Season 1 Episode 2


Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Jul 15, 2008 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
25 votes

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Episode Summary

The team of archeologists uncovers bones that they think belonged to slaves from the 18th century. But soon, they realize the bones are connected with the crew of a ship.

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  • This is another of my episode recaps of Bonekickers. It contains large amounts of snark. I use nicknames in place of character names too, just to be extra jerky.

    There are some men being shot by some other men in Virginia 1781. It must be Bonekickers!

    Redcoats are shooting those darn Colonials presumably because of some spilled tea. All of a sudden the Redcoats are defeated by some black soldiers wearing face paint, shirts and waistcoats, oh, and trousers too. The Colonials are saved! One of the black soldiers is holding aloft a broadsword which is a bit out of place. Hmmm... I wonder if that's tied into a deeper, season long, mystery? Just like the first episode, this sequence is better than anything else in the show.

    We cut to 'the Bristol Channel 227 years later' where we see a dog find a bone in the muddy bed of the channel. Well, there's a cliche, a dog finding a bone, but at least it makes some kind of sense. I do hope Bonekickers isn't going to develop a sense of logic, that would be dull in comparison to the first episode's absolute lunacy.

    Opening titles - caves! Torches! Teeth! Old writing! Some tents!

    The Bonekickers team are intrepidly hanging around the local pub where Dolly is moaning about having to go to Hull. Man With No Gimmick describes it as having to go up there and 'check the archeology'. That sounds a bit weird to me. It's like saying, "I'm going to the server room to check the IT" or "I'm going to the crime scene to check the criminology." Gruff Detective talks to her mad mum. Mad mum ignores her daughter as she thrusts a picture of a sword in her face. Mad mum continues to draw constellations in a pad. I think they could be looking for a space sword. Gasp! Maybe it's a lightsabre?!

    Gruff Detective drags the team away from a trip to Hull to a trip to the muddy Bristol Channel. I notice that the Rookie uses a big spade to dig a bone out with, that doesn't seem right but what do I know. The team are working against the impending tide so Gruff Detective orders them to start digging everything out. Man With no Gimmick is worried, "What? And risk losing archeology?!" Again, this sounds odd to me. "We should reboot your PC." "What? And risk losing IT?!" It's kind of like saying, "losing science". Or is this how archaeologists really talk? Someone let me know.

    The Rookie finds manacles and Dolly finds a ship's bell. The team head back to the lab where the Boss is excited by the prospect of a slavery find. The Rookie proposes removing all evidence of the slave trade but she stops short of setting fire to the finds they've just dug out of the channel. Dolly bates her by talking about his Golly broach collection. He's a sensitive guy.

    The two black members of the team (Rookie and Man With No Gimmick) visit a racist old man whose family owned the sunken ship. He's not apologetic for the slave trade and refuses to help the team besmirch his family name. So there. Dolly checks the shipping records that state the ship was decommissioned and chopped up for firewood. Hang on! There's a mystery here. Gruff Detective apparently doesn't like mysteries. Why is she an archaeologist then?

    The local community are outraged that slave bodies have been discovered. Bristol will have to apologise for being part of the slave trade unless the team can keep the bones to themselves and solve the mystery.

    Meanwhile the show seems to change channel to an amateur production of 24. Hey, it's Lieutenant Gorman from Aliens! He's working for Senator Joy (stupid name alert) a black man running for the presidency. He can't win the election though because racists are out to get him and have started a smear campaign. Hopefully Jack Bauer and CTU will be on hand to help him out or the terrorists will win. Or something.

    The team talk to the community leader (an African doctor), he doesn't want to help the team, he just wants the bones so they can be buried in Africa. Shouldn't he wait until the team at least figure out where the deceased came from? Africa's a pretty big place, I don't think the doctor can just dump them in any old part of Africa.

    Gruff Detective then hallucinates on the way home. For no real reason other than to foreshadow similar hallucinations later in the episode.

    There's tons of padding before anything else happens in this episode. Seriously. The Senator wanders about a bit, he visits a field in Bristol (which is actually Virginia, no really) and he avoids a fake bomb scare, all in the cause of filling up the episode.

    Dolly figures out the ship records were faked in the 60s and discovers the cover up. Then it takes forever for things to happen. The pace is way off from last week's crazy running around, digging and shouting. This episode is merely boring and bad rather than crazy and bad. Dolly does get to perve at some female students taking their bras off though.

    Eventually the team do some more digging and find some severed hands in a box (skeletal now of course). Gruff Detective figures that some kind of magic sword was probably used to sever the hands as it was a clean cut through the bone. I hope it was Excalibur.

    The Senator decides to go to Britain to investigate the dig as his ancestors may be involved. The African doctor is murdered by the Evil Racist Conspiracy, he's fed an hallucinogenic and then his throat is cut with an all too obvious stage knife. The team figure out that the bones don't belong to slaves but to white people from Bristol. The conspiracy grows. The Boss isn't happy with this news as he wanted the publicity from dead slaves. Once again he's stopping Gruff Detective from doing her job, dammit!

