Bones Theory

Brennan: Progressive Regression? Regressive Progression?


Hello and happy Saturday to the most copacetic of BONES fans!  Happy Birthday to my sister, Rachel, who I am sure is not reading this. She’s the sister who doesn’t care much for Bones. Or as she says, “I just don’t have room in my heart for another show. I just don’t.” And I totally get that. It’s how I feel about some TV shows I know I would probably love.

Sorry, shows…there is just no room there, on account of this…

Let’s talk Brennan. Over the course of this season, I’ve seen a lot of discussion (some here, some other places) about “Robo-Bones”, or the way Brennan has regressed as a…well, as a human, in some ways. And if you watch the pilot episode of Bones, or others in season one, there is a VERY noticeable difference in Brennan’s behavior, demeanor, just about everything. Whenever I watch the pilot, I always blink twice at the way Brennan sort of slings her arm against the back of Booth’s seat in the SUV and mocks him and they bicker.

Sure, pilot episodes are almost always out of context in a series, but still…her character was set up as somewhat brash, aggressive, smart as hell and even if she didn’t know what something meant, she wasn’t afraid to say so. She also wasn’t afraid to give someone a roundhouse kick to the face or slam someone to the ground. She was sexy and smart and strong and stubborn, and a lot of us liked her straight away. My first Brennan was Santa in the Slush Brennan, which is a slightly flushed, sort of goofy with childlike wonder Brennan, but it was easy for me to get to know her character when I went back and watched season one.

I think we all agree; her character has changed. But the question is, has it changed for good or not? She was more abrasive then, but is she really any less abrasive now? She might be with people she cares about, but in Sin in the Sisterhood, she was awkward in the Sisters’ home.

But like the picture above and the moment at the end of Bullet in the Brain, when she’s holding the seashell…those aren’t moments we would have necessarily seen in season one. As soon as  I pulled the pic from the most recent episode, what immediately came to my mind was “She knows what that means.” Booth is talking about how the seats have historical meaning to him, and Brennan…she just gets it. Sure, she also asks him if he’s attempting to claim part of that day back (in a scoffing way), but when he just opens up more, she understands. I feel like we can see this in her eyes. The chairs are sentimental to Booth.

So the question remains: Has Brennan progressed back to a more open personality? Or is she regressing toward some sort of alternate version of herself?

Could she still kick ass? Can she be in love? And the million dollar question–is there some reason why she can’t be both? And I think that is what frustrates a lot of fans. Sure, she had some rough edges, but we liked her as is. So did Booth. He liked her the moment he saw her, and he really liked her the moment he realized she was serious about not knowing current events past the Industrial Revolution.

I can’t remember if I’ve said this already, but my former mentor teacher also watches Bones, and she expressed to me once that she found it frustrating that after Zack was gone, Brennan’s character was forced to make up for his awkwardness. She had to take on that role of the awkward one all the more so, vs previous to that, where, if Booth was her bridge to the outside world, Brennan was Zack’s bridge. Hodgins too, in some ways, but also Brennan, especially in season one.

If Brennan now met Brennan in the pilot, what would ‘she’ say? Would they get along or have no use for one another? What are Brennan’s core beliefs, and has she held onto them?

What are your non-negotiables as far as what you want to see in Brennan? Have you had to negotiate? Justify? Rationalize?

I’ve always loved Brennan’s eagerness and tenacity. It’s what makes her shove that guy in Baby in the Bough against the fence. It’s what makes her smile at Dougie in Gamer in the Grease. It’s what makes her get in Booth’s face and tell him something is wrong in Cabernet. It’s what makes her try to successfully date Hacker in Predator. It’s what makes her mad that she’s stuck in an elevator when there is a case to solve in Blizzard.

To me, she still has the qualities I admire. I like when she enjoys her work, and I like when she’s sciency. I love when she tries to tell jokes, and when she gets that little glint in her eye that tells us she knows exactly what Booth is up to. So for me, Brennan hasn’t changed too much, at least not in who she is or how she reacts to certain situations. For other people, she might be the opposite of what they envision.

I’m interested in hearing from you. What are your thoughts? We’ve got another three week hiatus ahead of us, so let’s start it off right!

Peace, Love and Bones,



65 thoughts on “Brennan: Progressive Regression? Regressive Progression?

  1. Is Brennan different from the first season? Yes. Is that a good or bad thing? I think good.

    People change. I’m not the same person I was eight years ago while in high school. How can we expect Brennan to not change, even a little? So many divorces happen because the couples have changed over time. People fell in love with a version they think no longer exists of their spouse.

    I think the parts of her personality that were most appealing are still there, but there hasn’t been much cause to see them. We haven’t seen her kick ass because there hasn’t really been an opportunity. The sniper is Booth’s enemy, not really hers. She’s probably a little reserved around Booth because of everything they’ve been dealing with the past few months.

    I think we’ll see the more fun side to her in the coming weeks. I bet the Finder episode will be very interesting.

  2. Great post sarah. I agree with you for the most part. She hasnt changed as a person completely, shes still aggressive and still thinks that booths rituals are useless (putting the paper in the fire, etc.) But at the same time she has changed her views of marrige (from its and antiquated ritual to its something i need a reason to do) and she may or may not still think that love is ephemeral or just chemical reactions in your head but that doesnt matter because she is willing to take the risk when both she and booth are ready. I think those changes are for the best because once she is with booth, i believe she will have a truly fufilling life. She will still love her science but she will have room for other things like she has made room for booth in the past. I think that is progress and is for the better.

  3. First of all , i hate when people call Brennan” Robo Brennan”.It’s so unfair and cruel cuz to me a robot is something cold, and inhuman and Brennan is so far away to be this. The fact that she built a wall around her to protect herself shows how delicate and fragile she is. Well lets talk about how Brennan change or not. To me Brennan don’t changed. To me she’s still the same Brennan we love w/ her Awkward and straight way to deal w/ people around her. I just think after she met Booth and have him as part of her life, learn what the love is cuz she loves him,during these 6yrs together i think Brennan is just showing a side of her that always been there hidden by the wall she built to protect herself cuz she never knew on her life any reason to unlocked this precious herself to anyone till her meet Booth. I really don’t think people change i just think people improve try show to other people most that ones she love a side of her personality that always been there but never was worthy to be known till you decide is about time you share this side of yourself to some one you love. I think is exactly what Brennan is doing. She continue be that fearless , awkward and adorable Brennan that we love just now with her heart wide open to feel, to love to be loved. And that is exactly what she want share her life sharre her love with Booth. She wants love and be loved by Booth. And i’m loving know this side of her.

  4. I think this is one of the situations where, for me, I have to just accept that it’s TV show interference and make peace with it.

    I really do see a huge difference in season 1/2 Brennan and mid-season 3 onward Brennan. And I would agree with your former teacher, Sarah, that losing Zack from the show meant that Brennan had to take on some of those characteristics. (I also think Zack was regressed – season 1 Zack was much more savvy).

    However, I can also tell myself that Brennan suffered two massive emotional blows at the end of season 3, Booth’s fake death and Zack’s decision to become the Gormogon’s apprentice. She really loved Zack, like a little brother if not as a kind of son. And I could write volumes on the fake Booth death scenario and how I think that would have affected her!

    I find it plausible that in the face of two traumatic events that happened nearly simultaneously, she would retreat to a safe space. She cared deeply for two people who, one could reasonably interpret, betrayed her.

    It also goes back to the revelation she had at the end of season 1 – that her parents were criminals, and learning in season 2 that her father is a murderer.

