The Bones writers have a great deal to answer for, and their reassurances to fans are really not going to work as well as it used to. But that's jumping way ahead of the gun. This was the 100th episode of Bones ever filmed and directed by Mr. David Boreanaz himself. It was promised to shine a huge light on the romance between the two main characters that fans have been obsessing over since the very first season. Right away, people should have expected they weren't going to get what they wanted, but hope springs eternal.
Sweets has published his book finally, the one that states in its conclusion that Booth and Brennan are in love with one another. Why hasn't this already become a problem for them and the FBI – wouldn't the FBI immediately start questioning whether they should be together? Whether or not the two are in a couple, if their psychiatrist states they have a romantic entanglement, it should cause waves already. Apparently not. Whatever. Anyway, there is no modern day case this week because instead Booth and Brennan tell Sweets he was wrong. Their first case was years before the one they told him about. He's horrified because he based a lot of his information on how their relationship developed from that 'first case,' so he's being told the story as we are at the same time. How cute.
Years ago Booth was an addicted gambler and much more of a hot head than he is now. He has a case that he's been involved with for years, and he knows exactly who the killer is, but he hasn't been able to prove it. Cam (yay!) suggests a Dr. Temperance Brennan who was able to solve a murder from centuries ago. They meet for the first time and are instantly attracted to one another, and he tests her by giving her the body. She gets her young assistant Zack (ZACK!) to help look at the bones, and Hodgins wanders in to check out what they're doing. He doesn't really work with either of them, and he hates Zack. He also keeps flicking a rubber band on his wrist because he's in anger management and it helps calm him.
Brennan then brings Angela into the case, even though she's a street artist who just started being friends with Brennan. She makes a sketch of the girl, and Booth is surprised to see that Brennan and her staff managed to get so much information on the dead girl. He lets her in on the real information and they start questioning witnesses again, including the Judge that Booth really thinks is the culprit. Things get a little hairy when the Judge gets in Brennan's face and she punches him. Twice. Hahaha. Oh Action Brennan, great to see you!
Later that night Booth has to fire her, but he gets her drunk first. Then they kiss (woo!) in the rain, but she runs away before they can do anything more. This apparently sets them both in a bad mood and they start bickering in the way we're used to, only more viciously. In the end they do manage to get enough information to catch the Judge in the act, and this is their first victory. However, their anger at one another grows and she hits him, and they swear never to work together again. This explained their unhappy partnership from the early years.
Sweet is just flabbergasted but he is adamant his conclusion is true. He tells them one of them has to make the jump and say something soon, and says Booth probably has to be the one to say it. On their way out, Booth finally breaks. He tells her he wants to try it and kisses her. Brennan starts crying and says no, that he has to be protected from her, and that she's a scientist and can't change. He says he always knew it would be her, but it doesn't work. She refuses, and he's heartbroken. They painfully agree to still work together, but Booth says he has to move on from her and find someone who can love him.
Here's the problem. While this was very beautifully acted and did seem genuine for both characters, this is a scene better suited for a few years ago. The fans are tired of waiting for these two characters to hook up, and after five seasons it is increasingly more exhausted to just sit back and wait. Yes, the curse of 'will they won't they' ruining everything is scary, but the show is being a tease. If this scene happened a few years ago and now they developed it to a point where they got together, that would be more understandable. Everyone knows that Booth and Brennan are the end game, and so now this is just frustrating manipulation on the part of the writers.
So what? Booth is going to start dating someone else. Everyone knows it won't work out, there's no real believable tension there. Maybe Brennan will get jealous and realize she doesn't want to lose him because that's how it always happens when one partner is reluctant. What would have been really daring would be to just take the leap already, and not try to stretch out this until it just feels like a cheap, manipulative ploy. What Brennan said is believable, that she's afraid she'll hurt him and that she can't change, and if the audience believed that was really why this wasn't working out now, they might be more satisfied. Or maybe if that was going to be their real end note on the relationship, because that would be surprising and new. Booth and Brennan's love isn't the only reason people watch Bones, but this felt like such a coward's move on the writer's part. A lot of fans are threatening to quit the show, and it's not all that surprising. Eventually they have to get their cake and eat it too!
Best part of the episode: Zack being back! Seeing the whole team get together!
Worst part of the episode: Everything said above.
All things said, it will be interesting to see where the show will go from here and how Booth and Brennan will manage to work together. Hopefully the writers won't just ignore everything and pretend nothing is wrong, because that would be irritating.