“Since Bones was already invited to the reunion, we can get more information if she’s seen as an alumni.”
“Yeah, great, correcting my Latin, not the best way to make friends.”
“Okay, great, see you later.”
“Wait, Agent Booth.”
“Yes, Dr. Sweets?”
“You and Dr. Brennan are in the same motel?”
“Yeah, but they’re not adjoining rooms. Okay Sweets, look, they’re not joined. See, the bathroom. And I’m closer to the ice machine.”
“No, I’m merely asking because of your feelings for Dr. Brennan.”
“Alright, I get it, alright Sweets? I respect that, but you know what? I’ve moved on, I already even have a date for next week.”
“Oh, really, who might that be?”
“Thanks, take care.”
“Who might that be Booth? Booth? Who might that be?”
Death of the Queen Bee – S05E17
While watching Mastodon in the Room and The Couple in the Cave, I found myself intrigued with the new dynamic between Booth and Sweets. So, Booth is giving personal advice to Sweets and then sharing some of his feelings with him. I mean, what? And then I watched The Maggots in the Meathead and there was more. Even though there was a typical sarcastic undertone in it, Booth says, “From one friend to another, I’m fine.” Don’t get me wrong, I like it. But there are some overlays to it.
Overlay 1: Booth respects Sweets professionally and with thanks to Brennan and GG Wyatt, has developed a brotherly attitude towards him. But it is a tough call to say that the two have truly been friends – isn’t it? I mean really friends?
Overlay 2: With Booth and Brennan’s relationship still in a gnarled state (oh, the pain, the pain), Booth may be using Sweets as a proxy (possibly even a surrogate??) for Brennan.
Overlay 3: Booth is feeling more self-assured right now, but is being confronted once again by his re-surfacing truths regarding his feelings towards Brennan. By convincing Sweets of his own happiness, Booth is hoping to create validation for himself. I will say, however, that this overlay is not really one I am doubting. It is the first two.
So, I thought about the questions that were floating around in my head with these overlays. Are Booth and Sweets friends? Is Booth hoping for a stronger relationship with Sweets? What is the point of all of this meandering in my head? And how does the quoted conversation at the beginning of this post fit in? Let me take you on my journey.
During the first session with Sweets (Secret in the Soil), Booth immediately has his defense mechanisms out in full strength. He is snarky, he is belittling (and c’mon, you know Booth gets that way – I adore him, but we all have our faults). Sweets does two things that will earn Booth’s respect. He enters his own “zone of truth” by telling Booth that he has succeeded in intimidating him, but at the same time has made it clear that Sweets is the one that can control the fate of the partnership. Asserting himself as intelligent and in control is a good way to get through to Booth (like Brennan did, no?)
There are numerous instances where Booth demonstrates a definite respect for Sweets’ expertise. (In fact, this is one of the things I love about Booth – he is not afraid to ask questions and is not afraid to look to all theories if it will help him find the murderer – look at how he listens to Hodgins, even in his conspiracy theory mode and Avalon, etc.) My favorites include The Knight on the Grid when Booth brings Sweets in on the Gormogon case against Brennan’s wishes, The Verdict in the Story where Booth acknowledges that “Sweets is brilliant” as well as identifies that he would be good for profiling with them and helping with interrogations, and The Perfect Pieces in the Purple Pond where Booth looks to Sweets to get a feel for the victim through his bedroom to name just a few.
In The Finger in the Nest, The Bone that Blew, and The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Booth still goes to Sweets for his professional expertise, but in a personalized way. In FitN, it is Booth’s worry about Parker finding the finger and if he’ll be traumatized. In BtB, it is for wondering if he is doing the right thing by not sending Parker to a private school and in BDitN, it is out of concern about Parker’s questions about why Booth doesn’t have a girlfriend. These episodes are where I consider, well, maybe Sweets is Booth’s friend.
In The Boy in the Time Capsule, Sweets says to Booth, “You were that guy, weren’t you, Agent Booth. You were the golden boy who could get away with anything just by turning on the charm.” Booth responds, “That’s ridiculous. You don’t even know who I am.” To me that means Booth wants him to know him. In Fire in the Ice there is the scene in Sweets office where he is right up in Booth’s face about confronting his issues about his father. It was a great, intense, moment and I almost believe that Booth just might have cracked if Caroline hadn’t interrupted.
I think it is thanks to Brennan that Booth has any sort of relationship at all with him and that is a bit why I think Booth might actually want more with him. Few people know much about Booth and Sweets is rapidly becoming one of them. Inasmuch as Booth does not open up to people, there is relief when you realize when you can open up and I think a part of Booth wants that with Sweets, but he struggles with that because he also feels like the older, wiser, protective brother around him. The Dwarf in the Dirt shows Booth most directly approaching Sweets in an effort to affirm a friend relationship, but unfortunately, Sweets gives Booth the “wrong” answer, sending Booth to GG Wyatt.
And so, Booth still resisted personal conversations with Sweets. Until now. Suddenly Booth is having real, personal conversations with Sweets. It’s heartwarming, but I wasn’t sure why until:
I realized where the crux was: the quoted conversation at the beginning of this post between Sweets and Booth while Booth is in Brennan’s hometown for the reunion; the episode immediately following the fateful 100th.
Seels wrote in her episode review for Death of the Queen Bee:
“How exactly did Sweets know about Booth and Brennan’s conversation in the 100th? Didn’t you think that was implied during Sweets’ conversation with Booth?”
Sure Sweets can make assumptions, but when he does that, Booth shoots him down flat. So, even though I’m frustrated that we didn’t see this conversation, I think Booth did tell him about the 100th fiasco which gives me my a priori insight into what I’m seeing now. And this, finally, brings me back ‘round to the first 2 “overlays” I mentioned with the final question(s):
Booth definitely has an “older brother” relationship with Sweets, but does he want Sweets to really know the true Booth and develop a true friendship? Or, is Booth merely using Sweets as a temporary vessel until Booth’s and Brennan’s relationship re-builds itself?