Booth, under the influence of his coma, had created an alternate life where he and Bones were married and expecting a child. BUT, he got the idea from Dr. Brennan's novel (which, as we saw, she promptly erased). What we don't know is how much was the influence of Dr. Brennan's novel and how much was Booth's imagination running wild. This, of course, is very important for these two going forward. Six weeks had passed between the finale and this week's premiere and in those six weeks, Booth healed and underwent counseling with Sweets where he learned to view his dream as just that -- a dream. Bones was on assignment in Guatemala and hadn't had contact with him (Was she trying to forget what happened? Was she distancing herself from Booth?). They finally reunited (after Angela's psychic gave Brennan some interesting insight) and that reunion seemed to re-trigger all of the feelings Booth had in that coma-induced sequence.
For the rest of the hour, Booth wrestled with his new-found feelings. Sweets convinced him that they would disappear as he continued to recover from the coma. After all, he had forgotten about his crazy socks and he laughed at a clown. A clown, for crying out loud! So clearly, Booth was not "110%" Booth (as he had insisted). But, does this mean that his feelings aren't real? Even if his coma dream was completely induced by Brennan's novel, why did he picture himself with her? Did the coma invent feelings or did it bring them to the surface? It's an interesting plot line that the show can play with this season. It certainly takes the show in a completely different direction and that gave the entire episode a different feel (and quite frankly, I loved it).
This was an episode filled with key moments and important exchanges, but the one on the street with the clown was the biggest. Booth had wanted to tell Brennan how he feels the entire hour. He tried in the cavern under the fountain, he tried outside the diner went he sent Angela away, and he tried in the street with the clown. Each time, he chickened-out. But the last time, he succeeded -- sort of. He got the words out ("I love you"), but he took them back ("You know, in a partner kind of way"). Why? Did he realize how big the moment was and determine that it was too big for him? Or, did he gauge her (unexpected) reaction (she seemed caught in the moment and almost accepting of it -- not against it) and Cam's cautionary words suddenly flooded back to him? She had warned him that if he cracked Brennan's shell, then he better be sure because if he isn't, he'll hurt her so badly that she'll never be able to trust or love again. I think the bottom line is, he just isn't "110%" sure that what he feels for Brennan is his real feelings or if they are coma-induced and thus, fleeting. Why risk everything if they're the latter? Why hurt Brennan irreparably if they're the latter? It seems that Booth needs some time to sort it out first. Something tells me Brennan will still be there when he does.
I have to say, I absolutely ADORED this episode. It erased any doubts I had about the show and made up for last season's ender. While I'm not a huge fan of the coma-induced love tactic, I think the results are, so far, very good. I'm looking forward to where the show goes from here now that it is on a different, more interesting track. Kudos to Hart Hanson and co. for giving us a fantastic start to the season!