Bones Theory

Morning After Q: If Not For Booth, Would Brennan Still Be At The Jeffersonian?


Good morning and happy Friday all over the world!

Here’s something I started pondering last night, and I’m curious to know what you think about it. Do you think, if Brennan had never really met Booth, or they hadn’t been partners after working a case or two together, that Brennan would still work for the Jeffersonian?

At this point in the series, it’s clear (like a lot of you have mentioned) that the lab is a home for Brennan and the squints. But…if Booth hadn’t been in the picture, would it still be? Especially for Brennan? It seems possible that the J-team might have still helped the FBI on cases here and there (and remember that interview early on with HH where he said the original idea was for Brennan to work with Booth and other agents, and DB was only signed on for a few eps of season one and Booth was more of a minor character? Egads…Let’s not even think about it!!!), but I just don’t see any emotional tie for Brennan to the lab if not for working on the cases with Booth.

But maybe I’m wrong. Thoughts from you?

I think she may have felt a loyalty to Dr. Goodman, but if she wasn’t working with Booth, would Brennan have stuck around after Cam entered the picture? Was she attached to ‘The Lab’ or just to science and work?

It makes me nuts when sometimes people would complain about Brennan going on anthropology trips or to dig-sites, etc. Sometimes she MIGHT have used those trips as a chance to get away, but I still don’t think it’s cool to be on her case about them. It would be the same as getting on someone’s case about working or staying at home with children–that sort of thing. I think all of us, at some point, make some sacrifices for our jobs or our families, or our romantic relationships, whatever…right? Okay, okay…I’m getting away from the main point, which is this…

While the Jeffersonian might be, as Booth called it, Brennan’s favorite place or her ‘house’, do you think that she really would have stayed there for nearly a decade if not for her partnership with Booth and the FBI in DC?


Peace, Love & Bones,



79 thoughts on “Morning After Q: If Not For Booth, Would Brennan Still Be At The Jeffersonian?

  1. That’s a tough question, Sarah. Brennan seems to enjoy her work at the Jeffersonian. I think she thinks of herself as someone who gives closer to all of the bones in Limbo. She gives a name and a face to all of those unknown victims and I think she takes pride in the fact that she can help return someone back to their family. Since she didn’t have any family for so long, I think this important to her. I think she would have still worked at the Jeffersonian. She probably would have traveled more though, going to digs and sites of tragedy to help where she could.

    I also think that Angela’s friendship is very important to her. If she hadn’t worked with Booth, she probably would have never found her father and brother again which means that her friendship with Angela was the closest thing she had to family. If Angela stayed at the Jeffersonian so would have Brennan.

  2. …would Cam have come to the Jeffersonian if the Brennan – Booth team weren’t already working so well there? I would guess no. If that were true, then I think she would have stayed, and the work of the Jeffersonian as an institution would have been much more traditional – ancient remains, and she might have ended up The Doctor in the Photo. However…if Dr Goodman had called in Sully (swoon) ….
    Still, I don’t get Cam coming to DC, if she did, however, I don’t think it would have lasted, also, the show would really be bad, CSI new york bad, and that is bad.

    • Lucy C, I think you’re right about Cam. As a pathologist, she wouldn’t have a place at the Jeffersonian without FBI cases (as she said in The Mastadon in the Room “Fresh dead,” pointing to herself, “long time dead” pointing to Brennan. Cam always has the funniest lines.

    • That was the thought I had, too. Would Cam have come there if The Jeffersonian team hadn’t started working with the FBI? After all, she’s more case-oriented than anthropology-oriented and the J-team was definitely anthropology-oriented before Booth showed up.

      Since I’m not a Cam fan, I’ll just take a minute and happily imagine the lab without her.

      Okay, I’m back.

      Speaking of – I had not heard that bit about the original plans for the series. WOW. I just can’t imagine this show without both of them, Booth and Brennan.

      The fates, they were kind to us.

