Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bones—The Man in the Cell

New Bones tonight!! It seems like it's been forever. I have missed Mr. Boreanaz and his giganamous shoulders. And this episode was a great way to start things up again after the hiatus. Edge-of-your-seat time, people...

Tonight's episode again featured Howard Epps, the serial killer introduced in "The Man on Death Row" who returned to torment Booth and Brennan in "The Blonde in the Game." Epps has been burned to death in his cell in a prison fire. But it's not Epps. The body in the cell is actually a firefighter, and Epps has escaped.

Booth goes Alpha Male on everyone (I'll be in my bunk), telling Brennan to not go out by herself, ever, and ordering Cam to double security on the lab. In the meantime, Brennan gets herself a big honkin' gun, which she uses to threaten Booth's masculinity. Epps plays his usual mind games, leaving obscure clues, but turning up the heat now that he's free from prison. He murders his wife and leaves her head in the fridge, then threatens both Angela and Parker. Completely wigged by the threat to Parker, Booth pressures Cam to hurry her work on the severed head. Cam, slicing open the head, is poisoned by a powder that explodes out of the incision.

With Cam dying, the stakes are ratcheted up. Brennan works to get more clues from Epps. Booth suffers extreme angst, blaming himself for Cam's poisoning. I alternate between chewing off my fingernails and sliding off the chaise into a puddle of Booth-angst induced goo. His scenes by Cam's hospital bed are lovely, as are his scenes with Parker, showing us a vulnerability we don't often get to see. The third act break, with the booby-trapped body of Epps' wife, makes me flail, and the beginning of the fourth act, with the planted news story, doesn't help, as I have not read spoilers and for a couple of seconds they almost have me fooled. Darn them...

In any case, in the end Cam is snatched back from the brink of death, and Brennan outsmarts Epps. Epps takes a dive off Brennan's balcony, though Booth tries to save him. Shaken by what happened to Cam, Booth decides to end their relationship. Which, though not unexpected, is kind of too bad, because I thought she was a good match for him.

It's also too bad that this episode proved to be Epps' swan song. "The Man on Death Row" and "The Blonde in the Game" were both very well-done episodes, and tonight's installment was one of the best this show has produced so far. With that track record, Epps will be missed as a nemesis. On the other hand, dragging his storyline out too much longer might have seemed forced.

With all that said--and yes, this was a really good episode--there were a couple of bobbles. I was particularly underwhelmed by the portrayal of Epps' mother. I mean, come on--serial killer has an obese, overly fundamentalist mother? Could we be more of a sterotype? She was a drop-in character--it wouldn't have taken much to tweak her short scene enough to push it out of the oh-so-very-obvious. Also, with Zack suggesting an X-ray of the head only a few lines before Cam makes the decision to go ahead and slice it open, this plot point is undermined a bit. Even with Booth pressuring her because of the threat to Parker, it seems unrealistic that she wouldn't go ahead and use the X-ray. It wouldn't have slowed them down much, and could have still led to her slicing it open and catching the faceful of poison.

Did I mention I've really missed this show?