Bones Theory

Booth: He’d Die For Her, He’d Kill For Her. Did He Fall In Love For Her?


Hello, and Happy Monday!

A quick word about Bones Theory: a little “State of the Blog Address”, if you will. I’m not planning to take the summer off or anything, but I’m also not committing to having posts every day. I’m not deliberately NOT having posts every day, but if there happens to be a day or two in a row with no new posts, it’s not a sign the blog is shutting down or anything—it’s just a slow news day 😀   BT started on July 6th, 2010, but I only posted sporadically, when I felt inspired, and when something was on my mind that I wanted to discuss. It wasn’t until later that September, when Season Six started, that we really began posting every day. So we’re all just sort of playing this summer hiatus by ear. Cool?


Anyway, back to the post at hand. One thing I’ve struggled with this season is how the Hannah storyline was just completely dropped pretty much. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want it to continue for another iota of screen time and space. But the logistics, as far as (particularly) Booth’s character development, do still leave me scratching my head.  But the more I think about it, the more I conclude that Booth deliberately fell in love with Hannah…for Brennan.

When I think about Booth, in regards to his actions/reactions toward Brennan, one word that almost always comes to mind is: eager.  Yes, he can be cocky and confident and stubborn and a regular SOB, but with Brennan, I’ve always sensed that underlying vulnerability and eagerness to please. It shows up in the pilot episode, when after she walks away from Cleo Eller’s grave, he sort of hustles after her. It shows up later in the series in the way his smile is just a bit more genuine after she’s seen something his way or praised him for his thoughts or actions. It shows up in the way he kept his family life away from her, as much as possible—only letting her see the things he feels are safe enough to reveal to her. And it shows up in the way he tells her about Hannah as soon as they get back to DC.

It was the cruelest irony, of course, that just as Brennan has come to terms with the fact that she wants to be more open toward people and her feelings for them, Booth has managed to give her what she wanted–the ability to work with him without her having to deal with the emotional side of romance.  I see it (at first) as a sacrifice Booth made for Brennan. Sometimes you just have to settle for second best…isn’t that what he said in the season five premiere?

But if settling for second best (Hannah) meant making Brennan happy (in his mind), doesn’t that mean he would still come out on top? Not in a manipulative “Juggling two women at once” way, but in the “he makes sure no one gets hurt” kind of way. If he gets a little hurt in the process, well…that’s nothing new, and he should have known better, and he doesn’t deserve what he really wants, etc, etc.

When Booth first showed that picture of Hannah to Brennan, I never saw him shoving it in her face like a “see what you missed out on” or a “I’ve moved on, so you can shove it, Bones” kind of thing. It was more a “Don’t worry about me, Bones. I can compartmentalize. I know that’s important to you, and I promise it won’t be an issue. See, here’s proof.” sort of thing.

At that time (as you know), I was just shocked at the negative reactions toward Booth in the general fandom. You know this because you were probably tired of me constantly talking about it and trying to defend Booth, haha. Not that he was perfect or anything, but I still thought that a lot of his actions centered around that eagerness he has toward Brennan. If she wants to be just partners, then fine, he’ll be just partners.

Have you ever had a friendship like that? Or a relationship? Where you sort of make those inner vows, trying to prove it’s true so you can believe it? I have, and  I saw that in Booth.  I think over the course of the next few months, he did fall more in love with Hannah, but when it came down to it, it was something he could (fairly) easily take or leave. I never really saw Booth as being a jerk to Brennan…I saw more that he was trying to give her what she wanted without being able to clearly see that perhaps what she wanted had changed.

I mentioned the pilot episode, the moments like when he introduces her to Pops and the season six premiere, but the one moment that really makes me think he deliberately moved on more for Brennan than for himself came in Daredevil in the Mold, when, as he’s drinking alone, Brennan shows up and tells him that Hannah called her. He just sort of gasps and can’t deal, in what I interpreted as, “What more do you want from me?” Not just to her, but to God or the universe, or even himself, I guess. It’s in the way he tears up and almost gives this humorless laugh; it’s in the way he says he doesn’t want to talk about it, but then can’t help himself because it’s her…it’s Brennan…it’s Bones, and she’s there.

I think Booth prides himself on doing the right thing, so when his most deliberate efforts ended up so badly, it was more than he could take. Again, his self-imposed job was to make sure no one got hurt, but he wasn’t able to guarantee that, and maybe that crushed him more than any rejection he felt.

I guess I’m getting away from my original question, so I want to come back to that. Did Booth deliberately fall in love with someone else FOR Brennan’s sake? If so, was it then doomed from the start? Did the man who believes in fate try to make his own, so to speak?


Peace, Love & Bones





88 thoughts on “Booth: He’d Die For Her, He’d Kill For Her. Did He Fall In Love For Her?

  1. Thanks a really good question actually. And I can say that I never saw the situation under that kind of angle, so thank you for that. At the same time, I cannot put aside the fact that Booth is a man of contradictions. Right from the beginning he had been showing the importance of feelings and honestly towards people. I understand that he was hurt after the 100th and since he revealed his feelings, probably thought as you said that his relationship with Brennan will never evolve above partnership (smiling at that one now knowing what they did and the result of that :))) ). So yes, maybe you got it right and Hannah was a way for him to tell her ‘I’m fine … without you. Don’t worry about me’. But if it is the right reason for him to be with Hannah, that would mean he knew she cared for him, enough to be worried. And in that case, I guess he took the easy option versus the hard one : fight for her and showing her she was wrong about them!!!

    • Are you talking about fighting for her in the 100th or after her confession? Or just in general?

      Choosing Brennan would not only have been a hard choice, but a dangerous choice, based on his past experience. I kinda compare her to the ocean, containing so much hidden beauty to be explored yet still having depths unknown, and he almost drowned. He was not about to just jump back in. At least, not without testing the waters first and feeling more assured that he wouldn’t drown.

    • I totally disagree with the idea that Booth should have “fought for” Brennan after the 100th. He would have been fighting WITH her. She doesn’t think she can love him the way she feels he deserves to be loved. How does he change the way SHE feels about HERSELF?

      That’s like telling someone “have self esteem!” or “stop being depressed!”. If Booth said “I love you just the way you are, you don’t have to change”, it wouldn’t have magically made Brennan happy with herself.

      But we also have to remember too – if the writers had wanted her to say yes, she’d have said yes regardless of what dialogue they wrote for Booth. She said no because that’s what the writers wanted her to say. I think our job is to figure out why they chose to have her saying no, and not blame the dialogue given to Booth’s character.

      • We’re back to agreeing, Barbara! The writers made the choice, but I thought it worked with their situation. Booth actually did fight for her; he gave a persuasive speech. But Brennan is a stubborn individual. (That’s another reason it took so long for them to get together.) She would have had a response for anything else he was going to say. There’s a book I have about confidence that pretty much says we only hear the things from people that reinforce our own image of ourselves.

  2. This is a very interesting take on the Booth/Hannah relationship! I more saw it as Booth forcing himself to move on after Brennan and trying to fill the void that Brennan left. And as the relationship continued, Booth was trying to prove to himself that he could be happy.

    If Booth was trying to make sure Brennan knew he was fine and not to worry about him by dating Hannah, I think it would have been subconscious. I can’t really see Booth getting a girlfriend just so Brennan didn’t have to worry about him being unhappy. Well actually maybe I could haha. Booth would do pretty much anything for Brennan so who knows.

    • Yeah, maybe he could if she turns to him with tears in her eyes, pleadingly, and says “Please don’t look so sad.” Oh, wait, that’s exactly what happened. You could see Booth immediately trying to compose himself, but he was sad, and he had to learn not to show it around her, to put her mind at ease.

  3. after weeks of no new bones episode, a new BT post is the only thing i am looking forward to. thanks for completing my day… (it’s about 10:30 pm here in the philippines)
    anyway, i have thought about that before, about booth purposely looking for someone else to fall in love with. but in line with that, i would like to focus on one particular moment…
    one of the most heartbreaking scenes for me is that scene when booth told brennan about hannah while they were sitting on the stairs at the park, first ep of season six – when i saw brennan’s reaction – AWWWWW…sniff sniff – that must be the first time she fully realized that she has been in love with him all those years… and hearing from booth that what he has with hannah was “SERIOUS AS A HEART ATTACK”… it felt like i was having a heart attack then… i kept saying “poor brennan.. poor brennan” (emily deschanel is a brilliant actress, if only i could post that clip here in my comment)
    but what frustrates me is that booth didn’t notice that at all!!! so many “what ifs” played through my head… what if he saw her reaction? he would have sensed that something was wrong or something he said troubled her… what if he immediately knew how she felt at the same time we did?
    after hannah, i think booth purposely distanced himself from brennan emotionally, physically… because if he was still the same booth as he was before, HE WOULD NOTICE!!! booth knows her bone-deep (pun!) he knows her well enough and he would sense that she was shocked and sad and jealous and hurt…
    another what if… what if he did notice? what if he knew she loves him even before The Doctor in the Photo? what if he knew but ignored it because of hannah?
    what if in the first place he knew that falling in love with someone else would hurt brennan so much, would he even set his eye on any other woman? even if brennan just wanted to be just partners?
    anyway… my ‘what ifs’ don’t really matter because i wouldn’t know the answers anyway…
    yes, booth is all about brennan, and catching bad guys… and loving brennan… if he was even a jerk by falling in love with hannah, he did that to save himself… to move on…. only he didn’t know it would hurt brennan so much (sorry for bringing it up again, and sorry for bringing up more questions than answers…)

  4. I don’t know if I agree that he deliberately fell in love with Hannah for Bones’ sake…but I do think he let himself be open to it. We already saw that effort with Catherine. I think Hannah might have taken him by surprise…and he probably thought it would have been a good safety for his relationship with Bones that Hannah was supposed to be a long distance relationship.