      • MJ, I’m guessing the show wouldn’t have lasted very long if they had stuck with the original plan. I mean, the cases are interesting and all, but I watch because of the dynamic between the characters, especially B & B. It just wouldn’t fly without Booth. Also, it seems to me from the way many of these responses stray into Buffy/Angel discussions (guilty!) that a lot of viewers probably began watching Bones because of DB.

      • Good point. I also remember reading that ED was cast because of a screen test with DB when he came at her, yelling, and instead of backing down, she stood there and yelled right back.

        Which was sorta prophetic. 😀

      • CJsMom, I didn’t see Angel and Buffy until after I started watching Bones. I discovered Bones during season 5, then bought all of the Angel DVDS and watched those and then bought all of the Buffy DVDs and watched them. I watched DB get younger not older. I’m not normal.

      • Lenora, normal is a relative term anyway. I also did things “out of order” so to speak. I started watching Angel on TNT in the afternoons, and when I started I think the rotation was around the end of season 2. I was totally hooked, so eventually I bought the DVDs and watched the whole series. Then my husband introduced me to Bones. Again, hooked! And I recently started acquiring and watching Buffy. I’m a little more than halfway through season 5.

      • This is making me jones for ‘Once More, With Feeling.’ So good. So so good. Definitely going to have to pull that out soon.

      • MJ, I had to google that, because I’m not there yet. A musical episode of Buffy? Well, if anyone could pull it off, it’s Joss Whedon. And thinking about Joss Whedon makes be sad all over again that Firefly was cancelled. My inner geek is showing.

      • OMG, just wait. Feel free to email me right after you see it! So awesome and, hello! Spike!!!

        Sorry for the tangent. But…Spike!

      • I read somewhere recently that Spike was voted the sexiest man in the Buffy-verse, and I have to say, I just don’t get it. He’s nice looking and all, and I certainly went through a Bad Boy phase in my youth, but compared to Angel? Seriously? To each her own.

      • Oh, be still my heart.

        Spike is all…..grrr. And Angel is all “I love you Buffy” pouting.

        And Spike is all…..grrr.

        And I’m 46 freaking years old which is way too old to be grrr’ing over Spike. But….grrr.

        I’m sorry….Bones. Bones. Brennan. Bones. Booth. Baby Bones.

      • Oh, MJ, you’re never to old to dream.

      • Oh it might have been even worse! They were considering Elisabeth Rohm for the part of Brennan!

        Show would have never made it past the first 13 episodes. I’m sure ER is a nice person, but wooden planks have more charisma.

      • Lenora – I’m backwards too. I’ve never seen Buffy and I didn’t start watching Angel until this year when I started getting up at crack of dawn early for work and saw that it was on TNT at 6 and 7 a.m. To make it even more bizarro, my husband was the one who got me to watch Bones because he’s the Buffy fan in our house. He was rewatching Buffy on Netflix; I was rewatching X-Files, and voila, thanks to a Netflix recommendation based on our viewing history 3 years ago, here I am.

        I’m kind of blown away at the idea of Bones without Booth after the first few episodes. I’m so glad that changed!

      • I agree with MJ, I am not a big fan of Cam. I don’t dislike her exactly, but I also don’t like her either. And it has nothing to do with her relationship with Booth early on. She just doesn’t make any sense to me within the context of the show.

        But, I thought I would just mention I have never seen Buffy or Angel and do not plan to. While I love DB on Bones, I watch Bones because I love crime shows, all of the gross stuff, and continue to think that science will rub off on me. I also watch it for the characters and the storyline, and the jokes. But I have this odd feeling that I may not like DB if I met him in real life. **Please don’t kill me!**

      • ChillyHawaiian, I strongly disliked Cam at first, but she’s grown on me. She’s still my least favorite of the regular supporting cast, but I think that she is often given the funniest lines.

        As for DB in real life, I have to agree with you. What little I know of him (and it is very little) doesn’t appeal to me. Which is fine, because I love the characters he plays on TV and that’s enough for me.

