Hey! It’s Brennan Week! Glug, Glug WooHOO! I apologize in advance that this post isn’t really as light-hearted as the beginning to BoothWeek was. But I’ve really been wanting to discuss this with you all and I just couldn’t wait. I want to delve into Brennan’s character a little bit and analyze whether or not she was leading Booth on in the area of love and a future between them.
This is kind of a touchy subject, and I’ll do the best I can to keep this as fact based as possible. Brennan would appreciate that, I think.
But this is something that’s been eating at me since I watched the 100th episode. If you want to know my original thoughts on that episode, you can read it here. I won’t go into everything that is in that post; I just want to focus on this one thing: Brennan’s actions toward Booth leading up to the 100th episode.
Now…some of you might be thinking, “Wait a minute, if there’s a supposition that Brennan was leading Booth on, then that means that it was kind of a sure shot, and therefore, Booth didn’t really take a gamble.”
I see your point, and I think Booth DID take a chance, and…well, I don’t want to say he was rejected, but I’d rather say it didn’t turn out the way he had in mind. And assuming that we’re not talking about a poorly written character development plot (as in the writers had no idea that they’d been building up a slow and sure case that Brennan was falling madly in love with Booth, or that they DID know and were like “screw it, ratings, baby”), I still think it’s worth taking a look at Brennan and sort of making a judgment call, based on her actions.
First, let’s discuss a few moments that certainly led ME to believe that Brennan was interested in pursuing love with Booth. While there were moments in seasons 1-3, I’m going to focus on seasons 4 and 5, leading up to the 100th episode. And I’m going to outline 15 times in which Brennan appears to be…well, I don’t want to say “leading him on”, not just yet, but I feel that these are times in which she indicated with her words and actions that she was…open enough to see what he was saying and doing, if you know what I mean. And there have been other moments in which WE’VE seen Brennan’s emotions on display (for example, when she watches Booth talk to the kid in SitW, when she is by his bedside in EitB, the look on her face when Avalon tells her he’s dazzled by the truth of her), but those aren’t examples of her acting in such a way that Booth would interpret as her wanting love. Does that make sense? So, I can’t really include those examples (though, I do feel, in both of those scenarios, that Brennan is feeling love for Booth).
And then at the end, I’m going to make my final judgment.
Ready? Still with me? Eek! I’m nervous. But I do think it’s important to do.
1. Man in the Outhouse
I’ve included this because I think it sort of kicks off this entire theme. We’ll talk next week about things Brennan gets accused of that are not true (in this case, having two ‘boyfriends’), but I do believe that the emotion she feels when she’s rejected by Jason and Mark is real. I also feel that when Booth tells her that there’s someone out there for her, someone she’s meant to spend the rest of her life with if she will just be open enough to see it, that she is really listening. Maybe she’s not exactly giving him the impression that she’s open to his love, but I think that she doesn’t immediately contradict him probably gives him some encouragement. But mostly, I’d say that this moment is when Brennan really begins to consider the idea of monogamy. I also believe that this is when she began to be celibate, though I have no proof of that.
2. Fire in the Ice
It’s a very fine line of intersect between their friendship, their partnership, and love. And so maybe you won’t agree with me that when Brennan is skating with Booth and tells him that she doesn’t want to work with any other FBI agent and that he’s made of good stuff, she’s expressing romantic interest in him. You might be right, but that still doesn’t change the way this scene makes me feel. It’s in her tone of voice. It’s in the admiring look in his eyes. It’s almost like she’s the one who has had a concussion! Haha, but seriously, as the jury of her heart, I think we should remove some evidence, some of the physicality of the scene as necessary for her literally to stay standing. I don’t want to be persuaded by that. If they were in the diner, and she’d taken one of his fries, leaned in closer and looked in his eyes and said he was the only FBI agent she wanted to work with, would it be as meaningful? As for Booth, he continues to grow in his quiet confidence when she repeatedly encourages him while they are skating. Right? TO me, that means, she’s expressing her feelings, and he’s responding to them, just absorbing them like the love-needing sexy sponge he is. Haha. And maybe this isn’t exactly evidence, (but maybe it is!), but I love the wave she gives him and the smile he gives in reply. Doesn’t it just scream, “Oh yeah, that’s my girl, baby!.” ???? It’s like he KNOWS!
