Here’s the thing; this scene is so ripe with greatness; I really could have chosen so many lines for the title. “You wouldn’t even have coffee with me?” for one, and “Are you always this protective of him, Dr. Brennan?” for another. How about “Cause…you’re 12” or even just “Voltron”. But in the end, one of my favorite things ever is when Brennan brings up the infamous line, then quickly brushes it aside. It’s indeed a great scene.
Here’s a little history to get us started.
Booth and Brennan are assigned an FBI-standard issued shrink in the form of Dr. Lance Sweets. The episode begins with him attempting to get them to participate in some sort of feel-goodery or another.
Neither Booth nor Brennan are amused, as you can imagine. Sweets wants them to lean in, nice and close, and Booth refuses. Brennan encourages him that it’s just a useless exercise to determine trust or something. Booth says they agreed to see another therapist, not be action figures for a 12 year old. Meanwhile, their fingers keep brushing against one another’s, all subtle and frictiony!
Sweets is 22, he asserts, and he insists that their therapy isn’t a game. I love this look Brennan is giving Booth, when he’s all annoyed. I really believe she loves it when he’s annoyed, just like I do!
Also, you’ll notice Booth and Brennan are sitting in separate chairs. Sweets tells them that the FBI is considering severing their partnership. Brennan is shocked and Booth sits up right away. Actually, he sort of uncoils and tenses at the same time in a subtle and controlled rage and asks, “Why?” Can’t you just imagine that Booth spends nearly a quarter of his time making damn sure that she will ALWAYS be his partner? We don’t ever see it, but Booth DOES have to account for her and the J-team, so I’d imagine that he’s pretty fierce about that. To have Sweets, on behalf of the FBI, just toss that out there…yeah, Booth would be mad.
Sweets insists that Booth arresting Max (remember that in season two? It feels like ages ago. And doesn’t it feel strange that THAT was the sort of thing that stood between B&B? I mean…that’s like cupcakes compared to nowadays. Jeez Louise) would put strain on the partnership, and it’s his job to determine if Brennan’s services should be assigned to another agent, and Booth, in one of my all time favorite Booth lines says, “That’s not going to happen.”
Okay, okay, moving on!
Sweets gives them homework, and it’s fun to see how B&B react to that. Brennan takes it very seriously, while Booth sort of tries to cheat off of hers. She gets defensive, and Booth gives us another all time mystery when he later asks her…
“What’d you put for number seven, because I put 12-15 times a day, and now I’m thinking I really misunderstood the question.”
Seeley Booth lives wide. That is all.
As the episode progresses, B&B solve a case involving the death of a man, an organic farmer, and a woman who worked for him, not close in age. The case brings them into contact with the victim’s family (his wife and daughter, and her friend) and the man’s enemies. It also introduces B&B to Noel, a stalker of the woman. Very good times.
Also good is when Angela rides along with Booth and Brennan to the FBI building to question Noel. B&B are bickering about ‘the truth’. Booth says, “Whose side are you on, and don’t say the facts, because that just annoys me.” Brennan replies and Angela asks them, “Is it always like this when you two are together?”
Booth says no at the same time Brennan says yes. Angela says “It’s kinda hot.” Yes, Angela. It is.
In other news, Booth is 35 years old, and he doesn’t need a blue pill for that.
Keeping the conversation up, let’s continue to move on!
Booth and Brennan have a closing session with Sweets. And it’s clear within the first millisecond that they have closed ranks and are revealing nothing, mainly in the way Sweets’ eyes move back and forth between the two of them. He’s looking to see which one of them will crack first.
But what he is about to learn is that they are both incredibly private, and that the only thing that can get them fired up is when the other one is pressured.
He doesn’t know that yet, and he just asks, “So…case finished?”
“Yes,” Brennan replies.
Sweets congratulates them, and when Booth just says “yeah,” Sweets calls him on it.
“You don’t seem too happy,” he adds.
And Booth reveals a lot (to me, at least,) when he says, “Well, because sometimes if you win, you end up with somebody else’s pain and screwed up life.” He adds, “You work for the FBI; you should know that.” Interesante!
But Sweets doesn’t know Booth like we know Booth, so he continues to push, and he tries to go in for an emotional kill and says, “It must be a challenge for you to access those feelings.”
To which Brennan, our favorite girl Brennan, the woman who earlier in the episode pretty much did tell Booth his penis was going to shrink if he didn’t eat organic food…her heart rises up and she gets fierce. Don’t believe me? Well, you should. She says, “Okay, stop. You don’t know Booth. You don’t know me. You have a limited view of us based on superficial data you’ve accumulated on a standardized questionnaire, and a subjective analysis from talking to us that is not at all scientific so…back.off.
