This is one of the best episodes to date. I feel that they're learning to show not tell. Zach and Brennan have been on cases by themselves. Zach misses Booth, but Brennan doesn't say that she does. Booth says it though. He's being particularly hammy and animated in this entry. He's funny enough, but it almost seems forced. It's a caricature. They already had Hodgins imitate him, while throwing something in the air, making winky faces and clucking his tongue. In this episode, Booth is acting too much like Hodgins' version of him, instead of a real human.
It's ridiculous that Brennan is falling for this guy just because his father is missing and he tells her he knows she knows what it's like, because her parents' disappeared. It's not charming to me. It's stalkerish. I can't think of anything more annoying than having someone tell you about yourself and I'd think Brennan would feel the same, but for some reason, it turns her on.
What I like though is she reminds me of Scully in Bad Blood. Scully was drawn to the Sheriff (or thought she was) but she recited what Agent Mulder said about vampires (none of which she believed) because she respected him, even when she didn't believe him and even when she was flirting with another guy. She listened to him, even when he spoke gibberish to her and you see glimpses of Brennan having that same faith and allegiance in Booth, here. The guy whose father is gone tries to turn her against Booth, because Booth doesn't understand them, doesn't understand her like he, Stranger Extraordinaire does. Even though she's into the stranger, she wants Booth on the case and tells the guy that she and Booth are a team. And she wants to know what Booth's instincts tell him about the man.
Booth doesn't trust the guy and actually tells him to back off on getting into Brennan's personal history. Why would he care? He just recently told a lawyer her secrets in the hopes that she would be taken by surprise and break down on a witness stand in front of the jurors. So, why would he now tell some guy not to mention her missing parents to her, especially since he never intervened last week when another guy (with a criminal record) threatened her in his presence. His being openly protective like that, seemed out of character (to the extent that he has one on this plot-driven show).
Anyway, out of nowhere Brennan is giving the stranger the police file on her parents. He looks at the file and I guess is so turned on that he reaches in to kiss her. Huh??? These two haven't shared as much as coffee. Why would that be his first move. A hug maybe (like the one they shared later), but a kiss?! If I thought he was unlikable and smarmy before this seals the deal. Brennan doesn't say anything except, "this is where I work." Is that the only reason a kiss is out of line, in her mind? Strange. She should have given an elbow to the guy's sternum.
But he tells her she doesn't have the complete file on her parents. She may be in denial, in fear of learning the truth, but if that's the case, maybe she should say she didn't want to follow up. For her to act like it never occurred to her makes her look super dumb, which is not something she'd been in previous episodes. This guy's perseverance in finding his missing father seems to have spurred her, but if that's all it took, why hasn't Booth's work on crime investigations ever made her want to reopen the file. Also, since he used the disappearances to get her to open up on a witness stand, didn't Booth look at the police file at that time. After she softened on the stand, didn't he want to ask her if he could help close that door for her. Didn't he want to know how people could disappear without a trace? I can understand that he didn't want to invade her privacy (any more than he already had), but I can't believe he didn't ASK and let her be the one to tell him she wasn't interested.
If a part of her was interested (she says she thought the police would work on the case and she trusted them, but helping Booth, she knows that he often needs her help to see all the clues, so why trust the police to do their jobs when it came to her parents). Working with the FBI she knows that even good investigators can't cover all the bases. They often need outside input and fresh eyes. So, I don't buy her excuse that she trusted the police. I think she was just scared of opening a can of worms. Maybe a small part of her thinks her parents abandoned her and she doesn't want confirmation. But if the stranger can get her to want more in a couple of days, then I can't believe working with the FBI, with Booth, on an ongoing basis didn't make her crave answers long ago. It was a switch that turned too quickly not to always have been in the "on" position all along.
Anyway, when the Stranger finds that the bones don't belong to his father, she tells him she's sorry about 30 times, which is strange dialogue. He suddenly stops hitting on her, which I guess maybe he did to give the audience the creeps and make us see him as a suspect. They hug platonically and that kiss he wanted to plant on her in the lab doesn't rear its head again. Maybe the character is going to recur and pick up where he left off. Even though Booth seemed somewhat jealous of him and always tried to interrupt the vibe between them, he tells Brennan that he doesn't think the guy was guilty of killing his father. I like the fact that he was not only right about that, but honest with himself and Brennan about it and not biased.
They have a really touching moment when she gives him her parents' file and asks him to look at it and he says, "I'm proud that you asked." Then she leaves the restaurant and as soon as she rises, he begins to look through the file, without even finishing his meal. He sees the childhood photo of her, the girl who lost her parents. The fifteen year old Brennan. He fingers it. We feel the tenderness of his thoughts in that gesture, even though he's not looking sappy or sad (thank goodness), just normal. She looks at him from the doorway, looks at him looking at her. She trusts him. She let him inside, let him see who she was before she became who she is. And trusts him enough to leave him alone to his discoveries, not paranoid at the private things he's seeing. That's a fine moment between them, all the more because it takes place when they aren't actually together.