      • MJ, I don’t know if you read fan fiction, but I just read a very short on that made me think of you and your affinity for Spike. It’s called The End of Her Rope by razztaztic (on It’s only about 1,000 words and it is so silly. I think you’ll get a kick out of it. Unless…you’re razztaztic? In which case, hilarious!

      • Yea, that’s me. What the hell is “Supernatural” anyway? I don’t even know what channel it’s on. What’s it got – like, ten viewers? Have any of them been waging a campaign to get James Marsters on? No! And you know why not? Because there’s only ten of them!

        It’s a conspiracy. HH&Co are deliberate not reading my tweets – on purpose. They just don’t want me to have nice things.

      • Awesome. I’m not sure what Supernatural is, either, but, at the very least, it is popular among fan fiction writers. On, if you sort by popularity it’s number one. It has almost 10,000 more stories than the next most popular (Glee), and more than twice as many stories as Bones.

  3. I don’t know if she would have stayed without Booth. In the beginning, he was her experiment, she wanted to explore who he was, and why he reacted to the world in that special way. It was like he was an enigma to her, and she had to find out more.
    Without him, I think she may have stayed part time, but leaving frequently to go on digs. I don’t think she would have formed as close a relationship with any of the squints, because she would have been more nomatic in nature, and not had time for those close relationships to form.

    • I agree with this line of reasoning in general. Stick to what she does, go on digs, guest lecture, visit at universities, etc.

      However, she would have stayed at the Jeff until something she thought better/more prestigious/more room for growth in the work, etc. came along. There might have been nothing better, but I think that the right situation could eventually have led her from the Jeff.

  4. I think she’d have stayed at the Jeffersonian indefinitely, or at least made it her base of operations.

    1) She doesn’t like change.
    2) It’s the most prestigious institute of its type. She wouldn’t downgrade.

    • Good points. She did tell Booth in the beginning that the best and brightest work at the Jeffersonian, not the FBI. But I do think she would have gone on more digs.

    • I agree. Brennan would have used the Jeffersonian as her base of operations and gone on digs the way she always did. Oh, and she would have guest-lectured at various universities too. But she would have stayed at the Jeffersonian because before Booth came along, she was doing what she really wanted to be doing there (pure science). It was Booth that pulled her out of pure science, not the Jeffersonian. No Booth means no Angela, no Cam, and no forensics department. Dr. Goodman stays and Brennan, Hodgins, and Zack spend their days looking at old bones. There wouldn’t have been a reason for her to leave the Jeffersonian and return to her first love because she never would have left it. Leave to go on digs – yes. Permanently – no.

      Oh, and Bones without DB/Booth as a regular character? That’s the stuff my nightmares are made of…

      • Well Brennan would have still had Angela in her life, they were already friends, just not as a co-worker. I do agree that Goodman, Hodgins, Zach, and Brennan would have stayed looking at old bones indefinitely, and that Brennan would have Angela to talk to, but that’s it. Brennan would’ve never strayed outside those parameters.

    • bb,
      I don’t know how close she and Angela would have become. As I recall from the 100th, she sought Angela out to help with identification. When she did she said she remembered her from an art showing, because she had a great knowledge of bone structure.
      Now the question is, would Brennan still have searched out Angela for a stronger relationship? I’m not sure on that, I think she would have, talked to her occasionally, but I don’t think they would have beeen as close without Booth to encourage it.
      Brennan always seemed like a loner, at first, I just don’t see her looking for that relationship in the same way.

  5. Remember the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Donna Reed, Jimmy Stewart’s girlfriend has become a mousy town librarian? I think that Brennan would not have been exposed to the outside world in the same way without Booth (and may not have brought in Angela) which would have altered her quite a bit. Hodgins says early in the series that Brennan wants a big life and Booth actually allows her to have that kind of life. Yesterday’s scene study reminded me just how hard edged and awkward Brennan was at the beginning of the series and how she’s warmed up and become more softer. I think it would be entirely possible for her to have stayed at the Jeffersonian for all those years, but it may have been a totally different woman than the one we see now.

