Clark did not grace the Bones universe with his presence too often season. Eugene Byrd was on Arrow and a few other projects, which I can only assume took up much of his time. He is actually one of my favorite “interns” (yes, I understand that he is not technically an intern), and I was thankful for the few episodes in which he was featured. I have so enjoyed watching his relationship with Brennan develop and evolve over the years. It is truly a joy to see Eugene and Emily act in scenes together. They have a really amazing chemistry. They always have. When Clark started, he was the consummate professional- never sharing personal tidbits or allowing himself to get too close to anyone on this team. And now he is on a first name basis with Dr. Temperance Brennan. They are colleagues, but they are also friends. Clark is part of the Jeffersonian/FBI family, for sure. As are all of these glorious characters on Bones.
Clark Edison Season 11 Episode Appearances:
11×07: The Promise in the Palace
11×20: The Stiff in the Cliff
In The Promise in the Palace we learned that Clark is a fan of magic and something of an amateur magician himself. It’s surprising, but in a way, it’s not. Clark was introduced to us as more of a “no-nonsense” character in the beginning. However, he has evolved over the years. And somehow this just all seemed fitting when considering his immense growth throughout the series. A bit further into the episode, we found out more as to the impetus causing Clark’s interest in magic. But for now, Brennan is a little stunned to learn this tidbit.
“I had no idea you were a fan of magic, Dr. Edison.”
“And I take it you’re not.”
“No, nor of witchcraft, astrology or the lotto, all of which require one to relinquish rational thought.”
Nothing about this exchange is shocking to me. Well at least on Brennan’s side. As we all know from constantly watching this show, not everything in life is explicable. Brennan may only believe in the tangible, but she has had to place her “faith” in more abstract concepts on occasion.
A few scenes later, Brennan and Clark are examining the remains in the bone room. Brennan pauses, and asks Clark if he would explain his interest in magic. I always love this side of Brennan. She wants to understand how exactly another scientist, like herself, could put any stock into the preternatural. She’s curious. She’s an anthropologist. There is no judgment in her voice- at least not right now. Clark explains that magic helped him get through a really difficult period during middle school. Brennan accepts this, as “adolescence can be difficult, particularly for children of superior intellect.” She knows that harsh truth better than most. Clark requests to perform a magic trick for her, but Brennan is seemingly disinterested. “I don’t think the Jeffersonian is a place for games.” But she does allow him to proceed. He performs his trick, and Brennan has it figured out instantly. This shouldn’t have been at all surprising to Clark, though he is still determined to “wow” his colleague. He later conspires with Hodgins for his next big trick. But again, Brennan figures it out in an instant. With a smile on her face she asks “are we done with magic tricks now?” And then she leaves the room. Poor Clark. He shouldn’t feel too discouraged though. It would be highly difficult to get anything past Brennan. However, lest we forget that Booth manages to successfully do so at the end of this particular episode. Not the point.
In Clark’s final scene, he and Hodgins have gathered objects from the Jeffersonian’s “Wide World of Magic.” Brennan remains skeptical and unimpressed.
“You are both grown men and, to the best of my knowledge, scientists. Please tell me that despite your enthusiasm for magic, you have discovered something of value that can help move this case forward.”
But the duo had found something truly probative. With some additional clues from Hodgins, Brennan has an epiphany regarding one of the “magical” objects on the table- the lock and chain. She and Clark go to Angela, who then creates a scenario using said padlock. This turns out to be the murder weapon for which they have been searching. The case is nearly solved with the help of Clark and his enthusiasm for magic.
This episode wasn’t too heavy with regards to Clark’s personal life. There was not much in the way of deep character development. But it was still definitely an enjoyable story. His scenes with both Hodgins and Brennan were light and amusing. I said this last week and I’ll probably repeat it for weeks to come (since I’m going through the interns one by one), but I love watching Hodgins with each one of the interns. He has bonded with all of them in a really distinct and lovely way. His conspiring with Clark to attempt to successfully perform a magic trick for Brennan was adorable. It was an entertaining episode, for sure.
The Stiff in the Cliff may be one of my favorite Clark episodes ever. This is what I appreciate about having the rotating interns- you get acquainted with a number of different and distinct personalities. Bones handles it so brilliantly. Even though we have limited time each season with these characters, we still know their personalities, their stories, and their motivations. We know them. Clark was around even before Zack left. He has had some wonderful episodes in the past, but this one really put his career in jeopardy. And we truly cared, because we care about him.
In short, the remains of an explorer who famously vanished a decade prior had been discovered. Brennan and the Jeffersonian were tasked with identifying the body, in hopes that it was indeed this missing person. Brennan actually determines that the man was murdered, so now the Jeffersonian must also find his killer. However, it was revealed that Clark was a member of that particular expedition. He was a student, but could still possibly be implicated. Clark was forced to remove himself from investigating the case, and he was uncharacteristically (but understandably) despondent for the remainder of the episode.
Not long after leaving the Jeffersonian that day, Clark obtained legal representation and refused to talk to both Booth and Aubrey without his lawyer present. Wendell also attempted to connect with his good friend over lunch, but Clark refused to speak about the case. I knew he could not have killed anyone, so I had to wonder what was really bothering him. He had to know that the team would eventually clear his name. So what was he hiding? What was he ashamed of?
