Bones Theory

Booth’s Turning Points

44 Comments

Good morning!

So now it’s time to look at Booth’s turning points.  The tricky part here, of course, is that a lot of moments or episodes we’ve already looked at were also turning points for him, as well as for them, or for the series as a whole. But at the same time, a few episodes believed by some to be important enough to have been on an earlier lists I’ve reserved for Booth. (Fair’s fair, right?)

1)      The Soldier on the Grave

We know Booth doesn’t easily share things about himself. In The Woman in the Tunnel, he says to Brennan, ‘Look, if you really want to know what I’ve done, I’ll tell you, but you better be ready for the truth.’ The implication, at least to me, is that he doesn’t think she is ready, that she might not ever be ready to really see the truth of him the way he sees it.

In The Solider on the Grave, the fact that he doesn’t tell anyone about his past comes up again in his conversation with his army buddy, Hank.  Hank, concerned about him, has already asked if Booth’s gambling again, and then, in reference to their last mission, says, “You never talked to anybody about it? You’ve got to. How about your girlfriend? That doctor?”

Booth deflects with the usual ‘she’s just my partner’ disclaimer, but here, it seems clear it’s more about not discussing the fact that he doesn’t have anyone in his life to share the details of a past that’s still haunting him than really being about his relationship with Brennan. He then bolts from the table, leaving a troubled Hank behind.

The episode ends with him telling her the story of being sent in as a sniper to take out a Serb who’s responsible for the deaths of over two hundred innocent people.  Booth knows the man was guilty, knows he saved others by what he did…but still suffers for the man’s little boy, who watched his father die on his birthday. He says, “It’s never just– It’s never just the one person who dies, Bones. Never. Never. You know, we all die a little bit, Bones. With each shot, we all die a little bit.”

Brennan’s response is lovely, and perfect. She doesn’t speak, doesn’t try to fix the unfixable. Instead, she listens and, with her own tears, registers his pain, as well as comforting him with a touch, one he allows.  But more than that, she remembers, and it makes a difference for her when she kills Epps’ accomplice in The Blonde in the Game because she knows he understands.  And later, when he kills the murderer in The Mummy in the Maze, she comments on it.  It’s a shared bond between them, one that deepens over time.  But it begins here, with his trusting her enough to tell her.

You may remember the comment I made in my last post about the significance of turning points not always being immediately apparent, and I think that’s true here in some ways. Why? Because while we’re told that Booth doesn’t open up, doesn’t share himself easily, what we see, over and over, is that he does with Brennan. In The Parts in the Sum of the Whole, we’re shown that he told her about his gambling problem at the very beginning.  And by the end of their second case together, she knows being a sniper took a toll on him, even if it’s not until The Soldier on the Grave that she understands more of why that’s so.

I’ll say upfront that I don’t have anything against Hannah. I think Booth cares about her, and I believe him when he calls that feeling love. But they have yet to convince me that what he feels for her compares in any way to his feelings for Brennan, and that’s largely due to what we’re not seeing him tell her.  In The Couple in the Cave, Hannah says, ‘Seeley never went for the kill if he could help it,’ which is true, of course.  But the way she says it, and the look Booth exchanges with Brennan, suggest that she doesn’t know the big picture, doesn’t know the truths about him that Brennan knows. And that continues in The Bones that Weren’t, when we realize she doesn’t know about his gambling history.

He’s not telling her things he’s told Brennan, and that’s why I said that even now, years later, The Soldier on the Grave is revealing new things to us, about him and his relationship with Brennan.  None of this is to say we still won’t see him opening up to Hannah – we might. But I think it’s very significant that he’s not done so yet, that no matter what he calls it or how he views it, their relationship isn’t as intimate as his relationship with Brennan was, right from the beginning.

2)      The Bodies in the Book

I suspect this one might be a bit controversial, and I’m okay with that.  I think you can make good arguments for other moments in the series being the point when Booth knew he was in love with Brennan, or even, as one friend maintains, that while he loves her, he’s never actually been in love with her at all, not yet.  But for me, the end of this episode, when we see him react to Brennan and Sully kissing, is that moment.  I don’t have any other explanation for his absolute dejection there than that of a man watching the woman he loves kiss another man.

Along those lines, I think it’s significant that after this point, we never see him interested in another woman, not until after Brennan turns him down in a way he believed was permanent and non-negotiable.  I won’t get into the discussion about whether he was having casual relationships during those years, but I think on some level what they show us – or don’t – is important, and relevant.  We see him with Cam, we see that relationship end, we see this scene, and then we don’t see him with anyone else until Hannah, not even Agent Perotta, who’s very obviously interested in him. And all of that adds up for me something important and significant happening at the end of this episode.

But what about Cam, I can hear some of you asking.  His affair with her had ended only a few eps before this one.  Isn’t that sort of …icky?  Not to me, and here’s why: I think his relationship with Cam was, in part, because he knew he was falling for Brennan, and was pretty sure that was a bad idea.   Their initial meeting and exploration of the possibility of a relationship resulted in their not seeing one another for over a year.  Beyond that, I think at this point Brennan has given him very little reason to think she’d be open to something more than they have.  So why wouldn’t he do everything in his power not to fall in love with her?   But then the fling/distraction with Cam ends, and Brennan’s relationship with Sully begins, and he’s finally forced to acknowledge to himself that the feelings are there, whether he wants them or not.

3)      The End in the Beginning

So if I believe he’s known he was in love with her since S2, what’s the significance for him of the coma dream events in this episode?

We’ve been told (most often, I think, by David Boreanaz) that Booth is both a simple man and an optimist, and I think that explains what was going on in him between his personal acknowledgment of being in love with her in S2 through the end of S4.  He was in the most emotionally intimate relationship of his life with a fascinating, complicated woman, and while he wanted more, he was content to wait.

I think he knew the intimacy went two ways, that what was between them was special to her, too, and that he believed that ‘eventually’ was the two of them.  That sooner or later, she’d be in love with him, too, and ready for a relationship.  That conviction, combined with what they shared day in and day out as they worked together, squabbled together, played together, supported one another, was enough for him.

And then, the dream came. Unlike some people, I’m fine with The End in the Beginning. It’s one of my favorite episodes because I actually see Booth and Brennan in the episode.

They’re essentially the same people, and it’s a look at what they’ll be like as a couple, how they’ll interact. Not just when making love, but in the casual kiss they share, the way she cuddles on his lap when telling him she’s pregnant, the way everyone understands he’d kill to protect her. It’s all them, and having once experienced it, he found life where he was still only her friend and partner to be nearly unbearable.  The dream was so real it moved it from something he hoped for to something he’d had and lost, and made it impossible to go back to contentedly waiting for ‘eventually.’

4)    The Beginning in the End

People have made good arguments for why this should have been on the first list, of major turning points, and it certainly could have, since it ends with the team split up and Hart and Stephen have even said it was the beginning of  taking the series in a new direction.

But as I said in my last post, ‘The Boy with the Answer’ and ‘The Beginning in the End’ feel like a unit to me, with the first one being her turning point and this one being his, and together they form a whole that’s that major turning point.

So why is it more of a turning point for him than her? Because I think she’d decided by the end of The Boy with the Answer to take a break from their partnership. That’s what’s behind her line, ‘I might need more than a little time.’ Maluku just made it easier for her.

