Bones Theory

What’s Imperviousness Got To Do With It?


Brennan:  I am improving.

Booth:  Improving? 

Brennan:  Yes, I’m… quite strong.

Booth:  Yeah, well, you’ve always been strong.

Brennan:  You know the difference between strength and imperviousness; right?

Booth:  No.  Not if you’re going to get all scientific on me.

Brennan:  Well, uh… a substance that is impervious to damage doesn’t need to be strong.

Booth:  Mmm.

Brennan:  When you and I met, I was an impervious substance.  Now I am a strong substance.

Booth:  I think I know what you mean.

Brennan:  A time could come when you aren’t angry anymore and… I’m strong enough to risk losing the last of my imperviousness.  Maybe then we could try to be together.


Hello Bones Theory pals!  A few weeks back, Sarah graciously invited me to write a post for our little chats and offered the sage advice of “write about something you love.”

When I set out to start writing, I thought that I was going to discuss what I had come to think of as “The Tempering of Temperance Brennan”.  I was going to talk about why I love the above conversation between Booth and Brennan at the end of “The Blackout in the Blizzard”, and how her growth is analogous to the process of tempering.

But it’s funny how the thing you think you’re going to write about doesn’t always work out that way… because as much as I was trying like crazy to get something cohesive to come together, it just wouldn’t work.

Not in the way I wanted it to, anyway.

There was a lot of discussion and negative backlash amongst BONES fans regarding the above exchange between Booth and Brennan in that scene.  Personally, I loved her speech and didn’t really understand the backlash; I just found it to be so very, very Brennan.

So I asked the question:  how does a substance, in this case Brennan, get from being impervious to being strong?  What’s the tempering process at work?  But the more I thought about the exchange, the more I found myself wondering if Brennan’s analogy is really as accurate as I first thought.

And that’s when something clicked… bear with me for a moment, I promise this is going somewhere.

In the above conversation, Brennan states that when she first met Booth, she was an impervious substance; however, the more I thought about it and started trying to come up with examples to support my hypothesis about tempering, I found myself wondering if she was really as impervious as she’d like to think.

Early in season one, Brennan tells Zack that to work on cases and not let the wasted lives he encounters get to him, he has to put his “heart in a box”.  Putting one’s “heart in a box” is not the same as being impervious.  Someone who is impervious would not need to put their heart in a box.

Someone who is impervious would not recognize her new partner’s distress and comfort him after he had to take one life to save many.

Someone who is impervious would not share a very personal story to connect with a scared little boy to get evidence in a case.

Someone who is impervious would not be able to so passionately testify on behalf of a murdered girl who was chained up, drugged, left to die and then tossed into a refrigerator upon her death.

Someone who is impervious would not spend all afternoon on Christmas searching for an elderly woman just to tell her that her fiancee did not abandon her decades before.

Someone who is impervious would not change her plans and stay with her partner to watch television in the hospital after he saved her life.

Someone who is impervious would not reach out to her partner and lay her hand on his arm while he recounts the story of one of the most difficult days of his life.

Do you see the pattern here?  With every single episode I examined, the more examples I came up with of how Brennan is NOT impervious.

So the question then became, if she’s not impervious; what is she?

And if she’s not impervious, what does her speech to Booth really mean?

And is it, in light of “The Hole in the Heart” and “The Change in the Game”, even important anymore?

At the outset of the conversation that spawned all this thinking, Brennan states that she sees herself as “improving”.  I think that her “improvement” is really more the fact that she can finally see for herself how much she has grown and changed since she first met Booth; because she has grown and she has changed.

Season one Brennan would never admit to Booth that she is jealous of his belief in love and his desire to lose himself in another person as she does in season four.

Season one Brennan would never toast love as she does in season five.

Season two Brennan would not put her own reputation on the line to save her father as she does in season three.

Season two Brennan would not creatively interpret the data for Booth’s peace of mind as she does in season five.

I could keep giving you example after example of how she has grown and changed, despite her assertions in the hundredth that, as a scientist, she is incapable of change.  Clearly though, she is capable of change; and it’s been a beautiful process to watch.

So, where does that leave us?  I think the question I’ve finally arrived at is, was she ever really impervious?  And if she wasn’t, (because I don’t think she ever truly was) what was she?

Is it possible that her speech was a way for her to tell Booth that she was willing to give him time and space?

Was she telling him that she’d wait for him to be ready to take the next step, and when he was ready and the time was right, she would be too?

Was her speech simply an admission of her readiness to step beyond her carefully constructed comfort zones and take a chance on true happiness?

Or was it something more?

And in light of the events of “The Hole in the Heart” and “The Change in the Game”, are imperviousness and improvement even factors anymore, or is the change in the game going to mean a change in the vulnerabilities these two face together?

What do you think Bones Theory?  Let’s discuss!

60 thoughts on “What’s Imperviousness Got To Do With It?

  1. Wow what a great discussion question! I think Brennan was a little impervious in the beginning of the series but not completely impervious as she seemed to think. In all those instances you mentioned Brennan is reaching out to someone else and comforting them. I think she was impervious in that she wouldn’t let anyone in and wouldn’t allow herself to be comforted (I.e love). We see her really struggle with loving her father and then loving Booth so I think her imperviousness was in regards to giving And receiving love, if that makes any sense.

  2. I hate that scene.

    I watch it and I know i’m supposed to love it. Booth and Brennan having a moment, deciding that eventually they want to be together, when they are both in a better place. Just…lovely, right?

    But I watch it and all I want to do is call BS.

