Bones Theory

But What if He Knew?

26 Comments

By Stephanie

Hey there BonesTheory friends! Are you as impatient for the MLB break to be over as I am so we can start watching (and discussing) new BONES episodes again?  I thought so. To help pass the time, let’s dive back into the brain of one Special Agent Seeley Booth and look at the flip side of an issue that has been hotly debated since…well, since it happened. We’ve all heard the argument that if Booth had only read Brennan correctly in the 100th episode, if he had understood her conflict, he would have never made the decision to move on. Well, what if that wasn’t the case? What if Booth actually read Brennan perfectly? And if he did, what does that say about our favorite forensic anthropologist and her devoted FBI partner? I thought you’d never ask! So fasten your safety belts and hang on to your FBI standard issue body armor (you’re probably going to need it where we’re going) as we head back to the 100th episode and the moment that changed the course of Booth and Brennan’s lives forever…

“I’m that guy. Bones, I’m that guy. I know.”

“I’m a scientist…I can’t change.”

“Can we still work together?”

“Yeah…But I’ve gotta move on.”

Let’s be honest here folks – how many of us have watched this scene so many times we could quote it in our sleep? Analyzed every word and probed every facial expression until we think our heads are going to explode? (Guilty as charged). How many of us have discovered that after all that brain-numbing thought, we still don’t understand? We don’t understand how Brennan, who in our way of thinking has been in love with Booth forever (whether she realizes it or not), could say no. Or how Booth, who knows how Brennan’s mind operates better than anyone, who knows that it takes her time to adjust to an idea before she can learn to adapt to it, could give up on her so quickly. And most of all, we don’t understand how a scene that started with such sweet promise could end in such complete heartbreak. As our favorite FBI psychologist, Dr. Sweets, once said, “What happened between you two?” Well, let’s see if we can figure that out.  

 In a recent blog post, Sarah (Seels) characterized Booth as, “desperate to love and be loved” (“Hannah:  Why I’m Nervous; Why I Shouldn’t Be,” 10/7/10), and I agree with her assessment completely. And yet, it’s not enough that he be loved by just anyone, is it? It has to be Brennan. We’ve watched his feelings for her build season after season, always kept carefully under wraps (perhaps as much for his protection as for hers), until the strange magic of a shared experience (the coma dream) brought those feelings rushing to the surface, where they bubbled with a growing intensity until the day Sweets issued a challenge Booth just couldn’t refuse. This is the point at which we start looking for someone to blame for what went wrong. I mean, if Sweets had just kept his mouth shut that night in his office, Booth would never have gambled, right? But what if Sweets had kept his mouth shut? Would it have changed anything? If the events of the previous five years were any indication, I don’t think so. Either Booth already realized that Brennan needed time and was patiently waiting for her to decide on her own that she wanted to pursue a real relationship with him (if or when that ever happened) or he simply lacked the courage to upset the apple cart.

And then, of course, there’s the issue of Booth’s apparent inability to read Brennan correctly. Booth told Gordon Wyatt in The Dwarf in the Dirt that Brennan couldn’t be in love with him because he would have known if she was, leaving us to assume that he was either suffering lingering effects from his brain surgery (despite what GW told Sweets earlier in the episode) or he had a mastodon-sized blind spot where her feelings for him were concerned. Only, what if that wasn’t the case? What if Booth actually understood Brennan’s conflict perfectly and made the decision to move on because of it?  

I’ve thought a lot about what might have been going through Brennan’s mind that night, and I believe what we saw on her face was the struggle between her brain and her heart. At times it seems like the relationship between Booth and Brennan is merely an onscreen depiction of Brennan’s internal battles between brain (herself) and heart (Booth) – and this scene is a perfect example. Brennan knows intellectually that she and Booth are not compatible. But she also knows, in her heart, that she has feelings for him – in fact, I think she’s known for awhile. Whether she would classify those feelings as love is immaterial, it’s enough that she knows. Why? Because knowing creates a conflict between her brain and her heartand Brennan’s brain is so dominant that she will choose brain over heart almost every time. And that’s what she did that night. In the face of what seemed like insurmountable odds, she took the familiar road. And really, who can blame her? It wasn’t without pain – for either one of them, …but in her way of thinking, it was her only choice (and I don’t think she ever had any intention of changing her mind).

We all know that Booth knows Brennan better than anyone and is acutely aware of just how dominant her brain is over her heart. Therefore, it makes perfect sense (in my opinion at least) that if he knew she was aware of her feelings for him in some capacity and still chose to not pursue a relationship with him that he would have been justified in believing she would never change her mind, regardless of any progress she might have made up to that point or how much time he gave her to change. Why does it matter at all? Because Booth knows only too well that given the right situation, Brennan will choose heart as she did during her father’s trial in The Verdict in the Story.  That she couldn’t do the same for him, no matter the reason, must have devastated him. 