But Booth…his low point wasn’t at the end of The Parts in the Sum of the Whole. Yes, he was hurt, and yes, he said he was going to move on.  But I think he said that as much for her as for him – it was his way of assuring her he’d be okay, that they’d be okay.  But he’s the optimist, remember? I think there was a part of him that even after her emphatic and repeated ‘no’s,’ kept hoping.  So he ‘moved on’ and went out with Catherine…while telling Brennan she was still the standard.  That’s not to say he was still carrying a torch for her, exactly. I think he was open to the idea of falling for someone else, even while trying to be the friend/partner Brennan had asked him to be.  But part of him was still hoping.

Then came Maluku, a reason to leave him that she felt didn’t require any justification on her part, and at the same time, the Army was there with their request of him.

I know people who think he decided to leave before she did, they hear that in what he says to her in the diner.  They believe his view of duty would never have allowed him to withstand that pressure from the army, that his fate was sealed the moment he saw the Colonel waiting for him.  But that’s not what I hear there, perhaps because I know too many people in the military.

In the last ten years, everyone I know who was honorably separated from the military, physically capable and still possessing of skills needed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been pressured on a regular basis to re-enlist.  Thus there’s no way for me not to be influenced by that when I think of Booth, no way for me not to assume that he’s been pressured the same way.  So in the diner scene, what others see as him trying to convince himself he’s not returning when he knows he’s already sunk, I see as annoyance that they’re still coming after him, pressuring him when he’s said no.

That doesn’t mean he’s not considering it in a way I think he’s not done before.  I think he interprets what Brennan says to him in the diner to mean that she wants him to go, and coupled with Parker’s comments, I think he’s asking himself if there’s any reason not to go when no one seems to want him to stay.  But he’d made a promise to Brennan at the end of The Parts in the Sum of the Whole to stick with her and that’s weighing in there, as well.

And then Sweets, hurt by what’s going on with Daisy and Booth’s comment about being better off without her, lashes out, says something to make him think Brennan’s leaving without even discussing it with him. (To be fair to Sweets, he doesn’t say, ‘Dr. Brennan’s leaving, too.’ But that’s how Booth interprets it, and since Daisy’s manipulating everyone all through the episode, it’s entirely possible she had told Sweets that Brennan had already decided to go.)

We don’t know how much time passes between when Sweets says that to him and the scene on the bench.  But I think that’s Booth’s low point. He’d offered himself to her as a man, and she’d said no, but asked for him to remain her partner.  Even there, even when it hurts him – and I think it did, based on the expression on his face during the dance in Death of the Queen Bee – he’s still going to try to give her what she needs. He’s never going to be the next person in her life who abandons her.

So he’d stuck with her. And where did it get him? From his perspective, during that period of time between Sweets’ comment and the bench scene, I think it must have seemed like she’d decided she didn’t want even that.  First, she seemed to want him to re-enlist, and then she decided to go to Maluku without even telling him.  He’d given her everything he had, had tried so hard to give her what she needed, and in the end, it meant less than nothing to her. I think during that period of time, it very much felt to him as if he meant less than nothing to her.

Plus, remember what I highlighted in my last post about her comment in The Boy with the Answer regarding the relationships in her life harming her, causing her to be less of a scientist? He dismissed that at the time, but I think he still heard it, and understood that she was including him in those relationships she was viewing negatively.  And I believe he remembered that while thinking she’d decided to leave without telling him.

What we see in him when he meets her at the bench is something we’ve never seen before. I said in my comments about The Con Man in the Meth Lab that the scene in the observation room is important because he’s genuinely angry with her in a way we’d not seen before – not frustrated or annoyed, but really angry. And we see the same thing in how he is when he first arrives at the bench, only more so. He’s beyond hurt, beyond angry. I think he’s questioning their entire relationship, is certainly feeling stupid for ever thinking she might some day love him the way he loves her – not if she can decide to leave without even doing him the courtesy of telling him before she tells everyone else.  And not if she can even occasionally wonder if their relationship is somehow harmful to her.

He quickly discovers he’s wrong, that she’s not actually made the decision to leave without talking to him, and that matters to him.  But I don’t think it changes anything, because I think during that period of time when he believed the worst of her, he hit bottom. I think he accepted she was never going to love him, and that it was risky to continue letting himself hope, that he couldn’t spend the rest of his life being so vulnerable to his feelings for her.

That’s the thing about emotional hurt. Finding out he’d been wrong didn’t cause the pain of those hours when he’d believed what Sweets told him to simply vanish, and I think he came out of that experience determining that he was never going to feel that way again.  He’s still going to be her friend to whatever degree she wants (and I think prior to the bench scene that he felt like that wasn’t much) but he’s going to find a way not to be vulnerable to her. That’s what he’s thinking when he says, ‘no, things have to change.’

And what of the end scene, when he goes AWOL to say goodbye, when he promises to meet her at the coffee cart? He meant it. I have a theory about Booth in respect to Brennan. I can’t prove it, we’ve never seen him spell it out. But I think somewhere along the line – possibly as early as The Woman in Limbo – he promised himself that he’s never going to abandon her. He’s never going to be the next person in her life who walks away from her.  As long as she wants him, he’ll still be there for her.  He knows she needs him, and I think he knows that she really doesn’t understand how much she’s hurt him.  She was damaged by her family’s abandonment, too much, perhaps, to ever get to ‘eventually,’ no matter how much love he offers her, and he doesn’t blame her for that.

But I don’t think any of that changes that personal commitment he’s made to not let himself be hurt by her again.  I don’t think he’s completely convinced she’ll be there at the coffee cart a year later, because I don’t think he totally believes she’s returning.  He’ll be there, because he’s going to keep that promise he’s made to himself. But he’s not at all certain of her. If she shows up at the coffee cart and wants to resume their partnership, he’ll be there. If not, this is goodbye in a very real, possibly very permanent, way.

5)      The Couple in the Cave

Here’s the thing: when Booth says to Brennan, ‘serious as a heart attack’ in The Mastodon in the Room, I don’t think he’s telling the whole truth.  That’s not to say he doesn’t have deep feelings for Hannah at that point, because I think he does. I believe her uncomplicated interest in him healed something in him that had been damaged by years of loving a woman who couldn’t love him back. His time with Hannah in Afghanistan showed him that it was possible for a woman to love him, and in return, I believe he admires her, likes her, even calls what he feels for her love.  But when he first returns, I think those feelings are as much a shield against the feelings he still has for Brennan as anything else.

People have said that he obviously never loved Brennan at all if he could get over her in just a few months.  I think they need to take a closer look at his face when he first sees her in The Mastodon in the Room. He’s not over her, not by a long shot. But even as they settle on the steps, he’s remembering the pain, remembering that he can’t go there again. I think his comment about not having heard from her reflects that, that despite those promises he’d made to himself, he’d continued being hurt by Brennan even once they were apart because on some level he’d hoped to hear from her. And I think he’s also remembering how good it had felt to be with someone who wanted him, at least for a little while.

