Bones Theory

Into the Looking Glass: How Angela & Hodgins’ Relationship Mirrors Booth & Brennan’s

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Angela:  When this goes wrong, it…it pulls everybody else into it. And, what the great date tells us is that when it goes wrong…

Hodgins…it’ll go really, really wrong.

Angela:  Yeah. So…we go back, right? Friends.

Hodgins:  Sure. Friends. Just one question:  what if it doesn’t end that way? What if it doesn’t go wrong?

Hey there Bones friends! We’re coming to the end of HODGINS Week here at Bones Theory, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a great time reading about my favorite bug and slime guy and discussing just what it is that makes his character so awesome. Today, we’re going to take a look at some similarities between his and Angela’s relationship development and Booth and Brennan’s. We’ll also discuss what, if any, predictions we can make about our favorite non-couple based on what we’ve already seen transpire between the undisputed “king of the lab” and his funky, formerly freedom-loving queen. So grab your maggot milkshake and let’s head into the Ooky Room and get started, shall we?

This summer, one of the many ways I attempted to manage my Bones withdrawal was to re-watch as much of the first five seasons as I could prior to the start of season six. When I got to The Girl with the Curl, I was struck by an almost eerie sense of déjà vu during a number of the scenes between Hodgins and Angela. For those of you who don’t remember what goes down during that episode, here’s a little visual reminder:                                                                                      Eventually I realized that the reason Angela and Hodgins’ relationship issues seemed familiar is because they were familiar. And this was the reason why:

When Booth tells Brennan in The Parts in the Sum of the Whole that he wants to give a relationship between the two of them a try, Brennan’s first response is, “No, the FBI won’t let us work together.” Likewise, in The Girl with the Curl, Angela initially tells Hodgins she won’t go on a date with him because, “we work together Jack.” Although Brennan’s response to Booth was partially based on the FBI’s policy on workplace romances (which Hacker dismissed easily enough in The Predator in the Pool, telling Brennan he’d gotten clearance from “himself” to see her socially), I’m pretty sure there’s more to the story than that. Consider the following conversation (from The Girl with the Curl) between Angela, Brennan, and Cam that takes place shortly after Angela turns Hodgins down (and three years before the 100th episode):

Angela:  Wait, you can’t pretend you didn’t hear about this.

Cam:  Fine. What did you tell him?

Angela:  No.

Cam:  Why?

Brennan:  Because, it would be a disaster.

Angela:  All of the sudden you have an opinion on this?

Brennan:  You should never indulge in a romantic relationship with someone you work with.

Cam:  Why not?

Brennan:  Anthropologically?

Angela:  There’s an anthropological answer?

Brennan:  An efficient workplace is predicated upon a simple hierarchy. Romance undermines that hierarchy.

At the close of this conversation, Brennan tells Angela she should take Cam’s advice – which is to go out on a date with Hodgins. Cam’s theory is that the date will be so weird they won’t want to pursue anything further. Problem solved. So Angela goes out with Hodgins, expecting the date to fizzle and everything to return to normal. But it doesn’t and Angela tells Hodgins at the end of the episode that, despite the great date, she won’t pursue a deeper relationship with him because they work together. Angela’s insistence that she and Hodgins have to go back to being “friends” is quite clearly echoed in Brennan’s tear-filled, “can we still work together?” in the 100th episode.  

Then I noticed that the similarities between Angela and Brennan didn’t end with their mutual desire to avoid workplace romances.  In earlier seasons, they’re both portrayed as strong, sexually confident women who tend to shy away from long-term commitments. They seem so different because what motivates them is so different. Angela’s actions are rooted in an innate desire for freedom while Brennan’s are based on a worldview that perceives love as, at best ephemeral, and at worst, non-existent – but the end result is still the same. Ironically, by the end of season five, they both appear to have largely abandoned this approach in favor of something more stable – marriage (Angela) and a partnership/surrogate relationship (Brennan).

