Oh, Dr. Fuentes. This was yet another intern who I was not entirely certain about when first introduced. But as usual, it didn’t take me too long to develop a fondness for the man. Big surprise. The amount of love I have for this show and all its glorious characters is absurd and off-the-charts. I must credit both the actors and the writers for creating such beautiful and unique characters. Since we met him in season nine, Ignacio Serricchio has played Rodolfo absolutely brilliantly. He’s charming, intelligent, and yes, a little cocky. But any good Jeffersonian intern needs to possess a touch of arrogance. Or at least a very healthy self-confidence. Dr. Fuentes was featured in two episodes this season. It is quite interesting to consider that he has only been in a handful of episodes throughout the series, as I feel as though we have known him forever.
Rodolfo Fuentes Season 11 Episode Appearances:
11×08: High Treason in the Holiday Season
11×12: The Murder of the Meninist
High Treason in the Holiday Season:
Rodolfo’s role was not hugely substantial in this particular episode. Of course he was critical in terms of helping to solve the case at hand. But he did not have much of a story this time around, likely due to the swift pace of this particular case. A body was initially discovered on a golf course. Back at the lab, Rodolfo was able to determine that the victim was not a golfer due to the fact that her vertebrae were fused. Angela asks him if he happens to play the sport. “Where would I? After Castro took over power, he bulldozed nearly every course on the island. Turned them into public housing and military schools.”
Hodgins adds that “some might say he was sharing the riches with the poor. I mean, look at a club like Washington Hills. It’s, like, one of the most beautiful places around, but you can only get in if you’re rich.” “Well, maybe so, but any time you take a thing of beauty and make it utilitarian, something is lost.” Even though there wasn’t much in the way of character development here, I still enjoy any mention of Rodolfo’s past in Cuba. I find his history to be fascinating. It was one of my favorite parts of The Repo Man in the Septic Tank. The group continues to discuss the case and hypothesizes what this woman could have been doing to have gotten herself killed. .
Cam and Rodolfo are discussing possible murder weapons in the bone room. The duo determines that the victim was not necessarily killed by a professional, as they previously posited. Additionally, they discover that there was not just one single blow, which killed her. A struggle may have ensued. The case in this episode wasn’t typical to that of a standard Bones holiday episode- which usually end up to be on the fluffier side. This was a rather exhilarating case, involving the NSA and a Snowden-esque whistle-blower called The American. The victim was a journalist, presumably with The American as her source. After some back and forth about the case, Hodgins enters the room. He wants Cam to reimburse him for an $8,000 watch, as he needed to test one similar to that of the victim’s. Rodolfo jokes that he’s “lucky it wasn’t a Rolex.” “I know, right? We got off cheap.” Cam is less than amused, but she is well aware of the fact that she essentially runs a kindergarten. With Hodgins’ rather expensive experiment, he has determined the exact time of the golf course body dump. Cam jokes with the two men that she should just bill the NSA, since they had come to the Jeffersonian earlier in the episode to try to commandeer the investigation.
This casual admission stops everyone in their tracks. “Uh… ¿cómo?” Hodgins, of course, is also immediately on alert. “Wait. The NSA– they were here?” You’re talking to the biggest conspiracy theorist out there. Cam assuages his concerns, letting Hodgins and Rodolfo know that she sent the man away. But she is relatively certain that he will return. Hodgins isn’t so sure. “No, I don’t think so. The NSA knows they have no jurisdiction. No, if there was a power grab, it was all for show. He probably showed up here so he could put a bunch of bugs so they can listen in.” Ah the usual Hodgins paranoia. Or is it? Cam cautions them not to get carried away. But Rodolfo jumps in to tell her that he thinks that Hodgins may be right. “All these agencies work the same, if it’s Washington or Havana.” Something is amiss. “You really think they killed Vivian?” “I don’t know, but they sure as hell want to find The American. And if our investigation leads them there, he’s dead.” Cam wants to call Booth and have the place swept. But Hodgins is the resident expert. He wants to take everyone’s phones. “Big Brother is watching here, okay? Or, more accurately, listening.” Rodolfo and Cam comply. “Whatever we find from here on out, don’t text, don’t call, don’t e-mail. You write it down, or… we whisper.”
