Bones Theory

The Love in the Partnership

45 Comments

Good morning!

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to explore the love between Booth and Brennan, and this week seems a good time to do so, don’t you think?  Before I get started though, I want to acknowledge the debt I have to seels and thevaliumsofa, who both contributed enormously to this.

I expect if we could ask Hart Hanson what one question he’s been asked more than any other, it would be, ‘Are Booth and Brennan going to get together?’ or possibly, now that he’s started answering that one explicitly and positively, ‘When will they get together?’

David Boreanaz’s answer to the first question, much to the frustration of many fans, is that they already are together.

I understand both the question and the frustration. I want that for them. They belong together and we want to see that on our screens.  But I think I understand David’s answer, too, which is something I want to touch on in the second half of this post.

Before getting to that, though, I have another question. I wonder … is it possible to be too focused on that goal of seeing them ‘together’? So focused that we lose sight of what they already have?

In English, we pretty much have one all-purpose word for love, by which we mean we love our pets, our siblings, chocolate, and, if we have one, our significant other.

But other languages have more than one term for love, allowing for nuances – and perhaps a better understanding of what’s between two people – than what English allows for. Greek, for example, has several words for love (why, yes, I have studied ancient Greek along with psychology – why do you ask?)  Although the meanings overlap at times, it recently occurred to me that thinking about Booth and Brennan through the lens of those words might give us some insight into what’s going on.

Before I start, though, there are a couple of things I want to touch on.  The first is that the words overlap at times in meaning and nuance; they have also changed in meaning over the centuries.

The second is that while the words were generally used to describe a specific relationship, (i.e., a deep friendship as opposed to the love of parents for children) I believe they can also be used to describe facets of a single relationship. And if they can’t, and I’m wrong, and the Greeks would be horrified by this post…well, I’ll apologize later, okay?

Philia

The first term I’m going to look at is philia, which is sometimes actually translated as friendship. There are degrees of it, including those we wouldn’t consider love at all. In this sense, it can include casual business acquaintances as well as people with whom we have a common interest such as golf buddies.  But it’s also used for much deeper relationships as it can also refer to two people who’ve formed an intimate bond that yet isn’t better described by one of the other love types, including some marriages.

There’s an element of equality in the relationship, in that both people take away something from it, whether it’s the support they receive from their mutual bond, or something else. Selfish? No, not necessarily. We may throw ourselves into a relationship with our whole heart, and be generous and loving…but most of the relationships in our life give us something back, even if it’s just the good feeling we get when we do things for the other person. So both Booth and Brennan each benefit from their relationship.

Philia is the dominant type of love for much of S1 for them.  They’re getting to know each other, their common ground initially their desire to find justice for victims. That knowledge of one another – that they can trust each other to want to find that justice – leads to deeper knowledge and trust in other areas.

We see philia among the whole group in The Man in the Fallout Shelter – they even talk about their relationships and what they mean, particularly in the exchange between Hodgins and Goodman about friends vs. colleagues.  But in the end, when all of them but Brennan are fleeing the building, it’s Booth who turns around and tells her he’ll be at Wong Foo’s if she wants company. Friendship of a slightly deeper shade.

And it’s philia that allows Brennan to give Booth the case file on her parents in The Man on the Fairway, and governs not only his acceptance of it, but how he does so. He’s aware that she’s trusting him.

Partnership adds another layer to their philia.  Law enforcement partners are in a dangerous line of work (as Gordon Gordon reminds us in The Dwarf in the Dirt) and that leads Booth to feel responsible for her sooner than he might have done with another friend he was at the same level of getting to know.  We see this in his behavior in The Woman in the Garden, Two Bodies in the Lab, and his appearance in New Orleans after she calls him in The Man in the Morgue.

As I’ve thought about the different types of love, I’ve realized that philia is sort of the backbone, or workhorse, of the types of love. When they’re bickering but we know it could turn serious at any time? That’s philia. When we see them having fun together floating around in the ‘vomit comet’ in The Spaceman in the Crater? Philia.

But it’s also more than those types of moments: it’s when she puts her hand on his arm in the cemetery in Soldier on the Grave, and simply listens. It’s when he comforts her in the Woman in Limbo and offers her Jasper at the end of The Blonde in the Game.

It’s when they share meals (mac and cheese!) and run out of the bar laughing because you ‘have to be bad to be good.’

And while their relationship has deepened into other kinds of love as well, philia is still present this season, such as in the look of pride he gives her when she’s participating in the Science Guy’s show.

As I noted several paragraphs back, philia can be quite emotionally intimate. I think the moment right before he goes into surgery in The Critic in the Cabernet is probably philia, though it’s possible it’s more storge, which we’re going to consider next.

Storge

I wasn’t sure I was going to include this, because the term is frequently defined as ‘motherly love’ or the love one has for a dependent. Instinctive love. But while researching it, I realized it has also been used to designate family bonds in general, as well as adoptive relationships. There’s an element of commitment to it that I like, which I think is essential to understanding Booth and Brennan’s relationship.

Philia is important, and can describe people with very deep, emotionally intimate bonds. But even so, storge offers something else, found when two people say, “I’m sticking with you from here on, even if I don’t always like you,” as adoptive parents do, for example.

Unlike philia, storge isn’t completely equal, or, rather, equality is the goal rather than a reality at the beginning of the relationship. Between parents and children, for example, the parents make a commitment to the kids while they’re still incapable of committing back. But most parents, I think, raise their kids to be people who can eventually reciprocate in those kinds of bonds.

I think most of us know it’s easy to say the words, “I’ll never leave,” when everyone likes everyone else, no one is hurting and things are going smoothly. Actually sticking when there’s pain and difficulty is a different ballgame, and that’s the aspect of storge I want to highlight here.

It’s explicit in Judas on a Pole among the team as a whole, both when they unite for Booth and then when he tells Brennan, ‘there’s more than one type of family.’ But it’s a running theme through the whole series.

