Sunday, August 23, 2009

Guest Episode Review - #119 "The Graft in the Girl"

Time for the next Bones Season 1 Episode review: The Graft in the Girl! If you want to start at the beginning here are my Season 1 Bones Reviews from last summer:

# 079 - "Pilot" - My Review
# 101 - "A Boy in the Tree" - My Review
# 102 - "The Man in the SUV" - My Review
# 103 - 'The Man on Death Row" My Review
Guest Reviews so far:
# 103 - 'The Man on Death Row" - Meryl
# 104 - "The Man in the Bear" - ForensicMama
# 105 - "A Boy in a Bush" - Bekka
# 106 - "The Man in the Wall" - Jeni
# 107 - "The Girl in the Fridge" - Jenny
# 108 - "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" - Emma
# 109 - "The Woman in the Car" - Milky
# 110 - "The Woman at the Airport" - Robyn
# 111 - "The Woman in the Tunnel" - Winona
# 112 - "The Superhero in the Alley" - Ellynne
# 113 - "The Woman in the Garden" - Kate
# 114 - "The Man on the Fairway" - sai
# 115 - "Two Bodies in the Lab" - This review is classified as Missing in Action. Please email obsessedwithbones[at]gmail[dot]com if you happen to spot this review or have any information. There is no financial reward but any information would be appreciated. Help us track down our beloved episode review so that we may share it with all fans!
# 116 - "The Man with the Bone" - Emma
# 117 - "The Skull in the Desert" - em-jay
# 118 - "The Man in the Morgue" - kate
This review was written by pua, who nicely stepped in to take over a missing review. Thanks!

Season 1 list - still need 2 submitted
Season 2 list - 1 or 2 free!

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The Graft in the Girl

The Graft in the Girl is one of those fabulous Bones episodes that is more important for the character information than it is for the case.

The episode opens up with Booth, Brennan and Angela walking down the hall of a hospital. We quickly learn that director Cullen’s daughter Amy has been diagnosed with lung cancer and that she is not doing very well. Brennan is, of course intrigued by this information and Booth tries to stop her from asking questions and getting involved. Brennan ignores Booth of course, and the case progresses from there. It turns out that Amy received a bone graft after a ski accident, and while the hospital contends that the bone came from a 25-year old, Brennan and the squints prove that the bone is actually from a 60-year old man, who had cancer, and has passed the disease on to Amy. The case falls under the purview of the FBI as the team discovers that there are multiple victims across state lines. While doctors are unable to save Amy, Brennan and Booth work with Amy and the hospital to save other lives who received donations from the infected donor.

Booth and Brennan start their investigation with the Donor Coordinator, Dr. Ogden. The case leads them to discover that BioTech Tissue Services, the company which sold the bone to the hospital is no longer in operation. Booth and Brennan learn that Dr. Ogden does not have any information about the bone donor, and so they turn to Hodgins, who examines particulates and narrows the area the donor lived in to North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. After figuring out who the donor is, Booth and Brennan speak to the widow who informs them that her husband was cremated, and so B&B head to the mortuary.

They eventually realize that the mortuary is the place where the body parts have been harvested and that Dr. Ogden’s assistant, Alexandra was the person who harvested the various body parts. Bones explains that bone dust is very dangerous, and that Alexandra is experiencing health problems, at least there is some justice.

I love this episode because it deepens and provides us with important insight into many of the characters that we love on Bones.

Booth: This episode offers insight into our “knight in FBI-issued body armor”. When Director Cullen tells Booth and Brennan that they need to inform the CDC about the diseased grafts, and turn the case over to the CDC, Brennan tries to argue with the Director. Booth knows better, and when they are alone in the car, Booth assures Brennan that they will continue to work to find the murderer.

Brennan: So that’s it? Whoever did this to Amy Cullen just gets away?
Booth: No, what we do now is find a way to make this a legitimate FBI case.
Brennan: If one graft is infected, there is no telling how many others are out there.
Booth: Gees, I feel like I am on a serial killer case, just waiting for another victim to surface.
Brennan: You’re not far off, what if BioTech makes a habit of selling diseased parts?
Booth: Well, then it becomes FBI business is one of those tainted grafts are sold across state lines.
Brennan: Well, you can spit into 4 states from where we are right now.
Booth: What?
Brennan: Not literally.

We learn later in the episode that Booth uses his own sick time to work on the case, which solidifies our image of Booth as a G-man who works for justice, and always tries to do the right thing, regardless of whether or not it fits into the FBI “box”. This episode also highlights Booth’s talent is focusing on the victim. When he is first interviewing Dr. Ogden, the doctor states that he has never had a problem with BioTech. Booth reminds him that Amy does have a problem, she is dying of cancer.

