Bones Theory

Scene Study: The Man in the Fallout Shelter-What if a Gift Goes Both Ways?

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Good morning! I hope you are having a great Sunday. It’s time for another scene study here at BT, and I’m just warning you upfront…this one sort of exploded into an entire episode study. I promise that in the future, I’ll be sticking to scenes, but with this episode, I ended up watching the entire thing, and well, I just couldn’t stop. So…here we go!

As the episode begins, things around the lab are festive, as Angela is dressed up as an elf (and seriously, go back and watch Booth’s reaction to her. There was def some Angela/Booth chemistry at the time!), and Booth arrives with a gift for Brennan.

Meanwhile, in the lab, Zack is testing out his voice-command powered robot  and not having much success, which Hodgins determines is a great success

 

This episode, written by Hart Hanson and directed by Greg Yaitanes, continues as Zack examines the bones of the skeleton. He sets off an alarm, but because Hodgins wasn’t wearing his mask, he then has to take off all of his clothes. That might not be the EXACT cause and effect, but…let’s just go with it, shall we?

Oh yes, contamination. Right. So, because of the contamination, the team is under quarantine, and Goodman, Angela, Zack, Hodgins and Booth decide to make the most of it, decorating and exchanging Secret Santa gifts. Meanwhile, Brennan does not participate and does her best to stay focused on the case.

Booth doesn’t approve and tells her that she’s making it very, very hard for him to be nice to her. Brennan gives him this immature little glare that is super cute. I can’t really get a pic of it, but if you re-watch, check out minute 17-18 for what I’m talking about.

Later, the team sits down for dinner, discussing the validity of what Brennan calls “the Christ myth”. Booth asks her not to call it that, as some people believe it’s not a myth. Brennan wants to know who, besides him, and each person comments that they do, including Hodgins.

Haha, classic expressions on his face and Booth’s face! But that all changes when Brennan makes a quick comment about how Booth has a child out of wedlock. He doesn’t say anything, but Angela gently chides her. I love this part, both Booth’s reaction

 

…and Brennan’s.

 

She’d already called him out on the idea that he’d never said anything about having a son, but I think this little conversation is important. For one thing, it shows us that Brennan is not perfect. Not that we necessarily thought she was, but it’s just necessary for us to see that she does make some mistakes. Not only that, we need to see that she can recognize her mistakes. I think this part of her personality is somewhat fluid, and it makes me uncomfortable sometimes how (throughout the entire series), the writers sort of pick and choose when to make her clueless, and when to make her intuitive toward the feelings of others. In this case, we’re seeing her start to get a clue, and it’s equally important as what she’s learning…which is this: Booth is not completely a master of his own fate. She sort of tosses out the ‘fact’ that he has a child out of wedlock, assuming that this “effect” is “caused” by something Booth had complete control over and is happy about, but quickly, we all learn, including Brennan, that this is not the case. Obviously, Booth is not 100% at ease with his circumstance. What these little pieces of information do is incite Brennan’s curiosity. And when THAT happens…well, there’s nothing stopping her. Her curiosity of Booth, and the reasons he has for telling her things (or not telling her things), sort of create this edginess in her that I find fascinating.

Remember, this is only episode NINE in the entire series. That’s just amazing to me. Brennan is very, very beautiful in this episode, in my opinion. Or I should say Emily Deschanel is beautiful. She always is, but seriously…

 

Very pretty.

In that scene, she and Angela are talking about the case; she was able to get in touch with Ivy Gillespie’s family, to tell them about Lionel, but she’s not sure if they’ll call back. Angela says they will. “Because it’s Christmas?” Brennan sort of mocks, but Angela doesn’t fall for it, and just answers in reply. “Yes, because it’s Christmas.”

One of my all time favorite series-wide things is when Booth leans in Brennan’s doorway.

 

It’s just perfection. There’s always that small moment where she may or may not know he’s there, and before either one of them starts talking…he just IS THERE. Scoping things out, watching her, looking generally gorgeous…I love it.

He’s there to tell her to come join the group for Christmas, but Brennan keeps working. He asks if she thinks there is more to learn about Ivy and Lionel. Brennan replies, “There’s always more to learn.” Booth sort of shrugs that off as a ‘whatever, Bones’, and turns to leave. But Brennan stops him.

 

She says, “I’m sorry you didn’t get Christmas morning with your little boy.”

