Season 2 Episode 12

The Man in the Cell

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Jan 31, 2007 on FOX
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Booth and Brennan are ordered to the cell of serial killer Howard Epps to identify the remains of an inmate. To their surprise the charred remains don't belong to Epps.

It's soon learned that Epps has escaped and is on a revenge path, which involves Booth's young son, Parker. Due to the danger of the case, Brennan must get FBI protection.

Cam inhales a toxin while performing an autopsy, which puts her life in danger.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • An episode to be loved by fans of the series for many different reasons. Spoiler alert.

    What happens when Howard Epps escapes prison? If that question frightens you, then you're in for a mouthful of freaky. This episode will certainly shock you if you aren't completely desensitized by this point, and though that isn't saying much when considering the many times the show has tested the stomachs of its audience, the gruesome levels associated with the images in this episode are amplified when considering that it is Howard Epps who is behind it all. It's a thrilling episode that also manages to get a few chuckles here and there.

    The only thing that I will complain about is the way that the episode ends. Mr. epps dies, which means that he show no longer benefits from having a consistent nemesis. Not all hope is lost, however: There's still the Grave Digger, for those of us who remember Aliens in a Spaceship. Nobody knows who the Grave Digger is, and all of this time outside of the Bones universe could mean that he is perfecting his method. Lastly, the way in which epps dies is sort of lackluster. He doesn't leave an emotional body count behind, though he tried with Camille. Such a magnificent villain deserved a better, if not later, termination. All complaints aside, it's still a very good episode, but next time the show decides to terminate a key villain, one that at least shares epps' haunting record, I think the writers should vote on a continuous storyline within consecutive episodes, in turn within a season, not between seasons (because that would piss the hell out of everyone).moreless
  • Epps escapes

    In this episode of Bones, the following happens. When a fire breaks out in a prison, and a dead body is found, Bones and Booth are called in to investigate. They believe that the body is that of serial killer Epps. When Bones looks at the body, she says it does not belong to Epps. We soon learn that the body is in a burnt out fire outfit and that Epps has escaped in plain sight, dressed as a fire-fighter.

    They track down his wife, to learn that they have since divorced, and she turns down protection. After she leaves, Booth tells Bones that she also needs protection. Soon Booth sees that bones has a gun (and a huge one at that) and isn't happy about it. Then Epps phones Bones and Booth tries to trace the call. They trace it and get a location, but by the time they get there, he has already gone. But he leaves them a present, which turns out to be shaved bone. Then, back in the lab, Angela screams and the team see that she has received a human heart through the mail. Angela freaks out. Soon the clue point back to Epps's now ex-wife and when they go to see her, they find her head (and only her head) inside of a refrigerator. We soon learn that she was alive when her head was cut off. Bones soon learns that Booth has assigned 2 agents to follow her/them at all times. Then Cam finds something inside of the victim's ear, which is from where Parker (Booth's son) plays every day after school. And so Booth and Bones head straight there. They find the Nanny and Booth rushes onto the ride to find his son. But he isn't there. They soon see him going to get ice cream by himself. He then says that the man bought him an ice cream, who said he was his father's friend. When Cam and Zach start to open up the head, a powder disperses into the air, which Cam breathes in. She falls to the floor and starts to have a fit. They get her to the hospital, only to learn that she doesn't have much time to live. Epps rings Bones and offers her the cure for Cam, but changes his mind when he learns that they have his mother in custody. They soon track down where the body which belongs to the head his, and when Zach takes a bag off of her stomach, he actives a press switch, and so has to keep his hand on the body to stop it from going off. As Booth stays with him and when the bomb goes off, they are both still in close range. We then see a news report saying that Zach is dead and Booth is in critical condition. But we quickly learn that this is not true, as we see both of them sitting, alive and well in Bones's office. They soon learn what is the poison is and so they start Cam on the right drugs to cure her. When she comes round, Booth is there waiting for her. So Bones goes home and the FBI are keeping an eye on her, but is it really that safe? Of course not. As she is in the shower, we see someone climbing out of a wall, and we see that it is Epps. As he goes to kill her, she is waiting for him, with her big gun, and so is Booth. He throws the crow bar in his hand, and Epps jumps over the balcony. Booth manages to grab him, but can't hold him. Epps soon slips and fall to his death. As the episode ends we see Booth with Parker at the play ground, and Bones goes there to see Booth. We learn that Cam is being released from the hospital, and we learn that she and Booth are no longer a couple, as he blames himself for what happened to her.moreless
  • Tension all round.