Brennan: I thought this episode was one of the first episodes where we see Brennan stepping out of her scientific shoes and showing compassion to another person. We can see that she struggles with the human factor, but ends up doing a great job. She shows compassion when she and Booth are watching Amy go through the painful bone biopsy. She explains all the technical information to Booth and then talks about how Amy is a tough kid, even though it is painful. When she is explaining what happened with the bone graft, she struggles to find the right words to tell Cullen that Amy will still die.

Cullen: Does this in any way change the prognosis for my daughter?
Brennan: No.
Cullen: So she is still going to die.
Brennan: Barring spontaneous remission, the likelihood is significant.

Even though the word Brennan chooses to use “significant” is not necessarily compassionate, she struggles to find the word that can satisfy her logic, but is not harsh, you can see that in her face.

Bones also shares a significant scene with Amy, as they watch other graft patients being tested for cancer. Amy, in a very understandable scene, is struggling with the knowledge that she will probably die. And she becomes angry at the situation, angry that other people are being tested in time to be saved, angry that she will not be saved.

Amy: If you take the bad grafts out, will they be OK?
Brennan: Some of them.
Amy: But not me.
Brennan: No.
Amy: I want this out of me.
Brennan: Sweetheart, you’re not strong enough.
Amy: Get them to take it out.
Brennan: Amy, you have to understand, all these people..
Amy: I don’t care!
Brennan: You’re saving their lives.

It is interesting to note, that at the beginning of the scene, when Amy is first upset, Booth starts to comfort her, but Brennan steps in, offering to talk to Amy.

Amy: While she is not a regular character in the show, I think it is important to note that she is a critical character in this episode, not only because the case revolves around her, but because of the feelings she invokes in the other characters. She reminds us of life and death, of loss and love, of the difference between teenagers and adults and of beauty. In most episodes, the “loss” happens at the beginning when we meet the victim, and then is subjugated often by the case, by other characters, and often by the humor. In this episode, Amy reminds us continually of the cost of “loss”, while at the same time reminding us of hope and life through her art, her desire to see the Louvre, and her wish to experience love.

Zach: Zach is the only character that does not show some emotional growth in this episode. He reminds us of the squint factor, and makes many comments that would be regular fare for most episodes, but in this episodes, serves to highlight the emotional growth that bones is experiencing.

Hodgins: Hodgins also has an relatively small role in this episode, but his moment to shine comes in the form of conversations with Angela.

Hodgins: Hey. Are you alright?
Angela: Yeah. No. No, I’m not. Look, we can solve hundred year old crimes, we can track down serial killers and identify people when there is nothing left of them but sludge so why can’t we help a fifteen year old girl all she wants to do is fall in love and visit the Louvre.
Hodgins: You can do that.
Angela: Whaddya mean?
Hodgins: You made a whole guy out of bone chips and light. You can create the Louvre.
Angela: and what about love, what do you have to say about love?
Hodgins: Its overrated, most of the time.

Angela: This brings us to the important role that Angela plays in this episode. Angela has always been the most human of all the squints, and this episode reminds us of this. In the beginning, when she meets Amy, she talks about how most of the time in her job she gets to restore and enhance old bones, so digitizing Amy’s art was fun for her.

Amy: Is the Louvre just unbelievable?
Angela: It’s the most beautiful place you will ever see.
Amy: Maybe you can tell me about it sometime.
Angela: You’ll go there yourself. I know you will.

Angela has the conversation with Amy about love, and about how life experience informs art. And Angela is there when the doctor’s tell Amy’s parents that she is not responding to the treatment. And of course, she is critical to the most touching scene in the episode, Amy’s trip to the Louvre. For whatever it is worth, I have seen this episode at least 5 times, and it still makes me cry.

The Graft in the Girl is a wonderful episode. It is different from the standard episode (is there such a thing in Bones?) but it deepens our understanding of the human component, both in our beloved characters and in the victims themselves.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this one.
It allowed me to go back and re-watch it, for the first time since the first time.
I found this episode so ... sad. I didn't want to be sad so I skipped it every time.
But it is so good. For all the reasons you pointed out and in all the ways that makes this "show" so much more than just ... show.

Anonymous said...

Great review. Same here, it's not one of my favorites because it dealt with a dying person when their usual fare are dead bodies and bones. You did point out really good aspects of the episode and dissected the growth of each character. Although it was such a sad story, it was an integral episode because it brought a side of each character that we would probably not see as it hit them very close to home.

em-jay said...

Great episode, great review. Thanks for all the good insight!

I loved seeing how Booth shows his devotion to Dir. Cullen and how the team reacts by jumping in to help him. I love that kind of teamwork which is why I love this show! =)

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