Bones Theory

A Walk on the Dark Side: Examining the Logic in Booth’s “Abandonment” of Brennan

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 Hey BONES Theory friends! I don’t know about you, but I’m still thinking about last week’s episode, The Couple in the Cave. So when Sarah asked if I wanted to put my thoughts down on paper (well, virtual paper at least), I said yes and got to work. Today we’re going to consider the possibility that Booth needed to “abandon” Brennan, followed by an honest conversation about whether or not season six Booth really deserves to be hated on so much. Are you scared yet? Let’s get started!

In the season five BONES premiere, a freshly reinstated (and freshly shaven), six-weeks-post-coma-dream Booth shares a drink with Cam at the bar in the Founding Fathers. It appears they are there to celebrate Sweets’ decision to recertify Booth as fit for duty, but as it turns out, Booth has a bit more on his mind than just work. Always the perceptive friend, Cam saves Booth the awkward introduction and gets right to the point, telling him, “You’re in love with Dr. Brennan.”  

Booth then wonders if he is the same man he was before his brain surgery. Does he have the right, under the circumstances, to tell Dr. Brennan the true nature of his feelings for her? “Forget the bruised brain and go with your lion heart,” advises Cam, but, “be sure about your feelings, because if you crack that shell and you change your mind, she’ll die of loneliness before she ever trusts anyone again.”  Well, Bones fans, we all know what happened next, don’t we?

He asked. She said no.

He held on. She walked away.

He came back…and he wasn’t alone. She cracked.

To the dismay of Bones fans everywhere, season six brought the crushing realization that Booth has seemingly forgotten his season five devotion to Brennan and is essentially doing everything that Cam told him not to do. Meanwhile, Brennan, who evidently started to crack at some point between the end of season five and the beginning of season six, is reacting exactly the way Cam said she would. This apparent role reversal is brilliantly foreshadowed in the airport scene at the end of the season five finale when we see Brennan try to hold on and Booth pull away first.

So after careful consideration of all the evidence, how do we not conclude that Brennan will eventually die of loneliness as Cam (and even Brennan herself) predicted? Have Booth and Brennan missed their moment; or is it possible that we, in our obsessive focus on Hannah and the inevitable effect she will have on Booth and Brennan’s relationship, missed the big picture entirely?

Remember the point Sarah (Seels) made a couple weeks ago about Hart Hanson focusing on Brennan’s character development above (and sometimes to the detriment of) everything, and everyone, else (BRENNAN WEEK:  Temperance Brennan. In Love with Her. Building a World Around Her, 9/23/10)? Well, at some point, I suspect that he and the Bones writing team came to the inevitable conclusion that the best way to force Brennan to conquer her fears was to actually make her face them. It makes sense, after all, that Brennan first needs to move past her fear of abandonment before she will be able to pursue a successful relationship with Booth. Only then can brain and heart learn to co-exist. It also makes sense that the one character capable of forcing a change of that magnitude in Brennan is Booth. The danger, of course, in using Booth (and Hannah) as the catalyst for change, is in the questions it raises about his integrity. My personal opinion is that Booth’s transgressions aren’t nearly as bad as they seem on the surface, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

We all know that Cam wasn’t addressing Booth and Brennan’s potential romantic future when she warned Booth of the risks of cracking Brennan’s shell, but rather Brennan’s well-documented abandonment issues. While her assessment of Brennan’s character was true, the mistake I think I made after re-watching Harbingers in a Fountain this summer was in reading Cam’s statement as an imperative, thus buying into the notion that Booth couldn’t ever abandon Brennan or he’d lose her forever. As a result, I lost sight of the crucial fact that Brennan’s perceived notions about love are absolutely wrong. It’s essential that she comes to understand the true value of love and to be able to give and receive it herself. And because of that, Cam’s warning to Booth had to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Booth had to be allowed mess up where she’s concerned. And by “mess up” I mean come back from Afghanistan with a girlfriend named Hannah. The purpose, I think, is for Brennan to use this “abandonment” to face her fears and break the bonds that have held her down for so long.  

So where does all of Brennan’s lovely character development leave Booth? Well, on the plus side, his relationship with Hannah seems to have helped him put some distance between himself and his pain over Brennan’s rejection. Happy Booth is back, and that’s a really good thing. Unfortunately, it also looks like he abandoned Brennan at exactly the wrong moment. And that hurts because despite the good that I believe will eventually come from this situation, that he moved on at all still feels like a betrayal of the character we’ve come to know and love over the last five years.

Or is it? I suspect Booth’s alleged fall from grace isn’t quite as severe as we’d like to believe. What do you say we consider a few issues from his perspective and see if we might be able to muster up some empathy for both Booth and Brennan?

