After a bit of a hiatus of my own, I have returned to finish off these recaps. Time feels as though it’s moving faster than usual, these days. Bones hiatuses used to seem absolutely endless, whether it was between seasons or just a interminable break right in the middle. This is surely one of the longer ones we’ve been forced to endure. But in this particular instance, there is no period of time long enough for me. I relish in the gift of time. In fact, I would actually petition for more time if it was possible. I am not yet processing the reality of this situation. I really just cannot bear to do so. Not yet. If I want to continue writing about season 11 with a clear head, I have to ignore the obvious. So that is precisely what I am doing. I’ll stop this line of thought because that isn’t the point of this post. Wendell Bray is the focus of this particular post.
Wendell Bray Season 11 Episode Appearances:
11×03: The Donor in the Drink
11×05: The Resurrection in the Remains
11×11: The Death in the Defense
11×20: The Stiff in the Cliff
11×22: The Nightmare Within the Nightmare
Wendell Bray. Always a favorite. He has been a really amiable character throughout the series. That’s probably why my heart felt extra fragile after he was diagnosed with Cancer in season 9. He had already been through so much in his life. He didn’t have much growing up. And we know his dad died of Cancer. Wendell’s town actually pooled together the money to get him through school (which shows just how positively he affects those around him). He worked hard to make something of himself. In that sense, he is a bit like Brennan. When his scholarship was dropped many years, he was nothing short of devastated. All that hard work, and he was going to be back where he started. That is, until those “anonymous” donors came through to save the day. Wendell wasn’t like the other interns who somehow had means. He needed that job. He needed extra work, extra money. He had a dream, and he was making it come true for himself. Until his diagnosis. That was the first time you really saw Wendell entertain the idea of defeat. He was ready to succumb to the Cancer, let it take him. He was going to live out his days drinking and traveling- to forget. But he has made some pretty incredible friends over the years. Friends who would fight right along with him. Friends who would be there for him. Especially Booth- It was Booth who really encouraged him to fight. His life wasn’t even close over yet. It was just beginning. And so, after a bit of deliberation, Wendell decided to fight. And when he was later let go from the lab because of the medical marijuana, it was Booth and Brennan (and Caroline) who fought for a way to keep him on the team. When a friend from his clinical trial didn’t make it, Wendell wanted to give up once again. But Booth was not going to sit idly by and watch “another brother” die. Wendell is family- to all of these people. That is what is most beautiful about this show. The running theme of “there’s more than one kind of family.”
**Since Wendell was in quite a few episodes in season 11, I’ll keep the focus mainly on his non-case moments this season.**
In the first Wendell episode, The Donor in the Drink, there weren’t a plethora of Wendell scenes unrelated to the forensics. At the beginning of the episode, Wendell asks Brennan if “being back at the Jeffersonian just like riding a bike.” She took that statement a bit literally, of course. But considers both being at the lab and riding a bike activities that she greatly enjoys. Brennan then drains the body bag, completely giddy with excitement. She definitely “missed this.”
The trio talks about Booth returning to work. And Brennan asks Cam how Arastoo’s job search is going. Cam and Wendell share a knowing look. Wendell is obviously close with Arastoo, and knows that Brennan’s return to the Jeffersonian meant Arastoo had to look elsewhere if he wanted to run forensic anthropology at a lab. I don’t believe he blames Brennan for this by any means. And we soon find out that Cam does not either. As neither of them should have. But more on that another time.
Objectively, Cam always knew that Arastoo couldn’t stay there for her anymore than she could leave for him. But it still hurts. It is still a profound loss. Wendell later finds Cam in the autopsy room, and attempts to casually invite his boss to a movie with himself and his girlfriend. “Why is it that every happy couple I know treats me like I’m broken now that I’m not in a relationship?” But Wendell admits that he was just trying to help. Cam suggests helping with the case instead. And he does. For the remainder of the episode. He makes an appearance at Angela’s art show at the close of the episode, which further illustrates that his relationship with these people goes deeper than just “coworkers.”
The Resurrection in the Remains doesn’t provide much character development for Wendell. He was really just there as the intern of the week. There was a lot of story to fit in here, as it was the crossover with Sleepy Hollow. The writers had to ensure that the story flowed and made sense for both shows.