    Because it is…what annoys me about the entire thing are Brennan’s words. Booths angry, it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out so he speaks and I nod and agree. But Brennan…Brennan is many things, but impervious isn’t one of them. Looking back over the seasons (as you have done) you can see that she never has been. And what annoys me more than anything is that in S6 particularly, the writers have showed us that Brennan has changed. She is more open…she tries to reach out more and, regardless of how much it may hurt her, she stands by Booths side as his friend and partner.

    They did that. The writers…they wrote Brennan down this particular path and then they backtracked.

    They got to that moment and went….’Well bugger. Brennans ready and Booth is a bloody mess. What can we do? Ah, I know…’ and along came the impervious BS. They gave us an excuse for why Brennan also wasn’t ready for that relationship with Booth when in reality we had an instance where Brennan was ready and Booth wasn’t.

    For me, I watch that and just roll my eyes because we have a scenario where Brennan is basically waiting for Booth to get his shit together. And it frustrates me. Really really frustrates me! LOL

    SO yeah…I really don’t like that scene.

    In terms of whether it means anything now I’ve got to go with no. It’s another one of those things that we were given as a ‘Look…they may not be together but have this little scene to get you by’…and then it turns out to have no real meaning.

    Add to the fact that SN said it’s pretty redundant (or something like that) and I don’t think it’ll be mentioned again.

    I’ll stop waffling now and go and grab another pain pill….and thanks for putting Tina Turner in my head! I know what I’ll be singing the rest of the day 😉

  3. When it comes to Brennan’s beliefs, I really think She thinks that she has been impervious in the past. I think that what she really did was create an Impervious surface which is mainly an artificial structure. A wall. She used the wall to hide her feelings (her heart) behind it. When she told Zach to put his heart in a box, she was really telling him to build an impervious surface around his heart to protect it from outside influence. We all know what happened to Zach. His wall became so thick that nothing could touch it and he was therefore swayed by The Master to help in The Master’s mission. I think over the years, Brennan’s wall started to break down little by little. It was a long process and by the time Blizzard came around, Brennan’s wall was almost gone. What she considered the last of her imperviousness was the wall that had finally grown so small that her “heart” was no longer covered or surrounded by it. Her strength is her ability to not hide herself from the world anymore. Her strength allows her to interact with those she loves and not feel like she is losing part of herself in the process.

    • I agree – she had put up a shell that made her impenetrable, such that she just wouldn’t deal with issues/life. And she is learing to discontinue this sel-destructive (in that it kept her from having more meaningful relationships with people) coping mechanism.

  4. Fabulous post, congrats 🙂

    I love that scene. I thought it was gorgeous, and open and honest and brave.

    I agree with you that Brennan wasn’t that impervious in season 1, but then I think her character overall was very very different in season 1 (I put this down to the writers not knowing how long they were going to have to tell their story – they had to put her ‘back’ in development somewhat in order to lengthen the overall time they could keep B&B apart) In terms of characterisation, I think as the seasons went on the more Booth pushed up against her walls, the more she reinforced them – becoming more impervious, more deliberate, more literal in the process.

    I remember being amazed when I watched Blizzard that I’d never thought of the word ‘impervious’ to describe Brennan before, because I thought it was pretty accurate. Brennan has appeared a ‘strong’ woman always, but I’ve always thought a lot of that prickly bravado was actually just her covering up her insecurities. I’ve always thought of Brennan as quite a fearful, insecure person in some ways. She covered that up for years with her ‘strength’ but actually, she was making herself impervious. It takes real strength to be able to be vulnerable, you know? She wasn’t capable of that for a loooooooooong time. Definitely not the 100th, not even the beginning of season 6. That’s not a criticism of Brennan – I don’t see anything wrong or any weakness in having insecurities and subconscious vulnerabilities, it makes her more human to me.

    It wasn’t until DitP that she was finally brave enough to let something break through her walls and admit what she actually wanted – a committed life with Booth. That’s why I was so proud of her after the SUV conversation – it was so brave and took real strength. Especially to then admit to Micah that she was sad but recognised the value of those feelings.

    I actually think that the Blizzard conversation was more about Brennan than it was about Booth. Yeah, he was angry – but nothing really changed to make him less angry between then and the end of the season, when we know he wasn’t angry any more. He got Broadsky and appreciated Brennan being there for him after Hannah left, but that’s it. He showed he was still in pretty much the same place as he’d always been ‘really really wanting’ to be with Brennan and equating her with love and fate and all that. Brennan on the other hand, admitted in that conversation that she’d changed and that she wanted to be with him and hoped that was in their future. Big strides.

    I don’t think the scene will be mentioned again, because they never really go back to stuff, but I think it was a very important moment – a definite turning point for them. I know people who say that they believe B&B were essentially a couple after that ep, and were just waiting for the right time to take it further. It was the first time they’d ever, ever agreed to ‘try to be together’. Can I also say how much I love, love LOVE that it was Brennan who said that? My girl’s come so far, so proud of her 🙂

    • I really like what you have to say about this, Sophia. Your first two paragraphs about Brennan pretty much nail what I was thinking and you said it in a much better way than I could have. I do have more thoughts on this issue, I think, but no time to type now. I hope to be back later to share more.

      Great post Jade!

    • Thanks, for the congrats and kudos, ladies! 🙂

      Sophia, wow. Just wow. I’m with Stephanie, I love what you had to say about Brennan, especially in those first two paragraphs. You are just so right about how much strength it takes to be vulnerable like that, and it’s a completely different kind of strength than the kind of strength it takes to deal with the stuff she and Booth see every day.