    By the end season 3, Brennan has learned that 1) the parents she thought were a normal, conventional bookkeeper and teacher were really bank robbers, 2) her father whom she once thought of as loving and kind is capable of vicious violence 3) the student she mentored and nurtured became a serial killer’s apprentice and 4) her partner who said he’d never betray her faked his own death and didn’t tell her.

    I can see Brennan wondering how she is ever supposed to trust or believe anyone again and becoming more and more closed off in an attempt to ward off any further hurt. As Sweets once said – she should be in a corner weeping, or catatonic!

    • I really like what you said, especially about Booth betraying her. Wasn’t there a scene where she asks him if he will ever betray her and then she says, “I must be vigilant?” I always thought it foreshadowed Zack, but maybe it was also for Booth’s fake death. Very interesting.

      • I don’t feel like Booth betrayed Brennan at all. He was the one who was betrayed by Sweets playing one of his mind games. Booth did nothing wrong in that situation. Brennans “don’t you trust me” is not a fair question. It had nothing to do with trust and everything to do with the immediacy of the situation. We don’t even know if he had access to phone, given that they wanted to keep the fact he was alive a secret. Booth trusted Sweets to let those most important to him know the truth. Sweets did the betraying. Let’s put the blame where it belongs.

    • I should clarify. I meant that I could see she felt betrayed by Booth when he wasn’t the one to personally tell her.

      Some people take out their anger and frustration on those closest to them, even knowing it wasn’t their fault. I like to think that a lot of her anger at him was a channel for expressing the feelings she has for him… they exploded.

    • Very good points. All the more reason to let the walls down slowly and test the waters at each step to make sure the dam doesn’t burst all at once for her. In the end, I think we’ll find that she still needs to let go of all the trauma in her life as much as Booth does. And, maybe somewhere down the road, admit to Booth how much his faked death really did affect her.

    • I agree about Zack’s regression–his character change always bothered me way more than Brennan’s, because their was no real reason for it apart from entertainment’s sake. I still liked Zack with all his weird awkwardness piled on more and more heavily, but in the back of my head I always sort of knew that it was just a vehicle of the story–that character-wise, there was no real reason for his regression.

      Brennan on the other hand has changed in a way that makes sense to me in the context of her character, for all those reason you’ve pointed out. Well done!

    • The thing is that it has never been acknowledged on the show that Brennan has regressed especially after S3, on the contrary, they are telling us right now that she has always been like that (when we met I was a impervious substance), and that she is now progressing (now I’m a strong substance), when actually she has first regressed and may be now is progressing back to what she used to be but with the desire to take risks.
      That she was impervious to love, yes, but it was said as if she was about everything, which would mean that she actually used to be a cold fish, when the show was very prone to show us the opposite in the earlier show, that she was not as cold and unfeeling as she seemed etc.
      I could go with the regression, after all she went trough a lot of bad things since the beginning of the show and S3 was very hard on her, it’s hard to believe that in the meantime she would gain trust in people etc, but again since S4 the show is telling us that she has always been like that (literal, completely out here, robotic…), the characters became 2D and caricatures, not just Brennan.
      I have already said it, but Brennan did and understood sarcasms and wasn’t that literal. Since S4 she was literal in almost every episode and nobody on the show noticed the difference, everybody acted as though she was her usual self.
      It seems she is again less literal since S6.

  5. Alcoholics stay at one age emotionally because of their alcoholism. Brennan, I think, stayed at a certain age emotionally because of her parents’ abandonment and because she probably was that shy, smarty pants kid in high school who had a small circle of people she was friendly with. We don’t know. She will probably always be abrasive and awkward and all those things we’ve come to expect from her.

    The 6 years with the influences of the people and the cases gives us moments like outside the diner when she’s listening to the seashell– she allows herself to be that child again because it is a safer time. It’s awkward and sweet to witness because we’re given a glimpse of the little girl that wasn’t allowed to be a little girl anymore. She had to put on an feeling-proof exterior to survive the abandonment and the foster care system that just wasn’t ready for someone like her. That hard-as-nails exterior also allowed her to work in a field that is emotionally and mentally draining. She has to put distance between herself and the victims or she’s going to be a wreck during each case. She sees people at their very worst.

    I like the growth. I appreciate the fact that she’s trying and she’s aware of what she’s doing even when it doesn’t work so well.

    • I kinda wonder about moments like the one with the seashell… I understand that Brennan had a difficult life in her teenage and young adult years. I did not have an experience like hers so I am not downplaying the extent that it must have affected her, but I wonder if the amazement and joy we saw when she did that wasn’t so much a moment of her childish side (as a moment of regression) as a moment of the real Brennan shining through… She’s a scientist who marvels at the world. Her solace is that the world works as it does and she can depend on it… it’s both a comfort and a thrill for her!
      I make the distinction because I, at 30, still have moments of child-like wonder… but it’s not a moment of regression but a true me-in-the-present excitement. 🙂 It’s me at this stage in life being thrilled by the world around me.
      Also, I love sharing moments like this with my husband. There is such intimacy when he and I can share a moment admiring something in child-like awe…. or be the only ones laughing at something. The look on Booth’s face when he watched her was so sad to me because he knew what she was experiencing and I think he enjoys sharing those moments WITH her.

      • In “The Night at the Bones Museum” Brennan is ecstatic about the possible discoveries regarding the mummy and shows us a side of herself when she recalls the dialog in the movie. She also shows herself to be fairly uninhibited when she sings for the squints. I don’t see those as regressive; in fact, it’s somewhat refreshing for her to love something so much that she can throw herself into it.

        Being able to show her child-like wonder at something is more of a sign of maturity– of being able to show a side of herself that could put her up to public ridicule and abuse (like in high school) but she does it anyway. It’s a matter of having the strength of character to say, “I love this!” Getting in touch with her “inner child” as Angela put it is a chance for her to heal that child. (I think this was meant to be a season for her to grow as a person by facing disappointments, loss and opportunities outside her comfort zone. That’s why Hannah had to be there and why Booth had to be distant. Instead of regression, it’s really progression.) I like that HH & Co. has allowed everyone t grow. The core hasn’t changed.

  6. Do I think Brennan has “changed” from season one? Maybe.. A better description would be that despite the fact that she calls it “improving”, she is instead “evolving” The Brennan that we see now has always been there. She is only now letting down her impervious walls and letting the other parts of her personality come out. The best example of her evolution is witnessed in the change that has taken place with her interns. I think that each of the squinterns are facets of her own personality, and as we see Brennan slowly evolve, so do the interns. Daisy is the brilliant, outspoken, often times inappropriate, enthusiastic, sexual dynamo. Can we not attribute those same characteristics to Brennan? Daisy, as the seasons have progressed, has actually toned it down a bit. I actually like her now. So does Brennan, enough to go with her to Maluku. Is this a reflection of Brennan having to be with “herself” in Maluku and come to terms with who she is and what she wants in life? Daisy came back and told Lance that she knew it was a mistake to go. Brennan came back and eventually confessed her regrets as well. Clark is the no nonsense, professional scientist, wanting to just work. As Brennan is changing, so is he. He’s becoming more personable and is willing to share his feelings (albeit a little too much sometimes). Work, as it turns out, isn’t the most important part of life- it shouldn’t be your whole life. Vincent Nigel-Murray, on the other hand, just told us two episodes ago that he is trying not to use his factoids to emotionally keep people at arm’s length. Isn’t that what Brennan does all the time? Arastoo Vaziri (sp?) is not really what he originally appeared to be on the outside. He put up a facade because he was afraid to show the real person underneath. As he let his guard down too, and finally started showing everyone who he really is, we found that our perceptions of his “Muslim” persona (that is unfortunately all too often misunderstood) is incorrect and Arastoo is really just like everyone else. He loves baseball and can do martial arts moves… Again, a reflection of Brennan and how her outward persona is just a kind of defense mechanism, and that what is really underneath is just like everyone else. The comparison to Wendell changing is a little harder to see. To me, Wendell is the “down to earth” guy who enjoys doing nice things for his friends, does the right thing and pays back his debts. He hasn’t really changed much. And maybe, that part of Brennan doesn’t need to evolve. It’s always been there. We know she’s generous (she paid for Wendell’s scholarship and the bridge in little Andy’s hometown) and she is coming to appreciate the fact that she does, indeed, have friends. What I like about Wendell is that his bond with Hodgins is becoming so much stronger, much like Brennan and Booth are finding their friendship again. So, do I see that she is a different Brennan than she was in the beginning? I see that she has evolved, but what’s there has always been there. She is just letting her impervious walls down to let the other parts of her personality show. I remember what Avolonia told her- that only her top layer was rational and that underneath she is as crazy as the rest of us. Despite the fact that she thinks she needs to “improve”, she doesn’t realize that her walls were just a barrier for all the good things that were already there in the first place. She just needs to be confident enough to show them to the world (and to Booth). But, she can still kick ass, I’m sure!

