With no knowledge whatsoever of ice hockey, and to be quite frank no interest whatsoever either, I really didn't expect to enjoy this episode as much as I did even though I did spend a majority of it hating the blonde FBI diversion. The sub-text and underlying message I took from this episode was one that wasn't shocking or new, more of an affirmation of what I kind of thought. Booth and Bones relationship and need for each other stems completely in the mistakes of their fathers, throughout the episode we saw Booth being prodded by Sweets about whether his rage stems from his fathers abuse. Booth as a result of this prodding and years of sub-conscious niggling then wonders whether the rage he displays on the rink, his ability to kill on demand and his preference to violent jobs are because like his father he's violent. His relationship to Brennan should have told him all along that this was not the case and the last scene on the ice rink kind of highlighted this. He's like the father she never had, he teaches her the social protocol, the normal things that her dad should have taught her. The complete unwavering trust she shows in Booth is similar to that which a little girl feels for her father. Even the way he holds her hand while she's bent and looking rather small in a silly hat while he's in a suit offered a very paternal image.
So while Booth offers a father to Bones, Bones offers the stability of Love and softness that his father never gave him. She is his rock and unlike his drunken father's mood swings, she will never change. For me this episode was a bag of psychology, which was less about how their relationship is and more about why it is. I really didn't care much for the story but I totally enjoyed the subtext which was offered throughout.
The slight flirtation between Booth and Payton Perotta and the declaration by Booth in the end not to worry and that nothing would change between Bones and he, was almost like a refusal to see other women. Even though he's not actually dating Bones, it's almost as if he's kind of promised himself to her. Maybe I'm reading too deep into it, and I know at first it was about Bones not working with another FBI agent it almost turned into a declaration of them going steady in their sexless/ kiss-less relationship.
Finally we had some more mention of Angela's lesbian relationship even though it was completely brief and non-committal, I all too often (what with the lack of mention and huge gap between episodes) forget that Angela has a girlfriend. It was good to see Hodge-Podge is getting back in the game and I am so happy to see Mr Wendall Bray back in the lab, he's like a puppy man. I really think out of all of the ever changing interns, he's the one who most seems to fit in with the other lab workers; perhaps this means he's sticking.
I only have one real issue and it's more of a worry than anything else. In the history of television (sci-fi and fantasy excluded) dream sequences and bizarre things tend to signal an end of a show, examples of this can be seen in Dallas, The OC and Moonlighting. Now given that this was a very brief dream sequence means it's not too worrying, but these sorts of narrative tools (plus a sports star) tend to signal to lower viewer ratings. Now I don't know if ratings for Bones are low, I do know it's been rescheduled and that it's now contending with some big shows... Ok I've worked myself into a panic and now I have to go breathe into a paper bag! Great episode Guys.