Bones Theory

Scene Study: The Beaver in the Otter- Gotta Be Bad To Be Good


Hey, BONES pals; hope you are having a great day so far. Today’s scene comes from season four, at the end of a somewhat underrated episode: The Beaver in the Otter. It’s the scene where Booth helps Brennan be ‘bad’. I love this scene. It’s one of my all time favorites ever. Ever!

Here’s a little history to get us started:

The case involves a local student being killed in the school’s mascot uniform during a pep rally. And as B&B investigate, their work takes them to a frat house where they discover that higher education is not as rigorous as it could be. Sweets and Brennan are more horrified by the frat boys than Booth who states that it’s normal, and they are just underdeveloped. It’s their job; they’re college kids, and that’s what they do. They have to be bad to learn what it is. “Scientific fact-their frontal lobes are the size of raisins”. Brennan discredits that, scientifically. More on that later.  Booth states that they have to build their frontal lobes with exercise, and that comes from doing the wrong thing. Sweets asks him, “So your theory is that you’ve got to be bad to be good?” Exactly, Booth replies. Facts of life.

Alongside that is a storyline involving Booth and his brother Jared who has been dishonorably discharged from the Navy for, “misuse of authority and theft of government property”. From what incident, you might ask? That would be his work with Brennan and the team to save Booth’s life in Hero in the Hold.

(Yes, I’ll take ‘Things That Will Annoy Booth For All Of Eternity’ for $500, Alex)


As the episode progresses, Booth takes on responsibility for Jared having no job (I’ll take ‘Things No One is Surprised About’ for $300, Alex) and gets him an interview. Jared is not interested, after all, he bought a motorcycle and is going to India.

Oh, Jared, thank you for existing if only because Annoyed Booth just makes me all warm inside. Seriously, watch this episode again. It’s great.

Booth is all annoyed about it and it leads to one of my favorite Brennan moments ever (EVER!), which is when Booth begs out of a meeting with Brennan, Angela and Cam because he has “something personal.”

“What?” Brennan wants to know.

Personal,” Booth replies.

… “Personal means personal. You know, not for the public,” he adds and smiles and walks away.

Brennan. I love her; I really do. So sweet. So horrified and offended. And this is one of my all time favorite Brennan lines—

“I’m…I’m not the public!”


Moving on, Jared asks Booth to come with him to India, and he considers it, I think, including consulting with Brennan, who gives him good advice (seriously, re-watch this episode). She actually uses his own logic on him, telling him that if he does go with Jared, his frontal lobe will remain the size of a raisin, which she feels makes no sense. But Booth knows just what she’s talking about, and he knows she’s right, meaning he knows he was right. And I love when she validates him like that (even though she doesn’t know it!).


 Meanwhile, they solve their case, and then it leads to the end of the episode.

Booth arrives to Founding Fathers and just gives this little whistle and signals for a drink. Could he be any smoother?


He sits down and Jared knows right away, “You’re not coming, are you?”

Booth asks, “Do you really want me to?”

Jared kind of smiles nervously and is a bit embarrassed and says, “Does it matter?” As in…do you even care about what I want? Ah, it just kills me. Booth just does not see that people want to be liked by him, not just cared for by him. Of course, he doesn’t see himself as necessarily worthy of being liked and so he just guards himself behind his skill set: protection. We see Booth sort of gets serious.


He admits that he thought about coming, but that Jared needs to go alone. Jared is surprised, but Booth continues. All their lives, he was always standing behind Jared, when he was in the Navy, he was standing behind him. And it’s time for Jared to stand alone; he doesn’t need his big brother. It amazes me that David Boreanaz consistently manages to pull off some really potentially cheesy scenes and dialogue with absolute conviction as Booth. It’s great.

Jared again offers a bit of vulnerability and suggests Booth come along as a friend.


Booth says that they both know he’s not Jared’s friend, he’s his big brother. So fascinating to me.

Jared knows it’s true, and he kind of laughs, and they clink beers and take a drink. Jared isn’t paying attention, but Booth has his eyes on him every single second in his usual way.

Then he pulls out this…

Jared thinks it’s the St. Christopher’s medal from Pops, but Booth insists that it’s not. He got this one for Jared. What do you think? 

Jared isn’t completely convinced, and he wants to know how if he wears it…will he really be alone if he takes a saint with him, as Booth says he should be?