I’ve said before that I have this theory that early on in their relationship, Booth decided that he was never going to be the next person in her life to walk away from her, no matter what. I suspect it was there as early as The Man in the Fallout Shelter, when he overhears her telling Angela about Russ’s decision to leave her shortly after her parents did.  Although we never hear him spell it out explicitly, I think he comes close in his words to Cam in The Boy in the Shroud: “I’m with Bones, Cam. All the way.”

He’s never going to walk away from her, no matter how difficult things become – and he never has, something I’ll address further in my comments on the next type of love we look at.

Meanwhile, what about Brennan? I think we see her commitment to him – and to their ‘family’ – in the ‘center must hold’ conversation at the end of The Widow’s Son in the Windshield, but after that, it’s spotty until this season, and that’s okay. Why? Because Brennan didn’t have a framework for what it meant for someone to stick like that until Booth and the others began giving it to her with their commitment to her. (And it’s not all Booth: I think when Angela flatly refuses to testify in Max’s trial, she’s teaching Brennan about this kind of love, too.)  Until she found herself with a family she never expected in Booth and the squints, no one had ever modeled it for her. Her parents left, Russ abandoned her…she didn’t know what that kind of stick-to-it-tiveness looked like until Booth and the others showed her.

But that doesn’t mean we never see it from her before this season.  We see storge – and even possibly agape, which we’ll cover next – in her determination and commitment to save him from the Grave Digger in The Hero in the Hold.  As the episode unfolds, we see a nearly grim determination from her, and I’ve long suspected that if Booth had died…we would have seen a reversal of the times he threatened someone for Brennan, only carried through: Taffet would not have lived to see her trial. (What? I can’t be the only one to believe she’s capable of that?)

I think it’s also there at the end of The Critic in the Cabernet, when she tells him he’s been in a coma for four days, and the implication is she’s been there with him the entire time.  She gets flak from fans – unfairly, I think – in Harbingers, when it’s revealed she went to Guatemala before he was completely recovered.  But it’s clear to me that she didn’t simply get up and run. She checked with his doctors, believed he was on the road to recovery…and was upset when she found out that recovery had taken longer than she’d been led to believe it would.

I think it’s storge when she promises Pops at the end of The Foot in the Foreclosure to be there when Booth needs her, because she will be. My sense of Brennan has always been that she’s the sort of person who doesn’t make promises lightly, but when she does, she keeps them. I think it would be a matter of pride and honesty for her to do so.

And even with the trip to Maluku, she doesn’t just run. She plans to discuss it with him before making a final decision.  I don’t see anything there to suggest she wouldn’t have gone if he’d said, “Please don’t go,” but she didn’t simply leave, and for someone who’s never had any real ties before, never had anyone care whether she stuck or not, that’s commitment.

Agape

Agape is frequently translated as unconditional or self-sacrificing love, and it’s not hard to see how that merges with/is part of the two loves we’ve already looked at, particularly storge.  Commitment to stick ‘no matter what’ implies unconditional love.

Unlike philia and storge, agape isn’t about equality. Someone who loves with agape love isn’t in it for what they get out of it, even the same kind of love in return. They seek what’s best for the other person with no thought of themselves.

As with storge, we see agape from Booth toward Brennan before we see it from her toward him, and for the same reason, I believe.  Whether it’s completely fair to her parents or not – who loved her enough to do what they believed was necessary to protect her – Brennan’s understanding of love causes her to reject it at the beginning of the series.  It’s through the love shown her primarily by Booth but also by the others that allows her to begin opening to the idea that not only do different kinds of love exist, they can exist for her, to the place where we see her offering love back, in all its forms.

So what does agape look like between them?  I think Booth shows her agape when he tells her she should go with Sully in The Boneless Bride in the River.  He doesn’t want her to go, that’s obvious. But he wants what’s best for her, even if it’s not best for him.

We see it at the end of The Verdict in the Story when he does something that goes against every protect-those-you-love instinct he has by telling a jury that yes, she could have killed the deputy director of the FBI.   And while we don’t necessarily see it at the end of Wannabe in the Weeds because taking the bullet for her doesn’t appear to be a conscious choice, we know he would have made that exact choice. That’s the quintessential meaning of agape, by the way, that someone would love another person enough to die for them.

We see self-sacrificing love from him in what he goes through to keep that commitment I believe he made not to leave her, even when she rejects him. I don’t think she had any idea what she was asking of him when she said, ‘Can we still be partners?’ in The Parts in the Sum of the Whole.  I don’t believe she understood love, or at least not his love, enough to grasp how painful it would be for him to continue to work with her, to be her friend (which was implied by ‘partners’)  after she’d turned him down, until recently.

But that commitment he’d made, never voiced, was still there, and his love for her is agape – unconditional, and self-sacrificing. So he puts her first, and sticks. He sticks until she leaves him, and as I noted in my Booth’s Turning Points post, that’s when he knows things have to change…but I don’t think his commitment not to walk away from her is one of those things that changes. I know people – people whose opinions I respect – who believe Booth made his decision to leave for Afghanistan very early in The Beginning in the End, before she did.  But I can’t see that, because there’s such a history of him sticking with her.

What about now? I think this is exactly what he means when he says, “That person’s not going anywhere,” at the end of The Sin in the Sisterhood. I know that line confuses people because when she’d said, ‘What if you let that person get away?’ she was clearly talking romantically, and he’s clearly not in his response, not given his relationship with Hannah. But I believe he understands that knowing he’s always going to be there for Brennan in some way is important to her.

When they returned from Maluku and Afghanistan, he was allowing for the possibility of her not wanting to work with him, but it was going to be her choice. Never his. We saw this again at the end of The Daredevil in the Mold the other night. He’s hurt and angry, and some of it is toward her, enough that he lashes out when she questions what happens next, enough that he spells out what their relationship will be and tells her to take it or leave it.  As upset as he is, though, even to that degree of putting limits on their relationship, giving up entirely would be her choice. She’ll be the one to walk away, not him.

That’s the reason that scene didn’t throw me at all, I guess. Because what I see behind his ‘partners only, take it or leave it’ is that commitment to never be the one to walk away from her (storge), based on an unconditional love (agape) that puts her first, even there.

