Hodgins' return to work puts the team on edge
Credit: Patrick McElhenney/Fox
S11 E11
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If anyone on Bones deserves a happy life, it’s everyone on Bones. These people have suffered enough. They need a rest! But you don’t get into the murder-solving business because you love long naps and being safe all the time. No one here is very good at sitting back and doing nothing, anyway; they try, but this life keeps pulling them back, risks and all. If only accepting risks were as easy as accepting the consequences.

It’s been eight weeks since a bomb sent Hodgins and Aubrey to the hospital — Aubrey for shrapnel-related injuries that looked serious but turned out just fine; Hodgins for spinal cord-related injuries that looked just fine but turned out to be serious. Two months later, Hodgins is paraplegic, wheelchair bound, and clinging to the hope that he might someday regain the use of his legs. As long as he keeps clinging, he’s still mostly the Hodgins we’ve come to know, but there’s a fine line between hope and denial, and I’m afraid of what might happen when he realizes that he’s on the wrong side.

Not that I would definitely put it past this show to restore Hodgins’ use of his legs before the series wraps at the end of next season — Bones is the kind of “comfort food” story that almost always guarantees a happy ending to characters who’ve endured tragedy. But it’s also not the kind of story to presume that a happy ending requires leaving a wheelchair behind. At this point, I don’t expect to see Hodgins walk again. The show has always been good at respecting people’s grief, and most survivors of spinal cord injuries can’t count on miracle cures. Brennan is with me on this; when her husband implies that Hodgins just needs hope and hard work to get back on his feet, she reminds Booth that it’s insulting to presume that Hodgins can just “fight his nerves back into growing.”

But Booth isn’t the only one who wants that. Eager for everything to get back to normal, Hodgins is ignoring his doctor’s orders, channeling his energy into unsupervised physical therapy and rogue crime-solving. As soon as he’s out of the hospital, our resident bug guy drags Angela to the lab to “say hello” and wastes no time insinuating himself into their latest case. Drea Torres, an attorney with the Public Defender’s Office, was found murdered not long after losing a case that she expected to win. She took the loss hard, getting into a bar fight with a prosecutor and leaving with a DJ who supplied her cocaine.

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If you’re going to deal drugs, maybe don’t also breed rare snakes that could easily be traced to you. Drea had traces of cocaine and a cell from a Woma python’s skin in her nose (Booth: “How does that even happen?”), which leads pretty neatly to a man by the name of DJ Woma. The DJ, Chad, admits that he and Drea left the club together Friday night to “mess around.” It got rougher than she liked, and when he broke her necklace, Drea hit him. He told her to go but insists that she turned down his offer to call a cab.

NEXT: Boom, lawyered

Chad has an alibi for the rest of the night — he cooled off at a 24-hour diner — but Alex Pollock, Drea’s overly friendly boss, does not. Pollock’s place is a mile from Chad’s, and the dumpster beneath his balcony matches all of Drea’s injuries. The team find traces of her blood on the dumpster, but Pollock lawyers his way into reasonable doubt: The sample could be compromised since it’s been a few days, and anyone has access to that dumpster, anyway. Caroline can’t even secure a warrant; Pollock is working on a huge trial, and he took his files home to prepare. If the FBI searches the apartment, he can get the case thrown out on the grounds that they violated his attorney-client privilege.

Pollock thinks he’s above science, but he hasn’t met Brennan. She finds a nick in the bones indicating that Drea was hit with something sharp at the time of her death, and the particulates in the wound match a wine that Pollock purchased on Friday. That’s just the excuse Booth and Brennan need to get their warrant, and although Pollock has already repainted the railing on his balcony, Brennan pries a nail out of the fresh paint and finds traces of blood. Science wins. Drea didn’t appreciate her boss’ confession that he loved her, so he hit her with a wine glass. They fought, and she went over the railing.

But Pollock was right about one thing: Sometimes the facts are a lot less appealing than a good story. It isn’t all that hard to poke holes in science and fill in the gaps with what we want to be true. Hodgins is doing it right now! His desire to return to work so quickly divides the team, and when Cam finds him putting in unsupervised reps on a physical therapy machine, she sends him home. Hodgins is putting himself at risk in order to bury his feelings, and it isn’t a good plan. I want to protect him; he’s “so much more than this job.” (Thanks for that one, Cam.) Being good at what he does can’t be the only source of his self-worth.

But that’s easier said than done for everyone on this show. They all met on the job, and, as Hodgins reminds Angela, most of what she loves about him is rooted in how he approaches his work. Booth has a point, too: “Hodgins didn’t have a choice about what happened to him. You should let him decide how he’s going to come back from it.” Hodgins is taking a risk, but it’s his risk to take — and Cam admits that she went a little hard on him to compensate for that time she let him work a murder right after the explosion. It’s been long enough. Hodgins is coming back. But when his doctor breaks the news that, in her opinion, he won’t be walking again, he doesn’t tell Angela. Here we go.

Bits and pieces:

  • “I really want to play ball.” “I’ll catch for you.” Is there anything that Caroline doesn’t make better?
  • Stock Booth’s closet with more henleys!
  • The fact that Parker is counted among Brennan’s kids really gets to me.
  • “I’m going to hug you.”
  • “You don’t adjust kids’ art, Bones.”
  • “We work at the FBI, Aubrey. We don’t put cinnamon in our coffee.”
  • “I brought home some of those conspiracy theory journals to lift your spirits.”
  • “What if there’s an animal in there?” “Dude, that’s half the fun.”

Episode Recaps

Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz play a will-they-won’t-they crime-solving duo.
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