Because despite his comment about their relationship being as serious as a heart attack, he and Hannah don’t have much of a future at that point.  He’s not returning to Afghanistan, and she’s told him she’ll never request a transfer stateside. So if they’ve made plans to see each other at all, it will be limited to her vacations, and quite frankly, I think he’s too old to have many illusions about long distance relationships being successful. And even if he did believe it could somehow work, how could that be what he wants? A permanent relationship with a woman he sees a few times a year, one who has told him she has no desire to live in the same country he lives in?

So no, I don’t entirely buy what he says to Brennan at their reunion. I think Hannah matters to him, that he cares about her, is grateful to her, and is very much looking forward to seeing her again at some point. I think he considers her his girlfriend. But really serious? No, I can’t see it. Rather, I think he’s using the relationship as a shield against the feelings he’s experiencing for Brennan. (Note that I don’t think that’s the same as using Hannah. I think when they were together in Afghanistan, he was very focused on her, believed he was falling for her. Then he came home, unsure of if or when he’d see her again, and was immediately confronted with feelings for Brennan that he’d hoped not to feel.)

And then he looks up in the diner and sees Hannah, and that changes everything.  Why? Because she’s no longer just a woman who was interested in him when it was convenient for her. She’s a woman who loved him enough to do what no one has ever done before (at least that we’re aware of) – she put him first. She changed her life for him, ran to him instead of away from him.  He’s blown away by that, and I think it’s when his feelings for her really take off.

That doesn’t mean it’s simple. He still has feelings for Brennan – I’ve seen evidence of them in nearly every episode this season. But he’s trying hard not to feel anything for her but friendship because he knows he can’t go to that place of being vulnerable to her again. And in the meantime, there’s a woman who loves him, has given him what no one else has.

It’s not the ideal relationship, though I don’t think he yet sees that.  Although he loves Hannah, he doesn’t have the intimacy he had with Brennan (going back to the point I made in the beginning about what he’s shared with Brennan and not with Hannah) and that relationship with Hannah isn’t as straightforward as he wants it to be because the feelings he has for Brennan are still there.

So what happens now? In many ways, what happened at the end of The Doctor in the Photo is a much a turning point for him as for her. He’s spent months convincing himself that the door to a future with Brennan is irrevocably closed while at the same time concentrating on his relationship with Hannah. Although he couldn’t have responded other than he did to Brennan in that conversation in the SUV and be the man we know him to be, she opened that door to a possible future between them.  That mattered, and is something he’ll have to face at some point.

So…are there other moments for Booth that should be here in place of one or more of these?  Should any of these moments have been on another list, after all?

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44 thoughts on “Booth’s Turning Points

  1. I agree that the turning points you chose are very important to Booth’s way of seeing his relationship with Brennan; but, I thing Parts In The Sum Of The Whole was key for Booth. I believe the conversation we saw between Booth and Brennan, the first time they worked together, was critical for Booth in how he sees himself with Brennan:
    Brennan: (as Booth leads her out of a conference room by her arm) Let go of me!
    Booth: (very stern) I will if you would just- (Brennan slaps him across the face) Ow! What the hell?!
    Brennan: You are a bully! You- you grab my arm just like the judge, you use your badge and your gun to intimidate people!
    Booth: Really? The way you use your brain to make people around you feel stupid!
    Brennan: Well you are a stupid man! I hate you!
    Booth: Oh, you hate me? What are you ten years old? I’m not your dad!
    Brennan: I will never work with you again!
    When Sweets quetions that Brennan slaped Booth, Booth sadly says he shouldn’t have grabbed her.
    How many times have we seen Booth question Brennan as wether or not she wants to work with him. It comes up every once in a while and each time, Brennan has to reassure Booth that she wants to work with him. She even had to reassure him in the episode “Fire In The Ice” that she only wanted to work with Booth, that Agent Perotta had no future working with Brennan. Booth does love Brennan and hopes that Brennan will some day love him and yet she called him a stupid man and said she would never work with him again in their first days that they ever worked together. The only reason she started working with him again (The Pilot) was he sort of bribed her.
    By calling him a stupid man, Brennan undercut Booth’s confidence with Brennan and he has felt unworthy of her love ever since. She confirmed for him, his belief in that, when she rejected him twice, when he tried for a more intimate relationship. Booth would have to be super human to over look all of that.

    • I would add that she has continued to “tell” him he is stupid over the years. I’d argue even this year. And, while she acknowledges his superiority in reading people, I don’t think she yet understand that EQ matters more than IQ hands down. (Emotional intelligence quotient [EQ] turns out to be a better predictor of success in just about everything including life in general than intellectual intelligence quotient [IQ]. See Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence for the details. It’s all about whether you can wait for a marshmallow. 😉 )
      Maybe she hasn’t said it so baldly (although she did say it humorously in SitP), but she clearly thinks that she is superior in intelligence and thinks that she can use that to somehow top him at what he is superior at — like wanting to be as good an interrogator. I don’t think that she has accepted Angela’s advice that she should let him have something that he’s better at. And, even in Couple in the Cave, she made clear that she thinks that they can’t be a couple because they’re too different, and I think that difference is, in her mind, largely about intelligence. I think she frames it as head v. heart, but I think she still thinks head intelligence is superior to heart intelligence (and that if you’re head smart you should be able to use that to be better at the heart smart). Her steep learning curve can be surprisingly shallow sometimes.

      • Booth, through the seasons, has been insulted many times by Brennan; but, he usually over looks it or just ignores it. Sometimes we see the eye roll or the deep frown; but, most of the time he just seems to let the insults go. During the episode “In the Crank In The Shaft”, if you will go to the scene where Booth and Brennan are walking through the cubicles of the office where the office manager worked, they are talking about Cam writing a letter so that Booth can get a chair,
        Booth: She understands how the game is played.
        Bones: She worked for the same Man as you.
        Booth: That’s right.
        Bones: The Man who doesn’t exist.
        Booth actually clinches his hand and raises it up, like he wants to hit her but thinks about it and just lowers his arm. The level frustration he must deal with when talking to her can some times be a little to much for him. She likes to show how smart she is and how gullible or stupid he is. It has to be very frustrating for Booth, especially since he really loves her and would like her to respect him as much as he respects her.

      • Re Leonora: The Crank in the Shaft is the episode where Brennan basically tells Booth he’s a drone. She’s told him that he’s stupid numerous times, called him a loser and a drone. I’m don’t think too many men would put up with all the insults as good-naturedly as Booth does.

      • I do SO agree! As I see it Booth’s upbringing must have left him deeply scarred on an emotional level and for someone as intelligent as Brennan to tell him he’s stupid, even when said in anger, is going to stick in his mind. Add to that her propensity for self-promotion it’s no wonder if his ego gets crushed, however much he tries to overlook her insensitivity.

    • First, I ‘m new here. Second, I haven’t yet read the piece on Brennan’s turning points but I just had to ask a question regarding the scene with the slap. Did anyone ever think that perhaps her slap was her way of destroying a new relationship (personal) because she freaked out at this possible new intimacy in her life? I always felt that he upset her little, controlled life and thus she did everything to sabotage a beginning relationship with someone she felt deep, intense feelings for…even at that early stage. She didn’t know what to do with these feelings so she ran away in the taxi and she ran away when she slapped him. Did anyone get this vibe?

      • Very Insightful.

