Bones Theory

Morning After Q: What IS the Truth of Brennan?


Hey! It’s early Friday morning…very early. It might not even be Friday where you live, but I wanted to open this question up for discussion. This post could also be called, “How is Emily Deschanel so amazing?” but…I am afraid that might be a losing battle. You see, it’s possible that ED may never win an Emmy for her performance of Dr. Temperance Brennan. This pains me, but the sting is soothed by the knowledge that we can proclaim her greatness here!

Along those lines, I think that after last night’s ep, I find I’m even more curious about the character development of Brennan. Is that even possible, you might ask? After all…I do already talk about Brennan quite a bit. I can’t help it! She’s very fascinating to me.

Though her loneliness in past S6 eps has made me cry, her gung-ho approach to the science cheer and her seeking out Booth’s approval and returning his thumbs-up also did. I think she’s learning about more than just romantic love; it’s friendship (like with Angela), welcoming those different from her into the lab (Dude), stepping outside her comfort zone (going on the show), and considering a legacy she has to offer (girls everywhere will begin to dream big!).

So, please answer me this: (and forgive the somewhat awkward phrasing), but…what exactly IS the truth of Brennan. In other words…what does Booth know of her, and what is he dazzled by? What do WE know of her? What are WE dazzled by (that maybe she hasn’t allowed Booth to see?) And…does she have to KNOW what it is before she can accept that Booth sees it? What was it that made Booth know? And what is it about her that sort of keeps him devoted to her? Is it just the thrill of the chase? Or is it more?

I know you’re going to rock the comments and discussion and analysis on this one, and to that, I say:

pic provided by pal @anitaparrilla

Peace, Love & Bones,



20 thoughts on “Morning After Q: What IS the Truth of Brennan?

  1. i think the truth about Brennan is she’s not like everybody else. She’s unique,Fascinating,Naive sometimes and more important she don’t speak half truth. She is what we seeing and that’s why this fantastic woman dazzled Booth and us too.

    • I totally agree! I think she is naive sometimes, but always honest and true. I think that is so right on, “she is what we see”, and Booth sees that too and likes that about her.

  2. I think we could write long essays and poems and blog posts and fanfics to answer your question a thousand different ways. But there’s a line you wrote that goes straight to the heart of what I think you really want to know (maybe): “And…does she have to KNOW what it is before she can accept that Booth sees it?”

    And the answer is Yes. The 1,000 things that make TB awesome and amazing and someone we all admire and the perfect fit in this world for Booth are the things she needs to realize and accept and love about herself.

    The saying goes; you must love yourself before you can give your heart to another. A. Brennan would say it will kill you to remove your heart and give it to someone else. But, if you can get her on board with the metaphorical nature of the philosophy, Brennan loves everyone, and is only starting to accept that people love her back (I love you too, Hodgins… [BitE]; but you love me *Angela* [BitB]).

    But where she’s ready to make that step, to love herself enough to believe she’s worthy of love, Booth has stumbled in his attempt to prove he loves her. When you ask?

    1. I love you… ya know, in an atta girl sorta way.
    2. Let’s give this thing a try.
    3. I’m that guy, who knew right from the start
    3.5. (20 seconds later) well, I gotta start dating, if you don’t want to jeopardize everything we have after me telling you for five years that we shouldn’t.

    Damn Booth, sending her all these mixed signals.

    I think the magic that is Brennan this season is that she’s letting people love her. Whether it was Daisy, or Hannah, or the guidos on the beach, or the Bounty Hunter and Dude in tonight’s episode, she’s becoming more sympathetic and empathetic and all these other things that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that she’s as open-hearted as we’ve known she was from the moment she was first to grab a rose and laid it across Cleo Eller’s grave, or sympathize with the ambassador who asked her to keep searching for answers about her son, or with the foster kids who just wanted to go back to their mother… we’ve seen it this whole time. Booth grew to see it and love it, and ran from it… and he forgot that part of his burden in life is to remind her of that. He was so crushed, he forgot to be Booth.

