Bones 5X11 Mini-Cap: “The X in the File”
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I don’t have time tonight for a full recap, nor does the episode much merit it, but a little something needed to be said. It’s not to say that “The X in the File” wasn’t a solid episode, because it was, but I’ve come to realize that Bones only does a handful of episodes each season that stand out from one another. In fact, those are the episodes that elevate it from being a simple procedural to something unique; episodes like “The Man in the Fallout Shelter” and “Two Bodies in the Lab” from season one, “Aliens in a Spaceship” from season two, “The Verdict in the Story” from season three, and “Mayhem on a Cross” and “The End in the Beginning” (yes, I said it) from season four. But placeholders like “The X in the File,” while fun, do not advance the ongoing story so much as play around in it, and so don’t really need to be written about in such depth.
What this episode did do, however, was pay homage in a major way to one of the greatest television shows ever made: The X-Files. I didn’t know this before tonight, but according to Hart Hanson’s Twitter feed, Bones is filmed on the same lot as The X-Files once was: Stage Six. Bones has made X-Files callbacks before, actually. The instance in the pilot where Booth calls Bones “Scully” and she “doesn’t know what that means,” and Hodgins with his conspiracy theories, not to mention the entire whole episode back in season two that was directed by David Duchovny.
While the case was interesting, and I thought the whole Angela/Hodgins/Wendell triangle could have come off a lot more awkward, and the Bones/Booth interaction was bordering on overwhelmingly adorable, what I really have to comment on was just how many times in the episode I had to pause my DVR and shout “NO WAY!” Of course I was shouting at X-Files references.
First, the entire opening sequence was a complete parody of every single teaser The X-Files ever did, right down to the last detail: dim lighting, creepy landscape, glowing eyes . . . even the music. I distinctly heard variations on the “alien discovery” theme at least twice. And then the dude finds an alien, but that’s the obvious part. There were subtle little references like that all over the place: The X-Files theme song being the guy’s ringtone, the setting of Roswell, etc. Bones and Booth acted more like Mulder and Scully in this episode than their normal selves, Booth playing the part of the believer, Brennan the skeptic, but managing to come to a meaningful compromise in the end (which also reminded me distinctly of Mulder and Scully, looking up at the stars and wondering). And then there’s stuff that probably only a die-hard fan would notice, like the appearance of Dale Dickey, who famously got boiled water thrown right in her face as Scully was giving birth to the lovebaby in Season Eight. The biggest reference, though, is the appearance of Dean Haglund (minus the pony tail), who is most famous for his role as Richard Langly, Ramone lover and 1/3 of the Lone Gunmen.
Perhaps my favorite part of the episode, though, was how it managed to integrate both traditional Bones themes and ones that could have come right out of The X-Files itself back in its heyday. Actually, now that I think about it, it couldn’t have been all that difficult. The X-Files was often a show about belief against all odds and it featured two lead characters that both had something to learn from one another. Scully, like Brennan, was the scientist, and she had notorious difficulty accepting things that couldn’t be quantified or proved. Mulder, like Booth, was a man of faith, who ran mostly on instinct and taught his stiffer partner how to believe. All in all, it was a good episode that managed to remind me of one of the reasons I fell in love with TV in the first place. It was fun to remember a time when I thought there would never be a show as good as The X-Files, or a man as sexy and wonderful as Fox Mulder. Sometimes it’s nice to be proved wrong.