  6. I’ll get to the actual question in a minute, but first: Booth was intended to be a minor character? I find that completely gobsmacking. I came late to the series (I didn’t start watching until the fifth season was on in primetime), and I had no idea. I’m just…seriously? (On an-only-slighty-related-note, this reminds me of the fact the Jack in LOST was supposed to be a minor character who got killed off in the Pilot episode. Instead, they killed off the pilot.)

    Okay, moving on. I have to second and third and maybe even fifth what has been said so far: She likely would have stayed at the Jeffersonian for reasons already listed (Angela, prestige of the institution), but I think she would have spent considerably more time in the field, trekking around the world and visiting dig sites and what have you. But I think her relationship with the Jeffersonian would be very different. As it stands in the series, she has created a makeshift family with Angela, Hodgins, Booth, even Cam and the squinterns to a certain degree. She has an emotional attachment to the Jeffersonian. I think that without Booth in the picture, it might still be her haven, but a professional and intellectual haven, rather than an emotional one. Before Booth came along, she immersed herself in her work and it resulted in isolating her from others. Through the course of her partnership with Booth, her work has served to forge connections with other people. Given the scenario you posited by the post, she would have left if a better offer came along. Season Six Brennan wouldn’t even consider it, in my opinion.

    • She already had an opportunity to consider it early last season. She could have gone back to Maluku, but she decided to stay because she felt like she was needed more at the Jeffersonian.

    • Except that if it weren’t for Booth and the FBI, Angela wouldn’t have been at the Jeffersonian. Brennan hired her to work on the Gemma Arrington case.

    • This sort of thing is not that rare. Revealing my great age 😉 in the pilot for Hill St. Blues, the two cops (Hill & Renko) were shot. They were supposed to die, but, lo’ and behold, they worked well in/for the show and so they didn’t die.

      This same kind of thing happens with movies when you hear who didn’t end up being able to take a role because they were busy with something else. Apparently, Tom Selleck couldn’t do Raiders of the Lost Ark because of Magnum. Can you imagine any other Indy than Harrison Ford?

      There are a lot of these: who they originally wanted for the role, but ended up w/ someone else, and now it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in the role.

      • A few months ago, I saw an article that said Eric Stoltz was chosen for the part of Marty McFly in the Back to the Future series. They actually shot with him for a few weeks, but it just wasn’t working, so they replaced him with Michael J. Fox.

      • I don’t know if you know this, Betty Davis almost got the part of Scarlett O’hara in Gone With The Wind. I cringe thinking about that one.

      • In the original “ER” storyline, Julianna Margulies’ character was supposed to die, her suicide being successful rather than an attempt. But the test audience responded well to her so they tweaked the storyline to let her live. Would have been a much different show if they hadn’t.

        All of these examples remind me of how much of an evolving organism a TV show is, which makes me really admire the showrunners (though I sometimes want to throttle them for some of their choices) for being able to sustain a show over 7 seasons (and counting!).

        DB was the one pushing for Elisabeth Rohm since they had worked together on Angel (where, frankly, I thought their chemistry was non-existent). He and Hart were at somewhat of an impasse when Emily came into audition and blew them away, for which we have Jerry Bruckheimer of all people to thank(!) Emily was in one of his movies (Glory Road maybe?) and he recommended the studio consider her for Bones.

  7. I think she would still work for the Jeffersonian, but she would probably be away on long term digs and projects a lot more often. And that makes me doubt if in that scenario Angela would still be working for the Jeffersonian right now.
    What is Cams official position again? Isn’t she ‘Head of Forensics’ or something like that? I agree that her job probably wouldn’t exist if Brennan didn’t have a partnership with Booth (which makes the whole storyline about Cam considering firing Brennan kind of a joke in hindsight.) Brennan originally kind of bullied Booth into being partners (with demanding to be involved and all that). Her partnership with him is a personal choice (Goodman would just loan her out occasionally) so it’s not a given that a replacement anthropologist would have that same connection with the FBI. Right?