      • RE: Bones calling Booth stupid. I’ve always chosen to see this as part of the humor in Bones. I’ve always felt that Booth’s ego is so strong that her comments don’t impact him. Now, season 5 kind of changed that as he had to adjust after his brain surgery. But, I think he’s back to normal right now and I don’t see that his ego is impacted by her comments on his intelligence. If he loves her as we believe he does, then he has to understand this is part of her personality. His behavior towards her has always been one of putting up with her quirks…otherwise…how could he love her? Yes…everyone has an ego and there is only so much one person can take, but he chose to love her despite this behavior which leads me to believe it doesn’t bother him the way we’d think it does. JMO>

  2. Um…wow! Even if I could come up with other moments, I don’t think I could argue them half as well as you’ve done here. I’m especially impressed with #2, 3, and 4. I never would have even considered Brennan and Sully’s kiss in The Bodies in the Book being the moment where Booth realized he loved Brennan, but I think it could totally work. And because that works, what you said about The End in the Beginning works as well. Nice job!!

  3. My heart aches for Booth and everything he’s been through, and your post really brings home how low he got at the end of last season. I’ve been saying that for months! From the 100th to the finale, it was kick after kick in the gut for Booth.

    I’ve seen most of his actions and ‘distance’ this season as very much a protection mechanism. He’s trying not to be in a place where he can feel that low again, and being around her too intimately opens him up to the hurt she’s (unintentionally) made him feel before.

    I also buy your theory of him and Hannah – how she’s the first woman who’s really loved him openly, and put being with him as more important than anything else. You can understand how appealing that is after being rejected both as a man, but ultimately as a friend and partner as well.

    Honestly, this post almost brought a tear to my eye. To think of all that hope in ‘eventually’ being turned into the harsh reality of the loss of what he now knows he wants in EitB, and then the shut-down of any potential of that life in PitSotW, followed up with alienation from her from BwtA and finally physical distance in BitE, it’s heart crushing.

    It’s not surprising he’s not the same happy go lucky, confident guy he was in earlier seasons.

    • AMEN!
      To both Sophia and Rynogeny.

    • You know the hurt may be unintentional, but that doesn’t make it any less hurtful. And, her complete obliviousness to how her actions and words might affect someone she claims to care about so much, undercuts a lot of my sympathy for her. She is smart enough and old enough to have figured out that just because you don’t intend something doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for the damage you’ve done. And, she’s smart enough and old enough and been told by enough people that she should have figured out that she ought to think about the consequences of her actions and words on others, especially those she cares for. That something is the truth is no excuse for hurting people unnecessarily especially the people you claim to love and care about.
      I don’t mean that as a Brennan bash, BTW. 🙂

      • I know – I agree Angelena. I put the ‘unintentional’ in because I didn’t want to come across as just having a massive go at Brennan. I don’t mean to, it’s just that when I think what he’s been through, the Booth-girl in me rises up and gets all snarky ha.

        I definitely find I have less sympathy for Brennan this season than I would have had she not hurt him so deeply over and over at the end of last season. I’m not saying ‘it’s her turn’ or ‘she deserves it’ – I just think it’s kind of inevitable after the way she treated him.

        It’s not that she turned him down; that’s her right and she wasn’t ready. But it’s what happened after; dating Hacker, pulling away in BwtA, not being honest with him about why she needed space (it might have changed everything if he’d known one of the reasons she needed to get away, was to think about their relationship) and finally not contacting him when she was away. That last one is the one I find hardest. Those things I feel hurt him deeply, and she could have avoided them.

      • First of all…let me premise this by saying I’m a Booth-girl and I have defended Booth up and down in the BY since it seems like forever. My question is…in the 100th episode…can we blame Brennan for doing what she felt was best for her when she rejected Booth? She couldn’t handle the idea of a relationship with him and so she did the only thing she could possibly do at that point in time. The turning down was unintentional hurt she brought to Booth but she wasn’t mean about it and as scared as she was…I don’t blame her for her decision. Now…her behavior later can be called into question…i.e. asking him if they can still work together…some of the situations she put him thru before the finale….i.e. the dancing…talking about dating Hacker…stuff like that. I believe her decision to leave for Muluku was another unintentional hurt…she was messed up…trying to figure out where she fit in with her job and what was really between she and Booth. I guess I can’t get angry at her because I believe she felt she had no other choices as messed up and scared as she was post 100th epi. In the season 5 Gravedigger epi, I sometimes thought she was close to a breakdown…not a severe one…but nonehtheless she was feeling enough pressure which helped her make the decision to leave for Muluku. IN the major decisions that she has made…I’ve always felt she was living in fear and just couldn’t face the possibilities and thus I can’t be angry with her. Now her quirky behavior that sometimes borders on being mean…well, that’s something different. But when it comes to those big decisions…again…I felt she did the only thing she could given her state of mind….and I can’t blame her for that at all. Having said this…she is freakin crazy to turn down Booth. What the hell was she thinking???…but this is just me speaking from how I would behave…LOL

  4. Sophia –
    Totally agree, again.

    It seems like one is seen as bashing one or the other and it makes me nuts.

    Like you I am a Booth girl (’nuff said) and I have feeling fierce on his part. I also feel that Brennan in her clueless way was pretty horrible to him from ep 100 on with some really awful peaks at the very end. But, I don’t believe she therefore deserves to be hurt. I don’t want her hurt either, because it just makes them ever getting together that much harder, and I want that — for them and for me. ;-D

    The cluelessness bothers me because she’s had time and some very good teachers to help her get a clue, but she doesn’t seem to have learned much here.

    Anyway, this is also why the Booth bashers have bothered me so much. Whatever Booth may have “done” to Bones since the 100th, he has never thoughtlessly let loose on her. The closest was the scene on the bench. Yes, he has ignored her, he has teased her, etc., etc., etc., but he has never thoughtlessly said something that would cut her to the core the way she did at the end of S5 (had done on occasion previously and continues to do on occasion). Even at the end of DitP, Booth was clearly thinking very carefully about what he was saying to her.

    I also disagree with those who claim he has been flaunting Hannah. I don’t think anything he has done publicly has been out of character. Also, we forget that what HH, et al. choose to show us with Hannah (i.e. the two of them in bed — and I do appreciate a shirtless Booth ;-D ) is what we’re seeing, not what Bones is seeing. And, both Booth and Hannah have been unfailingly friendly and caring toward her (Ok, ok, the sunglasses thing was NOT COOL, but I think that was the writers trying to get a tad too cute) — always ask her to join them for dinner, etc., etc. Who got hurt? Hannah got shot; Bones did not get run over by the car. Who did Booth do a better job of protecting?

    I guess the thing that bothers me most is those folks in other fora (I am way over educated) who say let him have Hannah and send someone who will really love Bones. No one will ever love Bones like he does and she will never love anyone the way she loves Booth. Hannah or any other woman and any other man for Brennan would be settling for 2nd best.

    • I agree! With Seels and Angelena and Sophia! These turning points necessitate on the experiences of one character, and it can be easy to think in terms of Booth versus Brennan or Brennan versus Booth. What I think is important about looking closely at each character individually is that we remember how broken and damaged they each are, and even in their lowest moments, how much they provide for each other. It’s so complex and multi-faceted–like few things on TV–even if it often drives us fans to tears or tearing our hair.