Booth says, “You’re not alone.”

Oh Booth in black leather, why so amazing?

Jared puts on the necklace, and then the conversation is over. Booth is so edgy this entire scene; it’s just so…fascinating. I know I used that word already, but it’s true. He gives Jared a hug, but it’s still kind of forced and with a message behind it. And when Jared leaves without his jacket, Booth is totally not surprised. He calls Jared and tosses the jacket to him and gives us a smile we’ve never really seen before.

It’s actually the most genuine emotion we’ve seen in the entire scene, sort of a “I love you, you dumbass, and I will never ever not be looking out for you” sort of smile and laugh. DB really is amazing with his subtle work. It’s like this Booth confidence smile and laugh that he is fine. I don’t know how to explain it. I just remember the first time I watched this episode being like…that’s completely new. We’ve never seen that one before.

But…BUT…all of that leads up to this amazingness…

Booth rounds the bar and takes a seat with his beer, and then…

Are you even kidding me with this? Brennan was there? Just waiting? Booth wasn’t even there at the beginning! He walked into the bar. Did they set it up? Probably. I am just so in love with this idea. First of all, you KNOW Brennan talked him into telling her everything (she’s not the public!), and secondly, you know Booth didn’t really want her along, as he felt he had to do the talk with Jared alone…but of course Brennan insisted, and of course he can pretty much refuse her nothing, so they compromised. “Okay, Bones…fine. Okay? Fine. You can be there, but…BUT! You stay back. I’ll talk to Jared…alone–”

“But, Booth…I’m quite skilled in conversing with people. And since I have a brother of my own, and since I’ve traveled to India, perhaps I could be of assistance and–”

“Alone, Bones. Okay? You can wait. I’m doing this on my own. And when Jared leaves, then…well, then whatever, okay?”


“Good, fine. Okay. So…okay,”


 But back to the real scene.

Booth is so not surprised to see her, which means I’m right (love when that happens, haha). Brennan wants to know how Jared took it, which also means I’m right (I’m sure we all were right, really.) Booth says he took it “like Jared, meaning I have no idea.”

But none of that matters, as Brennan isn’t really listening.


 Apparently, all the time she had alone to think actually did get her to thinking, and she wants to know, “Do you really think you need to be bad to be good?” She tries to be casual, but she’s so not. She is so awesomely not.

Booth is kind of surprised by her question, and he can’t really take his eyes off of her. He says, “Yeah, I do.”

And Brennan lowers her beer and gives this little head nod that Booth sort of mimics. Though not in a mocking way, more like in a “this is interesting, and I’m not sure why she’s agreeing with me all of a sudden,” and as if he can’t quite control himself.


Brennan is a little bummed. This means there is something in the world she has not experienced. It’s not even that she wants to be bad; it’s just that she cannot bear the idea of someone knowing more than her. She ‘confesses’ to Booth that she’s never really done anything bad.

Look at this face!

Uh, yeah, got it, Bones, he’s thinking. And he says, “I believe you.”


Naturally,  Brennan is quick to clarify…she’s made mistakes, of course (so beautiful, so sweetly condescending sometimes)…


…but she’s never purposefully done anything bad.

Booth says, “And I believe you,” because he knows it’s so true, and he loves that about her. Of course, he’s also smiling on the inside. Sort of one of those “she is unbelievable” moments he has where he’s not really sure how he feels about it, but secretly loves it (and her).

But it doesn’t really matter, as she’s still not listening. She tells him she doesn’t want her frontal lobe to be a dried up raisin. Again…it’s not that she wants to be bad necessarily, it’s more that she just wants the shared common experience that apparently (according to Booth) humans share. If Booth, who she perceives to be right when it comes to people, says it’s true, then it must be true, and she wants that.

And Booth sees that, he gets it. So…

He says, “You know what? We are going to do something bad now.”

(I’ll take ‘Words I’d Love to Hear From Booth Any Time, Any Place’ for whatever it costs, Alex.)

And Brennan reacts in a quick succession of emotions.

First, awareness that he is speaking

Then a sort of uncontrollable reaction to his smile and confidence combined with her innate curiosity, and she must ask, “What?”

Just like that. Boom, boom, boom, in about 10 seconds. Emily Deschanel is pretty much ridiculous in this scene.