    • My understanding has been that they thought that they needed someone between Goodman, the administrator, and the Lab. They needed someone who had a forensic focus. To what extent that was driven by the Brennan-Booth partnership, it’s hard to say definitively. They might have brought in Cam for the purpose of developing the relationship between the Lab and the FBI, if B&B hadn’t started working together regularly.

  8. Yes, I think she would have still been at the Jeffersonian even if Booth had never come into her life. I think the Jeffersonian did become Brennan’s home, even before she started making emotional ties to her team. I don’t think Brennan’s love for anthropology has ever changed, it’s a passion for her. I actually would like to see some more cases where Brennan asks for Booth’s help instead of the FBI calling her in first. I could see that happening as things evolve with B&B’s new relationship. Anyway, yes, I think she would still be there. Brennan wanted the chance to see the world outside the Jeffersonian, she wanted to go out into the field but she always came back. I really think her time in Maluku was really time she needed, as she told Angela, away to reassess and I don’t blame her for that….I just wish she could have been able t share those reasons with Booth. Oh, well, old news now! I actually think Booth is very proud of Brennan’s standing in her field and I think he would support any future ventures where her expertise is requested. I can envision Dr. Brennan and family on sabatical.

    • One of my favorite things about Booth is how proud he is of Brennan – that he really respects her strength and intelligence.

      • Um, yeah. It makes me swoon a little when he’s openly proud of her. Le sigh.

      • In The Girl in the Fridge, I love when she tells him that she never got a B, and he says “That’s my girl,” – of course not to her face. In fact, you could tell he was really pulling for her when her former professor challenged her. It was the first time he openly acknowledged (moreso hinted at) that he appreciated her WYSIWYG quality.

        Sometimes it shows up in funny ways. Like in The Woman in the Sand, when he tried to be offended for her that they flew out to Vegas on the word of a prostitute, and she was chiding him for being judgmental.

        And I don’t remember the whole scene, but in The Truth in the Myth they were on that TV set to interview the host, but I remember Booth giving her a friendly nudge when the host wanted her to say a few words.

        Wow, I’ll stop with the examples, ’cause apparently this can go on and on.

  9. I absolutely think she’d still be at the Jeffersonian. It’s THE place for a scientist to be and she THE BEST in her field. (“You think the best and brightest go into law enforcement? No, the best and the brightest go to the Jeffersonian.”)

    However, I would agree that her relationship with the Jeffersonian might be different. I see her traveling more, lecturing more, going to more digs and such because it would further her knowledge. Her expertise would be invaluable in other areas than where her focus is as we know her now.

  10. I think Russ in The Woman in Limbo can answer this question for us.

    “You turned your back on me and you made yourself a new family.”

    And this was in Season 1, so very early on. Keep in mind too that she had Angela and Zach, people she had bonded with, even if she wouldn’t admit it.

    What Booth brought to Brennan was the ability and the desire to actually leave the lab and accompany him on interrogations and questioning suspects, which was something completely foreign to her. Without Booth, I think she would have stayed there indefinitely hiding with her bones.

    • Nice quote. So…do you think that Booth was instrumental in the creation of her family, or do you think Brennan had already started building it on her own and her relationships with the supporting cast of characters would have progressed similarly without Booth influence?

      • It may not be so much that Booth’s initial influence was trying to help her form a work family. But the nature of the work he brought to her forced her to find scientists (and artists) with the best qualifications to help. Brennan did have Angela and Zack, but I don’t see how she would have had the others if not for forming a murder-solving team. But without a doubt, he was instrumental in getting her biological family back, as an FBI agent on the case, and as a friend.

