Saturday, September 26, 2009

Guest Episode Review - #220 "The Spaceman in the Crater"

Bones Season 2 episode reviews are still coming in bit by bit (thank you for all who are still working on them or have sent them - they will be posted, even if a bit slowly) and now we have Emma's review of "The Spaceman in the Crater." You can check out her blog here.

Season 1 Reviews - all done!
Season 2 Reviews - still waiting on at least half!

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The Spaceman in the Crater

The opening for this episode is one which is particularly amusing; the cows that are happily grazing in a quiet field on a beautiful sunny day don’t let the object that falls from the sky distract them from this task. The object of course turns out to be human remains, though there is light hearted discussion as to whether the remains could be from outer space, this is quickly dismissed due to the loafers that the body is wearing. Of course with this light hearted talk of aliens comes some mocking of Hodgins and his beliefs in many conspiracy theories, though he even scoffs at the loafers that have already been mentioned as a reason for the remains being of human and not alien origin. The lack of burnt matter also puts this debate to rest as they must have been dropped below the Earths atmosphere. It is quite quickly realised by the squint squad that the remains belong to someone who has had prolonged exposure in space, not an alien but an astronaut (Colonel Calvin Howard) and this leads the team to an investigation at National Space Agency (the Bones version of NASA I guess).

The condition of the remains are particularly bad, even by the standards that this show has set (though I would say that it isn’t the worst that have featured), this is definitely an episode not to be accompanied by food (though how many are really?). The body, however, is not just bone but flesh as well which prompts the continued debate between the importance of flesh and bone in the investigation and which can help solve the case. This debate is highlighted with an encounter between Cam and Zack, when after discussing whether the flesh needs to be boiled off the bones to determine cause of death, Zack demonstrates his usual detachment from the remains as having once been a human being. This prompts Cam to mutter the name Igor under her breath, comparing Zack to Dr Frankenstein’s assistant (in this case making Bones Dr. Frankenstein).

This conflict between two different schools of thought is not the only one in the episode, in fact I would suggest that most of this episode is built on conflict of two parties and how these should be resolved in a civil manner, which as the murder investigation continues soon reveals the cause of the crime- but more on that later as first I want to discuss the issues that arise between two different agencies- the FBI and National Space Agency. I always enjoy scenes between Booth and other agencies as there always seems to be a level of contempt between the two, this is highlighted in the scene between Booth and ‘equivalent to a General’ Nina Sanborne; the look on Booths face when she demands a warrant which she thinks he does not possess and when he pulls it out of his pocket is priceless.

At this point in the investigation they have learned that Colonel Howard due to his prolonged exposure in space did not have the bone density to complete another mission and was in the process of training his replacement, this replacement is Commander Adams who they need to interview, they decide to join him for his training in the ‘vomit comet’. The scene that follows is one where we get to see Bones in a relaxed and somewhat gleeful state, which is always a welcome sight. Booth also appears to be enjoying the experience, but when it is over he goes straight back to questioning Adams regarding Colonel Howard, this demonstrates that Booth can come across as playful but his mind is always on the task at hand. They learn that Howard was talking to the STC (Space Transit Collection) who could be described as UFO nuts.

This is the point in the episode where I felt like it was bordering on X-Files territory (not that this is a bad thing), the talk of conspiracy, aliens and the FBI will do this I guess. Anyway they learn that Howard believed he had seen something in space that could not be explained and this leads to a possible motive for murder- to cover up another conspiracy. A theory that we will find out is incorrect.

The next scene has one of my favorite gags of the episode; whilst Zack is boiling the flesh off the bones Hodgins walks in stating that ‘Something smells good’, which sounds kinda gross, however a Pop Tart pings up from a nearby toaster and Hodgins grabs it (is it weird that this scene really makes me want to eat a Pop Tart?). Zack and Hodgins debate the color of extra terrestrials, which is interrupted by Zack finding an anomaly on one of the bones. They find an implant in the bone which turns out to be coral surrounding a tiny electromagnetic implant to help strengthen his bones so that the density will high enough for him to return to space. As revealed earlier by Colonel Bob Reid once you have been in to space all you want to do is to get back there and the amazing feeling that it provides surpasses any other, including even the birth of your own children (the book ‘Moondust’ by Andrew Smith looks into those who have been in space and is an excellent place to start if you are interested in what happens to the men who have been in to space after they return to earth). The team soon track the implant back to the STC and to a doctor who was doing the experimental surgery, this turns in to somewhat of a dead end as the doctor reasons that it would be in his best interests for Howard to return to space as it would make him famous for giving him his bone density back. On a side note regarding the coral, I read that rather than any of the dead body props it is the piece of coral that has made Emily Deschanel the most nauseous due to the texture of the prop.

Back to the investigation, Angela and Zack have figured out that Howard was killed by an object that cut him in four points at the same time. The only weapon that could possibly do this is a broad sword which seems rather unlikely as the actual murder weapon, a light saber is also mentioned which provides another hilarious Zack/Hodgins moment as Zack theories that a light saber couldn’t have done it, not because they don’t exist but because of the way the cuts are. After some debate, Bones realizes that it was a propeller that was rotating that must have caused Howard’s death. This leads them back to the aircraft hanger where they discover that it is Commander Adam’s plane that is the offending weapon.

Booth leaves Bones in the car with Adams whilst he goes to arrest his wife as it would’ve needed two people to carry out the clean up of the body. Adams uses this opportunity to reveal to Bones what really happened, that it was an accident caused by Howard revealing that he would be going in to space and not Adams causing his wife to slap Howard, which in turn caused him to fall back in to the blades of the plane. This again shows the conflict that I mentioned earlier, but this time of a more personal nature, with a wife trying to support her husband and between two men who want the same thing. It is one of those episodes where the killing was unintentional and the crime is the cover up caused by panic. Now Adams will never get his chance to go in to space.

Aside from the case, the main sub plot in this episode is Hodgins wanting to propose to Angela. Early on Hodgins goes to see Booth to get some relationship advice; I love the scenes between these two as Booth tends to come across as an unwilling to give relationship advice, however on this occasion we learn about when he proposed to Rebecca and she turned him down and it is really lovely to see him give a piece of himself up to Hodgins in such a vulnerable situation. It is also in this scene that when he mentions that he has already tried to propose once I was a bit confused as to why they hadn’t shown that scene. I watched the second season on DVD so it took me a moment to realise that there was a missing episode due to the Virginia Tech tragedy, hence the missing scene (which can now be seen on the season 3 DVD). This leads to the actual proposal scene at a fancy French restaurant, when I first saw this episode I was pretty sure that Angela was going to say yes so I was surprised and initially annoyed that she turned him down, but it does fit her character and considering what has happened between them since it was perhaps the best answer- though I do wish that they will eventually get them back together. Also I found it funny that Angela momentarily thought that Hodgins was going to break up with her, which would be an uncharacteristic move from him, as he clearly worships her and still does two seasons later.

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