What about Brennan? Does Brennan love him unconditionally and in a way that puts his needs before her own? Absolutely. It may have come later than his – which makes sense to me, as I think she had to first learn what it meant – but it’s there.

I think it’s getting to that point when she tells Gordon, “I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t do to help Booth” in The Dwarf in the Dirt, and we see it begin to play out in The Proof in the Pudding when she lies for him – or at least isn’t forthcoming with the full facts.

But it’s only now, this season, that we’ve seen its full expression: when she warns Hannah to be sure about moving in with him in The Maggots in the Meathead, when she accepts those limits he’s putting on their relationship at the end of The Daredevil in the Mold.  That moment she makes it clear she’s sticking with him, no matter what, is the single most committed, loving, even sacrifical act we’ve seen her make for him.

Eros

(Okay – raise your hand if you’ve been waiting for this one?)

It would be understandable if you had, because we’re all products of our culture and western culture views eros – sexual desire/love – as the highest form of love, whether we acknowledge that or not.

Here’s the thing, though: on its own, unless it’s combined with one of the other loves, eros is nearly anti-love. It’s lust that takes no thought of the individuals, of their needs apart from sex.  (Did the Greeks see it that way? It depends on the era you’re talking about, but consider this: Cupid is portrayed as shooting random victims with an arrow that took personalities, affection and even choice out of the equation.)

So I’ve not put eros last because it’s the most important type of love, the one we’ve been eagerly anticipating, but rather for the opposite reason:  on its own, it’s nothing but an imposter.  Eros by itself was what we saw in the flashback to their first meeting, and it nearly destroyed any chance they had at anything else. It’s heat and flash, which can be wildly pleasurable – no question of that – but without anything else, destructive.

When eros is driving the train, there’s no room for anything else, not really. Not until it begins to burn itself out. And then, for some, there’s a chance for them to see if there’s anything else there.

Ah, but what if it’s not on its own? What if it comes along with philia, storge, and agape? Or even just one or two of those? Although the Greeks didn’t weigh in on this, I believe that’s what we call ‘being in love.’ The desire, flash, and heat of eros combined with a deeper bond built in intimacy, trust and commitment.  Sometimes, the point where eros combines with something else comes quickly, and sometimes it’s later.  But it must come for a relationship to last, and when it does, it transforms eros into something quite different, something where the heat and flash give what else is there warmth and beauty.

Sexual attraction has been a part of Booth and Brennan’s relationship from the very beginning, but after the disaster of their first case, they rein it in, choose not to act on it. It’s there – we see it, that awareness, somewhere in every episode – at least prior to this season, and unlike some, I’ve been aware of it even this season. But it doesn’t control them, doesn’t control the relationship or where it goes. Without eros running things, they move from trusting one another’s goals (to find justice for victims), to trusting one another (when she gives him her parents’ file, when he shares details of his sniper past), to committing to one another and finally to unconditional love.

So what am I saying, really?

First, that I really, really want to see them make love some day, within a romantic relationship. I want to see them acknowledge eros because it’s not been allowed to drive the train of their relationship, and never will. It’s there, along for the ride, and someday, when acknowledged, it will be beautiful, will give them something neither of them have had before: romantic, sexual love on a foundation of trust, commitment, intimacy and love that nothing – not even this year – has been able to shake. And I want to see that.

But second, I just want us to step back a bit, maybe, and remind ourselves that part of the reason we have what we have is because they’ve not gone there yet. Do I think it’s time? Yes, I do. Not this week, certainly, but soon.

But so much of what they have, what we’ve seen them have this season, is because they’ve not acted on eros yet.  Could they have done so in, say, season four, and been happy? Well, sure. I suppose so. But – and maybe this is just me – there’s something beautiful in watching a relationship be tested and grow.  So if they’d become a couple two years ago, there’s a lot we wouldn’t have seen. And neither we, nor they, would know the full extent of what’s between them.

I know this season has been hard for a lot of people.  I’ve found it as painful to watch at times as anyone else.  But I’ve perversely enjoyed it at the same time because what I see when I step back and look at it as a whole is that the strength of their love has been more obvious this season, when it’s been so tested. Really, the fact that they’re still working together at all shows that bond. Would it have been easier for Booth to tell her no when she asked if they could still work together in The Parts in the Sum of the Whole? Yes. Would a lot of guys – even good, honorable guys – at least have said, ‘give me time’?  And what about that moment in the SUV in The Doctor in the Photo?  They talk about her adjusting, as he did. What they don’t discuss, don’t even consider, is of giving up their partnership and all that it means to them.  Such a decision is never even on the table. That’s the nature of what they have together.

Am I making any sense at all here? What I feel they have is so much more powerful because we’ve seen them hang in there with and for one another, even when it’s excruciatingly painful. Their love – philia, storge, agape – never falters.  Even when Booth is with another woman, a woman he loves.  I believe his commitment to Brennan is never clearer than when he saves her life just before that conversation in the SUV. It’s so easy to take it for granted, particularly given his rejection moments later. But in order for him to be there, he’s been following her around and it must have been all night since even if she’d gone back to her apartment he wouldn’t have known she wouldn’t leave again, at least not as far as I can see.

That’s love. That’s commitment. That’s a bond that many people never know from any relationship in their lives, sexual/romantic or not. And Booth and Brennan are already there.

It’s this, all of this, that I think David Boreanaz means when he says they already are together. He looks at their relationship and while not discounting sex and a romantic commitment as unimportant, sees what they have, sees the wonder and miracle of anyone having that kind of relationship in their life.

They are together. Can they yet become more together? Yes, and I have every hope of that.  But in the meantime, what they have –what we’ve seen illustrated in the very story line that’s brought so much pain to so many – is breathtakingly beautiful.

So when people ask why I like the show, my response is “their relationship” as opposed to “the romance between them”.

What do you think? Is there a lot of love to go around? Can you think of any other examples for each ‘type’ of love? I know there are a lot of BONES fans and Bones Theory readers from all over the world….which types of love are valued where you live? Would Booth and Brennan be considered ‘lovers’ already? Let’s discuss!