    • I totally agree about the Brennan we see now having been there all along–just eclipsed by all her defenses.

      And interesting thoughts about the squinterns!

    • I think that Wendell is not changing because he is the Booth-like squintern and it goes with the idea that Booth doesn’t need to change, which was kinda confirmed in the last episode, that Booth is just a normal guy getting over a break-up, he doesn’t have to reevaluate himself and change, he just needs time to heal and regain his faith back and then he will again be the same with the exact same beliefs on love and relationships etc…

      • YES about Booth! Not to hold him too high on a pedastal or anything. He’s flawed and wounded for sure (as we all are). But I find the fact that he can remain such an optimistic and hopeful person (overall) as a very healthy sign that he has dealt with some important life circumstances (his dad’s abandonment, his life as a sniper, etc.). He’s not in denial about them or still coping in a negative, destructive way.

        I LOVED when Hodgins asked Wendell in this last episode if he overhead the phone call and Wendell replied, “Not if you didn’t want me to”. How AWESOME is a guy like that??!!

  7. I really miss season one and two Brennan. I liked how she was written then. To me she was self confident and was fun to watch. Not so much now. It feels like they regressed her character so that they could bring her back to where she was at originally, and I just don’t understand this. I don’t like the message that this is sending, too. It basically is saying that she isn’t good enough the way she is and that she needs to go through some self-help enlightenment period to be good enough for Booth. That is just wrong in my opinion. Brennan’s dialogue is robotic in nature when compared to earlier seasons. They have given her characteristics that weren’t evident in her pilot character onward. This is really annoying when it doesn’t makes no sense other than to make her character the comedic punch line on the show. It has diminished her strengths and has highlighted her weaknesses. She is a paler and lesser version of her pilot self and that is sad to me.

  8. I think, to borrow from her “impervious vs. strong” speech (though that’s not the first time the idea had occurred to me), that Brennan seemed so strong in the early seasons because she was so brash and sarcastic–but if you really think about it, that’s not strength. It was appealing to watch her navigate each episode with a confident smirk on her face, but she was impervious and she put up walls. She wasn’t emotionally open with the people she should’ve been open with. Brennan was compassionate toward victims, but she was never going to see them again, which I think is the only reason she felt comfortable showing them the empathy she felt. I’ve always believed that showing sensitivity isn’t a sign of weakness, so I am definitely in support of the new Brennan, even when she sometimes seems to have lost something. Sometimes I have to justify it, like when I go back to watch season two episodes and she’s not using such huge words all the time, but I’ve come to accept that she’s ultimately made progress. She does seem more awkward at times, but I think that’s a byproduct of the fact that she’s lost a bit of her sarcasm. Sarcasm is an easy way to appear comfortable in a situation without actually feeling comfort.

    I think one of her core values has always been empathy, and she has retained that–she’s just gained the ability to show empathy to the people who mean the most to her. She also continues to value intelligence, which we see in the way she speaks and goes about her work, and honesty. I’ve always loved that Brennan will be totally upfront with anyone about anything (I’m thinking in particular about the Soccer Mom in the Mini-van, when she admits that she’s very good in bed, “but Booth would have no direct knowledge of that fact”). That still holds true; as soon as she realized she wanted a chance with Booth in DitP, she told him so. And that strength-imperviousness speech was very honest, not to mention vulnerable. I think she’s still our Brennan in all of the ways that matter most.

    As for the butt-kicking, yeah, I think she can totally still dish it out. A crucial moment of understanding for me came in the season 5 premiere, when she picked up a snake and warded off guerillas. She can take care of herself just fine, but when Booth’s around, she lets him take care of her a little bit. Is that anti-feminist? Perhaps. But it’s also hugely respectful of Booth. Sarah, you mentioned in a post about the last scene of Mayhem on a Cross that it’s beautiful when Brennan tucks Booth’s handkerchief back in his pocket because she’s respecting him as a guy. Booth has told her that he likes fixing things–it makes him feel like he’s “one with the universe.” Brennan is willing to give him that, which is sweet. But she can still take care of herself. She’s a strong woman; it just looks different now.
    Honestly, I think Bones is one of the only shows that would go there so honestly–it’s changing the way we look at strong women on television and forcing us to explore what constitutes strength. I love that.

    • I meant season 6 premiere. Oops! Sorry.

    • I don’t think that it is “anti-feminist” to say that Brennan allows Booth to fulfill the role of fighter/protector when he is around.
      I think your last paragraph is beautiful and precisely what I love about Bones as well! 🙂

      • Haha thanks Bianca–I don’t really think it’s anti-feminist either, but I don’t know much at all about feminism, and I wanted to cover my bases!

    • “Honestly, I think Bones is one of the only shows that would go there so honestly–it’s changing the way we look at strong women on television and forcing us to explore what constitutes strength.”

      Wow, so true. I really appreciate a lot of things about the feminist movement that broke through a lot of barriers that benefit me today. But I don’t think it is the job of the show to promote feminism in the form of one character, and I’m glad they don’t.

  9. Brennan’s description of herself was perfect in its brevity and clarity, and showed astounding self-awareness. She was strong before because she had heaped so much protection on herself that almost nothing got through. But haven’t we all been taught that the strongest substances are also the most flexible? She had no flexibility back then, which is why everything about her life had a rigid, almost brittle quality to it. But no one would argue that even then she was a deeply compassionate, caring person who put all of her energy into making the world a better place, although it was done in a mostly impersonal manner.

    She’s still that caring, kind person now but she has also extended her kindness to the individuals around her. Whether we think this is a betrayal of her former self is irrelevant-she feels that it’s a real improvement, and we should take her word for that. We see that new-found flexibility everywhere, from hugs to Hodgins and patience with Booth. She’s still who she was at the core, just a lot softer around the edges, and to me at least, seems happier for it. Happiness shouldn’t be taken as a sign of weakness. Brennan’s also not the only one changing-Booth seems a lot more relaxed and gentler too, even if it’s not stated quite as blatantly. Plus, our girl can still wield a two-by-four with deadly accuracy when the need arises-no trade-offs in that department.