      And I love that Brennan was the one to broach the “try to be together” subject, too. In fact, I almost feel like there’s no other way it could have gone. If she hadn’t, Booth probably would have just let things keep on going the way they were, and I LOVE that she recognized that it had to come from her, even if she was risking Booth saying no. Heck, the whole ep was about her taking getting to the point of taking that step with the way she was kind of testing the waters in the elevator and kept trying to read Booth’s mood.

  5. Sarah is good, isn’t she? It’s always that “write about something you love” line that just sucks you in! 🙂

    I love your post and this promises to be a fascinating discussion! I would like to agree with the first commenter, Megan, in that all of the situations mentioned have Brennan reaching out to someone else. It’s always easier to help someone else than it is to accept help yourself. Maybe that’s the big change Brennan has undergone. She’s willing to accept help, or advice, on her own behalf. Instead of offering something herself, she’s able to accept what others offer and, most importantly, she’s able to ask for help on her own behalf. Like, going to Booth when she was emotional and confused after VNM’s death.

    I can’t wait to see what develops here today. Great post!

  6. I think of it as akin to when she tells everyone that she isn’t as cold as everyone thinks she is. In Season 1, she cares that she isn’t sharing presents with everyone under the virtual tree, but she is able to resist being dragged in by her friends to join the fun. She does care about when others think she is a cold fish but she is able to sufficiently shrug it off until she can’t bear it anymore in Season 6, the Signs in the Silence. I have more to say on this later …

  7. I hated that scene. It made absolutely no sense to me. Brennan isn’t impervious. It was just the writer’s rewriting Brennan’s history, disregarding what she had done in the past, to drag out this story. It made no sense to me, that this convo was being written for these two characters. Especially when you look at the series as a whole. I really don’t know who these characters of Booth and Brennan are anymore. Honestly, I have given up trying to figure out what half the dialogue being written for these characters are suppose to mean, because it doesn’t hold up with what was previously written for their characters. They are telling us that she was impervious but that was never shown in any previous episode.

  8. I think you’re right on in proving how she’s NOT been impervious, but I like the imperviousness part of her speech in the sense that it kind she’s kind of highlighting how she knows that in order to be with Booth completely she has to allow herself to leave her heart open and vulnerable around Booth rather than at select moments here and there.

    I have issue with the “I’m improving” line. It really bothers me. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s because it feels contrived; I don’t know if it’s because I hate that Brennan feels like she needs to ‘improve’ for Booth; I don’t know if I’m bothered by it’s the way it’s delivered by ED (the way she pauses and almost rolls her eyes before saying it gives off an ‘I can’t believe I have to say this crap’ vibe to me), but every time I watch that scene that one line makes me cringe.

  9. I think the line “I’m improving” line is annoying to a lot of people; but, for some reason, not me. I know that in the past she has complained to Booth that she is not cold. We heard Brennan bring this up in The End In The Beginning. She has worried about this so much that she even had Booth, in her story, his coma dream, tell her she wasn’t in The End In The Beginning. She complained to Booth that she was not a cold fish and didn’t like people to think of her like that. We then got the answer from Booth: What you are is Iceland. Cool to the touch but underneath all volcano. She has worried about it in the past and it seems to have come to a head in season 6. I think when she says she is improving, it is not to say that she is changing herself for Booth. She is changing for herself. She is trying to be less distant and cold to those around her and more empathic. We (and Booth) have seen plenty of times in the past that she is empathic towards others; but, she worries that no one can see that in her. The imperviousness she talks about is not just the wall she has built around herself to protect herself from hurt, it is a cold veneer that few bother to look past. I think the improvement she speaks of is her letting people see that she is really not as cold as people think she is.

    • LOL! Lucy, when I started writing this many weeks ago, I actually had pulled up the dictionary definitions of impervious and strong and was going to work them in. Like I said in the post, this went in such a different direction than I though it would, but I’m happy with it. It just makes me giggle that you went to the dictionary too. Awesome! 🙂

      (And I think there may be many of us who *ahem* know someone like that… 😉 )

  10. I really liked that scene and i think if fits Brennan’s character very well. For years now she has been sending out mixed messages; she’s beautiful, a succeessful author, the best anthropologist, the most rational. To her, being rational was the supreme compliment. She could remain objective at her job and in other aspects of her life and that meant that she was always in control. She’d never have to depend on anyone ever again. But we also heard her say that she wanted what others had, that she knew she was missing out on so much, that she was the only one leading the life she expected. This last statement wasn’t said with a smile on her face; she was sad. I pretty much see the “I’m improving” line as an acknowledgement that she wasn’t entirely satisfied with her life, but that she has taken conscious steps to get her where she wants to be.

    Brennan has always cared about people; why else would she be flying off to genocide sites to help id victims or why would she be so determined to give people justice, even when they’ve been dead for three thousand years? What she didn’t want was the emotional mess that came with caring. This is why she forcibly shoved her emotions into that little box again and again. They did come out pretty regularly, especially when someone was really hurting and the only way she felt she could help was by giving something of herself even when she knew it would cost her.So no, she wasn’t technically impervious, but that was her intended goal because feeling another’s pain as deeply as she did (and does) made her want to set her emotions aside as often as possible.