After discovering that the victim’s emails possessed a very unique and nearly impossible encryption pass code, Hodgins and Angela turn to Rodolfo to try to extract any trace of blood from the victim’s bones. “It would have been better if we drew this before we cleaned the bones, but I’ll try.” It doesn’t look at all promising until a little droplet of blood is finally extracted. With the victim’s blood, Angela is able to decrypt the locked emails. She is able to locate the last correspondence between the victim and The American before she died. And Dr. Fuentes saves the case. Rodolfo later provides some further evidence to help figure out who could have possibly killed the victim.
While the group is still attempting to assemble the last piece of the puzzle in Angela’s office, Rodolfo enters. “Maybe I can help.” Based on some findings from Brennan, he reexamined the skull. He found the basic shape of the murder weapon. Angela chimes in “So, someone hit her on the head with a long, rectangular computer?” Meanwhile, Hodgins is using a “long rectangular tool” in the form of a metal detector. He thought he found a bug in the office, but what he really found was one of Angela’s earrings from when the two of them were….Anyway, Brennan has a realization in that moment. So with Rodolfo’s clues about the weapon, she determines that a metal detector actually is the weapon. And as it turns out, The American was not only the victim’s source, he was also the killer. Case closed.
The last scene of this episode featured all the characters gathered at Booth and Brennan’s home. During the first scene, Booth was trying to convince Brennan that they should serve a turkey for Thanksgiving. Brennan countered that he would be the only one eating it, and that it would be a waste. His solution was, of course, to invite Aubrey. But in the end, they invited the entire team. Their entire extended family. Because as we all know by now, there is more than one kind of family. Rodolfo was also invited, as he is a part of this team, and was also integral to solving the case. He had no lines here, but it was enough to see him mingling with the group. He drinks wine and talks to Cam. And later, he lends a hand by helping to pour the waters and carry the bread to the table.
As I stated in the beginning, Dr. Fuentes was primarily involved in casework during this episode. But it was still a pleasure to watch him interact with the team and make case-cracking contributions.
The Murder of the Meninist:
Rodolfo’s first scene is another group examination on the platform. He notes how charred the skull appears, and adds that reconstruction will not be easy. Angela responds “these days, not much is.” Both Rodolfo and Brennan give her a sad and knowing look. Hodgins had just found out that he may never walk again. His previously enthusiastic and cheerful disposition has been replaced by a hopeless prickly shell of a man, the likes of which we haven’t quite seen since pre-pilot Hodgins in the 100th. And even then, he wasn’t this surly. He has been treating Angela with such an utter disrespect. It’s really difficult to stomach. But I cannot imagine the immense pain he is feeling. To have any hope of returning to your previous life snatched away from you in an instant- it has to be devastating. But does it excuse the excessively harsh treatment toward his wife?
Moving on with the examination, Rodolfo announces that the victim is male. Hodgins makes his way onto the platform at that point and observes that the victim must have been poor based on the “clunker” he was driving. The team continues pouring over the remains, while Hodgins looks under the hood of the car the victim had been driving. He notices that a new carburetor was recently installed. Angela eagerly informs him that if he can get the serial numbers then Booth can track down where it was sold.
This elicited an overtly sarcastic response from her husband. “Yeah, great idea there, Angela. No way I would have thought of that one on my own.” She looks completely defeated. Because what can she really do besides be there for him and support him during this impossible time? Not much. She is helpless. Once again, Rodolfo and Brennan look despondently at their friend and colleague. This should not be happening. None of this should have happened. It was a fluke. A very tragic fluke. Cam asks Hodgins if he wants a hand with his inspection. He does not. But he dryly adds that he could use a new pair of legs. And I think with that, Rodolfo has seen enough- at least based on what he says to Hodgins later in the episode. But more on that in a moment.