First, and foremost, I think it’s only fair to consider that by the end of season five, Booth really was in a pretty bad place emotionally. He always kind of reminded me of a worm on a hook in the episodes between The Parts in the Sum of the Whole and The Beginning in the End. Although he had been defeated on the relationship front, he couldn’t quite bring himself to completely give up hope, so he just sat there, writhing in pain, waiting for something or someone to come put him out of his misery.

Then the Maluku dig came along and Brennan grabbed the opportunity to both get back to her anthropological roots and gain some perspective in her relationship with Booth. Only… Booth didn’t know about that pesky perspective part. All he knew was that, with a single action, she severed every tie that had bound them together for the past five years. And as breaks go – this one was completely clean. Not a word exchanged in seven months. Talk about a stake to the heart (no pun intended Angel fans).      

So there’s Booth in Afghanistan – rejected and abandoned, doing work that I’m pretty sure he didn’t really want to be doing (despite what he told Brennan in the finale). I’m thinking he had a lot of time to build some pretty thick walls of bitterness and anger around his heart. And, ultimately, to find someone who seemed as available as Brennan was unavailable; as open as she appeared closed; and as loving as she appeared incapable of love. I’m not saying these perceptions of Brennan are accurate, but under the circumstances, can you blame him for latching onto Hannah like a man wandering in the desert without any water?

Despite Booth’s obviously cool attitude toward Brennan after their return to D.C., I do think he was trying to protect her somewhat by telling her that his work in Afghanistan was “mostly administrative” (something we know wasn’t true). She did beg him before they parted ways at the end of season five to not be a hero (and as usual, he didn’t listen). His overwhelming need to protect her both physically and emotionally may be somewhat misguided at times, but it’s classic Booth. And no matter what he says about the virtues of moving on, I think that protective spark, although mostly hidden for the moment, still burns pretty brightly. Did anyone notice his barely perceptible (but still noticeable) look of concern at Brennan’s emotional reaction to Hannah’s story during their lunch in The Couple in the Cave? He may act like he doesn’t care, but actions (and in this case, facial expressions) always speak louder than words.  

It’s also worth considering what Sweets wrote in his book about Booth suffering from “white knight syndrome.” Booth and Hannah’s relationship began as a result of him saving her life. I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that their relationship provided the validation he so desperately needed after Brennan essentially told him that she couldn’t be saved (“I’m a scientist….I can’t change”).  And when you consider the fact that Hannah took a job she hated just so she could be close to Booth (something that Brennan was simply unable to do at the end of season five, regardless of the motivating factors behind her decision), well no wonder he thinks she’s pretty swell!

 I guess what I’m saying is that we can’t measure Booth’s character using Brennan’s measuring stick and vice versa. We have to look at each character and judge them on their own merits. We can look at Brennan and feel her pain because we can see that the very foundation of her belief system is being shaken. In the same way, we need to be able to look at Booth’s apparent unwillingness to reach out to Brennan and see it (and Hannah) for what they really are – coping mechanisms he’s using to protect himself from further pain.