    So her statement may not be entirely accurate, but what she’s trying to get across about herself is. Despite the efficiency she tried to portray to others, she was very insecure about her true worth and her ability to come through for the other person emotionally. Hence her rejection of Booth’s offer. She didn’t think she would be enough for him and she didn’t know if she could risk the ultimate hurt: of loving so completely only to have the person leave you, or worse, die. But she’s finally come to see that she’s got all those things in her. Her Blizzard speech was primarily an announcement to Booth more than anything else, “I’m ready, pretty much, to risk everything and be with you. I can take whatever comes our way and I’m not going to run off.” She took the lead when he faltered by staying at the bar with him, by bringing the tommy guns and by initiating the relationship discussion in the elevator. It was pretty gutsy of her, and I can safely say that I never saw her stronger than when she took those steps for him when he couldn’t.

  11. I think it’s easy to dislike or dismiss the “I’m improving” scene because it sounds insulting to Brennan, as if she’s not good enough as she is. But I think that scene makes her even more real, less of a cold-fish scientist caricature. I mean, don’t we all have aspects of our personality or character traits we work on almost daily? And isn’t that kind of self-reflection and introspection a good thing?

    I’m usually very sensitive to what I perceive as slights to Brennan as a result of trying to build up Booth, but I didn’t pick up those vibes here at all. Just the opposite. I was proud of my girl for not only noticing that this was an area she could improve in but taking the steps necessary.

  12. I agree Brennan has not been impervious to *feelings* in the past, but I would say she has been “impervious” to the specific kind of romantic love that Booth wanted from her in the 100th, that she said she could not give. She has never allowed herself to love anyone *that* way (she clearly loves her father, brother, Angela and even Hodgins), because she believes romantic love is ephemeral and the feelings will end.

    Technically speaking, Brennan has had more onscreen dates than Booth during the series, but they never go anywhere. Where Booth had remained lifelong friends with Cam, Brennan hit her ex with a baseball bat (on accident, though and he was a jerk, so I don’t mind.)

    Brennan understood that Sully “adored” her, but she never verbalizes how she felt about him. She flat out tells Booth in Cinderella in the Cardboard that she wants to believe in and want the kind of love that he and everyone else wants and needs. But at that point, she’s still impervious to it. She still doesn’t see the potential benefits outweighing the potential pain.

    When Brennan tells the helicopter pilot in Doctor in the Photo (of Lauren) “she had nothing to lose”, I think that’s when Brennan realized that it would have been worth the risk. At that point she’s dealing with one of the possible bad outcomes of a relationship with Booth (that it would end and that he would move on) and it’s difficult, but they were dealing with it. And she’s watching Booth be (what she thinks at least) very happy with Hannah. It’s a living, breathing risk/benefit scenario being played out in front of her.

    And Booth has essentially proven that even without those ephemeral romantic feelings for her, he won’t leave her and he’s still her partner. (which is further reinforced when she asks what happens if you let the one you love the most get away and he asssures her he isn’t going anywhere – at least that’s how I read that scene).

    Of course the timeline adds up to Brennan still not really being all that impervious in Blackout, doesn’t it? Or…not.
    Because this is when the tough part starts. Being willing, in theory to accept the potential risks that come with a romantic relationship is one thing, but accepting them in practice is another. Brennan is willing to *try* in Blackout, she seems to think (according to her dialogue anyway) that she needs to shed a little more imperviousness to be ready to make it work. Maybe it’s the difference between saying in Blackout that she is open to the possibility, versus going to Booth in Hole in the Heart and outright asking/offering.

    This is the sort of thing that an extra line or two of dialogue in Hole in the Heart would have been ever so helpful in clarifying (and I don’t see that it would have affected the surprise ending of the finale at all, but whatever).

  13. Wonderful! I was hoping for a post like this soon.

    The whole question of ‘was Brennan impervious?’ is very interesting – you’ve given some great examples of why she wasn’t. However, the quote from the scene is: “When you and I met, I was an impervious substance.” She is clearly stating that before they met, she was impervious. I interpret her words “i’m improving” to not just refer to her recent behavioural changes. I think she’s just trying to tell him that she is in the process of changing states, which is a positive thing. She doesn’t say: “i’ve been improving recently” – she’s been improving for an unspecified amount of time.

    She claims to have been impervious when they met. We know that after their first case, there was a year long hiatus on their partnership. Thus, even our examples of her being ‘un-impervious’ in season one, could be manifestations of her gradual change, or improvement, after interacting with Booth (she’s had a year since her imperviousness was first challenged before we even meet her in the pilot).

    I think the way that she deals with the loss of Zach, compared to the loss of Vincent, clearly reflects a change in her world view and in the way she is affected by things. The parallel scenes of searching through the box of zach’s stuff, and Vincent’s funeral show her progression. I think that the night of Vincent’s death was definately the day she shed the last of her imperviousness, and that is why I was in the ‘they totally did it’ camp. To let her guard down, to cry, and to ask for help – she showed that she was willing to trust someone else completely.

    I didn’t dislike the ‘impervious’ scene – I was more annoyed at the angry Booth.

  14. Cells are said to be impermeable to some substances; this is called selective imperviousness. They choose what can and cannot pass through them. I think of Brennan as this type of substance. Because of her feelings of abandonment, she created an impermeable wall that she only allowed very few people to pass through.

    I believe that during the first two seasons, Booth learned how to pass through her selectively impervious self, creating a weakness that allowed others to pass through. Once the imperviousness began to fail, she either didn’t know how to fix it, or didn’t want to. I think by the third season, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t go back to the way she was.
    Lenora said that Booth compared her to Iceland, but we need to remember that Brennan wrote that line. She knows how deep her feelings for others go, and at the time it was written, she knew that she was failing to hold onto that selective imperviousness.

    I also think that she wanted to improve; she wanted a different way of life. Her improvement wasn’t just for Booth; it was for everyone around her. I don’t think she enjoyed who she was, but at the time of the first season, she was unable to be anyone else. Her selective imperviousness stopped her from becoming who she wanted to be.

