Bones Theory

Top Five Tuesday: Brennan Knows Best


Hey pals! Hope you are having a great Tuesday!

Today’s list is all about Brennan because tomorrow’s post is pretty much entirely about Booth, and I wanted to keep it as even as possible this week!

Okay, so confession, I’ve had the title of this post circling around on my list of ideas for many months, but just never quite got to it. I love the sound of it, because it’s sort of obvious but also kind of insightful. Brennan IS the smartest person; that’s a literal meaning, she is the best at ‘knowing’ things…

Scientific Jibba Jabba, Anyone?

But there are also times in which she, in her own way, also knows best–as in, she gets it right when no one else does.

So let’s take a look at five of those times!

1. Heartcrushing:

From Goop on the Girl

Brennan DOES have a very steep learning curve, and what I find interesting is this series-long idea that she also believes what Booth says…even if he doesn’t always believe it himself (I love this, by the way…and I’ve heard several of you mention it lately…the idea that Brennan will use what Booth has taught her to prove (her speciality) that love is worth it). In this season five episode, Brennan is expressing sadness for the mother of the victim. And yes, technically, the physical heart is a muscle that can’t ‘break’, but as Brennan knows…it can be crushed.

2. Thankfulness

From Knight on the Grid


Sometimes our queen of science knows that words aren’t the best method of communication. And of course, sometimes words ARE the best way! I was just thinking the other day that one thing I love about Brennan is that she’ll never use a shorter word, if the longer one is better. She’s not a show-off (mostly, haha…she has her cocky moments), but she also doesn’t defer when it’s not necessary. If a word is the correct choice; she’ll use it. Plain and Simple. So, in my opinion, it’s even MORE simply wonderful in this moment when she wants to thank Booth for his help, and she kisses him on the cheek. Very sweet and very genuine.

3. Metaphorical Scars

From Mayhem on a Cross

Brennan puts her knowledge into action better than anyone. In this season four episode, she’s come into the knowledge that Sweets suffered abuse as a child. He has literal scars on his back, and with the help of Dr. Wyatt (and Booth), Brennan reaches out toward Sweets, offering up the truth of herself and her own ‘metaphorical’ scars. She also offers up Booth, basically, and he returns in kind…focusing only on her. But in that moment, she got it right.

4. Sometimes You Go With Your Gut

I have serious issues with everything Booth ‘suffered’ in season four being boiled down to his brain tumor, but I don’t want to be a downer, so I’ll move on. In this season four moment, Brennan gets fierce, to Booth…on his behalf. We don’t always see that between them. We’ve seen her get fierce FOR Booth to other people (Jared, Heather Taffet, the bounty hunter, Hannah (yeah, I’m talking about her warning), Sweets (in Pain in the Heart) ), but it’s rare that Booth ever sees that. She got fierce on Sweets in Secret in the Soil, but I’m drawing a blank on any other time. Thoughts from you on that?

I think in this instance, Booth was ‘compartmentalizing’, just shrugging off that he’d seen Stewie in the interrogation room. Brennan’s eyes get a little wild and her voice is insistent, and though she does rattle off some evidence, she’s really making a judgment call based on her gut. Something’s not right with Booth, and he needs to trust her on that one. I love that. I think she goes with her gut more than she’d admit, and even in the lab. She would call them educated guesses perhaps or intuitive leaps based on what she knows. That would be an interesting post, taking a look at Booth’s brain vs Brennan’s gut. Well, that will have to wait for another day!

5. Make Him Laugh

From Dwarf in the Dirt

I know some people don’t love Dwarf in the Dirt as much as I do, but I think it’s one of the most romantic episodes in BONES history. Brennan verbally DOES say that she can’t think of anything she wouldn’t do to help Booth (talk about a defining statement!), but what’s even better for me is that she takes what she’s learned about him (he likes jokes and her truth), and she almost methodically sets out to ‘fix’ him. Perhaps fix is too strong a word, but I think she certainly wants to help him. What I love about it is that she thinks she can make him laugh. You all know I love when Brennan tries to tell jokes; it’s one of my all time favorite things in the world. It kills me that Booth almost never laughs. It’s like he can’t downshift that fast from her mind to her sense of humor or something. But he always still gets what she’s trying to do at least…which is to make him feel better. And when she is trying to do that…it works, and it doesn’t always matter what she says, or how she says it.

