Bones Theory

BRENNAN WEEK: Are We To Blame?


Hey, Hey Brennan Week! Bonespal Margo sent me an email, recommending that I pass this on! Next Thursday from 5 AM to 8 PM is “Act Like Brennan Day!”

So, that’s seems very fun. I’ll be participating, and what I’ll be doing in my efforts to be more Brennan-y will be to strip off all of Booth’s clothes in the lab and kiss him under the mistletoe! #ICalledHimFirst  Haha.

But back to the post at hand. There’s something I want to say.

Hi, I’m Sarah.

I’m 30 years old.

And I’m a shipper.

You know, before I ever watched BONES, I wasn’t always one. Definitely not in high school or college really .  And I really can’t think of many TV couples that I’d ever shipped before B&B. I guess… Jim and Pam.

That’s one.

And Luke & Lorelai, kind of, though…it also kind of ended badly. I don’t like to think about that.

Um, Casey and Dana (and don’t EVEN get me started on how that ended).

But I think that’s about it. I mean, I guess Anne & Gilbert. Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy. But those are kind of givens, and I didn’t spend my time planning ways for them to get together; it all seemed pretty inevitable.


But Booth and Brennan…

I can remember right before I started the 100Days proj, I was telling my parents about it, and my mom was like, “Well, just make sure that it doesn’t become your whole life.”

“It won’t Mom,” I rolled my eyes (high school! Ha, in my defense, I was only 29) and said. “Don’t worry.”

Of course, by that time…it was too late, haha. Anyways, though…this is something that has been on my mind for awhile, and I just can’t quite let it go.

What if every moment I love is really affecting Brennan in the opposite way?

Remember yesterday when we talked about whether or not she was leading Booth on? My conclusion was that she didn’t lead him on, but that she basically has been consistently continuing to weigh what she considers her qualities against what she considers to be Booth’s…deserved need.

But lately, I’ve been almost feeling guilty, as if my love for their shared moments is pushing Brennan in the opposite direction. The reason I’ve struggled with this so much is that it seems that in Season Five, Brennan was really on a path to understanding her love for Booth and her acceptance of his love for her. I know I’m not the only one who thought that, as many of us discussed it when we talked about those episodes. Which is why it feels almost hypocritical to love the 100th episode AND the episodes preceding it, because they seem to contradict in some ways. THAT’S what’s been eating at me. Because I believe that it’s been a very honest character development path, and it culminated in that moment before sort of dropping and then beginning to climb again. On the surface, though, they do seem to contradict. But what if I’m wrong, and they don’t contradict one another? What if every moment I think is bringing her closer TO him is actually tearing her away from him?

 Hear me out.

Let’s agree with my premise that Brennan has been methodically weighing the pros and cons. Let’s say that on her list of ‘cons’ is something like, “Booth needs and/or wants a mate whom he could be superior to in some ways, such as intellect, financial means and physical strength.” Now, whether or not that’s TRUE Booth wants that, I can still sort of see it being on Brennan’s list about him, right? So if that’s on the list, then we take a look at a scene like the ending with Bond in the Boot. Sweets had been encouraging her to let Booth teach her about plumbing in order to reassert some masculinity. Brennan agrees to it and immediately, Booth is very pleased about that. She notices. She knows exactly what is happening. And as he’s showing her what to do, she can’t help but notice that he gains more and more confidence. So while I’m practically fainting at their nearness and his Saturday morning stubble and the way his arm and chest practically envelop her as he reaches for the water, later, when Brennan examines the situation, she can only come to the conclusion that she was right. Booth was resistant to her expensive watch, he gained confidence in his ability to teach her something, and Brennan is maybe left feeling like a snobby braniac.

Remember, she doesn’t necessarily feel that Booth could love the true her. Her past relationships have been based on her brains or her physicality. I was so glad when pal Ange mentioned this in her comment yesterday about Avalon’s analysis of Brennan. “You are an abandoned child. The world scares you, so you wrap it up neatly in bonds of reason, education, and proof. All riddles are solvable to you except one. The riddle you can’t solve is how somebody could love you.”

Brennan’s reply? “Well, I’m beautiful and very intelligent.”

You see? Her two areas of personal success are where she gets her self-validation.

But Avalon sort of cuts through the crap and tells her, “The answer to the question you’re afraid to say out loud is YES, he knows the truth of you, and yet he’s dazzled by that truth.”

