New Shop Recap: Bones 9×20, “The High in the Low”

Someone in the Bones‘ writers’ room is hugely in favor of the medical use of marijuana, so this episode plays like a campaign advertisement for the practice. Even so, this episode was nice, with flashes of what made the early seasons special and, frankly, it was a welcome change from the blah, meh and WTF of the past few weeks.

 The Case

Brennan and Hodgins working on remains found in a log
(photo courtesy of Fox)

A prison escapee running from guards and dogs finds a likely hiding spot in a helpfully placed hollow log. Problem is, the log is already occupied by a decomposing corpse. Cue loud “take me back to jail!” terrified screaming. The discovery of the body interrupts Booth and Brennan’s romantic date at the shooting range, and they arrive just in time to see the corpse revealed by the removal of the top half of the log. The body’s been there for about 4 months, providing a feast for termites, etc. but bugs are no match for the Angelatron Angela’s new 3D toy, THEO. A few skull measurements and some hair and skin and we have an image of the victim and soon an identity, too. She is Abby Briggs, a young woman with Lupus whose illness was severe enough that she was forced to withdraw from art school. Medication to manage her pain brought side effects that made it worse, so Abby resorted to cannabis, which is legal for medical use in DC but still illegal on a federal level. In Abby’s case, using cannabis was so successful that she was able to draw again. She became a vocal advocate for the practice and got a job at a legal dispensary.

a screen cap from the Pilot of Bones
I’ll see your THEO and raise you one Angelatron, created and built by Angela Montenegro (screencap from the pilot episode of “Bones”)

Sweets tells Booth that Abby’s death was a random act of violence, as evidenced by the body being stuffed in the log and not in a previously prepared grave. He and Booth interview Dr. Burke, the physician who runs the dispensary, and while they’re talking, the security guard mentions an argument Abby had with a local college student who she caught with a forged medical marijuana prescription card. Booth brings the student, Adam, in for questioning, but he swears he’s a good guy, an award-winning A-student who only wanted to take a few hits to relax. Booth brings up that Adam went to the hospital with broken ribs, and Adam blames the security guard for beating him up with his flashlight.

The security guard comes under greater suspicion when Sweets looks over Abby’s sketchbook and sees that she has drawn the guard in every scene showing the dispensary, and always in a creepy, stalkerish way. The guard is duly brought in, too, and his excuse for staring at Abby all the time is that he got his signals mixed and thought she was interested in him. When she made it clear that she wasn’t, he backed off.

The guard mentions that Abby continued to behave secretively around him, though, and Angela soon unearths the reason why. In reviewing the security footage from the dispensary, Angela sees evidence that Abby is dealing her own marijuana from the premises, an act which, if discovered, could cause Dr. Burke to lose his medical license. He’s bumped up to Suspect No. 1 position, but lawyers up.

Booth and Brennan find marijuana plants
(photo courtesy of Fox)

The lab team goes back to the scene of the body dump and discovers Abby was growing her own marijuana. Tests reveal her plants provide medical relief but very little hi-flying. When an examination of Abby’s injuries leads to an oddly-shaped weapon that just happens to look exactly like the literary award college-student Adam recently received, the trophy is recovered from where he stashed it at his parents’ house and found to be splashed with Abby’s blood. The truth comes out. Adam found out about Abby’s garden and stole plants to sell on campus, but when his customers complained that they weren’t getting high, he confronted Abby. He only meant to scare her, not to kill her, blah blah blah, her body ends up stuffed in the log.

The Intern

Wendell, bald head and all
Wendell Bray, back at work after starting chemotherapy (screencap from the episode)

Since we’re dealing with the medical use of marijuana, it makes sense that Wendell, who is undergoing treatment for bone cancer, is the intern-of-the-week. During the course of the investigation, Wendell reveals that he’s also using doctor-prescribed cannabis to help with his nausea and weight loss. Everyone is understanding and nonjudgmental except Cam, who immediately fires him, and Booth, who plays his “I’m a federal officer and it’s illegal and that’s all that matters” card. After considering their friendship with Wendell, Booth’s attitude softens and he and Brennan meet with Caroline. She gives her legal opinion/blessing to Wendell working as a paid consultant instead of an intern.

Booth and Brennan

Booth’s annual competency tests are at hand, and while he appears unconcerned with both the marksmanship and cognitive portions of the tests, Brennan suggests some brain exercises might help him improve his score. He pooh-poohs her suggestions as unnecessary, but on the sly takes her advice, with the result being he achieves a personal best score.

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MJ

48/DWF. "I don't entirely approve of some of the things I have done or am or have been. But I'm me. God knows, I'm me." Elizabeth Taylor

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