So what do you think? There are plenty of other moments to choose from, so let me hear your thoughts. When has Brennan known best? Why does Booth seemed surprised by that sometimes (vs. when she ‘knows best’ from a brain point of view on a case or something). Let’s discuss!

Peace, Love & Bones



35 thoughts on “Top Five Tuesday: Brennan Knows Best

  1. I also love when Brennan connects with that foster child Alex in Season 1, even though Booth didn’t want her to because she’s usually bad with people. When Booth couldn’t get Alex to open up, Brennan managed to get Alex to open up, drawing upon her own experience. I found it such a beautiful and poignant moment.

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  3. The Killer In The Concrete and The Hero In The Hold come to mind when it comes to just how fierce Brennan can be when it comes to Booth’s safety. Both times, she circumvented the law to find and rescue Booth. Booth knew that Brennan would do everything possible to rescue him and she did. That she was willing to work with her Dad, a wanted fugitive and lie to the FBI in TKITC and to jeoparidze Jared’s career to save Booth in THITH was fine with her and she was extremely fierce doing it. When Brennan goes into protective mode, God help anyone that gets in her way. She may think she is doing it with cold logic; but, her fierce heart is her guide in these situations. She uses her brain, and every resource available to her; but, it is her heart that says don’t give up. Brennan worries that she doesn’t have a heart; but, after these two episodes, who could doubt that.

    Brennan has really grown, emotionally, over the seasons. She went from someone who didn’t seem to have a sense of humor to someone who was more than willing to tell very bad jokes and see if Booth would gets them. I love when she tells old jokes and thinks they are new ones. Booth rarely laughs at her jokes; but, he does seem to appreciate them, at least the effort. He gives her a little nod or smile and yes the occasional eye roll. How many of us have eye rolled our friends when they have told really bad jokes? I know I have. The persons I have done that too usually think that is pretty funny, they expect it. Believe it or not, I think Brennan enjoys her terrible jokes and doesn’t care if Booth laughs or not. She is experimenting and enjoys the idea of making Booth smile. I have noticed that she never tries out jokes on anyone else. Just Booth. She values her friendship and considers her attempts at jokes to be what friends do. My favorite Brennan jokes:
    Booth: Hey.
    Brennan: Hay…is for horses.
    Booth: (chuckling) Hey, that’s funny, Bones.
    Brennan: I found it on this website about horses.
    Booth: Yeah?
    Brennan: Where do horses stay…in a hotel?
    Booth: Bridle suite.
    Brennan: That’s correct.

    How can you not laugh? She is so sweet. She actually looked up horse jokes.

  4. One moment i think Brennan knows best even i think she didn’t noticed that or did i don’t know, was on the ep ” The Beaver on the otter” When they discuss about be bad to be good or your frontal lob would be a dry raisin. The Jared that is jobless for help save Booth say to him he won’t the offer of job that Booth got to him cuz he want go to India on a motorcycle.Booth gets mad w/ jared cuz he thinks something bad will happen with him if he go alone. Jared so invite him to go along to let Booth more relief. Booth has doubts about go or not then Brennan on the car with Booth remind him that a person need be bad first to be good and if Jared never go alone to India he’ll never learn be for his own count and his frontal lobe will be always a dry raisin.And Booth totally gets what Brennan told to him.

  5. The Dentist in the Ditch is one of those rare episodes that I would have little or no inclination to watch again but tucked inside the otherwise thin plot is the ongoing saga of the brothers Booth. It’s where Jared introduces Booth to Padme and announces they’re getting married(did Booth get to be best man is he was overseas?). I just LOVE how Brennan tells Booth that it IS awful that he ran a background check on Padme. She also is VERY concerned that he’s not extending the same forgiveness/grace that he taught her to show her father. Maybe that shock goes back to her implicit trust in him. I’m not sure.