  10. When it comes to changes in Brennan, I think we started to see that change after Star Gazzer In A Puddle. Zack left her (abandoned her) and went off to Iraq. Booth, who believed that he had no right to stop Zach from growing and getting out into the real world took the brunt of Brennans disappointment. If Zach could leave her, the one she considered her substitue son, then anyone could leave her. I think this is when she started to build her wall even higher than it had been before. Up until then, she was aggressive and could be biting when she believed she was right; but, she had seemed to have a small door open to her world that allowed some people to enter. After Zach left, she became more detached. She didn’t want to work with Booth in the field anymore. Booth knew it and couldn’t fix it. Then Zach came back. Her wall remained. The door was smaller. She became more withdrawn from human interaction with most people. She only seemed to have room for Booth, Zach and Angela and no one else. Yes, her father was back in her life; but, she couldn’t seem to get past his career as a criminal. She seemed to love her father; but, had no room for him in her life. It seemed that the wall became even thicker when Zach left for a mental institution. Not only had he abandoned her again, he betrayed her since of justice. She seemed to only have room for Booth and Angela in her world at this point. Then came 100 and after that Maluku and she had room for noone, even Booth. Her walls were high and thick. She had built them well and it would take a lot to breach them. While in Maluku she seemed to understand to come to the realization that maybe her walls were too high and the door too small. Maybe she should give Booth a chance to be with her. Unfortunately, Booth found someone else and though she tried to keep the door open for Booth and Angela, her world seemed to be as small as it ever was. Then came Doctor in The Photo and the wall was shattered. What was left was a new world for Brennan. She had room for others in her life. The world is still strange to her; but, she is willing to invite others into that world. She is stronger now than she was in season 1. She has emotional strength and she has confidence in herself that she can now handle anything she wants and needs to. How can that be worse than season 1. She has joined the real world and is not stuck in the world of science. Alone and lonely.
    I think I got carried away with my metaphor. Sorry, I can be very wordy sometimes.

    • Wow, that was really nice and perfectly sums up what Brennan’s been doing since the show began-especially the parts about Zach, who’s importance is easily forgotten now that he’s gone.

  11. I have pondered this question a lot ever since you and the many contributors have talked about it here. I find that I have an incredibly soft spot for this show – so much that even though it does not hurt me to read criticism of any part of it (hear: “that really doesn’t bother me” as Booth says that phrase to Caroline in The Verdict in the Story), I find that I myself find it hard, sometimes, to say anything negative. It’s not that I don’t, but I know that I am able to let a lot of things slide.

    Some of that is steeped in understanding the realities of television and understanding that it takes some time for characterization to solidify. So, looking at Brennan S1 is actually pretty hard for me to use as a baseline for how she has changed. However, we do have S2-S4, of course, too. Note that I eliminate S5, because I think that season might be the most distinctive shift in her character . . .

    … and what I see in her character is a softening. As she becomes more and more comfortable with her own changes, the softer edges will remain while her edge will return. I look at myself – I am fiercely independent, but as I grew older and experienced more, married, had children, etc – I softened. I am at a new place in my life and I feel like a lot of my “edge” has returned – what I deem to be a lot of the “old” me. It’s a process. And though Brennan has not married and had kids, etc, she has had her own experiences to contribute to a softening of her, but not a fundamental change.

    For me, who she is now has never seemed radically different than who she ever was. So, this could reflect my soft spot blindness, or . . . as I trust my instincts a great deal, it could mean that her character development has been quite natural.

  12. At the risk of answering a different question than the one that was asked: while I agree with many points made above and couldn’t put it better myself most of the time (especially the argument about the squints representing aspects of Brennan, and therefore evolving along with her)….

    The more interesting question to me at this point is: is BOOTH evolving enough?? Surely Brennan can’t be the only one expected to change in order to fit Booth? This has been bugging me for a while now, more than the question of how Brennan has changed and whether or not it’s too much.

    • You make a good point. I think a lot of Booth’s evolution happened instantaneously (when he met Brennan, he immediately stopped gambling because he wanted to be a better man for her), and it happened before season 1, so we don’t see him change quite as much. Personally, what I’ve always loved about Booth is his faithfulness to Brennan and willingness to do anything for her. I’ve loved him from the beginning because of how much he gives her. I don’t think I’m alone in that–Booth awakens the hopeless romantic in a lot of us–so instinctively, we assume there isn’t as much that Booth needs to change about himself. He loves Brennan, so we love him. In that sense, we don’t feel the need to consciously track his evolution as much. I know I don’t.

      That being said, when I reflect on it, I do think he has changed. He’s not as cocky now . He was downright smarmy sometimes in season one, I think because he had his own kind of walls to uphold. Booth always wants to seem like everything is fine; he didn’t even reveal his dad’s alcoholism until season four. He compartmentalizes. Especially in the beginning, he wanted to present this “All-American, everything’s good in my life, and no of course I’m not hopelessly in love with Bones why would you ask?” facade. Now, he’s softer too. He’s more flexible and willing to compromise, and he seems more compassionate–slightly less willing to use extreme cop techniques in order to get what he wants. He’s gained empathy for the victims, whereas it used to be all about catching killers for him. He’s also learned about change (I’m thinking in particular about the “evolution” chat when he gives her the Smurf, and I’m also remembering their conversation at the end of season five). Booth has learned how to reveal his vulnerability to more people than Brennan, which is particularly evident in his growing friendship with Sweets.

      I also think it’s important to note that Brennan’s change has never been solely about “changing in order to fit Booth.” The two fit each other already–always have, always will. She needed to change in order to be ready to have a relationship with Booth, of course, but she needed to change in order to have a real relationship with anyone. Brennan’s evolution has mostly been for her own good. She had to open herself up in order to move from impenetrability to real strength. She’s better for knowing Booth, but she’s not just changing FOR him. Her relationship has changed with every character on the show, and that’s because she’s learned to be genuine and vulnerable. It’s beneficial in more ways than one.

      • Well said.

      • Yes, I agree. He changed a lot in the 13 months (ish) they were apart from their first case to the pilot. Addiction is a powerful force, to overcome it takes a lot of change. He’s also become a lot more open with sharing, like you said.

        Even when they first met with Sweets, he pointed out that they complete each other. They have from the beginning. Booth has been evolving to become less snarky and harsh about science as she is evolving to let her heart be more balanced with her brain. Together, they help each other balance.

      • I very much agree! One of my pet peeves is the constant ranting that Brennan has changed so much and Booth has not! Has Brennan changed? Yes, but it’s been 6 years … it would be unrealistic for her to remain the same. Likewise, I feel Booth has changed a lot and yet for some reason the fans don’t see it.

        This was a man who scoffed at “squints” solving a case, who worked alone, and who satisfied his biological urges with the mother of his child, who mocked and intimidated (remember back where he first met Sweets) Yes, Booth has certain romantic notions of love and sex and marriage, but that does not mean that he didn’t behave like a man who engaged in sex where he could get it (i.e. Cam, Rebecca). He knows he did so , which he is why he asks for Brennan’s support. I think he’s asking her not to judge him. But he’s also trying to find someone special, someone to make love with as opposed to just have sex with, I think this is part of his evolution throughout the seasons. Likewise, the way he has embraced working with a partner and even the squints. It’s like we forget that Booth was not too fond of any of them (except maybe for Brennan) in the beginning. I def feel like his attitude and behaviors have def changed yet, no one seems to recognize it!

  13. It’s not just about Brennan, it’s also about what she represents, the brain side which is more and more attacked on the show, while the heart is put on a pedestal.
    The way the brain is seen as keeping somebody from living a happy life when the heart allows them to… The way they associate brain/fear and heart/hope.

    • Even though in S1 skull in the desert, Brennan was able to reassure Angela and give her hope with her brain. But that was in S1 when their partnership seemed equal, and they were both learning from each other and changing/revealing themselves because of each other, there was not this imbalance between them, their changes, and brain/heart that is there since a long time now.