If Booth hadn’t seen any sign of conflict in Brennan that night or had reason to believe she was unaware of her feelings for him, I could see the logic in him continuing to have “hope” and “patience” as Gordon Wyatt counseled. But she knew. She knew enough to make the decision difficult (for herself) and I now believe he saw that and he read the finality in it. He essentially gambled everything on that one moment…and he lost. We, as the viewer, know that can’t be the end of the story, but there’s no way he could have known, no matter how well he knew her, and to saddle him with that burden is perhaps a bit unfair.

It’s interesting how many times I’ve seen it mentioned since the start of season six that Booth is still not reading Brennan very well. I’m inclined to think, however, that it’s not his ability to read her that’s changed, but rather his response to her. We discussed in my last blog entry (“A Walk on the Dark Side:  Examining the Logic in Booth’s ‘Abandonment’ of Brennan,” 10/6/10) how the events of the 100th episode, Brennan’s decision to join the Maluku dig, and her subsequent lack of communication with Booth during their seven-month separation, likely led to a great deal of bitterness and resentment on his part. It makes sense, therefore, that his lack of response to her pain in the first couple episodes of season six is merely a result of his bitterness towards her, a defense mechanism if you will, and not due to any inability to discern her feelings. We want to believe that he’s blind to her pain because it hurts too much to admit that he might see it and not care. But to make excuses for him essentially strips him of his humanity and that’s a far worse offense in my opinion.

Consider also, the progression in Booth’s response to Brennan between episodes two and three (of season six). Booth leaves Brennan sitting alone at the bar in the Founding Fathers at the end of The Couple in the Cave, seemingly without a second thought. But at the end of The Maggots in the Meathead, we see Booth torn between wanting to stay with Hannah and wanting to follow Brennan and make sure she’s okay. Remember the end of The Girl with the Curl where, in a scene that’s so electric it practically sizzles, Booth chooses to stay at the lab with Brennan rather than go home with Cam (his girlfriend at the time)? I think it’s only a matter of time before Booth is faced with that choice again. And just as he did then, I think Booth will, completely innocently, choose to stay with Brennan (whether it’s to finish paperwork over Thai food or returning to their old tradition of drinks at the Founding Fathers) rather than go home to Hannah. Why? Because she’s Brennan, that’s why.

You see, it’s not just Brennan’s walls that are cracking – Booth’s are too; and nowhere is that more evident than in The Body and the Bounty, where for the first time this season, we see them start to connect again. And as they connect, they begin to rediscover what it means to be partners (or as Sarah said, “everything”) – bickering about what makes the perfect murder, giving encouragement over lunch on a park bench, and being there, in the audience, with a thumbs up and a grin of support, as a fear is faced and found to not be so fearsome after all. It’s being all in. And friends, behind his walls, Booth is still very much all in. And it’s only a matter of time before those walls come crashing down completely. I can’t predict how or when that will happen, or even who will make the first move when it does. All I can recommend is a little bit of patience…and hope, of course.

So what do you think? Did Booth really know how Brennan felt about him in the 100th episode, or am I just seeing things? Are his walls starting to crack in response to the massive shifting he’s seeing in hers? Your comments are part of what make this blog awesome, so feel free to sound off below!

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26 thoughts on “But What if He Knew?

  1. I love this. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone over that scene in my head saying “He had to have known….He knows her better then that. He had to have known!” Now, while I refuse to watch this “D-Day” episode very often, I refuse to believe that Booth was able to let it go that easily. And, I think you’re right. I think that one day, he’ll have to choose between them, whether accidently or purposefully, and we all know who he will choose. Gah! I lvoe these kinds of posts. Very thought provoking!

    –@ToberLove

  2. Thank you so much for this post, it really put the whole thing in perspective for me and I agree with it.

    I think you’re right, he did know. There’s no way that he wouldn’t since he can read her like a book. I think the reason he said that back then to Gordon was also partly to protect himself, to keep up the walls that he’d been holding for years you know. I think it was more to convince himself of the fact once more than to convince Gordon.

    As for what you said about why he’s reacting the way he is now and kind of ignoring Brennan and all. I agree on the fact that it’s not that he’s misreading her but I think part of him knows that she needs some sort of shock therapy. Part of me agrees with you, that he thinks he deserves to move on and everything but maybe he’s also subconsiously lurking Brennan, showing her exactly what her decision caused.

    I’m sorry if I’m not making much sense, my thoughts on this subject are somewhat chaotic and difficult to vocalize.

    I really hope that this will in fact happen soon, that one way or the other he’ll pick Brennan over Hannah as he did with Cam all these years ago. He was close to doing so in “Maggots in the Meathead” but seems like he just needs one more push, lets all hope that he gets it soon!

