Bones Theory

Until Death, Part Two: The Reasons Why


Booth:  So who are you jealous of?

Brennan:  Angela….Hodgins…Cam…you.

Booth:  Why?

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.

Reason One:  It’s all About the Endgame

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.


Nothing builds trust and commitment in a marriage like robbing banks together...


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),

"I had a very satisfying go-round with my husband at about five this morning. How about you?"


"Excuse me Cam, but this napkin proves that Vorstenbach was sent to hurt my wife."

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.


19 thoughts on “Until Death, Part Two: The Reasons Why

  1. I’ll say f and this is my reasoning:
    It is hard to say when Brennan started to have a change of heart about marriage; but, I really think that the evidence points to her stay in Maluku as the turning point (between The Beginning In The End and The Mastodon In The Room). It is true that she stopped making anti marriage comments in season 5 but she still turned down Booth in the 100th episode. I don’t know if this means she still disliked the idea of marriage or just the idea of her marriage to anyone. In The Goop on the Girl. Brennan says, “Marriage is something you need to have a reason to enter into, I never found that reason.” When Brennan left for Maluku, she was afraid for her feelings for Booth. She didn’t have a logical reason to consider marrying Booth or anyone else; but, she was worried about her decision anyways. She didn’t think she was capable of giving Booth the love he was looking for, the commitment he wanted from her for a long term relationship. She was also afraid that something was going to happen to Booth, that he might die, and that in the end that would be abandonment. Her worst fear made real. While in Maluku, she had time to think about herself and her relationship with Booth. It was during that time that I think she had a change of heart about a permanent commitment with Booth. When she got back to the states and saw Booth, I think she was prepared to talk to Booth about giving a relationship a chance; but, unfortunately, Booth had moved on and found someone else. I think this caused Brennan to have to accept something she really didn’t want to and that precipitated her break down in Doctor In The Photo. She is now aware of her feelings and they are acceptable to her. I don’t know if that means marriage; but, I certainly think she is now willing to commit to a monogamous relationship with Booth.

  2. (posting for responses via email)

  3. I agree with Lenora. Maluku was the turning point for Brennan about her feelings towards Booth and the idea about a possible marriage. In “The beginning of the end” she told Angela, that she has to figure out what her Partnership with Booth means and she needed to find perspective to view her life with objectivity. And I think being away has helped her with this. And this makes also sense with my theory I still have about Season VI or my fantasy is spinning out of control.

  4. I believe I agree with you, Stephanie, on the turning point for Brennan considering the possibility of marriage. I think it was during Booth’s coma and for all the reasons you stated in #3. I also agree with Lenora and Marle Barle as Maluku being a turning point as well. I think the coma allowed Brennan to dream about marriage. But that’s what it was…a dream. It was a fairy tale wrapped around a murder investigation, but it was still a happily ever after story. I think Maluku allowed her the time to actually consider the possibility of marriage (and by that I mean a union, not necessarily a legal agreement…I’m still trying to make up my mind on whether or not these two will get married). Dreaming about the fairy tale of marriage and considering the reality of marriage are two very different things in my opinion.

    So, I think she’s had more than one turning point. I think I agree with reasons #1 and #3 more than the other two. And because I tend to be a glass is half full, hopeless romantic kinda gal most of the time…I’m going to pick #3 as the main reason!

    Regardless of the reason for Brennan’s growth, I can’t help but think of that old Virginia Slims ad from a decade or two ago…”You’ve come a long way baby, uh huh!”

  5. I tend to think Brennan’s moment came during the reading of the book for Booth. I can’t see her having any type of epiphany while she was on Maluku, mainly because she was also with Daisy – and having Daisy around pretty much negates any opportunity for self-reflection. Does she ever shut up?

  6. wow you just gave me a lot to talk about. I think (or atleast am hoping) that all of this is part of her dream. Although i dont think the end in the begining was qhite her turning point- i do agree hat it was very important and gave her a different perspective. I agree with Lenora that the real rutning point was on her time at maluku, that is where i eally think she took her time to think about things and made her desicion that she was ready to take the risk and make a commitment with booth. Unfortunate ly, she was kinda a late and booth had “moved on”.

    okay im getting a little off track so back to my point, i do think the dream played a big part in making her decision as well as itjust being Hart Hansns end game and i love the way hes bringing it about too. I thnk the thing about her wanting to see her parents isnt as major as the dream but i still think it playes a part in her decision becauause she has alwayays been curious like that.

    I cant wait to see how it turns out
    PS: sorry for any spelling errors, im on my cell phone and trying to hurry up =)

  7. [commenting for the emails – back soon with proper response!]

  8. It’s my sister’s birthday today too!! 🙂 I think I agree with everything you said. I especially agree that the direction the show is taking now is one in which Brennan will show Booth that he can still believe in love. I also agree that Brennan’s views on marriage have changed a lot since the beginning of the series. I don’t think this is out of character because, if you think about it, eveyone has ideas about things and as life goes on and things happen to them they take those experiences and adjust their veiw of the world. This could include altering opinons on things they were once adamently for or against. I am just really excited to see how the rest of Booth and Brennan’s story is told!!