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45 thoughts on “The Love in the Partnership

  1. Wow rynogeny. That was simply breathtaking. I’m not sure there’s anything else I can say right now that wouldn’t sound hollow and completely meaningless or hasn’t already been covered. If I can think of anything brilliant, I’ll be back later to comment. Just…thanks.

  2. Rynogeny, this is a terrific post and one of the many reasons, like others, that I love reading BT every day, even when I don’t have an opportunity to comment. Continued kudos to you and Seels for a great team of analysts who share insights on a TV show we all know and love!

    As someone who knows “friendship” first, “love” second with my life partner (and spouse of almost 25 years) I think a foundation of these multiple levels of love is necessary for a long term and sustainable relationship. And yes, I agree with DB that they ARE already together.

    It has been a rocky road this season but I am drawn to the growth and development that as you note would probably not have been possible without some of the bumps they’ve encountered. Like many fans I’m ready for them to act on the eros part 😉 but I will continue to be patient because I respect HH & Co to tell THEIR story, even when I don’t like all the twists they throw at me. I am intrigued by the sometimes subtle way they incorporate elements in the show that span the seasons. I find BONES to be layered and complex … kinda like real life!

    Thanks for sharing this journey. And keep writing! I love reading even when RL prevents me from commenting 🙂

  3. I think the most important thing that Booth and Brennan have is their deep friendship for each other. Eros is fine; but, without the glue that friendship provides, their love could never grow. They are completely different in their outlooks on life and yet, first Booth and later Brennan, they decided that their friendship is the most important thing in the world for them.

    Booth had Eros with Hannah; but, without a deep friendship there was nothing else to hold them together. When Brennan refused to committ to Booth, they still had their friendship to see them through the rough patches. Booth had decided that he could not give up his friendship, his partnership with Brennan and so even though it was very painful for him, he stuck it out. Hannah refused to committ to him and because there was no friendship, Booth did not have a reason to cut Hannah some slack. His anger over Hannah’s refusal to marry him was the result of having nothing in common with Hannah except Eros.

    Brennan has taken longer to understand the value of a close friendship because she was hurt the most by abandonment. Booth was abandoned by his father; but, his Pops was there to save him. Pops grounded Booth to a loving family and to the world, he showed him familial love. Brennan had foster care and apparently abuse at the hands of strangers. She had the experience of permanent abandonment. It took the love and deep friendship of Booth, and yes, the Squints to show her that fealty to someone else is possible. That fealty can be given to her and she can freely give to others. When I think of Booth and Brennan I not only think of friendship and love, I think of fealty. (For those who don’t know what fealty is: fealty is a pledge of allegiance of one person to another. The belief that one would die for the other. In this case, Booth and Brennan would die to protect the other. )
    I felt that when I heard Booth tell Brennan “that person’s not going anywhere”, he was telling her that he would not abandon her no matter what happens between Hannah and himself. Booth knows that Brennan’s greatest fear is abandonment. Like you, I think he made the decision a long time ago that no matter what, he would not be the one to walk away from her. He is a loyal friend first. If he cannot have a physical relationship with Brennan he will take the partnership and all that it means.

    By the way, I am with you. If Booth had died in Hero In The Hold, there would have been no trial for the gravedigger. Brennan would have killed her. Brennan loves Booth and values their friendship more than she can say. She would have made sure that the Gravedigger would have paid for taking Booth from her.

  4. I just wanted to say that this was brilliant, rynogeny. This is why I love BT. Some parts of the Bones community are intelligent, thoughtful and well-educated. 😉

    I need to think more about this before I comment in substance.

  5. Brilliant and Beautiful! I agree with the whole darn thing. 😉

  6. I’m in tears at my desk at work. That was absolutely BRILLIANT Rynogeny; beautiful, informative, true.

    I can’t believe it’s never occurred to me how limited the word ‘love’ is in the English language, it’s so obviously a word with so many shades – why don’t we have more?! Thanks for teaching me about the Greek words – that’s something that will stay with me.

    In terms of Booth and Brennan, thank you so much for so eloquently laying out the evidence of what they mean to each other. It’s there in every episode, all us fans know it, but you’ve laid it out so beautifully, so plainly, that it blew me away. I’m really moved, thanks so much.

  7. I’m very impressed Rynogeny. Love it. I also find it hard to contribute anything at the moment.

  8. Fascinating. 🙂

  9. I agree – brilliant!

  10. That friendship is the foundation of their relationship is very important.  It’s always been there, even in the earlier seasons.  Some other examples are The Skull in the Desert when Booth flies out when Brennan asks for help.  In The Man in the Morgue, we find out that Angela didn’t even know that Brennan was in trouble, let alone how much trouble, so we know she told only Booth about it.  I think Booth likes being that guy in her life, the one she can turn to for anything and it makes him feel good when he’s able to give her something, whether it’s help or comfort.

    I’m one of those people who’s struggling with season 6.  One of the reasons, which I only thought of after reading this article, is that the progression of Booth and Brennan’s relationship, from friendship to the self sacrificing type of love, has been so natural.  Like it would make sense that the next step in this gradual progression would be romantic love but the obstacles that season 6 has thrown in are kind of off and forced, in my view.  Hannah is the prime example. But now that she’s out of the picture, perhaps we’ll be back on track.

    Thanks for such a great article, rynogeny. In particular, I really appreciate the examples of the different types of love.

  11. I think that Brennan showed ‘agape’ before S5. When she says in Pain in the Heart: “That woman was aiming at me, I would have ‘happily’ taken that bullet” – I think she really meant it, that even back then she would have died to save Booth. Brennan is also supposed to have this reverence for life, yet she killed in Blond in the Game to save Booth, before Booth ever killed for her. She lied to the FBI on Killer in the Concrete which totally shocked Angela, yes I find her lie in Pudding even better cause she could have changed history like she was so happy to do it in a Night in the Bones Museum, but she didn’t for Booth’s well being, but still, I think she showed agape for Booth early on.

  12. Haha, I love how relatively short and few the comments are on this post! You’ve left us as speechless as a wordy crowd like this can get! And really, at least in my case, it’s that you’ve honestly said it all, and said it so well! Brilliant insights with the Greek analysis. Who doesn’t appreciate a little ancient Greek now and again?