  3. Hi! I really liked your analysis. And you may be right about the 100th episode. If he had chosen to confront her on that day, then she might just have run away forever. Also, I do think that Brennan knows she is in love with him but does not want that to affect her professional life as well. After all, it has always been said that 2 people romantically involved were not to work together…

  4. “Booth told Gordon Wyatt in The Dwarf in the Dirt that Brennan couldn’t be in love with him because he would have known if she was.”
    I have wondered about this line of Booth’s for a long time – and while I think I lean towards the popular opinion that Booth could simply be blinded by his own emotions when it comes to Brennan, what if what he really meant was that he would know if Brennan was ready to come to terms with her feelings for him? “You can’t rush her” he always says. Perhaps he knows that she might love him, but also realizes that her heart has not taken over. Thus leading me to this heartbreaking truth of Stephanie’s:

    “Because Booth knows only too well that given the right situation, Brennan will choose heart as she did during her father’s trial in The Verdict in the Story. That she couldn’t do the same for him, no matter the reason, must have devastated him.”

    This statement makes my heart hurt, because I think you’re right, Stephanie, and that your statement “I now believe he saw that and he read the finality in it” is dead on.

    Brennan says in that scene that tears my heart to shreds that she is a scientist, she can’t change, she doesn’t know HOW. You can see Booth processing that statement, reading her expression, and indeed seeing the “finality”. He pulls away and says “you’re right”.

    “And friends, behind his walls, Booth is still very much all in.”
    I agree with this 100%. Booth has never left his feelings behind, he has only done his very best to cover them up, perhaps bury them. When Booth and Brennan finally collide, it will be so very beautiful to see.

  5. Yes! This is it exactly! I’ve never been able to put my finger on why I didn’t like the way people were treating Booth nowadays, and this is what I was trying to say! Brennan clearly showed him that she had feelings for him. There were tears for God’s sake. It was clearly painful for her. But in spite of that, she still chose her brain over her heart, as you said. Booth saw the finality in that. She knows, but she’s still not choosing him. I can see exactly where he’s coming from. Off-kilter Booth of early season 6 and all.

  6. Oh, this post has got me doing some thinking(!) I think you’re right, he saw the conflict in her in the 100th ep, but to be controversial (kind of! ;)) I’m going to say that I really don’t think it’s the reason he’s moving on. Do I believe that he believes there’s no chance for them? That Brennan won’t change her mind? Yes. But I’m not really sure he thinks it’s because he knows she will always choose her brain over her heart. I don’t think he does give up on the idea of ‘them’ in the remaining eps of season 5… I think he’s still carrying that hope with him, they return to their status quo – mainly, and he’s clearly still in the same place as he ever was really (and how could he not be – seeing her every day?) and he doesn’t seem to be making a lot of effort to move on IMO (Ok, so there’s the thing with Catherine but nothing much happened there).

    What I do think, is that 7 months without any contact from the person you’re in love with will result in you thinking all sorts of things. As you wrote: “Brennan’s decision to join the Maluku dig, and her subsequent lack of communication with Booth during their seven-month separation, likely led to a great deal of bitterness and resentment on his part.” Whilst it’s not something I want to use to condone his behaviour now, I think in that time he has probably convinced himself that he was wrong about the way she feels about him. Isn’t it possible to think over something so much that you don’t really know what’s real anymore? You consider something from every possible angle, and end up doubting everything that happened? Especially when you are completely removed from the situation in question. So, I think he’s thought over and over their relationship and come to the conclusion that she doesn’t love him, because if she did? What she feels would be enough to overcome what she thinks. I think this fits with: “Because Booth knows only too well that given the right situation, Brennan will choose heart as she did during her father’s trial in The Verdict in the Story. That she couldn’t do the same for him, no matter the reason, must have devastated him. ” but I sort of see it as the reason he believes she doesn’t love him.

    Right now? I don’t really think that he does see Brennan’s pain. I think he’s now truly in a mind set where he believes she doesn’t want this – “them” – so why would he suppose that he was hurting her? Well, that and he has this “I’m with Hannah” mantra in his head preventing him from re-gaining any of his hope – for now. He put a lot on the line, and pining for Brennan again is not something he’s going to be in a hurry to do anytime soon – almost like a form of self-presevation, he doesn’t want to see that she’s hurting, because it’d cause him to hope, and having that sort of hope crushed again would be too painful.

    As for the question “what if Sweets had kept his mouth shut? Would it have changed anything?” I can’t help but feel that it would. I think the events at the end of the 100th start something in Brennan’s head – it forces her to face the feelings she has for Booth in a way that she’d never had to before (even if she was aware of them to some degree, they were something that could be largely ignored.) and I think it’s something she still hasn’t really got figured out yet, exactly what it is she feels for him, but I think she’s getting there – and that’s what’s exciting about this season.

