Season 1 Episode 17

The Skull in the Desert

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Mar 29, 2006 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
582 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


While on vacation, Angela finds a skull in the desert. She asks Brennan for help in identifying the skull because she is afraid it might be her boyfriend, who has gone missing with a local guide. The investigation leads the team through a violent boyfriend, the local sheriff and ultimately to a counterfeiting ring setup in the desert.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
  • Why Don't the Producers Give Musical Credit?

    I would love to know who was singing and playing the guitar for the final scene. Studio musicians? I hope not!

    This was a neat episode. I thought the sheriff was abandoning them out there, too! :)
  • While away Angela calls Bones to help her find a missing friend.

    In this episode of Bones, the following happens. We open with the knowledge that Angela has gone away with her boyfriend Kurk. They have gone to the desert for 3 weeks. When she contacts the lab, she looks worried and asks to speak to Brennan in private. We learn that a human skull has been found and we learn that her boyfriend went into the dessert 5 days ago with a local guide and she hasn't seen him since.

    She tells Brennan to forget about it and before we know it, Bones packs up her stuff and heads out to the desert. Bones goes to the Sheriff's office and is handed the skull. She identifies it as a man, aged between 30-35, who died from being shot. And so Bones calls Booth and asks him to come out and help her on the case. And of course he can't resist. The lab run tests on the skull, and they confirm that it is in fact that of Angela's boyfriend Kurk. And so Booth and Bones head back to see Angela and Bones breaks the news to her. Soon they discover what is left of Kurk's body in the desert. Then when they head of to search for the missing local guide, then the Sheriff gets back in his car to go and look around and doesn't come back. So Angela, Bones and Booth all start walking, with little water and the knowledge that they won't last longer than 3 days in the desert. And then all of a sudden, the Sheriff returns. As the episode ends we find the local guide and she is alive, but only just. As they pack up to leave, Angela reveals that he loved her all of the time and wanted her to marry him.moreless
  • Another great episode!

    This review contains spoilers for future episodes, and even future seasons. This episode really shows the strong friendship bond that exist between Brennan and Angela, cause when Angela need help Brennan doesn't hesitate one second and hops onto a flight to get to Angela.

    I also love the scene where Brennan is still lying in bed, and Booth shows up. So she has to change and he continues to just stand there. Even just thinking about it makes me laugh.

    I felt bad for Angela though, I mean losing her 'boyfriend' like that, that is really sad. But luckily she will get another great boyfriend in her life later on; Hodgins, so we know that yes Angela you will still find your true love.moreless
  • Amazing

    I just loved the personal connection that featured in this episode. Angela was amazing and handled her grief very well. I felt a little sorry for Zach in this episode. He seems to be scared of the fact that he is not going to be there at the Jefersonian forever. I enjoyed watching this episode very much and thought it was funny when Brennan was trying to get Booth to come to Dallas and he kept saying no up until the part where she told him he could go federal on their ass and he jumped at the chance. Classic Booth.moreless
  • Angela needs Bones help to identify a skull who could be her boyfriend who went missing with the guide, Nani.

    No. 1. Every tribe has their own culture and although Booth believes, it's the USA; Brennan knows better that indigenous people or the natives are sceptical, fearful and distrust people from the outside and with all due respect, they are entitled to it.

    No. 2. In the city, life is a buzz and we're all caught up with entertainment and everything. In the desert, you get awed by stetches and stretches of sand and shrub and beautiful landscape, the world reveals its beauty and life revolves around you (if you stand still and feel it)

    Bones id-ed the skull as Angela's sweet photographer. Booth flew in on Bones request to help secure the evidence for further analysis. They must solve the crime and find the crime scene as time is running out on Nani who is still out there. Angela was pivotal in the rescue of Nani, who had to tackle her own grief. While i personally believe in science and scientific facts i learn in school, the episode also hints at other elements in our lives such as instinct and magic that is out there.moreless
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

David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz

Special Agent Seeley Booth

Jonathan Adams

Jonathan Adams

Dr. Daniel Goodman

James Parks

James Parks

Sheriff Dawes

Guest Star

Kalani Queypo

Kalani Queypo

Alex Joseph

Guest Star

Clayton Rohner

Clayton Rohner

Wayne Kellogg

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Goof: When Booth and Brennan are driving through the desert arguing over whether or not he should take over the investigation, a mountain appears out of nowhere in the background as Booth says, "This is the United States of America."

    • Goof: Booth says that everyone will take a separate compass point and walk in that direction; therefore it doesn't make sense that Brennan ran into Angela during their separate searches.