    Dolly gives us all a history lesson about a group of Maroons who operated out of a swamp in Virginia. They were escaped slaves who helped to fight against the Redcoats in the War of Independence. Senator Joy meets up with the team and tells them of his ancestors and his quest to find out what happened to them whilst avoiding the Racist Conspiracy. Dolly finds other evidence of the conspiracy when he discovers the tale of an archaeologist who was murdered in the 60s. The Racist Conspiracy has been operating for years and years, gasp. Lieutenant Gorman also decides to tell us how awesome the Senator is, I think he has a bit of a man-crush.

    The team track the Maroons to an island off the Devonshire coast. Seems the Maroons escaped after being betrayed by George Washington's officers and lived out the rest of their lives on Hell Rock. Great name, but it isn't real.

    The team find an underground chamber after following a magic sword shaped growth of Virginia creeper. Seriously. At least the show's got more exciting by not making sense now. This episode is still dull though.

    The team enter the chamber and find the bones of the Maroons. The Senator appears after having followed the team and they learn the true story about the Maroons' betrayal after the end of the War of Independence. Then racists turn up and shoot at everyone. Despite being armed with laser sights, the racists fail to kill anyone and merely succeeded in slightly wounding someone. One of the Senator's staff is a secret racist but Senator Joy has watched Die Hard and had already swapped Secret Racist's bullets for blanks. Yippee ki yay.

    The Senator holds a press conference in Bristol to let the American people know of his heritage. We don't know if he wins the presidential race but he does sign Gruff Detective's breasts. Yeah, that's an image I didn't want in my head.

    This episode was a little dull for my tastes, there was no absolutely bonkers plot and even the principal cast's performances seemed to have been dialed back from 11. Hopefully the next Bath-centric episode will be more exciting, and as it's set in a cave system, I'm hoping there'll be Mole People.moreless
  • Bones and a ship's bell discovered in the mud of the Severn Estuary lead to the uncovering of a two-hundred year old cover-up.

    A silly story line involving George Washington and some "maroons" who chased the Brits out of the USA is exposed by some bones and rust-free shackles conveniently turning up in the mud of the Bristol Channel. Sadly, not as ridiculous as the pilot episode. Still suffering from chronic over-explanation (we know what Mount Rushmore is) terrible dialogue and inability to suspend belief. The characters are purely ciphers with no depth, so there is little for the actors to work with, in fairness.

    In spite of (another) secret underground cavern and a shootout with (OMG) blank bullets, this more pedestrian episode lacked the pure "how bad can it get" of its predcessor. Dull.moreless
Julie Graham

Julie Graham

Professor Gillian Magwilde

Adrian Lester

Adrian Lester

Dr Ben Ergha

Michael Maloney

Michael Maloney

Professor Daniel Mastiff

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Viv Davis

Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville

Professor Gregory Parton

Duane Henry

Duane Henry


Guest Star

Leon Herbert

Leon Herbert

Dr. Adabankah

Guest Star

Benjamin Whitrow

Benjamin Whitrow

Mr. Carr

Guest Star

Frances Tomelty

Frances Tomelty

Karen Magwilde

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • While the whole party was shot at on the island, Senator Joy's assistants, who were not official Secret Service agents, shot back with their private guns which they brought with them from the United States to England. No country would ever give permission for private citizens to bring in personal weapons from a different country, especially with recent laws on airplanes.

    • Gillian's sword: formed out of very old virginia creeper planted on Hell Rock.

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Gillian: The new girl, Viv's settling in. The boys seem to like her, then again she's female and she breathes.

    • Viv: If it was down to me, I'd remove every vestige of the slave trade. It was an obscenity and we still have streets named after slave traders, music venues, statues!

    • Dr Adabankah: If you don't know your past, how can you know your future?

    • Dr Adabankah: There are powers in the universe greater even than the English law.

    • Gillian: I wasn't drunk!
      Daniel: You swerved to avoid an African hunting party which just happened to be crossing the King's Western Road.

    • Viv: Does Ben have a girlfriend?
      Parton: No, far too in love with himself for that!

    • Viv: You should have embraced a life of crime, Gregory.
      Parton: Oh I tried it once, Matron thrashed it out of me.

    • Dr Adabankah: Everything comes to he who fights, my friend. I don't mean guns or knives, I mean knowledge.

    • Lester: I was weary, cynical, sick of the whole thing. Senator Joy came to give a talk in my home town, and I'd heard a bit about him so I decided to check it out. He was outstanding, he gave me back my hope, he gave me back my love of nation, a man. I know that sounds stupid to you folk...
      Ben: No, no it doesn't.
      Lester: He could make a difference.

    • Ben: If they'd come ashore anywhere here, people would have noticed the colour of their skins and raised the alarm.
      Parton: Still would in some parts of North Devon.

    • Parton: (after a shootout) Does anybody else have an underpants situation?

  • NOTES (1)