    (Finally) “Remember the end of The Girl with the Curl where, in a scene that’s so electric it practically sizzles, Booth chooses to stay at the lab with Brennan rather than go home with Cam (his girlfriend at the time)? I think it’s only a matter of time before Booth is faced with that choice again.” Yes! I am dying to see a scene of this nature! I am also convinced that he will choose Brennan, but I guess I crave for that metaphorical confirmation of who he’d rather be with.

  7. Everyone has such great insight. I think anything I say will just be pretty repetitious. One thing I do want to point out is that Booth put himself out there. He laid it all on the line and got rejected. In order to avoid feeling that pain again, he had to brush it off (more like brush it under the rug). So I can’t blame him too much. Pain, whether emotional or physical, usually clouds most people’s judgment. Okay, that’s all.

  8. I love your analysis! I have nothing to add: you already said everything brilliantly. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing! 😀

  9. Very interesting read. I love it.

  10. I read this awesome entry this morning, but as I was watching Mayhem on a Cross again, I thought of something. When GG tells Sweets that one of them (B&B) “struggles with it daily”, I think that Sweets believes it’s Booth, and that’s to my thought why he puts pressure on him on the 100th episode. Assuming he was right, the moment for B&B was wrong. But assuming he was wrong, then what would have happened if Brennan had been the pressured one?? I think the outcome would have been different 🙂 Just a guess!

    Thanks for an awesome entry, once again!

  11. Very thought provoking as I knew it would be when you told me you were writing this…I am too exhausted tonight to say anything profound but as I rewatch episodes soon, I will definitely keep these thoughts in mind!

  12. I agree with what you said about how Booth has been treating Brennan of late… it isn’t really as if he doesn’t understand what she’s feeling anymore, he is just really annoyed at her (which i probably would be too, if it was anyone but Brennan tho)… however, although he was really quite harsh at the start of the season after the break, he’s getting better. I think he’s just getting used to her again. I think hannah is affecting his treatment of her as well since she seems so open to the idea of Brennan spending time with them. When hannah first arrived Booth was probably unsure how he should treat Brennan while around her, whether they should try to return to normal (if that is possible) or whether he should be a bit colder towards her, because he didn’t want hannah to pick up any vibe between them or anything like random strangers were able to beforehand. So he went with the cold option, which was easy,(cos he sortta hated her for just ignoring him as she did) until he saw the strained happiness she was showing after he showed her the picture of Hannah for the first time, and he thought, “oh no, her heart is finally winning”, but it was too late. so he tried to put it behind him. And then now, how Brennan is reacting to love etc, although we know Booth knows it is just a rouge, I think he is using it to justify his actions. But slowly, the wall is breaking. Also, since Hannah is SO excepting of Bones (compared to everyone else on their first meeting), he probably is unable to seperate himself from Brennan as much as he would like, because it would appear as abnormal behaviour, so the time they spend together just reminds him of the good old days, and makes it even more hard.

    Love the idea of Booth ditching Hannah for a meal and work with Brennan btw. Thankyou, very thought provoking post!! 😀

  13. I really enjoyed your viewpoint on this…I was never part of the group that was mad at Booth for saying he’d have to move on and for actually trying to do that. Whether the reason was to ‘save face’ or just to let Bren know that he wouldn’t continue to ‘wait’ for her…I understood why he needed to say it.

    Also, as much as it pains me to watch it, I believe Brennan needed to say no. She wasn’t ready.

    But now, that information is out there….and she’s had a long time to think about it….and I’ve just gotta believe that something major is going to happen to bring everything to a head again….and they will have both learned something since the last time…and they will both make the right decision….which is to be a couple, of course!

    (I almost said that they would make the decision ‘to be together’…but I think they already are ‘together’ in a way…so I switched it to ‘being a couple’…the distinction should probably be a discussion for another day 🙂 …)

  14. Alright… I’ve struggled with this article. I’ve thought about it since reading it. And my thoughts about it have bothered me enough to open a Word Document and spend sometime composing an answer.

    The logical side of me knows that this theory is a viable option. And this is where it belongs… a theory on the Bones Theory Blog.

    “We want to believe that he’s blind to her pain because it hurts too much to admit that he might see it and not care. But to make excuses for him essentially strips him of his humanity and that’s a far worse offense in my opinion.”

    If we take this as the truth, assume this theory to be correct, then I have a horrible wish, sure to doom the show.

    Get rid of Booth.

    Okay, not kill him off. Parker needs his Dad. And it wouldn’t be a logical progression for him to just disappear from her life suddenly (though creatively, I can see how that would be written).

