Bones Theory

Booth Has Not Changed


“The way you really help me is when you let me be a guy” 

 “I help you be a guy?”  

“Yeah, you know, it’s a guy’s thing to fix things and make them right. When I fix things, I feel like I am one with the universe.”


I’m feeling a bit of a hesitation about this post. On the one hand, I’m completely confident in my opinions and the facts I am about to lay out for you. But on the flip side, I know that a lot of people I really like will not agree with me. Normally, I avoid those kinds of posts, but in this case, I feel I cannot do so. I’m not looking to call anyone out, but I firmly believe this: Booth has not changed. And I want to prove that to you.

Booth has not changed. His situation has changed; that is not the same as him changing. Opinions of him may have changed, but this is also not the same as Booth actually changing. And even if there is unhappiness in public opinion re: the direction in which his ‘Boothyness’ is being shown, it doesn’t mean he’s changed.

This has been something that has been stirring in my mind since the season six premiere, when I was shocked by complaints from fans that “Booth isn’t Booth anymore”,  but it wasn’t until after this past episode, The Bones That Weren’t, that I felt I really must plead my case. The impetus is this:

In my GMMR review of that episode, here is what I said about Booth…

As far as Booth goes, I’d say it’s pretty clear he’s also acting out of his normal way of precisely and deliberately making things “right.” Did you notice that he insists things between Hannah and himself are great because of what he’s “doing” in the relationship: making a nice dinner, putting the seat down, etc. It makes sense that once Booth found himself in a serious relationship, he would absolutely do everything he could to make it work perfectly.

Throughout the comments of that review, I received several statements where people replied with something to the effect of, “I agree. Booth has changed.”

Perhaps each person replying in those instances was replying to someone else who had mentioned that in a comment; that is possible. But since there isn’t a way to know if that is the case (unless the reviewer referred to someone else), I have to assume people are replying to what I said about Booth. And for each comment, I continued to be struck by the idea that, “No, that isn’t what I said. I said that Booth is being his normal self.”

So then I thought…well, maybe I’m wrong. But as I began to put my case together, I realized I was even more right than I’d first thought. I’ll warn you now, this post is quite lengthy. I considered turning it into a series, and depending on rebuttal statements I receive in the comments, I may still do so. You may or may not agree with me, but here are my thoughts…

There are several things we know about Booth based on the years we have known him. Likewise, there are several things we do not know about him. For example, we know he has a sexy smile; we know he likes brown sugar on everything; we know he named his son after Teddy Parker. We don’t know where he went to college, what he studied, what he does on the weekends, or what it looks like when he’s living with a woman (until now).

The point is that for every individual thing we know about Booth, the possibility exists that there are an equal amount of things we don’t know about him. Therefore, it’s impossible to ‘judge’ him based on what we don’t know and only fair to judge him on what we do know. When we do that, when we look at what we know about him, it’s clear that he stacks up just the same as ever. He’s being ‘Boothy’ in every way he’s ever been ‘Boothy’. The surrounding situation, the “Temperance Brennan.  You’re in love with her, you’re building a world around her” world has changed, but he has not. Here are ten things we know about him, and I’m going to break down each one. Some are complimentary; some are not. I hope all are honest.

  1. Booth is resistant to Sweets’ interfering.
  2. Booth is sexy/highly physical in his relationships with women/not a prude.
  3. Booth is private and edgy with Brennan re: his personal life.
  4. Booth is willing to work a case even if the woman he’s romantically attached to is in the hospital.
  5. Booth is almost obsessive about making things ‘right’ or the way they ‘should be’, even to his own detriment, if he feels he is responsible for something/someone.
  6. Booth is good with women/ bad at relationships.
  7. Booth is sometimes snarky toward Brennan.
  8. Booth is confident in his work.
  9. Booth is protective of Brennan in the field.
  10. Booth is unsure about himself when it comes to Brennan’s feelings for him.

 Here we go!

1. Booth is resistant to Sweets’ interfering.


This one is pretty easy, so it’s a good choice to get us started. We’re seeing Sweets push Booth a bit as far as his relationship decision making, and in the past episode, this was seen when he questioned Booth’s motives for leaving Hannah in the hospital alone while he worked a case with Brennan, implying that it signifies his affection and superior commitment to Brennan (as opposed to a commitment to his work). More on that later in #4, but when Booth reacts by closing up and being short with Sweets, that’s nothing new. Even when there was no Hannah or anything like that in the picture, Booth was resistant to Sweets pushing him for details on his personal life. It’s only when Brennan is in the picture (or sometimes regarding Parker) that Booth may open up. And usually, once he does, he closes up even tighter, disregarding what Sweets has said. Nothing new there.


2. Booth is sexy/highly physical in his relationships with women/not a prude.

Sorry about all of those, but…I think it was important to give evidence. Not that any of us really did think that Booth was a prude or not sexy, etc…but I think it’s pretty straightforward that he is definitely not. I contend that all of the relationships we’ve seen him in have been primarily physical. So far with Hannah, we’re not seeing anything contrary to that. The issue now is that (though I don’t think we’ve ever actually heard him declare “I Love You’ to Hannah) love seems to be involved, but again, we never saw him with Tessa, Rebecca or Cam much. I can absolutely see him telling each one of them that he loved them at one point or another. That Hannah seems to have bought into that isn’t a change in Booth’s behavior. He saved her life and is good in bed, so it’s not really a surprise that she’s into him. She seems pretty compatible with him sexually, which is the primary factor in the relationships we’ve seen him in so far. Granted, what we’ve seen of his sex life has been pretty limited, but that just proves that what we’re seeing now has the possibility to completely be Booth’s MO. Again, nothing new.


3. Booth is private and edgy with Brennan re: his personal life.

When Brennan comments on his relationships with each of the women previously mentioned, Booth is on edge. When she calls him out about Tessa (Man in the SUV), he is resistant and says, “What in the hell are you talking about” when she talks about sexual bonds being necessary for the survival of the species. When she is in his business about Rebecca, he is edgy about it and tells her it’s not her business. Same with Cam. He’s not open with her, as she tells him, Sweets and us in Man in the Outhouse. She says she assumes he’s sexually active, and he says he does fine. Did we believe him then and do we believe him now? If he’s not a prude, and he really is just a gentleman, then it’s no surprise that when Brennan is sort of asking about his relationship with Hannah that he gets grouchy about it (everyone says hi!).   This is nothing new. I’m not sure why exactly he gets that way (except of course for the honest fact that he is indeed discreet), but perhaps it’s because he knows that he’s sort of feeding into her idea of biological urges. He’s edgy with anyone about his personal life; the point is that what we’re seeing now…it’s very Boothy.  Those who argue that the reason he’s so private is because he’s secretly in love with Brennan may be on to something. However, this might come under scrutiny, because after all…that means Booth is either in love with Brennan now and actively with Hannah, or he was never in love with Brennan. I don’t think it’s fair to pin absolutes onto Booth’s feelings for Brennan in that way. I do think that it’s realistic that Booth could have been with Tessa, Rebecca, and Cam while harboring feelings for Brennan. We didn’t seem to mind at that time. If he is doing the same now, it’s not a poor reflection on him as some two-timing terrible person; it’s just a continual issue we see him struggling with. If we didn’t judge him on it with those other women, we can’t do it now. If you did judge him on that at the time in seasons one and two, then…judge away!


4. Booth is willing to work a case even if the woman he’s romantically attached to is in the hospital.

This analogy doesn’t completely hold up, as the case in question was also what put Cam in the hospital, but I think it’s still reasonable to compare the two. I’m also interested in your thoughts on this. I didn’t really see him leaving Cam at the hospital to go to Brennan’s apartment to catch Epps as an example of love, but more that he was really just doing his job and protecting his partner. You? Yes, there are often times that his love intertwines with those things, but it’s the job the mostly motivates him and the same was true in TBtW with Hannah. Sweets wants to make it about Brennan, and Booth and Brennan sort of hedge around it in such a way that they might both think that’s true for the other one, but the reality is that I believe Booth really is just doing his job. The way B&B react to Sweets’ questioning is a lot like the way they reacted to Dr. Wyatt’s questions in Priest in the Churchyard. He debunks their fears that the reason Brennan stayed behind when Sully left was because of Booth. Then again, like Angela…I’m not buying it. But the point is that Sweets, in this case, actually sort of is barking up the wrong tree, and Booth is continuing his pattern of putting his work first. Though Tessa never ended up in a hospital room, it’s implied that she didn’t like his hours, and I’m sure she didn’t like that when they did spend time together, he’d cut their date short to help Brennan in a meth filled busted club. So even though the three women in question, Tessa, Cam, Hannah, may possibly interpret Booth’s actions as unadulterated love and affection for Brennan…I just see it as him doing his job.

5. Booth is almost obsessive about making things ‘right’ or the way they ‘should be’, even to his own detriment, if he feels he is responsible for something/someone.