    I just wanted to say, I think this layered love is what really, really sets our Bones apart from other shows, especially other (I kind of dislike lumping Bones in with this crowd for reasons I’m explaining now) will-they-or-won’t-they shows. Maybe there are, but I can’t think of another show in which the eros-love is the secondary–or tertiary!–kind of love between the main characters, like it is with Bones. That’s really what makes this show great, these layers of love you’ve discussed, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ll love every minute of the romantic relationship that I know is coming, too, but the fact that we’ve had so long to see their relationship grow will make the romantic part so much better. I wouldn’t trade a minute of any of the past 5 and a half seasons–even Hannah!–for any of those cute “eventually” moments we all dream of, because those “eventually” moments would mean so much less without the past. You hit the nail on the head with that one, for sure–maybe they could’ve gotten together sooner, and it would’ve worked just fine, and they would’ve been strong enough to hold through the bad and the good of whatever their futures held. But now? Now we know they’ll hold, through anything and everything. And seeing that play out has been an absolute privilege for me to be a part of as a viewer.

    Again, great post! 🙂

    • But now? Now we know they’ll hold, through anything and everything. And seeing that play out has been an absolute privilege for me to be a part of as a viewer.

      I LOVE that you wrote this.

  13. This post is amazing. I was familiar with the concepts of eros, agape, storge and philla but couldnt have come up with such a concise overview in relation to bones so I am very impressed.
    The DB theory that they aare already in a relationship is one that I completely agree with. it makes complete sense and even season six makes sense in a way. People talk about the seven year curse (It doesnt have to be 7 years in but with BB it was so it hold up), where one or both of the people in the relationship questions whether they are really in the relationship they want. At seven years a relationship becomes very permanent, well it does to me. 7 years at least one tenth of your life assuming average death expectancy of 70 for a male. That is an extrodinary amount of time to give a person without making sure it is perfect/right. (I could not come up with the right word.
    Booth and Brennan are in all types of love. and that is tottally the best way.
    xx

  14. Ditto to pretty much everyone. I’m speechless. I am familiar with the different kinds of love too, but it was amazing to see it all fleshed out. 🙂

    I love this blog. Haha. Probably more than I should. 🙂

    Happy Bones Day, Everyone!

  15. This was such a wonderful, thoughtful post; I can only imagine how long it took to compose. It’s really a very nice way to start off Bones Day.

    The most amazing thing about the B/B relationship for me is that it has developed, as fully as you have described, in a show that isn’t really about relationships. The relationship is there of course, but it’s usually only a small part of every episode. Sometimes a very small part, what with murders and other character’s lives to contend with. Yet over six years all those little moments have added up to one of the richest, most complex couplings in tv history, in my opinion. And we’ve seen it happen, little by little, layer by layer, right before our very eyes. That these people started out so different, with so little in common, yet have developed such a rare friendship, one so deeply intertwined with respect and affection, is a source of constant wonder for me. And because I know that the show won’t last forever, I’m making an effort to truly appreciate the little moments that Bones offers every week, even when it hurts. But I do hope we get our share of blatant eros in there, so much sweeter because we know what it took them to get there. And when it happens, I will certainly be appreciating that too ( and rewinding, lots of rewinding!)

  16. I agree so much with all the other posters, siimply beautiful post. I wish you were a “Bones” writer. I have always refered to Booth’s feelings for Brennan as “Courtly Love” like in the days of Knights and such. He has been her protector, her consience, her heart sometimes, and she has been the same for him. I agree seeing their relationship develop has been great and i would love to see it taken to the next level.

  17. Well done – what a fabulous insightful post.

    As frustrated as I was when I heard DB say that they were ‘already together’, I have to agree. It’s not all about sex. They demonstrate time and again that there is more to this relationship than the physical side. I’m still perplexed by those who are up in arms about Booth’s ‘just partners’ drunken, heartbroken rant from the last episode. There is no way that these two can be just partners – and that is highlighted in this post. They may not be ready to step into the eros stage, but the others are still there, as strong as ever. It is the strength of these aspects that make me glad (albeit frustrated at times) that they haven’t hooked up casually. When it does happen, it will be the real thing.

  18. Wow after reading discouraging comments on various discussion boards, you have successfully brought me back to the reason why I watch this show. It’s always disheartening to see people complaining about why they aren’t “hooking up”. Their relationship has so much truth and honesty to it that if they’d “hooked up” in the beginning, so much love would have been undiscovered. Thanks for posting this! I love this blog! 🙂

  19. Wow! Thank you for this post – it was absolutely amazing!
    I love this part of your post:

    But in the meantime, what they have –what we’ve seen illustrated in the very story line that’s brought so much pain to so many – is breathtakingly beautiful.

    It definitely is breathtakingly beautiful! 🙂
    I love BT!

  20. Another beautifully worded post from the talented people here at Bones Theory!

    ‘So when people ask why I like the show, my response is “their relationship” as opposed to “the romance between them”. ‘
    This is exactly why I like the show. Romance will come in time (don’t ask when though!) but I love the deep relationship these two have developed. And no I don’t think they can be considered lovers, lovers to me implies a sexual component to a relationship.
    Is it wrong to be envious of a fictional relationship? *sigh*

  21. Rynogeny, I have absolutely nothing to add or comment on, other than to say that this was an absolutely amazing and beautiful post. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to put it together. 🙂

  22. This was absolutely beautiful!! Cheers to that!! Not to mention very educative as well (for someone who was always a bit vague on the different types of Greek love <3). All in all, a perfect post! 🙂

    Thank you!

    I totally agree with you when you say that their love is strongest this season. I've always said that I never was concerned with Hannah in the picture because what Booth/Brennan have is something infinitely more intimate and special. You helped clarify that (in my head) for me. 🙂 🙂 Thanks! I also agree with DB when he said that B/B are already together. I might've been satisfied for a few more seasons the way things were before this season, but I'm also very glad the show decided to take a leap of faith. And, like you said when you look at the big picture, we see a relationship that is utterly beautiful. I don't even think some people ever find that in their life.