    To me this shows the kind of relationship they’d have as a couple. She puts him in his place when he needs it, isn’t afraid to (try to) kick him under the table, and in the end makes a moving speech(one that reveals that even when she doesn’t understand Booth when it comes to love, she’s going to try to.

    I also think she knew he couldn’t handle having Pops move in but was willing to support Booth in whatever way he needed her.

    • In that same episode, before Jared and Padme meet them at the end, they have a conversation that illustrates the kind of relationship they’d have as a couple, and reveals some growth for Brennan. Booth has thought about Brennan’s question and asks if he she thinks he was wrong. She says she’s not sure, but fails to see the point of being right. We should not understand the importance of that coming out of Brennan’s mouth. Major growth, here. She then proceeds to try and make him feel better when he thinks he’s ruined things. After a couple tries, she gets it right, using once again, what he taught her – the fact that Booth really wants Jared to be able to think for himself.

  6. Unfortunately for me this has highlighted exactly what get me annoyed at Brennan. The lame, forced jokes. They just aren’t funny and make her look an idiot. I am laughing at her, cringing at her not with her. Also she the huge ego of her brains and looks. Not funny. Just big headed, we get it Brennan we know you think you are the bees knees. And when Brennan gets fierce due to Jared. Please. I will never be ok with that, she betrayed Booth by being taken in by a stranger and belittling everything she knew who Booth was, what he did for her. She should of pushed herself of the stool and got a smack in the process. No speech in the world made up for that betrayal. So while some may find her humor, ego etc. endearing, I dislike it with a passion

    • ah! I too find her birthday toast to Booth to be terrible! I don’t think that moment counts as her trying to make a joke though, so I stand by loving that 🙂

      when I was thinking of Jared, I had forgotten about the stool and just remembered from Hero in the Hold. But good point about Brennan messing up in Conman. 🙂

      • Brennan did mess up in Conman, but I’m okay with that. She acknowledged that she did, and I guess I’m part of the minority who accepted her apology. In fact, I thought it was way better than a standard one. Calling him an alpha-male is saying so much more than just saying she’s sorry and he’s not a loser; actually listing his shining qualities in front of friends and family is just icing on the cake. I wasn’t particularly pleased with Booth when he ambushed her with her family history in court to play on her emotions to help their case. But Brennan eventually forgave him. I love the characters, but they do terrible stuff sometimes. And that’s goes for people in real life, too. But I forgive people because I want people to forgive me.

        I’m not the wisest person in the world, or the most experienced, but I like to observe people. And I’ve observed that relationships tend to go a long way when people accept that they will encounter difficulties, but resolve to make it through them. There may be limits, but I just haven’t seen anything on this show that counts as a “deal-braker”.

      • oops…I meant “deal-breaker”

  7. The speech at the end of the Dentist epi, was one of the reasons why Booth felt she was ready to take that step with him. Watching it now it was either a pack of lies, the writers forgotten what they have Brennan say or she was leading Booth on with a false hope of what she felt. Either way there was a subtle positive build up to the 100 epi for Brennan she had grown so much and it was like the PTB got cold feet.

    • Beginning to believe in love as not purely scientific is different from saying you’re in love yourself and declaring that you hold that feeling for a particular person. It’s even yet a bigger step to believe you are capable of giving it or worthy of receiving it.

  8. I do think that Brennan knows Booth best. She might know him as well as she knows Forensic Anthropology. Sweets may have been studying the two of them, but in many ways I think Brennan has been studying Booth…not in a detached scientific way, but more in a much more personal way.

    She knows Booth, she has studied him, and learned from him. She accepts things from him that should would not hear of from others. I think that in learning from Booth what expects or hopes for from her she is becomes more knowledgeable in interacting with others, but it’s also made it to where she really knows him. I think we really saw that with her warning to Hannah. She knew that he would give himself to Hannah completely. I don’t know that anyone else would have believed that but she knew.

    OK I think that trying to compose this post while I’m working, inbetween reports running I’m getting off track here, so I need to finish up and possibly come back later.

