Fun fact! Pal Jen (NatesMama) emailed me with an article she’d written titled “In Defense of Seeley Booth”, and I had to laugh, as that was already the title of the post I had planned for today. Great minds indeed do think alike. Here’s the link to her article, if you are so inclined. It’s really worth a read!
I guess this post is sort of along the lines of the Booth Has Not Changed post I did a few Mondays ago. I wanted to sort of keep myself accountable; did I really believe what I’d said. And likewise, I think it’s always a good idea to sort of revisit things, to see if they are still true.
And then it sort of hit me. Can things be true at one point but then not true later in time? I guess we’re getting into relativism in some ways, but I’m just wondering if it’s true that Booth loved Brennan and wanted a life with her and it’s possible that he could love Hannah currently.
Can they both be true? I think the answer is yes. In my own life, I’ve loved different men at different times, in different ways also. There were moments, in each of those times, where I considered the feelings I had for that man to be it. The end all…that was final. But, whether it was physical distance or emotional or whatever that moved us apart from one another…now I think of each one (mostly, ha) fondly with a general affection, but not with as fiery of a passion.
Now…do I currently work day in and day out with any of them. No, I don’t. Would that complicate matters, especially if I were in a serious relationship with someone new? Yes, possibly. And is it also true that the love/partnership/etc that Booth and Brennan shared is ‘more’ than what I’ve had in my relationships? Yeah, I think it’s fair to say that.
So it’s impossible for me to call Booth out on this idea that he’s promised to love Brennan for the rest of his life. I just see no proof of that. He said he wanted to find someone to love him for 30,40,50 years. That’s not the same as declaring his lifelong love for someone. He’s called the “knight in shining FBI standard issue body armor”, but here’s the thing about armor…it’s meant to protect the person wearing it. His FBI deal (Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity) is the shield he guards his heart with, literally (bulletproof vest) and figuratively (“Bones and I…we’re just partners.”).
A lot has been said about the fact that Booth felt the final sting of rejection from Brennan in the season five finale, but I’d argue that it comes sooner than that. No, not in the 100th episode, but in The Boy with the Answer. THAT is when Brennan doesn’t answer his question about the reassurance of their partnership. That’s when he asks her to stay and have another drink with him, and she gets into the cab again with no promise of seeing him the next day.
That is also, I believe, when Brennan is making good on her belief that Booth needs protected from her. Yes, she verbalizes that to Angela in BitE, but the thoughts and all of that are there in the penultimate season five ep. She feels as if Heather Taffet wants revenge on her, and Booth was/could be a victim in that scenario. She must protect Booth from a broken heart (not possible) and also from physical pain.
But this post is about Booth, so let’s get back to him.
I don’t want to project my issues onto Booth, but we do share some similarities, as I’ve mentioned before (I believe). He sort of suffers from the ‘oldest sibling’ issue of feeling guilty when something good happens to him. I also deal with that sometimes. Maybe it’s not the oldest sibling thing, maybe some of you feel that too, no matter your birth order. But there’s sort of this ingrained ‘sacrificial’ element to it. “Don’t walk away from the shopping cart; your little brother might see you and follow your example,” or “You’re the oldest, it’s your responsibility to…” etc. Booth’s family life is the complete opposite of mine, so in his scenario, there’s even more of a self-imposed sense of responsibility.
Running alongside that, however, is this desire to sort of have something, all to ourselves…something good. When it happens, sure, you struggle with guilt, but when it doesn’t happen, there’s not so much disappointment as just confirmation that you didn’t deserve it in the first place. But there’s also a slight flare of anger there. Why is it so unfair, we might ask in a low moment we’re ashamed of later. Why can’t just once things work out the way we want them to?
And I think that might be where Booth is at. It’s unfair. INCREDIBLY unfair that Brennan is ‘open enough to see it’ right now. If we feel like Brennan is sort of a tragic story at this moment, I’d argue that Booth is in just as much of a quandary as she is. That’s why I loved Skole’s post so much on ‘Hell’, as it reminded me, from a literary perspective, that this is a natural plot line…for comedies, in the classical sense. I read it and thought, “yeah dummy (me, not you), duh.” If you take a classic comedy, let’s say The Importance of Being Earnest compared to a classic tragedy, for example, Oedipus Rex, there is a clear plot diagram (I won’t draw it for you, but you know what I’m talking about). It’s always darkest before the dawn, or as pal Smurfs and I like to say, the shadow proves the sunshine. We’re not watching a tragedy. That gives me hope.
