Bones Theory

Scene Study: The Man in the Morgue: Why Are You Nice To Me?


Good morning, good morning!

So, for some reason, though I adore them, I always seem to miss when the creatively funny JennyJenWho puts together another squeecap. Rats! You may have seen it already, but in case you haven’t, here’s her take on The Sin in the Sisterhood. Check it! And rumor has it that the BonesGraphicNovel folks are bringing the awesome with another Valentine’s Day Themed post. I really cannot wait!

Okay, okay…now back to the reason you’ve clicked here at Bones Theory–it’s our scene study of the week. This scene is kind of a short one, but it’s been on my mind for the past week or so, so I want to discuss it. It comes from season one.

Here’s a little history to get us started…

Most of the episode takes place in New Orleans, as Brennan is down there, assisting in identifying the remains of victims of Hurricane Katrina. However, once there, she is also the victim of (perhaps voodoo related) unfortunate experiences and ends up very bloody and beat up. I’ll be honest, I almost never watch this episode; like Brennan, I don’t like bloody bodies.

She tells Booth not to worry, but he flies down immediately, busting into Brennan’s hospital room, and proceeds to just take charge in the room, like so…

Brennan says that they are ‘sort of’ partners and Brennan is upset at having lost one of her favorite earrings; Booth is upset at her having lost an entire day. Brennan admits that her skewed priorities are stupid. Interesting. But she also reveals the earring belonged to her mother.

The law enforcement officer says they will help find out what happened to Brennan, but in the meantime, Booth should take care of his ‘partner’.

Done & done!

There's nothing "sort of" in the way he wants to eliminate anyone who hurts her.


As the episode continues, Booth and Brennan work in the case, and during it, they share a meal at a local New Orleans diner-type place.

Brennan begins to theorize on what might have happened during the time she can’t recall. She asks,

“How did I get away? Graham got killed; I got away. How did I do that?”

“You know, Bones…” Booth answers. “All those things that Caroline mentioned–the martial arts, the shootings, the assaults…it’s all…you’re just the type of woman that fights. Maybe they didn’t expect it.”

Brennan gets this little smile on her face that shows me that she kinda likes what he has said; that he’s complimented her.

Booth continues, “Maybe they thought some kind of magic could hold you.”

“I don’t believe in magic,” Brennan asserts.

Exactly,” Booth compliments her. “You’re a surprising woman; sometimes that’s enough for getting away…”

And we get these three looks from Brennan in quick succession…

Booth sort of looks at her in his cute and charming way, kinda like “hey, awesome, she isn’t kicking me in the testicles”

And Brennan asks…

“Why are you nice to me?”

Booth thinks about it for a moment,

Not that I think he is trying to come up with reasons; it’s more that he’s trying to come up with a reason she might accept. Does that make sense? Or perhaps there are several inappropriate reasons flashing through his mind in quick succession (because she’s sweet, because she’s a good kisser, because she’s pretty, because of a lot of things). But he just gets that “you just know” look in his eyes and he says, “Because”

“Because they think they get away with it.”

“With what?” Brennan asks.

“They burn their victims, they blow em up, they toss em in the ocean, they bury them in the desert, they toss them through woodchippers…sometimes, years go by, they relax. They start living their lives like they didn’t do anything wrong.”

Brennan listens in as Booth continues,

“Like they didn’t spend somebody’s life to get what they got. They think they’re safe from retribution. But you make those bastards unsafe. That’s why I’m nice to you.”

“I couldn’t do that without you, Booth” she answers.

“Yeah, so um…you should be a little nicer to me, huh?’  Booth asks.

And Booth realizes he won that arguement (a precursor to Death in the Saddle?!)

Not so fast, Brennan thinks.

And she says, “I really should”

At that point, Caroline arrives and asks if she interrupted anything.

That would be a yes!

The rest of the episode is really great and fairly non-bloody. Also, if you’re interested, this is the episode in which Hodgins tells Angela that Brennan wants a big life because of her. Booth gave her the opportunity, but Angela was her inspiration.

I like this very early scene in the series, and I think it applies to the current season and B&B situation. What does Booth want from Brennan right now? The status quo…that they are good people who catch bad people. He wants her to make bad guys unsafe and he knows she needs him to help her do that.