    • I would take issue with the idea that Booth ever gave anything of himself to Hannah apart from sex. He never told her the truth about his relationship with Brennan, never opened up about any of his emotional baggage, his abused childhood, his gambling addiction, the guilt over his career as a sniper. All of the intimate things that Brennan knows about him, like how each wound on his body was inflicted, Hannah never had a clue. All of this tells me that no matter what words are used by the characters or their creators to justify the relationships between these people, Booth’s actions show that Brennan will always be number one with him. Now he just has to remember that because she’s now waiting for him to figure it out.

      • Just want to point out that this is an assumption we have all made. Because we didn’t see any of these discussions we presume they did not take place. I assume that too, but I assume not that he shared none of this, but that he shared only the small bit of it he was comfortable would not put Hannah off. And, perhaps he would have eventually as he became more sure of her, but — fortunately — we know that’s not going to happen.
        Big sigh of relief! 😉

      • I think this is very true. I think we know from some of the comments Hannah made (in the second episode and in the episode where she’s hurt) that she doesn’t know about his sniper demons or his gambling issues.

        I maintain that Booth didn’t really share of himself with her. I mean, he told Brennan about his gambling addiction during their first case! I think Hannah knew the basics: he had a kid, was an FBI agent, was close to his FBI partner. But I really don’t think she knew the truth of him. Do you think she knows he likes brown sugar on everything? I don’t think so. 🙂
        I’m willing to bet Rebecca and Cam know Booth better than her. Not to mention Brennan. I’m not saying that his relationship with her was meaningless because of that, on the contrary, obviously Booth was trying very hard to have that relationship be meaningful, but putting aside the fact that proposing to one woman as a band-aid to get over another is not very smart, the fact is that I think the writers made it clear that Hannah didn’t know him all that well. I mean, she asked Brennan’s advice as to what present to get him.

        I’m actually feeling a lot more charitable towards Hannah now that she’s gone, lol. Funny how that happens. So I’m not blaming her for not really knowing Booth. I just think that’s the way things are.

      • I think there is a difference between Booth sharing everything about his past, and him investing his heart in the realtionship, putting all his future hopes and dreams into it…going for a lifetime commitment. Which is what Brennan was talking about.

      • Hannah did say in her first episode that Booth never went for the kill if he could help it… (it used to bother me that she knew that about him)

  9. I think we really see this when Brennan is dealing with Booth’s family.

    Conman in the Meth Lab: Once she figures out that Jared has misled her, she reacts with her heart — finally. She should not have been violent (pushing Jared off the chair), but once Jared tells her the truth, she immediately understands that she hurt Booth and just how much. At the end, the sweet speech about Booth is from her heart and then when she finally finds out what happened, her reaction (what if he does it again) is also right on and from the heart. Finally, at the very end, she knows Booth needs time, but she wants to be there for/with him, which is also exactly right: he doesn’t need space. By Bones sitting quietly, Booth is able to reveal something bad from his past. That’s the thing he needs just then.

    Foot in the Foreclosure: Her reaction to Pops is all heart from moment one. Her agreement to tell Booth the truth about his father and to hold him if he needs it is also right — it’s what Booth should know and will need — and from the heart. She also understands that she can be much more frank with Pops than she can with Booth: steel ovaries, for example. She also immediately pays attention to his pills and tries to help with that. Again, she may be applying her brain power in assessing the situation, but it’s all heart that’s making her pay attention. And, she’s right. Booth might not have noticed. There are more examples, but one last, which I think may have been mentioned: her response when Booth says he may have to take time off to care for Pops because Pops will think he doesn’t love him. Can you afford it, may be part brain, but the look on her face when Booth says he’ll think I don’t love him is complete disbelief and pain for Booth. She knows in her heart that that makes no sense.

    Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Brennan may not understand grown up people, but Brennan understands kid people. Brennan goes ahead over Booth’s objection and asks Parker why he wants his dad to have a girlfriend. She may be asking for facts, but again, it’s also about how she knows these two already. She is comfortable asking Parker and “knows” that this is the only way to solve this. And, she is right. Then she makes sure Parker won’t be looking too hard for a girl for his dad by giving them the keys to her pool.

  10. I just thought of this, in Truth in the Lye, Brennan understands something about Booth that Rebecca doesn’t realize. The conversation Rebecca has with Booth after that is exactly what he needs.