Meanwhile, Booth is looking at her, and you know that her protective vibe and her rushed sciency words just get him all riled up, right? Seriously, there are three people in that room, and two of them just fell a bit deeper into love with her.
Is Sweets in love with Brennan? Ah, that’s another post for another day, but in this scene, he sees his opening. Who cracked first? Not Agent Booth, as he’d suspected, but Dr. Brennan. So Booth speaks up, not to defend himself, you’ll notice, but just to get his partner to quit wasting her time on Sweets, who “probably the worst thing that has happened to him is that he lost at Mortal Kombat.”
This look on his face always intrigues me, as it’s sort of him looking to see what her reaction is. Is she believing what she’s saying? Did she really just stand up for him like that? Is she really even saying ANYTHING to Sweets? Can’t you just imagine them agreeing ahead of time to just keep a tight lid on it (“A lid on what, Booth? I didn’t bring any sort of objects that might in fact need lids.” “Uh, Bones…it’s an expression. It means, we’ll keep our lips zipped.” “But–” “It’s just…look, Bones, it means we won’t say anything, okay? We’ll just go in there, as a team, okay? We’re partners, that’s what we do. And we won’t say anything.” “Okay, got it. We’ll keep a zipper on it.” “Uh…yeah, great. This is going to be just…great.” Hahahahaha.)
Sweets ignores Booth, and asks Brennan, “Are you normally this protective of him, Dr. Brennan?”
Brennan answers fairly truthfully, “We are partners. Our lives depend on being protective of each other.”
Booth’s face during that entire sentence is just perfectly priceless. Sweets asks him, “And you feel the same way, Agent Booth?” And Booth replies with a great line. The kind of line that inspired pal Lauren to write an amazing fic series. The kind of line that inspires Sweets to devote his life to following B&B around. He says, “Sweets, I can only hope that one day, you know what a real partnership is.”
And my question to you, friends, is this. What is Booth talking about there? What would HE consider a ‘real’ partnership? Because, I gotta say, in that moment, there’s no bull crap. He’s being completely serious. Don’t you agree? It’s not a ploy or an attempt to distract Sweets.
Sweets calms down a bit and just talks to them. He says, “You two are very close. That was evident in your ‘superficial standardized questionnaire and my unscientific observations’.” How cute is he, tossing Brennan’s insult back at her? Good times.
Booth says, “Yeah?”
And Sweets smiles and nods, “You complement each other.”
Booth scoffs. “No. She never compliments me.” He then asks Brennan if she in fact did compliment him in the questionnaire.
“Complement,” Brennan quietly corrects him. “…He means that we complete each other.” She sputters a bit, and adds, “As a team.”
And Booth gets this look on his face like, “Crap. I did not just keep a lid on it.”
So not only has he revealed that he doesn’t know the difference between compliment and complement, he has also revealed that Brennan never compliments him, and that he’s noticed. Ah!
But Sweets doesn’t call him on that; he just says that they have a lot to work on over the next months. B&B are surprised.
“Meaning…we get to stay together?” Brennan asks. Aw, so sweet!
“Yesssss…” Sweets concedes, and Booth gives a little side note.
“I’m sensing a but,”
“However,” Sweets continues…
And, “Same as a but,” Brennan interjects
Sweets continues as if neither one of them has ever spoken, stating, “I’ve observed some underlying issues that need to be addressed.”
“Issues,” Booth scoffs, and Sweets smiles.
“Yes, there’s obviously a very deep emotional connection between you two.” And he loves them! Woo!
Do I even need to tell you what Booth says in reply? Doesn’t his face say it all? Okay, well, just the mouth part of the face says, “We’re just partners.” Ah, fascinating, right? So what happened between “I hope you know what a real partnership is,” and this moment to sort of downgrade? Or is that just my perception of it? Thoughts from you? Is he telling the truth, or is he the most beautiful liar?
Kudos to Sweets for sticking in there, though, and staying right with him. “And why do you think I would have thought otherwise?”
“Cause…you’re 12,” Booth snarks back, and we love him.
At this point, Brennan decides it’s probably a good idea to zip something, and she speaks up. Notice her arm literally crossing over Booth in an innate protection mode, as if she can prevent him from saying anything further. She says, “Don’t read into anything that Booth said. We’re professionals. There’s a line…that doesn’t even need to be there.”
“Not at all,” Booth adds.
Later on in the season, B&B will trick a suspect into revealing too much information, Booth will say something like, “You walked right into that one,” and Brennan will say “No changees,” and Booth will add, “Nooooo takebacks,” and that’s what I always want to say to them in this moment. Seriously, though, isn’t “There’s a line…that doesn’t even need to be there” one of the most revealing lines on the show, ever? To me, it is. For one thing, when Booth did draw the line (Man in the Cell) , Brennan did completely understand. That’s one of those moments that grows increasingly clearer in light of the 100th episode. And another day, in another post (these scene studies always seem to lend themselves to other posts!), we can talk about ALL of the lines that have been drawn between them, in one form or another, but I think in this scene, we’re specifically talking about what Booth said to Brennan on that park bench.