    Last week one of the BT posts was about nature vs. nurture. IMO, by nature Brennan is a kind, warm-hearted person, but because of her past situation, her nurturing, she became impervious to the affect others had on her, and Booth was the key to help her become who she is now.
    I can’t wait for season 7, because the baby is going to affect her life in completely different way. I watched the deleted scenes from BitB, yesterday, and even Booth saw a different side of her. I think she will be an amazing mother, because she is capable of so much love toward others, even those she doesn’t know.

    • Kimberly, wow! *That* is an awesome point – I hadn’t thought of it in terms of cells. I love the idea of her being selectively impervious and Booth being the substance that knows how to get in. Great, great idea!

      It kind of goes back to “the heart chooses what it chooses” doesn’t it? Why was it Booth that was the right fit to get through? Who knows? But it works for them.

      And that’s an interesting point about her not being the person she really wanted to be. Perhaps that idea is at the root of all her insisting that she’s fine being alone and just isn’t meant to be with anyone when, clearly she wants more from her life. But I don’t think she is or has changed for anyone else in her life; I think if she were doing it for someone else, it would cheapen it a bit. I think it’s all about her wanting to be a more well rounded person and be happier in her life.

      • That last paragraph reminds me of her conversation with Angela in The Couple in the Cave, when she says, “So I’m the only one living the life I expected” and then after Angela asks, “How’s that, honey?” (stammers uncomfortably): “It’s…um…it’s as I expected” (plasters fake happy smile on her face). My heart breaks every time I watch that scene.

  15. I think Lucy C nailed it right on the head. “My guess is that she THINKS she was/is impervious. And, given the history we know, parents/Russ/foster families that she created “impervious” Temperence to get through, and not to be hurt or disappointed…I think the first crack was when she originally met Booth, that is when the tempering started. He called her out right away (and she him) and since then she has been learning.”

    Of course Brennan was not truly impervious. We’ve seen little glimpses of her caring, feeling, being affected all throughout the seasons. To me, her saying that she was impervious is like when kept saying that she prefers to be alone, she’s a person not meant to have a family, etc. Of course those statements were not true either, she was trying to convince herself and others that it was true, in her attempt to become truly impervious.

    Then she partnerned with Booth, a man that threatened her attempts to live life imperviously. He made her want to ditch the imperviousness—but she was scared. It had seen her through for years since her parents’ disappearance. Could she really give up that fight for imperviousness and let that wall crumble?

    Finally, through all the drama of the 100th ep, Maluku, Hannah….it was Vincent’s death that finally broke down everything for both of them. I think that was the part that broke down Booth’s anger. It wasn’t vocalized, but I think him watching this innocent man die, Brennan’s reaction to it….it helped him let go of that anger. Life is too short. Likewise, Brennan was finally ready to breach the last obstacle between them. Life is too short.

    As always Jade, you make tons of sense! I totally agree that she was never impervious, truly, but she had sort of convinced herself she was, hence her speech to Booth.

    • bb, I agree with your statement: “I think that was the part that broke down Booth’s anger. It wasn’t vocalized, but I think him watching this innocent man die, Brennan’s reaction to it….it helped him let go of that anger. ” That was a good observation. A lot of people have complained that Booth has not shown why he would have let his anger go; but, I think Vincent’s death and Brennan’s anguish seemed to have cooled his anger. If Booth had still been in an angry state when he finally captured Brodskey, I am not so sure Booth would have just shot him in the leg and settled for standing on the injured leg for a small revenge. If he had really still been angry at the world, I feel that Booth may have killed Brodskey. By not killing Brodskey, Booth showed Brennan that he was no longer angry and in essense not the killer that Brodskey was.

      • @Lenora, I think you provide some great “evidence” there. Remember when Booth shot the clown? Anger. Also in SitS, he showed some anger in the interrogation room, which he did not like…so he was already aware and ready to shed that anger, and Vincent’s death helped that process. If Booth should shoot an “innocent” clown in anger, then he would have taken that kill shot on Broadsky, who killed someone which hurt his partner so. I agree that his shooting Broadsky in the leg helps show he’s in a good place with his anger.

      • Not shooting Broadsky also means maybe we’ll get Arnold Vosloo back for a few episodes. 🙂

      • Mj Yeah, if he were to escape from prison, it would really make for some great drama. Wow, if he were to escape, you can bet everyone would be scared spitless, even Booth (for Brennan).

      • Or, be acquitted. What’s the case against him? That he’s the only person (aside from Booth) who could have made those shots? He didn’t leave physical evidence behind, except for that phone, right? Fingerprints in the lift? Running from Booth, who’s chasing him with a gun? His confession to Booth is about it, I think.

        There are possibilities there. Or, I’m just crushing on Arnold. 🙂

      • MJ, they can get him for the murder of the ex-soldier he stole the sniper rifle from. That case lead to the gun dealer who told Booth about the bullet making, etc. They can link the bullet that killed Vincent to Brodsky. Also, it is a Federal offense to steal and use id to get into the Docking area of container ships. He was also using false ID to get that job on the ship. Home Land Security frowns on things like that. Caring around a rifle in a HLS area could be considered terrorism. He would be convicted of something if not Vincent’t death.

      • MJ, Oh, not to mention, tresspassing on Sealy Booth land and blowing up a building on that land.

      • I think Booth was shown letting go of his anger – I think he did it in Signs in the Silence actually, after he punched the abusive father and saw – in that flash of light – what it was costing him to hold onto that anger.