I like that.

Peace, Love & Bones



35 thoughts on “Scene Study: The Man in the Morgue: Why Are You Nice To Me?

  1. Oh, this is the “old B&B magic”! Wonderful post 🙂

    • I forgot to say that I was amazed when Booth immediately flies down to New Orlean! It was one of the first moments when I saw that she became is very important person for him.

  2. Did you say you rarely watch this episode? Ah, it’s a great episode, one of my all time favorites.

    I love this scene too (along with the first you mentioned of Booth storming into the hospital exam room). That; Why are you so nice to me comment is just great. I love that whole conversation. With it being the first season, while they are still really settling into their partnership (hence her saying sort of partner, they still weren’t really calling each other partner yet) the comments are just so revealing. And now watching it with the knowledge we gained in the 100th about that first case they worked together makes that conversation even more meaningful (of course it also kind of messes with the Brennan/Caroline introduction in the episode). I do think this scene was a very important point in their partnership, in their relationship.

  3. First, I would just like to point out – how lovely Emily Deschanel is, without a stitch of makeup and even bruised and bandaged. She is just a beautiful woman.

    And it’s so characteristic of Brennan that she has no self consciousness about her appearance. She’s beat up, but she’s hungry so they go eat.

    I do think though, that when Booth was explaining why he was so nice to her, it really was all about the work and there was no subtext about good kissing or being pretty or any of that.

    First, because I don’t think the backstory we saw in 100 was in the minds of the writers from season 1, but even if it was…even though Booth may have found Brennan physically attractive and intriguing from day one, what really laid the foundation for his eventual love for her was respect.

    Watching her work, seeing her fearlessness and dedication to the truth and her focus and her courage and her brains – he just has massive respect for her.

    You can see little glimpses of it throughout season 1. The look on his face when Brennan explains why she supports the death penalty, when she shows him how she hopes to reverse-engineer a bullet from marks on the bone, when she finds bone dust in the vent of the funeral home where diseased bone grafts are being harvested…and in the Man in the Morgue when Caroline reads off the list of Brennan’s violent accomplishments and when Brennan pokes the voodoo priest in the eye.

    I think the most powerful example – which I would love to suggest for a future scene study btw! – is the very end of Man on Death Row, when they are at Wong Foos and he’s apologizing for wasting her time but she says it wasn’t a waste because they had an obligation to honor their doubt about Epps’ guilt because taking a life should never be easy. Booth makes a joke about her practicing her Nobel Prize speech a little too hard, but before that he gives her this intense look that just says “Wow, she really *gets* it.”

    Also btw – if there were an Emmy category for Outstanding Performance Without Dialogue, DB would have owned it for the last five years.

    Anyway, back to my point…this scene from Man in the Morgue is, IMO, about respecting Brennan, not being attracted to her. It’s that constant, underlying mutual respect that allows B & B to stay together as partners even when all the other aspects of their relationship are falling apart.

    • I think it may certainly be true that HH et al did not have the 100th flashback scenario concretized in their heads at this point – but they certainly had something because the pilot clearly shows them knowing each other already . . . but I agree that at this point, whereas a partnership ends up being more than just professional, his actions and words probably reflect primarily a professional, but also personal respect for her (vs. a romantic one).

  4. “Hey, awesome, she isn’t kicking me in the testicles.” LOL! That is a fabulous line, just so you know. I love that Brennan agrees that she should be nicer to Booth. How many people is she really nice to? Not many. Whether or not she’s actually any nicer to him after this is a different story, but it was a nice admission on her part. And I love that they established they need each other. We know that, and I’m sure they knew it, but it’s nice that they’re comfortable enough to share that with each other.

    Also, when Booth tilts Brennan’s face to see her cheek, and he’s resting her chin on his knuckles…slight swoon, I won’t lie.

  5. I love this episode! I forget about it a lot for some reason, but whenever I watch it I’m always so amazed by it. I think it is one of the first B&B moments that really sticks out in season 1. I just love how Booth shows up and how he takes the earring from the crime scene. Even the way they look at each other in Season 1 is amazing. It just makes me so happy and I have a feeling I’ll be watching this episode again today. I love how these scene studies always make me want to rewatch older episodes!