    But the truth of Brennan… she has no secrets. She may speak a slightly altered version of her truth, one that attempts to protect her from pain, but she wears her truth on her sleeve. We see it all the time, having the benefit of watching through a pointed lense. Booth, Angela, Hodgins, Sweets… they all see it too. They all get it. And getting her to accept who she is outloud… that’s the struggle. And Booth, finally getting frustrated enough to give up on her (even if it’s— hopefully— temporarily?)

    “When you love someone, you open yourself up to suffering. That’s the sad truth. Maybe they’ll break your heart, maybe you’ll break their heart and never be able to look at yourself in the same way. Those are the risks. The thought of losing so much control over personal happiness is unbearable. That’s the burden.”

    The truth of Brennan is that she understands the truth, is smart enough to weigh the risks, and for six years, as begun to bear the burdens. She’ll get all the way there… I have faith.

    • Wow! This is amazing. I totally agree with you. I really couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • Essays, check, poems, check, blogposts check, fanfic…check, haha. Yes, I’ve done all of them, and yet was NEVER able to come up with this phrase… “But the truth of Brennan… she has no secrets. She may speak a slightly altered version of her truth, one that attempts to protect her from pain, but she wears her truth on her sleeve” YES! Awesome!

    • could not have said it better myself. I concur!

    • Perfectly put.

      I think this season, we are really seeing her let her guards down in some ways, letting people “in”. And we are also seeing how hurt she is…and how she is trying not to show it by being very “serious” again. KWIM?

  3. Well, Jenlovesbones pretty much summed it all up. Brennan is learning to show love. I believe she’s always had it inside but she’s finally beginning to show it.
    I really just wanted to say that I ABSOLUTELY loved the end of this episode with Dr. Bunsen Jude, the Science Dude. I loved Brennan being in that dorky costume. I loved the look and thumbs up shared between Brennan and Booth, almost like old times. And I loved how Hodgins was so excited over it. I think this was a great way to show how Brennan is becoming more open about her emotions.

    • I totally agree with you, that the writers were really smart to use ‘science’ as a way to become more open about her emotions. It would not make sense at all for her to have talked about a child-like (not childish) love for anything else. I’m so glad you loved it as well!

  4. I believe that what Booth loves about Brennan is her purity of spirit, even if she herself would deny she has a spirit. Her soul, her essence is essentially untouched by the desires and weaknesses that most others have and, besides her feelings for Booth, when she does have a weakness she is the first to admit it. He also loves her passion; sure, others see her love of rationality and science, but he sees her more basic passion for justice and fairness. He sees these things in her every day, is dazzled by them; he is drawn to her “inner light” as a moth to a flame.

    It’s the reason she is drawn to him as well; although he would describe himself as deeply flawed, he too is pure in spirit-a fact she recognizes even though she may not fully understand it. They are essentially soulmates-making up for each other’s weaknesses with their own strenghts. Now if they could only get their carnal selves together, already!

  5. I think much of the “truth of Brennan” has already been well stated, but I do want to add just one more thing to the list and that is this: the truth Booth is dazzled by is at least partly related to what Avalon said to Brennan at the end of Harbingers in a Fountain. “The cards say only your top layer is rational. Underneath, you’re as crazy as I am!”

    Yes, Booth loves everything about Brennan’s awkward, brilliant, yet sometimes hard to love “outer” layer. But he’s also been lucky enough to see a side of Brennan that few people get to see. It’s a small spark, really, but it represents who she might have become if life hadn’t gotten in the way – the uninhibited, free-spirited woman that comes out to play every time they go undercover (i.e. when she doesn’t have to be herself). Having seen that side of her, how can he NOT be completely captivated?

    • I agree with you completely.