    Another example — early in the show — of Brennan understanding things Booth needs from his “family.”

  11. I don’t know if this qualifies as a “Brennan knows best” moment but my favorite Brennan espisode is Baby in the Bough. “Dancing phalanges!” Love it.

  12. Perhaps one of my new favorite Brennan Knows Best moments? Her sitting with Booth in the bar in this last episode. Once upon a time she might have tried to talk her way with Booth, but she responded to his emotions this time – just as he might have — and how that for taking what she has learned and running with it? I absolutely love that she did exactly the right thing in this scene and that she knew it.

  13. How about the epi, the Girl in Suite 2103. Cam wanted to distort or rather, lie, about the facts of the case which thoroughly blew Bones away. And in final scene, Bones tells Booth…you’d never do that…I know you wouldn’t. This showed me she knew Booth better than even Cam did regarding how much integrity he had. BTW, I loved that opening scene where they are in the elevator and Booth is swaying & humming to elevator music. It was a great scene betweent he 2; I especially loved Brennan snapping her gloves into place and saying…I’m not really in the mood….LOL.

  14. It’s not really a crucial moment, but I was impressed with Brennan’s reaction (or non-reaction) to Booth’s outburst when he was frustrated driving in London (Yanks in the UK). Stopping the car and screaming at a busy intersection is over-the-top, perhaps immature, definitely unprofessional behavior. But she just sat there and let him blow off steam instead of berating him.

    • Remember: that’s also the episode where she doesn’t go with Wexler and tells him it’s because it doesn’t make sense to upset her partner just for an hour’s (?) pleasure. Heart + brain.
      She also demonstrates her understanding of Booth when she tells Wexler that Booth will like being called a cowboy.
      She also doesn’t call him on busting the tire when he’s trying to get out of the parking space. Good move, Bones! ;-D

  15. c-bones
    I’d just point out that ambush in the courtroom about her family happens in S1. It’s not a nice thing to do, but they don’t know each other all that well yet; their relationship even just as partners is just developing. Conman in the Meth Lab is S4 by which time they know each other much better and their relationship is clearly more than “just partners.” So, I take Brennan’s “betrayal” of Booth here as far more serious than his in S1. It’s one of those times when her refusal to consider information from others because they aren’t presenting “real evidence” but only intuitions or feelings combined with her unfiltered spouting of the truth makes me really angry with her. Maybe it is the truth, but that doesn’t make saying it right. And, she’d had fair warning in her little intervention that she shouldn’t take what Jared says about Booth at face value, but she knows better. Well, she didn’t and she hurt Booth badly in the process. Yes she realizes her mistake and apologizes, but her real mistake was the refusal to listen to people who knew better than she did because they weren’t giving her what she considers legitimate evidence.

    So, ironically, in this episode she is totally right when she listens to her heart and feelings and totally wrong when she just listens to her brain.

    • It’s true this happened early on in their partnership, but does that really make it less awful that he did that because he didn’t know her that long? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Brennan is extremely private about her very difficult and painful past, and to not even be warned about it being brought up in a public setting was very upsetting. For me, the difference is that Booth has been presented as the heart guy, the intuitive one, the one who knows what to do in social situations from day 1.

      As far as Conman, of course she was in the wrong, and she didn’t listen to others. She could have at least listened to Cam; she never listens to Sweets, anyway. But since we’re talking about Brennan, we know how she feels about anecdotal evidence. She needs her own evidence. Plus, she probably thought that if Booth is such a great guy, how bad could his brother be?They had been partners for quite a while. Taking the other person for granted happens a lot in long relationships. I’m not excusing her, just offering up what could have been her point of view. I’m “okay” with being angry at the characters sometimes. I don’t think it has to diminish my love for them.

      I guess what I’m trying to say here is some of the things she does aren’t really unique to her character. They’re real. It happens to us, or we do it to someone else. How we deal with it afterwards is based on our character and how we value the relationship with the other person.