  6. I’m with you, Seels… not sure why I don’t really care for this episode as a whole…but this scene sticks with me and makes me smile.

    At the first sign that Brennan is in any danger at all, Booth, ever the protector, doesn’t hesitate to fly down there…he has to see for himself what’s going on – and “take charge” of the situation. He has to be thinking, I let her go alone…and look what happened. His boss told him that she was his responsibility out in the field…and to Booth, it doesn’t matter whether that’s working with the FBI or doing work on her own. Booth takes his “job” very seriously.

    I really love Booth’s explanation about how she helps him catch the bad guys, just when they think they’re safe and got away with it…that her expertise is what makes this happen. And her reply that she couldn’t do it without him makes it clear that their partnership is what works for her, too. They may not agree on a lot of things, but they do agree on this. It is interesting that Booth hesitates before he launches into this explanation, because I agree with you, again, that he’s trying to come up with a reason that she’ll understand, knowing his honest response would be on a much more personal level, and he can’t really “go there.”

    Brennan is aware that Booth dropped everything to be with her, and her smile and looks at him tell me that she’s impressed…and flattered. She is also very much aware that she hasn’t been that nice to him in the past, yet here he is. No matter what she’s thrown at this man, he still comes back, and she realizes how she’s misjudged him. And I love that Booth gets her to admit that she really should be nicer to him. Cue that adorable Boothy smirky-smile. He won that round.

    As far as how this applies to their current situation…I’m think their partnership is the glue that holds them together. They are very different people, but this one common goal puts aside any personal agendas. We’ve seen them do this time and again. Presently, Booth may be angry and hurt at what’s happened, but he just can’t let Brennan go. He realizes that without her help, he’s just another FBI guy…she brings that extra special element that makes it possible for him to solve more cases and helps him balance his cosmic scale. I have to say that this is one hell-of-a-guy man who is willing to set aside, again, all his pain and work with her, and just shows, deep down, how much this woman means to him, even if he can’t admit it out loud. Right now he believes that this is all he’s ever going to have – their partnership – and at least it’s something he’s good at…being her partner. His personal life may be totally screwed up, so he’ll throw himself into his work and pretend to accept that this will be enough, however…me thinks this man doth protest too much.

  7. This is one of my top 10 of the series. I just love that Booth rushes down there to help her, that he touches her chin to see her injuries, and that she doesn’t mind him being there while she is in a hospital gown. His ‘why he is so nice to her’ speech is so fantastic. It sums up their common goals and solidifies their partnership. Brennan gains a new respect and admiration for him… maybe falls for him a little more. Their faces shown above show so much that isn’t spoken. And then at the end when he has her other earring, she has to know he found it at the crime scene…. yeah it means something! Also, when Brennan was on the phone with Angela and Angela says “Booth’s there… socially??” or something like that! So so fun! Just love it.

  8. I really love that Booth points out that she should be nicer to him, too . . . and even better that she agrees. It is a rare moment in those early seasons that she does this and I love it when they both call each other out on things like that. It is so wonderfully honest and open . . . and part of the many things that build that foundation of trust, respect, and ultimately love between them.

  9. I cannot tell you (without blushing) how MUCH I look forward to these scene studies! They round out my Sunday mornings perfectly!
    I can understand how so many fans lament for these good ol days. I’ve been married for 8 years now and have 2 children. I often hear my husband say he misses the days when we were dating. Sure, they were fun and exciting… little bit of mystery and dare-devilishness 😉 (Hollar! Booth and Brennan!)

    I don’t miss those days, tho. I enjoy having history with someone. I enjoy kinda figuring out what my husband’s thinking behind a smirk, and being right most of the time. 🙂 I enjoy a routine with someone and their familiar smell when I lay my head down on the pillow. (And my husband is a paramedic, so he’s often not there with me).

    I enjoy where Booth and Brennan are. They’ve become this beautiful mess of life- intertwined in ways they don’t fully realize, even with their abbreviated confessions (can we PLEASE see that convo get talked out?? Please, HH? PLEASE!?).

    It’s history, familiarity, love and acceptance that moved them from this light-hearted, but telling, scene to where they are today. I ❤ this relationship- even when I don't understand it.