      I have seen over and over again on the show is the characters’ confusion about Brennan’s “outside” and “inside.” She is that very rational person on the outside, but we’ve seen bits of her inside, and have seen that she has a very emotional, caring part of her as well. When my Mom saw Baby in the Bough for the first time, she exclaimed “oh, she has compassion!” It’s a side that we don’t get to see much, and I think Booth really respects and likes that side. I think Angela has seen it too. I guess that’s what I love about Brennan, too. ED gives Brennan that subtle vulnerability so you know that she cares, she’s just trying to hide it as much as possible. Once she gets beyond the mixed messages (anyone else noticed that people keep on telling her she should be this way or that way when she already is?), and realizes that essence in herself, I think that’s when her Truth will shine out.

  6. I agree with what everybody has said! Great post and great comments! 🙂

  7. Wow! There are some pretty fantastic responses to the question already…so I won’t bore you with reiterating these very valid comments in my own 0.02.

    I just want to focus on something that @Jenlovesbones touched upon…Booth sending all those mixed messages. Perhaps not, if he were communicating them to a woman less literal, i.e., Not Temperance Brennan.

    The man is an excellent non-verbal communicator, case in point: ‘eye-sex’ – but he’s drawn this line, that means unless he can express himself physically, Brennan simply isn’t going to ‘get’ the take-home message. When he does ‘express’ his feelings physically with a woman *ahem, WHF*, the ‘poor’ lady in receipt of said ‘expression’ generally spends a lot of time horizonal. Not everyone is ‘down with that’, but all things considered, you can hardly blame a gal! (Can you tell I’m having difficulty keeping this reply PG?)

    Booth’s own self-imposed restrictions are hobnailing him, hampering his own ability to express himself. His ‘words’, even when combined with charm, guy hugs and the occasional token plastic figurune, are not enough to get through to convince Brennan, the empiricist, from his very metaphysical standpoint. Brennan is trained and constrained by her approach, removing the metaphysical to deduce the truth…and when the metaphysical is removed? Yup! A mixed message.

    I agree that Brennan’s character is growing, and this is both her truth and her quest to find the truth (& I also agree that Emily D is simply “A-mazing!” *drinks shot of tequila*). The beauty that I see in the portrayal of this story is the multifaceted, three-dimensional juxtapositioning of heart and brain, gut and grey matter, empiricism and metaphysics, cooked fruit and uncooked fruit, logic and intuition, hard and soft science, rationality and irrationality, the ephemeral and the enduring, trusting in chance versus trusting in evidence…all wrapped up in a man and a woman.

    Goodness, I do go on! Thanks for posting this Sarah 😀

  8. I have to add to the mixed messages comment — Brennan has been inundated with mixed messages from Booth, a lot, about who she should be, or who she is, not just about things like love, and I think it’s confusing her idea of her own truth. For example, Brennan is always being told she’s horrible with kids, yet she’s the only one that gets a confession out of Sean/Shawn(?) in Boy in a Bush, and got down on Parker’s level in Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and figured out what was going on. Now, she did upset the Woodchucks, but during that whole scene, I was wondering where their adult was, because I don’t know about you guys, but my GS troop leader would NEVER let us do that. In the Body in the Bounty, Brennan tells Booth that she would scare the kids, and that “people should stick to their strengths.” This REALLY bothered me. “You’re not good with people” “You’re not good with kids” “You should be feeling something” — all of these are not positive messages, especially to someone so literal. They’re all saying “this is wrong with you” to a literal mind. It’s the one major problem I’ve had with Bones, especially with Booth, and recently with Cam and Angela.

    The truth of Brennan has been out there the whole time, as everyone has said, but what we have been seeing is being masked by another layer — not just that rationality, but what other people have imposed on her. If she can’t put a label on what she’s feeling (and we know she can’t at times), how in the world is she going to communicate with her friends/family if some emotional wreaking ball comes through, especially when they don’t listen? Think about the anxiety conversation in The Dentist in the Ditch. Brennan is genuinely confused and anxious, and Booth just passes it off. Everyone is going to impose what she should be doing, or thinking (Couple in the Cave, anyone?), and the poor woman’s going to self-destruct (or escape to Indonesia). It’s like Brennan’s truth is out there, but nobody can see it, or accept it, which is so utterly heartbreaking.