    In conclusion, your post made my week and B/B's relationship will always be epic! 🙂

  23. It’s like what Angela said. They’ve been together (dating)… they just haven’t had sex.

    And I completely agree. “Lovers” would imply sex, but I agree with you and David that they have definitely been together (or, at least, before Hannah) for some time now. Since season 3? 4? Which is why, as Sweets pointed out, neither had had a serious relationship since, really, they began working together.

    They didn’t need to; they had each other.

  24. I had to think of this post all through last night’s ep. True Valentine’s Day gift!
    Thank You!

  25. Who knew that reading a Bones blog could be so educational… Your post was a delight to read, so thank you for taking the time. Like other reviewers have mentioned, one of the best parts of being a “Bones” fan is watching the B&B relationship deepen and evolve as the seasons tick by. That their love is multi-faceted and layered (which is a credit to the writing staff and realised by two actors who do a fantastic job each week), definately sets the show apart from others of its kind. And while I think Booth and Brennan find it easy to love one another, more broadly, their journey isn’t easy. For me, that’s what makes watching the show so interesting and, IMO, a sometimes uniquely personal experience. I have only have to look at the myriad comments written on blogs and boards after each episode airs to realise that people read into the actions of the characters their own pre-conceptions, their own desires and understandings. I do the same. But that said, the one constant, the one indisputable fact (again, IMO) is that placed at the centre of the B&B love affair (because that’s what it is) is friendship, pure and simple. That ‘centre’ has held. Brennan not being ready to accept what Booth was offering in the 100th didn’t shake it, Booth telling Bones that he was committed to another woman in the DITP didn’t shake it. Nothing will. Eros is all well and good, (and count me in the number of people who’ll rewind until the cows come home any future love scenes between B&B), but it does not sustain, it does not ‘hold’ on its own. As someone astutely mentions above: it didn’t keep Hannah around. Eros adds another dimension, a different shade of love. For me, (and as you so eloquently and intelligently set out in your post), B&B have at different times and in different ways shown us that they feel every type of love for one another. That’s why I love the show, that’s why I’m so invested…

    Wow…for a first ever post I sure blathered on. 🙂

  26. Rynogeny, you know I love this post, I already told you that. 🙂 But I just had to comment on the site as well. I love how you explain their relationship, and basically prove the point that when we do get to eventually, the eros part of their love story, that it’s just going to be that much stronger because these two already have all the other types of love. How many romantic, married couples never achieve the other types of love: agape, for instance. How many marriages fail because one of the other partner can’t put their own needs second? Actuallly, isn’t that even why Hannah & Booth failed? Because Hannah couldn’t even offer Booth a compromise when he proposed; she could only come back with a stern No. Which, to me, means what Booth has with Brennan is already more than he ever had with Hannah.

    It worries me when I see fans saying that they want refunds on their old DVDs because Booth & Brennan aren’t together sexually at this point. People really want to throw out all the good stuff because the couple went through a rough patch? It doesn’t make sense to me. We have to enjoy the entire story, embrace their love (in all its forms) and remember that even when people are “meant to be” that life isn’t always easy. I’m anxiously awaiting seeing them develop their love story, all facades of it.

    Again, wonderful, wonderful post Ryn! 🙂

  27. this was amazing! very logical analysis that would make Brennan proud. The way that you wove the four concepts together was simple yet completely enthralling. Congrats on a great piece!

  28. First of Ryn this is a fabulous post, it really is. I don’t agree with everything you’ve said (are you really shocked?! LOL) but it is brilliant.

    I agreed with you for the most part until we got to ‘Agape’…that’s when we started to go off on different tracks 🙂

    I’m one of those people who think Booth decided to go to Afghanistan long before Brennan decided about Maluku. Except I don’t think it had anything to do with Brennan, or him going against his commitment to never leave her. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that Booth and Brennan are people beyond their partnership. That they have other driving forces in their lives that effect what choices they make. Booth going to Afghanistan was something he was always going to do because he had to…he’s a solider and he always will be. Turning down the request? Never gonna happen 🙂

    The same can be said for Brennan. I have spoken with some who believe she went to Maluku to run from Booth and her own feelings. I don’t buy that. For me, she went to Maluku because at her core she is a Forensic Anthropologist and the opportunity she was offered is what she lives for (remember Passenger In The Oven back in S4??!). Daisy also had her part to play (which is a whole other issue and another reason why I dislike her so much!) but mostly it was because Brennan had to. It’s who she is.

    You mentioned the end of Daredevil and how he was making the decision to leave her choice. I agree he was but when I think about it it was almost…cowardly? Not sure if that’s the word I want but I’ll go with it for now! LOL. What I mean is he made the decision hers even when the ultimatum was his. So that if she didn’t like the two options presented to her she would be leaving him not the other way around. I understand why he did it. I understand he was in pain and he was angry…but I still don’t believe it was fair. Not to Brennan…I mean he didn’t really give her a choice, did he? Stay and be partners with me…just partners. Or leave and reject me again. Not a real choice in any way shape or form…again I understand why but that doesn’t make it right.

    Anyway I got a tad off track.

    I know I am in the minority when I say I don’t believe Booth is IN love with Brennan (and when I say minority I mean just me! LOL) but I know that he does love her. And even if I may disagree on the meaning behind it, I can agree that every example you’ve given does show a form of love he/she has for him/her. I don’t see it as the ‘romantic’ type of love but it’s still love, however we as individuals decide to interpret it.

    What I personally am looking forward to is the moments where we see Booth fall in love with her. Some people think we’re already there…I’m still waiting for it.

    Once again Ryn fantabulous post…really really spectacular.

  29. Rynogeny this may be very very late but you just said it all. You just explained their depth in a way I’ve never been able to. I read your whole post and was just like YES!YES! Yes throughout the whole thing. I loved it so much.

  30. There are no words for how much I love this post. You are just a fantastic writer, and this is so well-thought out. It makes perfect sense and I agree with you completely.

    I also agree with David that B&B are “already together” so to speak, they just (up until 6×22) hadn’t had sex yet. Many people just don’t consider a relationship to be “real” unless there’s physical intimacy.