Whether it’s being a father, a partner, a brother, a lover, a grandson, a friend, a cop, an anything…Booth feels a tremendous amount of pressure to be practically perfect.This is both a strength and a weakness. It’s a strength in that he’s an incredibly honorable man. Booth really is amazing. It’s a weakness (though he might not see it this way) when he continually sacrifices himself for others who don’t always appreciate him. This is true when he has concerns about Parker, when he wants Brennan to understand her worth as a person, when he makes the perfect meal for Hannah, when he feels guilty about not being able to care for Pops the way he needs it, when he takes care of Sweets in Bones on a Blue Line, when he interrogates suspects, and when he constantly gets on Jared’s case. This personality trait causes a tension in Booth that is also attractive, but in reality is slightly unhealthy. If he has a nervous energy surrounding him when he’s home alone with Hannah, this is completely in character. Though we might want to imagine that he would be all smooth and natural in all circumstances, that’s just not realistic, I don’t think. I’m speculating here, but I think it’s reasonable to wonder if Booth’s childhood was something he felt he needed to hide. If we’re using more duck metaphors in BONES, it would be like a duck floating on the surface of the water while his legs were paddling/kicking wildly under the surface. It creates a pattern that he would repeat up to this point. He does the same with Brennan in season five, and earlier. Whenever she suggests something is out of sorts, he is quick to verbally assure her of the ‘truth’. Usually, she trusts him and buys it; it wasn’t until Boy with the Answer that she really didn’t. Not that he’s lying or anything like that…but I just think he’s very quick to declare that things are fine and then try to make them fine. If he is edgy with Hannah (it’s nothing, why does it have to be about a thing?), that’s in character; nothing new.


6. Booth is good with women/ bad at relationships.

It makes me laugh sometimes that Booth declares that meeting Brennan is fate. It’s not exactly fate when one of your best friends/ex-girlfriends recommends the other person and you actually go to where that person is and meet her, haha. That she turned out to be the amazing Brennan could be very fortuitous for him, but still…it’s not as if they randomly ran into each other and realized “Wow, we should work together!” I don’t know about you, but I personally can be the kind of person who always thinks I’ve found “the one”. I’m not trying to impose my issues onto Booth, but he and I do have similarities sometimes. But always feeling like new people you meet have possibility, that’s a by-product of being both a lonely person and an optimist at the same time, something Booth and I do share (I believe). So I completely see Booth jumping into new relationships and being very gung-ho about them. There has been some criticism about his wanting everything to be really nice and perfect for Hannah, and while I can see where people are coming from as far as it being slightly annoying, I also see it as completely in character for Booth, who has issues. The scene where he mentions the sheets is a scene between him and Sweets, where Sweets is saying he should take it slow. Booth says he bought sheets and then asks, “What kind of man would do that if he wasn’t sure?” Sweets sees through it, and so did we. The sheets don’t represent Booth’s approach to wooing a woman; in this case, they represent evidence to suggest he knows what he’s doing. I am sure he bought them and was like, ‘okay, I need new sheets. Now is a good time to do that’. That’s actually a nice thing! Ladies, am I right? But when Sweets challenges him on moving too fast with Hannah, Booth uses the sheets as evidence, as I mentioned.  Like I mentioned in the review, he will absolutely do what it takes to make something work (and give the impression that it’s working). The same is true in his partnership with Brennan, in his relationship with Pops, in his relationship with Parker, etc, etc. I don’t want to say he’s not being himself, because in being that part of himself, he is absolutely being himself. That’s sort of a wordy circular reasoning, but I still think it’s true. He’s not perfect, and the constant pressure he puts on himself to make things perfect would stress anyone out. We’ve seen it in little cracks before, when he confesses his work as a sniper in Soldier/Grave, and in his humiliation story in Boy/Time Capsule. Booth is a good flirt (Perotta, Felicia, etc), but when it comes to the nitty/gritty of a real life relationship, he isn’t a pro. He says “surrogate nothing”, but we all know that’s not true. Brennan even says that a surrogate is a more pleasant alternative than the fleeting yet unpleasant sting of rejection. Booth and Brennan both lived in that ‘surrogate safehouse’ for a long time. I feel it’s that limbo period of years that contradicts people who argue that anything from seasons 1-4 (or so) does not hold as much merit as something between B&B in season five. I do not agree. The stasis of their relationship indicates that at any moment, it could have gone either way. Sure, they were growing closer in some ways, but to say that because they’ve been partners for almost six years means that Booth is completely responsible for Brennan’s emotions is unrealistic. They were BOTH in that surrogate standstill, equally guilty and equally vulnerable in it.  I’m not trying to be judgmental about it. A lot of us have issues in relationships. I just think that it’s unfair to expect Booth to be perfect at them, when there is no evidence to suggest that he would be. He needs someone in his life who will tell him that: he’s not a loser, that he has nothing to prove to be worth loving, that she knows the truth of him and is dazzled by that truth. If Sweets or Cam (though she’s better at it) would concentrate on helping Booth come to terms with those things, instead of pointing out issues he needs to deal with, I think he’d really be more likely to come around to the idea of being better in relationships. As it is, his past and the pressure he puts on himself to ‘fix’ everything…it hinders him.


7. Booth can be snarky toward Brennan.

“Wednesday Addams”. “Dr. Burn in Hell”. Those are just two examples of times in the past when Booth has been downright cruel to Brennan. Did we call him out on it then? Yeah, we did. But what we’re seeing now is not even close to that sort of thing. Not that it excuses him ever, but I just don’t think there is evidence to suggest that he’s changed and become a jerk. Likewise, she is mean to him sometimes, and that’s not cool either. But to say that he’s being hurtful by having a girlfriend or not immediately noticing that Brennan may have conflicting emotions on that, and she is some sort of victim in all of this is slightly unrealistic, I think. It’s romanticizing a current scenario without examining past evidence. In Science in the Physicist, they both sort of get digs in on one another, but one thing I noticed about The Bones that Weren’t was that Booth was sort of teasing Brennan about her propensity for having stuff shipped to the Jeffersonian. Some people said that was an example of him now being mean, but in SitP, they are examining remains, and he makes her put it in sports terms, and he’s a bit condescending to her. Booth is a cocky SOB sometimes; he really is. It’s kind of attractive, in my opinion, mostly when it’s directed toward suspects. I always feel a slight twinge when it’s directed toward Brennan, but she gets her own insults in every once in awhile (with or without knowing, haha). I just don’t see how this is anything new that we’re just seeing this season.


8. Booth is confident in his work and when he can ‘fix things’ .

Like the opening quote (though in the real context, it’s somewhat tongue in cheek from Booth), Booth does get satisfaction from his job and in his personal life when he is successful. His life is measured in personal success, and it may or may not have begun as a defense mechanism. ‘If I don’t mess up, I’m not punished’. So he’s incredibly successful at his job, and he loses confidence in himself when he feels like he can’t do his job, or when he can’t do mundane things around his apartment.   

Both of those times are very pleasant examples of Booth being gratified by his success. This is not necessarily anything that anyone is disputing this season. But Booth was particularly cocky in TBtW about his work with Brennan. And in Mastodon in the Room, I got the feeling that Booth felt fairly comfortable with the idea of being successful with the FBI with or without Brennan as his partner. Whether or not that success ever would have come to fruition is left to be seen (or not, hopefully!), but this is just another example of how Booth is the same as he’s ever been.


9. Booth is protective of Brennan in the field.

Done and done.


10. Booth is unsure about himself when it comes to Brennan’s feelings for him.

“Unsure” might not be the best word, but somewhere between that and ‘cautiously optimistic’ is where Booth falls as far as his reactions to Brennan’s reactions to him. This is a contrast to the supreme confidence he shows when he is helping her deal with her own emotions on any other subject. He gives her looks like this:

…when he’s encouraging her about something in her own life. He gets confidence when he fixes something in her life. When it’s him…not the agent, not her partner, but him on the line…he’s less confident. We don’t always see moments like that between them. It’s more that we see his reaction to the idea of him being worthy of her love. From Max or Dr. Wyatt or Cam…Booth almost seems eager to believe it’s true, but unable to quite do so. But when we do see those moments, he doesn’t have a cocky attitude when it comes to her affection for him. There are many things that we see that he doesn’t (another post for another day) as far as Brennan’s devotion to him. He can’t be held accountable to those things. But even when he sees what we can clearly see as her new ‘awareness’ of something for him (or about him…it’s impossible to define right now, deliciously impossible!), it’s not realistic to expect him to understand what is happening there. We don’t have a history of him understanding her thoughts and emotions about him. And even if we did, it still makes sense that he has reason to be confused about them. If he considers everything up to the 100th as evidence of her growing love for him, and she denies it (though she didn’t actually deny it), he can only interpret any sort of indication he might be sensing from her now as him imagining things.

So he’s doing the best he can with what he has to work with, a quality we’ve admired in him for a really long time.

So where does that leave us? It leaves us watching Booth in a ‘Brennan-less’ world while Brennan is right there. It seems irrational and incorrect. It’s Bizarro (Superman or Seinfeld, take your pick), like a coma dream gone wrong. I remember when I first watched the season six premiere thinking that we were sort of seeing a version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Brennan in the George Bailey role (of course with the exception that each character in the episode knows who Brennan is), and the way this season is shaping up still feels like that. She was seeing how her life and choices had affected many people for good. As the season has progressed, we’re seeing the tension in what Booth’s life would/will (WOULD! Let’s just agree on would and be happy, okay?) be without Brennan in it, running alongside a life she is actually in. But what we’re seeing is not that Booth has changed in any way. It’s an honest reflection of his life, completely in line and in character with what we know about him.