  14. I agree with those who say Booth has changed and also with those who point out that it is not so much that he HAS as it’s not acknowledged on the show. We can see that he has (and has room to grow) but no one is ‘praising’ him for it in the way Brennan is praised. If Booth has become less snarky, we can assume why, but there isn’t that heart to heart with Sweets that acknowledges it (like, for example the Sweets and Brennan scene in Doctor in the Photo, where Sweets tells Brennan she’s one of his closest friends, and why)

    some of that is because Booth has never really has anyone analyze his behavior like Brennan does. There is no Angela to his Brennan, which has always been missing, I think.

    Cam does that sometimes, though not much. Sweets could have and still could be, but I just don’t think those two (Booth & Sweets) will ever really be able to just chill.

    Sully had possibility and so did Hodgins in S3. Hannah could have, but never did.

    Probably the closest we’ve come to someone who can analyze Booth and comment on his actions is Dr.Wyatt. Booth always takes what he says to hearti in the same way Brennan does. But because he’s used so sparingly, (understandably), there’s not a real thread there.

    the show does lack in that way, imo. Sorry for any typos… I’m commenting on my phone 🙂

    • I’d never really thought about that, but it’s true. Booth doesn’t really have a guy to just be a guy with–someone who’ll call him on his own shortcomings. I always wanted Booth to develop more of a friendship with Hodgins, and I wish he had. Maybe it’s not too late, but then again, maybe it is.

      But I do think it this “lacking” might be intentional. Booth is kind of a lone wolf–in the pilot, we saw that he didn’t partner up with anyone until Brennan came along. He’s never been able to rely on anyone but himself, whether on the job or dealing with his family. We want him to have that guy to be for him what Angela is to Brennan, but one of the the things that makes him so tragic is the fact that he’s never had that. Booth, by virtue of either fate or his own personality flaws or a combination of the two, has always carried the world on his shoulders, and it’s not easy for him to let go of his sense of responsibility. Brennan is his closest friend, and he structures his life around that. It’s sad for him, but isn’t it also part of what makes him so intriguing? On the surface, Booth seems like the guy who has it all, but he’s more isolated than he appears. I like the depth it gives him, as frustrating as it may be.

      • I totally agree, and was just coming on her to elaborate, but you did it for me. It’s interesting that the one person he (usually) is pretty honest with is Brennan. It’s not Jared, for example, or others we’ve seen in Booth’s life. It is evident in the way he acts, which makes his entire “that’s what partners do” stuff in season one so intriguing, especially in light of the fact that it’s sort of proven that he’s the lone wolf, as you said, because when Cam suggests he contact Brennan, he says “partner up? I don’t think so” or something like that.

        The one time I can think of where Booth acknowledges Brennan is at the end of Proof in the Pudding, where he says “I learned that from you”. Of course, to be fair, Brennan has done her share of concessions in that episode! 🙂 But I think you are exactly right in that Booth is very tightly controlled, and honestly, probably the reason why he doesn’t necessarily have someone in his life who will tell him like it is is because even if he did, he probably wouldn’t listen and he’d shrug it off.

        I am very interested in seeing how this all will play out over the rest of the season and to see what the end result is.

        As far as Brennan, I thought she was pretty true to character in a lot of ways in this episode, as far as being mad that she couldn’t actively work the case and slightly annoyed at the way Booth and Sweets barely apologized to one another, haha.

        I guess for me, Brennan has almost always accepted what Booth says at face value, when it’s regarding heart matters. She might question it some, but mostly, she’ll accept, or at least accept his view. Booth will also accept Brennan’s ‘brain’ at face value, especially on cases. And I think they both accept the ‘lack’ of brain or heart in the other, attributing it to why they make a good team. Brennan knows she’s smarter than Booth, but she doesn’t hold that against him. Booth might, haha, but she doesn’t. The shift in balance is the reality we’re seeing that Booth is in fact not exactly better at relationships than Brennan is. They might have thought he was, but now, that’s not exactly true.

        So, the way I see it (in some ways), is that Brain will still triumph when Brennan uses her brain and heart to help Booth get his heart back.

        I hope at least.

        That we haven’t seen that much lately is not necessarily Booth’s fault (not that anyone here was blaming him).

      • So far, we have only seen one good male role model in Booth’s life and that is Pops. His anger at his father, his contempt for Jared is all too apparent. That he had Pops in his life, is probably where he got his love of the law, America and his need and yearning for the ideal marriage; but, he doesn’t seem to rely on very many guys in his life. We saw that he was the friend of a judge in season 1 (The Soldier On The Grave) and Sully appeared to be a friend of his also; but, even those he called a friend seemed to be held at arms length. His FBI friend in Two Bodies In A Lab, tried to kill Brennan. Talk about betrayal.

        Since he met Brennan, Booth only seems to be interested in being friends with Brennan. She is the only one that seems to “get” him and will not knowingly betray those things that makes Booth what he is. I think that is why, no matter what happens between Booth and Brennan, he cannot walk away from her. She is best friend and probably for all intents and purposes, his only friend that he can count on.
        As I have watched the Brodsky arc unfold, though Booth says that Brodsky is just someone he knew, I have a feeling that he was a friend after all. A friend who has betrayed everything that Booth believes in, when it comes to law and justice. Another example of how he cannot rely on anyone (except Brennan) because they will just betray him. We have talked alot on this site about how Brennan worries about being betrayed and abandoned; but, GG is correct. Booth is not the opposite of Brennan. He is the same as Brennan when it comes to his heart. He wants loyalty and only seems to be able to get that from Brennan.

    • There is another difference, the fact that we don’t really get Brennan teaching Booth about life, giving him little brain-based speeches and him changing his POV to hers to way we see Brennan adopting his values/beliefs. We only get Brennan teaching Booth back his own heart-based lessons.
      Booth also tends to seek help first with someone else than Brennan. We are told she is his rock, but I don’t really see it, while I see Booth being hers.
      There is this imbalance that supposedly Booth knows more about life, yet just like Brennan he doesn’t a lot of friends, he has a hard time opening up/asking for help too, his personal life sucks too, he is not living the big life either etc. Like GG said it, they are not opposite, yet they more insisting on Brennan issues that need to be dealt with because they have a negative effect on her, while Booth issues make him a good man.

      • Delph, what about The Proof in the Pudding? It went both ways in that one–Brennan chose heart over brains, but Booth chose brains over heart. He wanted the truth, and in his words, he “learned that from” Brennan. I definitely think she is his rock, which we do see in the way he confides everything in her–even after the breakup with Hannah. He never told Hannah how angry he was, but he told everything to Brennan. What goes on between us is ours? That’s a B&B phenomenon all the way, and it’s something Booth cherishes.

      • I think you replied before I did, or at just the same time! But you are right about the imbalance. And that Brennan’s issues threaten her ‘world’, where Booth’s were a comfort zone. I just hope that when it’s ALL said and done that there is more balance!

      • Proof in the pudding is anecdotal in comparison to the numerous times Brennan changed her POV to his, learned from him. And in the next episode we got Brennan freaking out because she thought Booth was abandoning his beliefs system maybe because of her influence (she didn’t like that he said the heart was a muscle and that was proof that he was learning from her), I never saw Booth freaking out about her adopting his values on the contrary he welcomes them (like when she was willing to call ‘evidence’ ‘crap’ like any normal people…)

      • Yes, Sarah, it looks like we were on the same page with that one. I’m honored!

  15. I see and appreciate the cause for concern regarding Brennan changing for Booth but Booth not changing for Brennan. However, I feel that until the two get together, or at least until the end of the season, I am not going to assume that Booth won’t change.

    I think Booth’s willingess to destroy part of the stadium seats is symbolic of the changes he will need to make. He was trapped in that elevator by his need to cling to the past, to an ideal of his father that never really was. He destroyed enough of that symbol to free himself from his confines, but saved enough of it to appreciate the happy memory for what it was.