    • When Booth threw his bag on Brennan's bed it landed on her knees, but in the next shot this bag was near her waist.

  • QUOTES (27)

    • (Angela and Sheriff Dawes drive up in the middle of the desert.)
      Brennan: Only Angela could get a ride in the middle of nowhere.

    • Angela: [...] I'm a little afraid that... I'm just afraid that I don't have a generous heart. I'm afraid that I won't have the chance that I had with Kirk ever again.
      Brennan: You will.
      Angela: How can you be so sure?
      Brennan: Because nothing in this universe happens just once, Angela. Nothing. Infinity goes in both directions. There's no unique event, no singular moment.
      Angela: (laughs) I don't know what that means.

    • Brennan: It doesn't make sense that the sheriff brings us to the scene of the crime and leaves us to die. Does it?
      Booth: One godforsaken part of the desert is as good as another godforsaken part. We don't even know if Sheriff Dawes actually called Alex Joseph. I mean, he could've done all this himself.
      Brennan: Could Dawes do that, Ange?
      Angela: Well, I always thought Ben Dawes was a good man. It would take a lot to change my mind.
      Brennan: Like being left to die in the desert?

    • (The truck driven by the sheriff goes way)
      Booth: Where's he going?
      Brennan: He's looking for his sister.
      Booth: Either of you two bring any water?
      (Brennan and Angela show Booth their bottles of water)
      Brennan: Why? Are you worried?
      Booth: Yeah.
      Angela: About what?
      Brennan: Because we're way past where Jesus lost his sandals.
      Booth: And I don't hear the truck anymore.

    • Booth: I will call the FBI office in Albuquerque and take over the investigation.
      Brennan: I wouldn't.
      Booth: Why?
      Brennan: Desert dwellers are very Insular. Mongolians, Bedouins of the Sahara, the Himba of Kanana. Good hosts, but extremely distrustful of outsiders.
      Booth: Bones, this is the United States of America, not outer Mongolia.

    • Brennan: (holding and looking at the skull) Prominent brow ridge indicates the victim is male. (pointing to the plate with a muffin) Do you mind?
      Sheriff Dawes: Be my guest.
      Angela: She wants the plate, Ben, not the muffin.

    • Angela: Ben, show Dr. Brennan the skull.
      Brennan: Or point me toward the morgue.
      (Sheriff Dawes takes a box that is under his table. Then, opens it and gives Brennan the skull)
      Sheriff Dawes: Welcome to the Merville County Morgue.

    • Hodgins: We warned her about the sun? We told her, "Cover up, avoid melanoma"?
      Zack: Who's the guy?
      Hodgins: Her boyfriend Kirk.
      Zack: Angela has a boyfriend?
      Brennan: Every year for three weeks, Angela has a boyfriend and a vacation.
      Hodgins: Oh! Playing house in a postboho rustic artist's cabin in the desert with her pseudo-celebrity photographer boyfriend. That is not a vacation.

    • Hodgins: Vacations in the desert. It's like lunching at the dump.

    • Booth: Ok, no offense to Angela but she doesn't really know this guy. She's only with him, what? Only three weeks out of the year?
      Brennan: Yeah, no offense to you, but you are a stodgy traditionalist when it comes to relationships, buddy.
      Booth: Stodgy? Stodgy.
      Brennan: Yeah, stodgy.

    • Brennan: Obviously you subconsciously sifted through the rational facts of the case, and processed the most likely scenario.
      Angela: I'm sure that's it.
      Booth: Yeah, what else could it be?
      Angela: It's the only rational explanation.
      Brennan: Wait, are you guys making fun of me?
      Booth: You know? Let's go back home, you know where there's water and shelter and living things, come on.

    • Booth: Angela, I'm going to have to ask you a couple of difficult questions, okay? What...what can you tell me about Kirk's drug use?
      Angela: Kirk didn't do drugs.
      Brennan: Well Hodgins found peyote in his hair.
      Angela: I thought...I thought that you meant drug drugs.

    • Zack: I need the skull now.
      Hodgins: I'm still looking for particulates, and since you're only Dr. Brennan's assistant, you don't carry all that much weight around here.
      Zack: I'm telling Dr. Goodman.

    • Brennan: Perimortem contact gunshots, it wasn't the desert that caught this man unaware, it was someone with a gun.