Do not get me wrong; I’m not skipping for joy this season. I mostly like it and I can appreciate the character development, but I’m not smiling for entire Fridays; does that make sense? I’m not in the small group of people who seem to be finding subversive pleasure in the idea that the majority of BONES fans are slightly miserable; I don’t want this post to be like that, and you all know me well enough to know that’s not where I’m coming from (and if you are new to the site and don’t know me that well, then take a look around, make the call for yourself) . I’m just as slightly miserable, and behind every single point I made is a broken heart and tears streaming down my face. But I just felt like there was a truth to be examined.  The character of Booth cannot be blamed for the storyline, and Brennan’s character can’t be rewarded all the time for the storyline. That’s also probably a post for another day. For now, I’m just saying this. Booth is the same as he’s always been. It’s only his situation that has changed. What makes it seem as if he’s changed is that we have this bleak feeling in the pits of our stomachs at the idea that Booth’s life could be…okay…as it is now. We don’t want that. I don’t want that, at least. I want him to be himself…with Brennan. But to say he’s fundamentally changed is incorrect. We’re just seeing more of him in different ways. He’s the same as he’s always been. What we’ve seen over the past five+ seasons are little glimmers of possibility of who he might become if he and Brennan are together (admitting the gambling problem, etc). We see the same in her, and that is some of what has changed, as far as the current episodes go. But Booth himself…he hasn’t changed. If we think he jumped too quickly into a relationship with Hannah, we have no proof to suggest he’s done the opposite with anyone else. We didn’t see the beginnings of his relationships with Tessa, Cam or Rebecca. We DID see the beginning of his relationship with Brennan, …and as we’ve discussed before, he absolutely would have slept with her that night and tried to make it work. Chances are he would have failed. That we saw those scenes after 99 other episodes makes us think it was fate in action, but the truth is that it’s possible that it’s Booth’s pattern. If he takes a look at what he did with Brennan. And Brennan is the only woman who’s turned him down like she did (because of tequila, because he was seeing someone else…who knows!).

So what’s on the horizon is this…will Booth manage to get from his ‘bizarro’ world to the world we know is possible (and likewise…will Brennan? It’s not like she’s just standing in that world, waving at him, waiting for him to wise up). And also…what will happen if he doesn’t, or in the meantime before he does? This ‘Brennan-less’ world may find him more inclined to gamble, more inclined to get caught up in Jared’s business, more inclined to many things that we’ve seen in his character development. When that happens, will he save himself from himself? Or will he need saved by someone else? Either way,  the ‘Brennan-less’ world is what has changed; it’s not Booth who has changed.

Please feel free to comment; I’d love to hear what you have to say. Though I must warn you, I’m not likely to be swayed. Also, I welcome you to present the information with facts. Not to disregard anyone’s feelings, but saying something like, “Well, it just feels off”  or “You’re wrong because I don’t like it” doesn’t quite cut it this time. Not that anyone who feels that way would be wrong…in fact, I feel that way! If we’re wrong about it, I’m fine with that! But it can feel wrong and still be the truth that Booth has not changed. If you have evidence to the contrary, bring it on! If there is a lot of disagreement, I’ll be happy to respond in another post about the comments, with my opinions on why I’m right in this. I’m not saying you have to provide 4000+ words in reply to me to state your case; I’m just saying that if you want to try to sway me, I’m going to need a lot of proof. Evidence and explication, as Brennan might say. Just remember the rules: No Foul Language, No Spoilers.

Well…as always,

Peace, Love & Bones,



56 thoughts on “Booth Has Not Changed

  1. Honest i can get you in some points but basecally i don’t believe Booth changed. He’s adapting to a situation in which he had not much success at other times and even worse doing this again w/out Brennan. To Booth is what i call his HANNAHSPRINGA. He need go through this to figure out what is really important to him.And Honest i hope the important thing be He w/ Brennan.

  2. Sarah, I just deleted a very long and confusing comment. I find it hard to say something appropriate. Following your logic, I have to admit you might be right. But I have to say as well, that I’m not so very fond of Booth at the moment. If he hasn’t changed, then I simply don’t like him in a Brennan-less world. It’s almost painful to watch – like a planet who is somehow thrown out of its natural orbit.
    When you think of all his speaches about “every once in a while two people meet and there is a spark”, do you see that in him and Hannah? Because, I have to say, I’m still searching for that spark. I’m angry because he has settled for the second best again.

  3. OMG. Thank you so much for being so much less lazy than I am… and for having a place to actually post your thoughts.
    I’ve been wanting to get basically everything you posted off of my chest for a while now. I concur, vehemently with you. I think it’s the reason I don’t really mind Hannah (although, I hated her attitude in TBtW… she was bitch, plain and simple).
    I don’t think Booth has changed at all… like you said, his situation has changed. I wonder, though, what would Booth be like in a relationship with Brennan. Especially since we’ve now been given a very well documented case of his past relationships… would he repeat himself and try to make it all perfect… or would he figure out that the reason he and Brennan are such great partners (professionally) is because they complement each other so well and make up for the others weaknesses? Would he let them just be? I guess when it eventually happens (because it will) it will be something very interesting and challenging for the writers (or I hope it will be).
    Well said, Sarah. Thanks.

  4. Thank you for this post. I think you may have just put into words a lot of what we have been seeing. I have not been one of the people who has been angry at Booth. I think he did what he needed to do (as painful as that is) and tried to move on in his human, flawed way. Which is what we need to remember. Booth is human and as such he is entitled to making mistakes and finding his way through his life in HIS way. I too do not feel he has changed, rather his situation and circumstances have. We need to keep in mind that in all likelihood, even if we were not already convinced of this, that his relationship with Hannah is not going to last. They have a purely physical relationship and based on your excellent evidence provided, we have seen that this is indeed his MO. Booth has not acquired the skills for a serious relationship that is fulfilling on all levels. Hannah obviously is not in it for a serious relationship either, did you see her reaction when she thought he was proposing? She really didn’t bug me too much up until the last episode because I felt like I could already see the major flaws in their relationship, things that would not allow it to last. A few things that I have also noticed…first, Parker is very important to Booth and while I know he is only on the show every once in awhile, it is apparent that while Booth has Hannah living with him, it doesn’t appear that she has met Parker. Am I right in assuming this based on what we have seen? It seems that he has regular visitation so I have had some trouble with that aspect of the relationship. She does not appear to be someone who would form a close bond with a child. Hannah does not know about many aspects of Booth’s life, many of these things Brennan knows (gambling problem, childhood, etc.). I think after Brennan’s “rejection” of him that he needed to find some validation somewhere and this is how it happened. Remember, it was seven months with no word from Brennan at all. Again, Booth is human and has basic needs just like anyone else. So anyway, thank you for reminding us that Booth is still very much Booth, despite what we have seen so far this season. In fact, this may be the very thing that is necessary for him to realize what he does do in relationships so that maybe the next time (hopefully with Brennan?) he can finally have that fulfilling relationship we all want him to have…with Brennan of course!

  5. “So he’s doing the best he can with what he has to work with, a quality we’ve admired in him for a really long time.”

    I think you’re dead-on here. I hadn’t realized it to quite this depth, but yeah. I mean, I’ve not been one who’s naysaying Booth OR idolizing Brennan this season (“The character of Booth cannot be blamed for the storyline, and Brennan’s character can’t be rewarded all the time for the storyline.”) though that seems to be happening a lot.

    I think that both their worlds were rocked by the events of the 100th. And even though it’s been months, I think they’re both still reeling… a bit unsteady… and trying to make a go of what life has dealt. How long this “adjustment period” will last is anyone’s guess. And that’s what I’m clinging to this season… that they will get there, that this is only temporary.

    In the meantime, I’m enjoying seeing the character developments we’re being given. As much as they may be painful or awkward, they are in direct reaction to their current situations. And what more can we ask for? We see his attempt to “move on”; we see Brennan with “the life she expected”. But in my head, they are still traveling the same path – yeah, currently bumpy and potholed – but the path that will eventually lead them to each other. Call me an optimist. :p

    I’d be interested in your take on Brennan in all this as well. Has she changed? Is the “life she expected” really gonna be good enough anymore? 🙂

  6. I’m sorry. I was totally distracted the whole time by the hot screencaps. 😉 Give me a second to collect myself.

  7. Well said (and argued) Sarah. It probably comes as no great surprise that I agree with your assessment completely.

    My sister (jenny) wrote a paper about Bones not that long ago. One of the topics she covered was Booth and white knight syndrome. This is the definition of white knight syndrome that she found in “Psychology Today” and quoted in her paper:

    “men and women who enter into romantic relationships with damaged and vulnerable partners, hoping that love will transform their partner’s behavior or life. Though most white knights feel that they are selfless and sacrificing, their rescuing behavior is often misguided. Problems arise when white knights care for their partners at the expense of their own needs, encounter destructive behavior, or try to control their partners.”

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think that has Booth written all over it (several of Sarah’s points actually illustrate this quite well). It was true before with Brennan (and perhaps even with Tessa, Rebecca and Cam…we really don’t have enough evidence to say for sure) and it’s still true now with Hannah. Considering Hannah’s “nomadic” existence and love of danger, I think we may eventually see her start to feel suffocated by Booth’s desire to protect her, if we haven’t started to see that already.