 

Booth sort of weighs her words immediately (gut instinct. Is she telling the truth? Yes, she always tells the truth…etc, etc…)

He doesn’t say anything except “Thanks”, which is kind of interesting. He doesn’t offer anything else of himself or of Parker or try to convince her to come hang out with the group…nothing like that. I don’t know what all of it MEANS, but it is interesting to me.

 

What is it he said earlier? He “never realized how pretty all this shiny stuff is.” Actually Booth…that’s just you. You’re the pretty one!

Hahaha. He turns to leave, and Brennan stares at his gorgeous profile. Or maybe that’s just us. Or maybe just me. But seriously…

 

As the episode progresses, Angela shows the entire group her computer generated Christmas tree. While mostly everyone is celebrating, Brennan slips away. And no one notices. The rest of the quarantined team exchanges gifts and smiles and fun, and Brennan continues to work.

Booth comes to find her, asking her what happens when a gift goes both ways? Brennan continues to focus on the case, examining a one cent piece from Lionel’s collection. Booth says that maybe the real gift is accepting something with a little grace.

They discuss the penny’s worth, and then Dr. Goodman interrupts them, telling them it’s time for their Valley Fever test results. They come back clear, and so everyone is allowed to leave. Each person rushes off, again, with seemingly no notice of Brennan.

Except Booth.

Except our favorite main man, Seeley J. Booth.

 

Brennan tells him to go (aka, ‘don’t worry about me’), to have Christmas (aka ‘I’ll be fine’) and to tell his son Merry Christmas from her (aka, ‘your family is important’).

 


And THAT. That reaction from Booth…what does that even mean? What do you think? It’s gotta be more than just the happiness at getting to see Parker, right? Maybe it’s just a tiny little pocket of redemption. Does that make sense? Here’s Brennan…this woman he really admires. Let’s face it; she makes him crazy, and at this point, he’s not sure whether he even likes her…but he really admires her. She’s smart and well, a genius, and he’s not sure why, but her opinion matters. When she makes careless comments, it cuts him to the quick. When she seems to approve, he can’t help but smile. Am I reading too much into it? I don’t think so, because he immediately says…

“I’m at Wong Foo’s, if you decide you want company.”

I love this; I love Booth saying this…it’s almost empowering to Brennan, as if he’s acknowledging this idea that she sort of IS the master of her own circumstance. As if her current alone-ness is completely her decision and it’s only if she wants company that she might join him (not necessarily the idea that she has nowhere else to go). Does that make sense? As he said to Brennan and we discussed last week from Goop on the Girl, “That’s a sweet invitation”.

I love that Brennan gets it. She just understands that he’s being kind, and she smiles at him.

She doesn’t say anything, and Booth is cool with it. He doesn’t ask questions, and just as he’s turning to leave, he gets kind of serious. “Merry Christmas, Bones”, he says.

 

I love this, too. It’s completely in his serious Booth way. Protecting, slightly overbearing, totally his, “if I believe it, I know it’s true” kind of way, and he sort of points at her to prove he’s serious. This is very special to me. It’s almost like…okay, now they are friends.

Again, Brennan says nothing, and just watches him leave. And we see her standing alone.

 

Alone in her shiny, sterile, perfectly maintained lab. If the episode had ended there, it would have been a very sweet ending with a nice B&B conversation.

But that’s not the ending.

Brennan is approached by Ivy Gillespie and her granddaughter, Lisa. She tells them about the penny and the money, and the tickets to France.

Then, though we don’t see it, it seems Brennan makes a decision at the lab. Is she hungry? Maybe. Is she a little bit lonely; does she want company? Also possible. Or is it like pal Cynthia said re: The Doctor in the Photo, “And I think there’s one person that she shares her discoveries with”. Is it possible that this part of their relationship already exists at this point?

Either way, Brennan shows up and pretty much without a word, slides into the seat next to Booth’s. And he gives her the best face too.

 

Sort of like an “I told you so, but I’d never ever say I told you so to you, because you’d probably tell me 1,000 other things you know more than me” kind of a look. And she’s sort of looking at him like, “Yeah, okay, you are right, but I’ll never admit it, on account of I’m right about so many other things”. I love that. B&B have always had a way of letting the other one kind of be ridiculous, cocky, supremely confident, etc.