      I think one thing worth remembering when the discussion of “flaunting” Hannah comes up is this: even if he WAS “flaunting” Hannah (I agree that he’s not), until DitP Booth had no idea it would hurt Brennan (he might have gotten a clue by the look on her face in MitR, but our beloved doctor is not an easy read for us with our birds-eye view, let alone people who live with and love her). I’m interested to see how things change when the season starts up again.

    • Hey Angelena – just wanted to come back and say that I totally agree with you when you said this:
      ‘I guess the thing that bothers me most is those folks in other fora (I am way over educated) who say let him have Hannah and send someone who will really love Bones. No one will ever love Bones like he does and she will never love anyone the way she loves Booth. Hannah or any other woman and any other man for Brennan would be settling for 2nd best.’

      That makes my blood boil, there IS no one else for either of them who’d make them as happy or ‘complete’ them as much as each other. That’s the whole point of their story! And also, I suspect, the point of the Hannah storyline. This is Booth learning that no one but Brennan will do.

  5. Wow, I couldn’t agree with you more on everything you said, especially #4. I’ve been so annoyed by all the negativity surrounding poor Booth since his “pick myself off the gutter” comment about needing to move on that I’ve actually stopped reading the comments on some of my favorite Bones sites. Your description of the emotional downward spiral Booth underwent from the 100th to the finale perfectly captures what I’ve thought all along. Hope definitely wasn’t lost after the 100th, regardless of what he said-he knew she rejected him, but based on his tentative closeness during the dance, when he burned the lucky Bones and even when he held her hand at the end of the BwtA, I’m pretty sure he was still hoping that they could regain the closeness they had before his declaration. He kind of knew what was coming-just look at his face when she looks back at him in the cab in BwtA, but he was still hanging on.

    The finale was way more painful for me to watch than the 100th precisely because that was when he gave up. She was already physically and emotionally separating herself from him and he knew it, which was why he was mulling over the army offer. I agree with you that Booth had not made a decision before Brennan made hers; but he reads people so well, an emotional barometer of sorts, that her distance and her talk of Maluku threw him off kilter enough to cause him to consider a drastic change for himself. I do think it hurt Booth terrilby to be asked to remain as her partner after the 100th (Hacker and all) only to find out that ultimately she would be the one doing the leaving. After all, she isn’t the only one with abandonment issues. I would go further though in that he originally wasn’t just on the fence about the army; I think Booth was asking, begging for a reason to stay, especially from Brennan. The scene in the diner confirms this for me-he looks like a kid wanting his parents to say no to semething he already knows is not a good idea. The fact that not once did anyone close to him give him that reason, not Brennan, or Cam or Parker or Sweets (only Caroline huffed at his decision) was what ultimately made him leave. In some scenes it actually felt in fact as if Parker and Brennan were encouraging him to go (Brennan probably because it would absolve her from the guilt of leaving and Parker God knows why). Booth’s dejection and total loss of hope on that bench and his sad goodbye at the airport are two of the main reasons I almost can’t watch this episode (not yet, at least).

    I don’t blame Brennan; she did what she had to do for self-preservation and unfortunately her ability to compartmentalize sometimes means she doesn’t see the consequences her actions have for others. I believe this is all changing in S6. She now knows how badly Booth was hurt which is why she put him first by helping Hannah to deal with him. What happened in Doctor in the Photo was a necessary evil, in my view. Booth seeing Brennan willing and able to expose her heart, to take a chance, will go a long way in helping him to dig up all those feelings that were buried when she went away.

  6. Seels, your writings are always so touching. and when you talk about an episode, I will asap watch it again.
    Since the first time they met, he fell for her, but it properly took him some time to fall in love. He know
    Instantly that they were going somewhere, that’s why he opened up to her early on.

    Yes the scene with Sully made me believe, that Booth was in love with Bones.

    Now to Hannah and the “love” he has for her. As you said it is not that intimate and deep as the love he fells for Bones. I agree that in the beginning when he came back from Afghanistan he thought that he properly not see Hannah again, because she was applying for a job in Iraq. And when he drove with Sweets in the car, he even said that to him, but then she came to be with him and I think that made him fall in “love” with her. Because since he came back, there was not much change in Bones, at least he could not see it. As gifted as he is in reading people and also Bones, when it come about love, he is blind. I think he is afraid that nobody will love him. I wonder, did he ever receive love (except from Grand’s and Parker)? I think he said somewhere that Rebecca never really loved him. Tess was freaking out, when Angela told her the next step is moving in with him and Cam was just satisfied. I know he never received love from his Father, but what about his Mother. He only mentions her twice. She was writing Jingles and then her meatloaf. Is there more Baggage in his life we yet have to discover?
    And even now, after Bones told him that she made a mistake, that she does not want regrets, can he feel that this time he can trust Bones that she is in love with him. It will take a lot more to come back from such hurt.
    I also thing that Booth bashing is unfair. He has never been mean to her. Getting annoyed with her and eye rolling we could see sometimes in other seasons too (I mean it is sometimes very challenging with her). And in Season 6 he understandably is a bit distant from her, but he is not hurtful. He still likes to be her partner, so he has not given up all hopes
    It would be so easy, if they could just say: “I love you!” I know Booth tried it ones in (I don’t’ recall at this time the episode.) but Bones did not respond as quickly, she was staring at him and he said that silly “Atta girl ?” thing. When I look at that scene, I have the feeling that Bones would have had responded differently to him, because she hesitated a bit, but then she thought about his joke and did what she had to do. You can see in this scene that both are so afraid of being rejected, it is painful to watch.
    But this is why we are hooked on the show. This powerful love connection between Bones and Booth, with all the heartache. Most people probably had an experience like this in their life and hoping that if these two people can come together it will give us hope.

    Seels, your writings are always so touching. and when you talk about an episode, I will asap watch it again.
    Since the first time they met, he fell for her, but it properly took him some time to fall in love. He know
    Instantly that they were going somewhere, that’s why he opened up to her early on.

    Yes the scene with Sully made me believe, that Booth was in love with Bones.

    Now to Hannah and the “love” he has for her. As you said it is not that intimate and deep as the love he fells for Bones. I agree that in the beginning when he came back from Afghanistan he thought that he properly not see Hannah again, because she was applying for a job in Iraq. And when he drove with Sweets in the car, he even said that to him, but then she came to be with him and I think that made him fall in “love” with her. Because since he came back, there was not much change in Bones, at least he could not see it. As gifted as he is in reading people and also Bones, when it come about love, he is blind. I think he is afraid that nobody will love him. I wonder, did he ever receive love (except from Grand’s and Parker)? I think he said somewhere that Rebecca never really loved him. Tess was freaking out, when Angela told her the next step is moving in with him and Cam was just satisfied. I know he never received love from his Father, but what about his Mother. He only mentions her twice. She was writing Jingles and then her meatloaf. Is there more Baggage in his life we yet have to discover?
    And even now, after Bones told him that she made a mistake, that she does not want regrets, can he feel that this time he can trust Bones that she is in love with him. It will take a lot more to come back from such hurt.
    I also thing that Booth bashing is unfair. He has never been mean to her. Getting annoyed with her and eye rolling we could see sometimes in other seasons too (I mean it is sometimes very challenging with her). And in Season 6 he understandably is a bit distant from her, but he is not hurtful. He still likes to be her partner, so he has not given up all hopes
    It would be so easy, if they could just say: “I love you!” I know Booth tried it ones in (I don’t’ recall at this time the episode.) but Bones did not respond as quickly, she was staring at him and he said that silly “Atta girl ?” thing. When I look at that scene, I have the feeling that Bones would have had responded differently to him, because she hesitated a bit, but then she thought about his joke and did what she had to do. You can see in this scene that both are so afraid of being rejected, it is painful to watch.
    But this is why we are hooked on the show. This powerful love connection between Bones and Booth, with all the heartache. Most people probably had an experience like this in their life and hoping that if these two people can come together it will give us hope.

