I believe I have started out every one of these intern recaps in a vaguely similar fashion- I either loved said intern from the very beginning, or he/she ended up growing on me eventually. Oliver Wells is a bit different. I have to say he was my least favorite from the start. And it would probably be a bit inaccurate to claim that he became a beloved part of this Jeffersonian family in my eyes. I think it is because he never had that vulnerable or profound moment with anyone on the team. He is unapologetically pompous. And while Brennan does have a touch of arrogance at times (as she should), she somehow manages to come off as charming. Perhaps that is because we know her. We know her story. We know how brilliant she is, but we also know how generous and empathetic and loving she can really be. We don’t necessarily know if Oliver has any of these qualities outside of the lab. Does he have any meaningful relationships in his life? It wouldn’t appear so. His biggest problem is that he has trouble finding someone worthy enough with whom to share a coffee. But at the same time, there are definite hints of insecurity there- especially when he is wrong about something. So technically no, I wouldn’t say he is one of my favorites. He is not beloved by me. At the same time, I think he has actually grown on me in a bizarrely unusual and unexpected way. He is who he is. And he is comfortable with himself. That is enviable. And I appreciate his character- the humor he brings to the show. I also admittedly love all of his scenes with Hodgins. And it’s through Hodgins that I find myself most enthralled and amused by this man.
Oliver Wells Season 11 Episode Appearances:
11×04: The Carpals in the Coy-Wolves
11×15: The Fight in the Fixer
11×19: The Head in the Abutment
The Carpals in the Coy-Wolves
I have already recapped a bit of Oliver’s story in his first episode of season 11 due to Betty White’s appearance as an intern in the same episode. But now his “issue” can be examined in further detail…
The team is examining the remains of the latest victim up on the platform. Oliver is acting a bit more insufferable than usual, and Angela inquires as to whether everything is okay with him. “You seem…even douchier than usual.” Cam was going to use the phrase “on edge” Brennan, however, is unconcerned with Oliver’s attitude. “If it continues, he is easily replaceable. In fact, I’ve already enlisted the help of an additional intern.” This irks Cam, as (of course) Brennan neglected to clear this new addition with her. She is the boss, after all. “Trust me. Dr. Beth Mayer’s brilliance as a forensic anthropologist is unrivaled. With the exception of myself, of course.” That is high praise coming from Brennan for sure. Though, she is still the best in the country (world). Oliver actually has some concerns of his own.
“This new intern, she isn’t hot, is she?”
“You say ‘hot’ like you would prefer ‘hideous’”
Brennan adds that “Dr. Mayer has exceptional bone structure and perfect facial symmetry.” “Great. Now I’ll have to deal with another gorgeous, intelligent woman.” That comment elicited some pretty priceless looks from the stunning and brilliant women of the Jeffersonian.
Oliver is quite clearly not his usual self. He pays a visit to the Ookey Room, and asks Hodgins if he may assist him in separating the victim’s facial bones. Hodgins eventually starts probing Oliver for information as to what is bothering him. ”Everything is fine. All systems functioning perfectly…In terms of my performance. My performance here at work, not any other type of performance. I’m not talking about my performance anywhere else.” Seems normal. Hodgins assures Oliver that he is in a safe place, and that it’s “just us guys.” Oliver reluctantly lets Hodgins know that he’s dealing with erectile dysfunction. Hodgins is slightly taken aback, but also plays it off by telling Oliver he has nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s a common problem. “So you have experience with this, as well?” “God, no. But if I did, you know, it would be completely normal. It’s confounding, ‘cause normally, when I’m faced with a problem, all I have to do is focus on the variables. But I am not taking medication, I’m not ill, I’m not overweight, I’m not fatigued, and I don’t consume alcohol regularly. But the more I try to solve this particular problem, the worse it gets.” Cam walks in, and the discussion is abruptly tabled. Or so it would appear. Oliver apologizes to her for his earlier behavior.
“I haven’t been feeling myself as of late, and perhaps I took my frustration out on the team.”
“Apology accepted. And no hard feelings.”
“No. None whatsoever.”
