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'Bones' recap: Brownie points

Season 9 | Ep. 20 | “The High in the Low” | Aired Apr 7, 2014

Real-life arguments don’t work the way they do on most TV shows, because actual disagreements happen between people with legitimate opinions backed by a whole lifetime of personal and professional experience. Bones gets this right a lot. Everyone on this team wants the same thing, even if they want it from different sides.

It’s been that way since Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) first challenged each other at the shooting range, so it’s only fitting to find them back there now. Booth and his tight FBI standard-issue T-shirt are gearing up for the Bureau’s annual competency test. He’s not worried — he always scores in the 90th percentile — but Brennan thinks he’s settling. Booth: “I’m not set in my ways. Never have been, never will be.” Booth, what have your shrinks told you about declarative statements?

Meanwhile, a prison escapee hides in a log with a dead body and discovers that screaming at a corpse is not an effective stealth tactic. The team visits the scene just long enough for Hodgins (TJ Thyne) to talk about uncorking the scent of death. Back at the lab, it’s time to welcome back everyone’s favorite intern-from-the-streets, Wendell Bray (Michael Grant Terry), whose cancer also makes him the latest addition to the hall of Jeffersonian tragedies. Angela (Michaela Conlin) tells Wendell that his bald head makes cancer sexy, but Brennan’s having none of it: “Ewing’s sarcoma has an 80 percent mortality rate, Angela. That’s not sexy.” Brennan is probably not in favor of most breast cancer campaigns.

Wendell correctly deduces that the victim had lupus, leading Cam (Tamara Taylor) to bring up the possibility of a mercy killing, which Sweets (John Francis Daley) quickly debunks, because people who care about people don’t generally leave them in logs. Angela uses her new toy to identify the victim as art student Abby Briggs. The toy’s name is THEO (Three-dimensional Holographic Emulation Outlet), and it’s like the Angelator, but with a pyramid. It’s also the first of Angela’s creations that she hasn’t in some way named after herself, which will probably keep me up at night.

Abby was treating her lupus with cannabis, which worked so well that she was able to return to her art and even take up a job at her dispensary. Medical marijuana is legal in DC, but it’s not legal federally. Brennan tries to tell Booth that a lot of things are technically illegal — premarital sex is illegal in Virginia, and they’ve done that — but Booth still squirms. He’s not inclined to trust anyone at the dispensary, from the doctor in charge of the place — who would’ve been threatened by Abby’s side business, selling her own strain out back — to the security guard who developed feelings for her.

Abby’s case hits close to home for Wendell, who’s been treating the side effects of his chemo with marijuana. He never did pot before the cancer, and he’s not doing it at work, but he still hesitates to tell anyone. Hodgins promises him that nobody at the Jeffersonian cares about that. Brennan definitely doesn’t. She looks Wendell in the eye and tells him that they’re scientists, and he has no reason to be ashamed of fighting for his life. She loves this sick baby duck in his green baseball cap.

Cam is in a trickier position. She has to think of the court cases, and in the eyes of the law, Wendell’s federally illegal activities call into question every piece of evidence he’s touched. She’s forced to fire him. Wendell, ever a prince, promptly apologizes for putting her in this position. Nobody’s happy about this. Hodgins considers quitting, and when Cam offers to call another intern, Brennan doesn’t even look up from her work. “Unless that intern is Mr. Bray, I’m fine.” Mic drop, Brennan out.

This is Bones’ sweet spot: the gray area between legal obligation and personal decency. Only Booth really understands Cam’s reasoning, and even he falters after sitting down with Wendell at the diner. Wendell doesn’t want Booth to see him as a loser. Booth could never. “Forget that I’m an agent right now, all right? I’m your friend, and you shouldn’t have been punished for it.”Wendell later comes back to the diner to leave Brennan his case notes and make a joke about brownies.

The notes help Brennan and Angela identify the murder weapon, which conveniently has a shape shared by no other thing in this world. It’s an Emerging Writers Award, and we’ve already met its recipient. He bought some of Abby’s strain and sold it to friends, unaware that it was totally medicinal and wouldn’t get anyone high. When he went to knock out Abby with the award, he killed her. Emerging writers, am I right?

Case closed, Booth and Brennan show up at Wendell’s door, prompting the greatest exchange of the evening.

WENDELL: Oh, hey! Am I getting evicted now too?

BRENNAN: I’m not sure what your lease says.

Booth and Brennan talked to Caroline, and they’ve worked out an arrangement. Even though Cam was legally right to fire Wendell, they can hire him as a freelance consultant, provided he doesn’t touch the evidence. Considering that these people sometimes hire a very stoned guy to stalk their suspects, this sounds about right. Welcome back to the family, Wendell.

Booth is never really set in his ways when it comes to the people he cares about. He’s been studying for his FBI test using all of Brennan’s suggested methods, and it pays off with a new personal best. When you can’t beat the law, you might as well own it. Booth and Brennan celebrate by drinking outside, because they’ve already had sex in Virginia. They live on the edge now.

What did you think of the second installment in Wendell’s cancer story? Do you forgive Cam for her role in all this? And why didn’t Angela name her machine after herself? Unless Theo is part of that real name of hers that we’re still waiting to hear. Until next time, viewers.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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