    Perhaps we will see Booth letting go of some of his idealistic notions of what people in love should do or be, and be able to accept what Brennan can offer.

  16. Just noticed something as I rewatched the episode again (okay-really for the 4th time)… In the opening scene at the Jeffersonian between Wendell and Hodgins, as Hodgins is leaning over the decomposed body Wendell takes a pair of disposable gloves from a box that says “Evolution One” on the side….

  17. I was just thinking about this this morning.

    Season one Brennan is the Brennan that I met when I first started watching the show. I found it online, and watched from the pilot through the first season, and then watched the third season as it aired (kinda, I came in during the writers’ strike). I caught up on the second season later, and I’ve now watched the seasons mostly in order. Brennan has been my favorite character since the beginning. I identify with her easily (I don’t to most TV characters, at all, actually), and I find her changes believable (yeah, you’re probably going huh?) because I know someone that has gone on a very similar journey.

    My favorite scene of all Bones episodes, my favorite line, actually, is in the Pilot (which is, in fact, my favorite episode, only second to Doctor in the Photo, and followed by End in the Beginning), when Brennan says “Stop, or I’ll yell kidnap out the window.” I asked my sister about why I loved this scene, and the scene where Brennan is telling Booth about what happened to Lauren Eames and saying “I’m not her.” My sister responded, saying, “That’s the real Brennan.” I think she’s right. That’s the Brennan where all barriers are down.

    I think that in the 13 months between the pre-Pilot 100 and the Pilot, Brennan might have been shaken up a bit. I think something about Booth’s presence must have done something, because between those two periods of time, she’s a lot more defensive, but is also open when it comes to her perceptions of the victims. I think her heart was opening that way. I think, though, that in season 2, our ever-literal Brennan might have taken some words to heart that she shouldn’t have. In Blonde in the Game, both Angela and Booth tell Brennan that she needs to back up, ignore the people in the case, ignore what happened to the victim, and just focus on getting the answers. She did not speak passionately about what happened to a victim (talking about what happened to them) until Boy with the Answer. She did not speak the same way, empathizing with the victim’s family, until Stargazer in the Puddle, but that did not reoccur again until Goop in the Girl (I’ve been paying attention to this a lot). Those were scenes that I have always loved, because we really see the depth of Brennan’s heart. I also think that her family’s presence in her life also effected it. We all know she’s not good with change. I think this effected her through season 3. As other people have mentioned, what happened with the end of season 3 didn’t help. I think that through season 4, she was trying to find a way to keep Booth from leaving in some way. Then the End in the Beginning happened, and well, we know what happened with that. Then season 5 had a lot to do with Booth’s recovery, and Brennan helping him recover. Obviously her emotional energy is going to be there, instead of anywhere else. Then the 100th happened. I’m pretty sure she believed that she wasn’t ready yet for something with Booth. So then there’s this whole, “we have to be just partners” thing where she probably felt like she had to emotionally guard herself for his sake. This leads to her statements about worrying all the time (which goes back to season 4) and also how people effect her objectivity (which, by the way, was also alluded to in Doctor in the Photo). She had to go away to recharge so she could keep objective. And then she returned, all the craziness, and in Doctor in the Photo, she realizes that she does feel something. Which leads to where we are now. I think it’s also reciprocal — she recognized that Booth was thinking about something that made him upset, although she thought it was about Sweets, when it was really his dad. She’s starting to pick up on (and will continue to do so) what other people are feeling. I also think that as she gains this awareness, she’ll start sharing bits of herself, things about her family, again. I think she’ll start connecting to the victims and their families again (like she already has). In a way, returning to who she once was.

    Over all of this, I still don’t think the essential Brennan has changed. If the current Brennan met the past Brennan, she might feel sorry for her. She might envy her. I’m not sure which. Probably a little of both.

    I think this most recent episode also really go to the essentials of both Booth and Brennan, and really found the things that they need to let go of before they can really start a relationship. For Brennan, it is acceptance of pain. For Booth, it is anger about the past (which I think actually has been around since the pilot, really, with his reactions to her questions about his past). Maybe this is why I love the Blackout in the Blizzard (and on the side of Brennan, Doctor in the Photo) so much. We get to see the “real” Booth and Brennan. A(lmost a)ll guards down. Nothing but themselves holding them back from speaking from the heart.

    Also, a thought: maybe Brennan’s self-defense skills were a way to make herself impermeable, to protect herself from becoming a victim both emotionally and physically.

    So this is a roundabout answer. But yeah, while Brennan’s changes are uncomfortable at the moment, I feel like they’re (mostly) staying true to who she is. And yeah, she’s not the Brennan I initially loved, and I do miss certain moments from that, but she’s still the Brennan that I do love.

  18. I think Brennan and Booth have both changed. The show has given us evidence of it in many of the examples others have already given. But I don’t think that they have changed FOR each other, but rather BECAUSE OF each other. We’ve talked about how these two allow one another into their personal space in a physical sense, but I love how these two allow one another into an inner “personal space” of sorts. They’ve given each other permission to know things about themselves that no one else knows. Because of this intimacy between them, they are able to teach one another things that no one else could teach them. The teaching is not always an active process. Often, they just learn from each other, as and they do, they change.

    Brennan defines her change as improvement. I think she chose this word in particular because she identified deficiencies in herself that could limit her ability to take part in every aspect of the human experience, mainly the emotional aspect that connects an individual to others – love.

    People have suggested that she should have said “growth,” but that doesn’t imply positive change the way “improvement” does. “Evolution” was also suggested, but the strictly scientific definition of evolution involves changes to a population over time, and Brennan would know an individual can’t really evolve.

    “She was sexy and smart and strong and stubborn, and a lot of us liked her straight away.” I did like her straight away. But we have been enlightened – she was actually sexy and smart and impervious and stubborn. Now she is becoming strong, and I like her even more now. I think the abrasive, defensive demeanor and the ass-kicking and such were properties of an impervious substance. As a strong substance, can she still kick ass? I say absolutely, don’t doubt it for a second.

    Please excuse me in straying off topic a bit. These are thoughts I’ve had about a couple of the recent posts here, but I haven’t been able to comment lately.

    • I love that we are changed by the people in our lives. It’s such a keen reminder to have people in our lives that influence us to change that’s good!
      One of the ways I feel Booth has been so good for Brennan was pointed out in the last scene of TBitBlizzard… lighting a piece of paper based on a wish?! How beautifully child-like! Booth has always been able to reconnect Brennan with the incredible wonder of seeing the world as magical (even though they have different definitions! ❤ !!) It's wonderful to have someone in your life that can inspire awe and wonder, whimsy and laughter? Isn't it amazing that Booth, so badass and yet incredibly wounded, can face life with such gaiety? Or maybe it's her incredibly simplistic approach to life that brings it out in him?? Quite a pair, those two crazy kids! 🙂

    • I really like that you pointed out that it’s really not about Brennan changing FOR Booth. Brennan is changing for Brennan, and Booth and the others in her life will reap the benefits. I want Brennan to change for the better, no matter whether people around her are doing the same or not. That being said, people have made very good observations of how Booth has changed and why it’s not emphasized the same way. For one, the show is called BONES, and I don’t think it’s just because of the skeletons. We know a little about Booth before he met Brennan – he had a child out of wedlock with baby mama drama, was distrustful of the science types, had something against the rich, kept to himself, worked by himself and was really a nobody in the FBI, and was angrier. Meeting and working with Temperance Brennan really changed things for him. Somehow, she kept him on his toes, and mellowed him all at the same time, without even trying. I think it’s amazing that he is this guy with a “deep reservoir of rage” and “capable of great violence”, and even when Brennan is at her most frustrating, he never loses control with her. I think that says a lot.