    Ultimately, the problem is that we have romanticized a part of Booth that is, in reality, unhealthy. I’m going to risk the wrath of the masses and say that by the end of season five, B&B’s relationship was co-dependent. There was no impetus for either of them to address their issues and if they had entered into a real relationship under those circumstances, I think it would have eventually failed. That’s why the 100th episode had to end the way it did. There, I said it (ducks to avoid the flaming arrows).

    The way I see it Booth DOES need to change if he wants to make a relationship with Brennan (or any woman for that matter) work long-term. For the record, so does Brennan. The problem is that neither one of them have (at least not where it really counts)…yet. And until they do…well, I think you get the picture.

    • I think you are right, Stephanie, about the co-dependent relationship issue. But I think a break in that occurred at the 100th – not completely, but I think that was the catalyst because I do not see that co-dependency now. As long as they were in that surrogacy situation and not confronting their real feelings and issues with each other, then that co-dependency continued.
      I think with Booth trying to work with this new relationship with Hannah and Brennan supporting it in a mature way (and NOT the way Booth has with Brennan) marks a move forward. They are both growing, not changing, which is what most people do. I am different than I was 20 years ago, but I have not fundamentally changed.
      Their romantic relationship, when it begins, I think will be a healthy one. If Booth really wasn’t good at relationships before (although, I don’t think this is exactly the case), he already has shown to be good in his relationship with Brennan. The romantic change may be awkward, at first, but because they have grown together, it will be a good, healthy one.

    • Hi there . more i am starting to agree with you!! I enjoy also expressing my own opinions!! bonescrazy

  8. I bow down to your evidence. Booth has not changed but adapting/reacting/living in his new world… a “Brennan-less” world in his personal life. I am not thrilled with Hannah but know that this must be a road that is traveled in order for Booth to realize that a Brennan-less life is not a life that he will truly be happy with, content, yes, but ultimate happiness, no, I think not.

    Brennan too must live a “Booth-less life” as well for her to see that she can love someone. I think they both need evidence and that it should be wrapped up in a nice file folder for them to ponder.

    Bring on the next episodes and lets see how this journey ends when lovers meet….

  9. Thank you for writing this, Sarah! You make a very good case and I very much agree with you. Booth has not changed beyond the change that we all undergo in life based on our experiences.

    With Hannah he ads on to those experiences and we as viewers get new access to learn more about his character traits. Him being with Hannah allow us to learn more about him. Perhaps that is why we actually still have an only very superficial idea of who Hannah is. She is an instrument for the storytellers.
    I think many were very surprised by her action as in the last scene of The Bones That Weren’t. But did we really know her well enough to find it so surprising. She acted outside the norms of accepted social behaviour but maybe that is just the way she is – socially disfunctional. Booth himself might have been surprised by that scene if he had been there.

    We have known the Hannah/Booth relationship for four episodes. They are still getting to know each other, I think. You might argue that they moved together very quickly and therefore must know each other better than what we have been privy to but not all people are so very rational that they take time thoroughly get to know before moving in with each other (I should know, I had known my husband for a month when we moved together).

    To those who say they do not like Booth as he is (acts) with Hannah, I just do not get it. If he was with Brennan, as he eventually will be, do we not want him to have great sex with her, say sappy but lovable little ‘I miss you”s, buy new sheets, make fabulous dinners, buy new toothbrushes, etc. for her? I hope so. He is an attentive guy to the woman he is with. That is just one of the character traits that I admire in him. It is in actual fact almost to good to be true. But it is Booth. The way he is. Cannot fault him for that.

    • You’re absolutely right with everything, and you’re proving me to be hypocritical. Indeed, in a relationship with Brennan I’d want Booth to have great sex, make dinner and buy new toothbrushes. I fail to put my finger on why exactly I dislike so6 Booth so far. Maybe I had him on a pedestal – him and his belief in fate, two people becoming one, a spark, something special. Sarah is right when she points out the ridiculousness in the fate thing, but still. Somehow I’d always thought Booth is the strong, moral guy who would never do less than make love. Maybe it’s just my reluctance to admit that he could be doing it with Hannah all the time – I simply don’t see a deep connection between the two of them.
      I really don’t want for him to wait for Brennan 30, 40, 50 years without hope, but still, I found that I’m irrationally angry he gave up and “moved on”.
      I never realised that he might have flaws considering relationships as well. However, reading this post, I have to admit that he has. Maybe that’s what bothering me, that my perception of Booth and the real Booth don’t overlap completely.
      All I know is that I’m irrationally confused. And angry. And tired with waiting. Somehow it’s a big compliment for a show being able to do that, create those strong feelings in viewers. But it’s hard to be on the other end of those feelings.
      I don’t want to argue, don’t want to yell. I’m just sad. I mourn what they had. Could have had. I feel sad for Brennan. I know that, eventually, they will end up together and everything will be just wonderful – after all, they complement each other – but right now it’s like “you saw something great that almost happened”. It’s mostly Brennan’s fault that it hasn’t happened so far, but, surprisingly, I haven’t been mad at her after the breathtakingly beautiful 100th or the finale.
      That is a long comment. Again, I’m tempted to delete it. Forgive me my confusion. I hope that makes at least some sense :-/

  10. Sarah, once again, great blog post. And on this matter, I could not agree with you more. In my eyes Booth hasn’t changed. So it’s left for me to figure out what it is that makes the episodes in season 6 so… hard to swallow. Actually, I don’t really have to think very hard about it. I’m pretty sure it’s that every Booth and Hannah scene makes me sad. And it’s not because I’m jealous for Brennan (although I am), and it’s not because of Kathryn Winnick’s ridiculous unplace-able accent (even though it irks me to no end), it’s because I think that Booth is going on a downward spiral to disappointment. Hannah seems young to me — young and self involved and a little cavalier. She doesn’t really seem to have feelings and she seems to be living in the moment. And that’s fine for someone that’s just looking to have a fling — but no for Booth. All the evidence I’ve seen thus far lead me to believe that Booth is in it for the long haul — 30, 40, or 50 years. Aside from moving to DC (which could very well have been a very adrenalin-induced move) I haven’t seen any indication from Hannah that she has the same long-haul mentality.

  11. Oh my goodness! This was an EXCELLENT post. I, of course, totally agree with you. In my opinion, we really don’t know enough about Booth to say that he has changed. What has he changed from? I think you did a great job Sarah. Thanks!

  12. I am a Brennan fan. She is the main reason I watch the show. But it honestly never occured to me to think that Booth has changed, or that Brennan is a saint (although I would sooner say that she can be inconsiderate sometimes than “mean”).
    I think people who say Booth changed are just frustrated. Immediately after the 100th ep ‘Brennanbashing’ was fashionable for quite a while. Now that Booth has Hannah, it is ‘in’ to complain about him. I love reading reviews and commentaries, but they can screw with your mind like this, because there are a lot of lovestarved fans out there who wil keep snarking about any storyline that does not lead to instant gratification (in a “lots of vicarious fluffy B&B snuggling” way).
    What worries me after the last episode is that Booth and Hannah will actually go find the corrupt cop together. If Booth takes Hannah out into the field instead of Brennan, that wil cause a whole lot of conflict/pain and might make Booth’s world even more Brennanless. So I’m tightly holding on to my heart until that storyline is resolved.

  13. Finally, another voice of reason. Booth has not changed. His core values are still the same. He is not sleeping around, he is trying for a monogamous relationship with one woman. He has tried to do what his partner said she wanted….to be his work partner only. It is sad to see that this might work out in the end. Thank heavens that the producers have told us that it does not or I would be more miserable than I am now. I am not hating the show this year, just not as enamored as I have been in previous years. We still do not know Brennan’s intention when she returned to DC, we were hoping she had an epiphany but we might never know.

    I can’t blame him for wanting more and trying to find it. She had made a family, of sorts, with the squints but Booth seemed lonely. He had Parker, Pops and Jared and not much else. He was trying to find a loving relationship as an adult. I say trying because, from what I have seen, Booth seems much more into Hannah than the other way around. I don’t see any cracks, I see a bf trying to make everything good for his gf. I can’t see Hannah as perfect for Booth. To me she has a cold, impersonal personality and is more driven and self centered than Brennan.

    I have one more comment. Booth has also gotten a bad rap for his fathering. I don’t not statistical proof but I wonder how many fathers, who were separated from the mother at the time of birth, would still have a loving relationship with their child and be involved in that child’s life 10 years later. Not a lot I bet.

  14. I’m SO glad someone is standing up for Booth! Thank you! I’ve been saying this all along, while screaming into my computer that people don’t “get” him. He hasn’t changed…but is trying to adapt to his new situation the best he can after the 100th. Brennan not only rejected him, romantically, but at the end of S5, she had rejected him as a partner by going off to Maluku. It couldn’t get any worse. If he wasn’t devasted during the 100th, he certainly was at the end of S5. This was not what we, the audience, heard, but it’s what Booth heard Brennan say. “You aren’t good enough for me to love – and you aren’t good enough as a partner.” He really tried to keep her spirits up the last part of S5, but again, he failed. She still left. We know the truth of the matter, but he didn’t. All he hears in his mind is that he is a failure – again. And then Brennan doesn’t contact him for seven months. What’s he supposed to think? With the limited knowledge he had, there was every indication that he believed there was no hope. Booth is a strong man, in many ways, so let’s let him have a little pride left! He needs to know that he is a good person and worth loving. Enter Hannah. She’s helping…whether you think so or not.