    At the end of the day, this show is called “Bones.” The only thing that ties Booth distinctively to that title is that “Bones” is the nickname he gave Dr. Temperance Brennan, the show’s main character, but really, the show is about her being the bone lady who can tell stories from skeletons. The show is about Brennan. Without Brennan, there’d be no Bones, studied or nicknamed. Booth is actually, though I know many would vehemently disagree, just supplemental to the story, her story. And if he’s really stopped caring and their partnership is too taxing on his mental state, than I’d rather not have him involved in her life anymore.

    She could move on. Work with someone else who adds a new dynamic, and with the same squints who would do just about anything for her. She would struggle with what Booth taught her and how she adapts to a world without him. There’s story potential there.

    But if this theory is the theory we go with here, there’s no future for Booth and Brennan. I think, if he really knew what she was thinking and feeling, if his ego wasn’t the thing that caused him to shut down that night and stop pushing, stop fighting, then our favorite crime solving duo doesn’t have a future, as partners, friends or anything more.

    As many have said, something had to change. They couldn’t go on fighting crime as “just partners” without acknowledging this ‘thing’ between them. And now that that’s happened, and IF Booth really doesn’t care, his need to be present in the story for any reason (and watching him in bedroom scenes with Hannah is NOT a reason), is now relatively sensational… he’s just there to cause drama. I want to see the strong female character that Bones, the show, created continue on as the strong character she once was, and watch her grow in all the wonderful ways we’re seeing her grow. I don’t want to watch her sink into the depressing shadows of the life she didn’t know she wanted. That’s not what Brennan do, I believe, in my heart of hearts.

    However, the good news, from my perspective, is that I don’t believe this story is true. It’s literally like, on that night, when he said what he said and she said no… to PROTECT him as partners do… it was literally like he suffered from a stabbing or gunshot wound. Psychologically, I think he went into just a little bit of shock, not because she said no, and that was unexpected, but because her saying no meant he had just done something he can’t undo. His whole reaction from that point on, Booth was a little bit gone to us. And he’s further gone right now. He hasn’t healed, his wound hasn’t received the proper attention, and by God, he hasn’t tried to relive that night yet to see where it all went wrong.

    I don’t want Booth to disappear, leave the show or the story, because I am (Team Sweets/Wyatt… go vote already) the truest of the true ‘shippers in all the land, and as soul mates go, Booth and Brennan could not have been better written into a telling of how soul mates find one another. Their story gives me hope more often than not. Their love and trust of each other give me goals in my own life to strive toward. And the essence of who they are gives me faith in their inevitability.

    Brennan still doesn’t know what she wants, and for him to assume that what was said is all that could be said, that they have no chance beyond that fateful night on the steps outside of the Hoover, is based on false principles. Brennan still doesn’t know what she wants, and Booth asking her to “give them a shot” turned her entire belief system upside down. She didn’t come back from Maluku (apparently) with this sudden ‘knowing’ of what they are and can or should have. Because logical Temperance Brennan has been following his rules, his guidelines, his lines, as hard as she could. When Booth speaks, Brennan listens. And when Booth declares anything, she believes him. She can’t not take everything he says to her at face value. “I love you… in an atta-girl kind of way.” Of course she believes that’s what he feels. “There’s this line and we can’t cross it.” She respects him too much to ever argue otherwise. Her trust in him is absolute, and to know that he said those things out of fear, instead of whole-hearted truth, would, I believe, hurts her, in ways that hopefully the story will explore at some point. His main “lie” (though it’s not a lie) is already cracking their relationship. “I’m that guy, I knew.” To Brennan, obviously, he didn’t know, since he’s found someone knew to love and move on with. Which makes what he said, to her, on that night, a bold-face lie. But Brennan understands Booth in ways Booth doesn’t. He thinks ephemerally and believes forever is quantifiable time. So, of course he said such things in the heat of a moment. And coming back months later proving “I’m that guy, I knew” wrong, just supports her belief that she’s right, and he’s wrong.

    “You believe that love is transcendent and eternal. I want to believe that too.” And she does. But Booth has, for the moment, proved to her that it’s not. Because if it had, he would have come back alone. He’d still be waiting for her. He’d be listening to Wyatt’s advice for patience

    For the moment. Cause these crazy kids aren’t any where near done. Booth has time to make Brennan believe. But boy, I’ve the patience of Caroline Julian, and lord knows that’s not much. Brennan’s getting there. She’s figuring it out. And Booth… Booth’s got some fixing to do… and not just with Brennan, cause I feel like he owes me an apology too (but I’ll settle for him fixing things with Brennan). But at the same time, I believe in Booth, and I believe almost all of what he’s said. Including…

    “Everything happens eventually.”