By the end of this episode, Wendell is in on Booth’s prank on Brennan. Wendell tells his boss that she needs to sign off on some remains. She is a bit perturbed at this, as she presumed that the remains should have been shipped by this point. It’s “unacceptable.” Wendell is sorry, and leaves her to “the body.” Though, “the body” happens to be Booth’s very-much-alive masked body. He scares his wife to get her back for a prank she played on him earlier. After composing herself, Brennan decides she will now “prank” Wendell, and tell him that he has been fired for assisting Booth with his prank. “It’s only appropriate that I prank him back.” Brennan claims she will eventually inform him about the prank – in “a year.” Booth get anxious. “Wendell’s going to think that he doesn’t have a job for a whole year?” But that is yet another prank by Brennan. “Gotcha, Booth.”
Wendell makes his next appearance in The Death in the Defense. This was the first episode after the never-ending winter hiatus, as well as Hodgins’ first episode following the fateful explosion. The team is examining the latest body, and apparently Wendell has been studying up on his bugs. He is trying to make a determination about the body based on the blowflies, but he claims he is missing something. At that moment, Hodgins returns to let Wendell know that he was actually missing a tropical storm, which occurred before the body was found. Hodgins’ presence at the lab is a surprise to all. Wendell informs Hodgins that he “really missed” him. Cam suggests the group all go to lunch together. But Hodgins tells them that he is working this case. There is no time for lunch.
Throughout the episode, Wendell is truly supportive of Hodgins and his return to the lab. He points out that Hodgins is absolutely essential to the team. He ensures that everyone realizes Hodgins’ invaluable contribution, every step of the way. Wendell also encourages Hodgins throughout the case, thrilled that his friend and colleague is doing well and seems to be back in his happy place.
Hodgins discovers the location of some missing bones. He would like to go extract them himself. But apparently that was just one request too many. A very stressed Angela tells her husband that he’s going to give her a heart attack. And she adds that his chair simply will not make it through the mud at the site. Wendell goes instead, and Hodgins follows the intern’s exploration through a video camera. He is quite jovial during this scene, even if he wasn’t allowed to physically be there helping. Wendell falls down the muddy hill while trying to carefully make his way to a crate. And Hodgins begins laughing hysterically. It’s a wonderful sight to see, given everything that has happened to this man. But I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Wendell sarcastically asks a laughing Hodgins if he is enjoying himself. “Yeah I really am.” And he really is. Wendell ends up finding the missing fragments behind the bars of the crate, and both he and Hodgins are excited. ”Hey Hodgins…King of the Lab.” You can sense a dramatic shift in Hodgins’ mood at this point. Wendell obviously only meant it as a positive affirmation. Hodgins, a bit dejectedly, responds “Yeah, King of the Lab.” But you have to wonder if he is thinking about whether or not he is going to be the King of the Lab any longer.
While in the bone room with Brennan, Wendell gives Hodgins all the credit for finding the missing fragments. He also credits Hodgins with finding steel alloy particulates. Brennan continues positing about weapon identification, when Wendell blurts out “What if he stayed?”
Dr. Hodgins? Dr. Saroyan is of the opinion that it is detrimental to his recovery.
I know, but what if it’s more detrimental for him to stay home thinking about everything he can’t do?
There’s no quantitative method for evaluating such a question.
I just don’t want him to give up. When I was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, Booth told me giving up wasn’t an option. That I had to fight.
That metaphorical concept will not give Dr. Hodgins the use of his legs. In fact, he may be offended by the very idea that he can fight his nerves back into growing, given the extreme unlikeliness of recovery.
My recovery was extremely unlikely… but it happened.
And I’m happy for that, but it has nothing to do with Dr. Hodgins.
Wendell’s supportiveness throughout the episode was not just because he was looking out for his friend. But also because he sees himself in Hodgins. Wendell was ready to give up when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. His chances of survival were more than slim. But something that Booth said stuck with him. He knew he had a support system. He wanted to fight for his life, even if it seemed futile. He wanted to be remembered as someone who fought back. Hodgins is doing his own version of fighting for his life- fighting for normalcy. Fighting for the life he used to live. He was also still in danger of worsening his condition. But Hodgins retained his faith. He knew he would walk again. His hopes had not yet been dashed at this point. Booth, Brennan and the rest of the team were there for Wendell. And Wendell would be there to defend and protect and encourage Hodgins. Faith and hope are intangible constructs, as Brennan later tells Booth. It’s difficult for her to adhere to any concept that defies science. Obviously I am not saying she never has. We have seen her rely on faith before. But the science is not in Hodgins’ favor. She is also afraid they could offend Hodgins by even insinuating that he has a fighting chance of walking again. Because it is far too unlikely. Wendell points out that his own recovery was unlikely. And despite it all, he triumphed. Brennan is truly happy for Wendell. But these are two entirely different scenarios, scientifically speaking. These two people both want what’s best for Hodgins, that is not in dispute. They just disagree as to what “best” is for Hodgins at this point.