    But then Hannah showed up. And I mean showed up. Booth being who he is felt the impact-and perhaps it wasn’t so hard to give the effort at that point.

    I think Booth prides himself on doing the right thing, so when his most deliberate efforts ended up so badly, it was more than he could take. Again, his self-imposed job was to make sure no one got hurt, but he wasn’t able to guarantee that, and maybe that crushed him more than any rejection he felt.

    I can definitely see this possibility, and I also think his own pain finally overwhelmed him at these failed deliberate efforts.

    Hey, you’re on the path to seeing the point of Hannah! Okay, I know, not really. Baby steps. Hehe. 😀

    • LOL, Janet, not even close. It was cruel pain spread on B&B, completely undeserved, and I will never change my mind, haha.

    • I agree that’s probably what he did with Catherine, and maybe it was part of his motivation for getting involved with Hannah in the first place. He thought it was the right thing, what he was “supposed to” do.

      But once he got back to DC I can’t see it being about protecting Brennan so much as protecting himself. Saying “serious as a heart attack” wasn’t really helping her, even if he wasn’t consciously trying to rub it in her face. It seemed more like trying to reassure himself, and his behaviour in general gave me the impression that he didn’t want to see what effect he was having on Brennan anymore.

      • Yeah, I’ll bounce off of this in that it really seemed Booth was more about protecting his own feelings (“against” Brennan) during this season….And I’ll give an example even after Hannah left—With “PitP”, when Booth tells her, (in reference to the ‘white lies” and/or not telling her everything) “…Maybe, it’s to protect my own feelings.”

        That was pretty huge for him to say that to her, and it’s one of those little confessions that speaks louder than it is actually said. He did/said or even didn’t say things throughout this season in order to protect himself. We saw it in his face though…..several times.

  5. Not that I disagree with this, because we know Booth’s protection of Brennan has a physical and emotional component, but I’m just wondering where Booth’s admission that he has told some lies to protect himself fits in.

    • i’m really not a fan of hannah… how many times did you wanted to rip that blonde hair off? and i hate booth for falling in love with her at all…. sorry, i’m a brennan through and through…
      but i think the ‘hannah plot’ revealed so much about booth and brennan that we didn’t really know… without hannah, brennan may not even admit to herself and to booth her true feelings… the “will they or won’t they” may go on and on (but hart hanson wouldn’t let us suffer that long) thanks HH for the hannah plot, and thanks more for ending it….

  6. I see that phone picture scene as Booth putting up a protective magic shield against Brennan. That initial hug was too much for him; you can see everything he’s ever felt for her coming back in that one instant. That’s why he’s the one who breaks the hug and looks so uncomfortable. So he pulls out Hannah and essentially draws a line in the sand, for Brennan but also for himself because Brennan’s asked him not to go to that place any more. I’d say that there is a little edge to heart attack line-just a little dig. I think it shows that he was really hurt that she didn’t contact him the whole time she was gone. Can’t remember if his “I thought it was just me you didn’t call” came pre or post picture, but it’s about one of the few snarky moments he’s ever allowed himself to have with her. Booth tries to be so gentle with Brennan even when he’s been hurt by her, but I think this one instance was just too much. And I agree ProfJMarie; he didn’t set out to fall in love-he went to war in order to be so physically exhausted that he’d have no time to think of anything else. But once there with all the isolation and stress the situation entailed, he allowed himself to fall into a relationship that could keep him forgetting and that might protective once he got back.

    And Sarah, we’ll totally miss our daily posts, but I think you’ve earned a huge break! I’ll just have to go and reread the old ones; finding all the shirtless Booth pics might keep me occupied for a while…

    • haha… couldn’t agree more… i have to read posts i haven’t read before just to take my mind off creating scenes like brennan and booth in their car going to investigate while their baby girl (or boy) is sleeping in the car seat… or pregnant brennan craving for pie in the diner or something from Wong Fu’s…. sigh… it’s gonna be a great season!!!
      back to that scene… again, we can say that booth is a good man… he didn’t purposely tried to hurt brennan… he didn’t know she’ll be affected so much…
      what bothered me more in that scene is that brennan gave efforts to reconnect with booth… “i had to, you weren’t there to save me.” and when they were eating out with hannah and she said “you once arrested me, remember?” or something like that… ughhhh

  7. ARGH! I hate when I hit one button and my long thought out post disappears.

    Short version: no, I don’t think Booth fell in love with Hannah for anyone’s sake but his own. And I think he needed to.

    In season 5, Booth loved Brennan but he loved her in a way that I found totally unhealthy. He gave and gave and the only thing he asked for was the opportunity to give more. He didn’t ask or even expect anything from Brennan. That’s just sad to me. And I think to Brennan too because she knows who she is and what her limitations are and in season 5 at least, she knows she can’t love him back the way he loves her and it’s not fair to start a relationship under those terms.

    From the 100th to The Boy With the Answer, Booth said he’d move on, but he didn’t. He pined, he hoped, got annoyed with her sometimes but had she so much as hinted she might change her mind anytime in the next decade, you know he’d have jumped at the chance to wait for her.

    Then Brennan decided to leave and…Booth can’t just put the his heart and the rest of his life on hold for someone who, as far as he can see, isn’t ever going to love him back the way he wants to be loved.

    So there was Hannah. And it probably only started out as sex and he probably never thought he’d see her again and he probably only showed her picture to Brennan and everyone else to save face (hey, I’m not the same mopey guy who left here seven months ago!). But when Hannah came to him, followed him when every other woman in his life had left him, well, I think he genuinel fell in love with her then.

    And that makes me sad, of course, because I’d rather have him only love Brennan but I think he needed Hannah (and really, if the writers created this storyline, they must have thought it was necessary).

    When Hannah said no to his proposal, but asked them to go back to the way they were as if nothing had happened, Booth did the first emotionally healthy thing he’s done in a relationship. He acknowledged that his own needs matter, that he doesn’t have to do whatever the other person wants to stay in the relationship, that he is allowed to want and expect things to.

    His relationship with Brennan this time around is healthier, IMO. He’s not just grateful to be allowed access to her. He’s asking what’s in it for him, he’s asking her what’s next after she gets what she wants, he’s wondering how they will work things out.

    He wouldn’t be in that place – that healthy place – if he hadn’t learned that he could love and be loved again. He might believe in Fate as the force that brought Brennan into his life, but he no longer feels doomed to love her, IMO. and that’s a good thing.

    Also, Sarah, you know I will happily contribute if you are out of things to say this summer. I can blather incessantly about this show!

    • omg I am so embarrassed at all those typos!

    • It took me some time, but I now understand the necessity of hannah, whether or not I liked her.

      Their relationship is so much stronger and healthier than it would have been if started in the 101st episode. SO MUCH HEALTHIER.


    • Yes, they have grown through their recent difficulties. I still love me some old-school R&B, though.

      Some people thought they were just being repetitive when they had Brennan state several times that basically she isn’t cold. But actually, this was extremely important! This was a key part of her rejection to Booth. It just wouldn’t have been the same if Booth had told her “You do have an open heart” and she just said “Really? Okay. I’ll take your word for it.” Barbara’s right, some things you just have to learn for yourself, and the more hard-headed you are, the more painful the process usually is.

      Another thing: there’s a time and a place to fight for a relationship, but after her rejection wasn’t it. Most people cannot be pushed, and Brennan most definitely can not be. Like I said earlier, he did do some fighting, but pretty much came against a brick wall. At that point, you shouldn’t be convincing someone so hard to be in a relationship with you. I think that’s why Booth was kind of holding back even though his feelings never went away and Hannah was gone. He wanted to make sure it was what she wanted, and if she set the pace, she wouldn’t have to feel rushed or pressured. The only thing he was doing was making sure he would be emotionally ready, a.k.a. not angry anymore and ready to try again.

      • Wow, I do love old-school R&B, but I really meant to say old-school B&B, lol.
        But there is definitely more to their relationship now than before, so I still don’t really want to go back to the way things were.