Some time later, the bulk of the team, including Dr. Mayer, is surveying the many missing bones from the victim. Hodgins, of course, wants to go out into the woods to retrieve the absent bones in question
“Well, normally I’m not one to endorse one of your ill-conceived expeditions. However, I need those bones. You should take Dr. Wells with you.” But Oliver wants to stay in the lab. Somehow I am not shocked that he considers himself to be more of an indoor man. Dr. Mayer volunteers to cover for both Hodgins and Oliver. “Besides, being in nature will be good for Mr. Happy.” Wow. Hodgins is impressed. “Do you miss anything?” “I’m around a lot of older men with the same issue. After a while, you can practically smell it on a man.” A semi-fazed Oliver admits that perhaps a little exercise may be therapeutic for his situation. “Forget exercise! What you need is to get out of your head and go wild.” Have I mentioned I love this woman? I believe I did several hundred times within her own recap. Oliver makes sure that his leaving is approved by Brennan. “Go. And if it’s any consolation, Dr. Wells, I don’t smell anything different about you.” “Well, that’s because Dr. Mayer’s a lot more perceptive than you are.” Oliver and Hodgins leave behind a very perplexed Brennan and a smiling Dr. Mayer.
In the woods, the men are searching for the guilty coy-wolves who feasted on the victim. Presumably, that’s where they would find the majority of the missing bones.
“Hey, so, out of the lab and in nature. Is anything, you know, awakening in you?”
“No, and I’m growing skeptical that simply being out of the lab is going to fix my…”
Oh sweet Hodgins. Oliver notes that the only thing he feels at that present moment is tired and hungry. This leads Hodgins to make some determinations about coy-wolves’ digestion habits. Now the duo is looking for defecation instead of the actual animals. Charming.
They initially carted along tranquilizer guns in case they found the coy-wolves in question. They go to stow the guns, now that they do not need to find the live animals. But unfortunately, Oliver ends up accidentally shooting Hodgins. Oliver tries to calm the entomologist by telling him that it’s just a low dose, and that he will probably be fine. But Hodgins continues to freak out.
By the time Angela speaks to her husband through video chat in the woods, the tranquilizer has done its job. Hodgins is positively stoned, to say the very least. And it’s more than obvious to Angela. He informs her that Oliver shot him, but that it was an accident and they are “still friends. “His wiener’s feeling better, so it’s, uh, it’s awesome.” It sounds awesome. As the two talk about the case, Angela notices Oliver in the background. And he is howling. “ What is going on out there? Does Oliver have his shirt off?” Oliver continues to howl. “Yeah. He thinks he’s a wolf.” He joins Hodgins on the screen, and informs Angela that he is finally out of his head. “I can actually feel Mother Earth breathing new life into me.” They talk about the case a bit more. Before they disconnect, Hodgins wants to sing a song to Angela. “I’ve heard the song. It’s not great.” I was quite interested to hear the song, actually. I imagine a drugged-up Hodgins would craft quite the creative piece of music. Angela hangs up, and the other two are off to look for wolf droppings.
A triumphant Oliver returns to the lab with a renewed sense of self-confidence. “Hello ladies.” Cam corrects him. “It’s still ‘Dr. Saroyan.” “Yes. Yes, it is…Turns out Dr. Mayer was right. All I needed was a little fresh air to get the blood flowing to the proper areas…” A more sober Hodgins attempts to get Oliver to focus on the bones so that they can solve the case in a timely manner. Angela opts out, however, because the smell is a bit too potent to her. I don’t blame her. Not a huge fan of coy-wolf defecation.
By the end of the episode, Oliver is back with Hodgins in the woods. He admits that he actually thoroughly enjoys hiking. He is also pleased to be back at full strength. Hodgins shares in that sentiment, since he is no longer suffering the after-effects of the tranquilizer drug. The two begin to bicker about whether or not Oliver actually intended to shoot Hodgins. But Oliver believes that Hodgins overreacted to the entire situation since it was a non-lethal dose. Hodgins gives Oliver one final chance to take back his false accusations. And then he proceeds to get even. He shoots Oliver with a dart, and all Oliver can say is that he hopes it does not reverse “his mojo.”
The Fight in the Fixer
Oliver and Hodgins are attempting to defrost the latest victim with a giant furnace. They rev it up, and are literally blown away by the forceful machine. Brennan is impressed by their work, and calls Hodgins “King of the Lab” for his success. Brennan removes her goggles and looks impeccable. However, Hodgins and Oliver look like they’ve just baked in the sun for a bit too long.