Rodolfo and Cam are up on the platform examining the remains once again. After a rather heart-crushingly painful montage with Hodgins absorbing his new reality at the lab, he rides the lift up to the platform. Cam excitedly asks him how it was. He makes yet another scathing sarcastic comment. It is not my intention to sound insensitive here. Not at all. When I recap Hodgins’ story, I will delve more into this. I feel for him. I truly do. I cannot even process what he must be feeling. He is merely existing at this point. Clinging to his work, as he feels it’s all he has left. I just have to also sympathize with those around him who want nothing more than to see him love life again. The way he used to . Once again, Rodolfo observes his friend’s reaction. The group discovers that the victim was actually not poor, as they previously hypothesized. He was carrying a key fob to a Lexus, indicating that he likely had money.
Later, Cam and Rodolfo have a discussion regarding domestic violence. There is evidence of abuse on the victim. This confuses Rodolfo because “the victim is a man.” Cam is a bit surprised at that particular attitude and tells him “surely, you know that men can also be the victims of spousal abuse.” His answer- “not real men.” We have definitely seen more of this man’s sensitive side since his first appearance, but that said, this is obviously a bit of an ignorant statement. Once again, this show deals with all issues, big and small. And through Cam, Bones tackles the cultural bias involved with men as victims of domestic abuse. Rodolfo feels that the injuries could be from something entirely different, as he didn’t even report being abused. “That doesn’t surprise me, given cultural biases, like your own, men are often too ashamed to admit it.” Preach, Cam.
The next scene with Dr. Fuentes is my absolute favorite of his from the season. Hodgins makes his way to the bone room to meet Rodolfo, who had apparently summoned him.
“Hey, you have something for me to analyze? Presumably, a piece of evidence you couldn’t have walked over to my office. “
“I thought you’d prefer if I didn’t treat you with pity.”
“Oh, wow. How considerate of you.”
He hands Hodgins the skull, and Hodgins assumes that he is to then swab for particulate residue.
“I gotta say, I’m not surprised a jackass like this was attacked.”
“ I agree. He had it coming. Because a man who treats a woman like dirt, he’s not a man at all.”
“Really? What do you call a man who not-so-subtly passes judgment on a paraplegic?”
“For being so honest, I’d call him a friend.”
Unfortunately, not even this moment can penetrate the self-loathing wall that entomologist has built around himself. Deep down, he doesn’t want to be this person. But when you experience that level of pain and complete hopelessness, it’s almost uncontrollable. You feel yourself pushing everyone you love away. Because you cannot be the person you once were. You never can. It’s easier to force them away then to endure watching them watch you suffer. It only adds to the pain.
This moment was truly touching. Not because it had a satisfying effect. On the contrary, Rodolfo was unable to get through to Hodgins. But he was the first person to not shy away from this man and his all-consuming anger. He tackled it head on. He wasn’t going to let Hodgins continue to hurt the people he loved most. It wasn’t even a case of tough love. Rodolfo was trying to show him what he was risking by continuing on like this. No one blames Hodgins for being angry at the world. His injuries should never have occurred. No one could blame him for his attitude. But what he is doing to Angela- that is a form of abuse. Whether or not he means to hurt her, it simply is. She is also suffering as a result of his prognosis. So yes, Rodolfo was being a friend in this moment. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough.
The next few scenes would be lighter more humorous Dr. Fuentes scenes. During a discussion regarding circumcision between Cam and Angela, Angela talks about how her son could not technically give his consent for his circumcision at two days old. “That is a shame. In Cuba, very few boys are circumcised. Did you know that having a foreskin greatly enhances a man’s sexual pleasure?” Cam tells him that there is no scientific proof for that statement. “No, but I have ample anecdotal evidence.” I’m not even going to touch that statement. I will just leave it there and move on.
While looking over the bones again in the bone room, Brennan and Rodolfo have a particularly interesting conversation relative to men’s rights. Rodolfo makes a comment about the suspects and the victim, to which Brennan queries “are you implying Men Now has no legitimate issues?” “Are you implying they do?” Brennan goes onto explain that she believes men’s rights activists have legitimate cases in some instances including equal custody in divorce settlements. I think she makes an excellent point, honestly. Rodolfo agrees with that assessment, but still doesn’t believe it warrants the existence of a men’s rights group.