So what do you think? Is Hart Hanson using Booth as a tool to force Brennan to face her fears of abandonment? Is Booth’s halo really tarnished, or are we giving him a bum rap? Was it even fair of us to give him that halo in the first place (c’mon, you know we did)? I would really love to hear your thoughts!

~~~~~~~~~~

Stephanie is a stay-at-home mom of three (all boys) from Maryland. When she’s not cleaning the house, making dinner, chasing kids, helping with homework, or writing about the joys and challenges of raising kids for her local MOPS group’s newsletter, she can usually be found online checking out BONES scoop and theories. She’s married to a wonderful man who likes to shower her with BONES DVDs on her birthday, their anniversary, or just because. Her other interests include reading, listening to music, and hanging out with her best friend (her husband) and family.

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35 thoughts on “A Walk on the Dark Side: Examining the Logic in Booth’s “Abandonment” of Brennan

  1. I was pretty bummed out by Hannah although I wanted to give her a chance. (Not really)

    Then it was too painful to watch Booth & Hannah kissing so much that it seemed overkill.

    I had to stop loving Booth to protect my own heart. (Am I taking this all to personally? Probably so.)

    I get that Booth is terribly hurt and he had no choice at the time.

    After rewatching the Cave episode 4 times, I could finally love Booth again. Hannah is already unhappy and there is bound to be a split.

    She has no idea who he really is.

  2. Am I a shipper for Booth and Brennan? Without a doubt, YES! Do I hate that Hannah is in the picture and Brennan is hurting? Yes! But is this a necessary evil that we must endure because our favorite leads are still very much damaged and need to heal? YES!

    Booth has to become a man again in the sense that he isn’t just moping around waiting for a smile from Brennan. He needs his swagger back. Brennan needs to realize that she had already changed and that loving Booth is worth it. I feel that no matter how many times Booth says he loves Hannah, it is a relationship that is based on sex and extreme conditions. You can see from the one scene that Hannah doesn’t know the whole story of Booth and Bones nor does she know the whole story of Booth the man.

    Being back together, both of these two characters will have to face their demons in a way they haven’t in the past 7 months since the other’s presence was not right next to them.

    We just have to have faith that these two will find their way to each other via the written words by Hart and Co.

  3. Ooh I love this post! I’ve been wanting to get into Booth’s psyche a lot recently (I find him just as fascinating as Brennan and wish it was delved into more)

    I was a bit confused by the idea that Booth ‘abandoned’ Brennan. There was an internal gasp, we know what that would mean to Brennan. Personally, I don’t feel he abandoned her so much as she shoved him away.

    My heart aches for Booth and everything he’s been through since the 100th. I don’t understand why people are blaming him for his behaviour so far this season. He’s clearly been so so hurt. And she might not have meant to do it, but she did. And its changed them. She yanked the rug out of something that had been bubbling away for 6 years, he’d been quietly hoping all that time. He had to move on, he had to try to heal the hurt in his heart and find the happiness and love he’s been searching for since he was a little boy, forced to grow up too soon, to protect his little brother and have responsibility heaped on not-yet-broad shoulders.

    I absolutely agree that Brennan needs to see what she gave up in order to be able to take the step towards him. In season 5, she was holding on tightly to the status quo between them and was knocked off kilter when he tried to change things. I really think that she would have happily just carried on, with them pretty much being in a relationship but without having to take any scary steps or commitments. But we know Booth, and we know he’s a ‘full speed’ kind of guy. He doesn’t want or deserve half a relationship.

    What we’re watching now is painful. Their relationship has changed and the man we’ve watched gaze adoringly, save, protect, guy hug, humour and love Brennan looks to have moved on. But it is absolutely necessary, for both of them.

    Brennan needs time to process, understand and finally actually accept that she wants to really be with Booth. And he needs his heart nursing back to health in the arms of a woman who doesn’t remind him of what he came so close to having.

    Hannah is the support act for the real deal that is Brennan. Booth is trying to make her the main show, but he won’t be able to. The marks Brennan has left on him are too deep, too permanent and too loved. They will always show through eventually. We just have to hope that by the time they do, she’ll be ready.

  4. I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head with absolutely everything you’ve said. I believe that Booth is sincere in his attempt to move on because he really believes that Brennan is incapable of reciprocating his love. I also think that’s why he’s trying so incredibly hard to prove that he really does love Hannah and is happy with her.

    In general, I think we as fan tend to miss the big picture and nitpick at the details, often attacking individual characters who are really just serving their purpose and being themselves. I’m thinking in particular of the Sweets-bashing that happened after the season 5 opener and the 100th episode when he gave Booth advice. In both instances, Sweets had excellent motives (namely protecting Brennan from emotional trauma and ending the stalemate in B&B’s partnership) and yet so many fans blamed him for Booth’s failure with Brennan. Brennan, likewise, got a really bad rap for her rejection of Booth (think of all the TEAM BRENNAN VS TEAM BOOTH crap), but again, it completely makes sense for her character.