Sid shows up with drinks, and can I just say…we need Sid back. Let him buy the diner or FF or something, if we can’t get the WF set back, but please, please, please! I feel like Sid is another one of those guys who would sort of be “Booth’s people”, and we need more of those. Remember in season five, when Pops sort of alludes to the fact that Booth has talked to him about how pretty Brennan is? I always feel like Booth talks to Sid about Brennan in that way too (Though I don’t really have proof of this). It’s more in the way Booth doesn’t really look at Brennan when he’s around. Do you know what I’m talking about? When you like someone, and you tell another person, and then all of a sudden, all three of you are in the same general area, and you fear that everything you’ve admitted is written all over your face, so you just try to play it cool?

 

Brennan thinks he’s cool, though…and she’s sort of curious here too, I think. But more importantly, she has something to tell him. And then, he looks at her.

 

She tells him that Ivy came to the lab with her granddaughter.

 

And they both get this “I told you so” smile on their faces, which is super fun, because they are both right, but not about the same things, necessarily.

She says, “Don’t you want to know what happened?”

And Booth says,’ I know what happened.”

Booth clearly lays out the series of events pretty much exactly as they happened. But of course, Brennan adds her own, telling him that she told Ivy about the rare and costly one cent piece.

Booth tells her Ivy won’t care about that, and then he tells Brennan that she just gave someone the best Christmas gift ever. He can’t resist teasing her, nudging her arm and asking her, “Who’s the Secret Santa now?”

 

Brennan tells him to stop, and Booth just laughs. But Brennan’s command activates Zack’s robot into motion.

And Booth gives a small little compliment that is actually sweet, “That weirdo assistant of yours just made me the coolest dad in the world.”

Parker arrives then, and Booth smiles and hugs him and gives him the robot, and Brennan watches it all, also with a smile on her face.

Booth notices that Brennan is watching and he smiles at her and whispers to Parker to say Merry Christmas to her. Parker does, and they both smile, and if that doesn’t warm you up a bit, well…I don’t know what will!

And there’s something very…”true to Brennan’s character” that she doesn’t say Merry Christmas back but just gives a nice wave.

 

Parker waves back and Booth gets a nice smile on his face.

Later in the season, we’ll see Booth open up to Brennan about his time as a sniper, and much later in the season we’ll see him open up (Two forks/Three words!) about his dad, and I think this moment with Parker is also sort of one of those times. We saw how both vulnerable and guarded Booth was about Parker earlier at the lab, and before that Brennan tells him (and us) that he’d never said anything about it. Ever. So I think it’s very important for him that Brennan accept this part of him. When she does, in her own way, then he relaxes a bit. She totally does make him crazy, but I also really do believe that she has/is the one who can really help him just relax and just be himself. Pal Owl was asking around Twitter the other day, “When is Brennan the most herself?” (You can probably still reply to her at @owlstory, if you want!), and I think the same can be asked for Booth, “When is he the most himself?”

But that’s for another day! Booth and Parker leave, and Parker gives Brennan another sweet little wave. And Brennan just watches and observes. She’s so pretty.

 

And if THAT had been the end of the episode, it also would have been very sweet, and a great B&B moment. But that’s not all. Brennan goes back to the lab and proceeds to completely break our hearts into 1,000,000 pieces and we imprint ourselves onto her like baby ducks, because now we’ve learned more about her, and we’ve been where she is, or we feel compassion for her. People who are cold only feel pain when they start to warm up again. You know how you feel when you’re outside in the freezing cold weather? It’s not till you come back inside and you get feeling in your body that you start to feel that intense thaw, and it can be painful sometimes.

But what I love that the show is not afraid to show Brennan having some regrets of her own. She tells Angela that when Russ tried to make Christmas for her after their parents left, that she pretty much flipped out. She can see that she was too young to understand, but she also regrets making her brother feel bad about it. It’s this conflicting idea throughout the series for Brennan, and I love that…she sort of wraps herself in her experience as a shield, but also has pride in the knowledge that she really made something of herself. So if she hadn’t had the experience that she had, would she still be who she is now? I think it’s something she considers. She might dismiss it just as quickly as it enters her mind, but I think she does think about it sometimes.

And I love that we never see what’s inside her present, but that it’s clear that whatever it was, it would have been absolutely perfect when she was 15 years old.

 

If Booth were leaning in her doorway, he’d be falling in love with her big time. As it is, I guess we’ll just have to instead.

Peace, Love & Bones,

S

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12 thoughts on “Scene Study: The Man in the Fallout Shelter-What if a Gift Goes Both Ways?