    You knew if Epps was involved we were going to get some nastiness and that was what we got. Not only did he destroy people physically but delighted in torturing people psychologically. Playing with their minds and feelings.

    This episode had everything. OK there were some procedural errors committed in the lab but they were brought about by the overwhelming urgency to catch the monster. Although Brennan was the catalyst for all that Epps was doing it was really Booth who made things happen. It was Booth who involved Epps's mother; it was Booth who pressured Cam into opening the skull (and he admitted remorse and felt guilty about the result). Booth was angry and driven throughout the episode even going so far as to frighten his son with his hard questioning although it was driven by his fear for Parker.

    In the end, Epps was the winner in this game of torturing souls, especially Booth's. He was left feeling that he didn't know how to make things right with his son and that he shouldn't become romantically invovled with any partner in this high risk job - much to Brennan's apparent disappointment. It won't last though, he cares too much about people, even Zack.moreless
  • epps escapes from jail and now brennan and booth have their hands full trying to keep him from hurting their friends and family

    oh my the time this ep came out it was like the best ep everything..the case and the relationship..the case was so mind-boggling..the clues and everything kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time and the horrible things going on like the thing w/ cam (no offense but i never liked her and i never will so if her character was gone i wouldnt be sad for long lol..i know im cold)..but anyways..epps is horrible and i was like so horrified when i thought zack was going to get blown up but booth saved him..yay booth..and everything even w/ parker im like oh my gosh..epps is so cold...anyways back to relationships..great bb moments..trying to impress her w/ being a hero..and then the whole saying hes getting security for brennan and stressing that..oh yeah..but then the thing at the end that killed me..two ppl who work together in the job we do shouldnt date b/c we put each other in danger..come on..that killed me..i put a pillow 2 my mouth to cover my scream and then started hitting the pillow and my stepmom is like whats wrong w/ now im doing the same thing in the privacy of my own roommoreless
  • Serial killer Epps escapes, targeting Brennan's friends.

    Good to see Epps again, his creepy obsession with Brennan is quite fun.

    It's a relief to see that Epps' wife has come to her senses and divorced Epps, got a new boyfriend. Stubbornly refusing to believe Epps would come after her. Boy, was she wrong.

    Epps is on a rampage, aimed at Brennan. Angela, Parker, Cam. Though Cam's injuries were her own fault, Zach was asking her to x-ray the head and instead she just went in blind and broke the glass vial. For all her preaching on protocol, she ignored it. Brennan is no better, Epps was going to tell her what poison it was and she taunts him about his mother, making him hang up! It's the problem with poisons, why they could only find the cure once they had the actual poison - once poisons enter the body, the body breaks it down and it becomes near impossible to identify.

    A good episode but wasn't perfect because people we know are very good at their jobs start making incredibly stupid mistakes. Epps showing up in Brennan's apartment was also pretty predictable.moreless
David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz

Special Agent Seeley Booth

Emily Deschanel

Emily Deschanel

Dr. Temperance Brennan

Eric Millegan

Eric Millegan

Zack Addy

Michaela Conlin

Michaela Conlin

Angela Montenegro

T.J. Thyne

T.J. Thyne

Dr. Jack Hodgins

Tamara Taylor

Tamara Taylor

Dr. Camille Saroyan

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • When Bones is talking on the phone with Epps, he says that his IQ is 180. Albert Einstein's IQ was only about 160, which would mean that Epps is substantially smarter than Einstein and one of the smartest people in the world (based on IQ).

    • When Booth and Brennan are at the hospital talking to Cam's doctor, Booth says, "What does that mean? I don't know what that means." This is a play on Brennan's line in regards to pop-culture references.

    • When the lab was under high security alert, for some reason the only people to come when Angela screamed were Cam, Bones, Zack And Hodgins.

