I need to chew on this ep a bit more before I know how I really feel about it. But I think I'm going to leave the in-depth meta to other folks and save the words for fic -- at least for now.
So just a sprinkling of thoughts. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, supposed to be comprehensive:
+ Emily Deschanel is wonderful. After Brennan's speech at Oxford, she and Booth stood outside, talking. She answered Booth's questions about Dr. Wexler, and then she flashed him this sweet, eager, and just slightly shy smile and asked, "What did you think of my speech?"
Temperance Brennan is tough and no-nonsense, but she's human. She is not a robot. ED brings just the right amount of vulnerability to this character. I think my heart constricted a little in a hurty but good way. :)
+ "Wexler is not special; you are." I loved that whole exchange between Booth and Brennan, especially because it seemed so off-hand because Booth was so preoccupied with the car.
+ There was a moment in the lab where Hodgins was relaying some of his findings to Cam without initially explaining their significance. But then Angela turned to Jack and said something like, "Don't make her ask." Then Cam replied, "Thank you, Angela."
The interaction made me smile. Cam was such an interloper in the beginning, but she feels like part of the team now. There's a certain comfort level there at present that definitely didn’t exist before.
+ I don't buy that sophisticated, worldly Cam would be so freaked out by sleeping with Angela's ex that she would seek Sweets' counsel.
+ Despite doing a whole hell of a lot of suspending of disbelief for this show, I cannot fathom why Dr. Lance-I-have-two-doctorates-Sweets was lounging around the lab all day.
+ *scratches head* Why was Hodgins pissed that Cam slept with Grayson? Shouldn't he be happy?
+ Though it was nice to see Cam getting some loving, I wish that it didn't have to be this pseudo-incestuous thing because it was Angela's ex. Let her have a love interest that hasn't gotten horizontal with any of the other main characters.
+ I still can't stand Sweets and really don't think he serves much of a purpose that BOOTH didn't/couldn't continue to serve, but I did think it was sweet (haha) when Grayson and Jack were fighting and Sweets handed his jacket to Angela so he could step in. He proved to be as incompetent at that as he seems to be at everything else, but his heart was in the right place.
+ Booth's red hair SUCKS. That man is too hot to let anyone do that to his hair.
+ The Hodgins/Angela breakup seemed contrived and way too fast.
+ I don't think this needed to be a two-hour episode.
+ After Grayson and Jack fought, back at the lab Hodgins asked Cam if she'd talked to Angela. Then he said something about thinking that women liked having men fight over them. Cam then whipped out a line about that kind of generalization being inappropriate.
I grinned. Both the dialog and Tamara Taylor’s smart delivery seemed very like Cam, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
+ I’d like to see more fall-out from Zack’s absence, but that could occur in future eps.
+ It was nice to see an Indian actress on TV. (OK, half-Indian.)
+ Didn't love this ep, but that's OK; it's good to have the gang (minus one) back on TV.
When it comes to Bones, sometimes I think there's one show playing out on my TV screen and a fairly different show playing in my head. Occasionally this leads to some uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, but on the whole I'm at peace with it because I write fic. I used to expect and hope for different things from Bones, but maybe I was wanting it to be something it just isn't -- or maybe just isn't anymore. Regardless, because there continue to be so many things about it that I enjoy, I'm still watching.
ETA: Please consider this a blanket notice that you are welcome to squee AND criticize Bones (or anything else) in my journal. Some fans are bothered when they read other fans' criticisms of the show; I'm not one of them. If you're critical, I won't call you a bad fan or say, "Dude, you're harshing my squee," or "Why do you keep watching the show if you dislike so much about it?" or my favorite, "It's only a TV show." I'm a writer; I get that people can have complicated relationships with fiction. *g*
Same goes for pure, unadulterated squee. If you love something, great! Don't be afraid to speak up. Your opinion is your opinion, and my opinion is mine. We don't need to agree on all possible points -- or even any of them. Feel free to be honest here, for better or worse.