Booth tells her they are going to leave without paying the bill.

Brennan cannot go along with that. That would be stealing!

She’s sort of chiding him, but he can hear in her voice that she doesn’t mean it. Booth tells her that’s why they call it bad and they are going to do something bad. He asks her if she’s ready.

“No,” she insists, begging him to both continue and to stop.

But Booth does not let up and he doesn’t really look at her, but just begins to count. Brennan says she can’t, then asks him “Really?” and puts her hand on his arm. “Are you serious?”

Oh, Brennan…can’t you see by the look on his face that he’s never been MORE serious?

The way he says ‘two’ as she is going on and on just makes me so happy.  She just cannot take it, what they are about to do…


Okay, this…that smile on her face…that excitement in her voice? THAT is what I’m talking about when I say that no one can love Brennan like Booth can, that the expression of her love is going to be in the shape of him and his existence and their life together. It’s not all about pain and suffering, haha, a lot of it is about that happiness on her face, that he helps her experience new things in the safety of his care and protection. That he is just as happy about it is a direct contrast to his need to protect Jared. But this…this is what I’m saying. This is what I feel like he was offering to her in the 100th episode…not just sex or a baby, or whatever else she thought he was offering…but this kind of thing. The chance to be bad to be good. Who else can be and do this for her? No one, my friends. Not one other person than Seeley Booth. Her innocence is one of the most beautiful and prized things about her. Not to be all ‘maiden fair’ about her or anything like that, because we also do all love when she kicks butt. I’m just saying that there is this part of her that exists, and it needs to be held in the hands of our favorite man. (And before anyone mentions anything like, “Well, THIS Booth would NEVER act like season six Booth is acting”, I will remind you that she said no to what he offered in the 100th episode).

It makes me smile just like her, it really does.

She’s so excited; check her out. Booth tells her to go, and she can’t even contain her excitement.

He tells her to go, and she leaps from her stool, exclaiming “We’re bad!” as Booth slips money onto the counter and follows after her as she continually hollers, “We’re BAD!”

And she is gone. He is rushing after her telling her to go easy, easy, easy, but she’s not even listening. She’s laughing and loving it, and he catches her hand (don’t even think I’m not sharing this with you, Bones), and she holds on tight and clutches his arm with her other hand (I wouldn’t dream of it, Booth) as they escape.

The lighting in this scene is so terrible, and they are running, which makes it impossible to get a good picture, but you all know exactly what I’m talking about. They both look incredibly young and happy and like there is not a care in the world, and they are together.

Booth tries to hush her up and tells her to get in the car! She is still laughing and completely in her Brennan way, she says, “I know. I knew that!”

And they get in and slam their doors and drive away. And who knows, maybe she’s being so bad she didn’t even put her seatbelt on.

As for Booth?

Well, we know he’s not wearing his. He’s bad, baby. And that’s why he’s so good.

Peace, Love & Bones,



15 thoughts on “Scene Study: The Beaver in the Otter- Gotta Be Bad To Be Good

  1. I love this scene, i really do. Although, i’ll admit it’s the dynamic between the two brothers that really hooks me in. It’s so…complex. So much is going on beneath the surface, and there’s subtext to every line. You never really know what they are actually saying…it’s such a fascinating relationship to watch. And the person Booth becomes when around Jared…not a better person (you could argue he becomes worse) but juts different. It intrigues me so so much it’s not even funny! LOL

    I am praying that we get more Jared/Booth this season (though i’m not counting on it!) and more of Booth with his past. Things get so much more interesting when it comes into play.

    Sorry, i realise your post was about Brennan and Booth but i got sidetracked. I do love it as they run out of the FF…the look on both their faces is just priceless. So carefree. We don’t get to see either one of them like that too often so when we do it stands out.

    Love it 😀

  2. I love how you re-cap things Seels, and your POV about things usually reflects mine, but you hit the points that matter, what people should see when they watch the epi and tell the real story spot on.
    That scene was just so adorable between the two of them it made me realize how much I miss that between them. I hope what it happening now brings them to even better place so I can smile and have happy tears again soon when I watch scenes with Booth and Brennan.

  3. I adore this scene, too. The brothers relationship is so GREAT and so real in its wonderfully complex way – the history, the present.

