Skin and Bones – Review from»


Roswell – ‘Skin and Bones’
By Scott O’Callaghan
Special to
posted: 06:30 pm ET
03 October 2000

A geologist unearths the bones of FBI Agent Pierce in the desert while a local congresswoman begins an alien hunt of her own.

(original air date: October 2, 2000)

Written by Jason Katims (series creator)
Directed by James A. Contner


David Conrad — Nasedo/”Agent Daniel Pierce”
Gretchen Egolf — Congresswoman Vanessa Whittaker
Jim Ortlieb — Nasedo/”Ed Harding”
Jeremy Davidson — Grant Sorensen
Frank Birney — Deputy Hanson
Sara Downing — Courtney


With this episode, Emilie De Ravin (Tess Harding) joins the regular cast. Tess first appeared in the episode “Crazy”.

Maria (Majandra Delfino) now has long hair.


A geologist digs in the desert, guided by a detector which sounds much like the pinging which ended last season.

Meanwhile, a therapist asks Max to talk about his problems. Max imagines himself opening up to the man, telling about being an alien and how healing Liz in the Crashdown changed everything. Max imagines himself narrating recent events up to and including the death of Agent Pierce at Michael’s hands.

In flashback, we see Max, Michael, and Sheriff Valenti burning and then burying Pierce’s bones. Max tells the therapist nothing.

In the desert, the geologist digs up a bone. (spoilers)


The events of last season’s final arc have consequences for our cast. Agent Pierce’s body has been found. Sheriff Valenti is now working with our favorite teens to cover it up. Everybody is reeling from the news of the aliens’ destiny.

Over the summer, couples were separated. Liz went away and Michael has been avoiding Maria. Tess does not seem to be throwing herself at Max quite so much. Instead, she’s been helping Michael train.

As the gang faces new threats, we can wonder if they will be facing those together. Have these divisions become too strong?

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Vanessa Whittaker stands poised to take over the investigator role previously held by Topolsky, Valenti and Pierce. Whittaker wants to know the truth, or at least that’s what we’ve seen so far — who knows what’s to come?

Liz’s new job as Whittaker’s intern places her into an interesting position. Yes, she can help Max out, as she did in this episode. But Whittaker could persuade Liz to pursue a anti-alien agenda.

Melancholy Max

The most striking aspect of this episode is the extent to which Max has become Hamlet, Alien Prince of Roswell. He broods. He focuses on all the wrong things. He knows that he is the leader, and yet he refuses to behave as such. Even as things are happening all around them, he refuses to act.

Max wants to return to the past. He wants Liz to be his girl. He wants Michael to be his friend. He yearns for simpler times with simpler pleasures, and he thinks that a wave of the hand can make everything better.

But Liz knows that it won’t. Michael knows that it won’t. They know that Max must accept his birthright, even as Nasedo has said the same thing.

Will the story of the exiled prince end in tragedy? Or will Max turn himself around? We have a whole new season to see.


Michael has been exercising his powers by making rocks explode.

Sheriff Valenti helped Max and Michael bury the body of Agent Pierce in the desert.

A heavy-element compound called Cadmium X was found on the body of a murder victim from 1972, probably the body of Everett Hubble’s wife.


Why does Nasedo destroy the FBI Special Unit rather than manipulate it from within?

Who are the Skins? What is their relationship to our aliens?

Where’s Kyle?


Cadmium X is a MacGuffin: a created dummy element to drive the plot. In any case, alien or not, Max should not be able to enter a cyclotron unharmed.


The aliens’ enemies are closing in . . . just as school starts. Knowing their true destinies, will the aliens be able to retain their humanity? Find out, in “Ask Not”.