Though it crushes her to do so, Cam eventually tells Hodgins he needs to go home. He is off the case. Wendell later wants to tell Hodgins about a discovery Cam has made. But she tells the intern that it would defeat the purpose of her removing him from the case. But Wendell finds a way to keep the entomologist in the loop. He consults him on the case facts- the items on which only Hodgins can provide expert opinion. Because Wendell is not going to give up on him. No matter the odds. No matter what anyone else says. Their situations are not that different, to Wendell. I don’t know who was really right in this episode. Everyone wanted the best for Hodgins. But everyone had a different opinion as to what was best for him. I admire Wendell for his approach. And for helping his friend maintain his sanity through a time that could otherwise be completely dark and hopeless. But we all know what happens in the end of this episode, unfortunately. And that’s it for Wendell here.
Clark is actually the initial chosen “intern” of the week in The Stiff in the Cliff. But after learning that Clark had been an intern on the expedition team with the murdered victim, Brennan is forced to remove him from the case. Wendell comes in on short notice to fill in for Clark. Hodgins debriefs him on what he’s found. Wendell asks Hodgins if he thinks there is a chance Clark could have actually committed the murder. “No, definitely not.” Though, Hodgins then points out that it seems weird that Clark has never mentioned anything about being a part of such a famed expedition. Wendell presumes that it was probably too traumatic for him to talk about.
All I know is that Clark is definitely innocent.
Wendell and Clark meet for lunch at the diner. It’s surprising that Clark even shows up, as he was not interested in conversing with Booth and Aubrey earlier in the episode. But this was supposed to be a lunch among friends. Wendell attempts to keep the conversation light by bringing up the previous night’s baseball game.
Come on, man. Did you really bring me here to talk about baseball?
Sorry, guess I’m just a little nervous.
Wendell admits that he fails to understand why Clark is not talking. He thinks it makes his friend seem guilty. He then asks if Clark was in a relationship with one of the women on the team. Clark’s face tells him all he needs to know. ““Is that what this is about? Are you really trying to get me to talk?” Wendell informs him that he only trying to help. I do believe Wendell. Even if no one can agree on the best way to help Clark, his heart is definitely in the right place.
“We both know that you didn’t do it.” Clark tells Wendell that he’s wasting his time. “I’m your friend. I only want what’s best for you.” Clark knows that. But right now the best thing he can do is keep his mouth shut. That’s probably true. At this point, a swarm of irritatingly loud reporters crowd the window of the diner. A frustrated Wendell yells at them to “back off.” But Clark takes it as his cue to leave.
Wendell is discouraged by his conversation at lunch, and tells Brennan that Clark wouldn’t open up to him. Brennan advises him not to take it personally.
How could I not? Seven years of friendship and it’s like he doesn’t even trust me.
Well you can’t blame him for prioritizing his legal defense.
As usual, Brennan makes an excellent point. Clark is doing what’s best for him. Whether or not he trusts Wendell is not the issue. Whether or not he knows that it’s best to keep Wendell and the rest of the team thinking strictly objectively about the case, it is what’s best. Wendell tirelessly works with the rest of the team to prove Clark’s innocence. They pour over evidence, and make several case-cracking discoveries. Ultimately, Wendell helps save his friend. And later, Brennan helps to save Clark reputation.
Finally, we get to the season 11 finale- The Nightmare Within the Nightmare. Wendell plays a crucial role in this particular episode. But interestingly enough, it’s Wendell’s “portrayal” of a different character that is key here.
He helps the team sort through evidence of the latest Puppeteer murder. The woman had been groomed to look exactly like Brennan, which was disturbing to all.
Wendell finds Brennan in her office in the middle of the episode. He brings her coffee, noting that he thought she could use the caffeine. He asks Brennan what she has been looking at on her computer. She has been pouring through past cases with burn victims. For reasons she cannot quite understand or articulate, she thinks they could be relevant. Wendell leaves her to her work, but tells her to let him know if she needs anything.
