It’s been a while since Bones brought a new intern into the rotation at the Jeffersonian, but “The Fact in the Fiction” changes that. In fact, while there is a decent case being solved, most of the episode focuses on what each of the team members thinks of newcomer Dr. Oliver Wells (Brian Klugman).
And with a last name like Wells, it’s only fitting that the other major focus of the episode is time travel.
The time travel aspect is introduced when Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) discover that the young victim whose body was impaled by a tractor was a college student with an interest in the possibility of time travel. With a turbulent family history and a girlfriend so full of herself she makes Brennan look modest, it’s no small wonder all Benji Garcia wanted to do was escape into the past.
Meanwhile, in the present, Dr. Wells is doing his best to get to know his co-workers. From the beginning, showrunner and creator Hart Hanson has described the “squintern” program as a way to keep the show fresh and engaging for the audience. Each squintern comes with a unique set of quirks, and for Wells they seem to include high intelligence with a side dish of arrogance. He also admits to Hodgins (TJ Thyne) that he has collected a variety of degrees because he is easily bored.
Brennan, who’s used to being the smartest kid on the block by a long shot, is not used to having someone keep up with her intellect and offer opinions to which she has no rebuttal. She’s also unnerved by the fact that he managed to accurately assess her in under five minutes. Meanwhile, Hodgins has found a kindred spirit – one who not only finds delight in kooky experiments, but is also open to theoretical possibilities such as ghosts and time travel. Cam (Tamara Taylor), as always, is willing to give him the benefit of doubt and even Booth seems fairly friendly toward him, especially after Wells backs Booth’s idea of investing in asteroid mining. Angela’s (Michaela Conlin) reaction is the most refreshing; she tells him that he’s right, but that he might want to be less of a douche if he wants to fit in.
If nothing else, Wells does have the most dramatic entrance of a squintern, finding himself staring down the barrel of Booth’s gun when he enters the diner all bloodied and dirty, claiming to have a surprise for Dr. Brennan, even though she hasn’t a clue who he is.
And he’s a good asset to the team, too, as he finds some of the key details that lead to the crime’s solution. At the very end, Booth tries to console Brennan by naming her the smartest person at the lab, though she isn’t convinced, leaving more stories to be explored when Wells returns to Bones.
As for the case, it’s a very sad one. Benji is the first member of his family to go to college, yet all he really wants is to heal his family’s past. For years, his brother told him that his father was dead. Unbeknownst to his brother Alex (Maurice Compte), Benji found his dad and was trying to build a relationship with him.
What follows is a tragedy. It’s clear that all Benji wants is a relationship with his dad, while all Alex wants is to protect his brother from disappointment and hurt. In the end, Benji steps in front of Alex’s bullet to save their father, though neither survives and Alex is left alone with his guilt. It’s a story that has heart. And while Bones has produced richer episodes in the past, for the present, this is one of the good ones.
Bones airs Mondays @8pm on Fox.
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