  19. I have always disliked when Brennan merely referred to herself as successful, smart or ‘quite attractive’ (as she has all the way through the series up to the scene with her and H at the bar :/ ). As if those are the only qualities that another person would value in her (or be attracted to). And maybe until recently they have been the only quanitfiable aspects of herself that she has deemed valuable. These attributes, although certainly valuable, are not what defines her as a woman. She cannot be defined by these things anymore than you or I can. Not really. Furthermore, the desires she has as a woman cannot be fulfilled by the attention she receives based on these attributes alone. Being merely summed up by her exterior or her brain has ultimately stunted her ability to recognize and embrace the greater desires she has.

    I think Avalon spoke directly to Brennan’s heart when she said something to the affect of, ‘he (Booth) knows the real you and is dazzled by it’. (gush!) I read recently that a woman wants to have a beauty to reveal. I hope we women know that we were created to be a special creature. Our beauty (in and out), our strength, our passion, our compassion and tenderness all mix in a unique way forming a precious gift to share with a man. This gift, this unique beauty, is a mystery to our counterpart. Hopefully as we grow, we can find someone with whom we can trust this beauty, who will treasure and protect it.

    I think Brennan has grown to realize that 1) there is something deeply beautiful about her as a woman, from within and 2) that Booth is worthy of revealing it to. Maybe not now, but soon, she will be strong enough to face fear and share with him some of the mystery and beauty that she has.

    I love that she is coming to terms with herself as a woman in this deeper way. When we are deemed valuable only by our outward attributes, we struggle to be deeply fulfilled. The relationships we have that are built upon trust and that we have revealed parts of that beauty within us- those are the truly gratifying relationships that make life enjoyable.

    Brennan is growing in the journey that I believe all woman have… each one of us has had a different place to start and unique circumstances that have shaped our path, but we all have to realize, embrace and finally share this beautiful mystery within us.

    ‘I want to be beautiful
    Make you stand in awe
    Look inside my heart,
    and be amazed
    I want to hear you say
    Who I am is quite enough
    Just want to be worthy of love
    And beautiful’ ~Bethany Dillon

    And may I also add that many of you have made beautiful points above!! And your sincere concern for Brennan’s journey is evident in the great detail in which you outline the many tragedies she has faced, and overcome. I love you all for the committment you have to this character! I hope you are also investing in the journey of a woman in your life. We all can use a reminder that we are amazing creatures with a beauty to reveal to the world 🙂

  20. Wow, I was actually kinda scared to read some of the comments today, but I’ve enjoyed reading them. I’m on the side of acknowledging that there has been a change, but mostly for the better. I wouldn’t want her to be the same, either. Yeah, it was cool that she was a kick-butt kind of girl, but in actuality, sometimes she was pretty violent. I don’t need to see her knocking people to the ground every other episode just because she can. I just need to see her be able to hold her own and not play a helpless victim. I already have my evidence even from this season that she can do that. Also, I think they intentionally made her less sarcastic and more oblivious (for lack of a better word). She was very outspoken, and they’ve kept that, but I definitely wince a lot less at the stuff she says. Brennan’s sarcasm really came across as mean sometimes.

    She also gets a lot of flak about listening to Booth. I see that she does defer to him a lot about the emotional stuff, and on some level even I wonder about whether that’s really good or not, but that’s because he is the person she chooses to trust about that kind of stuff. She really does try sometimes, but some things really are out of her realm, and I’m glad she does seek another opinion. But once she has a definite opinion about something being right or wrong, not even Booth can always talk her out of it (remember the whole thing about how it looked like Daisy was cheating on Sweets?) So she doesn’t always just listen to Booth – I think she always evaluates and weighs his opinion very carefully against her evidence, if she has enough. And I find it heartening that she still doesn’t believe in fate or magic. And I can only thing about one time when he asked her to stay back and she actually did, and we know it wasn’t the most recent time he asked her to.

    I think people made good points about different points in which she felt like she needed to reinforce her walls. I found it interesting that Brennan said she was impervious before she met him. I can definitely see that she recognized a threat to her walls, because by the end of the second case (the pilot), she was lamenting over the fact that she understood the dead better than the living, and I think that had a lot to do with Booth’s comments to her. I think we have consistently seen throughout the series that Brennan, in her heart of hearts, even is she doesn’t want to admit it to herself sometimes, wants a lot of the same things everybody else wants in life – acceptance, to love and be loved (not just romantically). She IS a certain way by nature and by circumstance, and she sees it’s harder for her than some of the people around her.

  21. This is my first time commenting on this blog, party because I just discovered it a few weeks ago and party because I couldn’t possibly hope to articulate my thoughts as well as most of you here. But, this is a topic that has bothered me a lot, especially throughout season 6. I love pilot Brennan and I actually found myself watching and rewatching her this past year to remember ‘the good old days.’ She has changed a lot and I’m not so fond of many of those changes. However, I found myself overlooking all of these “negatives” when I heard her say, “making love” last Thursday. We all know that pilot Brennan would never have used those words. Yeah for change!
    (I’d still love to see her kick some $** again soon, though.)

  22. There’s been some fantastic discussions going here on Bones Theory lately! I can’t seem to keep up with all of the fantastic responses. 🙂

    Personally, I still feel like fundamentally, Brennan is still the same woman we all (platonically) fell in love with from the first episode, but she has definitely changed. In the beginning she was a bit more brash, a bit more pop culture savvy, a bit more sarcastic, it’s true, and I loved that about her. Many people didn’t…they felt she was cold and unapproachable then. Nowadays she seems just as brash/straightforward (in a less confrontational way) but less pop culture savvy and less sarcastic, but a bit more open and aware.

    I think overall the changes that have been made by her/with her character (it’s funny how we all forget she ISN’T a real person, hahaha!) come from a couple of different things. I have always maintained that there was a shift in her persona after Season 3. Now, that could be because of real life issues such as the writers strike (which I’m sure contributed when certain staff were lost, thus causing a change in the writing dynamic), but it could also be a conscious change in her due to the events that happened. Some of the other posters mentioned the trauma of Booth’s fake death and Zack’s betrayal and how that must have affected her, and I definitely can accept those events has having a significant effect on her demeanor and her interpersonal skills, largely owing to a loss in trust of the people around her. I totally get that…it’s why a lot of Season 4 sort of threw me for a loop, because I felt like things were going somewhere with B&B, and then it just went…stagnant. Then the season finale happened and Booth’s world was turned upside-down, and I would argue thus Brennan’s was as well. Season 5 was Booth’s year to figure things out which caused turmoil in Brennan, where Season 6 is her coming to terms with her life’s desires changing, causing her to change as well. I absolutely loved the metaphor of impervious vs. strong that was used in the Blackout in the Blizzard. I thought it was very revealing of her to identify and acknowledge that she has changed, that she has lost some of her inflexibility but gained strength by opening herself up to others.

    I think Brennan is changing like we all inevitably do…she’s becoming more human and less closed off, she’s laughing more (something we NEVER saw in Season 1), she’s still smart as hell and still unabashedly cocky about it, but she doesn’t use it to intimidate any longer. She may have regressed somewhat when it comes to interacting with people, but she’s slowly coming back and surpassing where she was before in that now she’s making a concerted effort to really connect with people instead of holding them at arm’s length. She may not understand pop culture references (which I mostly attribute to writing inconsistency), but she might not be as oblivious as we’ve always thought – I fully think she pretends to not know things sometimes just to get a reaction out of people. 🙂 As Sweets said in DitP, Brennan is an extremely private person, but we’re starting to see her opening up and letting people in, and I love that change. Can she still kick ass? Absolutely. Can she be in love? Yes, definitely…but up until now she’s needed to allow herself the pleasure of letting go of her impervious nature to do so. Could she do both? She’s our heroine – of COURSE she can do both! and hopefully they will capitalize on this as the show moves forward.