    Booth is just as damaged and has just as many issues as Brennan…it’s just that we’ve been shown more of her backstory and not his, so everyone feels sorry for her. Wrong. She is just as responsible as he is. BOTH are at fault. The clues to Booth’s real persona have been shown a few times, but people aren’t seeing them, because they have put Booth on a pedestal of perfection – and that is definitely NOT Booth. He talks the talk, but hasn’t figured out how to walk the walk…if you get what I mean. And then again, neither has Brennan.

    Booth is the “white knight” who takes on way more guilt and responsibility than is healthy, who wants to make his world “perfect” – to offset the abusive childhood he endured…which to me is just as bad, or worse, than Brennan’s. He’s good at pretending everything is ok, when it clearly isn’t. It’s his coping mechanism. He needs to be needed – and loved. I’ve been paying more attention to the content and meanings in each episode, instead of Hannah as most seem to be doing, and I could mention something I’ve noticed so far this season that has been brought up in the last 4 epidodes that no one has talked about…but since this is a no spoiler zone, I’ll refrain…but I will say that it’s very telling, I believe, about something that will happen later in the season. And I think it will begin to answer some questions about Booth…at least I’m hoping it’ll go this way. Just call me the Queen of Angst! Bring it on!

    Bottom line: For B&B to enter into any sort of relationship, they both have a lot of work to do. Neither one of them is a normal, well-adjusted individual. Placing all the blame on one of them is simply not fair. And that’s the fault of the writers, IMO. I guess they like having the fans at odds with each other? Please… I don’t respond to negativity…it gets you no where fast.

    So…I must be one of a very small handful of fans that isn’t upset by Hannah. She doesn’t bother me that much, because I “get” why she’s here…and we are getting some insight into Booth from a different perspective than we’ve seen. Brennan is getting to see this, too, so…in the long run…everybody wins. Eventually.

  15. Sarah, this was an excellent post! I loved your whole thought process and all of your proof. I completely agree with you. I have not had a problem with Booth at all or the current storyline….does it hurt sometimes? Yes…but do I think it will be worth it in the end? Yes!

    I also want to comment about the item regarding snarkiness (I love this word, btw). I see their snarkiness toward each other as proof of their confidence in their partnership. Case in point, growing up, my brother and I would often take out our bad moods on each other, without worry that it would affect our relationship. I think partnerships can be the same way…they spend a lot of time together, so frustrations are often taken out on each other, but they know it will not affect their partnership adversely…they have confidence that they will always be there for each other. Of course, I don’t want to say that they have a sibling-like relationship…only that the continued, occasional, snarkiness proves that their partnership has not changed! I hope that made sense…

    • I like that you pointed that out, Lisa – I look at my children and see how they act at home vs. anywhere else — it is a safe zone. Booth and Brennan are safe zones for each other.

  16. Okay so that was an amazing and well thought out post…and you’ve totally pointed out things I never had thought about before. I haven’t been going around proclaiming it, but I was one of those people upset that Booth had changed. Now that you have done this post I see your point and have to agree that the fundamental aspects of Booth have not changed, but rather the world he lives in and who his intentions are directed toward. His Brennan-less world attitude bothers me because I’m super protective of Brennan. I will admit she brought this on herself (well both parties are equally responsible at least), but I get annoyed every time Booth does/says something that causes her pain. Maybe I just empathize more with Brennan because I can understand her better.

    You did a very good job describing how it’s like there’s two parallel universes operating right now…and maybe that’s what bothers me. Anyway I don’t like it…and I can’t exactly put my finger on why everything in season six is bothering me so much. Maybe because for the last 5 years we’ve gotten flashes of what could have been…only to suddenly see Booth living it out with another woman. And truthfully…I feel that that it’s nowhere near as great as it could have been…to me it seems kind of like a consolation prize. Here you can have happy Booth, but it can’t be with Brennan. And that bothers me to no end.

    Okay so I’m gonna stop rambling now and hopefully some of that made sense. If you can’t tell I’m kind of confused and conflicted about anything Bones related right now. 😦

  17. You’re right. You’re completely right, and I think *that’s* what has me feeling so sick about it all. Booth is the one I always expected change from, not Brennan. So watching him play the same game once again (raise your hand if you remember what the definition of insanity is) hurts just as much as watching Brennan’s growing pains.
    Like so many of us, I put Booth on a pedestal, but for his imperfections, not his perfections. Same with Brennan. They are both perfect to me because they are completely flawed but still growing. I admit it’s a two steps forward, one step back kind of growth, but growth is growth.
    And in the past, I thought I’d seen evidence that their growth was mirrored in each other and that gave me that most damaging of emotions: hope. This season, however, I see little evidence that Booth is even trying to change, when he was the one who said things had to. Sure, his circumstances did and maybe that’s enough for him. But juxtaposed with the overwhelming differences in Brennan we’re seeing, it’s just painful to watch Booth right now, however much I want him happy.

  18. Sarah, I love you for doing this post. The little devil’s advocate in me wants to refute it just so I can demonstrate that it could be done logically and maturely. However, I’m too slow at such things and, really, I am so far from that viewpoint that it would be rather difficult.

    And, basically, I want to say, also, “What ShrinkyMojo said.”

    I’m going to try not to ramble and to help me do this, I’m going to respond point by point (but not all of them):
    4. Booth is willing to work a case even if the woman he’s romantically attached to is in the hospital.
    I both agree and disagree with this point. While I think it is true that Booth working the Epps case while Cam was in the hospital was not necessarily completely out of love, there was definitely a guilt factor. He felt responsible. With Brennan in danger as well, that only added to the situation. Alarm bells rang in my head like crazy when I saw Booth’s reaction to Hannah in the hospital as well as the fact that he was back at work on the unrelated case. Many things I see in an ep can easily be lost on me or be too subtle, but the fact that this one rang out to me so clearly, I trust it. The thing is, I’m not saying that Booth’s reaction is not like Booth, I’m just saying that it is indicative of how Booth feels about Hannah. I feel certain that if it were Brennan in Hannah’s place, Booth would be on the warpath of THAT case almost immediately. I think point nine is directly related to this, but I would include personally, too, not just out in the field:
    9. Booth is protective of Brennan in the field.
    So, maybe I’ll skip to that – just to add the “personal life”, too. The Man in the Morgue has Booth flying down – not on a case. The Man in the Outhouse has Booth’s caretaking speech at the end (protecting her heart), The Perfect Pieces in the Purple Pond have Booth protecting her nature – telling people to be nice to her.

    6. Booth is good with women/ bad at relationships.
    I do not know if I agree with this statement completely. Booth has not had success with relationships, but I think his most recent ones (Cam, Hannah) were/are in jeopardy because it is just too difficult and unrealistic to believe you can have a solid romantic relationship with someone when you are constantly around the one you are truly in love with. I think the relationship with Cam, had they both had “in love” feelings for one another rather than just “love”, could have been quite successful. Cam is probably third in Booth’s life who knows him best (1st Brennan, 2nd Sweets – although, to be honest, I could debate that order as well). I see his relationship with Hannah as being different, not because Booth is different, but because they just don’t know each other as well. He’s not truly “Boothy” with Hannah, yet, because of this. Booth is his most Boothyness with people who know him best – and really, in this case, only Brennan. I’m at my most “Janet-ness” in similar situations. The circumstances (situation), as Sarah points out, around Booth and Brennan is different, so reactions (not personalities, etc) are reflective of that.
    7. Booth is sometimes snarky toward Brennan.
    Well, yes. This is certainly true. And absolutely true the other way around, too. I have not seen any more or less of Booth being snarky so far this season. I think some were upset with Booth in the premiere, but let me say this: a man breaks up with you, agrees to still work with you, but then very shortly after breaks that off too. THEN, even though you are still supposed to be close friends, he doesn’t call you for 7 months. I think a female would be mad, upset, frustrated, FURIOUS with him. So, you know what? Booth has been pretty mature all things considered. As Boothy as he can be because he is: resistant/private/edgy to personal life probing, obsessive about making things right, snarky, cocky, confident, protective, unsure, and overcoming feelings of inadequacy.

    10. Booth is unsure about himself when it comes to Brennan’s feelings for him.
    Yes, this is the biggest obstacle, yet, I think. Whereas Booth is as aware as ever regarding his feelings for Brennan (which does not discount his feelings for Hannah, which are real, but not the same), he cannot be sure of Brennan. I think he felt sure at the 100th, and knew he was right, but now, even if he feels sure that he is still right, he is unsure that Brennan will ever change her position.

    So, this comment doesn’t always stay on point with supporting the “Booth hasn’t changed” argument. But perhaps it gives further evidence to who Booth is- which then can be brought back alongside the original argument? I don’t know. I think I just have to post this before I drift off into the ramble. Too late?

  19. Yay! Yes! Sanity prevails! What a great post! Thank-you – the Booth bashing has been driving me nuts! I agree, Booth hasn’t really changed and my view is a lot of fans are being way too hard on him. To the extent that he is slightly less perceptive of Brennan’s feelings, who can blame him? He must be trying to protect himself somewhat. As ShrinkyMojo indicated, Booth really put himself out there to Brennan in the 100th, and she said no. Brennan then pleaded with Booth to continue working together, and he agrees, and then she abandons him in the season finale. And on top of that, she continues to date his boss! He said he was going to move on, and Brennan hasn’t given him any reason not to – if Booth was my friend, I’d be telling him to try and move on, too. That’s not to say I don’t think they should get together eventually, it is just that it makes sense right now why Booth is trying to make things work with Hannah.