    • At the end of the episode while Epps is falling he does a double somersault. Yet it was only about a 50-foot fall, and he was hanging as dead weight, so he should just have dropped straight down.

    • Toward the end of the episode, when the explosion has happened and they've leaked the false story to the media, Zack asks why he can't go home and Booth says because he's supposed to be dead. Yet in the same news report Booth is reported as being in critical condition, so by rights he should also have remained out of sight.

    • When Booth finds out about the Parker and Parker leather goods store he tells Zack to grab his boss and he is alluding to Dr. Brennan. Technically, however, Cam is Zack's boss and not Dr. Brennan.

    • When Brennan and Booth are entering the apartment where they find Epps' wife's body, why are they bothering to tiptoe when they are talking at a normal level? And why would you be talking at all if a serial killer might be inside?

    • GOOF: When Brennan picks up the bone shavings that Howard left at the pay phone, and the camera is behind her, her right pinkie finger is sticking up when she is holding the vial, but when the camera angle changes to the front close-up, all of her fingers are gripping the top of the vial without there being any time for her to move her finger.

    • The building used for the external shot of the fire-damaged prison as the episode opens is the Joliet Correctional Center located in Joliet, Illinois. The first season of Prison Break was also shot on location here (Fox River State Penitentiary).

    • As a former coroner, Cam must have known about the dangers associated with inhaling bone dust (which were also established in the season one episode "The Graft in the Girl"), not to mention the importance of following protocols. Despite this, Cam cuts into the bone without wearing a mask. Had she been wearing a mask she probably wouldn't have inhaled the poison.

    • When Booth tells Brennan to help him hold Howard at the end, she tries to reach over the top of the balcony railing. Why didn't she just reach through the railing and grab Howard to help Booth? There was plenty of space to do that.

  • QUOTES (43)

    • Brennan: Epps said that whatever else happens here on out was my fault.
      Cam: Then we won't let anything else happen.

    • Epps: You're gonna drop me anyway. Just get it over with.
      Booth: You son of a bitch.
      Epps: Are you saying you don't want me dead?
      Booth: Yeah, I'm not you.
      Epps: Oh, really? You're not thinking of the world with me still in it? Going after Dr. Brennan, your son ...
      Booth: I'm not you.

    • Booth: (After he puts Parker on the Merry-Go-Round, he turns around and sees Brennan) Hi, how'd you know I was here?
      Brennan: Saturday morning, how's Parker?
      Booth: Yeah, I'm afraid I freaked him out the other day, he's really scared of this place, now I gotta put that right.
      Brennan: That's you all over, putting things right.

    • Brennan: (reasoning why Epps fell from Booth's grip) You didn't have your full strength, your wrist was hurt from pulling Zack away from the explosion.
      Booth: My wrist wasn't hurt, Bones.
      Brennan: (scoffs) I wish you'd let me shoot him.
      Booth: (somberly) No you don't. (gets up and walks away)

    • Brennan: Marianne Epps is a clearly bad mother.
      Booth: (scoffs) Yeah, well you think?!
      Brennan: But, a lot of people have bad mothers and they don't grow up to be serial killers, which is why I don't put much stock in psychology.
      Booth: All right listen Bones, I don't care how you explain it, all right, the guy, he's an animal, he's got no conscience.
      Brennan: I don't know how one draws moral distinctions between killers?
      Booth: Listen Bones all right? There are crimes of passion, all right, crimes committed out of desperation, which are usually followed by remorse or acknowledgement of human failing, the key word here is human.
      Brennan: The reasons for killing someone are unimportant, the life that's taken is all that matters.
      Booth: Listen, you can't blame yourself here.
      Brennan: Yeah, it's me he's after, Angela and everyone else, they shouldn't be involved.
      Booth: Look, it's not your fault all right, it's all Epps, which is why I'm gonna take this little bastard down.
      (Brennan looks in the side mirror and realizes that there is a car following them.)
      Brennan: Booth – (more urgently) Booth – we're being followed.
      Booth: Um-hmm, that's right, (chuckles) two agents all the time at a very discreet distance, see, and I don't care how big your gun is all right?