      • I think Booth was instrumental in helping them all work as a team and bond more throughout the years. But especially Zach and Brennan would have happily stayed looking at bones for yearssss. And I think was Russ was still right, that she had made a new family, but more like Sweets would call it, a “surrogate family”.

        Sure she had made a new family and home, finding the Jeffersonian and the “best and brightest” people to work with, but they were not truly a family in the warm and loving kind of way. And THAT’S what Booth provided I think. Brennan had the bare bones (hehe pun!) of a family set up, and Booth helped by giving them cases, giving them all a shared purpose that had more immediate results than looking at 1,000 year old bones. Like he said in “Aliens”, it took all of them to get Hodgins and Brennan out of the ground. They had truly become a cohesive team and more importantly, a real family. For Booth too. They had gone from merely annoying squints to “his people”. In a way, they are Booth’s family as well, even though he had Parker, he was still pretty much alone, and now he’s not. Yay :).

      • CJsMom, I agree that he was trying to teach her about emotional relationships being worth the risk, but I think that came later on the more time he spent with her. That’s why I used the word initial. He didn’t seek her out to help her in that way because we saw that they had a rocky start, but that’s just the way things started going.

        You know, yesterday we talked about Booth’s first impression of Brennan, being gobsmacked and all, and how he was persistent in getting her to work with him again. But I’m starting to think that may have not been the biggest factor after all (so I am conceding it still is a factor). Because at the end of the case, he wasn’t just gobsmacked by her, he was literally smacked by her (not cool, Brennan.) There may have been a sexual attraction there, but it definitely got back-burnered after that. And the only way I can see him sucking up his pride to see her again is to be focused on the fact that he wants to find justice for innocent victims and apprehend murderers – and Brennan was obviously the best person to help him. And even after they became partners, when Brennan wasn’t as nice to him, I think he put his ego to the side to solve difficult cases. I’m thinking about The Man in the Morgue, when Brennan asks him why he is so nice to her, and he responds it’s because she makes those bastards pay. Over time, he began to actually enjoy her company, and the rest is history…and history still in the making.

      • C-bones, it’s possible that I misrepresented myself. I think the Booth’s influence resulted in Brennan becoming more open emotionally, but I agree with you that it wasn’t something Booth set out to do. I definitely don’t think he approached her in the pilot episode thinking he was going to “broaden her horizons” or “teach her to love.” In fact, I think that if he had actually been consciously trying to do that, it probably wouldn’t have worked. I think that it was just was natural by-product of the work they did together and the relationship that developed between them. And you make a good point about having to set aside his pride to ask for her help. Although he tried to trick her (with the Homeland Security ruse) into thinking she owed him a favor; but when she called him on it, he did just come out and ask. He was definitely putting justice for the victims above Seeley Booth’s Pride. Then, through the course of their work together, he began to see who she was behind the Tough Woman Scientist facade and feel some affection towards her.

    • yes, but would there have been a Russ in The Woman in Limbo without Booth? Why would she ever have let him back into her life without Booth?

      This no Booth conversation is making me want to barf a little.

      • Lucy C, I’m glad I hadn’t taken my sip of coffee yet, because I would have spit it all over the computer when I laughed at your barf comment.

        C-bones, my personal opinion is that Booth was responsible for demonstrating to Brennan that personal relationships are worth the risk. I think that “pre-Booth”-Brennan held almost everyone at arms length for fear of getting too entangled, and then being hurt and/or abandoned as a result. The only exception I see to that is Angela. Even in the pilot, they seemed to be close. But I don’t think she really let anyone all the way in to her life until Booth. I can definitely see your point about the nature of the work requiring collaboration, and therefore brining more people into her immediate circle. However, I think she needed Booth’s influence to get past her intimacy and trust issues.