    The point is, we need to be patient and wait to see how it all unfolds before we judge Booth for ‘abandoning’ Brennan. We really have no proof that Booth has been successful at moving on. In fact, we have many hints to the contrary: his constant reiteration that he IS in love with Hannah (if it’s true, why get so huffy all the time?), that he IS happy (Sweets’ “I believe you” screamed “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU”) really sound … fake. While it’s a little natural to be peeved at Booth for being with Hannah because we love Brennan, it’s not really fair. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all pans out.

  5. I like the way you put this out, that maybe this situation of Brennan losing someone helps her to know how to overcome her fears.
    I also consider that most people feel more empathy for Brennan than for Booth because we can see her pain. We can see how she hesitates, thing that we hadn’t seen before.
    Is not like I don’t like Booth seeing someone else to try to get over being rejected, but how he does it makes me feel that he’s given up Brennan. I mean, he looks cold and a bit distant at times (although there aren’t enough episodes to really tell) and yes, as you said, it makes me question his integrity. But when looking at 6×02 I noticed that when Sweets was talking to him in the car, and he reminded him of what happened with Brennan, Booth went all defensive and saying he loved Hannah in a slightly high and slightly nervous tone. Also, when Hannah tells him she’s jealous of Brennan, he thinks she thinks they’re involved. And finally his conversation with Brennan and Sweets at the diner which caught him off guard. In my opinion, those are the small hints that he hasn’t completely moved on, but that he’s trying.
    The season has just started, and there are many things and stoylines to be developed. Maybe one of them will start a new catalyst for these two.

  6. In agreement with the comment above me, I have to say I too, struggle with the concept of Booth having “abandoned” Brennan.

    Consider the end of the previous season. Did Booth really want to go back to the army? I don’t think so. I think he largely chose to go because she was otherwise going to effectively abandon him, or at least because he could tell that she wanted to. As we recogonised, she so desperately wanted to go to the Maluku Islands at the end of last season not purely in the pursuit of anthropological knowledge, but to run away from him, from what their relationship really meant, and yes, probably to gain some perspective. If he’d have stayed? Doing the same job without her, where would that have left him? Looking pathetic? Pining for her? Would we have prefered that? If she’d turned him into a wreck that could not move on? I hope not.

    Instead, he’s doing the brave thing, he’s gained some perspective and he’s imagining that he can be happy with someone else, and hell, maybe he’s even succeeding [for a while]. If you look closely enough it’s apparent that the “real” Booth is still there – small moments show that he still cares. His remark in the premiere of “it wasn’t just me then” in regards to Brennan’s contact with the outside world shows that he was hurt by her lack of contact, and as you so correctly point out, he was protective in his description of his role in Afghanistan and I completely agree with the meaning behind that “look of concern” you talk about during Hannah’s story – he looks at Brennan quite a few times during that scene and I’m fairly sure he’s trying to gauge her reaction to him being with someone else. He wants to be sure that he hasn’t made a mistake. Moving on when the person you’re trying to get over is thousands of miles away is a damn sight easier that doing it when she’s sitting next to you. I do wish we had seen more of his reaction to her saying she fantasied about them together while she was away – that’s got to be playing on his mind a bit now hasn’t it?? Still, I think we’ll see more obvious glimpses of Booth’s feelings towards Brennan as the season goes on. “The couple in the Cave” was very much more about showing where Brennen is emotionally than Booth in my opinion.

    As for whether Brennan sees his relationship with Hannah as an abandonment of their own? I’m not sure. However she views it, it certainly is going to get her to face some of her own feelings, and when she finally comes to the realisation that she wants/needs him? He’s still going to be there for her.

  7. Okay, first off let me say that I have always been for Booth and Brennan getting together. That’s the whole reason I started watching the show, so I could see how they end up together. Three years later I’m still here watching the show. So something made me stay.
    I like Hannah. Not in a stay on the show permanently and crush all hopes we have of Booth and Brennan getting together, but in a way to sort of act as a foil for the Brennan development. Has anyone ever noticed that Hannah is like the complete opposite of Brennan. Blonde, Adventurous, openly loves Booth, calls Booth Seeley, and so on and so forth. I find this little detail very telling.
    Why would Booth pick someone so completely opposite the woman he really (and he does still) loves I wonder? Maybe it’s because he’s trying to move on but it’s not working out quite the way he’d planned.
    I agree with sophia7470. Booth didn’t so much abandon Brennan as get shoved away. Didn’t he try to talk her out of leaving? In the season 5 finale when she’s leaving the Founding Fathers Booth grabs Brennan’s hand before she gets into the cab, trying to get her to stay with him, not just at the bar but in DC. That doesn’t sound like someone who abandons the one they love. In my opinion, Brennan was the one to abandon Booth. He just had to learn to cope with it and find comfort and “love” in Hannah’s ever so willing arms.
    I’m still, and always will be, rooting for Booth and Brennan to get together. It’s just going to take some rather painful moments for it to happen. And some serious growing for Brennan. But I have faith. It just takes time.