And then, somewhere in the process of identifying the obvious parallels between the two relationships, I realized that maybe I could use what I knew about the past to predict what might happen in the future. In my experience, the majority of television relationships (at least the ones with an eventual “happy ending”) typically follow the same general formula. There may be minor variations, but the basic construct remains the same (and in my experience, that formula typically holds true for most movies and your run of the mill, grocery store romance novels as well). It goes something like this:  boy meets girl → boy falls in love with girl → boy asks girl out → girl rejects boy → girl changes her mind → boy and girl are deliriously happy until the inevitable messy break-up → former couple dates other people → former couple finally realizes that they’re miserable apart, reunite, and live happily ever after in a little house with a white picket fence, two kids, a cat, and a dog.

Okay, so I may have editorialized a bit on that last part, but you get the point. I think it’s safe to say that Angela and Hodgins’ romantic journey has been pretty standard thus far. All the necessary elements are there – right down to the messy break-up and the devoted dad bent on exacting his own brand of revenge – Texas style. 

So, if we use Angela and Hodgins as our standard, what does that say about Booth and Brennan? Well, if Hodgins’ near-death experience at the hands of the Gravedigger in Aliens in a Spaceship was reason enough for Angela to pursue a relationship with him despite her earlier rejection and clearly stated reservations, then perhaps a similar situation between Booth and Brennan would cause the proverbial (not to mention really, really stubborn) dam to break. My only caveat at the time I initially came up with this theory was that once Booth and Brennan entered into a relationship, they could never break up because doing so would inevitably prove Brennan’s beliefs about love correct. And if that happened, there wouldn’t be a next time. If you’ve read my first Bones Theory blog post (A Walk on the Dark Side:  Examining the Logic in Booth’s “Abandonment” of Brennan, 10/6/10), you know I eventually discovered a critical flaw in that theory that changed my thinking entirely. And then it hit me…

What if my perspective was all wrong? What if the events of the 100th episode, and more importantly the season five finale, didn’t fall where I thought they did on the continuum? What if what we’re seeing now in season six is actually a post break-up Booth and Brennan? I know it sounds kind of crazy, but I think it makes sense. That Booth and Brennan were a “couple” prior to the start of season six is something that has been well-documented not only here on Bones Theory, but also in the context of the show and by the actors connected to it. David Boreanaz, for example, has reiterated in multiple interviews that he thinks Booth and Brennan are already in a relationship. Angela told Brennan essentially the same thing in The Couple in the Cave and who can forget what Sweets told them about surrogate relationships in The Man in the Outhouse?

If Brennan’s rejection of Booth in the 100th episode and her subsequent decision to go to Maluku in the season five finale is actually the break-up and not the initial rejection (as I first thought), then where did it all begin? I’d like to think it went something like this:  Booth meets Brennan for the first time at a university lecture → Booth “knows” Brennan is the one for him → Booth and Brennan kiss on a rainy night outside a pool hall and Booth feels like “this could be going somewhere” → Brennan says no and they go their separate ways  → They meet again one year later (in the pilot episode) and begin a partnership that becomes a relationship in every sense but one → Booth wants more but Brennan can’t commit, so she severs their partnership and they go their separate ways → Booth dates Hannah → and here we are. They’re apart, and miserable because of it, but haven’t yet figured out how to find their way back to each other. 

So what do you think about the similarities I’ve mentioned? Are they deliberate on the part of the writers or do they indicate a lack of creativity? Is Angela and Hodgins’ relationship a blueprint for Booth and Brennan or are the writers simply relying on a pre-set formula that’s proven and effective? If the motivating factor for Angela was a life-threatening situation, what will it take for Brennan to finally risk it all on Booth?

And last but not least, now that we’ve seen this:

and this:

does that mean we’ll eventually get to see this: 

and this: 

What do you think?