  11. Sarah, thank you for your point about the digs. She shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for going on one. But normally she would only go away for no more than a couple of months, and the rest of the J-team had other responsibilities to engage them while she was gone, even if it wasn’t as interesting as a murder case. But being gone a year is a really long time, and her leaving wasn’t just for professional reasons, it was personal as well. And things being the way they were with Booth, he left too, and it threw off the whole dynamic, so the others decided to do their own thing. I feel like I’ve just gone tangential, because I just lost my point…Oh yeah, I was trying to say that normally the others are fine with her digs, but the Maluku one was different for the reasons I’ve already stated, so that may be why she got a little more grief about that one.

    And it also bugs me that there’s this idea that Brennan abandoned their partnership. To me it was more like a pause. She said she wanted to go, and of course she wanted to! It’s her first love. But she didn’t make the decision without him, and he made his own choice to go, too. And they both planned on coming back and resuming the partnership. I think she really needed the break – but maybe for not a whole year, or even seven months. I think Booth understood that part, really. When they came back, I think he was asking about whether she was ready to continue solving murders since she told him it was draining her. I don’t think it was really about him thinking that she didn’t want to be partners with him before and was asking if she wanted to now.

    • I must disagree here.

      The abandonment thing is not so much about Brennan’s intent as how it felt to Booth.

      Brennen rejects him as a man and asks him to continue to be her friend and partner, which he knew would be hard for himself. But, Booth being Booth and Brennan being Bones, he agreed. Then, without full explanation, she decides to go to Maluku. All he really knows is what she said at the end of BwtA. Now she’s abandoning him as friend and partner too.

      Then she never contacts him. Remember he doesn’t find out that this was what she did with everyone until they are back. This is why I think abandonment is the appropriate word. Booth feels abandoned by her in every way: as a man, as a friend and as a partner. He had to go to a war zone to get his own perspective back.

      Furthermore, I don’t think he was certain she would come back and be his partner again.
      At one point in Mastodon, they talk about whether she’s going to go back to Maluku. Initially (as I recall, I refuse to watch it again), she was thinking about it. Then we have the scene in the diner where he asks her if she wants to work with him again and she says that she’s down with it.

      • I understand what you’re saying, but feeling one way about something is not the same thing as what something actually is. He looked like he had been feeling abandoned before she even told him anything about wanting to go. Brennan was not actually rejecting him as a partner, but she was feeling drained, especially after that emotional Gravedigger case. She wanted a break from the work, and the dig offer came along. But Booth’s sensitivities caused him to interpret that way. I think it’s similar to when Booth felt like Brennan was accusing him of being just like Broadsky. I think Booth is just a more sensitive and sentimental guy, and Brennan isn’t as much, so it creates opportunities for those types of misunderstandings.

        I don’t think I would really say anything different from what you’ve said here on why Booth felt abandoned. I’m just coming from the other side, where Brennan wasn’t viewing going away as abandoning him, but time and space to gain some perspective. If she had told him that, maybe he wouldn’t felt so abandoned. I still don’t see Brennan as the K.I.T. type, at least not to initiate communication. Furthermore, communication is a two-way street. Did he contact her? I would have been more upset at Brennan if he did try to contact her and she never responded. But then one could say he was the one feeling dejected and needed the reassurance that she cared about him in some way. Yes, Brennan has her faults, but I think she learned AFTER Maluku the importance of letting the people she cares about know that she cares. Perhaps she wouldn’t make the same mistake in the future.

      • I have to mention that Brennan never contacted anyone on any trips she took. This was one reason that she didn’t know Cam was there instead of Goodman. Booth thought she was going to Darfur, but she went to see her brother, Booth never knew about her change. She was never good at informing others of her plans.

      • I also don’t hink she kept in touch after Booth’s coma, because she didn’t know he wasn’t back to work yet.

      • Also, if Booth was looking for some kind of apology from Brennan, he would have had to let her know how he felt. But he didn’t, other than making a few subtle comments, and Brennan takes not being able to catch hints and read minds to another level.