I actually enjoyed Dr. Wells in his other two episodes this season. But during this particular episode, I felt a bit of animosity towards the intern. I know he has an unrelenting desire to be right 100% of the time. And furthermore, he has to let people know he is right. But what was the point of his behavior here? Why did he so desperately want to prove that he was better than Brennan’s first grader? Why did he feel the need to go out of his way to prove that Christine altered her grade? Whether or not it was true is besides the point. What did he ultimately gain from it? But I guess the satisfaction of being right is generally enough for him. I am getting ahead of myself, though.
Oliver walks into Brennan’s office to debrief her on some case details. He notices Christine’s latest report card laying on her desk, and notes that she performed well. Brennan informs him that she and Booth are extremely proud of their daughter. Oliver of course must note how perfect his grades were at that age, and manages to throw a slight dig at the current education system. “Of course, standards were much higher when I was in first grade.” That’s one way to get Brennan going. She wants to know what he means by that comment. Oliver points out Christine’s drawing, for example. She received an “E+” in art, but he proceeds to insult her “color palette” and lack of shadowing. He would have given her a G, at best. Brennan is insulted that he would criticize her child’s art. I mean honestly, it is a bit petty. I don’t think Oliver is actually intending to act petty, but that is just how he is. He goes on to critique Christine’s “stick figure,” which was modeled after Brennan. The drawing possesses 14 fingers. “And while polydactylism is a real thing, I hardly think it applies here.” Brennan has had enough and sends him away. Not before he adds that he has already completed his tasks because he is “exemplary.”
While examining the remains, Hodgins informs Oliver that he looked at the the email of the photo of his “niece’s” art grade. But without the original, he couldn’t definitively prove anything. This captures Brennan’s attention immediately. She asks which photo Hodgins is talking about. Apparently, Oliver was skeptical of Christine’s E+ in Art. He suspected foul play, and went to Hodgins for confirmation. Hodgins is unable to confirm either way, but also believes the marks of the grade were both likely made with two different pens. “Anyway, as you can see, no big deal. Just doing a little favor here for a friend.” Oh how wrong he was. Oliver explains to Brennan that he felt he had been too critical after their last talk, so he came to her office to apologize. While inside, he noticed the “inconsistency.”
“Of course, to my credit, my hunch was correct.”
My daughter did not cheat.”
“Well, evidence would say otherwise. I thought, as a scientist, you would want to know the truth.”
In the car, Brennan is regaling Booth with the drama concerning Oliver and Christine’s report card. Booth actually refers to Oliver as “that goofy tall guy that no one likes.” So that shows you how much credibility Oliver has when it comes to Booth. Brennan goes on to explain that Hodgins’ analysis suggests that a minus sign was changed into a plus. Booth is in disbelief. Christine simply would not do that. He asks which subject it was. “Art….Booth, Christine did not forge a school document for the sake of the grade.” He is in full agreement.
Brennan is back to examining the bones with Oliver. They discuss the case, but all of a sudden Brennan quite forcefully tells Oliver that she’s going to say something one last time- “My daughter did not cheat.” “Then there’s no reason not to let Dr. Hodgins test the ink to confirm that I’m right.” They go back to the case. Brennan then heads out to meet Booth who has a lead. Oliver informs her that he will have Hodgins swab the remains to see what may have damaged the teeth. “And after Dr. Hodgins is finished, have him analyze the ink on my daughter’s report card.” Oliver thinks this is an excellent idea. “Perhaps you’d like to place a little friendly wager over who is correct.” Oh, Brennan. Like Oliver, she hates to be proven wrong. But her “faith” in her daughter and her daughter’s character is at stake. She was once wrong about a much younger Christine and a biting incident. But Christine had grown up since then. And she is a kind, smart and a well-rounded child. Brennan is willing to “bet” that there is a logical explanation for the ink discrepancy.
Back in the car, Booth is in shock that Brennan made a wager with “this creep.” “Booth, it’s not a bet if you know you’re going to win.” “Aha, you know, that’s funny, because that’s what gambling addicts say all the time.” Brennan explains that it is not a monetary bet. “That would be insensitive and too close to home.” The two barely even take pause to consider this statement. Because there are no secrets any longer. If Booth gets an urge to gamble, he will talk to her. He knows how his gambling affected her, their family, and his livelihood. It’s not that they breeze past the subject. They just know that if there was an issue in that moment, then Booth would acknowledge it. But Booth is more concerned in this moment about the actual terms of the wager. “Okay, so what is it, huh? You’re not gonna end up with a tattoo of this guy’s face or something?” “No, of course not, because I’m going to win.” Of course she feels that way. Booth is done talking about this. Que sera, sera. He steers her back to the case. But she adds one more time that she is going to win. For emphasis.