    • I agree with most of what you said. I think that the song in Ep 2, Everyday, captured a lot of how she probably feels. Brennan has a lot of wonderful and very real characteristics that make her one of the best female characters on television. The one thing I find so enchanting about her is her strength. No matter what goes on in her life – the tragedies, the pain, the difficulty with social cues, the struggle to understand relationships, she has never, ever faltered. She keeps going, and keeps moving forward. People underestimate her, really, despite all of the accolades she gets professionally. I think her strength lies not so much on her intellect, but in her heart. Loyalty, compassion, fortitude, integrity and even though she doubts it, her capacity to love, as well as her intelligence, are what makes her who she is. I think that Booth has seen it, and that is why he loves her. She needs to see it, too, for her to believe that she is more than able to, and certainly deserves to be, loved.

  9. I agree with the above, but would add this other point. Both Booth and Bones are warriors. If he has a lion heart, she is his lioness. She meets the problems within and without with courage. Think of all the scenes where someone tells her she is wrong about something– Sweets telling her that she has to let Booth be the teacher, as an example, and although she may disagree, she nevertheless, finds the courage to put her own inclinations aside. So she asks Booth to teach her about plumbing, she writes Angela a check to save a piglet, and she gets dressed up in a silly outfit for a children’s show that she was initally opposed to. But she does it for Booth and she does it for Angela, and also to keep her word to the science dude. And she does it wholeheartedly, without half measures. Her sense of honor dazzels Booth for it is a trait that he shares and holds dear. On the other hand, two people often marry because they see in each other a missing part of themselves. Bones sees Booth’s open heart and joy that Booth exudes (Remember, her parents first named her Joy) and which she somehow lost along the way. Booth yearns for her steadiness and commitment, something only his grandfather has given to him. And Booth knows that he can be the man he wants to be with Bones. He can be the type of man he wants to be with her, the white knight who helps her rediscover joy (along with cherry pie) which reasserts his own worth.

  10. So, I had been mulling this one over in the back of my head for the past week and finally thought about one of the truths about Brennan that dazzles.

    It is absolutely all of the things that have been discussed by everyone here and the truth of Brennan is the conglomeration of all of these things.

    I was thinking, also, about the idea that Brennan’s heart loves without reservation when it comes right down to it. She does not always recognize that her heart does this – and unfortunately, others do not always recognize this, either, but examples have always been given about Brennan and how she defends and takes care of children (foster or otherwise) without a second thought. In spite of her lack of professional respect for Sweets it was indeed Brennan, as pointed out in one of Sarah’s previous posts, who immediately accepted GG’s suggestion of allowing Sweets into their “family”. And though tact does not always govern it, Brennan’s belief in the truth really is her heart loving others because of her own belief that the truth should always win out.

  11. I think that what draws Booth to her has nothing to do with the thrill of the chase.

    I look back at Season 1 where they were barely friends yet and it seemed more often then not she irritated him.

    Yet, he could see that no matter what she only sought the truth, to be precise and find the answers no matter what they might be. Every body in her lab was treated with as much dignity as the process allowed and she reminded everyone that this was a person. Someone who once had a family that cared about them.

    He could see inside that protective and somewhat akward outer shell was a big heart. And for whatever reason he was drawn to it.

    In ” Woman in the Garden” this was still Season 1 and they were still learning to be partners but when he learned that the gang leader put a hit out on Bones he wasted no time taking care of that little problem.

    He had to miss the funeral for it which he knew would put him in the doghouse with her but her life was worth a lot more to him so that he was willing to risk her displeasure without ever telling her why.

    This is who they are . Why is anyone ever drawn to another person, especially when it would seem to make no sense as they are so different? It’s one of the great mysteries of life but there it is and we will continue watching this love story unfold.

  12. Oh, maaaaaan.

    I was so excited when I made it to this post. As I read it, I immediately started making a mental list of all the wonderful fabulous awesome things about Brennan that Booth sees, that we see, that everyone she allows close to her sees . . . and then I read all these great comments and you’ve all already said everything.

    So, um . . . ditto. I’ll just go with that.

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