    My final thought in this very, very long “comment” regards something I saw someone else discussing the other day, and I’ll summarize it as this:

    ~Most people consider Brennan to be the brains and Booth to be the heart of their partnership. But it’s a more complicated relationship than that. Booth gives Brennan’s brains a purpose, and Brennan is Booth’s heart.~

    Who Booth is now, and who is was before Brennan is just as vastly different as Brennan was before and now. They were, at best, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, who learned together that they have what they always thought they lacked. He doesn’t know, she doesn’t know. Together and sometimes separate, they’re still learning.

    • Thank you

      I agree 100% but could not put it into words as well as you did. I hope all this angst is worth it because it is killing me. If there is no hope for them I agree, get rid of him. BUt if this is just another step in the process of getting them to where they need to be, I can hang on a little longer. I do hope “Everything Happens Eventually” and “Nothing happens unless first a dream” I also hope we get to see it play out for a season or two on screen.

  15. I think, all things considered, Brennan is “getting there” quite quickly. While it has hurt to see Booth kind of oblivious to Brennan, I can see his point of view. One thing I’ve frequently tried to point out to viewers is that we must remember the last time Booth really laid his heart on the line for a relationship (before Brennan here) he -also- got turned down. I imagine the similarity of Bones’ “rejection” (which, of course, wasn’t really a rejection per se) to Rebecca turning down his proposal has quite a sting for his ego.

    Both actions were also prompted as much by his heart as by his notion that “it was the right thing to do at the time.” I see a similar motivation in his invitation for Hannah to move in with him. Of course, Hannah is the first to have accepted. I, too, have a feeling Hannah will figure things out before Booth does. Booth has to learn–just as much as Brennan does–that love is worth fighting (and waiting) for.

    So did Booth know? I’m of two minds, like most of us here. He had to. But Booth is a human being with emotions, feelings which were understandably hurt. And where Bones over-logics things to death, Booth jumps in with both emotional feet before thinking. They’ll find each other when they start to find their balance.

  16. JenlovesBones and I are on the same page…I needed to write this out in Word and think this idea through. Here’s what I’ve concluded…

    If Booth knew…well, to be frank, the thought of that just makes me depressed. Seriously, I could curl up into the fetal position right now and cry. 😥

    That being said, I see your point, and it’s definitely a possibility. I guess I just can’t reconcile the idea of him giving up completely with who I think Booth is as a person. I can definitely understand his confused feelings about Brennan, about not being able to read her. In your case, maybe he reads her too well. However, if that’s how he read her, then that means that I (and many others) read her incorrectly, and I desperately hope that’s not the case.

    I 100% feel that Brennan walked into that conversation on the Hoover steps knowing what she was going to say. I think as soon as Sweets challenged Booth to be the gambler, the look that crossed over her face? She knew if he didn’t gamble then, he would. Soon. The wheels in her brain, the logical argument for why she’s no good for him started developing as soon as Sweets spoke those words, maybe even long before then. If we go with Brennan being the one who “knows” of her attraction to Booth, and I now think she is that one person, then she’s probably had an argument, a decision made for a long time. What crushes my heart is that I feel she brushed her real feelings aside as insignificant compared to Booth’s happiness. I really and truly feel like Brennan sacrificed her possible happiness so that Booth could have what she perceives as perfection in a relationship with someone else who can give him all of the things he’s claimed he wanted in all the conversations they’ve had about relationships. Despite the fact that she feels strongly about him and how he makes her feel, she thinks she’s not and will never be enough for him. That just kills me and simultaneously tells me just how much she actually loves him. She’s also not willing to gamble away her relationship with him on anything that’s not a sure thing, and love in her books isn’t a sure thing. I get that, and so for all these reasons I get why she said NO.

    If Booth knew all of this, then he doesn’t love her enough to have her. Therefore, if he did know, I can’t believe that he knew EVERYTHING, because if he knew everything, then he’d at least still have some hope. Her actions prove that she loves him selflessly…how can it get any better than that?! All he’d have to do is convince her that she’s worth it, that she’s more than enough for him to have the happiness they both want in their lives just the way she is. All they really need to do is TALK TO EACH OTHER.

    Sorry Stephanie, but I just can’t swallow the pill you’re selling. Maybe I’m putting Booth on a pedestal he doesn’t deserve…I’m going to have to wait it out and see how it all unfolds before I knock him off. 🙂

    • Thank you

      I soooooooooo agree. I believe she said no because she thinks she does not deserve him and he could be happier with someone else. She loves him in a very real very selfless way. I just wanted him to say “You don’t need to change and you are worth it!!! You deserve love.”

      Love your post.