  9. I haven’t really given much thought to B&B getting married, mostly because what I care about is their relationship, rather than their relationship status, if such a difference exists. My thoughts largely revolve around this teacher-student relationship that has developed between B&B. What really struck me in the episode The Daredevil in the Mold, was Brennan’s line: “you taught me that.” This wasn’t the first time she has said that, but in all of this, she is still repeating back to him what he is “teaching” her. Now, I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. In fact, it is very sweet. But what bothers me is that there is almost always an unequal relationship in a teacher-student relationship, unless the teacher becomes the student as well, and the student becomes the teacher. This is, essentially, what most people seem to be saying in their posts. But, what I haven’t seen played out in the show yet, is Brennan’s confidence in mastering these emotional lessons. There hasn’t been a moment for me when I see Brennan really take charge and say, I now know how to deal with this messy, confusing situation, and am applying all of the things I have learned over the years to take charge and tell people how it really is. I go back to the earlier seasons, when there was a psychologist before Sweets, Dr. Gordon Wyatt, and his prediction that one of the two of them knew their feelings for each other. I think Brennan knew her feelings, but her confidence in her ability to handle them, to not hurt Booth, was what held her back. After all, she is the originator of some pretty interesting ideas: wanting a baby with booth, and the storyline of the two of them being married. Despite these ideas, she hasn’t acted on them, and I believe it comes down to low social/emotional self-esteem. She needs to become the “teacher” so there is true equality in the relationship…until then, I won’t even consider marriage for B&B.

    As I said, I think this is basically what everyone has been saying, but I am curious about Booth’s development in all of this. Of course to become a student, one must first realize they have something to learn from someone else. Perhaps that is the current phase Booth is in. I loved the beginning of last week’s episode when he was willing to go to a lecture with Bones. This wasn’t just a cute, “I want to hang out with you more,” thing to me. This was a, “I want to learn and grow with you,” moment to me. Realizing that your partner has lessons to teach you is what keeps you together. Every day my husband teaches me something new, and hopefully I do the same for him. I have so much respect for him, and that respect has got to be a two-way street for things to last. I think B&B are building the blocks for an equal relationship full of respect and trust. I am looking forward to seeing how the show plays these concepts of love out.

    P.S. I love this blog and all of the people who discuss these issues. It has been fun “watching” the show with you all.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, and you bring up an interesting point. Brennan is opening up, but the more she lives in the real world on the social front, the more she is confronted with her difficulties about social and emotional interaction, and what is that doing to her self-esteem?
      Brennan taking everything Booth tells her in this area as the absolute infallible truth is very cute, but also worrisome and probably one of the underlying reasons that many people have been calling her a ‘doormat’ lately.
      Brennan wants to learn, and that’s a good thing, but Booth being her teacher worries me, since he is also one of the persons that judges her for being blunt or overly irrational. All this makes me think that there are still some ways to go for both of them before they are ready for a serious relationship.
      I want Brennan to grow, but not at the cost of her confidence in taking both the student ánd the teacher role. And Booth having to act as teacher all the time isn’t fair to him either. IMO they are not ready yet.

  10. I definitely agree that Hart Hanson is a shipper. The way this entire show has been written is unusual for most Hollywood shows. Usually we see a relationship sexual from the beginning, but it’s been refreshing to see them build a relationship before consummating it.

    I can’t wait to see how the rest of this season will play out, especially after tonight’s episode… I’m ready for some movement in a positive direction!

  11. I’m going to go with E – all of the above for all the reasons you so eloquently delineated.

    I really wish I could add something more coherent to the conversation at the moment, but I finished watching Blackout in the Blizzard a little bit ago and my inner fangirl is running around flailing with happiness, so I’ll just leave it at that. 😉

  12. Blizzard……When can we talk about it?????? I totally can’t wait to talk about it in the Morning After Q….The “morning” after technically starts in 52 minutes on the east coast…..Can we start talking then? Please!!!!

  13. My dream for before Bones ends (and lets pray that that won’t be for a long long time) is that someone will question Brennan on her reading a story to Booth and him dreaming up their married life together. Sure everyone is worried about Booth still having lasting symptoms from the coma, but no one ever question Brennan when she explained that Booth’s dream was just him dreaming of her story. That is my dream. Anyways, I agree with everything you said. I think that her turning point for an acceptance of marriage came in The End in the Beginning, whereas her dreaming of that marriage maybe someday including her and Booth and their fate was what she debated over in Maluku.

    Thanks for the really interesting post!! so much to think about 🙂

  14. Sorry Stephanie…I’m late! Thanks for the official birthday wishes sis…Anyway, I think you did a very nice job on both of the marriage posts. You provided some great ideas for turning points, some I had not yet considered and backed them up with evidence. I do think there was possibly some reflection done in Maluku but I don’t know that we see any real evidence of her views changing on marriage. And yes, how much deep soul searching can ever be done with Daisy in the background? Although I do think Brennan must have mastered the abililty to block her out if need be. I do think we see Brennan’s views changing and for once we are seeing someone who may be more ready than Booth. What I see is more time for these two (and I am writing this post Blizzard but will not comment about that here just in case…) before they are ready for this kind of committment. I for one do not want Brennan to be Booth’s rebound relationship, one he jumps into so soon after Hannah. I want the appropriate healing to take place. I think there is still a lot of learning left to do for both Booth and Brennan about all facets of relationships and committment.

  15. Hello!

    I think it’s all of the above and agree with all you said.

    That’s all – I have more fun reading everyone else’s comments because all I do is agree haha

    Thanks! 🙂

  16. You have done an amazing job with this thought! It was beautiful to read, thank you!

  17. I have no real answer to this as i still don’t believe her views on marriage have changed. Love, yes. Marriage no.

    What i will say is that i will be disappointed if Bones ends with Booth and Brennan married. I would live with it but it wouldn’t be my dream ending. I don’t believe in marriage so i don’t see it as this thing a couple needs to do to have a lasting relationship…and i definitely don’t see it as something B/B need to do.

    Plus….Booth and Brennan? Doing something as normal and boring as get married? No way 😛

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