    Seels, your writings are always so touching. and when you talk about an episode, I will asap watch it again.
    Since the first time they met, he fell for her, but it properly took him some time to fall in love. He know
    Instantly that they were going somewhere, that’s why he opened up to her early on.

    Yes the scene with Sully made me believe, that Booth was in love with Bones.

    Now to Hannah and the “love” he has for her. As you said it is not that intimate and deep as the love he fells for Bones. I agree that in the beginning when he came back from Afghanistan he thought that he properly not see Hannah again, because she was applying for a job in Iraq. And when he drove with Sweets in the car, he even said that to him, but then she came to be with him and I think that made him fall in “love” with her. Because since he came back, there was not much change in Bones, at least he could not see it. As gifted as he is in reading people and also Bones, when it come about love, he is blind. I think he is afraid that nobody will love him. I wonder, did he ever receive love (except from Grand’s and Parker)? I think he said somewhere that Rebecca never really loved him. Tess was freaking out, when Angela told her the next step is moving in with him and Cam was just satisfied. I know he never received love from his Father, but what about his Mother. He only mentions her twice. She was writing Jingles and then her meatloaf. Is there more Baggage in his life we yet have to discover?
    And even now, after Bones told him that she made a mistake, that she does not want regrets, can he feel that this time he can trust Bones that she is in love with him. It will take a lot more to come back from such hurt.
    I also thing that Booth bashing is unfair. He has never been mean to her. Getting annoyed with her and eye rolling we could see sometimes in other seasons too (I mean it is sometimes very challenging with her). And in Season 6 he understandably is a bit distant from her, but he is not hurtful. He still likes to be her partner, so he has not given up all hopes
    It would be so easy, if they could just say: “I love you!” I know Booth tried it ones in (I don’t’ recall at this time the episode.) but Bones did not respond as quickly, she was staring at him and he said that silly “Atta girl ?” thing. When I look at that scene, I have the feeling that Bones would have had responded differently to him, because she hesitated a bit, but then she thought about his joke and did what she had to do. You can see in this scene that both are so afraid of being rejected, it is painful to watch.
    But this is why we are hooked on the show. This powerful love connection between Bones and Booth, with all the heartache. Most people probably had an experience like this in their life and hoping that if these two people can come together it will give us hope.

  7. I would add another scene, the one in The Critic in the Cabernet, when Booth tells Brennan that if he’s going to be the father, then he has to be the father. He’s agreed to father her child and he wants to be a part of that relationship. He doesn’t know he has a brain tumor and his look when he says this line to her is wrenching. And what is Brennan’s reply, ‘Fine, then I won’t have the baby.’ The scene rolls on to the whole brain tumor diagnosis and operation but to me this is Brennan’s first real rejection of Booth, as the father of her child. If you have to get that involved then I won’t have the baby. Then comes the coma dream where Brennan is actually pregnant and telling Booth in a loving manner that they are going to be parents. Booth wakes up from the dream and Brennan takes off for Guatemala, leaving him to struggle with the loss of a dream world where he had finally achieved the relationship he so badly wanted. So by The Beginning in the End, Brennan has rejected Booth as a father, as a man and as a partner. When she fails to contact him for seven months, in his mind she has finally also rejected him as a friend. No wonder Hannah looks like a life preserver, someone willing to sacrifice her own life and career to be with him, someone not ashamed to love him openly. The first glimmer that Brennan is now becoming aware of the damage she has done with regards to Booth is in the brief and very telling exchange in the car in The Doctor in the Photo:

    ‘I’ll have to adjust.’
    ‘I did.’
    ‘I know you did.’

    Here’s hoping that knowledge will lead to a deeper understanding between these two.

    • The funny/ironic thing about the “rejection” in CitC is that I don’t think she was rejecting him as a potential father for her child. I think she was actually worried that there was something seriously wrong with him and didn’t want to waste time discussing the baby. She just wanted to get on to the next topic which was far more important.
      I also think that was another example of their (esp her) inability still to figure out anything about the person they are closest to in the world: all he was saying was that he wanted to be involved. She was so busy making it so he would have no obligations, that she couldn’t see that he didn’t see it as an obligation that he didn’t want. He just wanted to be part of his kid’s life (and hers — it would be a way to always be closely connected to her, in fact). There’s one moment in the car where he almost says it, but doesn’t.
      He may have interpreted that as a rejection of him as a potential father, but I really think Bones was just far more concerned about his immediate health than her desire to have a baby at that particular moment.

      • That’t the way I took it too.

      • I agree with both of you that Brennan just wanted to close the discussion and get Booth to a hospital. But as I said, he didn’t know at that moment that anything was wrong with him so he would have read it as a rejection given that the gist of the episode again from his viewpoint was Brennan wanting to use him to produce a child but not wanting him to participate in its life with her.

    • I don’t know about this one. I understand your point and why he might have felt like she was rejecting him when she dropped it, if she hadn’t been so obviously focused on wanting him as the father of the baby. If she’d moved on to ‘plan B’ when he said no, and taken Fisher up on his offer, then I could see how Booth might have taken it as a rejection.

      My problem in that episode is always that she’s not expecting that response. The first time I saw it, I was really very angry with the writers up until the point he realizes he can’t do it, because I kept thinking, ‘how can anyone who knows him buy this? Buy that he’d make a child and walk away?’ Even Brennan, who has perhaps better reason than most to assume parents can and do walk away from their offspring, should have known he never would.

  8. Sorry, my comment came up several times, don’t know what happen. Also sorry RYNOGENI that I thought Seels wrote the above. I must be very tired, because I have a lot of work at the end of the year in Paperworks.

  9. I’ve never thought of Sully being the catalyst for Booth admitting (sort of) his feelings for Brennan. I like it! This was great! It made me think. Awesome job.

  10. You picked some really great moments for Booth. Soldier was the first time we saw that there was really something of substance under the cockey exterior.
    I loved the end of Bodies in the Book for exactly the reason you have given. The dejected sllump of Booth’s shoulders said it all.
    No one will ever convince me that Booth would have gone into the army (or whatever he did, Hart Hanson), had he not been convinced that Brennan was leaving both emotionally and physically. I think that her failure to contact him at any point during their time apart hurt him more deeply than her rejection of him in #100. As much as I am not a Hannah fan, it is little wonder that he ran toward someone who values him both in word and action.
    I agree with you about the Hannah love BTW, and I hope that we are both right.