I love that she calls it the question Brennan won’t even say out loud. That means it’s deep in there, so, so, so deep.

Brennan cannot form a response.


…and we’re all just a little more dazzled.

What do you think about this?  

Let me toss this out too. I think Brennan is more capable than she admits to herself. I think she knows that on some level she loves Booth, and she’s dealing with that. But I also think she has this idea of what Booth thinks is love, and I think she might be wrong about that. So this measuring stick she is propping up against her own heart and life…it’s inaccurate. But I do think she’s doing it. It’s tricky, because I used to think that if Booth would only take the word ‘love’ out of the equation, he’d be able to prove to Brennan that what they have is exactly what they want. Physical attraction, willing to die for the other, complete trust, intense affection, ability to make each other laugh, acceptance of extended family, mutual friends, shared appreciation for the other’s work…I mean, those of us in serious relationships…raise your hand if you’d like to have ALL of those things in common with your partner/mate/spouse, right? Booth doesn’t see them as compatible (based on what? He eats meat? She won’t go to Mass with him? Superficial ephemera, I say! haha), but they really are compatible. What I love about the rest of season five (meaning post-100) is that Booth and Brennan seem to grow STRONGER in the areas I mentioned. But because Brennan doesn’t see those things as Booth’s definition of love, I think she feels she doesn’t have what it takes.

Here are two more examples of moments I love but think may have the adverse effect on Brennan.

“I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t do to help Booth.”

In this scene from Dwarf in the Dirt, I was thinking, “AhhhHHHHH. She LOVES HIM!”  But it turns out in her mind that she feels she has to be almost self-sacrificial about it. The irony is that yes, to love and be loved by someone, you have to compromise and put the other’s needs above your own. But Brennan doesn’t see that she already does this in a good way (like I mentioned before). So when I’m thinking, ‘Finally, she loves him. This is it…this is the beginning of it. It’s gotta be. Come on, Bones fans…it’s gotta be!” ha), as the episode goes on, she is adding to her list, “Okay, this is it. Booth needs me to be his partner. In his personal life, he needs someone who tells jokes the right way. Someone whose personal life doesn’t cause him harm. Someone whose very job/existence in his life doesn’t present him with the need to be able to shoot to kill with deadly accuracy. No matter how I feel, I need to help him be happy.”

The toast to love about Padme and Jared’s engagement.

I love this toast. I really love this entire scene. I love that Jared wanted Brennan there with Booth. Love, love, love it. I love that she kicked Jared under the table. I love that Booth complimented her on her toasting abilities. And I will always be curious to know what he said to her when she was done. I think, based on the look on her face, that it might not have been nice. What do you think? She seems a bit chagrined, which is too bad. Booth has a way of squelching Brennan’s sweet innocence that breaks my heart a lot. Like when he doesn’t laugh at her jokes and stuff.

But what if Brennan was testing Booth out to see if he really believed what he’s said he believes all along. Earlier in the episode, they’d bickered (deliciously). Brennan calls Booth out on what he’s said about love, and he quotes her rational feelings back at her. Loved it! But Brennan also later tells him that it makes her anxious that he seems to have abandoned his belief system, that she’s made changes in her life based on the trust she has in his emotional aptitude. So what if…Brennan is really testing out the waters to see if Booth is back to his normal feelings on the matter. And, if she examines it later, will come to the conclusion that yes, Booth indeed is in favor of love. And so her list, her ‘measuring stick’, grows longer and she continues to fall short. “Booth needs someone in his life who wants his version of love.”

But I can’t help feeling that Brennan doesn’t really know what Booth’s version of love is. And that’s what is the most heartbreaking about their heart to heart in the 100th episode. They are pouring their hearts out so deeply and quickly that they aren’t really listening to what each other is saying.

Like Hart Hanson recently said “Sweets says to him, you have to be the one. And he does. He’s the one. He says, no bullshit, nothing about jobs, I’ll do anything to make this work.”

But Brennan wasn’t hearing that. She’s hearing that Booth wants…I don’t know what, a housewife? A picket fence? Whatever it is, she’s wrong. Once she says no, he’s not exactly hearing what she’s saying either.

It’s just heartbreaking, but so, so, so real.

Help me out here. I’m being totally honest. Are the moments I (we) love actually pushing Brennan away from Booth? Is our sense that she is being led toward loving him only a blinder to the reality that she feels she can’t measure up? While Booth gains confidence that she’s coming along to his way of thinking, she does as well, but only to the absolute certainty that Booth deserves better?

