"The Parts in the Sum of the Whole" - directed by star/executive producer David Boreanaz - is the 100th episode of Bones.
100th episodes are a big freaking deal. Cast and crew go above and beyond to make them extraordinary. And this one? Oh man did they ever. That was a hell of a thing.
The premise of "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole" is, Sweets has finally finished his book on Booth and Brennan and has come to the conclusion that they are in love, based on their interactions dating from the first case they worked together. He submits it to them first, to have them read over and see how they react. As it turns out, he didn't know about the real first case which is even more vital to understanding their relationships. Enter the flashback.
Most of the episode is centered around Booth and Brennan, starting with the very first moment they meet. But before I get to that, there was also a lot of ground covered regarding the early relationships of other characters. For instance, we see Brennan and Angela in the early stages of their friendship. We see the history of Booth and Cam's working relationship. We see Angela meeting all the rest of the members of the team for the first time. And we see the very first Zack and Hodgins experiment. Lots of nifty stuff, and some good bits of comedy - Brennan in the park and the whole Zack-in-a-huge-safety-suit sequence (on that note, WONDERFUL to see Eric Millegan again!), as well as valuable insight into the characters. Valuable, if not stunning.
The stunning part came from the Booth-and-Brennan side. And oh my did it. Whatever we were expecting, it wasn't that. Over five seasons, we as viewers have grown accustomed to the idea of Booth and Bones' relationship as one of tangible but undeclared sexual tension/emotional connection. Over the past three-ish seasons, following the introduction of Sweets, we've also internalized his interpretation of the relationship to the point where we dismiss Booth and Brennan's protests of his analysis as readily as he does. And, well, let's just say that Sweets wasn't the only one whose worldview was turned on its head with this episode.
The sexy (but slightly evil) truth is that when they first met, Booth and Brennan were very aware of their mutual attraction and were incredibly just as complimentary as complementary to each other. Even more delicious (and even nastier), way back then they actually kissed and almost almost slept together, professionalism be damned. And the fallout from that (plus Booth's firing Brennan) is really the source of the tension.
Do I believe that the writers had this idea about the beginning of this relationship of these two characters in mind all the way from the beginning of the series? Absolutely not. Do I believe, however, that it works within the narrative and is a perfectly feasible explanation? Sure. My inner fangirl/shipper isn't quite sure whether to cry or cheer - it's hard to figure out where to land between joy at the actual action and despair at the final scene of the episode.
That scene, which takes place after Booth and Brennan leaves a very disillusioned Dr. Sweets in his office, is absolutely the most important and most intense of the episode - possibly of the whole season. Booth may not have done it in front of Sweets after some vehement pleading from the psychologist, but he did actually go ahead and confess and try to move the relationship forward. Given the usual nature of these are-they-aren't-they relationships, I definitely wasn't expecting that. If all the other shockers in this episode were landmines, this scene was a goddamned nuclear bomb. Because, at the conclusion, we were left from an ending that was much more heartwrenching and than it was any kind of satisfactory. David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel pulled out all the stops and then some and we couldn't have asked for a more brilliant peformance.
Mostly, though, it was just depressing. And it leaves the future of the show very open ended. I've heard distantly through the grapevine that there'll be a new love interest for Booth joining the cast for the end of the season. Combine that possibility with the conclusion of "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole" and I almost have to worry that the five years of faith I've put into the Booth-and-Brennan relationship are going to turn out to be a waste. I don't really think that will be the case, though. For one thing, if the writers even tried that they'd get so bombarded by fan outrage that they would never be able to show their faces again. So, it might be awhile before we get the happy ending we want - there is definitely at least one more entire season of the series, after all - but when all is said and done I can't say that I have any real doubts. A whole lot of impatience and emotional wear, yes. But the Carl Sandburg quote that was incorporated into the filming of that last scene, "Nothing happens unless first in a dream...,"* leaves me with a sense of hope.
To wrap up my review of the 100th episode as a whole, I'll conclude by saying that it gets about a 95% approval rating. The writing was fantastic. Overall, the Booth and Brennan plotline was nothing short of brilliant. The time rewind was executed well - clunky cellphones, an old newspaper, Hodgins' hair (which was actually not nearly as hilarious as T.J. Thyne's real hair from back then). And it was just a lot of fun.
The one thing I'm not so happy with is the way that Brennan was made out to be the driving force for so many things. She is the one who pursues a friendship with Angela and first refers to the other woman as a friend. She is the one who inspires Booth's defiance of the FBI dress code. She is the one who begins the epic tradition of Zack and Hodgins experiments. None of this is bad, exactly. But I feel like the first two are somewhat out of character, and the last just seems...unfair. Like no other characters are allowed to do anything so determinative.
That's a minor complaint though. The most important thing I have to say is, CONGRATULATIONS ON REACHING 100 EPISODES, BONES, AND WHAT A BRILLIANT JOB YOU DID WITH THIS MONUMENTAL EPISODE!
*I am, of course, connecting this quote with the Season Four finale in which Booth had an extended dream where he and Brennan were very much in love, happily married, and expecting a kid.