  11. you know, I think Booth first realized he had feelings for Brennan in the season 1 finale. I’m not saying he was in love with her, but he certainly was happy when she changed the name of her manuscript and dedicated her book too him. Maybe I’m reading too much into his face in that scene. but if you take the rest of the episode, with him seeing Brennan’s mother and realizing how Brennan’s going to react. Brining her Chinese food, and maybe he’s just being friendly with the food, but the fact that he brings it over at midnight…..and then all the lengths he goes through to get her to reconnect with her brother, the overprotectiveness of his threats to McVicker. He had to have at least a small crush on her at that point. Tell me I’m wrong. I dare you. 🙂

    • Nope, I won’t tell you you’re wrong. 🙂 As I said, I think you can make good arguments for other eps being that particular turning point. And since WiL is probably my favorite episode…nope, no arguments.

      But love is a funny thing. For some people it’s a lightning strike where they figure it out all at once, while for others, it’s a slower process. Can you be in love and not know that’s what it is? I think so. Alternatively, can falling in love be a process as opposed to a ‘yesterday I wasn’t in love, today I am’ kind of thing? I think so on that, too. So it’s very possible to me that he was falling in love by WiL. But I don’t think he acknowledged it to himself until later.

  12. Replying to my own post…how scary is that? But I want to respond to a number of things people are saying.

    First, though, I want to thank you for not bashing Brennan. 🙂 Quite frankly, I was concerned that a hard look at Booth’s hurt would unleash just that, and that was never my goal.

    I’m not inside Brennan’s head (or those who write her) but here’s my theory about much of Brennan’s behavior, including her insults: I think her self-worth is very much tied up in her intelligence and beauty. She doesn’t see herself as being lovable or valuable apart from those things, and I think it drives her to prove herself the smartest and best – even to the point of insulting people she cares about.

    She really doesn’t have an accurate view of herself. She told Booth she doesn’t have an open heart, but just as everyone around her knew she wasn’t Lauren Eams, we all know how compassionate she really is. But she can’t see that, and takes refuge in what she knows to be true: her intelligence and beauty. (I keep thinking about what she said to Avalon in Harbingers when Avalon told her she was trying to solve the riddle of how someone could love her. Avalon tells her that Booth knows the truth of her and is dazzled by it, but rather than look reassured, Brennan looks anxious (?) at that point, and I think it’s because she doesn’t know the truth about herself. To her way of thinking, if she’s not loved for her IQ, what’s to love?)

    Does that justify the put-downs and insults? No. But I think she probably began taking refuge in them not long after her parents left, and it’s so much a habit now she doesn’t even think about it. Should she? Yes, and I’ve often wondered how she’d respond if Booth looked at her and said, ‘it hurts me when you say that.’ I expect she’d be defensive (‘it’s only the truth, Booth’) until she understood how serious he was, and then she’d respond the way she did to his anger in Con Man and anger and hurt in The Beginning in the End. And as it is, she frequently says one thing while demonstrating something else. Yes, she’s insulting to him in Crank in the Shaft…while making sure he gets the chair.

    And second, I don’t think she thinks of relationships the way most of the rest of us do. I don’t believe there’s any correlation for her between how she feels about him and in letting him know that by either making some effort to stay in touch with him, or at least by caring that she can’t. Did she expect to miss him in Maluku? Maybe. Would that manifest the way it would for anyone else? Not necessarily. She’s spent half her life missing people who are important to her, and copes by simply not letting herself feel it. The other part of that equation is that it doesn’t occur to her that he might need to know she’s going to miss him. Despite the conversation in front of the Hoover, I don’t think she understands how important she is to him, or that not contacting him could matter so much. She knew she hurt him that night, but I don’t think that means she really grasps how much power she has over him, how much she can hurt him.

    • On the nose re: Brennan’s, shall we say, tone deafness on these emotional issues. The thing that still bothers me though is that this is something that you can partly address with brain power. You have to realize first that you’re hurting people, but once you know that you can turn it into an intellectual exercise to stop and think about how people might feel about these things she says even if she still doesn’t “feel” it. I’ve done that successfully with several situations in which I tended to blurt first and think later they always seemed to upset people.
      Maybe Booth made his own bed in this regard. Maybe he (and Angela and perhaps Goodman or Cam or Max or Sweets (!) or anybody) should have called her on this earlier, more often and more explicitly.

      • You’re right that they could have called her on it, and don’t. The problem with this, I think, is that the answer functions on two levels. There’s the story-universe level, and the writer’s level. Within the Bones universe itself, do they not say anything because the people who are closest to her makes excuses for her? When she says something insulting to Sweets, for example, what allows him to look past it and say ‘you’re one of my closest friends’? What is it that lets him do that, even knowing how she feels about his profession? The only thing I can figure is that he sees something beyond the insults, that what she does for him in Mayhem sends a louder message to him than her insults. Ditto everyone else.

        One thing I wonder about, though, that I don’t think The Parts in the Sum of the Whole came close to explaining, is her friendship with Angela. How did a woman who’s so culturally clueless, socially awkward, and has trouble forming bonds with anyone else become ‘best friends’ with Angela? What did Angela see in her that made that friendship worth pursuing?

        Beyond all that, though, there’s the writer’s level that the stories function on, namely, that they want to show Brennan growing, but not so fast that she loses her distinctiveness. Sure, we could have seen people calling her on it in the early seasons, and by S4 no longer see that behavior. But that kind of change, even when justified, feels like a risk to TV writers, I think. They want to show growth, but not away from the basic character. But that, in itself, is a risk. One of the people I tried to get into the show watched a few eps and said, “Brennan’s the most unlikable person I’ve ever seen on TV.” Um…and yeah, I’d shown her eps where I think we see a softer, more vulnerable Brennan.

  13. I don’t ever write. Ever. But I enjoy and respect the thought that goes into the postings and comments on this site, and I have something to offer that informs my perspective on _the_ relationship since I started watching (Season 1 Episode 2).

    Booth doesn’t think he is worthy of Brennan. His childhood (abusive father, absent mother) enforced his sense of unworthiness, his desire to be worthy of an unattainable woman, and his certainty that he would fail. He believed that what he did in the Army was worthy because *someone else told him so*, not because he knew it for himself (which is why he struggles when questions are raised over it (John Wilkes Booth, John F Kennedy)).

    In Romances, the noble knight (or Paladin) fought for the honor of his lady fair, but never expected to “win” her (and when he did (Lancelot, Tristam) it was disastrous)). Booth is this knight, and for much of our story, he has been questing on behalf of his lady fair. He has not believed he was worthy of winning her (marrying her and having a life with her, not just having sex with her), and in a thousand different ways (primarily over the gaps in rationality/faith, intelligence/sense, education/experience) Brennan has let him know that he was right. This comes to an absolute head in “Con Man”. For me the scene in the interrogation viewing room is the single most important scene in the first four seasons. Brennan basically _tells_ him that he is not worthy of her (and that his brother might be!), and he calls her on it. She apologizes with a toast, and saves their future, but it is a near run thing. From then on, Booth starts to question their inequality. Not in an ugly way, but in a way that asks, “why not me? why not?”. Before this, while I believe he *wanted* a life with Brennan, I don’t believe he thought it was a reasonable outcome.

