I thought the case was engaging, the B&B relationship progressed quite nicely, and Brennan's relationship with her father has taken the first tentative step in the right direction. Also, there were some great comedic scenes. This episode is an example of Bones at its best.
*Note: My review is focused on the character development of Brennan and Booth as well as the evolution of their relationship. I will not recap the episode and have left out major plot points. I am assuming you have seen the episode, so beware that possible spoilers may follow!
One year after burying her mother, Brennan is still unable to confront her feelings about her mother's death and her father's involvement. Like Booth (in The Titan on the Tracks), Angela takes Brennan to visit her mother's grave and tries to convince her to deal with her emotions. Angela and Booth instinctively understand that Brennan needs to explore her issues with her parents, but Brennan continues to resist. When her father, Max, makes several attempts to connect with her and resolve some of her resentment, she refuses to hear what he has to say. Even when he tries to talk to her about her mother, Brennan shuts him out. Booth's kidnapping is the only thing important enough to force Brennan to seek out her father's help. Desperate to find Booth, she reaches out to Max and accepts his assistance.
I really feel for Max in this episode. Unlike in Judas on a Pole (when he essentially abandoned Brennan a second time), he's trying desperately to connect with his daughter. He understands that his abandonment has deeply affected her and he is trying to make up for it now. He learns quickly that Brennan is a strong, stubborn woman who blames him for her mother's death. He also learns that she doesn't trust people easily. When the one person she unconditionally trusts disappears, he uses it to get closer to her. On one hand, I think it is sneaky for him to use Brennan's weakness to his advantage. He's a con, a criminal. He helps, not to save Booth's life (Booth wants to arrest him!), but to get what he wants: a foot in the doorway. On the other hand, he does it for a noble reason. He genuinely wants to connect with his daughter. As Booth himself points out numerous times, Max is a good man who does bad things.
Brennan is frantic when Booth is missing (reacting much like he has when she's been in danger). She reluctantly accepts Max's help out of desperation. When the two track down a bounty hunter with ties to Booth's possible kidnapper, Brennan loses control of her carefully suppressed emotions. Finding Booth's tooth at the scene, she snaps, punching the bounty hunter and screaming, "Where's Booth?!" This is a completely irrational reaction from the typically reserved scientist. Max stops her from attacking the bounty hunter and stares at her in astonishment. Despite his continued attempts to connect, nothing else has elicited such an emotional response from her.
The intensity of Brennan's reaction to the kidnapping is not lost on the rest of the Squint Squad either. Angela, in her typical atypical **** tries to offer her help and support. Brennan refuses her help (because she doesn't want anyone to know Max is helping her) and Angela tries to push hers way in. She acknowledges that she isn't a fighter (but "can spit with deadly accuracy"), but wants to be there because she understands how upset Brennan is. Cam, on behalf of the Squints, tells Brennan that she's not alone and that they are all worried about Booth. Like Brennan, Cam is concerned about Booth, but her reaction is much more understated. The difference in their reactions speaks volumes about each woman's feelings toward Booth. Brennan is more distraught than Cam and we all know why... In the end Brennan finds Booth, with help from Max and the Squints. Instead of letting the FBI arrest her father, Brennan allows him to escape. She's grateful that he helped her rescue Booth and is finally ready to take the first tentative step toward a relationship. She's slowly beginning to trust him.
Much like in Aliens in a Spaceship, Booth's faith in Brennan is absolute. When she asks why he allowed himself to be tortured rather than give his captors information, he tells her, "I needed to give you time to find me." He wasn't sure she would find him in time, but he knew she would never stop trying. Even though his life has never been in her hands before, he knows that she would do everything she can to save him. The partners share a bonding moment in the diner when Brennan asks Booth if he knows the song, "Keep on Tryin'" (a fond childhood memory she has of Max). He starts to sing it and she joins in, much to Booth's surprise and delight. They have a strong bond that you can practically feel in this scene. As they sing together, Booth looks at her with such affection that I'm convinced he's in love with her (and knows it).