Hey there Bones Theory friends! It’s certainly an interesting time in the Bones world right now, is it not? There’s an exciting sense of anticipation in the air – and I’m not just talking about the impending birth of Angela and Hodgins’ baby [Side note: this is just a little pet peeve of mine, but who goes to the hospital thinking they’re in labor after just two contractions? Seriously? Ange, sweetie, let me give you a little advice…first babies – more often than not they take their time. I realize that you’re a television character and are therefore more inclined than most to go into spontaneous labor and deliver on the side of the road or, say, on the forensic platform right next to a badly decomposing body, but in real life – they teach you in birthing class to time your contractions before rushing off to the hospital. That is all.], but about the future of our favorite crime-fighting duo as well.
Speaking of the state of Booth and Brennan’s romantic future, I had a “Eureka!” moment after watching The Signs in the Silence the other night and knew I just had to share my thoughts with you all. What I’m about to say may seem like a no-brainer to some, but in this case, as in many others, articulating the obvious can be quite helpful. Okay, enough rambling, let’s get this thing started, shall we?
I mentioned in my initial response to Sarah’s MAQ (”Does ‘More than Luck’ Mean More than Fate?”, 5/6/11) that the intensity of the last thirty seconds of The Signs in the Silence literally made me squirm. I’m not sure exactly what I expected Booth and Brennan to do in that situation, but it seemed to call for some type of comforting touch – be it a hand on the arm, a hug, or yes, even a kiss. The look they shared at the end before Brennan turned away was…well it was filled with something delicious, don’t you agree?
I was literally screaming inside for them to just touch, for one of them to close that gap between them, and yet they maintained their physical distance as they have for much of the season.
It bugged me. It really did. I mean, there has to be a reason for this distance, right? And as much as I’ve always accepted that it had to be that way, I never really understood why until now. We’ve discussed the glaring absence of Booth and Brennan’s trademark chemistry, a.k.a. unresolved sexual tension, a.k.a. UST, and that pesky distance that seems to have taken its place, on countless occasions this season. I think we’ve probably all wondered at one time or another whether the chemistry is gone for good or if it’s simply in hiding for some mysterious reason known only to Hart Hanson, Stephen Nathan, and their writing team. They get a pass for the first half of season six because of Hannah, but what about now?
In a sense, I think the UST is gone simply because it’s been resolved. Obviously there hasn’t yet been an actual sexual resolution (not to be confused with the sexual revolution), but there has been a resolution to the question (will they, won’t they?) that drives the sexual tension. What we saw at the end of The Blackout in the Blizzard was Booth and Brennan essentially promising to engage in a romantic (and by definition, sexual) relationship at some point in the future. Now that we know that they will, the only question that remains is when (of course that question creates a tension all its own, but that’s a discussion for another day).
Quite frankly, whether HH ever actually intends to follow through on this “promise” is immaterial to today’s discussion. At this point, the characters themselves have an understanding that, by definition, affects the way they approach each other. And I think the cause of the intensity that I felt at the end of The Signs in the Silence is rooted in that approach. So what does that mean?
Well, we know that Booth told Brennan he needed time to find his balance again before they began a romantic relationship. We also know that while Brennan is essentially ready, she understands Booth’s need to find himself and is willing to give him the time he needs. What if the physical, and at times emotional, distance we’ve seen between them lately is, in reality, not really distance at all, but a conscious holding back (out of respect) – each for the other’s benefit?
Take a minute to think about it. What would have simply been UST prior to The Blackout in the Blizzard now has an entirely new meaning. Every intimate look, or touch, or conversation had the potential to lead somewhere before, whereas now that same gesture would almost certainly take them past the point of no return. What’s the problem in that, you ask? Well, it all comes back to that pesky issue of readiness. I said in my last Bones Theory post (“In Search of a Hero”, 4/25/11) that what happened at the end of Blizzard was all about not gambling, and this is the point at which the proverbial rubber meets the road. Sure, they’re willing to take the risk implicit in a romantic relationship between two people as different as they are, but at the same time, they don’t want to take any unnecessary chances that might doom them to failure from the word go (hence the emphasis on readiness). Remove the temptation and you greatly reduce the risk that you will give into that temptation. That lack of closeness is painful for the viewer to be sure, but within the context of the story, I think it makes perfect sense (and I’m also fairly certain that the chemistry itself will return once the barriers are gone and they’re fully engaged in a real romantic relationship).
Obviously there’s still a lot that could be said about the how of this eventual coupling (will they stick it out until they’re both ready or will they eventually give into the intense emotion of a situation?), but for the sake of keeping this discussion out of spoiler/promo territory, we’re going to stick to the why and leave the how out of it.
So what do you think? Is the UST gone forever? Is that ultimately a good thing? Does this apparent distance between Booth and Brennan really exist or is it simply a defense mechanism on both their parts designed to serve a greater good? As always, I love hearing what you have to say, so let’s get this discussion started!