    • Stephen Nathan thinks Hannah is quite similar to Brennan and in many ways she is. She needs adventure, is very good at her job and is very straightforward.

      But she is able to express love in a way Brennan cannot do yet.

      Hopefully, Brennan will learn from her how to show love.

      • Now that you point out that Hannah and Brennan are more similar than I’d originally thought, I can totally see it. I guess my biggest thing is exactly what you said, Hannah can express love in a way Brennan cannot.

        I really want that girl’s night out that Hannah mentioned at the end of Couple in the Cave. I think that would be really eye opening- for us and of Brennan. Thanks for bringing this up.

  8. Excellent post and it is good to see someone defending Booth’s position. I can’t quite understand all the Booth hate when he is doing what she wants him to do…find someone to love him. Now, we all know it isn’t going to work, we hope, but it give him a chance to get his groove and confidence back and not be so needy and pathetic. No more puppy dog Booth, lots more alpha male Booth…maybe that is what Bren needs to be open to loving him.

  9. i think Booth’s trying move on , i said tryinng cuz he felt kind Hurt for Brennan’s rejection and her decision to leave to Maluku. I just hope Booth can be able to see that Brennan is already changing.

  10. Thanks for your wonderful article!

    When season 6 started, I was well prepared for hating the new Hannah storyline, but, guess what, now that it airs I happen to find that I cannot hate it.
    First of all: I don’t blame Booth for anything. He tried everything (except for declaring his love with those three words and telling her she doesn’t have to change – but that’s another story), and Brennan broke him. She shattered his belief system time after time. It was essentially for him to be whole again, and Hannah did that to him. I don’t doubt that he loves her – in a warm and thankful way that is like the shadow of the big and crazy love he has for Brennan. And I truly think he needed to be whole again to face Brennan, to work with her anew. All that he knows is that she couldn’t take the risk.
    Hannah herself is a very strong character. She is as blunt as Brennan herself and a true fighter. It’s almost impossible not to like her… And she is fun. I think she resembles Brennan a lot – just look at the way Brennan compares Hannah or Hannah situations with herself.
    Brennan. I’m so proud of her development, and she’s almost there. Seeing Booth with another woman might be the last straw for her, and not only because of jealousy, but because of the similitude between Hannah and herself.
    Abandonment. I really hurt for her in the last ep, sitting all alone with her drink, leading a life as expected. But sometimes facing the biggest fear is necessary to gain a new perspective. She thinks Booth fell out of love with her? (And I truly think that’s what she implied.) Well, that might open her eyes for the fact, why this would bother her. And reallly, during her stupid speeach about how ridiculous it is to put somebody else’s wellbeing above the own one – please, who had to thing about her words to GG, “I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t do to help him.”
    But I digressed. And lost my point. I hope this comment makes sense for somebody.

  11. I started typing a bunch of crap, I mean, junk, I mean stuff . . . and realized all I was doing was re-iterating what Stephanie, and now Ann said. Haha!

    My added 2 cents: Observationally speaking, it appears that those who “hate” Hannah and are mad at Booth are women. 🙂 So, don’t hate me for saying, stop being all female and cut the guy a break. He is not solely responsible for this relationship, Brennan has to do her part, too. Booth has his own issues, he’s doing the best that he can with the evidence before him. Stephanie’s right, he didn’t know about the “perspective” part of Brennan’s reasoning for leaving. He also didn’t know that he wouldn’t have any contact with Brennan at all during their time apart.
    Let’s leave the double standards behind. If the roles were reversed, I don’t think so many would be so upset with Brennan.
    It’s all going to come together. There’s a plan! I love that there’s a plan.
    Alright, now I’m becoming jumbled, my 2 cents turned into at least 25, and I will start to become incoherent, soon . . . is it Thursday, YET?

    • Oh dear, I just looked my comment over and realized it sounds all overly-emotional and snarky. Yikes! Not my intent! Forgive me, forgive me. Now who is being all “female”? Haha!

      • Now who is being all “female”? Haha!

        You mean, like, nurturing and not misogynistic?

        Don’t worry. You’re safe.

  12. I have to confess that the criticism levelled against Booth bugs me quite a lot. I guess it’s because I find that despite his many imperfections, Booth has shown his love and concern for Brennan in so many ways I can’t even count them, yet, after being rejected and essentially left behind to fend for himself in season 5, he’s now being pilloried for trying to hold himself together the best that he can. This man hasn’t had a relationship since the middle of season 2! Without a doubt, he kept himself (maybe unknowingly) for Brennan; his love for her has only grown since his breakup with Cam and we all know it has nothing to do with brain damage.

    It comes down to this-when I see people taking sides with either Booth or Brennan at the expense of the other character it makes me wonder if we’re all even watching the same show. It’s during moments like these that I’m reminded how differently different people perceive the same events. Neither of the main characters is anywhere near perfect nor are they meant to be; in a show with many belief-holding moments character development is the one thing that usually rings true, even when the developments are not what we would like them to be. If these two were perfect, if there weren’t deep flaws to overcome, they would have gotten together a long time ago and the show wouldn’t have been nearly as engrossing as it is-merely a “Remington Steele” or “Hart to Hart” with a lot more blood. Ultimately though, Booth and Brennan complement each other perfectly, flaws and all, and neither would make such a memorable impression without the other. They challenge each other and make each other grow in ways no one else has managed to achieve. To me, disliking one of them for a prolonged period of time is disliking the essence of the show while ignoring all that has happened in the preceding 5 seasons.