And then…ah, you guys! AH!
“I mean,” Booth continues,”If there were no more murders, I would probably not even see her.”
“That’s very true,” Brennan adds, and Sweets has no idea what is about to happen. He’s just jotting down notes like, “Find out what kind of hair gel Agent Booth uses.” or something like that.
Meanwhile, we’re all unable to quite pull in complete breaths.
“We might have coffee,” Booth suggests, so casually, so sure.”
“Probably not,” Brennan shrugs.
“What?” Booth asks. I love the reaction on Brennan’s face. She knows enough to know that somehow, he’s genuinely surprised by what she said. What she considered to be a logical reply, for some reason, his voice has gotten soft and shocked, and she isn’t quite sure what that means. And if it’s what she THINKS it means, then doesn’t that go WAY beyond keeping a lid on it? That sort of thing, right?
“What?” she asks.
And in that moment, Sweets is super wicked curious, as he might say. He senses the shift in the mood, and I’m guessing it’s something he hasn’t really experienced in all of his 22 years.
It’s more than just professional interest, though there is plenty of that as well. Remember, Sweets works for the FBI. Okay, duh, not that you forgot or anything, but…it’s possible he’s heard rumors of these two. I think the session at the beginning of the episode is their first session ever, but what do you think happened when Sweets was handed their file? Did he lose a bet? Is the FBI testing him? Is he really the best? Did the FBI say, “Look, they are the best, find a way to make sure that doesn’t change.” or maybe he’s in the break room and he casually mentions that he’s going to be working with Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan. Surely, other agents gossip about them behind Booth’s back, don’t you think? I just feel like in that moment, and in a moment coming up, Sweets sort of feels like he’s hit the jackpot. Sort of an “Oh, wow…everything I’ve heard about them is actually TRUE!” I don’t see him as an imprinted duck quite yet, but he’s fascinated, that is for sure. Heck, I could hardly breathe, and I knew the history. I mean, we all sort of KNEW that Booth was hooked on her, and I’ll agree with Rynogeny when she says that the moment Booth saw Brennan kissing Sully was a turning point. Yes, at one time, he stuck a gun in a gang member’s mouth, yes, he needed flashier ties, yes, there’s more than one kind of family but to me, this moment was honest to goodness admission, right? Am I the only one who thinks so?
“You wouldn’t even have coffee with me?”
How about this in correlation to him assuring Sweets that they have a ‘real partnership’, yeah? It just knocks the wind out of him, out of me, out of anyone, I’d think! His voice is so soft, but there is this underlying urgency and uncertainty that just kills me every single time.
“Well, in your scenario,” Brennan begins. “…we wouldn’t even know each other because there are no murders.”
“Were,” Booth quickly clarifies. “I said no more murders.”
“Fine,” Brennan agrees. “We could have coffee.”
Yep, pretty much! I mean, do you think when they cast for the part of Sweets that they just brought people in, had them sit across from ED and DB while they read their lines and watched to see who was just caught up in it like this? What Sweets is feeling in that moment…I was feeling the exact same thing, the first time I watched this episode.
Brennan speaks again, “So that’s clear then…” And Booth gets this look on his face that is clear to US that well…it’s not clear at all.
Or maybe it is clear. It’s clear that he’s imagining blue eyed squinty babies and loving her forever, and he thinks she’s imagining meeting once a month at the diner. To him, coffee means waking up next to her with coffee, having it late at night together after a long case, right? Yeah, I’d be feeling slightly gobsmacked myself, Booth! (Extra Credit Essay Assignment: What does ‘coffee’ mean in the B&B relationship? Explain!)
And when she continues, “We’d have coffee. And that’s our relationship? Coffee”
He says, “Yeah…let’s move on.”
And in that moment, I trusted Sweets, because of his reaction.
He blew it later on in the season finale, in my opinion, but at that moment, he was solid.
And this is one of my all time favorite looks of Brennan’s…
I can’t tell what she’s thinking. I think she knows that somehow, something changed in Booth. I don’t know if she thinks she upset him in some way, or if she knows exactly what was happening, and she’s already in “you need protecting from me” mode or what. Thoughts from you on that? Either way, she’s still drawn to him and curious about him.
And then it’s back to ‘put a lid on it’ as they are pretty much done saying much of anything, I’d imagine.
Check out their body language, how even though they aren’t speaking or sitting super close to one another, nor looking at one another any longer…they are still sort of…leaning toward the other, right?
And wouldn’t you know it, the next time we see them at a Sweets session (Boy in the Time Capsule), the chairs are gone.
The couch is in.
Peace, Love & Bones,