3. Cinderella in the Cardboard
Okay, when the woman you love knocks on your door and tells you that she wants to believe in love like you do…why tell her she will, “Someday.” What was that? Maybe Booth was hesitant because she’s been SO blatantly almost harsh toward him during that case about marriage and love. I guess I’ll buy that. But I can’t help feeling that Booth’s reaction wasn’t him going with his gut and realizing that he needed to encourage her. It kind of feels like he choked. That when the moment presented itself, he didn’t say the right thing. I don’t know! Either way, I think that Booth can surmise from this scenario that she is open to love.
4. Mayhem on a Cross
Right? How can Booth see this and not feel, “She loves me.”? It’s an emotionally charged scene, for both of them, but I always feel like they are both right there. Together. Yeah, Sweets is there, too, but it’s just such an acknowledgment between the two of them. “I care about you more than I’ve ever cared for anyone else.” I want Booth to get all the love and respect he deserves, and to me, Brennan gently folding and placing his handkerchief back in his jacket pocket…it’s so special. So personal, like something a lover would do. And the look of shock on Booth’s face proves to me that he feels what I’m talking about.
5. Girl in the Mask
Brennan doesn’t exactly tell Booth she wants to believe in love during this episode, but rather she asks him if love is worth it, explaining to him that she’s struggling with the concept. He’s more emphatic this time, insisting that it is worth it. For Booth’s part, I don’t see how he can’t interpret her questioning as her desire to want love, even if she’s wrestling with it. If she weren’t open to love, she would just shrug her shoulders and say, “Whatever,” right? That she is struggling with it should give him hope.
6. Critic in the Cabernet
This episode as an example may be more of a stretch. On one hand, I think Booth can see that Brennan really cares for him. She also asks him to consider helping her have a baby, but that isn’t actually very love based, haha, is it?! I’m talking more the end of the episode, when she insists that they go to the hospital and when she goes into surgery with him. She holds his hand and encourages him while she’s sort of stuck behind this frozen desperation. Though on the flip side, maybe Booth isn’t exactly in a spot where he can see her emotion as love. I’ll concede that. I’m still including it though, haha, as I think that if Booth were ever sitting down and thinking about times she’d really been there for him because of love, it would be on his list. But her “Trust me Booth. Trust me!” is so beautiful.
7. Bond in the Boot
What is interesting about the end of this episode is that Brennan is sort of acting in a way to encourage Booth in his personal life, as a man. They are partners, but it’s an example of how if he has a need in his life (here, the ability to prove he knows what he’s doing, and haha, in this case, proving he can take care of his own plumbing), she is the one to help him. I don’t know about you, but I’m like that with the people I work with. I know, I know, B&B are a completely different story, but I think the principle still applies. There isn’t really a sense of “Why should I be the one to help Booth with this, I’m just his work partner”. It’s like they are life partners and Sweets is counseling her to allow Booth a chance to regain a feeling of self-worth and masculinity through showing her how to fix the pipes. And so, Brennan agrees. It looks like a Saturday morning or something, and they are both very casual, and in very close quarters, and Booth has to see the look on her face when she tells him she feels close to him.
8. Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Booth asks Brennan to be his village. She says yes. He’s sort of asking her to fake it, telling her to come to dinner with him and Parker and laugh at his jokes on purpose, to have fun. Brennan replies, “That might actually be fun,” indicating that she genuinely enjoys his company. The episode ends with Brennan opening up the use of her apartment complex pool to Parker and Booth as her guests. Maybe it’s just a friendship move, but in my book, it’s more than that. Her gesture indicates that she welcomes Booth’s…entire life…into her life. Again, it’s not work related. It’s Parker related. It’s awesome, and she’s awesome.
9. Night at the Bones Museum
Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Triple wow. Right? It’s tricky though, because she DID go out with Hacker, even though he asked her not to, and she did talk about him. I actually don’t like that she dated Hacker, not because I think she owes Booth romantic loyalty (he’s never once really made a move), but she does owe him loyalty of friendship and partnership. And he doesn’t ask her not to see Hacker and not give her a reason. He doesn’t stammer and get all flustered and jealous, kind of like maybe the end of season one with David. Right? He MIGHT be jealous, but his reasons are more that it would be awkward for him work wise. Yeah, he dated Cam, I understand that too. I guess I just would have wished that Brennan would have considered her partnership with Booth before dating Hacker. Not even from a romantic standpoint on her end, just a professional courtesy. My feeling though is that when Booth does make a claim…
…she responds to it. The egg doesn’t represent love; it really does represent loyalty and partnership and trust. Some people feel that Brennan’s repeating of his “what goes on between us is ours” phrase isn’t an expression of romantic interest and availability, but just an acknowledgement of their working relationship.