    • I see his rejection of Hannah and the bar scene as Booth’s breaking point. Just like you said, he’s so used to giving and never asking for anything back that he’s sort of allowed himself to be unwitiingly used as a doormat by the women in his life. Rebecca keeps his child but won’t go forward with him, Cam is happy just having sex but going back to her own place when it’s over, Brennan wants all the benefits of the surrogate relationship without the messy stuff and Hannah wants to have a good time without the commitment. And here is Brennan, asking him what’s next. He’s everybody’s go to guy, like he’s got all the answers, always taking care of others-Jared, Parker, Pops-what about him? That moment in the bar represents the one time he’s allowed himself to ask that question. For maybe the first time, he’s going to set the rules even if it kills him, which is why he told Brennan she could leave if she didn’t like their new arrangement. It was the last defense mechanism he had left. And thank God she didn’t leave because I’m not sure what would have happened to him then.

  8. I don’t think he fell in love with Hannah for Brennan, at least not on a conscious level. I think that he was really trying to move on and that was easier when he wasn’t around Brennan. I also think that his relationship with Hannah was EASY. They never fought and they agreed on everything. It was easy. I think he found it a little more difficult to be in his easy relationship with Brennan around and so he distanced himself from her, and then came the confession in DitP. After that he tried really hard to maintain his “happiness” (or easiness) with Hannah, but as we saw in the episodes starting in January, he couldn’t quite keep himself from really seeing Bones again. The slightly lingering looks started again and I think as a desperate move, he proposed. He’s an honorable man, he’s never cheated, and maybe this would solidify things in his own mind – or perhaps subconsciously he knew she would never get married and it was a way for him to end things in the relationship that was so easy that it would never progress beyond where it was.

    If that makes any sense.

    I certainly didn’t like the Hannah plot, but I understand it, and I understand it even more as I go back and re-watch those first episodes of season 6…

  9. I like the idea of taking it from this angle, and I think with a lot of thought and discussion here. I will agree with you once again.

  10. You make some really interesting points about Booth’s motivation for being with Hannah. I do think his primary motivation was to do it for himself and his own well being, but I think you do bring up a good point that part of that also was to help Brennan as well.

    I think Booth is a guy that needs to be in a monogamous, committed relationship. To have someone to be there, to build a life with. To have that emotional connection. B&B’s ‘surrogate’ relationship allowed him to have that. But when it got to that 100th ep, it was kind of the breaking point. Could Brennan truly be that person to be able to share everything with? When she said no, it was a bit “heartcrushing” (sorry, it fits!) for him…and then Maluku was the final blow. I think for his own personal mental and emotional health, he had to move on. He needed to have that someone in his life.

    And I think Hannah was a type of Brennan, a beautiful, career oriented, smart woman. So he still got a kind of Brennan if he couldn’t have the real thing. Having someone to care for and love in his life, that did secondarily take that from Brennan so she could have that space from him and just be partners. So my take is that while it did help him to give Brennan that space, I think primarily it was for his own self. How long could he be with Brennan and not “with” Brennan…I think he wasn’t seeking her out, but when he saved her life, then an opportunity presented itself and he took it. But mostly for his own well being.

  11. I really love this site, thank you! You guys have such good insights.. so I was wondering how exactly you saw in the 2 last episodes that Booth was still fully in love with Brennan. We saw her love for him, but I am not completely convinces he loves her as much as before from what we saw in The Hole in the Heart and The Change in The Game.
    Thank you !!

    • @ Sophie,

      I think maybe we didn’t see too much of it because Booth had learned to hide his feelings from Brennan. They’d agreed to try a relationship when they both were ready, but until Hole in the Heart, they were not ready. I think whatever ended up happening as a result of VNM’s death broke the dam for both of them. Booth shook off the last Hannah remnants, and Brennan shook off the last of her imperviousness and they finally reached that point where they were both ready. I think from now on we will see that love shining in Booth’s eyes again, shoot, we already saw it in Buck’s eyes as he watched Wanda walk away after that kiss :). And after she told him she was pregnant.

      I think his love was always there, he just pushed it down deep so he could function without her.

  12. Now that I think about it, I think it is possible that Booth fell in love with Hannah for Brennans sake. I think Booths’ commitment to Hannah was a way to show Brennan that her relationship was safe with Booth. Booth was told by Brennan that she could not commit to him in 100. This left Booth in a quandry. He loved Brennan; but he could not have her in his life as anything but a partner. He told Brennan he had to move on. In a way, this was a healthy move for him. He did need to move on. Rebecca rejected him, Brennan rejected him. He was a man who wanted to find someone who would love him and commit to him. He tried to be there for Brennan and meet up to his responsibilites; but, when he was being presured to go to Afghanistan he found himself in a situation where everyone he thought loved him was pushing him to leave. No one stepped forward and told Booth to stay. Brennan used it as an opportunity to leave for Maluku. The rejection he felt must have been awful.

    While in Afghanistan, he met Hannah. He probably thought she was a safe place to park his emotions. She was there, he was there. He opened his heart to her and she responded. I am sure that he thought she would just be a fling so imagine his surprise when she turned up in D.C.

    His showing the picture to Brennan on the Mall steps was his way of showing her that he had moved on. She wanted him to just be her partner and this is what he was trying to show her. He wanted her to see that he was there for her as a friend and partner (hence the hug) and the picture was to show her that he didn’t expect her to worry about him. He had moved on. He was serious about Hannah as a heart attack. But, how serious really did he think it was? Hannah was a traveling reporter and still overseas. I think the picture was a barrier that he needed between his feelings for Brennan and himself. If he has a girlfriend then he doesn’t have to think of Brennan as anything but as a friend and partner. The love he felt for her was compartmentalized. It was put in a box and placed on the back shelf of his mind. It was there; but, he didn’t have to open it. Hannah arriving in D.C. forced Booth to commit to a relationship with Hannah that he hadn’t planned on. He was like a fly caught in a web. He had told Brennan that Hannah was someone he was serious about and when Hannah showed up he had to live up to his words. He couldn’t tell Brennan that Hannah was in his life and then reject Hannah when she showed up. This would have been dishonorable to Booth and Booth is an honorable man. He was stuck. He then he tried to make the best of a strange situation and tried to become the perfect boyfriend for Hannah. By trying to commit to Hannah, he was showing Brennan that he was there for her as the friend she wanted and yet she didn’t have to worry that Booth may try again to commit to her. So I guess in a way, yes his love for Hannah was a way to keep Brennan in his life and not lose her. Booth’s greatest fear is that he will lose Brennan in his life. He didn’t want anything to jeopardize his friendship with her and what better way to do that than to show Brennan that it was safe to be friends with him.

    The presence of Hannah in the first part of season 5 may have been awful for Brennan as she had to make the best of a situation that she helped create; but, I think it forced Brennan to see that commiting herself to someone would not make her less that she is. It helped her to see that loving Booth would not destroy their friendship. Also, and this is the most important thing when it comes to Brennan, even though she had rejected Booth he still remained her partner. He went away and she went away; but, when she needed him to come back, he did. He took up their partnership and he was there for her as a friend. Not everyone she loves leaves her. It is possible to give her heart to someone and not have it crushed forever.

  13. It’s a good question, but I think it paints Booth in a light of being a saint– he willingly puts another woman between them to show Brennan just how much he will do for her. But if he is really doing that, then he is also using the woman, making him very unsaintlike.

    I think his relationship with Hannah was meant to be as complicated in some ways as his relationship with Brennan. While it didn’t really get to that point, it does show just how wrong he is at reading signals from women close to him. And if he was protecting Brennan’s wishes, just as she was trying to protect him, then he failed to see that those weren’t her real desires. In part, that’s because she might not have been aware of what she wanted and in part, because he came back determined, it seemed, to make a go of his relationship with Hannah or at least, use it to put some space between himself and Brennan. When Hannah shows up, then his long-distance reason to stay distant from Brennan becomes a live-in reason. (Which explains why they go quickly into living together, I think.)

    I don’t think Booth was so altruistic that he went looking for someone to replace Brennan in his affections so that he could honor her wishes. I think he was really looking out for himself and trying to make himself feel better under the circumstances. Hannah had little baggage (literally and figuratively) and she was much less complicated. Hannah might have become the portable line between the partners at some point. Any port in a storm. In some ways, it might be nice to think that Booth was trying to give Brennan what she wanted and protect her feelings by being with someone, but it seems somewhat twisted for him to do that.

  14. Very interesting post. Like others have said, I don’t think he got into a relationship *for Bones’ sake*, but I think maybe he pushed himself to do it more than he might’ve normally (if moving on from another woman who wasn’t Brennen), or perhaps used it as a motivation for moving on.

    I love the posts you all make, they’re always so insightful and fun to read. If anyone needs something to write about, I’d love to see a post about the progression/changes in Zack’s character from season 1 – 3. I was talking about it with a friend the other day, and they had a good explanation, so I’m curious what others here would have to say.

  15. Sarah, I love that you asked this question. I’ve kind of wondered the same thing myself from time to time, not in those words, exactly, but I have wondered about it.