    On to Booth; he’s obviously hurt and I can’t say I blame him for that even if Brennan’s rejection was meant to protect him. He’s finding solace the best way he can; he doesn’t know, like viewers do, that Brennan may have had a change of heart while she was away. In fact, he seems surprised that she’s willing to go back to work with him. She left him and he doesn’t know if he can really trust her to be there for him in the long run, even professionally. Keeping his distance seems sensible enough in that light. He’s not psychic and he does have some amount of pride left; the hanging on experience he lived at the end to the 5th season was not pretty to watch and more importantly had no obvious effect on Brennan rethinking her decision to reject him (witness her continuing dates with Hacker after the 100th). To see all that pining and hurt repeated in the 6th would have painful and not true to his character-he’s inherently a strong, if insecure, person, not a wallower. Wouldn’t every advice columnist in the world tell him to move on, that hanging on to someone who doesn’t want you is a very unattractive quality? Are there really many women out there who have eventually said yes to a guy they turned down simply because the guy stuck around and turned into a doormat? Of course, had he done that, I guess people would now be faulting Brennan for being mean and cold instead.

    As far as Brennan is concerned, I’m convinced she needs to see Booth in a serious relationship to appreciate his qualities as a romantic partner and not just as a friend. Added to which, without the emotional distance he has imposed for self-preservation, the sense of loss she seems to be on the verge of experiencing would neither be acute nor revealing. So I ask for a little indulgence as far as our two main characters go; the road may be winding, long and bumpy, but hopefully they’ll both get to the same place at the same time-a little less imperfect and a lot more happy than they were when they first started out.

  13. I am not blaming Booth for abandoning Brennan. The motivations there are clear. His reasoning there is understandable.
    What is disappointing in Booth this season 6 is just how he’s using Hannah to lick his wounded ego.
    That’s not love, that’s need. He’s committing to a woman while he still has feelings for another. He’s also not been honest with Hannah regarding Brennan.
    That’s what is disappointing in Booth this season. His dishonesty with Hannah.

    We can cut the guy some slack but still, how many of you would like to find a guy that tells you he’s in love with you, while is hiding the important feeling he’s sharing with his working partner. I would feel betrayed, once I found out.

    So, as much as I feel Brennan’s pain, I also believe it comes directly from her actions and decisions. Also Booth shares his responsibility.

    The only innocent collateral damage here is Hannah. And the way Booth is with her, makes him a cheater.
    Hannah is still a stranger to me, so I may not even care she will suffer. But I care about Booth enough to want to see his integrity back as soon as possible. Right now I don’t like what I see.

    • I totally get what you are saying about Hannah being the collateral damage. That is a sad thing – especially if she grows on us like HH & Co. hope/say she will.
      But I will say that I don’t think Booth feels that he is using Hannah or even being dishonest with her. WE know what is going on because we see the big picture, but in his head, he’s feeling some happiness with her. Hannah’s an adult and clearly has her own mind. She’ll be alright. 🙂

    • But have you never been in a situation where you you simply *wanted* a relationship to work? Where you *wanted* to believe that it could be love and enough just because you needed some sanity in your life? I really think Booth is trying to believe that, convincing himself that he has moved on. He doesn’t use Hannah, at least not consciously. And Hannah is a strong woman, not a consolation prize. I think that she could be the one ending this relationship – as soon as she realizes how much Booth and Brennan mean to each other.

      • Kind of reiterating what Ann is saying, haven’t you ever loved/liked a guy and then when it didn’t work out you moved on, thinking you were over it. And then when it comes down to it you realize you’re still on over it. I think that’s kind of how Booth is at this point. He thinks he’s pretty much over it because he has Hannah, but soon he’ll realize that it’s not true. Which is when either Hannah or Booth ends it.

    • I have to agree with Janet on this one – Booth doesn’t think he’s using Hannah. I think he believes he loves her. I don’t think it’s the same as the love he felt (feels) for Brennan but he is genuinely trying to move on. He believes that he has no chance with Brennan. It’s not like he asked Hannah to come back with him to make Brennan jealous/show her what she was missing/prove he’s moved on etc. etc. She came of her own accord. Whilst, as viewers, we assume Brennan is going to realise what she’s missing, Booth doesn’t.

      Maybe he should have been honest with Hannah about how he felt about Brennan, but that might make things awkward now they are working together again, and I can understand why he hasn’t – it’s not like they ever actually were in a relationship, so all he’d feel like he was admitting is an embarrassing story of unrequited love – which he may feel would come across as a little pathetic – and I doubt Booth would want anyone to have that opinion of him, least of all, Hannah.