“Everyone knows it’s a man’s world.”
“Well, I think it should be an equal one.”
Amen. It’s a wonderful sentiment. But we are far from that point. I love Brennan’s view on it all though, however idealistic and vastly unrealistic. The clues are beginning to come together. The two discover that the victim was smashed in the face with a “blunt triangular object.” And then he proceeded to defend himself before toppling over onto an object with a “sharp horizontal edge.” The spinal cord would have been severed and death would ensue. They still don’t have the object which hit him or the location of the murder. Rodolfo makes an assumption that the killing had something to do with the leader of the men’s rights group. Brennan believes this to be a sexist assumption because the killer could just as easily be his wife.
“That was meant as a compliment.”
“And I suppose you think that women should feel flattered when they are catcalled walking down the street?”
“I know I do.”
“Is this something that happens to you frequently, Dr. Fuentes?”
“Oh, yes. They either call to me, or simply make love to me with their eyes. Though based on the daggers your eyes are sending, I will concede that it is possible for a woman to be a killer. Wow.”
I echo that. Wow. We know he means well. So I cannot really scold him. But the way Brennan is looking at him speaks volumes. Not amused, to say the very least.
Rodolfo’s final scene was also in the bone room with Brennan. She had just punched the leader of the men’s rights group in the jaw for insisting to Booth that she needs to be muzzled. Rodolfo points out that if a male consultant broke a suspect’s jaw, he would be in jail. “Well, if prison had been an option, I would never have struck him in the first place.” Ever the rational one. Of course even in a moment of pure spontaneity, she still quickly performed a cost/benefit analysis. Rodolfo wants to make sure she will receive some sort of punishment. Though Brennan dreams of an equal world, she knows that it is not reality. And could therefore accurately predict she would receive less retribution for being a woman punching a man.
“Booth has submitted the proper paperwork, and it will receive an unbiased review by the FBI.”
“I can only imagine the catcalls you’re gonna get when you’re picking up trash on the side of the road.”
Brennan ignores his statement, as she has just discovered a strange peri-mortem burn mark on the frontal bone of the skull. Based on this new discovery as well as Rodolfo’s findings from earlier, they can determine that the victim was hit with an iron. This helps them solve the case. And not that it’s really vital to the Dr. Fuentes recap, but no meninist was actually involved in the murder of the victim.
Though Dr. Fuentes’ story did not progress as much this season with the episodes in which he was featured, we still got some really great scenes.The humor he brings with his let’s call it confident attitude is priceless. He obviously has an air of arrogance about him, but not dissimilar to other “brilliant but arrogant” characters on this show. They all also have metaphorically big hearts. Rodolfo knows he is exceptional. He said as much when he first appeared on the show. He is also genuine, extremely empathetic, insightful, and kind. He too found something of a home with these people. When he finished his first case at the Jeffersonian, Hodgins made him Ropa Vieja so he would feel at home. Hodgins brought a little piece of Cuba to the lab for him. I keep harping on the fact that Hodgins has a special bond with each and every intern. And during this episode, Hodgins was the one that needed help. He needed a friend. Even if he didn’t ask for one. Even if Rodolfo’s advice fell on deaf ears. I think Hodgins will probably look back on that moment and at least acknowledge that this man was trying to help him. He was being a friend to him. He was looking out, not only for Hodgins, but for Angela and their family as well. Someone needed to say something to him. Someone at least had to try. In the end, it would be Angela who would finally get through to Hodgins. But more on that in a few weeks.
This hiatus is inching slowly by. With the return of fall television this week, it’s finally hitting me that we still have quite a ways to go until we get any new episodes. However, given the circumstances (which I still refuse to accept or speak of) I am perfectly fine with the wait. Bring it on.
Next week, another intern! Just a few more to go. And the chosen character is still a mystery. Until then!