For someone like Booth (again, in my opinion), I think he’ll sort of go back and forth about it. He’ll wonder why things can’t…just once…work out for him in the way he has in mind. After having no one who loves him (in his mind), now he has two women’s emotions on his hands, something Booth would take incredibly seriously.
Is there a teensy part of him that might want to yell at Brennan, “You had your chance!” Sure, maybe. But he might not even mean it. It’s more a reflection of feeling like you just want to stand outside on a starry night, open your arms in frustration, and yell as loud as you can, hoping that somewhere…someone is listening and understands your pain.
Did Booth actively look for love? I’m not sure about that. How much time passed between the scene on the bench between B&B in Beginning in the End and the airport scene? Also, I’m not sure. How much time has passed since they’ve returned? I don’t know that either.
Is he perfect? No. Does he probably have more pain in store? Unfortunately, yes. Does this break my heart in advance? Resoundingly, yes. There is no way this ends well. THAT’s been my issue with the H storyline…not so much the idea of it or the execution, as it’s been discussed at length. It’s just my complete dread in the fact that there is no possible way it ends well for all three people involved. Not possible.
Having said all of that, Booth has remained a faithful partner, a brave warrior and a man with integrity in all of this. Again, not perfect…but still good. I loved what pal Cynthia said the other day about B&B, and I may talk more about it someday, but here…
When Brennan started talking in the car on Thursday’s episode, I wondered whether or not she would bring it up. I was saying to myself, “Are you really going to go there? Really? Don’t you know what his reaction is going to be?” I squirmed my way through the first time (I had to look away from the screen because I couldn’t deal with both the words that they were saying and the looks on their faces at the same time–it was just too much emotion).
But then after several viewings of that scene (this was before I got to 100), what I came to feel was pride in how brave and honest she was. That’s the thing that I keep thinking about Brennan–is that she is as honest and straightforward as she knows how to be the minute she realizes something. There are no games with her. The only thing she knows how to do is to tell the truth as she knows it at that moment, regardless of what effect it might have. I sometimes honestly don’t think her mind works in a way that anticipates how others might react to her statements. When I was asking her “Don’t you know what his reaction is going to be?”, I think I realized that she doesn’t. When she says she’s a scientist, she’s not kidding. She doesn’t do well with predicting or anticipating psychological reactions–she does much better when she’s analyzing, interpreting and drawing conclusions from data that’s already there.
And so–in this scene, she’s discovered something and the only thing I think she knows how to do is to say it honestly. She’s discovered a regret–in my mind because she has finally had an observers view of multiple perspectives on data that we as watchers of the show have (or think we have)…the data of herself and the way that she relates to others. And I think there’s one person that she shares her discoveries with. He’s sitting right next to her and happens to be related to the discovery.
Is that fair to Booth? Is it really fair for him to be expected to both be her ‘problem’ and solution? How hard is it that he can’t really be her ‘answer’? I feel like if we’re stunned by it, and if Brennan is stunned by it, then Booth is just as stunned if not more. Jen wrote in her post that…
“Brennan might compartmentalize well, but she could actually learn a thing or two from Seeley Booth in that area. Yes, he wears his heart on his sleeve, if you know when to look. But it’s fleeting and almost always squelched immediately.”
And I still contend that Booth has confidence in the ways of the heart, except when it comes to Brennan’s affection for him. For the first time ever…EVER!…it’s out there, on the table, and it’s his call. What will we see from him? (no spoilers, please; that is rhetorical, haha). I’m guessing we’ll see a man with a lion’s heart, caught in a new cosmic balance sheet, though not completely of his own making. We’ll see him suffer a bit (oh heart, may you break only into easily fixed pieces instead of millions of shattered shards), we’ll see him grow stronger, we’ll see him love and be loved.
Fidelity. Bravery. Integrity.
Thoughts from you?
Peace, Love & Bones,