I can see that. But it just doesn’t quite explain the way she sort of melts around him, right? The way her eyes get wide and inviting. The way she sort of leans into him and smiles…just for him? And Booth DOES see it. He’s leaning in just as much. They are going to kiss one another. He wants it. And she wants it. And I can’t believe that it’s just sexual attraction leading her in this case. She loves him. There. I said it.
10. Tough Man in the Tender Chicken
Brennan is very cute in this episode. Some people might not like that, but I think it’s a pretty honest assessment. And there are four moments in particular, that if I were Booth, I would think, “She might actually love me.”
a.When he grabs her hand at the diner, and she holds his hand and thanks him.
b. When she takes off his tie in the lab and touches his cheek. I think one of Booth’s primary “love language” (if you’ve ever studied those) is touch. Pal Sleepless and I always talk about how Brennan messing with his ties makes him feel like he’s back in his coma dream and that it affects him. And I know a lot of love it when she does (and PS…did you see the Fox publicity promo, where ED is grabbing onto DB’s tie? Haha…not good quality but still…good times.
Wow, she’s pretty! But back to the episode, we see it’s her tenderness toward him combined with the way she is just so comfortable touching him that makes me think that Booth thinks…”Yeah baby. That’s right.”
c. When they are at FF at the end, the entire team is on one side of the bar, and they are on the other. What is up with that? I mean, I love it, but I think Booth would interpret that as special. And it’s one of my all time favorite moments when Brennan sees Angela drinking this huge fruity drink, and she kind of wistfully asks Booth if he thinks she would like one of those (as sort of a desire to reconcile with Angela), and Booth is like “No.” I love that he knows her, but I think he would take it to heart when she follows his advice and talks to Angela.
d. And then…even after all of this, she smiles at him, encourages him about brown sugar and tells him he’s ‘still got it’. Can’t you feel how she’s so proactively trying to compliment him? It’s very sweet, and Booth responds to it.
11. Dwarf in the Dirt
Here’s where we get a little bump in the road, as Booth tells Chef Wyatt that Brennan doesn’t love him, that he’d know if she loved him. GG counsels him to have hope and patience. And I think Booth, if indeed apparently, he has missed all of the signs we have already mentioned, then begins to sort of watch and keep an eye out for signs.
Hey, Booth. That’s a sign. She believes in him. It’s more than just a partner thing. They both know they’re more than just partners. He’s got to see that and think that she loves him or at least that she could love him.
What he’s feeling in that moment? It’s more than just professional accomplishment, right? Right? Please tell me I’m not the only one to think so.
12. Foot in the Foreclosure
Even more so than with Parker and her pool, Brennan totally inserts herself in Booth’s family life. Once she meets Hank at the diner, it’s like she adopts him as her own grandpa. Right? She monitors his medications. She laughs at his jokes. The excitement in her voice when she tells Booth (in front of Sweets), “And I’m invited!” regarding dinner is amazing. Amazing! But it’s not just that she’s relating to Pops as a grandfatherly type. It’s like she’s relating to him as Booth’s Pops. Does that make sense? In a way that a woman would sort of be very affectionate toward her husband’s grandfather, she is that way. Her affection for Hank still runs through Booth. Though WE see two private discussions between Hank and Brennan in which he sort of lays out the truth for her, there is still enough interaction between all three of them for Booth to get a clue that for Brennan, love equals family. And when she didn’t have a family, she stopped believing in love. There is no indication that she wrote pre-school papers on why love didn’t exist, right? And so, her complete acceptance of Booth’s family as her family indicates to me that she is expressing love for him.
13. The Goop on the Girl
We already talked about the tie thing, though stripping off Booth’s clothes in her lab is a LOT more than loosening a tie, isn’t it? Haha! To be fair, I don’t know that Booth would consider that ‘love’. But the way she kind of shyly asks him to Christmas dinner in her awkward ‘wrong word choice’ way…he gets it. He says, “That’s a sweet invitation”, and I think he actually means that. And once it is time for dinner, they share a look, and he loves that she is willing to have a moment of silence for him. Another sign, Boothy baby!
14. Proof in the Pudding
I always sort of imagined Hacker trying to ask Brennan out for breakfast after the case is over and her turning him down to eat with Booth and the team. Yes, because they completed the case together, but also because she wants to be with Booth. Booth, probably more than me actually, might interpret her ‘findings’ as a reflection of her love for him. He’d told her once that if he was ever scared, he would hug her. We have never really seen that, but in this episode, he just totally pulls her right into his arms, doesn’t he! It’s awesome! Booth sees love in her actions. I really believe that. And I think at the end of the episode, their bickering is very sweet and flirty. I think Brennan is openly expressing interest in Booth.