    And I really, really ❤ DB's expressions! Someone hand that man an award already!

    • But this was too much of a creepy episode for me, and I only rewatch for the B&B segments, skipping the rest. Especially the man on the wall, and the daughter in the basement.

      Thanks for your insight, Bianca. It’s true that B&B have their moments where I think, “How are they not an established couple already?” (married or not). Even in the Sin in the Sisterhood episode, Brennan could tell that Booth was smirking about further evidence that he could be right. Loved it. Don’t get me wrong, I really love the swoon-worthy moments and eye-sex. I absolutely love the playfulness and bickering. But the familiarity, shared history, the belief they share in each other and in their partnership, and the foundation of mutual respect and admiration they have one another is why I want them together for the rest of their lives.

      • Thank you! I really appreciate that!

        “Don’t get me wrong, I really love the swoon-worthy moments and eye-sex. I absolutely love the playfulness and bickering. But the familiarity, shared history, the belief they share in each other and in their partnership, and the foundation of mutual respect and admiration they have one another is why I want them together for the rest of their lives.”

        Amen, sista! 🙂

        Not that we’re ANYWHERE near it, but I kinda loathe the ending of the show. These characters will be missed!

    • Aw man. I can’t even bear to think about the ending of the show. Maybe I’ll get my life back, lol. I’m two years into BONES and I’ve forgotten already what life was like before I started watching.

  10. Quite honestly I use to hate this episode.
    For the simple reason the first time I watched it, it was late at night, I was a lot younger, and it simply scared me with it’s…voodoo…freaky bloody, skinned-man-crucified-to-the-wall-in-the-beginning deal.

    But I do love this scene. And many small scenes that dotted this early episode.
    And now after this little scene study, I realize why that episode was so special, and good the second viewing.
    It had great moments, it actually grossed me out(Which is rare), and had an interesting all around feel.
    Not to mention Booth makes me happy in this episode.
    Then again…he makes me happy most of the time.

  11. First off, I have to say this is the one episode of Bones that I really do not like. The reason? I live in Louisiana and really hate all of the voodoo stuff. A very teeny portion of the people in this state believe in this stuff and yet whenever they want to do a show in Louisiana they have to talk about that stuff. Oh well, just a pet peeve of mine.

    For all of that, Booth gives the best explanation of their job ever. Where Doctor Goodman gave such a wonderful definition of Angelas’ job, Booth described Brennan (and his) job the best here.
    Booth: “Like they didn’t spend somebody’s life to get what they got. They think they’re safe from retribution. But you make those bastards unsafe. That’s why I’m nice to you.”
    I love this. I also love the beautiful smile that Brennan gives Booth and the beautiful smile that Booth gives Brennan. I believe this is where they cement their partnership. Up until now, Brennan didn’t really call Booth her partner. After this episode, she was his partner. If Brennan needed any proof that Booth was someone to count on then seeing him flying down to N.O. and pretty much protecting her from the N.O. police department was it. He even took evidence from the crime scene. Something that not only could have caused him his job, if he had been caught, but could have got him sentenced to Angola (a prison in Lousiana). It may not be love at this time; but, it is the shiny armoured FBI agent (and friend) in Full protective mode. Booth is there for Brennan and Brennan is beginning to see that she may not be alone in this world after all.

    • Hmm. Well I’m from Louisiana, born there and 3/4 of my family has lived there for generations. I don’t take offense at the voodoo in the stories, but maybe that’s because the voodoo is usually set in New Orleans, and I’m not from there. My birthplace is closer to Lafayette.

      What bugs me more about things set there are the accents, and as my sister has complained that no one ever says cher right…including Caroline. I can usually just let it go and enjoy what I’m watching if it is otherwise a good story.

      • Your right about the accents. They are really terrible. I live in the Lafayette area also. Small world. My family has been in La. since 1724 so I guess I am just being a little too thin skinned. HA HA Your right about the Cher’. I hear it every day and Caroline doesn’t say it right. For all of that, I still like Caroline though. She is great.

