David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, Bones

Tonight's episode of Bones forces Seeley Booth to  answer two questions: Is he ready to get married? And if so, who does he want to spend his life with?

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As Booth (David Boreanaz) counsels Sweets (John Francis Daley) about his own intentions to propose to Daisy (Carla Gallo), Booth takes a hard look at his own relationships with girlfriend Hannah (Kathryn Winnick) and longtime friend and colleague Dr. Brennan (Emily Deschanel).

"Booth examines his own his own life and what course it should take and what decisions he has to make," executive producer Stephan Nathan tells TVGuide.com. "It all comes to a head this Thursday. It's really one of my favorite episodes we've ever done. The crime itself is a lot of fun, but also the personal stuff that happens in this episode is just so weighted and so beautifully done."

While promos suggest that Booth will buy a ring, the question remains: Whose finger will it end up on? Naturally, Nathan's very coy, but he promises quite an impact.

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"It's going to be a big game-changer," he says. "We've existed this whole year with Booth and Brennan accepting, admitting and also denying their feelings for each another and with Booth in a very serious relationship with another woman — much to the dismay of a lot of fans. I think it will be a satisfying conclusion to this story line and also a great start for the next development that happens in the show emotionally."

And those emotions — particularly for Booth and Brennan — won't necessarily be warm and fuzzy. "It will be very difficult and very painful, and David really brings that home," Nathan says. "I think there's going to be some heartache."

As for those longtime fans who've been vocal about their dislike of the Hannah character, Nathan can only laugh it off. "We always knew when this story began, it would make some people happy and it made some people angry," he says. "But it's always been our feeling that even if somebody is angry, that's good. If you're watching a show and screaming at the television because you don't want something to happen, then you're involved in the lives of the characters. And that's really what we wanted from the characters."

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Whatever Booth decides, Nathan insists the episode is an important turning point for Season 6. And the fact that it's all happening just as the show gets the added bonus of following American Idol is gravy, Nathan says.

"It's a real gift to be given a whole new set of [viewers] this late in the game," he says. "It does kind of revitalize the show, and it's happened at the perfect moment for us because there's going to be a big transition in the show . ... The episode just came out so well. We couldn't ask for anything more from an episode that is so important."

Bones airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Fox.