      • I guess that I think Booth’s betrayal in s1 was awful but did not make me as angry because 1) there was a larger purpose there which Brennan eventually acknowledged would likely have led her to the same action. Maybe it was the ambush that was wrong. Maybe he should have discussed it with her, but then would it have been as effective? 2) He is not yet at the place where he would do nothing to hurt her. They are just partners and, in fact, there may have been a residue of anger/ resentment from that first case still. You might do something to a work partner that you wouldn’t do with someone who has become more than that in a situation like that.
        I guess I just see the fact that the circumstances are different in the two situations as causing me to view their actions through different lenses.

      • I mostly get what you’re saying, but I still wouldn’t feel comfortable doing something like that to even just a work partner.

        In the grand scheme of things, in a relationship between two people, how can you not expect at least one person to do something really wrong? It’s the course of human nature. If it wasn’t going to be that situation it was going to be another, or it would have been Booth to do something awful. Maybe all I’m doing is proving how awful a person I am and I’m projecting.

  16. I think my favorite Brennan knows Best moment that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Proof in the Pudding when she knows that Booth would be troubled if he thought the JFK conspiracy about a second gunman were true so she showed how the body couldn’t have been JFK. I think Cam knew what she did after the fact and was probably impressed with her kindness, there.
    BTW – Conman in the Meth Lab just bugs me. Maybe Brennan gave Jared too much credit and blindly trusted him because he was a Booth but Brennan knocking him off the stool was inappropriate. Then her speech at Booth’s birthday celebration should have been private. I just am not sure Booth should have appreciated her telling everyone that she was distracted by ‘shiny baubles’ and all that. It would have been better I think to just give a speech about how great he is without referencing her previous miscalculations on the subject.

    • Remember: everybody else was aware of the situation and trying to get her to see the truth about the Booth boys. In that context, I think she is also letting them know that they were right and assuring them that she really does see her mistake and does really appreciate Booth. So, I think something public (to their little family) is not inappropriate.

  17. Brennan IS the best at ‘knowing’ things. She is a genius. And what she knows best is anthropology. She has studied human beings in depth.

    Brennan knows things about people – she knows what people of different faiths believe and what people of different cultures value. She identifies subcultures and social hierarchies and behaviors where most people just see someone who is different from themselves.

    Sometimes Booth has a hard time getting anywhere with a witness or a suspect he doesn’t understand. It’s at those moments that Brennan is sometimes able to get through to the person by showing that she’s knowledgeable about who they are or what they believe, and she shows them the respect that Booth hasn’t.

    I’m not saying this is always the case, but the best example I can think of is in “The Woman in the Tunnel” when Brennan realizes that one of the men who lives in the tunnel holds an esteemed position within his community. She treats him with respect and asks Booth to do the same. The choices she makes are almost always rooted in what her brain knows, but often you can see the effects of what her heart knows as well.

  18. I forgot to mention my other favorite that was just on TNT again last night — Man in the Fallout Shelter. When she tells Booth that she is sorry he didn’t get to spend Christmas with his little boy. She is empathetic there and she knows how much both his relationship with his son and Christmas mean to Booth. Also in this ep, she knows how much it would mean for Ivy Gillespie to know that her fiance’ loved her and to give her some closure. This ep shows she knows a lot about the heart side of things, even in Season 1.

  19. Brennan teaching Booth back his own lessons is exactly what I DON’T want to see, she is already doing it. What I would like to see from now on is Brennan teaching Booth about the world, life, love, sex etc from her own perspective, the rational one, for them to find a balance between brain and heart, reason and emotions instead of only praising the heart side when it comes to life etc. Brennan does have a point about emotions being undependable, heck even Booth recognized it in headless with in the wood – Booth: “Well, you know. Our perceptions are alway colored by what we hope and what we fear, what we love. We do the best we can.”
    It’s time Booth learns from Brennan, and not just relearn what he taught her like she is just some kind of record machine that keeps him honest and doesn’t have anything to offer from her own experiences because lived and viewed from a rational POV. With her incursions into other cultures she knows a lot of different ways to approach/view a situation, to handle it etc, so I think she has insights to offer on life just as much as Booth, insights based on observations, data, studies, experiments, immersions as an anthropologist not just trough books.

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