15. Dentist in the Ditch
There are two major moments in this episode where I think Booth can infer that Brennan loves him or at the very least is open to love.
The first is when she challenges him on his biased opinion of Padme. It’s not just familial love that Brennan wants him to be consistent on; she refers to him abandoning his belief system. And it makes her upset, physically ill, to think that he doesn’t believe and act on what he’s said he believes and will act on. It’s really hard for me to reconcile this episode with the 100th, honestly. The second moment is even more difficult, and that is when Brennan toasts to love…that is, she toasts to Booth’s interpretation of love. She’s staring at him and encouraging him with her words and her smile and supporting him with his brother, and also giving him crap about his actions toward Jared and Padme. I mean…it’s love. Right? Right? How does Booth not go home that night, lay in bed, and stare at the ceiling with a huge smile on his face and a swelling feeling in his heart. It’s like…okay, we’re getting somewhere. We’ve been going somewhere, and…maybe…maybe we’re actually there.
So then…they meet with Sweets and discuss how they met…
…how they connected right away…
and how they fought.
And Sweets tells him to take a chance. And he does. As Pal Junie said for the anniversary post, he “he spread his feelings at her feet”
And now, she tells him that she can’t. She doesn’t know how to love. She doesn’t have what it takes. She doesn’t have his kind of open heart. What? How does that explain all of her actions over the past years?
Was she leading him on?
My heart wants to say no, because I don’t want it to be true, you know? And yet, I feel like there is all this evidence sort of pointing against that.
Ah, it’s very hard. But still…I can’t quite shake this idea that no, she wasn’t. I think…I think Brennan has thought about this. She’s always thinking, so I just don’t see how she can’t be thinking about this at times. And I honestly believe that there were moments when she would sort of debate with herself where she would come to the conclusion that yes, if Booth were to reveal his feelings to her, take her hand at the diner, kiss her in the middle of an Egyptian artifact in the basement of the Jeffersonian, get in her cab after leaving Founding Fathers with him after their dinner with Jared and Padme…I think she thought she might have been able to say yes. I really can imagine her examining it and coming to that conclusion sometimes. I can imagine herself mentally preparing herself for the time when Booth approached the subject with her, because I really also do think that she can see his feelings for her in his eyes and his actions and his whole being. She’s not blind. She wasn’t shocked by his revelation, I don’t think. Maybe the timing, but not that he actually does have feelings for her. I also believe that sometimes she desperately hoped he would never bring it up, because then things would change. She was hanging on to status quo, knowing that they would both be hurt, trying to protect him as much as herself.
So she would vacillate between the two, mostly maintaining the constant that Booth deserved better than her. As he continued to grow stronger after his brain operation, she began to see how much she cared for him and her desire to protect him from her possible future rejection also grew. And sometimes, she’d slip. And she’d get caught up in his eyes, or his smile, or his nearness and for just a second, she’d want to believe it could be true. That he could really love her, and she could really love him.
So with that in mind, my final verdict on this matter is that…no, she was not leading him on. What we see as her admissions of affection or physical manifestations of her desire to be close to him, she probably saw as weakness or slips. Now, I’m not saying she’s right. I’m not saying that at all.
I believe she has the capacity to love and be loved.
I don’t think she was leading him on only to crush him. I think she was just as crushed by her reaction to his admission of feelings. And in fact, I feel she was rejecting herself more than she was rejecting him. In the episodes after the 100th, there was this general vibe that she’d rejected his advances as unwanted, and that annoyed me. I think she does want him. She really wants him in every way. But she just can’t quite allow him to be able to want her in every way.
I’m so…excited for this season. If the writers do not delve into Brennan’s character and her emotions…well, I don’t know what I’ll do. Complain loudly to you all, haha.
When I was doing my research for this, I came back across this video. I don’t always like fan vids but this one so speaks to me about Brennan’s struggle.
Well, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment that although Brennan seemed to be acting one way (flirty, open to love) but then officially declared another (she doesn’t have an open heart), she in fact wasn’t being rudely contradictory or mean in the way she lead Booth on? Or do you have a different opinion?
If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom of this post, yay! Haha, I know it’s a long one! But if you still have a few minutes, I’d love to know your thoughts. The comments are open!
Peace, Love & Bones,