Hey there Bones Theory friends! I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning after the wild and crazy roller coaster ride called Bones that we’ve been on the last few weeks. As Katy Perry would say, Booth has been pretty hot and cold lately where Brennan is concerned, and that’s left a lot of us struggling to figure out exactly how much to read into recent developments. On one hand, he’s taken up staring at her when she isn’t looking (be still my rapidly beating heart).
On the other hand, he (perhaps justifiably) told Hannah about Brennan’s confession of feelings for him and his own “past” feelings for her
and, at some point after The Doctor in the Photo, began wearing decidedly NOT-cocky belt buckles and ties.
With all these conflicting actions and reactions, what’s an unapologetically positive shipper fangirl (who likes to think about Bones way too much) to do? Ah well, I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I’m going to tell you exactly what I think has been going on inside of FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth’s head lately and then invite you to tell the rest of us what you think.
Before I get started, I think it’s worth mentioning that Sarah brought up some very interesting points in her scene study of The Sin in the Sisterhood on Sunday (“They Make a Nice Couple, Don’t They?” 2/6/11) and Bones friend Andrea Gilroy posted her own interpretation of Booth’s recent actions in the comments for Friday’s MAQ (“Gotta Be Bad to Be Good,” 2/4/11). Both are relevant to today’s discussion and well worth the read if you haven’t done so already. As for me, I’ve got a slightly different take…
I’m going to be honest and tell you that the end of The Sin in the Sisterhood left me feeling pretty confused. I wasn’t sure how to interpret Booth’s reassurance to Brennan that, “he’s not going anywhere.” Even now I still don’t know that I fully understand the intended meaning behind his words. But if there’s one thing I do understand, it’s that he was referring to Brennan when he said, “there’s always one that you love the most.” The only problem with that, of course, is that he’s in a serious, committed relationship with another woman (who, apparently, is not the one he loves the most). And this is the point at which my brain explodes because, let’s face it, if you’ve figured out who you love the most (and it seems like he has) and you know that said person loves you the most too (and it seems like she does), then why on earth are you still with the one whom you do not love the most?
Yes, I know, he’s scared. All things considered, a relationship with Brennan, even now that her heart and eyes are wide open to the beautiful reality of love, is still a huge risk, especially from where he’s standing (next to a beautiful woman who not only loves him, but sacrificed to be with him). Why step out into the cold unknown when you’re perfectly warm and cozy at home? And then there’s the same old fear that if they attempted a relationship, and it failed, that their partnership and friendship would never be the same. I get that. They’re all valid fears. But why, if the answer is that he’s afraid, was there no fear in his eyes in that scene? He was confident. Cocky almost. “There’s someone for everyone, you’ve just got to be open enough to see it” Booth-y. It’s all downright odd, especially when you consider that he’s had three drastically different reactions to Brennan in three consecutive episodes. So what gives? Well, as the title of this post implies, I think what has “given” is Booth himself. He’s in the middle of what is, literally, his last stand.
Booth’s Last Stand, of course, is a reference to Custer’s Last Stand and that’s actually the first thing I thought of after noticing the missing cocky belt buckle in The Body in the Bag. For reference purposes, General George Armstrong Custer is rather infamously known for leading his troops to a crushing defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, also known as Custer’s Last Stand (check out Wikipedia for additional details).
By telling Hannah about Brennan’s confession in The Doctor in the Photo (and by abandoning the cocky belt buckle and flashy ties), I think Booth was trying to reinforce his new center (his and Hannah’s relationship) by rebuilding the metaphorical walls around his heart after the pounding they took in The Bullet in the Brain (which we’ll get to in a minute) and to a lesser extent, The Doctor in the Photo. Confident that he had adequately patched the holes in his armor, he made the fatal mistake of rushing headlong back into battle and, for lack of a better term, he got annihilated.
After The Bullet in the Brain aired, I said that I wished the episodes had been aired in their originally intended order because I felt that Booth’s attempts to distance himself from Brennan in The Body in the Bag were better explained post “look.” Now my personal interpretation of “the look” is that it’s the moment when Booth realized he was still in love with Brennan (or for those of you who prefer a more non-committal approach, that he still had feelings for her). Regardless of the level of emotion involved, I don’t think this was a happy realization for him. I think he felt like he had suffered enough; that he was happy now; that loving Temperance Brennan wasn’t worth the risk to his heart and his current relationship. And cue the emotional distancing we saw in The Body in the Bag.
But then the The Sin in the Sisterhood aired, and I found myself flip-flopping like a weak politician. I couldn’t figure out how to explain what would have essentially been an 180-degree turnaround in his behavior towards Brennan from one week to the next, had the episodes aired in their originally intended order (The Bullet in the Brain, The Body in the Bag, The Sin in the Sisterhood). The intensity of his reaction to Brennan in The Sin in the Sisterhood seemed better explained when viewed as part of a more gradual progression (the way the episodes actually aired as opposed to how they were supposed to air). And that really kind of threw me for a loop…until I remembered General Custer.
I think it was a blitz attack. One he didn’t see coming until it was too late. Perhaps he should have recognized the signs that he was starting to let his guard down around her again. Sarah mentioned their “almost manic laughter” in the Prius scene in her MAQ on Friday, pointing out that perhaps, “they were both sort of surprised by how much they were feeling in that moment.” It must have felt so good to laugh with her again, to simply relax after holding her at arm’s length for so long.
Does it come as any surprise, then, that by the time they sat down for drinks at the Founding Fathers at the end of the episode, he had unwittingly let his guard down completely? It was so natural, slipping back into the Booth and Brennan they used to be, that I simply think he forgot to be aware of what was actually happening. And for the first time, as Sarah said in her GMMR review, he toed the line between honorable and dishonorable. It’s not like Brennan didn’t warn him. He just didn’t listen. And, like General Custer, he walked into battle ill-equipped and unprepared for what lay ahead. And this time, his walls were completely obliterated, leaving his heart naked and exposed to the reality that he’s been trying so hard to protect himself from. The reality, of course, that while he can, and does, love two women (albeit in different ways), that ultimately he can’t have them both.
If what we’ve seen up until this point is any indication, there will be consequences. For every action, after all, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The walls, they may be gone now, but the conflict? The conflict remains.
So what do you think? Is this Booth’s last stand? If not, how do you interpret Booth’s recent actions? If you have an alternate theory, feel free to post it in the comments. Obviously this is all conjecture, and I could be completely wrong, but the real fun is in the speculation (we won’t tell Brennan we’re jumping to conclusions, okay?), so let’s speculate! Please remember that Bones Theory is a spoiler-free zone, so no references to future episodes. Thanks!