Fresh Bones 2×15: No more magic than a pair of fuzzy dice.

A compass by any other name.

We open with a family that appears to be having some issues. At first you think it’s another case of a man dissatisfied with his life, his family, his career. That is until you see the maggots in his bowl of cereal. Once again, The X-Files does a wonderful job of playing with our presumptions.

Also in true X-Files fashion, it takes the familiar Zombie legend and legitimizes it with science. Here’s an idea that you dismissed as a kid made intelligent, even feasible. With that said, you have to keep in mind that “Fresh Bones” has to be experienced, not understood. It’s not the plot that’s gripping, it’s the idea, the suggestion. This is an episode that’s truly supposed to be watched.

Isn’t all TV supposed to be watched, you say? Well, for this episode, the visuals are all one has to hold on to. It’s certainly not the acting and, as I mentioned, not the writing. Instead it’s the camera angles, the frightening images that it burns into your retinas. And I’m not knocking that. In this case it’s sufficient for entertainment.

Whatever you may think of the story, the production is top notch even after all these years. Already the most recent episodes are so much more polished than they were even at the beginning of the season. Just compare these last three episodes to “Little Green Men” (2×1), “The Host” (2×2), and “Blood (2×3).” It isn’t just that the subject matter is more shocking, it’s the direction, the acting (for the most part). They’re getting the hang of this thing.

One thing I had forgotten about over the years is how often crossover took place between the mythology and the stand-alone episodes in these early seasons. It doesn’t always make sense. Why would X go all the way to North Carolina just to tell Mulder that guards were abusing refugees? Doesn’t he have aliens, green ones, to exterminate? I smell an unnecessary plot device.

…And the Verdict is:

This episode doesn’t have very many fans and while I personally like it, I can understand why that is. We’re not left with many resolved questions in the end and it falls prey to Season 2’s An Excess of Red Herrings Syndrome. The plot is at points too mysterious for it’s own good. And there’s some political rhetoric thrown in which I confess I don’t fully understand because I was too young to know about what was happening at the time in regards to refugees. But for me, it walks that fine line of leaving the audience with questions and yet giving them a satisfying resolution. No, I don’t know what all went down but I know that Wharton was behind it. Watching him receive his comeuppance is enough.

There’s an abundance of striking images that are hard to forget. Maggots in the cereal, Wharton buried alive, bleeding meat, the dog’s corpse, and of course, a man digging his way out of Scully’s hand. That was a straight-up horror moment right there. In fact, it’s best to think of this episode as a horror film in miniature. Do you complain about the lack of a plot in Nightmare on Elm Street? No. It wasn’t made to have a plot. Take it for what it is.

Me, I’m just loving that The X-Files has reached the point where you can tune in every week and know that you’re going to see something freaky.


Random Questions:

What secret was Wharton looking for? The secret to immortality or something? Was he trying to bring Bouvier back from the grave? You’d think he’d know better than to resurrect a man he murdered. That doesn’t a happy reunion make.

Last we left off with X, he had warned Mulder that the men who took Scully would be at his apartment that night and claimed that they couldn’t see each other again for several weeks. Why did Mulder think that would be the end of their relationship? Because he didn’t take X up on his offer but instead went to the hospital to be with Scully? How did Mulder interpret that vague calling card so easily? 

Random Thoughts:

Scully’s a doctor. She knows about infections and she would know to get that wound checked out. Not only that, but with all this talk about poisons and toxins she’d be even more on the alert. Instead, she rubs her hand idly and ignores the obvious. But as long as it gives us an excuse to have that scene in the car where Scully goes all wild-eyed, I’m cool.

Scully is way too obvious when she looks out the window after Mulder tells her they’re being followed. Where’s that covert training, G-Woman?

Rob Bowman was probably capable of making even the most ridiculous episode fun to watch.

An X-Files episode in New Orleans would have been an utterly awesome match made in Heaven. The Skeleton Key meets Silence of the Lambs.

Best Quotes:

Scully: [On finding a bag of frogs] Maybe I should kiss a few and find out if one is Guttierez.


Colonel Wharton: I’m sorry. I’m having my breakfast.
Mulder: That’s alright. We already ate.

14 responses to “Fresh Bones 2×15: No more magic than a pair of fuzzy dice.

  1. I thought this episode was really solid. There wasn’t anything above-and-beyond that made is spectacular, but you’re correct about even the average episodes being of markedly improved quality at this point, compared to Season 1, and even early Season 2.

    The Chester character in this episode was my favorite part; it was nice that for once there was some benevolent paranormal thing seen at work.

  2. I liked that episode as well, as a matter of fact, it’s one of the episode that creeped me out the most when i first watched the show (was a kid back then, maybe 10 or 11), i was scared of the things that soldier at the beginning of the episode saw (the worms in his cereals bowl, his skinned face watching the rear view mirror).
    Also, i was amazed when Mulder chases that kid and when he loses his tracks, just seeing that cat there. It was very cool.
    I didnt know that episode was not a fan favorite, cause i really enjoyed it.

  3. Just a thought, in regards to Scully knowing to get the wound checked out…perhaps the whole thing was screwing with her judgment. Maybe whatever sort of “toxin” went to her head as well (well, we know that’s pretty much where it landed) and the thought of getting herself checked out never occurred to her. Also, it’s been said that doctors make the worst patients, so she might assume she could take care of it herself.

    But, I will agree that, whatever the reason, seeing Scully’s eye’s transform from blue to black irises and watching that whole freak out thing is worth it.

    PS…totally digging this review of yours. You have a loyal fan and possibly a nuisance of a responder.

    • That’s perfectly logical, Megan. And I’m willing to accept that theory. Anything to bring us to the eventual outcome. ^^

      P.S. I have a high nuisance tolerance. Feel free to practice your skills here. 😉

  4. This episode was just so-so for me. This is my second rewatch and it’s pretty forgettable because I never remember what this episode is about. I do appreciate the return of X though. And that end scene with Scully bleeding from the mouth and oozing clear stuff from the hand was enough to keep me from eating for a few days!

  5. Pingback: Season 2, Episode 15 – Fresh Bones « The X-Files Truth Podcast

  6. Ironic this isn’t one of the better-received episodes. Wasn’t it the highest-rating episode the show ever had?

  7. This and Die Hand are what Xfiles is all about. Not pretentious voice-overs, cutesy comedy, or Lifetime romance.

  8. Pingback: Plus One 11×3: Put the pencil down. | Musings of an X-Phile

  9. What I love about this episode is the music. I believe it is the first time we hear that tribal theme, which is to repeated in future episodes, such as ‘Our Town’.

    That that and the zombie ripping through Scully’s hand. That’s supper freaky.

    Anyone else notice how frogs/toads have made a second consecutive appearance? I wonder if they are still raining from the sky…

    It took me several rewatches of this episode before I finally understood what happened to Chester, and how he appeared to Mulder and Scully. I think the boy who played him was the best guest actor of this episode.

  10. Pingback: Familiar 11×8: That’s it. It’s too perfect. | Musings of an X-Phile

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