When Bones tugs at your heartstrings, the tug usually turns into a hard, painful yank, and this episode was definitely proof of that. Grab a box of tissue and let’s dive in!
We start with murder most foul, and in this case perhaps a bit more foul than usual as the remains are lying almost submerged in coyote vomit, a fact which pleases no one but Hodgins because he’s just adorably weird like that. BTW, if you were wondering what happened to Rasputin’s preserved penis, apparently this dead guy had it because somehow that bit of tasty flesh survived the initial coyote rampage, which at least tells everyone that the victim is a male. Angela’s facial reconstruction gets them nothing, but the bloody napkin Hodgins finds in the victim’s clothing leads to the name of a bar. This leads to Angela’s drawing being recognized by a bartender and waitress, both of whom identify the victim as local country singer, Colin Haynes (guest star Charlie Worsham).
Identity in hand, Booth and Sweets are let into Haynes’ rundown apartment by Kara, the building superintendent, who looks a bit rundown herself. Judging by the state of his apartment, Colin’s recording career wasn’t going very well, so it’s more than a bit odd when Booth finds a check from the singer’s old label for $1,000 in the trash can.
A visit to Harriet, the owner of the label, confirms that while she had big hopes for Colin, he’d only managed to sell a few hundred units, so she’d dropped him and given him the check out of the goodness of her heart. As it turns out, Harriet is a big fat liar.
After analyzing both of Colin’s CDs and finding that his music went from uptempo and happy to slow and depressed, Sweets and Booth go back to Colin’s apartment to look for more newly written lyrics like the love song they’d previously pulled from his typewriter. Colin used a typewriter, a cassette recorder and had stacks of classic vinyl country records. Dude was definitely old school tech! While conducting their second search, an intruder suddenly rushes out of a back room and heads for the door. Booth chases him down and after getting the guy into an interrogation room at the Hoover, we learn he’s from the Philippines. Unknown to the artist himself, Colin is apparently a big star there. (Big in the Philippines. Get it?) Harriet, the skeevy label owner, pocketed over $100,000 in royalties from radio airplay that she didn’t share with Colin.
Booth hauls her in for questioning. Harriet has a history of sending leg breakers after artists who complain about her management and he thinks she might have done it again, but the case is not so easily solved.
It turns out that shortly before his death, Colin learned of his fame in the Philippines. He had agreed to headline a music festival there, and on their first date, he invited Kara (the building super) to go with him. Kara has some SERIOUS trust issues and after immediately assuming Colin was just lying to get her into bed, she asked to see the plane tickets. He couldn’t produce the tickets (the courier service says they were lost) so she threw a drink in his face and left him at the bar.
The tickets were not lost, however. The bartender (the same guy who identified Colin from Angela’s drawing) signed for their delivery himself after his own little sleepover with Kara. In a fit of jealousy, he killed Colin with a poetic stab to the heart.
The real story in this episode, though, is Wendell. He shows up to work on Colin’s remains with his arm in a cast, having broken it playing hockey. When Brennan sees the video Booth took of that moment, she is immediately alarmed as, in her opinion, neither the impact nor the fall should have caused the type of break Wendell suffered. Unknown to Wendell, she finagles a look at his x-rays and her suspicions are confirmed: He has bone cancer, a rare type called Ewing’s sarcoma. It has a very high mortality rate.
She shares the news with Booth and he is just as devastated as she is. They decide to tell Wendell together and it is very clear from the care and concern they both show that Sweets isn’t their only baby duck. Faced with telling Wendell, Brennan is overcome with tears — and oh my God, does it hurt when Brennan tears up. Just as painful is the look on Wendell’s face as the truth sinks in and the rest of his life changes in an instant. Booth and Brennan are armed with all the right supporting words and the name of the best oncologist around, but Wendell didn’t get his job interning with Brennan because he has great hair. He’s familiar with Ewing’s sarcoma, so he knows the long odds he’s facing.
He makes an appointment with the specialist, but while working with Brennan later, he seems to have accepted his fate. “We were becoming a good team,” he says to her, in the past tense, as if he’s already gone. She counters with an insistent, “We are a good team,” but it’s not enough.
After his appointment, Wendell visits Booth in his office to tell him that having discussed his treatment options with the oncologist, he’s decided to play out the hand he was dealt. He wants to travel and have a lot of sex and do all of the things that he suddenly realizes he wants to do now that he has so very little time to do them. Booth and Brennan’s reactions to Wendell’s decision were, I thought, very true to their different natures. Booth argues with him, encouraging Wendell to go through the chemo and radiation and possible amputation, to fight for the future that’s waiting for him. Brennan, on the other hand, knowing the odds and the most likely outcome, tells him the world is a beautiful place and that it should be seen.
Perhaps it was Brennan’s words on his cast (which, according to Tumblr say something like, “You’re stronger than your radius. You aren’t in this alone.”) because while packing up his car to head out on his last adventures, Wendell has a change of heart. He appears at the door of Booth and Brennan’s house to tell them he’s decided to stay, that he wants to be remembered as someone who fought back. Brennan surprises him with a giant bear hug and a promise that she and Booth will help in whatever way necessary.
The episode ends with a sweet slow dance and some very good advice. “Sometimes, you just have to dance to the music that’s playing.”