The lights darken and Brennan finds herself all alone in the lab. It is a nightmare, of course. She is scared “awake” by the “living” remains in her previous nightmare. But is she really awake? Wendell comes back into the office to see if Brennan is okay. He heard her call out. He walks over to Brennan with something of an eerie smile. When first watching this episode, it was upon seeing that smile that I realized it was indeed another nightmare. Dream Wendell informs her that everything is going to be okay. “You’ll figure it out.” The look on his face and the tone of his voice make me really uneasy here. He then reaches for Brennan hand with his. And Dream Wendell’s hands are completely charred. “If you knew what I knew, you’d be so proud of me.” THOSE WORDS. It was hard not to scream when Wendell said those words. Because the last time we heard those words in The Pain in the Heart. Dream Wendell touches Brennan’s face with his other burned hand, and Brennan finally wakes up at home, screaming. That entire sequence was obviously not real. It was not Wendell. But the clues were all falling into place.
Brennan later voluntarily finds herself in the victim’s psychiatrist’s office. She is recounting her nightmare, featuring Wendell. She wants to figure out what it all could possibly mean, as it could be a matter of life and death for herself. There is so much else I want to posit about this scene, but that can wait for another time. This is purely about Wendell.
A bit disturbed, Brennan recalls that Dream Wendell’s hands are burned. She also notes that there is a cigarette tucked behind his ear. It is definitely something the show brought up in Wendell’s first season. But it’s not something we have really seen since. Though, there was a callback to Wendell’s sick father when Wendell was diagnosed with cancer. Brennan does actually remember it was something Wendell used to do. WHEN HE FIRST BECAME ONE OF THE POSSIBLE REPLACEMENTS FOR A CERTAIN INTERN. But she just cannot quite remember when she last saw Wendell with a cigarette. I am unsure as well, as it was Angela who initially caught sight of it. Brennan’s recollection of her nightmare becomes blurred, as the psychiatrist and Wendell are semi-interchanged in this alarmingly creepy sequence. But one thing remains clear, Wendell definitely represents something more here.
After Booth and Brennan engage in a heated argument, Brennan heads back to the lab to try to prove the psychiatrist’s innocence. There is so much to say about this scene as well. But again, that’s for another recap. Cam, Angela, Hodgins and Wendell have assembled at the Founding Fathers for dinner- a plan they thought had come from straight from Brennan via email. But Brennan did no such thing. She finds herself alone at the lab. She calls the others to find out where they have gone. Initially, she doesn’t seem too disturbed by the fact that they took instructions from someone they thought was her. She continues her examination of the remains. At that point, someone else joins her in the bone room. She is no longer alone. She realizes this was all a ploy to get her in the lab by herself. And she now knows who sent her friends the email. She also realizes who is (seemingly) behind everything. On the other end of the phone, the group panics as the line is disconnected by Brennan’s mystery guest.
Booth meets everyone at the lab. They desperately run through the existing evidence, trying to come up with any hint of an explanation as to where Brennan is and who could have taken her. The evidence SCREAMED to me at this point. I think I was yelling at the team to “get there faster” at this point. But I believe we all had a little inkling prior to this episode’s airing. And many of us were right on the money.
Booth remembers seeing something about Wendell in the doctor’s notes about Brennan’s session. He tells Wendell that Brennan mentioned him. Wendell is shocked. He didn’t have anything to do with Brennan’s disappearance. “She said that your hands were burned, like they’d been in some kind of an explosion.” Hodgins reminds the perplexed group that dreams are not always literal. “Wendell could just be a symbol, here.” “A symbol for what?” The camera pans in as Booth finally has an epiphany. “For someone who used to work in the lab.” He knows who took his wife. And the rest of the group isn’t far behind him. Booth runs out of the lab, hoping he isn’t too late. Or maybe just hoping that he’s wrong.
That’s obviously not the end of the episode, but it is the end of Wendell’s season 11 appearances.
Michael Grant Terry was in the most episodes of any intern this season. Well, he was tied with Pej Vahdat. I do know that he will be appearing in season 12, according to some of the BTS photos that have come out thus far. So that’s something we can all anticipate. Like all the other squinterns, Wendell brings something incredibly unique to his episodes. I respect this character so much. As I do the rest of the characters. Like them, he has definitely overcome his share of obstacles. But he retains a positive attitude (most of the time), as well as a fierce loyalty to his friends and coworkers. I look forward to seeing his story continue.
Well, just one intern to go. And then onward to the central characters. I am going to avoid speaking about season 12 as anything except “just another season.” It’s the only way I can get through this with a clear head. I hope the hiatus is treating everyone reasonably well. We have certainly gotten a lot of BTS content in the last few weeks to tie us over. Though, as I mentioned, I would wait 10 years for another season. No hiatus is long enough this time around.
See you next week!