    And then, Brennan using Booth’s words about the frontal lobe and the raisin. I mean, isn’t that the cutest thing when they use each other’s expressions like that? I know there are more examples of Brennan doing this, too, but the the first ones that come to mind are when Booth does it . . . ‘like a flea’ and ‘yowza’. It’s a great way to show their special connection with one another.

    It is so cute to see Brennan believe that she is doing something bad – with the full encouragement and support of Booth. And even cuter is the way Booth slips the money on the bar, because he just isn’t that bad person, in spite of what he says.

  4. One of my favorite things about this scene is the song playing in the background. “Save You” by Matthew Perryman Jones. The lyrics playing as they leave the Found Fathers and run to the car are this: “What if I made up my mind? Wouldn’t that save you?”

  5. This is one of my favorite Booth moments. When he tries to help her be ‘bad’ but he secretly pays for the drinks anyway. Can anyone say AWESOME?!

  6. this has to be in my top 5 B and B moments ever. I’ve seen it hundreds of times and I will ever, ever tire of it.

  7. This is one of my favorite scenes between them because they are just so adorable together. I loved it when Booth reached into his pocket and pulled out the money and left it without her looking. Because you know that she would feel guilty about leaving without paying.

    I loved how carefree they were…ahh memories

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. So first of all…your Jeopardy comments are priceless. 🙂 This scene has always interested me because of the shift in Booth’s attitude from talking to Jared to talking to Brennan. It’s almost like he’s two completely different people…neither one of them bad just different. He’s still Booth, but adopts such different ways of dealing with both of them showing how well he knows each and how to talk to them to get through.

    And Brennan is so darn adorable being so excited about being bad. Obviously they end up in the FF again in later episodes, so do you think Brennan ever found out that Booth paid and they really didn’t dine and dash? I mean you would think she would never want to go back if she thought they were going to get in trouble…I always wondered if he told her or maybe she went in to pay the bill the next day because she felt guilty and then found out Booth had left the money. Just another one of those things we’ll never know I guess. I can’t wait until we see carefree B&B again one of these days. This angst is KILLING me! So thanks for the walk down memory lane to happier times. 🙂

  9. Loved this scene and how you broke it down! Booth’s “Uh, yeah, got it Bones” face is A-mazing! They were both so happy in this scene. I just love these moments between them – they just get each other.

    I like these scene studies! 🙂

  10. This post had me smiling whole the way through! I know this is not the most analyzed or liked episode while it contains so much, I see that even more now that you’ve written the whole thing down. So I have to say that I love these scene analyses. This is one of my favourite ending scenes of season 4, I love the diversities you can see with Brennan and here she’s just plain adorable. It’s amazing how she can be so innocent one time and so kick-ass the next. And there’s lots and lots of credit to Emily Deschanel for that, when you see all those different facial expressions there, changing every second, you can’t help but see what an amazing actress she is! Same goes for David Boreanaz, this episode shows that well with the differences during his talk with Jared and then the end during his conversation with Brennan and their dine-and-dash.

  11. This is one of my favorite B & B moments. My best friend and I always talk about this scene and love watching it over and over. I loved the scene breakdown. It’s just so darn cute how Booth helps her think she is being bad but she isn’t at all. He’s protecting her and keeping her innocent. Awesome moment. I can’t wait until we have more moments like this in season 6.

  12. This is a really late comment, sorry. But I loved this post!

    I forgot just HOW MUCH I loved this scene! The Jared and Booth relationship is so complex and intriguing. Then Brennan and Booth are just so adorable in this scene. haha. They’re both just so carefree and living in the moment and I love it. Now I want to watch it again 🙂

    Thanks for this awesome breakdown of the scene!! 🙂

  13. I always overlook this ep when rewatching season 4, but I do love the whole Jared Booth interaction throughout this episode. The closeness between the partners is highlighted so well in the scene as you laid it out – the sweetness of the way they care about each other is so clear here.

    Thanks for highlighting such happy, sweet, important shipper moments Sarah!

  14. When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked
    on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added
    I get four emails with the exact same comment. There has to
    be a way you can remove me from that service?

  15. What truly encouraged you to create “Scene Study:
    The Beaver in the Otter- Gotta Be Bad To Be Good | Bones Theory”?
    I personallytruly liked it! Thanks for your
    time ,Jacquelyn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s