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22 thoughts on “Into the Looking Glass: How Angela & Hodgins’ Relationship Mirrors Booth & Brennan’s

  1. Excellent post! I agree with everything you wrote. I definitely think this season we’re seeing the post-breakup period. Maybe that’s why this season hasn’t bothered me like it has some people? Because I think I know where this is headed, and I am just along for the ride, excited to see how HH & company get us there.

  2. Wow this post was great! I think i can now look at the S6 Booth in a different way. A lot of fans are mad at him for being all rude to Brennan, and I am one of them. I’m not really mad about the Hannah situation too much but I have noticed that Booth appears to be seriously annoyed by Brennan’s ‘smart talk’ and I really hate that he rolls his eyes at her and is all snarky towards her. But now that you have mentioned this:
    “What if what we’re seeing now in season six is actually a post break-up Booth and Brennan? I know it sounds kind of crazy, but I think it makes sense. That Booth and Brennan were a “couple” prior to the start of season six is something that has been well-documented not only here on Bones Theory, but also in the context of the show and by the actors connected to it.”
    I am suddenly not as mad as Booth because as u said
    “and here we are. They’re apart, and miserable because of it, but haven’t yet figured out how to find their way back to each other.”
    So i guess I get why Booth is acting the way he is. They are miserable because they are apart, so it makes sense that when he is with Brennan all he can think of is how things played out in the hundreth episode. And then when he goes home to Hannah, its like that’s his chance to be happy and stop being miserable, so that might just be the reason why he THINKS he is in love with Hannah also.

  3. I have thought the same thing. That maybe this is the messy break up stage. One thing I have appreciated about HH, (And there are many things that I am mad at him about) but one thing I am glad he did was not let this be an on again off again thing. I think when they commit it will be all in for both of them. I loved them in season four and per 100th season 5, so I think you are right. They were together, just not together. I do hope we get to the eventually and I do hope at one point Brennan says “We are way better together than either one of us is apart.” Great post. I love it. We will get there right….It won’t end like this will it? We will get our old Booth back right?

  4. Are they deliberate on the part of the writers or do they indicate a lack of creativity?

    I think it is deliberate. I don’t like it but I think they want us to feel this way. I just don’t think I can handle feeling like this all season. But I do think it is very deliberate. Hopefully the payoff will be worth it.

    • I agree, I think the writing this season has been very deliberate. Thursday’s episode taken in conjunction with The Bones That Weren’t kind of solidified that, at least for me. That the awkwardness seems deliberate is a relief to a certain extent, except for the awful way Booth has been acting. I’ve been a pretty vocal proponent from the beginning for allowing Booth to be “human,” but I have to admit that I thouight Thursday’s episode was particularly difficult to watch. I KNOW there’s a reason for the way he’s acting, and that it’s going to look bad, it has to, but sometimes I wish it didn’t have to be quite THIS bad. Know what I mean?

      • It seems deliberate but sometimes I just have to wonder, “must they be so cruel?”. Have a heart, Hart! (tu-dum-tssssss!)

  5. I LOVE this post! The way you described the relationship formula in B&B’s sense made me totally believe that is EXACTLY what is going on. I think they really are miserable without each other this season (most easily seen in Booth as of now). I hope you (and the rest of us who are with you on this one) are right because I think an on/off/on/off relationship would totally destroy both the characters and the show. I’m along for the ride, and hopefully somewhere along the ride we get to see B&B finally get together. ❤

    • This makes sense and I am going to go with it because I am not an angst bunny and all this angst has to make sense at some point. Another thing I recall is that during an interview in preseason, DB said it is going to be shown that things are not as they seem around Xmas time. I am holding onto that comment cause I certainly am having trouble enjoying this season so far.

  6. I think that the BONES writers are pretty good at their jobs. They’re trying to manipulate our emotions so we connect to the show. Despite many fans anger, they keep tuning in to see what happens. They’re sneaky like that. I haven’t ever thought of this 6th season as post-break up but it really makes a lot of sense. I really enjoyed this post. It was excellent!