    • Angela: The burn victim is Donald Kent, a decorated fire-fighter.
      Brennan: Epps would appreciate the irony.
      Angela: Kent was still alive when he was set on fire, how many victims does that make?
      Brennan: Seven, that we know of.
      Angela: And they aren't just young blond women anymore.
      Brennan: No, they aren't.
      Angela: He's such a monster. He's killed from behind bars, and new victims keep turning up, and now he's out.

    • Cam: (while examining Caroline Epps' decapitated head) Okay, that's terrifically disturbing.
      Booth: What?
      Cam: Massive blood aspiration to the soft tissue of the neck. (Brennan gasps, upset.)
      Booth: Meaning?
      Cam: Caroline Epps was alive when Howard cut her head off.
      Brennan: (exasperated) Now he's torturing his victims.
      Booth: (determined) So let's torture him.

    • Booth: (Explaining to Cam why he wants her to skip protocol when it comes to Howard Epps) Sorry, I'm just a little anxious to get the little gerbil back in his cage, that's all.

    • Booth: (seeing Brennan yawn) Maybe you would like something a little more exciting, huh Bones? Like Attica.
      Brennan: My neighbors are renovating their apartment and one of the workmen left his radio on. Hip-Hop is not conducive to sleep.

    • Dr. Saroyan: Leave it to a serial killer to spoil the mood.

    • Caroline: I'm no longer involved in Howard's life.
      Booth: That's hard to believe being his wife and all.
      Caroline: Ex-wife, the judge signed my divorce papers last month.
      Booth: Why didn't it work out exactly, was it a lack of quality time, or all the women he bludgeoned to death?

    • Booth: You know what happened to Cam happened because we had a personal relationship.
      Brennan: Had?
      Booth: Yeah, people who work in high-risk situations, they can't be involved romantically because it leads to things like what happened.
      Brennan: High risk situations?
      Booth: Every single day it's with us, there's this line and we can't cross it, you know what I'm saying?
      Brennan: Yes, I understand. (She exhales, pondering disappointedly. Parker waves at them.) He seems okay now.
      Booth: Yeah, you know, it's important to make things right, we just don't know how. I don't know how.

    • Hodgins: I can't find any traces of powder on Cam's clothing.
      Zack: Did you search electro statically?
      Hodgins: Yes, are you sure it was a powder?
      Zack: (insistently) Yes.
      Hodgins: It had to be a gas.
      Zack: If it were a gas I'd be in the hospital with Cam.
      Hodgins: No particles on her clothing, (impatiently) Zack, it had to be a gas.
      Zack: It wasn't ... are we having an argument?
      Hodgins: Of course.
      Zack: Why?
      Hodgins: Because Cam's dying, and I should be with Angela, and because there are no particles.
      Zack: ... on the clothing.
      Hodgins: That's right.
      Zack: What about the glass parts still left in the head.
      Hodgins: (his face suddenly lights up) I'm not angry with you anymore!

    • Hodgins: I'll tell you this, if Epps comes near Angela, I'll kill him.
      Zack: What about the rest of us.
      Brennan: Everyone will be fine, Cam increased security.
      Hodgins: And you have the big gun.(Brennan gives him a surprised look) Hey, tough to keep that one a secret, beautiful woman with a weapon, very Guns and Ammo summer issue. (Brennan continues to glare at Hodgins) I'm gonna concentrate on my work now.

    • Hodgins: Hey, priorities in life man. One: be there when someone you love comes back from the brink of death. Two: Catch the serial killer. Everything after that is basically unimportant.

    • Brennan: (To Zack) You gonna be alright?
      Zack: The doctor said most of my injuries didn't come from the explosion, but from being slammed into the floor. (to Booth) Apparently, you are extremely strong.
      Brennan: Did you have to be so rough on him!?
      Booth: It was a bomb, I was know...heroic.
      Zack: I was heroic too!
      Brennan: Yes, you were.
      Booth: Somebody saved somebody. That's all I'm saying.
      Zack: Well, I got the poison.
      Brennan: Which is good, because Caroline's body was blown to pieces.
      Booth: That was a good thing, you know, you keeping your wits. I mean what I did was uh...(Sees the skeptical looks from Zack and Brennan)...I guess if you have to explain to yourself why you're a hero, I guess you're not really a hero.