  31. It’s interesting to think about love and the different kinds of love in light of how we ended S6. We have Eros but it wasn’t Erosy-enough so we’re still arguing/discussing/bickering over the relationship. Genius on the part of the writers, huh?

    I really love this, too:

    is it possible to be too focused on that goal of seeing them ‘together’? So focused that we lose sight of what they already have?

    What we have, the relationship between Booth and Brennan, is beautiful in its own right. It’s slow and careful and words and silences and small gestures mean more than grand speeches and big productions. It’s Boothenney.

    • It’s slow in a manner of speaking. Everything (seemed to have) happened so quickly in those last two episodes. But I agree that what they already have is beautiful. They understand each other very well.

      Booth and Brennan were never really angry at each other during the whole “Booth trying to move on” period, to other people’s dismay but not to mine. When she said she understood, she meant it. She accepted the consequences of her decision. Their bond also allowed them to give each other the benefit of the doubt in the tough situations. They know they would never intentionally hurt each other, and sometimes go out of their way to protect the other. I appreciate that they didn’t play the blame game – kudos to the writers for not going there.

      We can’t project our own actions and reactions onto the characters. I think part of loving someone is allowing them to not be perfect. You accept the shiny and not-so-shiny parts. Booth may not be “Man-of-the-Year” in some people’s eyes, but Brennan knows who he is at heart, and while she can recognize his faults and mistakes, she doesn’t hold them against him. And he does the same for her.

      • You know, in hindsight we probably shouldn’t have been so surprised that the “Boom! Mama Bones!” was actually prophetic.

        Look what HH&Co. did with Angela and Hodgins. Couple/broke up/someone else/married. One thing definitely true of the game plan for BONES is that sudden turns are really freaking sudden.

        I think what you said about projecting our reactions onto the characters is true, too. For instance, I really want to see some sort of apology/acknowledgment from Booth for his betrayal of Brennan to Hannah. And, I’m not going to get it because I’m the only one who thinks it was a betrayal.

        Sucks for me but it works for them. Okay, then.

        Really, that’s one of the beautiful aspects of their relationship. They both see the truth of each other and are dazzled. Flaws and all.

      • Are you talking about when he told Hannah about Brennan’s confession? Or just Hannah period? And is the betrayal just about love, or does it include their friendship?

        The driving force of the show is relationships, and while it provides a lot of entertainment, it also creates conflicting attitudes for the audience. It seems like there’s not much that black-and-white in relationships, or one-size-fits-all scenarios. To top it off, we know the B&B relationship is pretty complicated because their lives have become so entangled and they’ve run the gamut of emotions with each other. Anyway, my point is, it doesn’t surprise me in the least bit that each viewer interprets things differently, and I don’t think that necessarily a wrong thing or a discredit to the writers (not saying you think that.)

        You seem to have made peace with that issue. Just like there were other things I really didn’t like that I made/am making peace with. Namely Booth trying to move on while staying in denial, and going so far as to tell Hannah Brennan’s feelings are in the past and so are his. Yeah, yeah, he was trying to prove he was serious about Hannah, but still, that was awkwardly painful to witness. And then everyone was talking about Booth was trying to be so honorable. I believe he’s a good guy and all, better than most, but he withheld so much from Hannah. He did a lot of protecting of himself, which always made me feel uneasy because it just felt a little deceitful to me (lying by omission). He doesn’t have to be a white knight and I don’t have to try to make him one all the time for me to love his character.

        What I really wanted to say is that the only reason I’m not diehard about an apology is because I’m not really sure what he should say, and whether it will actually benefit them. “Bones, I’m sorry. I pushed my feelings for you to the side, and meeting Hannah made it convenient. You didn’t want to give us a chance romantically, and then put our partnership on hold, but she followed me back to DC to be with me. I guess when I look back I see I was just using her to try and get over you when you seemed to not really be concerned about my feelings. Even when you said you made a mistake, I stuck it out with Hannah because you really came out of left field with that one and she was the safer choice.” Ummm, that wouldn’t help anybody. Maybe I’m just not imaginative, but what can he say to really make it all better?

      • I specifically meant his telling Hannah about Brennan’s confession to him. He totally threw Brennan under the bus with that, and especially with that “Go easy on Bones . . .” sideshow. I just….aarrrrghhh! I want an apology for that, but I know I’m not going to get one. So, I’ll just write that little scene in my head and move on.

        I don’t “blame” Booth for Hannah. I mean, he asked, Brennan said no, he said he was moving on and Brennan said okay. That’s a lot more concrete than just taking a break (to borrow another couple’s phrase). Actually, I understand Hannah a lot more than I understand Catherine. For me, Catherine was all about him getting some self-confidence with women back. And Hannah was (I don’t care what he said otherwise) the consolation prize. He couldn’t have Brennan. He could have Hannah.

        But I don’t think he was using Hannah, as much as she helped him move on. In a way, I think she helped him heal, so that when he and Brennan finally were able to come together they were both different people. And that’s probably a good thing, since they both needed to be different in order to fit together better.

      • Oh yeah, the whole “Go easy on Bones” spiel just rubbed me in such a wrong way. Whatever scene you make up, you may have to share it with me. Maybe I should just focus on being in a happier place like how they are.

        Somebody (I think Barbara) mentioned that Booth saying that Hannah was not a consolation prize was a Freudian slip. Nobody else had used that term, but he felt like it was necessary to say, like he needed to convince himself. I agree that she helped him to heal and move on, though.

    • Can’t respond directly to your comment about him betraying her, so will do so here.

      The first post I ever wrote for BT posited the theory that people’s view of and ability to enjoy S6 was directly tied to their view of Brennan. Those who believe she was in love with him in the 100th have had a much harder time with this whole arc than those who didn’t.

      If she was in love with him and knew it, then everything that’s happened since then is pointless, a story line that deconstructed him (made him into a heartless cad who betrayed her) while forcing us to watch her pain.

      But if she didn’t recognize her feelings for him as love (which is what I believe, and which I think is supported by everything we’re told about how she processes feelings) then it was a necessary arc.