    I think that Booth’s relationship with Hannah was doomed from the word go. That said, I believe that he did genuinely love her for who she is and what she represented and what he needed her to be at the time; but I don’t think that he was ever IN LOVE with Hannah. And if he was ever close to being in love with Hannah, it’s certainly not the same way he is in love with Brennan.

    I know that kind of sounds like I’m splitting hairs, but I think it harkens back to Rynogeny’s post The Love in the Partnership, which explains the concept way better than I ever could. (For anyone that hasn’t read it, you should, Ryn did an amazing job.)

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I think that, quite simply, Booth’s relationship with Hannah was a reaction to time, place and opportunity. I don’t mean to cheapen it, or make Booth sound like a guy out to catch a piece of tail, but let’s face it, he was in a war zone, had just rescued a damsel in distress and she was eager to thank him. Booth had no ties to anyone and no reason not to take her up on the offer. So why shouldn’t he indulge in a little post-rescue somethin‘ somethin’? I’d have been more worried if he hadn’t taken her up on the opportunity.

    From there, well, one booty call leads to another, and they’re having conversations and talking and actually getting along and they are an item.


    From everything we know, it seems like Booth never expected the relationship to be anything more than a deployment fling. He never shared anything significant about his past with her. We know he talked about Brennan and work, probably about Parker, but it’s clear that Hannah doesn’t really know about Booth’s past as a sniper or his gambling problems or even his insecurities about being a good father and a good man.

    In short, he only shows part of himself to Hannah; it’s the “good parts” version of Booth if you will. The bad stuff, or the things that he perceives as bad, he guards and hides from her in ways he never did with Brennan. Brennan got the worst and the best of Booth from day one. And she stuck with him in spite of his worst.

    And I believe that the “good parts” version of Booth is what he tends to show to all of the women in his life. With the marked exception of Brennan and Cam. But that’s probably a discussion topic unto itself…

    I totally agree with your assessment of what was going on in Booth’s head when he showed Hannah’s photo to Brennan, he was saying “okay, see? I have moved on, we can still work together, it’ll just go back to the way it was, you don’t have to worry about me asking for more again.” He probably never expected Hannah to show up in DC, but so long as he had her picture in his phone, he could continue to say to Brennan “I’m okay.”

    But once Hannah was there… I’m not sure that Booth necessarily fell more in love with her, but I think he made a definite choice to love her and put all of his energy into the relationship. But no matter how much energy he put into it, he still held back parts of himself.

    And, I don’t think that through any of it, he ever truly stopped loving Brennan. I think he managed to push his feelings for her into a box (that he had to then sit on and lock with chains) but the feelings were still there.

    So he focused on Hannah, and on being the perfect guy. And for a while, I think he felt he was succeeding in having a relationship and having his partnership with Brennan.

    And then, came The Doctor In the Photo. Brennan’s admission in the car shattered the defenses he’d built up. Booth’s an honorable guy, so of course he’s not going to drop everything and say “YES FINALLY! See ya, Hannah!” So he had to tell her Brennan no, and it hurt him to do that.

    He tried to patch the damage that Brennan’s admission had done to his defenses, and did everything he could to keep her at bay. And he focused on Hannah even more. Or tried to. He even tried to tell her (and us) that those feelings he’d had for Brennan weren’t there anymore. To which I say “liar, liar, pants on fire.” Because his body language screamed that it was anything but true.

    And it’s backed up by what he said in the bar at the end of Daredevil. I don’t have access to the ep or a transcript, but it’s essentially, “I fell in love with a woman, and had a kid… and then the next woman, she’s…” “Me.” “Yeah.”

    He doesn’t say, “I loved you and now I don’t.” He doesn’t say “it’s in the past.” He doesn’t mention Tessa or Cam. He says “the next woman, she’s…” as in “she is”. Which, to me at least, sounds like it is still a state of being. And when she states that it is her, he agrees. And I think that it’s the of the most truthful things either of them has ever said to the other.

    But back to Hannah. I think that his impromptu decision to ask Hannah to marry him was his do-or-die moment with their relationship. Either she was going to say yes, and he’d HAVE to be done with Brennan, or Hannah would say no and he’d be free. But he didn’t follow the thought process out to the end to realize that there was no way he was getting out of it without getting hurt.

    And maybe he needed to get hurt to be able to look at some things he has clearly had no desire to examine. Those things that are “wrong here” and the anger that he carries around with him needed to be exposed and looked at before he could ever hope to have a healthy, happy relationship with anyone.

    So did he make his own destiny? I think so, but not in the way he would have chosen to. But then, if something is really worth it, it’s worth the fight and the effort, so I think he and Brennan will both be happier for it in the long run.

    And if you read all that… give yourself a pat on the back. 😉

    • Wow. Amazing post, and I agree with you completely. 🙂

      • Wow, thank you ladies. 🙂

        Sorry about the markup codes in the link not working. I wish there was a preview button so you could test things like that before hitting post. Thanks for providing a working link, Nicole. 🙂

    • Wow, great explanation!! The link you posted doesn’t work for me, where can I find it?
      Thank youu !

    • I agree with most of what you said here but I would add that Brennan’s declaration in Dr. in the Photo has to be considered from Booth’s perspective.

      Brennan has been supportive of Booth’s relationship with Hannah to the point of befriending her, there’s been no indication, as far as Booth can see, that her feelings changed while she was in Maluku. The Eames case had been making her behave very oddly, the point where everyone saw it, not just Booth. Brennan nearly gets hit by a car, then starts babbling about ipso facto oreo the universe.

      He understands what she’s asking, when she talks about making mistakes and having no regrets, but it’s coming out of nowhere to Booth. And it’s so unlike her. And maybe she’s just sad and upset about the case and the next day or the day after that she’ll come to her senses and tell him it was all a misunderstanding and then where would he be?

      It’s not just Booth being honorable, it’s Booth being rational. Getting over Brennan – to the extent that he did – was an incredibly hard task for Booth. I can see him being totally unwilling to risk having to go through that again.

      • You are totally right about that, Barbara. Great point!

        Brennan was acting completely unlike herself, and if he had risked it then, not only would he have violated his own code of ethics, he would have been taking a huge risk of shooting himself in the foot.

        I like that you called it Booth being rational. That is so true, he was. And very interesting that when Brennan goes all heart, he responds by going all brain.

    • You put all my feeling inot one post. Thank-you.
      I understand what Sarah is saying, but I still think he forced himself to love Hannah. I think he needed someone, and she was there, and when she showed up, he felt an obligation to try to make this work. IMO he stayed away from Brennan so he could force his feelings down deep inside, and keep them hidden. He knew Brennan did it for years, and he wanted to achieve that same goal.

      But no matter how hard he tried to compartmentalize his feelings, he couldn’t do it, and it showed in the ways he looked at Bones. During season six, I would go back and rewatch some of those scenes just so I could hold onto the hope of a real B&B relationship in the future. The one in the diner when he watches her with her Dad, and the time in the bar when he tells her “You only love one the most.” I think that is my favorite Bones quote from early season six.

      I am sooo glad Hannah is gone, but I will always think of this season as a learning time for both of them, because look at where they ended up!

      • Thanks, Kimberly. 🙂

        I agree that Booth felt something of an obligation to try to make things work with Hannah after she dropped everything to move to DC and be with him, but I don’t think he was forcing himself to love her. I think he was choosing to love Hannah and choosing to be with her, and choosing to try to make their relationship work.

        No matter what else was going on inside his head, Booth was excited when Hannah walked through the door of the diner, and he clearly cared about her quite a bit. And while they were together, he was happy.

        If he had been forcing himself to love her, I think he would have been much more unhappy than what we saw, and I’m not sure he would have gotten to the point of proposing. The relationship would have likely run its course well before things got to that point.

    • Awesome post, Jade. You said exactly what I wanted to say, except much more eloquently. 🙂

      The one thing that I would add from my own perspective, is that I felt like after what happened in Doctor in the Photo, he made a conscious choice to focus on his relationship with Hannah and put Brennan out of his mind, despite her admission. I think it was too much for him, and he just shut down and said, “I can’t do this anymore” and concentrated his efforts on being true to Hannah, 100%. With the exception of the look he gives Brennan at the end of Sin in the Sisterhood (which I still can’t reconcile), I was convinced that he had moved on from Brennan. I was heartbroken for Brennan (and for my shipper heart), but I was happy for him, because I felt like he was finally doing something for him. Part of me feels like that’s where some of his anger comes from when she rejects him – the idea that he put aside all of his feelings for Brennan and had pushed forward full steam ahead with Hannah, only to have her reject him outright. Then, I was heartbroken for all of them.

      All this, and I still can’t fully accept the “need” for Hannah this season. I can appreciate that she moved some things forward, but I still don’t think she was absolutely vital to those events occurring. The idea of her and what she brought to the table still makes me sad. 😦

      • Thanks, Ange. 🙂

        I think you’re right that Booth made a conscious effort to focus on Hannah after DitP; almost like he was reassuring himself that he was doing the right thing.