    • Dr. Goodman: You are taking a vacation in the desert, with no notice?
      Hodgins: I don't get the attraction, I really don't, snakes, scorpions-
      Brennan: It'll only be for a few days.
      Hodgins: Buzzards and snakes.

    • Angela: [...] Can I come with you?
      Booth: No, no, we can ask tougher questions if you're not there.

    • Brennan: No cell phone service, no water - how long do you think we'll survive out here, if the Sheriff doesn't come back?
      Booth: Three days, max.
      Angela: How far are we from the highway?
      Booth: Five days, minimum.
      Brennan: I don't like that math.

    • Booth: You know, where I come from when you say you're driving a ways, it means forty five minutes.
      Angela: Out here, it means four hours.
      Brennan: We've been driving five.
      Sheriff Dawes: Maybe I should've said "quite a ways".

    • Booth: Ok, who are you, Dr. Phil?
      Brennan: Who is Dr. Phil, some kind of expert?
      Booth: (laughs) He likes to think so.

    • Brennan: Wait outside while I get dressed.
      Booth: No! Uh uh! Sun's been up for an hour out there - it's already the surface of Mercury! I can stand here, close my eyes, eat my donut - it's the best I can do. (puts one hand over his eyes, starts eating a donut with the other)

    • Booth: Hey! (hugs Angela on his way in the door) You know, people in the desert don't have actual addresses. What's up with that?

    • (Brennan is trying to pick up a station on the car stereo while driving through the desert)
      Angela: You won't get anything out here. We're about a hundred miles past where Jesus lost his sandals.
      Brennan: I assume that's a way of saying we're extremely isolated.

    • Brennan: What if he's escaping out the back door?
      Booth: You don't spend a lot of time in trailers, do you?

    • Booth: I'm touring the hottest places in the universe. Next stop...Hell.

    • (Brennan talking to Booth on the phone)
      Brennan: How far are you from Dulles?
      Booth: As far as your office is from Dulles.
      Brennan: Why are you in my office?
      Booth: I need your findings on the Richmond case. Listen, Zack won't tell me where they are unless you give him permission.
      Brennan: There's a 9:15 flight to Denver, then there's an 11:35 flight to Santa Fe. You have to run to make the connection.
      Booth: Forget it.
      Brennan: Booth, please. Angela's boyfriend is missing...maybe took all of my charm-
      Booth: All of your charm? Oh boy-
      Brennan: Just to get the sheriff to let me look at the skull. When I asked him to let me send the skull to the Jeffersonian, he told me I am not a cop and I don't have any jurisdiction.
      Booth: Which is true, okay look, what do you want me to do?
      Brennan: I want you to get federal on his ass.
      Booth:(smiling) Oh!

    • Alex Joseph: (pointing a gun at Brennan and Booth) What do you want?
      Booth: FBI, we're looking for Danny Webber.
      Brennan: Who are you?
      Alex Joseph: I'm the guy holding the big gun-
      Booth: At a federal agent, which I've been very nice about so far.
      Brennan: Let's rush him, he can't shoot us both.
      Booth: How about I just show him my badge, so we both survive.

    • Angela: You promise? From your heart?
      Brennan: Better. From my head. And yes Ange, I promise from my heart.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Booth: Ok, who are you, Dr. Phil?

      Referring to the popular talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw.

    • Engraver's plates

      Currency printing is a highly specialized craft. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing prints currency on high-speed, sheet-fed rotary presses which are capable of printing over 8,000 sheets per hour. Printing plates are covered with ink and then the surface of each plate is wiped clean which allows the ink to remain in the design and letter grooves of the plates. Each sheet is then forced, under extremely heavy pressure (estimated at 20 tons), into the finely recessed lines of the printing plate to pick up the ink. The printing impression is three dimensional in effect and requires the combined handiwork of highly skilled artists, steel engravers, and plate printers. The surface of the note feels slightly raised, while the reverse side feels slightly indented. This process is called intaglio printing. Venezuela 's currency is named for Venezuelan-born Simón Bolívar, who liberated much of South America from Spanish rule in the 19th century and became one of Latin America's greatest heroes.

    • Peyote

      The central and distinctive practice of the Native American Church is the ceremonial use of peyote, a psychoactive or entheogenic cactus (lophophora williamsii) regarded as a sacramental substance that has divine powers. It is often called "medicine," and it is believed to have powerful healing ability. Peyote use among the Huichol and other tribes goes back thousands of years in Mexico, and was first documented among the Aztecs some 400 years ago. Its history in the United States beyond its native range (restricted to the Rio Grande valley), however, is much more recent.