Hodgins has the test results from both the ink as well as the case. He asks whether Brennan would rather see the the swab results or the ink analysis. She gives the honor to Oliver who, of course, selects the ink analysis. Long story short, the plus sign was indeed made up of two different inks. “As a gentleman, I will do you the courtesy of not saying “I told you so.’” “Even though you just did.” Brennan is clearly displeased. But she abruptly shifts the focus back to the case. This whole situation does not make sense, to both Brennan and to myself. To Brennan, because she was wrong. She thought she knew and understood her daughter. But science is foolproof. And the science has spoken. The grade must have been changed. There is no alternate explanation. To me, there was something not quite right about this. I feel as though I know Christine reasonably well. And I figured that there had to be a logical explanation for ink-gate. This child simply would not change an art grade and deceive her parents. At least not without an excellent reason. And I was sure of that much.
By the end of the episode, Brennan was sulking in the kitchen. Booth takes notice, and asks what’s going on. She’s not okay. “I lost my bet with Dr. Wells, and as a result, I have to pay up.” But all Booth can do is laugh. He asks what Brennan had to do as a result of her loss. The answer- she was forced to record his voicemail greeting. Booth reads the script aloud. “Hello. You’ve reached the voicemail for Dr. Oliver Wells, the most brilliant forensic anthropologist in the history of the Jeffersonian.” Poor Brennan. Everyone knows she is far more brilliant. Maybe Oliver is a bit more accomplished in one of his other disciplines. But forensic anthropology is her domain. Brennan is humiliated. But what’s worse is that now she is going to have to talk to Christine about cheating…Not so fast. Booth tells her they no longer have to have that discussion with their daughter. “Yes, we do. The grade was altered, Booth. It was scientifically proven.” “Uh-uh, you’re looking at it all wrong. Turn the report card over. Look at the teacher’s signature.” The teacher signed the report card with the same ink that was used for the plus sign. “Exactly. And you really think that our little girl would be able to, what, forge an adult’s signature?” Booth ended up speaking to the teacher about the incident. The teacher ran out of ink halfway through grading. “So she picked up another pen. And finished what she intended to do, and that was give our brilliant little kid an E-plus in Art.” Brennan KNEW IT. She is so incredibly ecstatic that jumps up from her seat and kisses Booth. She continues to exclaim that she knew it. Booth wants her to admit that her “science is bunk.” But she will do no such thing. She concedes that she did not see the complete picture. But the rest of this conversation can wait, as she needs to call Oliver to get him to change his voicemail at once. The urgency dissipates just a tad, as she lets the recording play in its entirety. “You have to admit, I have an excellent voice…it’s quite sonorous.” I have to agree. Maybe she should have him leave it as his voicemail. Can I get it as my voicemail?
The Head in the Abutment
This was probably my favorite Oliver episode of the season. And I imagine it’s due predominantly to his interactions with Hodgins. Something about their dynamic really intrigues me. Hodgins often has that effect when it comes to interns. In this particular instance, the two have apparently reverted back to their teenage years. They are trash-talking while playing a video game in the Ookey Room. Intelligent remarks such as “your face doesn’t make sense.” can be heard during this exchange. Or my favorite “your face is so big that it creates non-Euclidean triangles of over 180 degrees around it.” Trash talk among geniuses is mildly different than with 11 year olds. Cam walks in, noting the juvenile behavior of her employees. She informs them that a body is headed to the lab, but the men are not paying attention to her. They are too busy arguing about cheating. This bodes well for the rest of the episode. Poor Cam.
The fighting did not cease with that scene. As the team examines the body on the platform, Hodgins not-so-subtly posits that the victim may have cheated at video games “so his friend threw him off a cliff.” Oliver fires back- “Or he was simply so depressed at being such a sore loser, that he jumped.” They begin to argue again, but Brennan adorably interjects. “Those hypotheses are juvenile and not rooted in facts. Dr. Wells, please determine which injuries are postmortem and which are perimortem.” Back to work they go
As Oliver is discussing the case with Cam in the bone room, a drone swoops in. We have certainly seen some strange occurrences in the lab over the years, but this was far from standard. Cam and Oliver follow the mysterious drone out to the platform where Hodgins is seated with a controller. Cam notes that she is“equal parts scared and fascinated.” The drone zooms in on Oliver’s head, and points on a piece of lint in his hair. He reluctantly shares that he is impressed. Cam admits that this will actually be helpful in locating the victim’s missing head. As luck would have it, Hodgins has procured a second drone for his current “nemesis”. He challenges Oliver to find the head before him. He wants a rematch. “Okay, guys, this is not a drone-measuring contest.” Sadly, Cam is ignored once again. She is indeed running a kindergarten class here. And the men (boys) are gearing up to compete. “Game on.”