        As for the look in Sin in the Sisterhood, I think it may be as simple as it being an unguarded moment that slipped through. That was the episode where they kind of re-established the partnership; first they touch again when he offers her a leg up to figure out where they are in the corn field, then they laugh together in the Prius, and then they’re back to “the usual” at the bar after the case. So perhaps it is as simple as him being struck by her and their relationship. Or maybe that was the moment when he realized he was never going to be as over her as he wanted to be, but he’d take the friendship and be happy with it. Honestly, it’s been a while since I last watched the episode, so it’s hard for me to say for sure.

        I understand what you’re saying about the “need” for Hannah, but personally, I think she was needed. Without that stumbling block, would Booth and Brennan ever have been able to really admit what they mean to each other? I think the answer is, probably not.

        Without Hannah, Brennan would not have had the opportunity to stand by Booth and just be there for him as we saw in Bikini and Crosshairs and Blizzard and on through the rest of the season. I think the fact that she was there when he most needed someone to be there for him without thinking anything of themselves, is what got through to him. Without that stimulus, without that outside force pushing at them, I think they would have just continued to revolve around each other without ever really getting to the point where they could admit their feelings for each other.

      • Yes, our girl Brennan has “shown up” for Booth many times (not to say she had never done that in the past). I love that even though she accepted that she missed her first chance, she kept her eyes and heart open for a second chance. Actually, she was instrumental in even getting to that point. Not in a manipulative sort of way. She may have hoped for one, but I don’t think she expected one. She was there for Booth, not for herself. But I think she was very brave in the Blizzard episode when she brought up that they did need to talk and she said maybe they could try to be together in the future.

      • C-bones, I agree, she was brave when she brought up the idea that they should talk in Blackout in the Blizzard. And it was extremely brave that she was willing to wait for him to be ready for him to talk; but then also to be willing to wait for him to be ready to give them another shot.

    • Wow. Thanks for the shout-out to my love post. LOL. I was wondering why I was suddenly getting comments on it.

      I like your observation of how he describes Brennan as an ‘is’ at the end of Daredevil. I think he tried desperately to convince himself that if he held on long enough, tried hard enough with Hannah, that he’d wake up one day and realize he felt only friendship for Brennan. But I also think he was always clear on it having not happened yet.

      I understand people who are angry at him for asking Hannah to marry him. But one of the things our culture most struggles with, I think, is the concept of commitment. We marry ‘until death do us part’ when what we really mean is, ‘until the feelings fade.’ We give priority to the feelings, when really, the feelings are the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.

      Love is more than the feeling we associate with love.

      I think Booth gets that. He did love Hannah, did have feelings for her. But he’d made a commitment to her, and that took precedence over feelings for someone else. That feels completely backwards to us, because we’re used to going with what feels right. (While telling ourselves that what we feel today is what we’ll feel forever, all evidence to the contrary not withstanding.) When he realized Hannah hadn’t made – and wasn’t interested in making – a similar commitment to him, he could end it. Not so he could be with Brennan, though, which was also important.

      • LOL you’re welcome, Ryn. I love that post. 🙂

        I love what you say here about the distinction between the fleeting feelings of love and the solid commitment. LOVE IT. You are so right about it being an issue with our culture today, but that is soooo another topic for another time. 😉

        Love is more than the feeling we associate with love. I love this. And that’s the crux of it with these two, isn’t it?

        Brennan has been convinced (or is it stubbornly held on to the notion?) that love is just the ephemeral chemical reactions that, admittedly do fade away with time.

        Booth though, that 30, 40 or 50 year speech? that was all about commitment and making a choice to love even when things are difficult. (And give me that 30, 40 or 50 years over fleeting chemicals any day of the week.)

        I agree that Booth was prepared to make that kind of commitment to Hannah. And that by her not being interested in making the same kind of commitment, he had his out. You’re right, too, that him being able to walk away was not about Brennan, (which, re-reading what I wrote could be interpreted that way) but it was about him knowing what he wanted and needed from a relationship, and being able to be walk away without feeling guilty when it became clear that he wasn’t going to get it.

        I don’t think for a second that he was thinking “well, if it doesn’t work out with Hannah, I’ve got Bones to fall back on.” If that had been the thought process, then Brennan would have become the consolation prize, and that’s not what she is to him at all. The decision to propose was all about Booth and what he wanted and needed. I think it was simply a matter of him reaching the point where he was ready for more; and when Hannah said she wasn’t looking for that kind of relationship, it was okay for him to walk.

      • This quote is what you reminded me of rynogeny:

        “Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”
        -St. Augustine

      • I forgot to say that the quote I just posted when I found it some months ago was the very last time I went searching for a love quote in regards to Booth and Brennan. That quote is B&B for me. No other quotes need apply.

      • Great comment, rynogeny! I can always count on you for a level-headed, rational response. You are very persuasive. I am so with you with the feelings vs. commitment issue in our culture.

        And Amber, that quote is just…wow! It is definitely very fitting. And really, the writers and some of the actors seem to think that too. So many people were like “When are they going to get together already?” – usually just meaning when will they have sex. But I’m so happy HH decided to give us this kind of love, the love that sticks, no matter what. Even if it’s not the same kind of exciting as UST, it’s more beautiful and it’s more lasting, and it’s what they really need.

    • You reminded me of a question that I’ve been wondering, what made everyone think that Hannah didn’t know that Booth was a sniper? I thought she knew that he was a sniper when she tells Brennan how they first met.

      • I don’t know about everyone else but for me I think that when Hannah tells Brennan how she first met Booth I didn’t see it as an indication of her knowing he was a sniper. I think it’s possible she knew he has been in the Army another time but I don’t think it necessarily translates to her knowing that Booth was a sniper. But since they never really specified if she did in fact know people have assumed that she didn’t. There was never a direct conversation between them about him being a sniper.

        I am not sure that makes any sense. Anyway, I can see how it is possible that she may have known that he was a sniper I am just not 100% sure that she did. It never seemed to me that she really knew that much about Booth. Her knowledge of him and about him always appeared to be on a superficial level. In reality we only saw bits of them and those bits were all them being happy and nothing too deep. I think even if Hannah did know Booth was a sniper that he told her only that and not much else. Meaning he never got into the impact it had on him or any true depth about it. Again not sure if I am making any sense. I seem to be in zombie mode a bit.

      • I agree with Amber in that we never learned a lot about Booth and Hannah’s relationship. I think the writers wanted it this way. It always seemed like a very shallow relationship to me. I just thought it went along with the idea that she was a blond, just kidding. I think the writers wanted us to hate her, so they gave us as little information as possible. This way we could say she didn’t matter as much when she left.

        IMO Hannah and Booth’s relationship was more sexually based, rather that sitting around having thought provoking descussions. That was reserved for Bones. She was his ‘go-to’ person when he wanted to figure out a problem, or solve a case. Hannah was just there to satisfy those biological urges.

  16. I don’t think Booth fell in love with Hannah for Brennan, but I think he *stayed* in love with her for Brennan. If that makes sense.

    I do believe that Booth loved Hannah, the way we all have men and women in our past that we loved, who filled a need we had at the moment and when the moment was over, so was the relationship. I think Booth hung on to that moment for longer than he should have and I think he tried to force that moment to become a future. With predictable results.

    Booth himself said it best. “You can love a lot of people, but there’s only one you love the best.” And for Booth, that one is Brennan. And vice versa.

    I’m still a little bitter toward Booth because of his behavior not just to Brennan but also everyone else during the Hannah Era. I’m learning to accept it . . . mostly. Booth is a serial monogamist and I can sortakinda see that he needed to glue himself to Hannah to make up for the fact that he still felt pulled to Brennan. But, I still find myself irritated when I watch those episodes.

    In hindsight, I think Hannah was written so badly because she was always meant to be temporary and some of what failed so spectacularly was what was meant to flesh her out some. That and we weren’t really supposed to like her, because she was only there to force B&B together.

    • I have come to grips with most of Booth’s behavior. The biggest time I thought he was jerkish was at Hodgins and Angela’s baby announcement.

      Now people have said it was because he wanted what Angela and Hodgins had and he wanted it with Brennan. So he really didn’t want to be there with Brennan and no Hannah hearing that they were having a baby. So when given an out he took it! I think I buy into this….we find out later that Hannah is not the marrying kind and that she does not want kids. (I think she said she wanted to adopt if anything at all…) So was he a “jerk” because he knew with Hannah he was not going to get what he really wanted? Maybe….I just don’t know….

      I can’t bring myself to watch those episodes again to really find out what I really think!!! I try to pretend that the Hannah era never happened!!!

      • I’m rewatching – you might be surprised how much easier they are to watch and how differently you see things now that the season is over.

