Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bones—The Headless Witch in the Woods

Tonight's case offers a fun homage to The Blair Witch Project. Except in this case, the filmmaker didn't become famous--he became dead and decapitated in the middle of the woods. I hate when that happens.

The episode starts off on a spooky note, with a headless body found deep in a forest supposedly haunted by a supposed witch, Maggie Cinders, who was killed there in 1783. As it turns out, the victim, Graham Hastings, was making a documentary about the Maggie Cinders legend. His videotape, recovered by Angela via digital restoration, seems to show the victim's death at the hands of the witch.

The case maintains a nicely paranormal air almost to the bitter end, when the pieces finally come together and the killer is revealed to be Graham's non-ghostly brother, Will. It turns out to be a well- played twist, with several plausible red herrings dropped along the way. Will claims to have been possessed by the witch, which of course is ridiculous. Or is it? Because then there's that eerie, inexplicable video image Angela discovers right at the end...

To really enjoy the case here, you have to assume Bones exists in an alternate universe where The Blair Witch Project never happened, but that's okay, because I've seen that kind of thing done before, and in this case I think it worked. In fact, I don't think it would have worked as well if they'd made it less obvious they were riffing Blair Witch. If you're going to go there, might as well go all the way there.

The rest of the episode is solid, too. Brennan busts Booth on his relationship with Cam when a spooked Cam grabs Booth's hand for comfort during the initial viewing of the video tape. Then Brennan, finding common ground with Will, who also lost his parents as a teenager, tentatively pursues a possible relationship. All this leads to an awkward but heartfelt--and funny--conversation in which Booth and Brennan dissect their own relationship. In other relationship developments, Hodgins reaps the benefits of the oh so scary video tape when Angela insists he stay with her while she watches it, so he can comfort her. Hodgins gets just a bit too smirky about that, but I think Angela is tough enough to smack him down if she has to. I think these two are fun together, and I hope they can continue to be fun together, since by TV rules Booth and Brennan can never get together, and by those same rules Booth and Cam are doomed eventually.

I also liked the little spotight Cam got in this episode, talking about her supernatural encounter with her mother. It added some depth to her character, and made her a bit more accessible. I'm undoubtedly in the minority in that I like Booth and Cam together. She's a strong woman who has proven herself capable of taking him down a notch or two when he engages in his occasional macho posturing. So is Brennan, but again, see TV rules.

I thought it was kind of too bad that Will turned out to be the killer. He could have made a good temporary romance for Brennan, over a few episodes, given their similar backgrounds. He also played a good foil to her perceptions of her brother, making her give some thought to what Russ went through for her, and how things might have been if both she and Russ had made different decisions. But unfortunately psycho killers make lousy boyfriends, so I guess that's not going to work out.

Favorite Line:
Booth: I'd prefer not to be a woman, if you don't mind.

No Bones next week--weh--but in two weeks comes a new episode directed by David Duchovny. This makes me happy, as I'm a big Duchovny fan, and I thought his directorial work on The X-Files was solid. Can't wait to see what he does with Bones.

And can I just air a gripe? I'm getting really tired of Fox showing bits in the previews that are cut out of the final episode.