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?
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?
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:
does that mean we’ll eventually get to see this:
What do you think?