  17. Interesting theory! I wasn’t a part of this blog during Season 6, and didn’t actually watch the first part of S6 until about 3 weeks ago. I just couldn’t bring myself to watch Booth with Hannah, but I did read several different posts alluding to what a *&%$# Booth was being toward Brennan. However, after watching S6, I didn’t see Booth being negative toward Brennan in any way. Other than the fact that he mentioned Hannah more frequently than I personally cared to hear about her, I thought their relationship was pretty much the same. They still ate lunch and sometimes dinner together. The only time I felt like he blew her off was more him blowing off the entire team when Hodgins and Angela were making the baby announcement. When Hannah bought him the phone, he did get up when Bones went to leave to acknowledge that she was leaving. I just never felt like he was being insensitive toward Brennan or excluding her. I think he probably didn’t realize what he did with Hannah even mattered until tDitP when Brennan broke down, and he’s too noble to do anything but stay with Hannah. However, when his window to bail came, he took it – the proposal. Did he “know” Hannah would say no – I mean she had told him she wasn’t the marrying kind, right? All I know is HH/SN are evil geniuses for sure!

    • I wish I had had your strength…I didn’t want to watch it….I really tried not to but I always ended up watching it….

      If I could have watched it all in a two week time period I would have been fine….

      I totally agree they are evil geniuses….

    • i’ve thought of that… he knew hannah was the marrying type… but still he proposed…. i think he really did wanted to get married and settle down… he really does… and at that time he was with hannah… so he proposed to her… but don’t you think subconsciously… that part of him that have always loved brennan… he did that to test hannah’s commitment to him… to end it before it is too late?… to see if he was just wasting his time with her…

  18. Sarah, thanks for the heads up on summer posting. Now that I think about it, there are a lot of old posts worth taking a look at again and seeing if our reactions have changed having had more time and information. For example, how far Brennan is willing to go for Booth’s happiness, who was going to make the first move after Hannah, which one is more vulnerable. Now that we’ve reached the end of the season, we can all see how well our speculations held up!

  19. I totally agree….now I am not saying I didn’t get mad at Booth and I do think he was a little jerkish at times….However, I do think in season 6 episode 1 he was saying see look, I met someone. Don’t worry about me. I can move on and we can still be partners so don’t run off to another country on account of me.

    I was never fond of the Hannah story line but I do want to know why he proposed. He knew at that point that Brennan regretted her decision. He assured her that there was one you love the most and that “they” are not going anywhere. Did he propose out of honor? Did he propose because he knew he wanted it all and if Hannah gave up everything to be with him he owed her the opportunity to give that to him? Was Hannah the safer choice at that point for marriage?

    I still believe Brennan said no in the 100th because she loved him enough not to subject him to her. I believe she thought he deserved better. I believe Booth loved Hannah but during that time he still loved Brennan but was choosing to push it down as far as possible.

    I have read a few of the more excellent fan fiction writers suggests that Hannah was the safer choice and that he did it out of honor or he did it because he thought she would say no.

    I don’t believe he thought she would say no. I lean more towards the “she was the safer” choice.

    I have come to terms with most of it but I still don’t understand why he proposed.

    • The BONES world is really frustrating, in that we only get snippets into their personal lives, and we are scrambling to find motives left and right a lot of times. The honor thing is iffy for me because is it really honorable if he doesn’t love Hannah the most and we know he’s settling for her? And if she knew that, would she really have been okay with that? Hannah does not strike me as the type of woman who would be fine with being someone’s safe choice. As much as I didn’t like her, that’s just not fair to any woman in that position.

      I’m sorry, but when I think about the proposal objectively (not being so engrossed in these characters), it really just seemed like a dumb and desperate move by a man old enough to know better. We wanted to know what he was thinking, but the problem is that he wasn’t! He was getting drunk with Sweets when he made the decision, and bought a big rock like that was supposed to prove something. I bet he and Hannah didn’t even talk about things you’re supposed to talk about before you get married. And she seemed totally shocked at the proposal; maybe she was sending mixed signals, but it seemed like he was just ignoring the bad ones.

      But since it’s I’m not really that objective about the this show, I did feel sorry for Booth (nice acting chops in the 13th, DB). And I know about his history, so I understand his need for his own family. Plus, he just wants to love and be loved like any other human. He’s a good guy, despite his dark past, and he just seems to get dealt one rotten hand after another. But he has his own issues, and he has to acknowledge and overcome them in order to have a successful relationship.

  20. I think in hindsight the “reason” for Hannah was so we could have an opportunity for Booth to reject Brennan. If Booth was not with Hannah, would Booth have said “no” in DitP? It gave them an even playing field so that when they got together one of them would not be more “in love” or infatuated with the other one.

    I also think Hannah was part of the plan all along. I heard an interview once from HH that said “We have always wondered what would happen if we put someone between them that was perfect for Booth?”

    I think the rejection in the 100th was planned the moment they got the two season renewal at the end of season four. I also think the split at the end of season five was planned as part of the two season renewal.

    I also think the bid for a two season renewal at the end of this season 6 was so HH can tell the rest of his story and end after season 8. (My understanding is they did not get the two season renewal for 7 and 8 just for one. A one season renewal is much more typical. Other than Bones, I have never heard of it happening.) I have heard HH say several times that he believes they can go for 8 seasons. I also heard Emily is contracted for 7. So I am hoping for 8 but I do hope they have a planned ending. I want them to end with a high and not get ridiculous in the story or just completely cut it off.

  21. WHOOOAAHHH! (horse.) so many posts, so little time….

    put a thought to this….

    remember in the last scene of The Twisted Bones in the Melted Truck… when they were at the diner and booth held hands? ugghhh… brennan’s reaction was heartcrushing….


    i wonder…

  22. Such a fascinating question… do I think he fell in love for her? Yes, I think so, though I don’t think that means he was consciously using Hannah.

    What’s between them is more than what we so often think of when we talk about two people being ‘in love.’ It’s the type of love that sticks, no matter what. No matter the sacrifice, the cost, it sticks.

    I’ve noted before that I have this theory that Booth made a commitment by the end of S1 to never be the next person in her life who walked away from her. It’s not spelled out explicitly, but I think it’s clear in what he says to Cam in The Boy in the Shroud. (“I’m with Bones, Cam. All the way.”)

    And the moment that’s most tested is when she says, ‘can we still work together?’ She’s just told him no, that she won’t give them a shot – and there’s no room for negotiation there. Contrary to what many see, I think he does try and change her mind. He literally begs her just to give them a chance. And she says no. Again.

    And then puts the screws to him by asking if they can still work together. (aka, “Are you going to leave me?”) Did she know what she was doing? No, I don’t think so. I really don’t. I think she thought it might be awkward, but she’s never been in love, never been rejected the way she just rejected him. She doesn’t have a framework for understanding what she’s asked of him. She really doesn’t. And he know that.

    But how can he say yes, they’ll still work together? How can he give her what she wants, and keep that promise he made to himself, when it means seeing her every day, knowing that she’s never going to want what he wants? That she’s decided it’s not possible, and isn’t even willing to try?

    He has to find a way to fall out of love with her, to no longer want more than she does from the relationship. For most people, significant distance would help – ‘time heals all wounds’ – and many men I know would have told her that they could be partners again at some point, but that they needed some time first. (More than seven months, apparently.) But he won’t do that, so he grabs at straws, anything to convince himself that he can give her what she wants and yet have some hope for himself.

    I don’t think love is nearly as complicated as we make it. I don’t think there’s a switch inside us that flips on or off for ‘in love’ ‘not in love.’ We feel what we feel, and I don’t think feeling it for one person rules out feeling it for someone else. What we do about it…that’s a different matter. (That’s a big psychological tenet, btw: feelings aren’t wrong, they just are. What we do about them…that’s the kicker.)

    So he still had feelings for Brennan when he met Hannah, feelings he kept tucking away. Denying. He saw no hope of her changing her mind (not much room for hope when she can leave and not contact him, which, if we’re honest, most of us would interpret as ‘I won’t miss you, won’t think of you.’)

    I think beginning a relationship with another woman/developing feelings for Hannah was a way of making it easier to tuck those feelings for Brennan away. To hope that eventually, he’d look up one day and realize that, truly, all he felt for her was deep friendship.

    Was he wrong to do so? Maybe. Maybe he should have said, ‘No, I’m not going to begin a relationship with another woman until my feelings for Bones are nothing more than friendship.’ But then he wouldn’t have been able to keep his promise to himself (not to walk away from her) nor to give her what she wanted. There’s no middle ground here. He either pursues another woman in the hope that falling for someone else will allow his feelings for Brennan to fade to friendship, or he makes a complete break from her until those feelings are gone. (Years, probably.)

    I said a few weeks ago that I think his response to seeing Brennan in Mastodon was one of ‘oh! There she is! The woman I love!’ which was immediately followed by, ‘Oh, sh*t!’ He lies at that point, lies to both of them. Hannah wasn’t ‘serious as a heart attack’ because she’d told him she’d never live on the same continent as him. The best he had at that point was plans to see her on her next vacation, and I’m sorry, but that doesn’t qualify as a serious relationship to man who’s pushing 40. So he lies to Brennan, trying to convince both of them that he can give her what she wants: friendship uncomplicated by feelings she doesn’t want.