  1. I watched this episode again yesterday. It represents so many things I miss about the show. 😥

  2. Well this is one of my very favorite Bones episodes, so I can say there is no way I’d be able to do a scene study of this one and stick to just one scene, and can understand you feeling the same. 🙂 The whole episode is excellent. It came so early in the series and we were just learning things about the characters as they were learning things about each other. The episode made me laugh and cry and say aw a few times. I loved the scene with the families visiting and Brennan watching in the background; it was sweet and sad at the same time (bittersweet).

    The title you chose for this post about gift giving going both ways, yep it does apply to more than just the scene where Booth states that, it really does go to the whole episode as gifts were given and received through-out the whole thing, including Brennan finally receiving the final gifts from her parents.

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  4. I am glad you mentioned Booth’s reaction to Angela in her elf costume ‘cos he WAS totally checking her out!
    There were so many great things in this episode. From finding out Booth had a child to Brennans mean remark about him being born out of wedlock. (Maybe one of the only times I didn’t like Brennan) I know we all talk about ED’s great acting but I sometimes think DB’s gets overlooked. His facial expressions during that scene and when Brennan says she’s sorry he won’t get Christmas with his little boy and when he is leaving the lab are amazing and so moving.
    I saw the beginnings of something with Booth and Brennan in this episode. HE was the one who said where he would be later if she wanted company NOT any of her work mates. They ran out of the lab so fast without even a thought for Brennan.
    The scene with Ivy Gillespie is one of my favourites. To have lived her whole life thinking she had been abandoned by the man she loved and then finding out he didn’t – I cried a little during this.
    This is such a fantastic episode. One I have watched over and over and never tire of it.

  5. Thaaaaaank you for this recap! 🙂 This is definitely my favorite Bones Christmas-themed episode. Don’t get me wrong, grey-sweater Booth and boxers-and-socks-only Booth make SitS and TGitG very good episodes, but there’s just something about that first Christmas together that makes it warm and fuzzy… And funny and awkward and lovable and adorable. One last thing: that last scene is absolutely perfect; from ED’s amazing acting skills to the most beautiful of Christmas songs… And I always shed a tear or two, right along with Brennan. Every.single.time.

  6. This is my favourite Bones episode ever. I watched it on Christmas eve, but your scene/episode study makes me want to watch it again! I love how you pointed out all the little things, especially the part about Sid. I’d never thought about that, but it makes a lot of sense. I’ve always found it really awkward/strange when Parker says Merry Christmas and Brennan just waves at him, but I guess it is true to her character.

  7. This makes me fall in the love with the show all over again. Sometimes I don’t know why an episode is in my top 5 or top 10 and then I see insights given on this site and it brings to the surface what I subconsciously understand from the subtleties… the looks, the silences, the small conversations…. how it all just fits together in an amazing way.

  8. This is my favorite episode in season one. This episode showed us the potential of a Booth/Brennan friendship. Up until then, I felt that Booth really just thought of Brennan as a co-worker and maybe a partner at work. Nothing more. “The Man In The Fallout Shelter” seemed to help Booth and Brennan open up more to each other. They had more personal conversations, got to see each other in a hardship situation and both got to hang out a little more and see what they were like around the clock, not just a few hours during the day. They each got to see the personal tragedies in each others lives (Booth having no control over his relationship with his son/Brennan being abandoned by her parents near Christmas). I also think this is where Booth finally saw why Brennan may be the way she is. This gave Booth perspective and allowed him to be able to invite her to come and be with him and Parker for Christmas, if she wanted to. No pushing, just an open invitation. Booth already had the idea that Brennan could not be pushed into anything, hence the open invitation.

  9. I love your scene studies or in this case, episode study. You have great insight and ideas. I just love it! Thanks!

  10. Thanks for this wonderful scene study. This is one of my all time favorite Bones episodes. As the viewer, we were able to learn more about the “Bones family”. I always get a huge lump in my throat when ED is alone in her office, and finally has the courage to open those long ago Christmas presents from a happier time in her life. Just an overall wonderful episode. It makes me remember what drew me to this show at the beginning. Wonder if we will ever get this back on Bones?

  11. Beautiful ‘scene’ study, Seels. This episode really is magnificent and I love how your insights just make it more enjoyable to watch.

    “People who are cold only feel pain when they start to warm up again.”

    I don’t know why but this sentence really stuck out to me. Makes me think about where we are in the series now and about what we might expect going forward. I guess we’ll see how painful the thawing process turns out to be for Brennan…

  12. sigh…! i love your episode study! i am missing this kind of bones episodes even more! i just wish the writers will be able inject something like this while dancing around the booth and hannah thing. i miss the B&B moments!

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