    From opening up to the possibility, to visualizing the possibility in a dream, to acknowledging his desire (and his doubts) to Chef Gordon Gordon, Booth was now on a straight path from “loving from afar” to taking action. And he did. He tried to offer himself in a way that she could appreciate, rather than the way he might have wanted to do it (bended knee?). And she said no. And she used that oldest of rejections, “It’s not you, it’s me.” When someone uses that on you, you know it’s _you_ even if you didn’t before. And the precarious self-worth that had been the foundation of his quest collapsed around him. And then she made him commit to being partners (“we can still be friends can’t we?”) when he quite reasonably wanted to crawl away and hide. She then went on to break up their partnership on her terms (I want you how I want you, when I want you, I don’t want anyone else to have you, and when I don’t want you you anymore, I will tell you) in a second rejection quite as devastating as the first.

    Anyone subjected to that would want to rebuild their self worth. How do you do that? You go someplace you are wanted and valued and competent, and people tell you they need you and your country needs you and you are the best. And you save a woman’s life. And this woman thinks you are worthy of her, and she is attainable. And maybe you are not honest with her about your childhood, and your past, and your self doubts, and your weaknesses, but, while that is not a recipe for long term success, it certainly feels better right now (note that he told Brennan from moment one about every weakness – he really *did* know).

    So he can move back into a position of parity with Brennan (see the exchange in the car in Doctor in the Photo where the tables are turned). Those who feel that Booth moved on too quickly have simply never been rejected by someone they were truly in love with. To move on at all, and not be a stalker, you have to move on quickly.

    I suspect that those who bother reading this will see this as anti-Brennan and pro-Booth. And it is, a little. I could post again with my perspective on Brennan’s trajectory (which is really not so much about not valuing Booth (she really really does even though the opposite often comes across to him), but about her not having the tools to measure and so trust her value of Booth (she can’t measure on her rational scales the reality she senses, and her emotional/intuitive scales are undeveloped). She also fears being vulnerable with him, and so while *we* get to see her many defenses of his value (to her cousin is a classic), Booth does not.

    Finally, the series is “about Brennan, as seen from the perspective of Booth”. Hence the title (her, using his name for her). So our entry to the story, our tour guide, our emotional center, is Booth. We will never see an equivalent episode to Doctor int he Photo from Booth’s perspective, because that is every other episode.

    • Wow Sayan, that was gorgeous and very eloquently put. I really like the view you put forward, and how you did it. Would very much enjoy reading anything else you felt like posting / commenting on 🙂

    • This is very good. Post when you like. You write interesting stuff.

    • I’m at work and won’t have time to properly respond to this until this evening, but wanted to thank you for your comments. I don’t know if I agree with all of them, but it’s all worth thinking about. Please keep responding!

    • As I said in my earlier comment, I agree with much of what you’ve said here, particularly Brennan not having the tools to measure her value of Booth. If I’m following you, I think what you’re saying is similar to something I’ve said for a while now, that Brennan knows how she feels about Booth – she just doesn’t know what that feeling is or means, or how it compares to what he feels for her, for example.

      And yes, I think what she says about him that he doesn’t see (like to her cousin) is very important. It’s also why I don’t quite agree with your final paragraph. Although I don’t think we’ll see a Booth equivalent to TDitP, it’s not because the entire series is that way. Too much of the other episodes are in points of view not belonging to either Booth or Brennan. But I think many, if not most, of their scenes together are his POV.

  14. Amazing, sayan. I have a hard time believing you NEVER write.

  15. I love your post so much, and agree on all your points, especially 4 and 5.

    No. 4 – To me you have hit the nail on the head. You only have to look at Booth’s face when they’re sitting on the bench. He gives up in that moment – THAT’S when he finally decides to go away.

    No 5 – When Hannah comes along and offers Booth unconditional love he soaks it up like a sponge. His self-esteem is at rock bottom, still devastated by all the events after the 100th, he’s most likely lonely, missing his son, missing his life back in DC. Why wouldn’t he accept what Hannah was offering him? Simple, uncomplicated affection from a beautiful woman. Bones had told him she was unwilling and unable to reciprocate his affection – not once but twice – first in the 100th and then by choosing to go off to Maluku and evidently avoiding any communication with him once she gets there. It doesn’t get much clearer than that, imo.

    I too get very tired of the Booth bashers. It seems as though he is expected to behave like a doormat and a complete wuss! What he is doing is trying to salvage some pride and self-respect.

    Now the cat is out of the bag with regard to Bone’s confession it’s going to be very interesting.

  16. Hey Ryn!
    Great choices! I totally agree with you on these turning points for Booth. In particular, I wholeheartedly am in sync with your opinions of the impact of The End in the Beginning and The Beginning in the End on him. I don’t think I could have said it better myself, except to say that I too believe that he gave up on Brennan as soon as Sweets told him she was going to Maluku.

    Now, the question that’s been giving me ulcers is how he’s going to reaffirm his faith in her? After The Doctor in the Photo, I realize Brennan making her confession will nag at him and bring up all of the feelings he’s repressed since accepting Hannah in to his life, but I honestly don’t know how or if we’ll ever get back to the B&B we knew and loved by the end of Season 4. I worry that Hannah will have too big an impact on them in the aftermath, which makes me very sad. Nonetheless, I will persevere and keep the faith that “eventually everything will work out.” 🙂

    Thanks so much for doing these turning-point analyses! I’ve really enjoyed reading them!

    • I don’t think we’ll get get back to the B&B of S4, though I’m hoping that won’t bother people as much when they see what we wind up with when this is all over.

      When you say he has to reaffirm his faith in her, what do you mean? In what way?

      I don’t quite know how to explain this, but I think where they’ll be is somewhere even better than where they were. That they’ll both know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what they mean to each other — that they’re loved and valued, and worth the love they’ve found. But I think they have to go through this to get to that point. I hesitate to say more here, because this is a spoiler free zone (and thus I want to be careful even with speculation) but if you want more of my thoughts on why I believe this, contact me on Twitter or something. 🙂

  17. A big moment for me…maybe not for this topic…but for me was the final hospital scene in Critics in the Cabernet. Booth is in his hospital bed with all the hospital workers working busily around him…and yet you can see he is a big freaked out…he looks sad and lonely and then Bones walks up to the window and they stare at each other. For me, the both said with non-verbals, how important they were to each other. Their eyes said it all. Even though they refused to speak the words, there was love shining out of both there eyes and they both realized…this may be it…he may not make it through the surgery. It was this scene that made me think season 5 was going to be the moment they ended up together. But…HH had other plans…darn him!!!

  18. So, confession: Every comment on a post that I write is sent to me via email, but when someone ELSE is the author of a post, I don’t get those emails. Note to self: see if that can be changed, as there are some amazing comments going on in these posts that I’m not a part of.

    I love this:

    From Sayan: “Finally, the series is “about Brennan, as seen from the perspective of Booth”. Hence the title (her, using his name for her). So our entry to the story, our tour guide, our emotional center, is Booth.”

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. There is something about that statement that absolutely gives me hope. I don’t know what or why, but I love it. Love, love, Love, Love, love it.

    I agree with these, though I don’t know if I’d calll End in the Beginning a turning point, if only because I really think it’s Critic in the Cabernet combined with Harbingers that is sort of the turning point. Yes, EitB is between those, but that ep (to me) still isn’t concrete enough for me 🙂

  19. Pingback: Temperance Brennan: More Than Her Mistakes? « Bones Theory

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