    That’s why he doesn’t see the hints we saw that maybe Brennan was starting to change her mind. He can’t afford to. He’s trying desperately to convince himself that the feelings he had for Hannah in Afghanistan, and those plans they’ve got to keep in touch/see one another on her next trip to the US, prove that he’s capable of feeling something for someone who’s not Brennan. He can’t let himself think, ‘what if?’ because he’s been wrong before. After all, Brennan hadn’t said, “I’m not interested in you,’ only, “I refuse to take a chance with you.’

    And then Hannah arrives and saves him. With her right in front of him, it’s so much easier to focus on her, to focus on the feelings he has for her (which, now include gratitude and amazement, because here’s a woman who ran after him, who followed him around the world, rather than running from him.)

    He spends a lot of time trying to convince himself he’s in love with Hannah. It was always clear to me that his feelings for Brennan were still there – sort of like ‘whack a mole’ – they’d pop up one place (like at the end of Maggots) and he’s shove them out of sight and look at Hannah. And then they’d pop up somewhere else …wash, rinse, repeat.

    But then, Brennan tells him what she does in The Doctor in the Photo, and it really gets messy for him. Remember what I said about feelings not being wrong? It’s one thing for him to have feelings for Hannah and to make a commitment to her while still having feelings for Brennan – feelings he keeps trying to re-define as friendship. But if he’d bailed on Hannah the moment Brennan said, ‘hey, I made a mistake’ – he no longer deserves either of them. And he knows that. It’s one thing to have feelings for more than one person. But to act on them? There’s no honor in that.

    So he breaks her heart, fully aware of what he was doing. I think his heart broke again, too, in that SUV, if you want the truth. But there weren’t any other avenues open to him.

    Would he have understood if she’d left? If she’d asked if they could take a break from their partnership for a while? Yeah, better than anyone. But she sticks. And does so again at the end of Daredevil.

    I’ve seen people who are frustrated by that as if there’s some tit-for-tat going on. She hurt Booth and he stayed, so now we have to see her stay after he hurts her. But I don’t think that’s it. In fact, it might even be possible that he wanted her to leave, for her sake.

    But the fact that she doesn’t? I think that’s another lesson for her. The woman who thought she couldn’t change, who has run from emotional pain…sticks. Ironically, I think the SUV is when she finally really gets just how much he had loved her, because that’s when she understands the sacrifice he made in saying yes, he’d stay with her. But more important than that, I think, is what she sees in herself. That she’s capable of that kind of love.

    I don’t think Booth needed to see that nearly as much as Brennan did.

    So, yes. I think he fell in love with Hannah for Brennan’s sake, as the only way of giving her what she wanted. But I don’t think he was consciously using Hannah. The feelings were there and sincere, and he wanted them to be deeper yet. He wanted them to grow in intensity while his feelings for Brennan faded to friendship.

    • Nicely said!

    • *stands and applauds* Brava! Lovely, lovely post, Ryn.

      I think your idea about Booth making a promise to himself that he wouldn’t ever walk away from Brennan is a great one. I’d never considered that before, but I think you make an excellent point there.

      I particularly like this: What’s between them is more than what we so often think of when we talk about two people being ‘in love.’ It’s the type of love that sticks, no matter what. No matter the sacrifice, the cost, it sticks.

      I can’t even imagine Booth and Brennan in what is often thought of in terms of the “in love” stage. I can see him being gob-smacked by her at times (like in The Woman in the Sand), and them grinning at each other in a way that shuts out the rest of the world, but the goopy, gloppy stuff? Nope. I can’t even read that stuff in fan fic without it ringing wretchedly untrue from them. Theirs is just not that kind of love.

      Maybe that’s why I’m okay with how season six ended. In fact, the further away from it we get, the more I love it. Which I didn’t think was possible. I see the love they share for each other as so much more than the silly “I love you more” type stuff. What they have is solid; the “love is patient, love is kind” type of love. Booth told Sweets that his relationship with Hannah had been “battle tested.” If that’s the case, then his relationship with Brennan has been through multiple battles, several campaigns and has won the war.

      I really like what you had to say about her sticking even after having her heart broken in the SUV, and what she saw in herself after that event. It was eye opening for her, and I think it paved the way for her to stand by him later on. She could now see what he had risked for her, and it was her turn to take the same risk for him. And as you say, it’s not in a “tit-for-tat” kind of way, but in a “you stood by me, it’s my turn to stand by you.”

      • It is really good to go back and watch the series from the beginning. I’ve been rewatching shows I’d long forgotten about, and catching little moments like Booth knowing all her favorite things to guess her passwords, and Brennan pinching Booth on the cheek as they are driving in the car…and you really get a sense of their bond. The last few seasons have been a little rougher as we really delved into the harder parts about relationships, but when you put it all together, the lighter episodes with the tougher to handle ones (Hannah ones, it seems for most) and you get a full picture of these two and their past, and where they are going. The pregnancy thing is still a bit of a shock to my system, but as you take all the seasons together, which I would assume HH and his evil cronies would have us do, then it all works. Hindsight is 20/20, and looking back, you can see how it all comes together.

        I really have, and always will be, fine with the Hannah thing. I’ve said before, I knew she was no lasting threat to B&B, and I knew her presence was to bring about change. Yes, the 100th ep had me in agony for Booth’s feelings, likewise Doctor in the Photo had me aching for Brennan’s feelings, but you know what? They both needed that. They needed their “surrogate relationship” shaken up and the stalemate ended. In this, I agree with Sweets egging Booth on. Also (new epiphany here!) I agree with Sweet’s proposal promping too, Booth was heading straight for another stalemate/surrogate relationship with Hannah. B&B would have probably gone on with their partnership in that way indefinitely, had not Booth in essence breaking the stalemate in proposing to Hannah.

        The good times, and the bad in Bones does all fit together. And in this realization, I am OK with the Hannah eps, and I understood why both Booth and Brennan had to go through them. And somewhere out there, this experience will help Hannah find someone of her own…FAR AWAY from Booth :).

    • Absolutely – well said!

  23. Ok, having a shipper moment here, not sure where to post my little idea (I hope its OK to post here), but here goes:

    This just popped into my head…in our B&B shipper loving hearts, what MIGHT a B&B wedding look like in our wildest imaginations IF one were to occur? 🙂

    Off the top of my head a few ideas poured in:

    *Brennan totally walks down the aisle to Keep on Trying by Poco
    *Parker as ring bearer
    *Hank as best man
    *Angela as matron of honor
    *Max walks Brennan down the aisle
    *married on the grounds of the Jeffersonian
    *civil ceremony beforehand for practical Brennan, traditional wedding for Booth
    *Hot Blooded plays as the wedding party is announced at the reception

    Ok, that’s as far as I got! haha Any other ideas? Who else would be in the wedding party? Any readings? Other songs? Ideas?

    • An addendum to my wedding idea: Perhaps they chuck it all in favor of an Angela-esque wedding on some island with just the preacher, the two of them, and Parker? Maybe some anthropological-ly type place…maybe Easter Island? Definitely NOT Maluku!

  24. Interesting question, but I’d have to answer it with a no. I think Booth finally reached a point in the season five finale where he realized that his relationship with Brennan was self destructive and things had to change in order for him to survive emotionally. In that first ep back in season six I see a man who is determined not to get sucked back into old patterns of behavior with Brennan. And I think being in love with Hannah was a way of preventing himself from doing just that. I think it’s possible that Brennan’s continued insistence that what he had with Hannah was just sex requiring him to counter that with no it’s about love fed into him believing that what he had with Hannah was more than what it was. But if Booth “lied” to anyone, it was to himself. When he says he loves Hannah to Hannah and when he says he loves Hannah to Brennan he’s telling the truth as he sees it at that time and place. Booth has to believe that he loves Hannah for the same reason that Brennan spent the previous five seasons needing to believe that she didn’t love Booth – self preservation and a desire not to put themselves in a place where they could be hurt again. And that’s an extremely human response.
    We had five seasons of Brennan lying to herself and 2/3rds of a season of Booth lying to himself. And in the process of trying to protect themselves they both instead ended up hurting each other and themselves. And in Hole in the Heart, we have two battered and bruised and exhausted people coming together, finally willing to as SN said accept who they were to each other emotionally. Really, after everything that came before, how could they have come together in any other way than that? I don’t think they could have.

    • You’re right. I was really uncomfortable that Booth was staying in denial, maybe even a little upset. But it’s the same thing that Brennan had been doing all those years. And it was truth to them because of how much they needed to believe it.

      But cheers to them finally accepting their emotional attachment together!

