went to Dr. Harkness (as he had mentioned wines when introducing Brennan earlier) – and I was right. Harkness admits to having been with her the previous night because Leona, whom he had met at last year’s convention, was the love of his life. He even dumped his previous mistress for her! (He met the ex when she hired him to be a consultant for her book. They hit it off.) Who is that woman, you might ask?

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

None other than… TESS BROWN! You might know her as Brennan’s author rival, who called her fans stupid (which was captured on a video that went viral) last time we saw her. She is at the convention because she is researching for her newest novel (a novel approach, according to snarky Brennan). She also wants to make amends with the anthropologist and even become friends. We also witness Tess and Harkness together early on, and what Harkness says in his interrogation explains those dirty looks she gave him in their quick, awkward encounter. It is interesting to note that before we see her in the interrogation room, Brennan and Hodgins determine that the weapon was made out of obsidian — Tess used an obsidian weapon in her first novel. It doesn’t help her that her latest novel — the one she was publicizing when she was being interviewed after finding the body — is called Hotter Than My Heart. Or that it is about a murder at a convention, which explains why she was there “researching.”

DR. FINCH (Sean Gunn) is not really a suspect, but his scenes with Dr. Aldus Carter (Gabriel Tigerman) were entertaining, as they compete to get the team supplies  to investigate the crime. He is an expert at arson, which we know was involved in this murder.

DR. ALDUS CARTER, the other half of this episode’s duo, was never a subject until the end, but the evidence was all there.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Early into the episode, Brennan and Angela find a spiderweb fracture in the victim’s sternum. This turns out to be a match with the prongs in the thermocouple Aldus so kindly gave them.  (Other objects he gave them include not enough LED lights for everyone – sorry, Booth – and the fantastic gloves. More on those in a second.) The thermocouple apparently keeps a register of the measurements, but when checked, the team only finds one taken by Cam — meaning he must have erased the rest. [Nels edit: Come on, couldn’t Angela have found the deleted readings by magic?]

His appearance at the lab, soon after Finch’s, and their  subsequent fight  lead Hodgins to have an idea as to how the fire might have started: a combination of sulfuric acid, a layer of aluminum foil and chloride start that fire… Which can be started remotely, so none of the suspects have alibis anymore, after all.

When called into the interrogation room with Booth and Brennan, he says he would never kill for money after being accused of killing Leona to get more contractors for his inventions.

The evidence against him? Not only was the thermocouple a match for the weapon, but they also found incriminating chemicals and nanoparticles (from the gloves) fused to the victim’s body. Brennan can tie those to him: the rubber is a match for his patented nonstick gloves. The strips of magnesium cut the glove and left traces of his DNA on the rubber. After getting some compliments from Brennan (about his “excellent” gloves), he accepts this has been a “worthy defeat.” The actual reason for Leona’s murder? She was sleeping with him just to steal the designs for a video-spectral comparator he was developing. He is hoping to be able to still work on it in prison.




This was a truly fun case that kept me entertained the whole hour. I liked how small details that were mentioned early on became slightly more relevant later in the episode. I liked Finch and Aldus’ rivalry a lot – it was such a delight to watch, and I wouldn’t have minded to see more of them.

Personally, the hour flew by and that was mostly a testament to how interesting the case was (to me).

SQUINTERN OF THE WEEK|| As mentioned before, Wendell is back and we get an update on his condition (his hair’s grown back!). Wendell’s cancer fight was and remains one of the strongest storylines the show has ever done. The show doesn’t need to do big stories to resonate with its audience. When it has such personal and human stories (we all know someone who has, or has had, cancer) and finds such big, character moments in small scenes, it shines.

In tonight’s episode, Wendell was valuable to the case. Because he hasn’t consumed any medical cannabis in a month, he is able to work as a squintern (and not just a mere consultant) in the field. He has a doctor’s appointment, and asks for Brennan’s permission to leave (“You’re of no use to me if your cancer comes back and you die, Mr. Bray”). Yet, he doesn’t return when he said he would and the team worries.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

But, in what was arguably the episode’s most powerful scene, we see Wendell and Booth meet at the Founding Fathers — Wendell confesses to his hockey teammate that one of his fellow patients in his medical trial died a few days prior and you can see in his eyes he is scared because last time he saw him, the guy was doing fine. (To make matters sadder: the guy had a family– two small kids.) Wendell himself is doing fine, but he fears that that might change quickly.

So Booth shares an army anecdote from 2002. In short: he saw twelve of his fellow army brothers get killed in front of him (out of fifteen in that mission, only three people came out alive) — Wendell’s been dealt a bad hand, but he has to deal with it. He has to stop feeling sorry for himself and keep fighting, because Booth does not want to see another brother die.