    • I feel like this is the episode that really cemented the B&B partnership. Booth was genuinely concerned for Brennan’s safety and her health, but we had seen this already, most notably in Two Bodies in the Lab. He also tried (rather unsuccessfully) to advise her on how to conduct herself once he realized she could be a suspect. For me, Brennan reaching out to Booth and then him flying out to join her and Angela in the desert (The Skull in the Desert) began solidifying their partnership, and this episode sealed the deal. I imagine Brennan already understood that Booth needs her as his partner because of her team’s ability to discover clues Booth can’t discover on his own. But in the conversation in the diner (which eventually becomes the set for the Royal Diner, right?) Booth conveyed to Brennan that he knows why she works so hard to find the truth. Because truth leads to justice. He needs her to find the truth. She needs him to bring these people to justice. This is what their partnership is really about, and this is how I think we are to define their partnership following The Daredevil in the Mold.

      I’m not one to reveal a lot of personal information, but I will share with you all that I live in New Orleans. I happened to watch this episode today before I saw that the scene study was from it. I do not love this episode. But I do appreciate that “Bones” did an episode about identifying human remains after Hurricane Katrina. It originally aired in April of 2006 when most of the national media had moved on to other stories, but New Orleans was still struggling to get back on her feet. So I appreciate that this show (that I only recently found and love) chose to set an episode here and shine a spotlight on the work that still needed to be done to identify the deceased.

      I have to agree with Lenora though and say that voodoo story lines really get to me. I don’t know anyone who practices voodoo or has been affected by it. But I’m sure that every city has its own characteristic that becomes a trite story line when written into a television show. I also agree with Frankie707 and add that very few actors get the local accent right. During the course of this episode, Michaela Conlin pronounces “New Orleans” exactly the way I do, and that stood out to me. It’s pronounced “new or-lins,” emphasis on the “or.” But now I’ll just climb down from my little soapbox and be thankful that people from all over the world love New Orleans and still travel here, knowing that this unique American city still has so much to offer.

      • Just in case you guys are wondering how to pronounce chere’, you would say it as if you are going to say the word shadow but stop when you get to the d – sha. It is not pronounced sheree.

      • Thank you Lenora, that’s the best description I’ve heard of how to pronounce it yet. 🙂

        I was wondering how to describe it in print. I knew just saying Sha wouldn’t work, because it wouldn’t convey what the a should sound like.

  12. This episode is absolutely one of my favorites. The voodoo stuff I could take or leave, but gosh, it has so many awesome lines and amazing scenes! I just love it.

  13. Hey! I just loved this scene study and this scene/episode in general! David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel had great facial expressions in this one! Aaah, who am I kidding? They always do! haha 🙂

  14. When Booth turns up at the doctors and tilts Brennans chin to see her bruise is one of those moments I let out a long sigh.
    Emily looks beautiful, even all banged up and Booths hair….I love his S1 hair.

    I always have to go back and reread what Sarah writes because after gazing at the pics for so long I can’t even remember what was written!!

  15. I’m one of those that had a hard time liking this episode. I think when I see an actor I don’t like…I immediately become biased and that’s what happened here for me…despite this being Bones. They had that Survivor reality person as one of the doctor’s that was killed and I was initially distracted by that. It bugged me he was even on the show.

    I think this was their first road trip, correct? And so we weren’t used to seeing them and the squints separated so it became a disjointed episode…maybe which is another reason I didn’t like it. Even though the squints and B&b were all solving the case…they weren’t really “united”…they were off in their own little worlds….the squints flirting with the Fed Ex girl and Booth being super protective of Brennan and Brennan trying to be her usual independent self. So…this single moment at the diner was refreshing in the midst of everything else going on. It was a tense episdoe because Brennan was in trouble but she was almost uncaring about it while Booth was increasingly frustrated by her unwillingness to protect herself. It was these conflicting feelings that set the tone and perhaps another reason for me not liking it so much, despite this scene. Something I’ve never understood was the final scene in Brennan’s office when Booth pulls out her mother’s earring. Someone asks…does this prove anything…and she says yes. What did it prove?

    • sorry…wrong episode regarding flirting w/fed ex girl.

      • The flirting with the fed-ex girl is the one that I think is the first road trip. It was man in the bear and occurred very early in the series. Man in the Morgue was closer to the end of the 1st season.

    • Booth picked the earring up at the crime scene. It proved that he had complete faith in Brennan and that he was willing to risk his career to protect her.