      She needed to get to the point of being able to say to herself, ‘this is what love is’ and to recognize that she’s capable of loving someone, capable of risking, capable of trusting.

      It’s very interesting to look at what Angela says to her toward the end of The Critic in the Cabernet. She’d accused Brennan of being too scared to consider making a family with Booth in the usual fashion, which Brennan has denied. And Angela says, “Listen, you just said you wanted to do this alone because feelings are ephemeral. So is life, Brennan. We’re here one minute, and then we’re gone the next. You should know that better than anybody. If you keep living trying to protect yourself, nothing is ever gonna touch you.”

      I remembered the conversation but hadn’t really thought about it recently – not until Bailey reminded me of it last night. And now I can’t help but think about that scene in light of what Brennan says about being impervious in Blizzard, and more, the way we see her come to Booth in Hole in the Heart – not ironically, I think, after losing one of the team.

      I absolutely think the last two years were about getting her from that point to where she is now. It was all necessary, and couldn’t have gone other than it did. In my opinion, he didn’t betray her, because if he’d not tried to move on with Hannah, his only choice would eventually to have been to leave her completely. She would never have become strong enough to acknowledge her feelings for what they were, nor been able to see herself as capable of sticking even when it hurts to do so.

      • I completely agree with you about the reason for Hannah, or at least the good things that came out of Booth’s relationship with Hannah.

        My sense of betrayal on behalf of Brennan is specifically tied to Booth’s sharing of that so very deeply personal conversation they had in the SUV. That Booth would turn around and share that with Hannah, with that infuriating ‘go easy on Bones’ remark grinding salt into the wound still makes me almost speechless with anger. Well, obviously not really speechless because I still get on my soapbox about it. 🙂

        That stupid “he had to, we’re a couple” explanation offered by Hannah is bull. The only reason Booth told Hannah was to feel better about having rejected Brennan. I agree with what you posted on the other thread about that SUV conversation breaking his heart all over again, but that’s no excuse for throwing Brennan under the bus like that. Arrgh.

        And he’ll never be called to task for it, because Brennan doesn’t see it that way. Damn woman. Obviously she needs someone to think for her. 🙂

      • That conversation you recounted in tCitC is so revealing. There have been a lot of posts about the changes in Brennan, whether it’s good development or changing her too much. Past conversations like that make me think that I don’t care if the less impervious Brennan of today never breaks another man’s wrist or nose because he walked up too close to her. In S2, she had mentioned that she had already given up too much to Sully, and we saw how much she was still holding back. I don’t want her to go back to her old views of love and relationships. I never thought she really felt that way in her heart.

        Brennan’s changes had more to do with letting down her walls and breaking through her defenses so that she could allow herself to desire certain things. It was much easier to tell herself that she didn’t want to be in a committed, romantic relationship when she didn’t think it would ever happen for her or ever deserve it.

    • Sorry – just caught your clarification of what you meant by betrayal.

      I admit that I had some problems with that. (Actually, no. I had more problems with him telling Sweets about it in front of a gym full of other people, but that’s neither here nor there.)

      I think when he decided to tell Hannah, he was trying to navigate that commitment I was talking about over on the other post. He has feelings for both women, and has made a commitment to both of them – to share a romantic life with Hannah, while working with Brennan and being her friend. Navigating that was a nightmare, I think.

      Should he have told Hannah upfront about his past with Brennan? Yeah, you can make an argument for that. But then, if she’d demanded he stop working with her…what then? Does he break his promise to Brennan to keep his commitment to the woman he’s trying to build a life with? Or end that relationship and go back to the permanent partnership Brennan had indicated was all she wanted? Or does he walk away from both?

      Should he have not told Hannah about Brennan at all, ever? Maybe. Apparently, he tried that option since some time passed between her confession in the SUV and his decision to tell her. But based on what we see, that caused him to feel like he wasn’t being honest with Hannah. And if he’s not going to be honest with the woman he’s committed to, he’s in the same boat as above – undeserving of either of them, really.

      So he opted for the half-truth, while trying to convince himself it was, or could be, true.

      Royally screwed, all the way around, really.

      • Just a quick comment. Interestingly, I highly doubt that that gym full of people were actually paying attention to anything Booth was saying. He could have been in a more crowded room of people telling Sweets and most to probably close to all of those people are going to be having conversations of their own that his would go unnoticed. I am just saying. Not that it matters much.

        As for Hannah what he said to her about Bones confession, I have no problem. I was foolishly more concerned that he would tell Hannah about something way more intimate between him and Bones on top of the her confession. Namely their coma dream. Yes, the coma dream. I felt it connected them in a way that many people are not connected. She wrote it and he dreamed it. Granted others do know about it but not every little detail. Oh and yeah, I consider it their coma dream because even though she wasn’t in a coma and dreaming she wrote it.

        Enough of my pointless rambling.

      • IMO, Booth was right to tell Hannah about Brennan because the two of them were still working together. That’s a typical ‘past relationships’ conversation between new lovers.

        Where my problem lies in his sharing of that one particular conversation. Brennan bares her soul to him and he runs off to tell Hannah. I understand Sweets because Booth went to him in more of a professional advice mode. But telling Hannah was all about making Booth feel better about Booth at Brennan’s expense. I just can’t forgive that.

  32. Rynogeny, that was absolutely beautiful and I agree with you and DB, they are already together. They’ve been for while and it is so beautiful. It’s what those 30, 40, 50 years couples Booth mentioned in the 100th have. It’s what has kept them together and Booth sees that in what He and Brennan has but Brennan does not understand it. Brennan could have accepted Booth’s offer in the 100th based on the fact that there is nothing she won’t do for him and ended up spending all her time trying to be that person she thinks Booth needs her to be and that would have destroyed what they have completely. Just as she does not want Booth to change, Booth does not want her to change either. Discuss and compromise on issues, yes. Booth eats meat, Brennan does not but she is still able to make food incorporating meat for friends and family.

    Having a deep understanding of the other person just makes eros so much better and satisfying. That is when the laws of physics are broken.

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