It is so powerful, but much like the speech in Booth’s office in last season’s “Big in the Philippines,” it snaps Wendell out of his funk — as we can see at the convention the following day. As Booth tells him there, “Sometimes, people doubt how strong they really are.”

I imagine that, after losing Sweets, we are not losing Wendell anytime soon. However, I like that we are exploring a bit of that survivor’s guilt, as well as terror at the possibility of maybe being the next one to go that he might be feeling. I cannot wait to see where his storyline goes next, because it has so many possibilities at the moment. Michael Grant Terry is acting the hell out of it – and so is everyone, really.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Booth and Brennan || Though they don’t get a lot of scenes together this week (the episode was quite centered on the convention and the case, as well as Wendell’s recovery), they make those few scenes count.

Before the convention, we find them eating breakfast at their home– rather, Booth is preparing it and Brennan is too nervous about her upcoming, terrible responsibility to eat anything. Brennan asks for Booth’s opinion on her Schrödinger’s cat joke — it bombs for him, since he doesn’t find it funny at all. He suggests his own science-y joke, about a restaurant in the Moon, too.

They also meet at the diner for lunch and briefly discuss the case. Brennan ordered some pie for her husband before he got there! Brennan is nervous about not solving the case and about what her peers might think, but Booth is quick to reassure her that he bets she’ll solve it (and of course, they banter about it).

A day later, Brennan is back at the convention center – and so is the whole team, including her supportive husband (who looks very proud of her, reminding me of the last scene in season 6’s “The Body and the Bounty”), who is cheering the loudest in that room. This time, she gets to tell her Schrödinger joke to thunderous laughter and applause. However, she also tells Booth’s and… it bombs. (Booth is the only one laughing.) Aw.

Odds and Ends

  • I liked every member of the team had some kind of fan in the convention floor. Hee.
  • “Does everyone in this place hate each other?” I laughed very hard at this, but it’s funny because it’s true.
  • With that being said, I adored Brennan introducing Tess to both Angela and Cam (a line meant to be a refresher to the audience). Those snide comments were fun.
  • I really liked how Dr. Harkness introduced Brennan – both times. There is no doubt in my mind she was the right person to give the keynote speech.
  • Tess Brown’s general reactions and looks towards Dr. Harkness throughout the episode were hilarious. The quick one in her first scene was fabulous, but the one when he’s introducing Brennan again towards the end is as funny.
  • (c) FOX

    (c) FOX

    Brennan eating pie! A Gamblers Anonymous mention! I enjoyed the many callbacks tonight.

  • As someone who has had to study a lot on Schrödinger’s uncertainty, I very much enjoyed Brennan’s joke. As someone who loves anything space-related, Booth’s joke made me giggle. Yet, those reactions were pretty much the ones I’d expect.
  • Congrats (?) to Hodgins on being a suspect for the third time! Poor thing. For those who need a refresher: the first one was in “The Man in the Mansion,” back in Season 2; the second one, “The Pain in the Heart” a season later.
  • As fellow TYLL writer Mariana noted, I’d watch “Agent Aubrey: Literary Critic.”


Such a fun episode tonight — a solid case, some really good emotional scenes and just a really good episode all around. I really enjoyed it. Next week’s seems intense, judging by the previews, but we’ll discuss it then.

What did you think about the episode?


… is a young graduate student that has been way too passionate about television ever since she was little. While she insists she doesn’t have a specific type of show, they all usually have strong but flawed lady characters, some derivation of the stubborn friends-in-love/friends-to-lovers trope, and they all make her yell at her tv a lot. She just wishes she had more hours in the day so she could actually write about this.
You can usually find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and at cassidy at

2 Responses to BONES 10×05 Debriefing: “Three cheers for modern science!”

  1. Nels Nels says:

    Wow, good catch on Wendell dealing with survivor’s guilt! I didn’t even think of that, but it’s so obvious and you’re totally right.

    It was a fun episode, and personally it’s the first one I’ve really enjoyed this season. I know people like to criticize Dave Thomas’ writing, but I’ve enjoyed his episodes, and I think he actually writes Brennan really nuanced, in a way some of the more seasoned writers don’t always.

    • Cassidy says:

      Thanks! I just couldn’t stop thinking about that. The scene at the FF was pretty great in general (he definitely needed to hear that from Booth), but I had the feeling Wendell wasn’t just feeling bad about losing a fellow patient in remission.

      It was the most *fun* so far, for sure. I don’t want to write a long reply here, but I definitely really enjoyed the lightness and the happy atmosphere (despite Wendell’s own issues).
      I totally agree! I think Dave Thomas is hated for things out of his control because he’s written some really interesting episodes (Shot might have not been what people expected but I sure loved Brennan’s character analysis). There were issues with the honeymoon episode, but I think it was also pretty interesting. This one was just so. much. fun.

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