Booth: So who are you jealous of?
Brennan: Cause you all want to lose yourself in another person. You believe that love is transcendent and eternal. I wanna believe that too.
Booth: Hey, you will. I promise. Someday, you will. (The Cinderella in the Cardboard)
Welcome back Bones Theory friends. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day (and Happy Birthday to my sister and fellow Bones fanatic, Jenny)! I hope you’re all ready for part two of our discussion about Booth, Brennan, and marriage because we have a lot to talk about. Yesterday was all about compiling evidence – creating a time line if you will – of the evolution in Brennan’s views on marriage. Today is all about asking (and hopefully answering) one very important question: why the change? I’ve come up with four reasons, all of which I think are relevant to some degree.
I’m going to duck for cover as soon as I say this, but as much as some people think Hart Hanson is out to torture everyone by keeping Booth and Brennan apart as long as is humanly possible, at the end of the day, I still think he wants them to be together. Yup, he’s a shipper. And if I had to guess, I’d say that he wants marriage for them too (although that’s more of a Boothy gut feeling of mine than anything). I believe the subtle change we’ve seen in Brennan’s views on marriage are all part of his endgame…which I really hope involves some combination of Booth, Brennan, marriage, and a baby á la The End in the Beginning. Not that I want them to quit solving murders and open a nightclub or anything, but you get the picture.
I also think, from a practical perspective, that the marriage issue was one of many designed to create conflict between Booth and Brennan in earlier seasons when the show was much less established. Conflict draws viewers. By season five, Hart Hanson, Stephen Nathan, and the writers had both the ability and the need to start looking towards the future (and ultimately the end) of the show and then start to put the pieces into place to resolve some of those earlier conflicts. That’s exactly what I think happened in The Goop on the Girl and it’s part of the reason why I think we can reasonably expect that marriage between Booth and Brennan (or at least a serious discussion between the two of them about marriage) is part of the master plan. I know, I know, some of you don’t believe there is a master plan, but for the sake of today’s discussion, let’s just assume there is, okay?
Reason Two: Max and Christine
When I first pitched the idea of a post about marriage to Sarah and asked for her help with brainstorming relevant episodes, she suggested that I consider exploring what impact, if any, Brennan’s parent’s marriage had on her.
Aside from Sweets’ adoptive parents, who we are led to believe were happily married to each other for an extended period of time (see Mayhem on a Cross), and maybe Zack’s parents (who we see briefly in The Man in the Fallout Shelter), Brennan’s parents are really the only other example of a good marriage we’ve “seen” on the show. Although we’ve been given very few details about their relationship, I feel certain that if Vince McVicar hadn’t murdered Christine Brennan, she and Max would still be happily married in the Bones world today.
I think it’s completely possible that part of Brennan’s early negativity towards marriage is an unintentional byproduct of her bitterness and resentment at her parent’s abandonment of her and Russ. That abandonment almost certainly influenced the coldly rational, strictly anthropological view of the world (the latter being the basis for her declaration that marriage is an “antiquated ritual”) that largely defined her up until The Doctor in the Photo. Isn’t it also possible, therefore, that the gradual restoration of her relationship with her father helped her learn to appreciate her parent’s marriage for the loving relationship that it was, and led her to want that kind of relationship for herself?
Reason Three: It Was Her Dream Too
C’mon! We all knew the coma dream was going to come up eventually, right? We are discussing marriage between Booth and Brennan and it is, after all, the episode in which Booth and Brennan are actually married. Yes, I know, it’s not…real. And yet, I’m convinced it’s the turning point that I teased at the end of yesterday’s post. Why? Because I believe it was Brennan’s dream too.
Booth and Brennan are clearly married in the alternate reality/dream world that is The End in the Beginning. Not only do they refer to each other as husband and wife, but Brennan’s ring is visible on multiple occasions throughout the episode (although I’m curious as to why she appears to only be wearing an engagement ring and Booth isn’t wearing a ring at all),
and Angela tells Avalon Harmonia in Harbingers in a Fountain that Booth believed he and Brennan were married for days after his coma.