      • I just found this website and am reading old posts, but I had to respond. I totally agree with you. But, I also just realized the extent of Booth’s witholding of information from Hannah. I can see how he wouldn’t want Hannah to have a poor opionion of him, but in the 100th episode, he disclosed his gambling addiction to Bones before they even kissed because he felt their relationship was going somewhere. That just makes me smile-really big!

  14. Great post Stephanie and excellent comments by all — reading them all made me realize 2 things:

    1. “And no matter what he says about the virtues of moving on, I think that protective spark, although mostly hidden for the moment, still burns pretty brightly. ”

    Yes! I didn’t really understand that exchange until you mentioned it. She told him not to be a hero. He was. He felt bad about breaking his promise to her so he tried to dismiss it. It had nothing to do with Hannah.

    2. Brennan needs to sort out her perceptions of love and abandonment. And while I personally don’t love Hannah as much as Hart told me I would, I think this is an excellent opportunity. Booth has moved on romantically, and Brennan has decided to continue being his partner and friend. She’s hiding her true feelings for his benefit and I think that once it clicks for her, the lengths that she’s going to to keep him happy, she’ll understand love. So, just when she realizes that his friendship is enough is when she’ll be ready for his love in return.

    I think it’s going to be an obvious change and that all those around her (except Booth) will notice — including Hannah. But I also think that Booth will subconsciously demonstrate his affection for Brennan — much like he did while he, Hannah and Brennan were at lunch — and that Hannah will put two and two together. At that point, I don’t know what will happen but I’m sure we’ll eventually get our ship wish and B&B will be together. Can’t wait to see how it plays out.

    • “Yes! I didn’t really understand that exchange until you mentioned it. She told him not to be a hero.”

      I have to say I’m not sure if I agree with that. My interpretation: Booth saved Hannah’s life. He has saved Brennan’s life as well. To me it felt as if she was comparing herself to Hannah here. Just remember her first reaction when Booth told her that he had arrested Hannah. Brennan had to point out that Booth had arrested her, too.
      Couldn’t she just look at him because she is identifying herself with Hannah somehow? And could he not look at her because he sees the similarity as well? That he has protected Hannah like he always did protect Brennan?

      • In this scene, I think it was mostly that Brennan just knew that this was “Booth all over”. I suspect she saw right through Booth’s glossing of his role in Afghanistan when they talked about it in the premiere (she’s pretty smart after all, and knows Booth) and that also she could understand Hannah’s attraction to Booth in the same way the Brennan clearly is attracted to Booth’s protective nature.

        I found that scene, in particular the exchange of looks between Booth and Brennan, to be the most moving, in terms of their relationship, of the whole episode. It was a rare moment in these first 2 eps that really reflected each character and their relationship with each other. It was an understanding and knowing each other kind of look.

  15. Can I just say first of all that this is an AMAZING (with capital letters) analysis!! If I was your psychology professor I’d give you an A+!!

    Now for what I think. 🙂 I think Booth is not to be blamed. His decision to move on wasn’t an easy one. What was he supposed to do?!? As you said, he didn’t know that Brennan needed perspective and from his point of view what she did seemed rather harsh. When I heard how Hannah and Booth met in “Couple in the Cave” I almost choked! I think the whole situation really appealed to Booth’s “save the world” side (like you said!!). As carefree and happy-in-love Booth is feeling right now, I don’t think he’s “alright” underneath all of that. I sort of see Hannah as a “band-aid” for Booth. It covers up the wounds, but it doesn’t actually heal it. Having said that, I am VERY VERY eager to see what happens when the “band aid” comes off. I am also eager about seeing the moment the truth kind of hits Brennan in the face…probably will be the most enlightening moment EVER! To be honest, I am not actually very concerned about Hannah. The way Booth and Hannah seem to really go at each other doesn’t feel very genuine. With Booth and Hannah, I don’t really feel a deeper connection. With Booth and Brennan, they connect in ways that can’t even be explained.

    In summary, Booth halo is still as bright as ever but it’s being covered by a bit of cloud (although it’s not his fault for that). Brennan has a real shot at healing herself emotionally and, as Avalon said, a good chance at either being very miserable or very happy for the rest of her life! This season is THE season!! I can feel it in my bones!! 🙂 🙂

    Thanks so much for this!! A very enjoyable read indeed!! 🙂 🙂

  16. @Ales2004: I disagree. I think he’s legitimately trying to move on. He may still love Brennan but he’s putting those feelings away to focus on being true to Hannah. It might be terribly and tragically romantic but I’d never expect him to hang on forever if he truly thought there was no chance. And about him not telling Hannah about their history, well, it’s because they didn’t really have a history from his perspective. He pined away for her but she never really gave any indication that she reciprocated and then she turned him down. That’s not a history, just a swing and a miss. I think that he truly believes that his partnership with Brennan isn’t a threat to his relationship with Hannah because Brennan (supposedly) didn’t share his feelings. Now, we all know she does but he has no idea. Remember, we have a different perspective because we’re watching from the outside…