    • Brennan: We will find him Ang. We're ready this time.
      Angela: I'm not. Look, I have some sick days coming, and I was thinking since Epps makes me sick-
      Brennan: We need you Ang. Hodgins certainly does.
      Angela: That was low.
      Brennan: I know...did it work?

    • Cam: Hey, did the wife give you anything?
      Booth: Oohh, chills.

    • Booth: You and Epps, okay, it's personal. You're everything that he hates.
      Brennan: And what is that exactly?
      Booth: Well, you know, you're a smart, strong, confident woman. (Brennan smiles slightly) And uh, figured him out you made him feel powerless. So, he's gonna want to uh, prove that uh, you're weak and inferior. So you are not to go out on your own ever.

    • Epps: (to Brennan) One minute...all I want is one minute alone with you.
      Brennan: Fine with me.
      Booth: Don't provoke the lunatic, alright?

    • Booth: (about Brennan's gun) OK, people see you with that, next thing you know everyone in this place will start packing.
      Brennan: This is America. Get used to it!

    • (Examining Caroline Epps' head)
      Cam: Why just leave her head?
      Booth: To get us all involved. I mean, the less we have to work with, the more we're all drawn in.

    • Cam: OK, give me the number two saw.
      (Cam is preparing to cut into the skull)
      Zack: I hate this part.
      Cam: Me too.

    • (Brennan and Booth are standing in the hospital hallway, looking at Cam)
      Brennan: Considering the relationship between you and Cam, I would like to say the right thing. Booth, I don't know what it is. Usually I'd ask you or Angela…
      Booth: You just said it, thanks.

    • Epps: (On the phone with Brennan) I can't tell you how nice it is to be out of that stupid orange jumpsuit. I mean, I have an IQ of 180 for god's sake and they had me dressed up like a pumpkin.

    • Booth: Hey, your family is coming…
      Cam: (with a raspy voice) Oh God! (coughs) And I thought poison was my biggest problem!

    • Epps: (On the phone with Brennan) You don't run the game. I run the game. You're gonna be sorry!

    • (Booth and Zack both have their hands on the boobytrap in Caroline Epps' body)
      Booth: Zack...uh, this...uh, this is gonna hurt.
      Zack: You or me?
      Booth: Mostly you. Ok on three, I want you to jump back as high as you can.
      Zack: I am not a good jumper.
      Booth: Be a good counter.
      Zack: I am a good counter.

    • Hodgins: What the hell are you? You're not a bacterial protein or a non-opioid analgesic. You're not a neurotoxin or a heavy metal. You act like chloral methane, but Zack said there was no sweet smell when the powder was released.
      Angela: (entering the room, looking slightly amused) Are you talking to the evidence?

    • Angela: When this is over I am moving to a door-manned building, I am getting an unlisted number and I am hiring a full-time bodyguard named "Knuckles."
      Hodgins: Don't get paranoid.
      Angela: That's funny coming from a conspiracy theorist!

    • Booth: I am gonna go see Cam at the hospital, and you (to Brennan) are gonna go home and get some sleep.
      Zack: Why can't I go home?
      Booth: Didn't you just hear what they said on the news? You're dead!

    • Booth: (walking out of Brennan's office, annoyed) Why does everybody question me, alright? I'm the hero!

    • Booth: How are you feeling, babe?
      Cam: Like I got poisoned by a disembodied head full of plasterdust.
      Booth: Plasterdust...

    • Booth: You know, I could have the bureau pull your license.
      Bones: Yeah, and I could assign Zack as your forensic anthropologist!

    • Cam: (To the squints) Hope you enjoyed your fifteen minutes of fame people, because we have a psycho on the loose so it's back to work. (Takes a look at the paper) I photograph well!

    • Angela: (about the newspaper article, to Hodgins) Did you really call me the heart of the operation?
      Hodgins: Yeah, that's before you called me short.
      Angela: Hey, Zack called you short. I think you're just the right height.
      Hodgins: Yeah?
      Angela: (nods) Short men have better leverage.
      Zack: I'm feeling uncomfortable...