  17. I really should be cleaning my bathrooms right now and leaving the comments to you guys (which you all have done an awesome job with by the way), but there are a couple statements that have grabbed hold of me and just won’t let go, so I’m going to take the opportunity to share my thoughts briefly (yeah right) so I can scrub my toilets in peace today. 🙂

    First up:

    “The show is about Brennan. Without Brennan, there’d be no Bones, studied or nicknamed. Booth is actually, though I know many would vehemently disagree, just supplemental to the story, her story.” (Jenlovesbones)

    First of all, thank you so much for your comment, Jenlovesbones. I love that you had to open a Word document in order to respond – that is true passion!

    I’m sure you already know that I’m going to disagree with you on this one, but here’s why: I believe Booth is critical to the story because he is the catalyst for change in Brennan. Without him she doesn’t change. It’s as simple as that. And at the end of the day, I don’t think Bones (the show) is about Brennan per se, as much as it’s about her journey to healing; the process by which she will be made whole. Unfortunately, I think Booth’s role in that process has to change this season in order to further Brennan’s evolution and we’re not going to like him much for that, but I still think it has to happen.

    And second:

    “I really and truly feel like Brennan sacrificed her possible happiness so that Booth could have what she perceives as perfection in a relationship with someone else who can give him all of the things he’s claimed he wanted in all the conversations they’ve had about relationships. Despite the fact that she feels strongly about him and how he makes her feel, she thinks she’s not and will never be enough for him. That just kills me and simultaneously tells me just how much she actually loves him. She’s also not willing to gamble away her relationship with him on anything that’s not a sure thing, and love in her books isn’t a sure thing. I get that, and so for all these reasons I get why she said NO.” (Ange)

    Ange – wow! You argue so eloquently on Brennan’s behalf – thank you! I agree with your assessment of Brennan’s feelings, but I actually think your argument reinforces what I said about her choosing brain over heart.

    I don’t want anyone to assume that I blame Brennan for the decision she made, in fact I think she needed to say no (and my reasons for saying that go back to what I said about Brennan’s journey to healing in my previous point). What I was trying to do with my post was to put myself in Booth’s shoes and consider what HE might have seen in her reaction. We can argue all we want about whether or not he should have taken that gamble, but the fact is he did. And she gave him a very well thought out, very vehement, black and white, “I’m choosing brain” answer (no). Under the circumstances, I believe he felt he had no choice but to try and move on. Are we allowed to think he’s a scumbag for doing that? Sure. But that still doesn’t change the fact that each of them made the decision they felt they had to make that night.

    Sorry, this was anything but brief (but so much more fun than cleaning bathrooms)! Thank you all so much for your willingness to share your thoughts and allowing me to share mine.

  18. I think Stephanie’s comments are spot on. Booth comes across as cocky and self-assured, but we all know that he is a very vulnerable person who deep down feels he’s not good enough, that he might ultimately not be worth loving. His father’s abandonment had to have been the ultimate rejection as it was for Brennan; he doesn’t know, after all, that his grandfather told him to leave. These feelings could have only been compounded by Rebecca’s refusal to marry him; Cam too tells him that at the end of the day she was happy to go home alone. Even the brother he’s done so much for doesn’t value his accomplishments. Booth’s constant need to prove himself through the army and his FBI job and to seek validation from the one person who’s opinion he really cares about (Brennan) underscore how full of self-doubt he is.

    For Booth to have taken the enormous risk of upsetting the surrogate relationship he had with Brennan by asking for a deeper relationship with her must have taken incredible courage. He had to overcome the inherent fear of rejection that follows him through life. He may know that she is capable of change-but he also knows that she is extremely truthful and transparent in her dealings with people. He takes her at her word; it’s one of the things he loves about her. When she says no without any hesitation it must have brought back all the rejections of the past. To then see her continue to engage Hacker in what could only be labeled a romantic relationship would have only reenforced the rejection.

    Stephanie very thoughtfully brings up the fact that Booth knows that Brennan can change when it’s important enough (as with her dad); but Booth also knows what happened with Sully. While happy that Sully didn’t work out, Booth understood that this relationship meant a lot to Brennan, which is why he grudgingly encouraged it. Sully too gambles on her, on them, and in that instant she also said no. That answer never changed, despite some regret on her part. She didn’t contact Sully again, and they never got together.

    Booth is blamed for distancing post-100th, but in fact we didn’t really see this until the beginning of the 6th season. His interaction with her is what it had always been up to the finale; the longing looks, the support and possibly the hope were still there for all to see. Only when they are sitting in the park in the finale and she mentions that she’s thinking about leaving does despair truly set in. You can see it when he stares into space and says sadly that he thought she had already made her decision; he won’t look at her. Remember he didn’t hear about her trip from her-he heard it second-hand through Sweets.