        What I would have liked a little more information on, personally, was what Booth was angry about. The world, as you suggest? Himself? Hannah? All we *know* from the dialogue is that it’s not Brennan.

        And yes, I have my own theory (that he’s angry at himself) but the danger in the show’s increasing tendency to leave huge elements of character development up to the audience interpretation is that if we interpret “wrongly” – ie not what the writers intend, future character actions might not make any sense. Which is what much of this discussion is about, actually.

      • @Lenora, all that sounds nice and messy – a perfect reason to bring him back. And now I promise to stop posting about Broadksy. 🙂

        I have wondered, however, if Booth technically owns that land since his name was obviously forged on the deed.

      • MJ, your last post reminded of a hilarious book on “American History” by humorist Dave Barry. He rewrites “This Land is Your Land” as:

        This land is your land
        This land is my land
        It looks like one of us
        Has a forged deed to this land

        I’m sorry. It gave me the giggles.

      • MJ and Maria check this one out, I know when you want to know when there is something interesting out there so here is one I found today:

      • Oooooh, thanks Lenora!

        I don’t know what it says about me, but I really like Booth better when he’s all dirty or sweaty or muddy. I should probably worry about that . . . .


      • I looove Arnold too (although not as much as I love DB!) It would be great to have him back, whether he gets off the charges or makes a run for it. He made for an excellent (and very attractive) villain. As to Booth, I’m not entirely sure even he knew what he was angry about, except I think it all starts with his dad and goes from there. He’s mad at this whole proposal mess, but I think he’s mainly angry at himself and his-up to now- quiet, passive acceptance of being rejected by just about everyone but his grandfather along the way.

        I wasn’t upset that he said he was mad, especially since in Blizzard he specifically excluded Brennan from his anger issues. I’m actually happy that he was able to verbalize what he was feeling because his normal reaction up to now has been to keep everything inside and go forward as if nothing was wrong only to shoot a clown, clobber a suspect or punch a bus shelter later. I mean, he’s not a saint; he’s entitled to feel hurt and confused at the end of Daredevil. It’s one of the very few times we’ve ever seen him stand up for himself, so I don’t begrudge him that right, even if Brennan got a little bit of shrapnel on her as a result.

      • Sorry Lenora; I posted without seeing your video reference. You are too kind-I loved it! And yes, please, if you find anything like that let us know-the season premiere is a looooooong time away-we gotta keep busy. Thanks!

      • MJ Bush – you’re not the only one who loves a hot sweaty Booth. I rewatched Bullet the other day and DB just blew me away (no puns intended…given how Taffet ended up). He looks almost…soulful, and to think that he did that whilst directing. WOW.

        Aside from the table vs gun debate (which still makes me giggle), the hottest scene in that ep/fanvid is when he’s pointing up to the possible location of the sniper, and we see his tatts poking out from under his sleeve. I think that I should probably worry about that!

  16. I don’t think Brennan was impervious. I think she wanted to be impervious and thought that she was. Being with Booth and working with him made her see that she couldn’t hide behind that excuse anymore and I think her whole speech was just her way of letting Booth know that she is willing to wait for him to be ready.

    I liked the whole scene in Blizzard because it showed that Brennan really has grown and that having a relationship with Booth really is important to her. She’s not going to give up just because he isn’t ready.

  17. thanks for a great post Jade! I think Brennan purposely had a wall up when it comes to Booth due to her fears. But she hasn’t been impervious in other situations as you point out. But she has been working on that wall all of Season 6. By Blackout, I think she is 100% ready to be in a relationship. I take her words about ‘improving’ and ‘losing the last of her imperviousness’ as a way of telling Booth that it is ok to wait — that she will be ready whenever he is. That way he doesn’t feel like he has to jump in before he is ready out of fear of losing her. That’s why I think the date she wrote when they burned the paper is something along the lines of ‘whenever you are ready’.

  18. First I have to say I love this place and all the discussions. I have never posted before (I am not a native english speaker so it took some courage) but today I decided to do, maybe because I am on of the few people who believe that Brennan has been impervious. What she said is “When you and I met I was an impervious substance.” And I think that was true. She was all about science and facts but then she met Booth. And he gave her the opportunity to leave the lab and make some important and sometimes painful experiences. I agree, in the aboved mentioned scenes you can see that Brennan isn´t completely impervious. But all this happened AFTER she met Booth. Brennan left save ground (the lab) and this was the time when she was starting to become strong. And that is why IMO her statement is true.

    • Welcome to BT! I’m glad my post encouraged you to leave a comment, and your English is great, so don’t be shy! 🙂

      You bring up a good point about all that happening after she met Booth, but I wonder if she would have even made the offer to help Booth with his cosmic balance sheet if she had been truly impervious from the start. Or do you think that the case in the Pilot episode was the catalyst that started breaking down the imperviousness and allowed her to reach out?

      • Thanks for the welcome, Jade.
        I believe in Brennan´s case it´s a kind of self chosen (but yet it is) imperviousness because of the pain of abandonment in her childhood. So you have to go back to pre Pilot and Booth´s and Brennan´s real first meeting. As it was mentioned several times in the comments on Sarah´s monday post “A kiss”, Brennan subconsiously startet running away from her even minor but slowly growing feelings and compassion. In addition she was afraid because she kind of sensed she couldn´t stay impervious while being together with Booth – don´t matter what sort of relationship. She felt in a way she hadn´t for a long time. IMHO she started becoming strong (even though very, very slowly) by seeing and recognizing – and pointing out by Booth 🙂 – the pain and behaviour of other people outside the lab.
        Brennan´s offer about the cosmic balance sheet was one of the first baby steps she took on the long journey from imperviousness to being strong aka improvement.