    • Brennan: (Examining the burned body in the cell) Contortion indicates a...painful death.
      Booth: Well, after killing four teenage girls that we know about, it's just what the doctor ordered.

    • (Brennan gets grabbed by her hair by one of the inmates, Booth pulls her to him and puts his arm around her)
      Booth: Whooah! Just stay close, OK? A lot of these animals haven't seen a real woman since Reagan was president.

    • Booth: (to Hodgins and Zack) I am walking out of here. You try and stop me again, I'll shoot both of you! (Booth walks out as Zack begins his search.)
      Zack: Uuughh...
      Hodgins: What?
      Zack: I really need him to come back.
      Hodgins: (yells) Booth! (to Zack) Whatever you got, better be worth dying for. (Booth walks in, with his hand on his gun, glaring at Hodgins. Hodgins points at Zack. Booth looks at Zack expectantly.)
      Zack: There's a Parker & Parker Leather Goods owned by the Parker brothers on Parker Street in the town of Parker just outside of Arlington. That's a lot of Parkers.
      Booth: Yeah. Okay, let's go. Grab your boss and let's get going. Come on. (Booth leads him out of the lab by his tie.)

    • Brennan: (about Epps) You were right, he was pretty upset when he found out we had his mother.
      Booth: You told him...That's good. Make the bastard sweat.

    • Booth: What's that smell?
      Brennan: It's mold. It grows in the fat creases of morbidly obese people.
      Mrs Epps.: What is this about? Did you bring me in here to make fun of me?

    • Howard: (to Dr. Brennan) Everything that happens, from now on, is your fault.

    • (Angela and Brennan in her office talking about Epps)
      Angela: How do you deal with the fear?
      Brennan: I have this. (takes out huge gun from her purse)
      Angela: Oh my God! That thing is huge. Woah, wow, that's like movie huge.
      (Booth enters the office)
      Booth: Where the hell did you get that?
      Brennan: The mall.
      Booth: (incredulously) The mall?
      Brennan: Yeah. It's pretty big, right? Bigger than the one you have. (Angela chuckles reading the subtext)
      Booth: Excuse me, it's not the size that matters. It's how you use it.
      Brennan: Well, I think size is pretty important.
      Booth: The point is that you shouldn't have a gun in the first place.
      Angela: If you do have one, bigger is always better.
      Booth: You're not helping.
      Angela: Right. Yeah. This does seem like a private conversation.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The merry-go-round at which Epps buys Parker ice cream is the same merry-go-round seen in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (in which David Boreanaz played Angel) in episode 5x08.

    • The building used for the external shot of the fire-damaged prison as the episode opens is the Joliet Correctional Center located in Joliet, Illinois. The first season of Prison Break was also shot on location there (calling it Fox River State Penitentiary).

    • International Air Dates:
      Denmark: March 27th, 2007 on TV3
      Spain: April 27th, 2007 on FOX TV Spain
      Belgium: November 9th, 2007 on RTL-TVI
      Germany: November 15th, 2007 on RTL
      Australia: January 10th, 2008 on 7
      Finland: July 25th, 2008 on Sub

    • Featured Music:
      "(What's So Funny About) Peace Love and Understanding" by Nick Lowe (song at the end)


    • Booth: (examining a refrigerator) Don't worry Bones it's not booby trapped.

      Booth is referring to an event from the season one episode "Two Bodies in the Lab" where he was seriously injured after opening Bones' refrigerator, which had a bomb wired to it.

    • Angela: (about Howard Epps) If there was ever anyone who should be in GITMO.
      Cam: I agree.

      GITMO, or GTMO, is the military acronym for the Guantanamo Bay Naval base. Since 2001, the naval base has contained a military prison, the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp. Prior to 11 July 2006, the U.S. maintained that these detainees were not protected under the Geneva Convention because they were enemy combatants, rather than prisoners of war (this suggests that they are tortured, and Angela feels Howard belongs there).

    • Booth: (to a yawning Brennan) Maybe you'd like something a little more exciting, eh? Like Attica ...

      In September of 1971, dozens of prisoners, as well as several hostages, died in the Attica Prison Riot, that occurred in the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York.