    I also have no problem with Hannah, and I am looking forward to seeing how the relationship evolves/ends (as I am assuming it must). Who would have thought Cam would be so integral to the quinterns when she first appeared? (I also have no problem with the gratuitous sex scenes, for two reasons: they establish that the relationship is purely physical, and who minds seeing DB partially undressed?) The sunglasses part of the last scene was a little weird and a little too familiar on the part of Hannah (based on what we know Brennan and Hannah’s interaction to be to date), but up until then, it seemed in accordance with both Brennan and Hannah’s relationship and personalities.

    Thanks again – great post, and great discussion – I am really enjoying this site! (It is so pleasantly thought provoking and respectful!)

  20. I actually don’t have much to say on this because I agree with you and I am happy that someone analyzed this situation so well and put it on here. Right from when we first heard about Booth getting a new girlfriend, people started hating him and saying that he’s mean and all that but that’s confused me right from the start. I don’t get what people are blaming him for, I’ve not once hated him in all this cause if we’re being honest, I think we all know that he isn’t the big guilty one in all this. Yes, things went horribly wrong and that’s partly because the way he handled things, but Brennan didn’t do much better (and Sweet didn’t really help either, now did he?). I believe that what happened during the 100th episode was firstly a case of serious misscommunication and secondly because these two are outwardly very confident but when it comes down to it, very insecure.

    So I don’t believe he’s fundamentally changed either, we are just seeing him in other circonstances than we used to and hopefully it will provide some nice moments, also for B&B because in a way Brennan might get to see some other aspects of Booth as well.

    As most of us, I don’t like this whole situation, it’s a bit awkward and weird and just no fun, but that’s not because Booth has changed, it’s because everything around them has changed. He may be trying to adapt, but he’s not changing. I don’t like that some people are finding some kind of pleasure in seeing us miserable and I sure hope that it will all end soon but for that to happen it’s not just Booth who needs to wake up and come to his senses. It’s a two way street and right now they may not be walking completely in the same direction but after seeing the last episode, I do feel like they’re slowly making their way back.

    Okay I said that I didn’t have much to add here and ended up rambling anyway, that’s just so me. Sorry!

  21. Sarah,
    Thank you so much for this post, you have put into words a lot of what I have been thinking. Booth has not changed at all, just his situation. He is the same man he has always been, and yes that is an imperfect man with a difficult past and a lot of issues he still has to deal with, but he is also the same man that I have loved since season 1 and that Brennan loves. He is doing the best he can with the situation and with what he sees as the truth about his life and about Brennan’s feelings for him. I too want him and Brennan to be together, but I am enjoying watching them go through everything they need to to get there, and that includes Hannah for now. Also, I think Booth was very “Boothy” and adorable in “TBTW” with both Brennan and Hannah, and while I prefer to see it with Brennan and I cant deny I love seeing that aspect of him with anyone but it shows what a great guy he really is.

  22. First off i need to thank you for this post! 😀

    You’re one of the few people the write about Bones in a way that completely makes sense. Occassionally you are wrong 😉 BUT you actually know your ‘subject’ which makes a change to some 😀

    I wasn’t sure what i’d think when reading this. At one time i was furious with Booth, with this storyline and everything it entailed. And IF i allowed myself to think about the 100th i just get mad at Booth (and Brennan) so i don’t let myself, but things you have said have made me sit back and think. When you put it the way you have, he HASN’T changed. But for me that may be the problem. He hasn’t changed and at the moment it doesn’t look like her ever will, but for me IF Booth is to have a successful relationship with anyone (Brennan…Hannah…me! LOL) he’s going to need to. Not his basic traits or the core of the man he is, but his attitude to his past and what it did to him.

    So far in S6 the only part i haven’t liked and didn’t find ‘Boothy’ was the ‘I/I’ll miss you’. But that’s a personal eversion to that type of thing so i’ve let it go……..almost! LOL

    Now this

    ‘If I don’t mess up, I’m not punished’

    This sums him up perfectly i think, with his attitudes to BOTH is professional life and his personal. From what little we know of his childhood we can only imagine what he went through, and i can see that creating this ‘mantra’ that he lives by, subconsciously of course 🙂

    I can’t remember who said it, but i agree that Booth is also protective of Brennan in her personal life not just in the field. He’s gone out of his way to ensure she’s not hurt…but maybe at times she needed to feel the pain he shielded her from. Who knows?

    But anyway, pretty sure none of that made sense but theirs my two penanth for what little it’s worth 😉

    On a side note, this post was all about Booth and the people who claim he’s ‘changed beyond recognition’ etc. What about those who blame Brennan for the past/the things we’re seeing now. That say she hasn’t changed? Are you going to address that at any point?

    Anyway, excellent post. Gave me a lot to think about (and agree to!). BUT not as controversial as i hoped 😉

  23. Thank you for the post!!! I like how you said we have a slightly uncomfortable feeling with the season. I would say that is how I feel exactly. I love Booth and I love Brennan and I really could love them together. It is the situation I don’t like. I think we are seeing Brennan love him unconditionally even though she does not realize she is doing it. She wants him to be happy and that is love. Great post thanks for sharing. Am I allowed to say that I am ready for the”situation” to change! 🙂

  24. I agree that he has not changed fundamentally from past seasons, but last season I think he would have been a bit more delicate about telling Brennan about Hannah… so SOMETHING’S changed.


  25. You make a lot of really good points, and successfully refuted one or two things I’d been thinking. But then, I’ve haven’t been thinking he’s changed at the core of who he is, anyway. I’ve mostly been thinking that we’re seeing a different side of him because we’ve never seen him in a relationship like this one before (which is, I think, pretty much what you’re saying.)

    BUT (ah ha! the caveat) …I do think one of the things you highlight about him – his need to be perfect/fix things – is causing him to act in at least one way that’s out of character for him. You note that he’s protective of Brennan, and that hasn’t changed. And one of the photos you use to illustrate your point is of him threatening the gang leader in Woman in the Garden. He’s a cop, but he doesn’t threaten to arrest him, he threatens to kill him. And does the same to Vega in Aliens in the Spaceship.

    There’s no reason to think Brennan knew of either time – as far as she knows, she never had any problems from the gang because she put the leader in his place. End of story. But we know that Booth took care of things behind the scenes. And yet, when a corrupt cop (at least as far as we know) actually shoots – not just threatens, but shoots – his girlfriend, he backs down, denies that need to protect and defend and seems grateful that she accepts the idea of them going after the guy together.

    Are the situations different? Yeah, because he doesn’t want to cause her to not get her story. But it’s still hard for me to reconcile a Booth who’s willing to let her further risk her life with the Booth who threatened Vega with death when he had no proof at all the writer was even involved. He’s a cop, and given what we know of him, we assume he’s a fair cop. That he’ll go for the arrest rather than the kill – in fact, we know he doesn’t want to kill if it’s not necessary. But where his loved ones are concerned, he’s merciless and will go after the ones who are threatening them with no compunction. But because it might cost her a story, he backs down from going after the guy who’s not only threatening Hannah, but has actually harmed her. Could have killed her.

    Does that mean Booth’s changed? Or that he doesn’t love Hannah as much as he does Brennan? I don’t think so. And of course, it’s always possible that we’ll still see him investigating on his own, or finding a way to threaten the cop in some fashion that still gets her her story. But right now, what I see is that he’s willing to act like other than he is, is willing to repress part of himself to please her. And I think that says loads about the relationship and its future.

    One more comment, about leaving Hannah in the hospital. I wasn’t thinking about the parallels to Cam when that happened, though I think you’re spot on in doing so. I was thinking about his absolute trust in Brennan. If Brennan says Hannah’s doctor is wrong and her life is in danger, he believes her. If Brennan says it’s minor surgery and Hannah will be fine, he believes that, too, and goes to work. It’s that simple, and that lovely.

  26. I think that because we are used to seeing Booth act a certain way the past couple of seasons that seeing him with someone new means that he has changed. As you stated, we have not seen Booth in a serious (as a heart attack) relationship. We know that the relationship between Hannah & Booth started in a war zone and so we are expecting it to fail almost immediately (yes, I am one of them, what can I say, I am a B&B shipper to the core). Seeing Booth’s attention being taken away from Brennan is hard on those of us who have come to rely on Booth always having his focus on just Brennan and no one else.

    I don’t think that Booth has changed, the situation has changed and change is inevitable. Things have to change in order for the world to continue. So this minor speed bump on the way to B&B happiness will pass. It may take a while for it to happen, but it will. I think with each passing episode that we will see the changes once again between Booth & Brennan. And I for one can not wait to see what the writers have in store for my fav (non)couple.

  27. Hey! Thanks for this post! I really enjoyed it!

    So, I can definitely see your logic. And starting season six, I was definitely one of those people were thought that “Booth changed-he’s worse.” I was really upset with him, to be honest. But now that you’ve presented your evidence, I can see where you’re coming from. Booth really hasn’t changed: it’s just a different situation we’re seeing and I guess it’s taking us (me) a while to adjust to the Booth that isn’t completely involved in Brennan’s world.