  16. Eeeek … this is one of my favorite episodes! I think I may have mentioned that before… haha, and I always think it must be the same for everyone else, but some many fans don’t care for it, lol! But for me, I think this may have been the first episode that made want to just devour the rest of the series (the show had just ended season 4 when I got hooked). So many fantastic scenes, not just between BB but between Caroline and Brennan and the squints. Now I really have to go rewatch it! 🙂

  17. Ahh swoon. These early day scene studies just make me want to go back and rewatch all the early eye sex.
    I just love Booth flying down to find her -sans suit- and Brennan looking so stunningly vulnerable.
    There is something so sweet and teenage crush like in those looks.

  18. One of the things I love/hate about BONES is that they hint at moments you would have loved to have seen. Booth found out something happened to Brennan. Who called who? And how did that conversation go? Because her later conversation with Angela was hilarious. I imagine that could make some good fanfic material. I love the way she tells him he shouldn’t have come – like she’s inwardly thrilled that he did. No one can play a strong character beautifully vulnerable like Emily; I’m blown away every time.

  19. This was one of the first two Bones eps that I ever watched, so I have a fond place in my heart for it. I didn’t care for all the blood the first time I watched it, but I’ve seen it a few times now, and it doesn’t even phase me anymore. In general, I think that this show has really desensitized me to on-screen ickiness. 😛

    The parts of this ep I remember the most don’t have much to do with the case or the voodoo, but the interaction between Booth and Brennan. I just love how he swoops in and goes all alpha-male on her from the word go, checking her bruise by gently touching her cheek (swoon) and wanting to know if she had been raped. I have no doubt that if she had been, Booth would have hunted the bastard down and put a world of hurt on him without a second thought.

    I think the pause before he tells her why he’s nice to her isn’t so much him trying to come up with a reason she’ll accept, as it is him putting his thoughts together so that he can articulate them coherently to her. He’s only going to get one chance to say it, and he wants it to say it right.

    I think this scene is important to their relationship because it shows how much Booth has come to respect Brennan. Yeah, he’s talking about what they are able to do together, and what her professional skills do for that, but I think it also demonstrates that he respects her as a person. He’s telling her that he values her and believes in her and her abilities. And I don’t think enough people in Brennan’s life have told her that.

    And I think those things get reinforced to her later on in the episode when Booth gives her the earring back and Angela asks Brennan if it means something and she replies that it does. It tells Brennan just how much Booth values her, believes in her, and respects her, because he put his entire career and reputation – his very livelihood – on the line for her.

    • I wish this blog had a “Like” button for comments. Your comment mirrors my thoughts.

      There’s still B&B goodness when Caroline joined them. When Booth said he didn’t care what the evidence said, she didn’t do it, Brennan was definitely surprised and touched.

  20. I remember first watching this episode and loving it 🙂 The whole mystery of what happened to Brennan intrigued me… and this episode is interesting because we see how Brennan is so willing to listen to the ‘rational’ that she nearly gets herself thrown in jail because “rationally speaking” she could’ve killed the man. Plus it’s Caroline’s first episode AND there is one of my all time fave Brennan quotes “I’ve noticed that very few people are scary once they’ve been poked in the eye.” heheh

    But this speech was also a major factor that drew me towards it because it explains a lot about why Booth has always stuck with her (because really, in season 1, other then a stir of UST, you have to wonder, just a little). The reason is, he is in awe of her. Of the things she does. Of the way that she doesn’t have to give up once someone has been obliterated, she can pick through the pieces and tell their story loud and clear for the world to hear. He loves that about her. And I love that about the show. 🙂

  21. You rarely watch this episode? Oh Sarah you are missing a beaut…this is one of my faves (i always forget about it when people ask me, and then i watch it and BAM!! I’m reminded of how much i love it!!)

    Anyway i love this entire episode and that scene. The looks between Booth and Brennan…what they said and what they didn’t say….just awesome 😉

    And the speed in which Booth flies down…wowsa!!!

    Also i loved Angela in this episode. Now, since the whole pig disaster i haven’t been able to like Angela but in this episode she’s brilliant. Her worry for Brennan…that’s the Angela i know and love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s