We find out that Clark actually had a relationship with a woman on the expedition team. During a scene in the interrogation room with Booth and Brennan, Clark admits to punching the victim after catching him in the hut with Hazel- the woman with whom he was involved. He was apparently in love with her, and admits to doing a lot of stupid things for her. This includes covering up one of her mistakes while she was examining remains on the expedition. She nicked off a chip of bone on some ancient remains, and he knowingly did not log it. “You compromised the data? That is a serious breach of of your integrity as a scientist.” Brennan sported a look of absolute horror on her face. This is what Clark was hiding. And it was because as a scientist, he was ashamed. Clark then admits to Booth and Brennan that he was the last person to see the victim alive. He has no alibi, and no one to vouch for him. Clark begs Brennan to consider their long history. “If there’s anyone who can prove my innocence, it’s you.” Brennan agrees to reexamine the evidence, but that is the best she can do. This makes sense. And it actually is the best thing she could do for Clark. If she were to let her personal feelings cloud her judgment, then she may not be able to properly work the case and clear his name. It would have been a disservice to him for sure.
As expected, the team solves the case. Clark is innocent. And his former flame was actually the one who committed the murder. But something is still not sitting right with Clark, aside from the fact that he was in love with a killer. Later that night, he shows up at Brennan’s office to thank her for clearing his name. He conveys to her that if it wasn’t for herself and the rest of the team, he would probably not be standing there. Brennan is brilliant. She had a lot to do with their last-ditch effort to prove his innocence. Who else would have had such an epiphany while reading a book? Temperance Brennan is often misunderstood by so many. But not to those closest to her. They all know her. Including Clark. And they all appreciate the dedication she has to both her work and the people she cares about. Clark asks Brennan whether she ever entertained the thought that he could have been the murderer. “It would have been a disservice to you for me to consider my personal beliefs. But no, I never thought you were capable of such a crime.” I love this woman. And Clark’s relationship with her is truly special. Over the years, they have established a respectable trust between them. And they have become more than just colleagues, they are friends. And really, they are family. Brennan knows Clark. And that is why once the case was solved, she could admit to him that she never believed he could have killed anyone. But he understands her as well. And knows that her approach to the case needed to be purely objective. He too is a scientist. He too knows that objectivity is key. It’s absolutely essential. Without it, the evidence could have been compromised, and he could have faced real consequences.
Clark is still troubled. He is ashamed of what he did. The real issue here is not Brennan and everyone else believing that he was a murderer. But rather, that he compromised evidence in the name of love. Or at least what he thought was love at the time. More like naivety, I’d say. He covered up Hazel’s error. That is completely taboo in the world of science. Science is about uncovering truth, not obscuring it. Temperance Brennan values very little above truth. Trust is sacred to her. And Clark was party to violating that tenant. That is what he refers to as his “true crime.” And that crime had become public knowledge. It was all over the news. So he attempts to tender his resignation. He claims he should have known the evidence was fraudulent. “Any forensic anthropologist worthy of the Jeffersonian would have.” But Brennan points out that he was not a forensic anthropologist at the Jeffersonian at the time. “You were an undergrad persuaded by your professor.” “Yes, but a good scientist relies only on his own analysis.”
Brennan does not share this particular view with Clark. And she’s right not to. He was a student at the time. He was still learning. And he placed his trust in superiors who failed him. It was a mistake, yes. But not an irreparable one. He has grown to be a truly impressive scientist. Definitely one worthy of this institution. If you are worthy in the eyes of Temperance Brennan, I’d say you are doing a stellar job. Brennan has him look at the latest copy of the Forensic Anthropology Times. She has written an article in his defense. She believes in his abilities as a great scientist, and she is not going to let one mistake from a decade ago ruin his career and his life. She has the power and influence to change minds. And she used that power to save Clark.
“Mistakes make for better scientists, Dr. Edison. Every expert today has made a past error of some kind. Besides, that’s what friends and teammates do. They stand up for each other.”
This moment was everything to me. It was everything I love about these two individuals and their relationship. They share a hug, which neither of them would have ever done years ago. Clark was all about being professional and keeping all aspects of his personal life out of the lab. And Brennan was not too dissimilar. Clark was one of the first interns to come in when Zack left- both times. She wasn’t ready or even willing to trust another intern. She wasn’t prepared to let someone else into her life after being betrayed by yet another person she loved- someone she considered to be a close member of her family. But years passed and she eventually allowed herself to open her heart more. And now she and Clark are on a semi-first name basis. It’s really beautiful. All the relationships on this show have evolved so beautifully.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Clark was not in this season too frequently. These recurring guest stars get busy with other projects, and are cycled in when available. But this episode was worth the absence. It was a side of Clark we do not normally see. And it was an interesting position in which to place this character. He once worked tirelessly to clear Brennan’s name when she was accused of murder. And now she has returned the favor. Not that anyone is keeping score. They would both do it again tomorrow in a heartbeat.
I would say that I hope to see more of Clark next season, but I already know he’s in at least one episode thus far. So It will be great to witness how this character grows even more in season 12.
That’s about it for Clark! Another week, another squintern.