    I don’t really know we’re I’m going with the rest of this, but it’s definitely something to think about.

    Thanks so much! It always makes my day when you post a new topic! 😀

  28. So, I actually took notes on this post so in an effort to make my response somewhat coherent….I don’t know if that plan will actually work, but here it goes:

    First of all, Sarah, thanks for this post! As so many have said already, you are great at somehow putting exactly what I am thinking into words. I think that you nailed it. (As always. 🙂 ) I have been having a really hard time forming my opinion on all of this. I am admittedly not the biggest fan of Hannah or the Hannah/Booth relationship. I try really hard to enjoy the presence of the character for what it is, but as a diehard B&B shipper at heart, it can be a bit challenging. So I probably sound like a hypocrite sometimes, but I don’t mean it be! Thanks for your analysis, it helps me sort through all of this! Ok, enough about me.

    To start, sure, Booth might be acting differently, but like you said, we’ve never really seen him in this situation before. Of course, things are going to be different. I think that Booth living in a Brennan-less world and Brennan living in an essentially Booth-less world is going to lead to some great character development. I don’t think that the characters have changed, or are going to change, rather, I think they are growing. (I think it was ProfeJMarie, that pointed the difference out at one point).

    I am glad you brought up the fact that Booth went to back to work instead of staying with Hannah. It was something I wasn’t sure what to think of when it happened. When Booth did that I was almost excited for a moment. I even tweeted something to the effect of “Did Booth just choose Brennan over Hannah….hmmm maybe not.” I think I just wanted to believe that he was choosing to be with Brennan over Hannah, but it just didn’t feel right. I won’t go so far as to say that Booth wouldn’t outwardly choose Brennan over the woman he is involved with… because he has in the past (Girl with the Curl). However, just as you pointed out, Booth has a fierce loyalty to his job and to putting things right (two things that I think go hand in hand). We have seen him choose those things over the woman he is with more than once. He always has been this way and I think, for the most part, he always will be. I think it’s something that we all find admirable about him, but sometimes he can take it too far.

    It was great that you made the connection between Booth having to make everything right and his current situation with Hannah. When you put it in that context it makes SO much sense. He wants everything to look perfect from the outside. I believe Booth *thinks* he’s in love with Hannah, and maybe he is (I’m not taking a definitive stance on that one), but there still must be some doubt within him, if already feels like he needs to fix things (with new sheets, etc.). I could be way off base, or taking it too far here…but I’m just throwing it out there.

    All in all, as was mentioned on Twitter earlier tonight, I think we all love when Booth does and says exactly the right thing, but we all also appreciate the flaws he has as a person. I don’t think he’s changed this season. I just think we are seeing a fuller embodiment of Booth….does that make sense? We are getting to know him better, learning more about him. For that alone I am, happy for Hannah’s presence, but as you stated perfectly, ” I want him to be himself…but with Brennan.”

    P.S. Loved the duck metaphor! Another for the Bones repertoire. 🙂

  29. You’re right. It’s the most fundamental of points: we don’t change. Grow but not change. Brennan asks Hodgins in Timecapsule “do boys change after high school?” and she asks because Booth can’t bring himself to tell her an embarrassing story. She’s worried she’s put her faith in the wrong guy, that he’s this shallow high school jock. But he’s not, as we learn when he tells his “I wasn’t a hero” story. Her faith is justified, because he was a good boy in high school and as Hodgins told us, boys don’t change.

  30. I agree with you completely! I have never thought that Booth has changed at all. He is still the “sweet, kickass, FBI murder solver with hard fists and a lion heart”. Booth is confused right now. Confused about his feelings for Hannah and for Brennan. Booth left for Afghanistan with a broken heart. (In Brennan words: with a crushed heart) He was thousands of miles away from home, Brennan, in a war zone, and here comes Hannah. A beautiful, open, vibrant woman who is completely opposite of Brennan. He was instantly attracted to her. She was his escape from his feelings for Brennan. She makes him have feelings he hasn’t had for another woman, other than Bones, for a long time. She was completely open to him with her feelings and he was free to open up to her as well. When he returned to DC, he had to deal with Brennan face to face. Those feelings for Bones never went away, they were in hibernation. Now, he is torn. Here is this woman whom he has real feelings for whom is completely honest…no guess work with her. Then there is his best friend, his soul mate Brennan. It is obvious he is still in love with her. He is now trying to convince others as well as himself that he is in love with Hannah, but he is trying too hard. People are saying that Booth has turned into a woman, but I don’t see that. All I see is a man who is torn between two women. However, I hope that he soon wakes up and realizes that no one can take the place of his Bones. 🙂

  31. Well said…and thank you for taking the time to say it. You’ve expressed the thoughts I’ve had myself. You were willing to go find the evidence to back them up though! Awesome!

  32. What a lovely discussion; I must say that I agree with just about what everyone here has thoughtfully posted. I too have been very bothered by the recent harsh judgments made against Booth, who in my mind is guilty of nothing except being extremely hurt and taking refuge in someone open and willing in order to put pull himself back together. I love this show precisely because the characters have been allowed to make choices that don’t always satisfy the audience but which allow the characters to evolve. Witness the awful pettiness of Angela and Hodgin’s breakup, Angela ruining Booth’s relationship with Tessa, Sweets’s experiments with B/B, Brennan dating Hacker after she turns Booth down, Brennan running away to Indonesia, Booth with Hannah and his “serious as a heart attack” comment. Seeing the raw edges of these characters, knowing what they’ve been through and the not so nice things they are capable of doing, their darker sides, makes their moments of kindness and self-sacrifice all the more meaningful.

    So back to Booth- his nature has not changed; however, his ability to adapt to a situation (Brennan’s rejection and susequent departure) is being severely tested. Children of abusive parents crave stability in their lives, which is why Booth was willing to continue in the limbo of his undefined relationship with Brennan right up to the moment in which she left. He says himself in the 5th finale when she tells him she’s leaving that he doesn’t adjust to change very well. The known, even when it isn’t exactly what is wanted, is better than the unknown; it makes sense in the context of an unpredictable father who could get drunk and hurt you or your family in the blink of an eye. When Brennan left on her dig the emotional safety rug was yanked right out from under Booth, causing him to revert to the only other familiar constant in his life-the military, with it’s rigorous and unchanging schedule. It also allowed him to focus on something other than Brennan: keeping himself and his trainees alive. With Hannah he attempts to rebuild the emotional safety he felt with Brennan as well as prove to himself that he is worthy of someone’s love, an issue that haunts him from childhood. His circumstances have changed; his behavior, but not his character, changes accordingly.

    We witness behavior changes in Booth, specifically his distance from Brennan, in the season opener starting with his restrained hug. Both DB and ED are masters of understatement-every little touch and look is meaningful and conveys what pages of script couldn’t accomplish. The signs of his distancing were subtle but necessary; in order to attempt a true connection with Hannah he had to cut the cord to Brennan. Only he can’t bring himself to truly sever the relationship with Brennan, so he unwittingly hides his feelings for her instead so as not to betray Hannah’s trust. This behavior doesn’t represent a change to his essential nature but rather a reaffirmation of it. He’s got to fix things, make them right for everyone, make everyone happy regardless of personal cost to himself. So he forges ahead with Hannah because she gave up a lot to be with him while continuing to work closely with and support Brennan. That he may not be doing either thing very well is irrelevant. The situation is an impossible one which few people could deal with, let alone resolve in a way that would keep everyone happy. I think that very soon we’ll start to see that the strain of juggling everyone’s well-being is going to start to take its toll on Booth; we’re already seeing the conflict in his eyes whenever Hannah and Brennan are in the same room. My guess as to the future? A painful and private struggle that will lead to a breakdown-gambling and maybe anger and a thirst for revenge stemming form the sniping serial killer.

  33. I haven’t read the other replies yet, I wanted to just post my thoughts first. I’ve had a hard time with the Booth on the show, so your post is very timely. I’ve been shielding myself from the Bones universe a little bit because I am a bit crushed by the weighty angsty feel of the show right now.

    When I read what you wrote here – my eyes actually got tears in them:
    Not to disregard anyone’s feelings, but saying something like, “Well, it just feels off” or “You’re wrong because I don’t like it” doesn’t quite cut it this time. Not that anyone who feels that way would be wrong…in fact, I feel that way! If we’re wrong about it, I’m fine with that! But it can feel wrong and still be the truth that Booth has not changed.

    I think I agree that Booth is probably acting in character (enough evasion in that sentence?). I believe the Booth we have seen was more confident and still more protective and nurturing because of Brennan and his feelings for her. The Booth we see now is the one who has had his ‘rock’ – the one who allowed him to be a rebel, etc – shaken. I wish that were not the case of course, and want the Booth that was every woman’s dream (and that is just slight hyperbole) back. He can be that way with his Bones – so he should get his Bones!

  34. I just wanted to revisit this post. After the ending to last night’s episode I immediately thought of this discussion. I hurt last night….I thought the ending was so odd. I thought that Booth would bring Hannah to founding fathers to celebrate the pregnancy. Hannah is friends with Brennan. Angela, Cam and Brennan have been in their apartment. I just thought it odd that he would leave and go home instead of texting her to meet them at founding fathers, or at least give her the option to come.

    Even when Booth and Brennan have been involved with other people, I still think they would have gone for Hodgins announcement. I even think Hannah would have wanted to go and be there. I just felt like it was very unBooth like. A change in him.