        That is really an interesting discussion, Jade. I can even reflect on while going to sleep now. I am anxious about reading all the further posts tomorrow after work.

  19. Remember Cam’s line to Booth about cracking Brennan’s shell? Brennan conducts herself in a way that makes others believe she is impervious and she herself believed she was impervious. Perhaps her growth process from impervious to strong is really coming to the realization that she is not as impervious as she thought she was and that makes her strong.

  20. You guys rock so much – thanks for all the congrats and positive comments on the post! I had no idea how much discussion this was going to create, so I am really enjoying reading what you all have to say about it. 🙂

    • Jade, I love the picture of Brennan with the sea shell. If we needed a picture that proves that Brennan is not cold and aloof, that is it. She is so pretty in that picture.

    • Jade, that was a really good topic, because people have such mixed feelings about that scene. You did a great job deciphering the meaning of Brennan’s words and putting them into context. Congrats!

    • Lenora, I can’t take credit for the pictures, that was all Sarah and her awesomeness. She asked if I’d like her to put some pics in the post, I said “sure!” and she ran with it. 🙂

      Thanks, Maria! 🙂

  21. It’s funny, I never thought of Brennan as being impervious in the first season. Or the second. I saw her trying to make herself impervious in later seasons, drawing away. Losing that grip on pop culture that she never really had a very firm grip on anyway. Like her suddenly not knowing that it’s “jump” the gun, when she says it in an earlier season. Maybe losing Zack was a big part of that. Culminating in her drawing away from Booth, going to Maluku and realizing it didn’t make her care any less and Booth being the one who could help her. A heart’s a heavy burden. So that’s what I always imagined she meant in that conversation. In the beginning of Season Six she was really trying to be impervious which led to The Doctor in the Photo. Maybe her “improving” was just her not even ‘trying’ to be impervious anymore, not being afraid of her own feelings.

  22. Frankly, I found this scene incoherent. What it sounds like here is she’s saying she used to be unaffected emotionally, and now she can feel emotional pain, so she’s working on being willing to risk that pain. But her stated reason in 100 was protecting Booth, not herself. She didn’t hold the same beliefs about love he did, so she believed she would hurt him. And she wasn’t willing to hurt him.

    So here’s my question: does she now believe in love the same way Booth does (either because she changed, he did, or they both did), does she no longer think conflicting beliefs in love will hurt him, or is she simply willing to risk hurting him now? Because logically, those are the choices (unless you want to make the case the S6 writers are making and turn Brennan into either a liar or a person with no self awareness whatsoever).

    I think the writers would like us to believe in door number one, but I just can’t, because they didn’t do the work. I think that’s what the whole imperviousness and anger thing was supposed to accomplish, but it just ended up not making any sense. As for two and three, Brennan certainly got her vindication in Hannah. Her ill-paced, unrealistic, poorly acted vindication (WHAT IS WITH THE SUNGLASSES OH GOD WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ABOUT).

    • @Sammy, I just watched the “sunglasses” scene the other day…and I was like what in the world?? I think they are trying to lay the foundation for the Hannah/Brennan friendship but I thought it came across as weird. Awkward and weird.

      • This is a little out there, but could the sunglasses, be a symbol of how much Bones gave away because she was afraid to stand up for herself and fight for what she wanted?
        Hannah came along took Booth from her, then when Hannah asked for the phone, she took that, then the sunglasses.

        The sunglasses, although it seemed stupid, were just another thing that Brennan gave away, because she was too scared to stand up for what she wants. I have been watching all the seasons from the beginning, and I don’t want to go out of order, but is there anything else that Hannah took from Brennan?

      • I know I’m adding to my own comment here, but the more I think about it the more i realize that Brennan has always been the type of person to give to others in need. There are many examples of this in the series. She builds that bridge to help that town recover in BitB. She puts herself on the line for her father in VitS. She gives that story about how she was locked in a trunk in MotC.

        I’m sure there are many more examples, but this idea ties in with our discussion today. That she wasn’t impervious in the true sense of the word.

    • Well you could argue that her stated reason in the 100th was a little bit of subterfuge – that she told Booth she was protecting him to avoid admitting that she was afraid to try a relationship.

      But I tend to lay the fault with the season 6 writing too. Honestly, I love this show, I love these characters bu I think the writing in season 6 was like a chicken with its head cut off. Running this way and that until they finally ran out of steam and collapsed in a heap, leaving behind a bloody mess. I sincerely hope that over the summer, the decaptiated chicken was plucked, cleaned and deboned and we’ll be served a lovely dinner in season 7.

      • LOL, that was great!

      • Right, you can make that argument, but then Brennan was either lying or deluded when she said that.

        I agree completely about S6, and I don’t have high hopes for S7. I was really bummed when they threw that pregnancy in at the end, because I am not confident in these writers’ ability to handle that. I hated what Angela’s pregnancy did to her character. But hell, I’ll still watch.

      • Well, Sammy, I am more optimistic. IMO, they had two and 14/15ths seasons of excellent writing and two seasons of very good writing so one bad season still puts them well ahead, on the whole.

        I don’t know if they were trying for an overall more angsty feel in season 6 or what, but I think they know it didn’t really work, either. And not all of season 6 was bad. I thought Shallow in the Deep and Bullet in the Brain were good. And I thought parts of other episodes were good. I will always adore Hodgins’ Disapproving Look. I want a lifesize cutout that I can put on a stick and hold up whenever someone disappoints me.