This has kind of been keeping me up nights, so I certainly value your opinions. I’ve been so pleased with everyone’s incredibly well thought out responses and comments. Some of you should be doing this blog, and not me! You have better insights and ways of saying things. I’m totally humbled by your willingness to share from your hearts here at Bones Theory.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, someone sent me an idea. And she smiled and said that it would just be fun to mention it here for Brennan week. And I totally agreed. But please, if there is something you would like to see discussed here, please send it my way. I’ll write about it, and open a discussion. This site is yes, for me to deal with my neurosis (okay, I admit it, once and for all), but also for you all to be able to dig deep and really express your feelings.

Enough from me. Let me know what you think!


8 thoughts on “BRENNAN WEEK: Are We To Blame?

  1. Well. That despressed the hell out of me. Not because you’re wrong…but because I suspect you might be completely and totally right. *sigh*

    My poor Bren. Sometimes the Booth and Brennan relationship reminds me of a really bad episode of Three’s Company…where everything is going to hell and there’s misunderstandings everywhere, and if someone…*anyone* would just be honest and tell the truth, everything would work out and Jack could quit pretending that he’s gay…okay, well not that last part, but you get the gist.

    I have always maintained that Booth only ever heard “No!” from Brennan…and everything else was white noise after that. Had he pushed past what he heard verbally and what he knew in his gut she was going to say, and actually “tried for a different outcome”, he would have heard the subtext of what she was really saying…how much she *wants* to be what she thinks he needs, and then he could have explained to her that she is all that he needs and more.
    And we would have had wall sex instead of some depressingly sad wall-leaning. *le sigh*

    This show kills me every day. And thanks for making me cry again today. Another great post! ❤

  2. Ah, I know! Sorry for the angst. I PROMISE that the Brennan posts next week leading up to the premiere will be fun and not angsty. But these first two posts have just been nagging me since before I even began this project.

  3. I have to second NatesMama. I think you’re probably totally right about B&B at this point and I just can’t let myself think too much about it. While I want Booth to be happy and everything does it make me a bad person that I want Hannah to disappear quickly (perhaps hit by a bus?).
    They were so busy being “brave” and “moving on” from each other after the 100th that they both shut down even more.
    I can’t even begin to guess how SVI is going to play out, but I want B&B to make their way back to each other before too long.

  4. You know, I don’t know that I really see a contradiction between Brennan’s season 5 character development and her response to Booth in the 100th episode. As I said yesterday, I think it’s a brain and heart issue.

    Yes, Brennan had some major character development in the area of her heart in season 5 (especially in recognizing the value of love and then beginning to want that love for herself), but for her, brain and heart are two separate entities. Her heart may have said one thing (I love him) but her brain said something different (it won’t work). And at the end of the day (or at the end of the 100th episode in this case), her brain overrode her heart and I don’t think that’s at all out of character for her – even at this stage of the game. She’s still hard-wired to pick brain over heart nine times out of ten, especially when the stakes are so high.

    I also think that Brennan’s post-100th behavior towards Booth is further proof that her brain still runs the show. She seems to have regressed in the last six episodes of the season to the point where she says things to Booth that come across as completely cold and unfeeling. That really bothered me until I rewatched The Verdict in the Story. Sweets (who I tend to think is right in his observations about B&B far more often than they would like to admit), in an attempt to explain why Brennan really isn’t as unaffected by her dad’s trial as she may seem, says:

    “I think it’s important that you know that we know that the colder and more objective that you appear on the outside, the more pain you’re feeling on the inside.”

    My conclusion? Post-100 Brennan was hurting. A lot. Perhaps as much as Booth – it just wasn’t obvious because she leads with her brain as opposed to Booth, who leads with his heart.

    I’ve thought about this a lot, and the conclusion I’ve come up with is that there will never be a logical, rational reason for Brennan to believe that things would ever work out between her and Booth. I mean, it’s such a HUGE risk for her – who can blame her for wanting to hold on to what she knows she already has? What it’s going to come down to (and this is what she couldn’t do in the 100th) is her making a conscious decision to let her heart have the final say, to basically disregard what her brain is telling her and take a leap of faith. That’s huge and it’s character development that we simply haven’t seen from her yet. (But season six is nearly upon us and I have hope that this will be the season when her brain finally catches up to her heart).