The hunt for the head is underway. The trash talk is getting even more childish, if that’s possible. And this is why I enjoyed Oliver in this episode. Hodgins brings out the fun side of him for sure. As evidenced by both this episode and 11×04.“Your mom talks smack.” “Oh, yeah? Well, I’m gonna plant a cypress tree in your mom’s butt and then I’m gonna pull you under the shade of that tree and I’m gonna slap you across the face.” Friendly reminder that these two are geniuses. Cam walks in for that last comment and presumes that neither has found the head yet. Oliver, a smidge embarrassed, apologizes for their“testosterone-driven banter.” He debriefs Cam on some other case discoveries the team has made in the meantime. Cam turns to leave, but asks them to notify her when they find the head. “Whoever finds it first.” Both reply “I will.”Game on, indeed.
Time has passed, and still no sign of the head. Oliver and Hodgins bicker about whether Hodgins miscalculated the discovery area.
“You know what maybe did make a miscalculation?”
“Please do not say my face.”
“You’re like a child. Wait a second, that’s actually it.”
That comment actually gave Hodgins a brilliant idea. Butt-abutment. They need to get the drones over the bridge to look at the abutments. They make this into a game as well. “Race to the bridge.” Oliver is the first to find the head, and declares that he is the winner. But Hodgins swoops in, and his drone actually secures the head. “Oh! And I am off for my triumphant flight back to the lab.”Unfortunately, the two of them were so busy competing and bickering, that they did not really consider the fact that they were flying a human head across the city in plain sight. A child in the street screams, and clings to her mother. This alerts others to the slightly unnerving view above them. “Maybe I should’ve taken a different route home.” Probably would have been best.
Despite the complications, the head arrives safely to the lab to the tune of Also Sprach Zarathustra. It’s amazingly perfect. Hodgins is quite proud of his achievement, so he takes the head on a victory lap around the lab. “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it’s done.” Aubrey pays a visit to the men on behalf of the FBI. He is there to scold them. “So, if anyone asks, I gave you both a pretty intense spanking.” But really, he’s just as nerdy as the other two. He is fascinated by the drone. “It’s like a real-life version of the game Aerial Attack.”Hodgins and Oliver are excited that Aubrey plays the game as well. “Uh, yeah. Pretty good, too.” The other two are a bit skeptical. After all, they are self-proclaimed “lab nerds.” They imply that Aubrey couldn’t hold a candle to them. But the FBI agent reveals that he’s actually a gamer. “I was just being humble by saying I’m pretty good, I’m actually very good.” He reveals his level and Hodgins and Oliver are shell-shocked. They start tripping over their words, informing Aubrey that they really just started playing so they aren’t very far into the game. Cam interrupts and Aubrey pretends to be scolding the two again.“Just wanted to issue a warning to these two on behalf of the FBI. Don’t want to have to restrict them from public airspace.” But Cam is no fool. “Thank you. I’m sure that they appreciate it. Especially if they ever want to be a level 50 with all red gear.” Cam is seriously the greatest boss. As is Brennan. Because while later examining the skull fractures with Oliver, she tells him to have Dr. Hodgins swab for particulates- “If you’re not engaged in a childish video game.”
There wasn’t much in the way of character development for Oliver during this episode. Except for the fact that we learned he was a gamer. But I suppose I could have inferred as much by making a judgment. He is a scientist, he is competitive, and he likes a challenge. It fits. Sometimes he is really hard to like. But he’s a part of the team. And I will defend him as such. His behavior in 11×15 was really hard to watch. I have to sort of reconcile it with the fact that I don’t believe his intentions are malicious. But I am protective of the central Bones characters. And if an intern crosses them, I get combative. I think Brian Klugman does a superb job with this character though. For the most part, I do enjoy Oliver. Just not when he is attacking the integrity of a first grader.
Next week will be an off week for personal reasons. But there are just two interns to go! Have a great two weeks, and make sure to watch a lot of Bones reruns in the meantime.