Bones Review: Getting Around It

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The murder on Bones Season 9 Episode 20 was an interesting way to bring up the discussion of medical marijuana.

Tying it into the return of Wendell and his cancer treatment was even better. Brennan was harsh in her assessment of things, as usual, but it was good to have Wendell back and it appears he'll be back in a larger capacity than he was before the installment started.

It's interesting how things can work out sometimes.

The parallels between the case and the Wendell were many. First they thought that the murder might be a mercy killing because the victim would have been in so much pain because of her medical condition. That made everyone feel queasy even suggesting that someone would kill someone in a lot of pain because, well, Wendell was in a lot of pain.

The victim was also growing her own strain of medical marijuana that was low in THC (the part of the plant that makes people high) while still containing a lot CBD, which helps medicinally. I looked it up and there are varying theories as to whether all low THC pot really helps all conditions, in case you care to know. I'm always curious about that stuff.

Varying reasons for why the victim might have been killed were investigated and it all came down to an angry college student to banged her on the head with his new trophy because she was cutting into his pot sales. It wasn't the security guard she drew ominous pictures of or the dispensary owner angry because she was selling her own pot on the side in his store but a stupid college kid. Argh!

Wendell told Hodgins about his marijuana use for help with chemotherapy. It's legal in DC for medicinal purposes and he had a prescription. Hodgins didn't think much of it, but when Wendell told Cam, she fired him. Cam and Booth both work for federal agencies and it's illegal to smoke pot on a federal level. That's where the state and federal laws get really confusing. There needs to be a precedent for those types of situations, but there isn't.

Ideally, since the Constitution was written so that state laws supersede federal laws (meaning if more rights are granted at the state level, they prevail) if you live in a state where something is legal, you should be able to do it in that state. Except something went wrong in Article VI of the Constitution with a supremacy clause that inadvertently gave the feds the right to do whatever they want in those instances. It's very confusing and it really shouldn't be.

The bottom line is that if someone found out that state-legal pot-smoking Wendell was handling evidence in a federal case and they sued, the evidence would have to be thrown out, thus Wendell couldn't work there anymore. 

Brennan and Booth had a lot of discussions about it and Brennan was on the side of allowing people to have access to whatever legally helps them feel better when battling a health crisis. There is a lot to be said about the topic, to be sure, and it's been handled poorly all around. When Wendell went to Booth to tell him he wasn't a loser because he was using it medicinally, it was heartbreaking. Something is wrong with that picture.

Booth and Brennan talked to Caroline about special circumstances for Wendell. He'll be a consultant for the Jeffersonian. He'll work with the findings and not handle evidence. He even got an office. While part of me was excited, the other part kind of felt like it was throwing a dying man a gift that wouldn't last long. Did anyone else feel like that? Like it may not be a long-term position despite appearances?

I enjoyed how they all rallied together even in the face of federal law and found a way around their problem.

It was also fun seeing Booth taking his FBI bureau competency test and get the 97th percentile on the cognitive ability tests. He tends to feel less than Brennan when she's acting all haughty, but he's highly intelligent and excellent at his job. It was wonderful to get the opportunity to see him excel.

Don't forget to watch Bones online and chat about the episode in the comments!

Would you smoke marijuana to help with cancer treatments?


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (54 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Solid episode. BRAVO, Bones.


Solid episode. BRAVO, BONES....


Booth's especially high score on the mental competency part of the test was directly the result of Booth listening to Brennan's recommendation and then actively working to implement her suggestion: he stated that he routinely got 90% on the mental competency part of the test every year without doing any sort of special preparation for it. Brennan handed him some software of brain-training games that were shown to improve one's attention to detail, while being enjoyable games. Booth in fact spent quite a bit of time practicing diligently at these brain-training games. Therefore the fact that this year he scored 97% on the mental acuity portion of the test, a full 7% higher than in previous years, indicates that Brennan's suggestion helped Booth be at the very top of his game.


The entire premise of the Wendall/pot storyline was bogus because (as anyone who lives in the DC area knows) everyone who works in their department (and holds almost ANY Federal position) has to have a clearance and part of getting that clearance is agreeing to never use marijuana (or any other illegal drug) again without any exceptions. The importance of this is so drilled in that Wendall would have to be an idiot not to know--at the very least, he would have asked Cam or someone above her before he used it. This is just really sloppy research by the Bones writers. ETA: Clearances can be taken away for getting drunk if people are caught, like in a DUI situation, so it's not even the fact that it's an illegal drug (or legal in DC's case) that Wendall would get fired. He essentially lied to the Federal Government because he used pot after signing something that said he wouldn't again while holding a clearance.


i believe even tho cam was right angela and hodgins were just looking out for their friend. he going thru a bad time and needs the money.


It wasn't the difference between state and federal laws, it was the fact that the Jeffersonian is a federal agency and federal employees have to follow federal and state laws. Which is beside the point anyway. Even in our state (Washington) where marijuana is legal, no one involved in any kind of evidence gathering or legal matter could be allowed to smoke pot because it would call everything done into question, the same as if they were drinking alcohol. It was ridiculous for Hodgins and Angela to treat Cam the way they did.

@ Bella

But Cam wouldn't have fired him for taking any other drug that had similar mind altering effects. She might have asked that he handle the evidence differently, or maybe not at all, but she wouldn't have fired him. The series was most definitely making a statement. Drinking alcohol holds no medical value, so connecting the two really doesn't work when discussing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Someone taking Vicodin for pain with a prescription would also be treated differently than someone taking it without a prescription recreationally.


such a good episode as usual. i kinda figured booth was going to do something to help wendall. glad he got the job and nice office to boot

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Bones Season 9 Episode 20 Quotes

Angela: I actually think you're making the cancer thing very sexy, Wendell.
Brennan: Ewing's Sarcoma has an 80% mortality rating, Angela. That's not sexy.
Wendell: Thanks for the reminder, Dr. B.
Brennan: My pleasure.

Hodgins: Well. You're a stronger man than I am.
Wendell: Making you look bad is one of the things that keeps me going.