  25. I don’t think Booth fell for Hannah for Brennan’s sake at all. He thought he had misjudged her feelings for him during the 100th so he wouldn’t be thinking she was all that worried about him especially since she hadn’t contacted him (though he didn’t contact her either!). He tried to move on and Hannah was beautiful, fun, available and ready and they got along well (on the surface). So when Hannah came to DC for him he wanted to think he had been wrong all along, maybe Brennan wasn’t the one for him, maybe Hannah was the one for him. So he put as much into that relationship that he could allow including proposing (though I still have trouble accepting the proposal idea as plausible).
    Anyway, I don’t think he tried to throw Hannah in Brennan’s face or that he needed to show Brennan that he was happy with Hannah — he was legitimately thinking that he was supposed to be with Hannah. He trusted Brennan when she said she couldn’t be in a relationship with him so, as others have said, he put his feelings for her in a box. In Dr in the Photo, he couldn’t just ditch Hannah after everything she had done for him (in his mind). It does seem like he would have tried to ease out of that relationship though instead of proposing so maybe that is why some people think he gave her an all or nothing ultimatum so it would be over once and for all.
    Thanks for doing another post today — we still have alot to talk about. If you need ideas I suggest posts about some of the side characters; especially Caroline and Sweets.

  26. To answer your question, Seels, I would like to know when it was that Booth decided that he was in love with Hannah. When he started going out with her, when they had that moment under the fig tree.
    Because in my mind, to the question you pose, (and mind you that I had not thought about it that way, but as more of a second best kind of thing) that will be the true indicator. He had seven months. Was it the case that he felt time slipping away from him, from the possibility to go home to tell Brennan “Here, your the task you set me up for has been accomplished” kind of thing and then he goes and gives in to Hannah?


  27. Everyone had such great comments. I have a hard time sticking to yes or no, here. So I’m going to go with yes and no. He would never intentionally hurt Brennan and he agreed to what she asked for, but he was in self-preservation mode by the time he left DC. Maybe he thought he was doing both of them a favor.

  28. I was watching The Intern In The Incinerator last night and the end scene sort of stood out to me last night. When they are drinking in Booth’s office and smashing the paper cups, Brennan asks Booth, are you going to betray me? Booth gives her a sad look and says no. To me, this struck me as a vow to Brennan (and to himself) from Booth that no matter what happened between them Booth would never abandon Brennan. He would never cause her to be alone in this world again. When the 100 came up and he was rejected by Brennan we saw the ramifications of his vow. He couldn’t have Brennan in his life the way he wanted to; but, he couldn’t walk away from Brennan either. He couldn’t betray her and he never would. Hannah may have been his way to seperate his love from Brennan; but, Hannah was never his way of walking away from Brennan. His friendship with Brennan is probably the most important thing he has in life (besides Parker) and his vow to never betray her probably caused himself more pain than most people would want to put themselves through. Booth’s need to protect Brennan from the hurt in the world actually backfired in a way because it drove him to Hannah. On the other hand, his unwillingness to leave Brennan allowed Brennan the time she needed to see that Booth was there for her and that he was someone that she could always count on. That Hannah also caused pain for Brennan is something that I think Booth could not forsee. He thought he was protecting his friendship when he moved on; but, he forced Brennan to see that there are different kinds of love and that loving someone enough to let them go and live their own life is very hard to do and yet the right thing to do. That she was willing to be happy for Booth when he was with someone else speaks of overcoming a fear of abandonment that had been plaguing her since she was 15 years old. It allowed her to see Booth as someone that she could love and yet she had to stand by and watch him with someone else. The pain that Booth went through when he was rejected by Hannah caused him to rethink his longing for a family for himself. On the other hand, when Brennan told Booth that she would stay with him this was her way of vowing to him that she would never abandon Booth. Their relationship came full circle. The one who feared abandonment the moset was the one who vowed to never abandon someone else.

  29. The argument for Hannah’s existence:

    EMMA: I did not know it until poor Harriet said that she had the hope of his returning her affection that I felt ill that I could lose him, and I knew that no one must marry Mr. Knightley but me!

    That’s kind of how I feel about Brennan’s confession to Booth about her feelings. Yeah, Booth’s had girlfriends before, but she wasn’t in love (or admitting to herself she was in love-depending on what camp you’re in) with Booth at the time and they were no real threat to her relationship with him. After the 100th, he told her he had to move on once and for all, so when he came back with someone, boy did that hit Brennan smack in the eyes! Oh wait, he might actually find someone? Then where would I be? Will I lose that closeness with my partner?

    Helping Hannah pick his gift and the awkwardness of that moment in his apt, was jarring to her I think. I think Hannah’s presence truly was that final straw in her mind and helped change her mindset towards Booth. So its in this that I am OK with Hannah, I am OK with Booth choosing Hannah, and most of all, I am OK with the fact that ultimately Brennan realized she could have missed her chance with Booth…eventually leading us up to the last 2 eps of this season when the game was indeed changed.

    Just as Harriet’s potential to be involved with her man helps Emma change her thinking from best friend interest in Knightley to romantic interest in the movie, so did Hannah help to make Brennan take a second look and reevaluate her feelings for Booth and her place in his life.

    So anyway back to the main question. I don’t think Booth fell in love FOR Brennan, I think he fell in love BECAUSE of Brennan, and her refusal to change the status quo. However, due to (I believe) Hannah, Brennan did in fact have to face facts and change her mental status quo. So…thanks Hannah? *dodges rotten tomatoes*

    • No tomatoes to dodge from me. I agree that Hannah was necessary for Brennan to see that what she thought she wanted in life was not what she really wanted after all. She wanted Booth to be there forever as a friend and partner but not as a lover and yet when it looked like Booth really had moved on and found someone else, this caused Brennan to reevaluate her relationship with Booth. The old cliche, you don’t know what you want until its gone can be so true sometimes. When Hannah rejected Booth and Booth walked away from Hannah, Brennan got the chance to be there for Booth and to show him that he only had to look to see that she was ready for him. This probably seemed like a fairy tale to her.

  30. I didn’t get a chance to read everyone’s response, but I did want to add a few thoughts of my own. So I apologize if I am repeating someone/everyone else’s ideas.

    First off, I think Booth probably didn’t give sleeping with Hannah a whole lot of thought when he was serving in the army. I think he was trying to forget his previously life by throwing himself into a stressful environment, and Hannah just came along with the package. What I think is a very nuanced point though, is that Booth didn’t know when he was coming back to D.C. He was called back for an emergency, and so I don’t think we can really derive any kind of forethought from his actions. I think once he is back, we can see different motivations come to light, but in the beginning, with Hannah, he doesn’t know a lot of things, all he knows is Brennan wants to be his partner and nothing else. I do agree with Barbara’s analysis that Hannah following him made Booth really fall in love with her.

    Second, I think while Hannah caused Brennan some emotional conflict, she isn’t the main reason Brennan “regrets” her decision. I think Brennan is genuinely faced with her own lifestyle and mortality from the case in the episode Doctor in the Photo. If that case hadn’t happened, I am not convinced anything would have changed for Brennan. What happened in that episode was completely internal. In fact, it was an episode shot so out of the norm for Bones, that I thought it was absolutely a perfect depiction of this important character development.

    I hope this post makes sense. I’m not sure I really explained any of my thoughts, but perhaps someone else is thinking along the same lines and could do a better job?

    • @ChillyHawaiian…I do think you make a good point that Hannah was the only thing that caused Brennan to evaluate…but I do think that Hannah’s presence sort of set the stage for it, if that makes sense. I think Booth’s “moving on” with Hannah was part of the reason she had to reevaluate her life and situation. Angela had Hodgins, Booth had Hannah, Cam had the doctor, shoot, even Michelle had a boyfriend so where did that leave her? I still think Hannah was a big, but not the only factor in Brennan’s thoughts changing.

      • I agree. But I agree in a way where I don’t really want to agree. If that makes any sense at all. My point of resistance is that, I don’t think Brennan is an externally motivated person. The only time she does something is when she sees the rationale for it. Although she may have experienced jealousy and hurt with the appearance of Hannah, I don’t think that her emotions really motivated her to change.

        However, the reason I do agree, is because Brennan was forced to recognize that things change with the appearance of Hannah. The only constant in life is change, and for her to wish that her partnership with Booth will always be the same was illogical. I think Hannah represented that change, reminded her of the facts of life, and did set the stage for her own personal revelation/revolution/realization.

        Honestly, I didn’t pay Hannah a whole lot of attention when she was on the show. She was forgettable to me. And I guess that is my emotional reason why I don’t want to give her any more credit than what she is due. The real story always is, and always has, revolved around the inner workings of Brennan and Booth.

  31. Oops…I mean Hannah was *NOT* the only thing. Sorry! 🙂

  32. Man, we need somewhere to post random thoughts.
    Funny moment:
    I was just watching the “Glowing Bones” episode and Brennan told Booth he appeared to be a very good breeder, with his symmetrical features and whatnot.
    Brennan, your suspicions have been confirmed!

  33. Yeah. I can agree with this. I’ve just rewatched up to DitP (in order with no hiatus) and have a very different point of view about our Booth. He is self preserving – creating a world with Hannah that he wanted with Brennan. His forthrightness towards Bren about sex and love etc can come from him giving Bren what she wants: friendship – and nothing more.

    He seems panicked when she speaks of her regrets in that ep…and I can’t comment on the next eps at this stage, but I do think that he is inherently a good guy who was just trying to make the best of a situation.

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