  7. Oh, I really, really, REALLY hope you’re right but I feel like you’re forgetting something that to me has been so clear this season: Booth’s actions towards Brennan.

    While the Hodgins and Angela situation was awkward after the break-up, they managed to maintain a cordial – and I’d even risk saying friendly – relationship, even if their interactions were limited to work and mostly confined to the lab. Hodgins was hurting (actually, I believe they both were, but Angela dealt with it in her own free-spirited-I-love-to-fall-in-love way), he even admitted to “hating everyone” but I feel like he never changed his essence; he stayed the funny, sweet, crazy conspiracy theorist that we all know and love. Booth, on the other hand, yikes! Honestly, after some of the latest stuff, I feel like it’ll be hard to salvage the character and bring back the boothiness…

    (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel it’s all on the guys; I think that the fact that Angela throws herself in her relationships is a big part of the reason Hodgela finally worked out. Here’s to hoping Brennan finds that courage and jumps… and SOON, for crying out loud!)

  8. Oh, come on , guys !! You know how HH and the writers just LOVE to screw with our minds!! If you paid attention to the promo for next week’s episode, Hannah said she didn’t want to get in between what Booth and Brennan have. Also I can’t wait to see Parker’ s reaction to Hannah!!

  9. Awesome. This is a perfect explanation.

    Actually… Angela and Hodgins’ relationship (the breakup) probably effected Brennan’s resistance in the 100th episode. She saw that they didn’t work out (just like Cam said it wouldn’t much earlier), and with her own opinions about how love doesn’t stay… it makes so much sense. And it being a break-up moment? It sounded like it. It felt like it. I think it appeared like it (and compared to Angela and Hodgins’ actions, in retrospect, especially).

    We also have to separate plot from characters a bit, though. Plot drives characters, and characters drive plot, but while the plot is the same, the characters are not. We can’t say “Hodgins was mad, so Booth must be mad, and Angela threw herself into relationships, so Brennan must throw herself into relationships” because that isn’t them. Hodgins gets mad, Booth gets… snippy. Angela throws herself into her relationships, and Brennan throws herself into her work. I think that’s as far as it goes, though. I mean, we are talking about Angela and Hodgins — they got spur-of-the-moment married in jail after being broken up for a year. I highly doubt anything that happens with Booth and Brennan is going to be that spur of the moment.

    And then there’s more. I also think that this whole season is partly throwing back to S1 (their attitudes are similar, and they’re throwing in S1 allusions every episode. “Dr. Hodgins, your theory is wrong!” (Sound familiar?)). There were thirteen months (according to Brennan) before they met again after the first case and fallout. By my calculations… we’ll reach the thirteen months after the 100th episode sometime after hiatus. 100th is sometime in late winter/early spring (February?). They leave in February/March (count back from when they return, they give an approximate date with the case). They return in August/September (Couple in the Cave takes place a two weeks after Sept 13, when the victims died, and it’s assumed that they returned around then, at least). So… February is about thirteen months. And just a bit of food for thought… let’s say that the Angela/Hodgins breakup was in September (I guess? Their timeline is wacky). It took them (depending on their timeline) about 18 months or less, depending on when the season finale of S4 was. I mean, it’s different, but it was a bit over a year for one… so maybe we should say it should be a bit over a year for the other, plus with all of this S1 alluding… but we should be seeing something around their February (not ours, so don’t count on me for this, and no, it is not based in any spoilers or known stuff whatsoever, and my horrible math). So maybe by our February (probably not), maybe earlier, maybe later (depends also on winter hiatus) we may see something. Fun.

    Sorry for the randomness… I just think that even those two situations go really, really well, even when you add my crazy timeline math. And if Angela and Hodgins are supposed to be what is to come for Booth and Brennan… I am really, really excited (but I’m patient… I think). Thanks again for the great article.

