CTP Episode of the Day - 09.08.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Fresh Bones (2x15)
Original Air Date: February 3, 1995
Written By: Howard Gordon
Directed By: Rob Bowman

Mulder and Scully journey to a Haitian refugee camp after a series of deaths, finding themselves caught in a secret war between the camp commander and a Voodoo priest.

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(Thanks to chrisnu for today's pics.)

"Mulder, voodoo only works by instilling fear in its believers. You saw how Bauvais tried to intimidate me. I'll admit the power of suggestion is considerable but this is no more magic than a pair of fuzzy dice.

Some "Fresh Bones" Tidbits & Musings:

-- The episode title comes from a line in the episode spoken by Chester to Mulder and Scully. Speaking about the money that body snatchers make from stealing bodies from the local cemetery, Chester said, "Fresh bones. They pay good." (But Chester goes to the cemetery for the frogs.)

-- News clippings again provided the seed for this episode, after producer Howard Gordon saw two articles about three suicides involving U.S. servicemen in Haiti, while the internment of Haitian refugees also remained very much in the news. Rob Bowman, who directed a number of Gordon-scripted episodes, "did a great job," the writer said, in mining his script for chills.

-- The design painted on the tree into which McAlpin crashed his car was a "vever," a sign belonging to the "loa" or spirits honored in the religious practice known as voudoun (voodoo is the slang term for this practice). Bauvais explained the vever as a loco-miroir, or mirror of the soul.

-- In "Fresh Bones," just after the opening credits, the shot of the road that Mulder and Scully are driving down is stamped as "Highway 10, Folkstone, North Carolina." In "Aubrey," three episodes earlier, the same shot is used the first time Mulder and Scully go to visit Cokely, and the stamp says "Highway 377, Missouri/Nebraska border."

-- Oopsie? While reading from his report at the beginning of the episode, Mulder refers to Jack McAlpin as John McAlpin. Of course, "Jack" can be a nickname for "John," but the agents refer to McAlpin as "Jack" later in the episode.

-- The groundskeeper's Rottweiler was named Wong, after writer James Wong, who had just left the show.

-- Oopsie! While Mulder, Scully, and the groundskeeper are walking through Folkstone Municipal Cemetery, there is a partially hidden but still conspicuous sign that reads "Vancouver Cemetery."

-- When Mulder chases Chester on the pier, the camera's shadow can be seen as it circles around him.

-- When Colonel Wharton performs his voodoo ritual at the end of the episode, he says in French: "To the spirits of the stars, the spirit of the moon."

-- The episode's final scene with Wharton trapped inside the coffin mirrors the final scene from the Wes Craven movie The Serpent and the Rainbow, which was based on a Wade Davis (the Harvard ethnobotanist Mulder mentions in the episode) book about his experiences in Haiti.

-- Daniel Benzali (Colonel Wharton) played Theodore Hoffman in the critically acclaimed but short-lived series Murder One.

-- Roger R. Cross was a four-time retread. He was Private Kittel in this episode, Officer Green in "E.B.E.," the SWAT Lieutenant in "Pusher," and the Field Agent in "Folie a Deux." He appeared this summer in Oliver Stone's film World Trade Center; but is probably best known as an indispensable member of C.T.U. on 24.

-- Bruce A. Young (Pierre Beauvais) recently appeared in a very memorable episode of Grey's Anatomy. He played Tom Maynard, one of a pair of passengers who was impaled on a metal pole during a train crash, in the episode, "Into You Like a Train."

-- Back in 1995, "Fresh Bones" was only the second professional acting job for Jamil Walker Smith (Chester Bonaparte). Now, more than 10 years later, he's still acting as well as doing voiceover work for video games. He appeared in the pilot episode of Supernatural which was directed by XF vet David Nutter and which also starred "Duane Barry" himself, Steve Railsback.

-- Other Once & Future Retreads: Katya Gardner (Robin McAlpin) played Peggy O'Dell in the "Pilot." Peter Kelamis was also a four-time retread; he was Lieutenant Foyle in this episode, O'Dell in "Lazarus," Husband #2 in "Small Potatoes," and Assistant D.A. Costa in "Mind's Eye." Callum Keith Rennie (The Groundskeeper) was Tommy in "Lazarus." Steven Williams made his fourth on-screen appearance as Mr. X.

-- You might think of "Fresh Bones" as just another monster-of-the-week episode, but give it a second look. Once you get past the voodoo, the vever, the tetrodotoxin, and the zombification phenomenon, there's actually a whole lot of shippiness going on! Lots of touches and partnerly concern, a little of the "hand on the small of her back" action (when they exit Col. Wharton's office after their first meeting), and some Manly Mulder Man protectiveness (stepping between Bauvais and Scully when Bauvais tries to put the whammy on her).

-- Fresh Bones was the highest rated episode of the first two seasons, attaining an 11.3 rating and a 19 share.

Please share your first impressions, favorite (or cringe-worthy) moments, classic lines, favorite fanfic, nagging questions, repeated viewing observations, etc., as today we celebrate "Fresh Bones"!

Polly