    I did read another post that said “jerk” Booth is just “hurting” Booth. So I guess that could be true. I miss Booth and Brennan’s connection and friendship. In Seal’s GMMR review, you suggest that we are suppose to feel this way and it is no accident that we are hurting with them.

    I guess we are suppose to see the difference in Brennan. She is willing to lie for him so that he can be happy. Is that what we are suppose to take from this….

    It just hurts…. Maybe he hasn’t changed, but are we seeing a different side to him that we don’t understand? That ending really threw me. I guess the roles are reversed this season and we are suppose to see Brennan’s unconditional love for a while. But I do miss Booth.

    • Thanks, A. I still contend that what we’re seeing in Booth is the “Booth in a Brennan-less world”. Maybe I’ll do another post on it again. Remember in season one, when that lawyer Amy was describing Booth and said he wasn’t as angry anymore? I always thought that was interesting. I never would have thought of the idea of being with Brennan would sort of soothe over Booth’s rough edges. What we are seeing is a Booth who doesn’t have hope in that idea any longer. He’s always been an optimist, but he’s sort of lost that, finding his happiness in other things. I do think he’s happy with Hannah, and I think there comes a point in every relationship in real life where a man chooses his girl over his friends. We just happen to be “in” (or in love with 🙂 ) the group of friends, so we want to call bull crap on him. But if the roles were reversed, and let’s say that he was with Brennan, or even NOT, but some of his FBI guy friends or guys from his hockey team wanted to hang out, and we saw him choose to hang out with Brennan instead, we’d carry Booth off on our shoulders in victory. Though I don’t like Hannah that much, it doesn’t seem fair to me to judge Booth for liking her. I don’t see how i can have it both ways. If he’s been turning down friends to spend time with the woman he loves for years now (though we never actually SAW the scenario I mentioned before, I’m thinking it’s probably happened. Maybe even at the end of Perfect Pieces?), it makes sense that he’s doing it again now. It just so happens that we’re seeing the friends he seems to be abandoning and because they are also our friends, we care a lot more. Yeah, it hurts big time, but I do still 100% feel that this is precisely the point. Things are not as they should be, and so it’s a comfort that everything seems to be tilted to the side. The scary part for me, honestly? It’s that Brennan has this much control over Booth’s happiness. Some people might not agree with me, and i don’t even think SHE would agree with me. Maybe he wouldn’t either. But somehow, over the past 6 years or whatever, his optimal happiness has become dependant on her acceptance of him for a lifetime. That’s a lot of weight to carry for her. I think she’s up to it, though!

      I love doing the GMMR reviews, but i can’t exactly write just 2500 words about B&B for each episode! I always feel like I have to choose one moment from about a thousand. Of course, that’s what THIS blog is for! 🙂

  35. Thanks Seels…You can always make it better!!! I wonder how much longer we have to hurt with them…Because I am hurting….

  36. I am back again…I am still trying to buy into the Booth has not changed theme. So thanks for indulging me again….

    I was thinking and pondering, yes avoiding my apa paper yet again! 🙂

    So maybe Booth has not changed, but could some of his actions, reactions, attitudes etc be a by product of going back to war? He claimed it was administrative and he was not in any danger. However, we know of two instances that it was not. One was when he saved Hannah and the other was the opening scene when he is trying to save the boy. Neither of those seemed administrative. So are we looking at a Post War Booth trying to adjust back into life in DC? We know the first time out of the army he had a hard time and ended up gambling. We also know that his father and brother are alcoholics. Is there issues from war he is not dealing with or is this really all about Brennan and his new relationship with Hannah?

    Just a random thought as I am avoiding my paper!!! Anyone have any thoughts?

    • i think you’re right A, and i think we’ll be seeing some more of it/explanation/dealing with it as the season progresses. but i also think it’s a mix of both post-war Booth and still-heartbroken Booth that’s making it seem like he’s changed. as much as Brennan says she can’t change, Booth has also said that he doesn’t deal well with change, and that’s quite the mountain of change he’s dealing with, enough to make anyone act a little crazy.

      i had a tough time buying that he hadn’t changed, too. mostly due to his snarkiness this season. but then i went back and re-watched season five and saw that even in the season he’s supposedly accepted that he’s in love with her, he still occasionally treats Brennan like she’s an idiot, so that hasn’t changed, just our perception of it because we see how hard Brennan is working to be a better person and don’t understand how he could not. but something i noticed recently (as i started to re-watch seasons 1-4) is that i think he gets progressively *less* intuitive with her through the seasons. it’s like, the closer he gets to her the less he really understands her, does that make sense?

      anyway, that’s my two cents. i hope your apa paper is going well.

  37. Pingback: Booth: Attractive On Our Terms? « Bones Theory

  38. Pingback: Booth, Baby. « Bones Theory

  39. I’ve been avoiding this entry in my attempt to catch up on all the posts I missed before I found this blog because I knew it would hurt. And it did.

    I don’t think Booth was acting out of character, but that doesn’t change the fact that I was so angry with him the first time I saw the episodes. Knowing he was just doing what he thought was best didn’t make it feel any less wrong. Knowing he was really in love didn’t make seeing him try his damnedest to be happy and to make that someone he loved happy, too, that didn’t make the watching of it hurt any less.

    In fact, knowing all that, believing all that, just made it worse. It was like being offered something beautiful and when you reach out to take it, having it ripped away from you with a “just kidding!” Having Brennan right there, watching along with me/us, seeing her in so much pain, that was just awful.

    Even now that S6 is over and we have the excitement of all of the changes to come in S7 to look forward to, those episodes are hard to watch without feeling that knot form in my stomach. It’s just so damn painful, for both of them.

    • Oh, heavens, yes. I find it nearly impossible to watch any episode that includes Hannah. The pain is still too fresh. Maybe after a long while, and after I have proof that Booth and Brennan really do end up happy together. Maybe. Or maybe I’ll only ever watch the second half of season 6.

      • Just curious, but everyone is always talking about the first and second half of the season, and whether they will watch all of it or not. There were 23 episodes, so technically that’s 11.5 episodes (forgive me, I’m a mathematician, and a Brennanite.) But seriously, since we all seem to have different tolerance levels, where do people’s “second half” begin? I plan on buying the season, and am thinking about how much I will actually rewatch. Hulu has a couple of the first episodes up, but I’m not ready to watch them yet – with the DVDs it will be easier to fast-forward. Episode 9 was really good, but really painful, and I probably won’t replay it over and over just for kicks. So episodes 9-13 were kinda okay for me except for that Hannah presence, and some moments I really, really felt uncomfortable watching (more than the sex scenes, but maybe not more than the old telephone one). I was pretty good after then, and really loved the last few episodes.

      • I will rewatch all of them because I can’t not watch an episode.

        But I won’t enjoy them until Blizzard.

      • C-bones, when I say “second half” I mean the post-Hannah episodes, with a few exceptions. I liked a couple of the early-season episodes that had little or no Hannah presence. But generally speaking, I’m talking post-Daredevil. I do plan to buy the DVDs, but unlike the earlier seasons, there will be a significant number of episodes that I just won’t watch very often. I have tried watching episodes with Hannah On Demand, and it gives me a stomach ache. I just can’t do it yet.

  40. It’s possible that this means I am too invested in this television series. I can live with that; there are certainly worse vices to have.

    • When I was in midst of my deep (deep deep) obsession with Harry Potter, I used to tell my kids it could be worse – it could have been crack cocaine or Internet porn. In the grand scheme of things, HP was harmless.

      Same with BONES. For the most part, I’m a movie person not a TV person. BONES, GAME OF THRONES and BOARDWALK EMPIRE are the only TV shows I watch in real time, except for History Channel or BIO channel stuff.

      This is harmless. Like you said, there are worse vices. 🙂

      • It sounds like we are kindred spirits. My life literally revolves around my kids and husband and home and sometimes I need an escape. Like you, I choose entertainment rather than smoking crack. Bones is my drug of choice.

      • Exactly! It’s good to have an outlet.

        That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

  41. I’ve just watched the early parts of season 6 again and Booth has not changed. He is just trying to work his new relationship into his life. Remember it was not planned. Hannah surprised him and he had to adapt. This is what caused the initial friction in tCitC but by the end of the ep, it looked like a few things had been ironed out. As long as Hannah is not brought up, Booth is all himself. They still had lunch, had drinks and hung out while on cases. He just could not be there for Brennan emotionally and that she absolutely understood.
    Whenever Hannah was away on assignment, he’s pretty comfortable IMO and does not seem to be conflicted.

    They both have always had a go at each other. It’s what they do and it is what Booth calls ‘being affectionate’.

    I know lots of people find the first part of season 6 hard to watch but try watching it with an objective and open mind and you will see that Booth is himself unless Hannah is mentioned. He just wants to keep his private life private which he will find difficult since Brennan and Hannah are becoming friends.

    • Booth seems to be showing how intelligent he is in regards to cases instead of surpressing it. He deferred a lot to Brennan in past seasons but in season 6, he actually does ‘squint talk’.
      In tBatB, looking at the severed hands of the bounty hunter, he was able to say the guy did. Love the shocked look on Brennan and Cam’s faces.
      He does so in other later eps too. That is a change from the norm although Angela always knew he was quite intelligent.

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