  17. After reading what everyone has written thus far, I can only think one thing (and workaholic888 brings it up). When these two finally figure things out, it really will be the most enlightening and uplifting event ever. I’m in it for the long haul, and I’m exceptionally glad we have awesome bloggers to help us navigate nagging questions and make sense of it all. Gives even more meaning and depth to the show and the viewing experience 🙂

  18. Actually, I always understood just how hurt Booth is. In fact, the advice he gives to Sweets about moving on from Daisy is nothing but a reflection of his own feelings; he is clearly protecting himself from further emotional distress.

  19. Stephanie, AMAZING!! I agree with what you have said.

    Its hard to not be some emotionally invested in characters that you have grown to love. I’m not mad at Booth because he moved on, but I am a little sad that he did everything he said he wasn’t going to do, even if it was unintentionally. I don’t think that he intended on meeting Hannah, and I don’t think he meant to fall for her (even if I do think that she is a rebound, but I digress). I think that the feelings he has for Brennan are still there, but Hannah being around complicates things even further. He will always love Brennan, that is evident. But Brennan pushing him away, for the seven months she was in Maluku forced him to come to terms with their relationship.

    I think exposing Brennan’s weakness (Booth) is something that we have known but have never seen. There are examples that show that Brennan will do whatever she has to do for Booth. I think she thinks by letting him go, it will show her just how much she loves him. She wants him to be happy and for some odd reason, she thinks he will be happier without her in his life.

    So what remains to be seen is how Hannah will affect Booth & Brennan’s relationship. I don’t want Brennan to be the reason why Hannah & Booth’s relationship does not work. It has to be a combination of things, first of all Booth.

  20. Thank you so much for this insightful post!

    I don’t have much to add, other than that I agree with you, Stephanie, that Booth is being used by the writers to deal with Brennan’s abandonment issues, his reputation in fans’ eyes has been a bit too tarnished (as has Brennan, after the 100th, and to go back further, Angela after she and Hodgins broke up) and he should have not have gotten the halo in the first place. It may seem strange… but would the best way to sum this all up is to say that the characters are “human” — just as prone to mistakes as everyone else? If that’s the answer… then go writers! I’d rather have 3D than 2D characters any day(*tries to ignore “Boy in a Bush” Zack/Brennan quote about 3D vs 2D vs 1D*).

    I also think that there is one more scene of significance I think we all seem to have passed over with the Hannah drama. It’s a scene relating to that idea of abandonment — in the middle of “The Mastodon in the Room,” Brennan and Booth had that conversation in the car about who decided to leave first. It sounds like they both thought the other had decided to leave before they decided to leave. There’s a problem right there — they both have some serious assumptions about what the other is thinking, and this is a problem that they have to solve. We notice Brennan’s problem with this more, with her decision not to tell him about why she needed to leave (the perspective on her relationship with him reason), but Booth is just as guilty of it (100th episode). It’s a human problem that runs rampant on Bones (Angela and Hodgins? Sweets?). I guess for the characters and the show’s fans (definitely including me), it’s a perspective problem (not just needing to get it (the trips), but having an erroneous perspective). Maybe Brennan’s rant at Clark might be saying a bit more than what it was saying on the outside — she was asking him to embrace another perspective due to the fact that he was operating on a false one (hers)… so maybe there’s a message about finding a new perspective (eyes and brain from MitR?)? Maybe I’m reading too much into things and I’m up way past when I should be? Can’t wait to see how this “perspective problem” ties in with everything else.

  21. Love your post Steph, and reading everyone’s comments! I have another episode to add to my thought about my response, as I’m just catching up here.

    Booth was never a saint (although he did seem kind of close, lol) and although emotionally I am not happy with him, I don’t hate or blame him! Hannah to me is a typical rebound relationship – where Booth is trying so hard to care for someone he is just going overboard.

    The speed of the relationship advancement is what bothers me – I don’t like seeing it, and I don’t like that Booth has made himself so closed off to Brennan – I get it, but don’t like it. I don’t care about Hannah, so she is just the plot device to me – she is fun and easy for Booth, but I don’t see the depth that we see with every other woman on the show (even Daisy, lol). I get that Booth needs to try with someone, just take a breath, slow down, and don’t act so impulsively (fig trees, move in with me). He’s being made to sound like a randy teenager in the sex scenes.

  22. Pingback: Into the Looking Glass: How Angela & Hodgins’ Relationship Mirrors Booth & Brennan’s « Bones Theory

  23. I love this post, for one thing, because it was very brave to write at the time, and still is! I still haven’t re-watched these season six episodes, so re-reading all of this brought back a lot of memories. What I can’t quite get past is this idea of her never communicating once with him (Maluku). I need to know more. BONES has sort of ruined me in this way; I feel like it made me smarter, more demanding for ALL of the facts, so when it holds out on me, I get frustrated. 🙂

  24. Booth never abandonned Brennan – yu all have given the reasons above so won’t repeat.

    @Ales2004 – I think the Hannah being ‘collateral damage’ has merit. It sure explains a lot to me about what happens later in season 6. Booth hates collateral damage – Broadsky explained that – but Booth found himself in a situation where he had to fall back on that and it must have hurt badly to have to resort to that.

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