        Bottom line, the same people responsible for the bad stuff were responsible for the good stuff, so we can get the good stuff back.

  23. I love this post! It really got me thinking. I went back and watched Man in the Morgue. In it Hodgins tells Angela that Brennan started changing the day that she met Angela. She saw how Angela lived – “all fun, involvement and pizzazz- big, a big life.” He tells her that Booth came along and gave Brennan the opportunity, but that she got the idea from Angela. He says “Brennan wants a big life like yours.”
    In the Pilot episode, Angela is the only one that she appears open to, allowing Angela into her thoughts and feelings. She tells Angela that her most meaningfull relationships are with dead people. Angela tells her that maybe she comes off a little distant (impervious), because she connects too much- Angela knows her so well. So, I think Angela is already past her walls and has inspired the change from impervious to strong, but it is Booth who gives her the opportunity and knowledge. I think she was intrigued by Booth’s knowledge of people and his ability to read her so well. He also tells her in the Pilot episode that you have to share something of yourself if you want personal information from someone. So she allows him past her walls as a partner and then as a friend so that he can show her how to have a big life.
    I think it is interesting that she is following in Angela’s steps for a big life, but that it is still Booth who gives her the opportunities( with her family, a romatic relationship and now a baby).
    I hope I made sense. I have always been afraid to post because I’m afraid I will sound like a Bones crazed idiot!

    • Karen, #1, we are all “Bones crazed idiots” here so post away!

      #2, you make a really good point about Angela. Brennan admired a lot about her friend, but Booth was the one to actually help make it happen. Great insights!

  24. The heartbreak! I just wrote a novel of a response and the internet timed out on me. *groan*

    In short: My boss (who has been married 37 years) said “you don’t get married if you’re not willing to change.” What she meant by that was that loving someone changes you. Not on purpose, but because, as Booth said, people leave marks on you–or the good ones at least. I think, in that sense, Brennan was protecting Booth by turning him away. She wasn’t ready to change. Of course, what bothers me about that next episode was she went right around to dating Hacker again, yuck. Bu the implication is Hacker is “safe”–he isn’t the kind of man to leave marks and Booth is. The fact that she already had begun to change was a realization that would take more time.

    I also have a personal philosophy that so much of a relationship is about you. It is about how you view yourself, how you view the world around you, and has very little to do with the person you are with. (Now I know this might sound to be the exact opposite of my previous statement, but I never said love was logical.) To explain a bit more, all of your insecurities and hang-ups come out in relationship, especially important ones. I know I struggle with that every day. So Brennan’s view of herself–her ideas that she is “impervious” or can’t change–they would have (negatively IMO) impacted their relationship if she had said yes. And I know there have been comments about Booth’s insecurities that would also be relevant to discuss here too. In any case, all of that together equals a little bit of Brennan protecting Booth, and Brennan being out of touch with who she really is. Doctor in the Photo does a lovely job of getting her to a fuller understanding of herself.

    Oh, and it just occurred to me, Brennan’s acceptance that she was speaking to the Dead Doctor, despite the illogical nature of it (some would even say crazy), may be a sign of how much she really has adjusted her world views to accept phenomenon she can’t explain *ahem* religion.

    I love Lenora’s analysis of Booth’s treatment of Broadsky in the end. I will need to think about hers and some of the other comments as I re-watch a few episodes.

    Last, but certainly not least, I need to say Bones’ fans are smart. I love reading the comments here. Wonderful job on the blog friends.

  25. Okay so I know I’m late to the game, but I wanted to share a few of my own thoughts about Jade’s post before we move on to something new.

    I think the biggest take away, for me at least, from Brennan’s impervious speech and the discussion about it here, is that there is a difference between who Brennan wanted to BE and who she actually WAS. There’s no doubt in my mind that she wanted to be that impervious substance. Sometimes she succeeded and sometimes she failed, but the desire to be that way (save, perhaps, for part of season one, which is why I think Sophia’s comments about how Brennan’s character needed to be tweaked for later seasons are so important) was always there. She may have longed at times to be different (the jealousy speech at the end of The Cinderella in the Cardboard for example), but fear kept her from actually turning that longing into reality…until season six.

    The way I see it, “impervious” isn’t something that you just are, it’s something you have to be. We are not, by nature, uncaring – Brennan included. And because it wasn’t in her nature to not care, she had to build walls to protect herself. Sometimes people and events breached those walls (Booth and Zach, I think). Other times, after much struggle and careful consideration, she opened the doors just wide enough to let them in (her dad). Sometimes her reaction to experiences was to let go of those walls a little bit (the Christmas tree in The Santa in the Slush), and other times she reacted by building the walls even taller and stronger (Zach’s betrayal, Booth’s gamble). It’s why she learned to compartmentalize her feelings.

    The bottom line is that through it all she kept on believing that she could be impervious. It’s a classic example of not being able to see the forest for the trees. But I don’t know that it invalidates her speech in Blizzard. What happened in The Doctor in the Photo that was different from just about everything that had come before, is that she purposely destroyed the wall. Instead of caring almost because she couldn’t help it, she made a conscious decision to care – no matter the risks involved. And that’s when she let go of her need to be impervious and chose to be strong instead.

    Because let’s be honest here, it took strength to face Booth’s rejection in Doctor and still stand her ground. It took strength to sit there in the bar beside him in Daredevil when he threatened to take away everything she wanted. It took strength to admit that she wanted something more in Blizzard. And most of all, it took strength to come to Booth in The Hole in the Heart, admit her pain and her insecurities, and then ask him for comfort.

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