    I think ultimately the leaving is what caused him to finally walk away. More than rejection, this was abandonment-of him, of their partnership- one coupled with no contact from her in seven months. That he seeks validation with someone who is so open and willing is hardly surprising and I don’t think it’s an indictment of his morality-not given his past history. These characters are not written in a vacuum; Brennan reacts the way she reacts to situations because of her background, just like Booth does and this sometimes includes bouts of pettiness and/or anger. The audience may not like what they do but I have never seen anything in either Booth or Brennan that points to malice or true thoughtlessness, or even out-of-character actions. Sure, I would have liked for Booth to be available upon his return or at least be the same person he used to be with Brennan, but I don’t blame him for Hannah (he desperately needed validation) or for initially distancing from Brennan (she hurt him and this time he needs time and space.) The ice is already melting off both characters, but without some strong emotional conflict to prod character develpment along we might have not seen that. The storyline after the 100th seems natural and organic to me and true to the characters themselves.

  19. Great thoughts and well argued Stephanie!

    I agree that Booth knew, and although it pains my romantic heart to write it, I think most of what he has done has been purposeful since that time. I think to protect himself, and to a much lesser degree to show Brennan what she is missing.

    At the end of Body in the Bounty, just before Bren comes out in that adorably dorky outfit, Booth loves at Caroline and the squints and asks “Is anyone nervous, I’m so nervous” (paraphrased there) – it really gave me hope that he was allowing himself to feel for Brennan again – it was sweet and felt right! Even more than the scene at his home the week before, it was so good to see him care about her here.

  20. Stephanie, great article — I really agree with everything you said. And the conversations in the comments were very thought provoking. There really isn’t anything else, I can add. But I can reiterate:

    “I think it’s only a matter of time before Booth is faced with that choice again. And just as he did then, I think Booth will, completely innocently, choose to stay with Brennan (whether it’s to finish paperwork over Thai food or returning to their old tradition of drinks at the Founding Fathers) rather than go home to Hannah. Why? Because she’s Brennan, that’s why.”

    I agree! And I can’t wait to see it.

    Catalina

  21. This reminds me of the MAQ bbmagic did, asking us how far Brennan would go to ensure Booth’s happiness, and I completely agree that Booth, in a way, would sort of sacrifice himself (and what he wants…aka her) to protect her, to help her, to let her have what she wants (which is being partners with him). Ugh, the heartbreak, seriously, that when he does actually move on and feel a semblence of happiness about it, she gets a clue. So unfair, so unfair. It makes me annoyed at the universe, is what it does 🙂

  22. Ahhhh, this post and the comments from everyone just breaks my heart.

    Two damaged, vulnerable, abandoned children grow up to be two successful, outwardly secure and settled adults and in each case, it is the children they used to be reaching for and turning away from the promise of happiness the other offers. Really, is it any wonder their story fascinates us so?

    God bless Aunt Bea, I love this show.

  23. Great post Stephanie. Can’t stop smiling.

    Booth KNEW. Like you’ve said, he reads her like a book and the look of fear, pain, despair on her face makes him back down. He was looking at her almost the whole time and he saw when the ‘shutters’ went down and knew nothing he said would change her mind. He wanted to stop the pain and fear she was feeling – it’s what he has been doing for years. Now he is the cause of it and he just instinctively shuts it down despite the fact that he is hurting too. He feels rejection again and must wonder why, after everything they’ve gone through, she just can’t take a chance on them, hence the moving on statement. He said that initially to protect himself since she still wanted to work with him and he did not want to break up the working relationship either.
    Like most people have said, he continued with the status quo until Maluku came up and she decided to go. This and the 7 month ex-communication did it for Booth – not completely – but to an extent where he could move on.
    Early eps of season 6, Brennan said she thought of them being together but immediately dismissed the notion again. Of course Booth will believe she has had a change of heart. It’s like Booth’s ‘I love you …in an atta-girl kind of way’. She protects herself, and ultimately believes she’s protecting Booth, from any semblance of pain or heartache by refuting and statement she makes about them being together.
    This new take on loving someone and still be able to move on is one she needs to learn because it is what happened with her parents and her and one she struggled with. They left the children because they loved them but it does not mean they stopped loving them. She understands that in relation to her parents but does she understand that in relation to emotional love?

    She and Booth now have to work on a different dynamic – with Booth in a serious relationship. It stands to reason that there will be friction. We can see that as time goes on and Brennan accepts the new status quo, they become more comfortable in their working relationship and they get their groove back.

    There was nothing Booth could have done or said at the 100th – Brennan was not ready and she was hurting as much as him so why push it? She needed time and space unlike Booth who only needed time – Con Man. She loved him but she was scared of an emotional relationship – she felt she had too much to lose including Booth.
    Wish they actually communicated more – a lot of this heartache would have been avoided.

    OFF TOPIC – Booth told GGW that he would know if Brennan loves him, so when she said it in season 7, he said ‘I know’. Bliss!

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