I’ve always wondered just how much of the dream was Brennan’s and how much was wishful thinking on Booth’s part, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that Brennan knew the identity of the couple in her dream long before Booth told her because she’s the one who created them. Brennan is almost always brutally honest and there’s simply no way she would’ve felt the need keep the details of her fictional pregnancy a secret from the rest of the team if that book had just been something she wrote to pass the time until Booth woke up. The look on Brennan’s face (on both their faces) when Angela calls them on the omission tells me that the dream had to have meant something to her too.
When Booth and Brennan are in the bridal boutique in The Cinderella in the Cardboard, Booth makes a rather snide comment to Brennan about how she must have, “dreamt of being a bride before [her] heart turned to stone.” While I don’t really think he was being malicious when he made the comment, it does raise the question – what if little girl Brennan didn’t dream? Perhaps when she was a very young girl, before her parents left and her world turned upside down, perhaps then she dreamed, as most girls do, of the white dress and the big wedding and she wondered at the identity of the man she would one day marry. Perhaps. But what about as a scared fifteen-year old girl, abandoned by those she loved and left to find her own way in the foster care system? Would she have allowed herself to dream then? I think the answer to that question is probably no. She didn’t have the luxury of a dream then.
So when I say that it was Brennan’s dream too, it’s because I think it’s possible that for four days she let herself dream in a way that she hadn’t when she was young. When the dream faded and reality came crashing back in, she realized that she still couldn’t take the risk; that she wasn’t willing to assume the burden of loving another person. So she hit the delete key, expecting that it would all go away with the touch of a button. Only she didn’t realize that it had been his dream too.
If, as we discussed a couple weeks ago (“I Don’t Know What That Means: Booth in the Three Piece Suit,” 2/23/11), the three-piece suit was the one connection to the coma dream that Booth allowed into his real life, perhaps the acknowledgment that she may one day marry, was Brennan’s.
Reason Four: The Master Will Become the Apprentice
“I’m over it. I’m over it. I’m done. Okay? What is it with women who just don’t want what I’m offering here?” (Booth, The Daredevil in the Mold)
Personal opinions about marriage aside, I’ve always believed that Booth would accept a relationship with Brennan on whatever terms she would agree to – even if that meant giving up his dreams of marriage; just as much as I’ve always believed that Brennan would eventually find in Booth that elusive “reason” to marry. But I never once considered the possibility that it could be Brennan herself who eventually broaches the subject of marriage with Booth…that is until Booth spilled his guts at the end of The Daredevil in the Mold. Booth has now proposed twice, been rejected twice, and for all intents and purposes, appears to be done with marriage altogether. Brennan, on the other hand, is more open to the possibility now than she’s ever been.
The theory that it is now up to Brennan to show Booth that everything he taught her about love is true has been mentioned several times already here on Bones Theory. It represents a complete juxtaposition in their roles and I, for one, think it’s absolutely fascinating. Booth, once the master who taught her everything he knew, must now, in order to truly believe, become Brennan’s apprentice in matters of love. He’s broken. He’s done. Now it’s Brennan’s turn. Her turn to tell him it’s okay to believe in a love that’s, “transcendent and eternal.” Her turn to show him that, “there’s someone for everyone; [he] just has to be open enough to see it.” Her turn to promise that, “30, 40, 50 years” is indeed possible. How utterly poetic is that?
So what do you think is the reason behind Brennan’s changing views on marriage? Is it:
a) All a part of Hart Hanson’s endgame?
b) Brennan’s ability to see her parent’s marriage for the loving relationship that it was?
c) Part of Brennan’s “dream”
d) Anakin’s chance to school Yoda in the ways of the force
e) All or part of all of the above
f) None of the above. I want to give my own answer.
As always, the comments are yours, so feel free to elaborate on your answer no matter which one you choose.