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'Bones' 'Big in the Philippines' review: A break that changes everything

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"Bones" season 9 continued Friday, Jan. 17, with episode 13, "Big in the Philippines," which is likely to be one of the season's most emotional hours, if not the most emotional, as Wendell faced an uncertain future and a musician was murdered just as things were looking up for him.

"You took that man’s life, just when he had everything to live for."

With the move to Fridays and the quality of the episodes, "Bones" has made a strong case for staying in and watching TV Friday nights, and this week's episode was one you didn't want to miss. From the investigation of the murder of a country singer who had hit big in the Philippines (hence the title) only to be murdered because of jealousy (oh, love, always a likely motive) before he could reap the benefits to heartbreaking news for one of the squinterns, this was one of the more somber episodes of the show.

We were presented with several possible suspects in the victim's murder, from the bartender and waitress at the bar where he performed just from their first scene alone because we've watched enough procedural dramas to note a potential killer to his super whose comments about him always playing his music could have ended up pointing to her motive and who threw a drink at him and told him to drop dead the night he was killed to the manager at his record label whose clients didn't exactly love her and who was accused of keeping money that should have been Colin's. But it all came back to love and jealousy. For the first time, Colin had fallen in love (with Kara, his landlady), and he wanted to share his success in the Philippines with her. However, the bartender hadn't wanted to lose her, so he stole the tickets to a festival in the Philippines so Colin came across as every other guy just trying to get in her pants. He didn't want to give up his girl, so it cost Colin his life.

But this was Wendell's episode (and it was Michael Grant Terry's best episode to date), both in and out of the lab, and Brennan made sure to note how invaluable his work was as they began to wrap up the case. But it was all tinged with sadness, as Wendell's broken arm was so much more than a broken arm. After looking at his X-rays, Brennan realized he had Ewing's sarcoma, bone cancer, and the odds were not in his favor, even with aggressive treatment. Without treatment, it would spread to the rest of his body in months. He had to see a specialist, which meant Brennan had to tell him.

What Wendell had expected to be lunch with Booth turned out to be a sit-down with Booth and Brennan at the diner (as important as the diner may be on the show, we can't help but wonder if it wasn't the best place to tell someone they had cancer), and Brennan was visibly upset as she and Booth talked to him about what she had seen in his X-rays and gave him the name of a doctor to see. But Wendell knew his chances, and even before he went to his doctor's appointment, you got the sense from his conversation with Brennan that he wasn't planning to go through the chemo and radiation. "We were becoming a good team, weren't we?" He asked. "We are. We are a good team," she corrected him.

What followed Wendell's doctor's appointment was one of the best scenes of the episode, as he stopped by to talk to Booth, who did the "let me get you anything you need" (including stale donuts) dance people tend to do in situations like that. Wendell explained what the doctor had told him about his treatment – chemo, surgery to replace the radius with an artificial one if amputation wasn't necessary, radiation, and then more chemo – and even then, there wasn't a guarantee. The doctor wanted to begin Tuesday, but Wendell had seen hat his father went through and how he had missed out on living, and he wanted to just take off and travel the world instead. Booth wanted him to fight so he could live the life he hadn't lived, marry the woman waiting somewhere to be his wife, have the kids waiting to be born and find out what a great father could be, and be there because his friends needed him. It was such a touching speech that words can't do it justice.

So Wendell went to say his goodbyes to Brennan (and notice abrasions on a bone he knew she missed because she had been distracted), but in the end, he couldn't leave and instead he showed up at Booth and Brennan's house and told them he was going to fight. He wanted to be remembered in the right way, by those he cared about, as someone who fought back. Who else loved how emotional Brennan was in this episode, culminating with that hug? And "Big in the Philippines" began the very real concern for Wendell's future.

"Sometimes you just have to dance to the music that’s playing."

"Bones" season 9 airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on FOX. What did you think of episode 13, "Big in the Philippines"?

Read more about Bones.

© Meredith Jacobs 2014

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