    • I don’t know if this fits into your timeline or not, but let’s not forget that they are ‘supposed’ to meet at the coffee cart by the reflecting pool one year after they left. I know they’ve already come back and met by the reflecting pool, but that was five months too early. I can’t get rid of this feeling that something is going to happen (something good), in one year’s time from when they had left and force them to ‘really come back’ and meet up by that coffee cart. “One year from today” was repeated too many times for it to not mean something.

      • Yep, that would place it around March, which totally fits the timeline. Creepy. Plus in the End in the Beginning, in the very beginning, Hodgins’ voiceover mentions a year, as well, I think. Creepy again. Someone has to check me on that one, though, I haven’t seen the episode since September, and I somehow forgot that part (I used to have it memorized).

  10. Wow! This post was beautiful!! I am really looking forward to some life-threatening event this season. I think it will bring to surface some “feelings” they’ve had before. And I think you’re definitely right when you say that the 100th episode was the “break up”. From what I’ve seen this season, it sure feels that way.

    And can I just say…the swing scene (H/A’s date) was SOOOOOOOOO perfect!!! 🙂 🙂

  11. You’ve said some things here I’ve long been aware of – there are certain conventions in the romance genre, whether written or filmed, that Hart’s quite aware of.

    And there are certainly similarities between the two couples, beginning with how Brennan and Angela approach relationships in the beginning of the show and continuing with concerns about working together that someone in each pair expresses.

    If they start out with a strong correlation between Brennan/Angela and Booth/Hodgins, they flip around at a certain point: Hodgins waits while Angela has other relationships, and if Brennan isn’t quite waiting, Booth is the one with the SO.

    But there’s more variety in the romance genre than I think you’re allowing for. For example, the major conflict being an SO (where they break up and one or both have other relationships) is viewed by a lot of writers as being rather cliched (which is, I think, why Hart’s trying to hard on one level to make the relationship with Hannah credible, even while giving large hints that it’s really not.)

    One given in a romance is what romance writers call the ‘black moment’ where all seems lost. This can be when an SO comes into the picture, but it doesn’t have to be. In romantic suspense novels, it’s frequently where it looks as if one or both of them is certain to die. But it can also be anything that forces the couple to realize they’re not going to have their happily ever after.

    For example, if I were writing Booth and Hannah as a real romance (and boy, doesn’t that show how seriously I take them?) the black moment would be when Hannah realizes she’s still a nomad and isn’t cut out for a traditional relationship. She goes back overseas and all seems lost. But then, if this is a story of the romance genre (which must, by definition, have an happily ever after – if not, it’s drama, not romance) she has some epiphany that allows her to realize her time with Booth has changed her and that’s she’s no longer as much a nomad as she thought, that that life can no longer make her happy. She returns and they live HEA, without another person in the mix. (Personally, I think realizing she loves her nomadic lifestyle more than she loves Booth is likely to be a part of her arc, but with no HEA – at least not one involving Special Agent Seeley Booth!)

    So the conflict that causes the black moment doesn’t have to be an SO, and indeed, with B/B, I don’t think it was: I think their black moment began in the 100th and continued through the finale, and has more to do with Brennan’s character arc than Hannah, IMO. Hannah, rather than being the conflict which breaks them up, is, I think, what will eventually bring them back together. (And, in a way, so was Wendell, for Hodgins and Angela. A major turning point for them was the pregnancy scare and Jack’s ‘I’m your guy’ which wouldn’t have happened if not for Wendell.)

    I guess what I’m saying is that I think it’s definitely worth looking at other relationships in the show for clues as to what’s likely to happen with B/B. Although it could be a life-threatening event (similar to Aliens in a Spaceship) that causes that dam to break (nice analogy, btw) it might be something else, similar to what happened in Proof in the Pudding between H/A where Booth realizes Brennan is still the one for him – and also realizes she’s now open to that.