    Whew. Sorry, that was really long.

  5. Hello, my name is Monica, and yes I am a HUGE shipper.
    Are we to blame, I couldn’t say. I mean I love the relationship between Booth & Brennan. It pains me to see him so in love with her and her denying it every chance she gets.
    My honest opinion, as I stated yesterday, she does love him. She is afraid. Booth, will always love her, no matter how much he says he has to move on without her. Will the new season bring a change in Brennan, I sure hope so. I think its her turn to chase him.

  6. Hey Seels 🙂

    Sometimes I just wanna grab Booth and Brennan and tell them to sit down and say “WAKE UP! You’re BOTH GOOD ENOUGH!!”. If I remember correctly in one of your 100DaysofBones posts, you mentioned that Booth struggles with issues of self-worth. I’m seeing a little bit of that in Brennan after reading this post. You totally hit the nail on the head when you say that she rationalizes that with the areas of success in her life (beauty + career success). After the 100th episode (despite it’s heart-wrenching ending) I was so glad Booth made that “leap of faith”. It’s high time for Brennan to do the same…seriously! Ball’s in your court, Brennan!!

    And can I just say….I don’t believe in psychics..but Avalon is RIGHT ON! Being told that Booth “knows who she [Brennan] is” and still loves her probably scared the living daylights out of Brennan. I can only hope that she realizes how wonderful that is!! So, like I said, “wake up, people!”

  7. *sigh* I have to admit Seels…I had never thought of this before and now that you’ve mentioned it I have to admit it makes sense. And that is one of the most depressing things ever! Poor Brennan being all confused over the moments we’ve all loved. 😦

    Like I said before she’s terrified deep down inside that if something goes wrong Booth will walk away and she’ll be all alone again. And she thinks she’s not enough to make him stay. The poor woman has never been taught or experienced this kind of love before. She’s walled herself up in her house of reason with logic and truth trumping emotions…and it’s got to be scary when the emotions finally begin breaking through. If only she could see they’re perfect for each other and what makes them different makes them stronger.

    In that moment in the 100th all Booth heard was “no” and all Brennan knew was that Booth was kissing her saying he wanted to give this a chance. She panicked and didn’t hear his reasoning and he got hurt and didn’t hear her explanation of WHY she was saying no. What’s scary is that it was almost a do over of the night at the bar when Booth “fired” her with a bottle of tequila. Now they knew each other better and should have been prepared, but once again they both messed up. It’s scary to me they seemed to have missed their moment twice. I’m starting to get scared they won’t have another chance….but I guess we’ve all been told, “Everything happens eventually,” for a reason. Let’s hope eventually is soon for everyone’s sake and sanity!

  8. So I have to confess…I, unlike you, am a consistent shipper. B&B is not my first ship. I have always been a romantic at heart, so any storyline that has a man and a woman as the main characters who seem to have chemistry, I’m hooked, be it in TV or in books. Lois and Clark (Lois & Clark), Mac and Harm (JAG), Mulder and Scully (The X-Files), not to mention several others long before B&B, though B&B is my most recent and most ardent ship. Anne and Gilbert is still one of my all-time favs…I actually went back last week and re-read the A&G scenes from Anne on the Island just for fun…so many parallels to B&B! Heartache, yes, but oh so good…
    The advantage there is that we know what the outcome is, that’s it’s eventually a happy ending. With B&B…? We need some positive energy, more chanting of “Everything happens eventually!”


    I totally hear you about the concern that all of the positive moments in B&B’s history may actually be dissuading Brennan rather than encouraging her. It’s something that never occurred to me, but I definitely buy it. I really like your reasoning that what Brennan perceives as Booth’s “ideal” is not correct, like she’s setting herself up for failure before even giving a relationship a try, when his desires are actually much more simple and flexible than she thinks. I agree that she’s got an invisible measuring stick. It KILLS me that she thinks she’s not good enough, but I think I blathered on about that enough for your last post!

    I keep coming back to contemplating/obsessing about how they’re going to get around this issue. How is she going to be convinced that all is not as it seems, that Booth’s “ideal” is the definition of one Temperance Brennan rather than all of these superficial ephemera that she’s measuring herself against? She IS the standard, after all, right? She needs to discover that she fits the bill in ALL respects, not just intelligence and beauty. Her heart is perfect for him, but I think it’s going to take a lot of convincing to prove it to her. 😦

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