    One last thing and I apologize if this seems like a rant…I’ve seen other postings (not here) where people have been lamenting over how “weak” and “spineless” Brennan has become since the first season, and particularly this season during the whole Hannah arc until now. They feel like she’s sacrificed her fundamental self in order to open herself up for love, and also, that she should never have had to change in order to be with Booth. The character of Temperance Brennan has always been a strong female role model (and in my opinion she continues to excel in that respect), but for some reason others have interpreted her desire to connect with people and open herself up to feeling pain as becoming weak, and I for the life of me cannot understand that logic. It’s along the same lines of what most professional women have to contend with in their work environment – women who are at the top of their field have to hide their empathy and femininity because those qualities are “unacceptable” when you’re the boss. I don’t understand how having empathy, becoming more open with others, and growing as a person is attributable to being weak. In my mind, it just makes that woman MORE admirable, because they can strike the balance between professionalism and inter-personality, tenacity and courage, and life a full and happy life. That’s ultimately the woman I want to be, myself. 🙂

    • Remember in the pilot when she had that encounter with her ex? The Brennan we met was definitely impervious. Most women would be crushed to be called cold-hearted and emotionally distant, but she didn’t even flinch. She just continued on kicking him out. But she’s definitely made progress, because through the series we see that it bothers her that people think that way about her, and she’s become more open with others: praising her interns, telling Angela how much she appreciates their friendship, telling Hodgins she loves him too, showing understanding with Cam on Valentine’s Day (even though that kinda backfired on her). It’s not that she didn’t have those feelings before, but I think she sees the value now in letting people know how she feels.

  23. I feel like I’ve commented so much already, but I just had another thought, which I hope doesn’t stir up too much controversy.
    I remember thinking a long time ago (like after the 100th), that Brennan would be going to Angela a lot more. And I was surprised and initially disappointed to see that she hasn’t, really. But the more I thought about it, the more I think that is an example of Brennan getting stronger. I think Angela is good for Brennan when she needed to be pushed, as her method was often to tell Brennan what she (Brennan) felt. But the fact that Brennan came to certain realizations on her own because Angela really couldn’t give her the answers she was looking for just makes them so much more powerful, in my opinion.

  24. Ok, at the risk of sounding ridiculous and maudlin (it’s Saturday night and maybe one too many)-just how much do I love this blog? Where else do you get this level of discussion and passion about something you thought only you liked this much? Awesomeness all around (maybe it’s that enormous perigee moon tonight…)

  25. Yikes! Talk about being late to the party. Their were only 16 responses when I first checked this post yesterday and now there are 57! That’s what I get for not having the time to write coherent response right out of the gate.

    I don’t have much to add that hasn’t been said quite eloquently already. The “changes” in Brennan between now and the first couple seasons that some people seem to see as a negative have honestly never really bothered me – perhaps because I’m willing to give the writers some leeway in their storytelling or perhaps because her overall character development over the years has been so impressive.

    Brennan’s impervious vs. strong speech (which I loved by the way) reminds me a lot of Cam’s comment to Booth in Harbingers about the inadvisability of him cracking Brennan’s shell and then changing his mind. A lot of people, me included, initially freaked out about Hannah BECAUSE of that statement, fearing that exactly what Cam had predicted was going to come true. When I wrote my first BT post for Sarah last October, I suggested that Brennan’s views about love were wrong and needed to be changed, and that perhaps HH and the writers were going to use Booth to bring about that change. In essence, her shell needed to be cracked. And I think that’s exactly what happened – really happened – in The Doctor in the Photo. She cracked for good and Booth HAD changed his mind.

    But the second part of Cam’s warning didn’t come true (that she would never let anyone in again). Why? Because Brennan, in her own words, is growing stronger. Instead of running away, she stayed, and this time she’s willing to stay even if the end result is that she gets hurt. THAT is character growth, my friends, and it is truly beautiful.

    Sorry if this doesn’t make any sense. Gotta go to church now.

  26. “I just don’t have room in my heart for another show. I just don’t.”

    Neither do I! Hahahaha…. like in life when you are blessed with a couple reeeally good friends. Sometimes there just isn’t room for more love. I only hold on to a few shows these days. Like, enough to count on one hand! (shaking head) Maybe I love this show too much!?

  27. I’m finally getting time to read this excellent post and comments and I have to admit, I’m relieved. I wasn’t sure if I was going to need new batteries in my Flaming Sword of Protection on behalf of Brennan! 🙂

    I’ve recently started rewatching the series from the beginning and while I can see changes in Brennan, all of those changes seem appropriate. The show is called “Bones,” after all. Not “Booth & Bones.” Not “Forensic Files,” or any other clever play on words you might want to come up with. It’s “Bones” and in the pilot episode it’s made clear that Brennan IS Bones. So, it makes sense to me that her character arc is the one that will go through the most change as the series progresses.

    Booth has gone through some changes, too, but I consider those surface, behavior changes. He’s come to know the Squints as people, so he’s less snarky toward them but that ‘less snarky’ isn’t a deep character issue that he resolved. Booth’s character has been clear from the beginning: He’s the hero. Slightly damaged, with a savior complex, he’s Lancelot fighting dragons, who wants his own castle and Lady Guinevere.

    Brennan, on the other hand, is like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Those changes take time and they take struggle and they can be painful to watch, but in the end, they’re worth the effort. Who she is was apparent in the first season; I recently watched “Girl in the Fridge” and was struck by her testimony in the courtroom. Paraphrasing here, but her words were something like “It doesn’t matter if you like me because it’s not about me, it’s about the dead girl.” Brennan feels deeply, and she deals with those feelings by pulling back into science and logic.

    That pulling back doesn’t make her feelings any less real or less valid, it just shows that she doesn’t have the skill-set to deal with emotion on that level. Yet. But she’s learning.

    At its core, I believe this series is all about Brennan’s journey, about her becoming the woman she needs to be for Booth. I don’t mean that she’ll turn into something unrecognizable, but that she’s learning to let her emotional side live side by side with her rational side. There’s a reason we don’t see Booth tapping into his inner math-nerd, but we do see Brennan opening up to admit “I’ve improved.”

  28. Hmmmmmmm….very very good questions as always S!!

    I love Brennan. I’ll say that straight off to get it out of the way 🙂

    I will admit though that i do miss Season 1 Brennan. Admittedly i think that’s because Season 1 Brennan was easier for me to like. She was arrogant, confident, brash, a tad aggressive and she KNEW who she was. No apologies. Kind of like ‘This is who i am. Deal with it.@

    Where as since that Season she has gone…well, i was going to say backwards but that seems a bit harsh. Let’s say she’s gone down a different path and now it is difficult for me to recognise S6 Brennan in S1…or vice versa. Now she seems to almost apologise for being who she is and that’s the part i struggle to understand.

    Wanting to better yourself is fine (fyi- i do believe she should want to better herself for HER and not Booth but that’s a seperate matter.) but being…apologetic for who you are isn’t. And that’s the way it seems…she’s not quite as proud of who she is as she was once. And i don’t like that side very much.

    BUT i do think HH and Co changed her character when they realised they had a successful show on her hands. They changed her so she was more awkward. More socially inept. Also i think they’ve changed her so she needs Booth more. S1 Brennan was never going to need him. Want him yes. Need him? NO. But this Brennan, the one we see now, does need him.

    And i’m not sure how i feel about that either! LOL

    But i still love her. Always will i expect…even when she frustrates me 😀

  29. Pingback: In Search of a Hero « Bones Theory

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