    Another thing I think we can bank on is that the break up with Hannah will be amicable. I’ve seen comments from people expecting a big dramatic fight and I just don’t see that happening. With the exception of Michael Stires, most of the ex-relationships have been very civil (Sully, Roxie, Brimbau) if not actually continuing into friendship (Wendell, Cam) I think Hart tried to write a strained or even ugly relationship between Booth and Rebecca (i.e., she makes him beg to see Parker at Christmas the first season) but ultimately he couldn’t do it. Not only did they have a fling, they appear to be quite civil towards one another now. So I think it’s safe to assume Hannah will resolve in a similar way, where there’s some sadness, but they remain friends – not only her and Booth, but possibly her and Brennan as well.

    Hart’s said he considers Bones a romantic comedy. I don’t watch a lot of films but have often thought it might be instrumental to take a good look at about fifteen classic romantic comedy films, since that’s the genre he considers himself writing.

  12. I LOVE this analysis, I’m totally with you on it! So, if you’re right that they are in their break-up period…then what is it that will make them realize they are miserable apart and reunite them? I don’t want to mention any spoilers, but maybe things will be changing soon… *keeping fingers crossed and really looking forward to the rest of the season* (I just hope we don’t have to wait for Brennan to date someone else too…)

  13. I spend way to much time thinking about Bones. I am taking this grad class that is on APA documentation and I just hate it. I mean really really hate it. So I think of Bones when I am avoiding doing my course work. Yesterday I even worked on laundry to avoid this class….Any way….the point is I really need to not be thinking about Bones….

    However, I am convinced that HH and Co are doing this on purpose. They do want us to feel as if something is not right. I do hope they don’t drag it out forever.

    How far does this angst go back….for me I would say since the 100th. My heart broke right along with B and B’s that night. I was devastated. Completely and totally devastated. So for argument sake we will say angst since the 100th….Ok agreed? The 99th episode or the one right before the angst was The Bones on the Blue Line and the theme of the B and B moments….Soul mates….Rewatch that clip at the end when Brennan tells Booth about Plato and why Zeus split up soul mates. So is it by accident that they have that conversation before Hart and company break our hearts? I think not! So this post and thinking about that last episode where B and B still had their magic gives me hope! Lots and Lots of hope. I just hope the end of the angst comes soon. I like a good dose of angst but I also like the happy ending, eventually, that is going to happen!!! To eventually!!!!

  14. I sure hope so!!!

    And I also agree that they’re doing it on purpose. Consider The Tough Man in the Tender Chicken when Angela asks Brennan why they’re friends: are the writers not trying to get us to think about this question as well? And the inevitable conclusion is that, despite outward appearances, they ARE alike.

    In fact, sometimes I think that their outward appearances are all that’s different about them, but I could write a whole post on that theory…

    http://idontknowhathatmeans.blogspot.com/

  15. Pingback: How Can I Love Without Grace? « Bones Theory

  16. The thing about the Hodgins and Angela deal for me is that when it started, there was this general vibe that she was too good for him. Too sexy, too funny, too cool, too artsy, too awesome. But about 0.2 seconds into the season three premiere changed my opinion of that, and suddenly, it was switched. Angela started to lose her appeal to me, and by the end of season three, into season four, and beyond, I began to see the truth (hahahaha, okay okay, my opinion) that Hodgins is WAAAAAAAAAY too good for Angela.

    And I resent her a lot.

    With B&B, there is also sort of that underlying idea; Brennan is sort of too good for him, in some ways. Smart, classy, etc. And that was sort of the vibe in the first season. Not that i ever thought that necessarily, but it is still there. But as the series goes on, and I see the way Brennan can treat Booth sometimes, there are honest moments where I think…he deserves better. He is too good for her. That he has chosen her and wants her is all fine and good, but Booth…love me instead! Hahahaha!

    Seasons five and six have done a generally better job of making me feel like B&B are on more even ground as far as treating one another pretty respectfully. H&A…I’m still not convinced, haha, because as the more awesome Hodgins gets, the more I think… her?

    🙂

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