      • I agree. Also, I don’t know if I made this up in my head a la “fanfic” style but my understanding is that he decided to leave only after she made decision to leave for Maluku. He was perfectly fine with staying in DC working with her. It was Sweets that told him about her decision & he was disappointed & shocked,etc. If my memory is correct, he told someone he had no desire to stay in DC to break in a new partner. Is my memory correct or did I make this up…..hmm?

    • Sarajade –

      Good to see you!

      You’re right about the sequence of events. Booth heard from Sweets that Bones had decided to go to Muluku, which she hadn’t. So,he decided to go to Afghanistan.

      BUT, the person who didn’t want to break in any new agents or anthropologists was Hodgins. That’s why he decided the time was ripe to whisk Angie off to Paris.

  12. It’s pretty amazing when you watch those early seasons and you see how much Brennan’s character has changed (and Booth’s too, by the way.) Might she be leading the life she didn’t expect right now but for him? She stood firm with the transitory relationships theory for quite a while even after they became partners. It literally took years (and years!) for him to gain her trust enough so that she would consider taking a chance on the great unknown, on the kind of relationship that can’t be measured or neatly labelled and put in a box. Along the way, he kind of helped her color in her life by making her reconnect with family and I think their “chats” helped her to see her coworkers in a different light (and made them see her differently too). Would we have the same season 6 Brennan we just saw if she’d had a rotating roster of boyfriends or just partners? Maybe one of them would have gotten her to change but the way it happened with Booth was just beautiful and pretty realistic in my opinion. It wasn’t a one-way street, though. There were many changes for Booth too, but that’s food for another post.

    To sum up, she’d still probably be at the Jeffersonian without her partnership with Booth, but the place and maybe even its people would most likely play a very different role in her life, just as she would be viewed very differently there. It was sort of her home base before, and now it’s more af a real home where she interacts with people she cares about and not just co-workers.

    Once again, I join the general amazement at the fact that Booth was not slated to be a main character for long. I can’t even imagine that because B/B’s stable interaction over time, and how they have affected each other, is my favorite thing about the show. Thank God that the rotating squints ended up taking the place of the rotating FBI agent!

  13. Here’s the link to the article I referenced. I knew I’d seen it somewhere, and it was from a comment from Cawfeegirl a few months ago. But yes…I don’t like think of anyone but ED or DB in their roles. 😦
    I CAN imagine that the character of Temperance Brennan would have been INCREDIBLY interesting to run a show on. I am guessing it might have ended up being more world traveling, more of her personal journey and perhaps Booth as an eventual love interest. I’m guessing it also would have been more along the lines of the original Book-Temperance and Kathy Reichs, etc. (though I’ve never read the books, so…who knows 🙂 )

    • Here’s the kicker: it wouldn’t have been called “Bones” without Booth. It would have been “Brennan,” which was the original title.

      She wouldn’t have been more like the Brennan in the books. In the books, Brennan has been married and divorced (and still “shares” the dog w/ the ex), has a grown daughter, has a relationship with the cop she works with in Canada, etc.

    • Okay, I’m showing my ignorance here. As I have previously mentioned, I did not discover Bones until the fifth season was on air, so I watched seasons 1-4 (and most of season 5) on DVD. In the article Sarah so kindly linked to above, it refers to The Pain in the Heart as the season 3 finale. But I know for a fact that it’s not the last episode on the season 3 DVDs. So I pull out my DVDs, and for the first tim ever I see that the last disc of that season is labeled “Bonus Season Four Episodes.” What the–?! I always thought that The Finger in the Nest was a very strange episode to be a season finale. Anyway, I was just so flabbergasted by my own ignorance that I had to share.

      • OK. Here we go. Anyone with better info, please chime in.

        S3 was shortened by the writers strike. The four episodes on the last disk ran at that beginning of S4.

        Sarah (or someone) did an essay here about how the last ep of one season should be viewed along with the 1st ep of the next as a paired set. This presents a problem for S3 and S4 because of the eps on that last disk. Which eps are the last of S3 and first of S4? The discussion in that essay is a good one and gets into this issue a bit. One question is the order in which those four eps were intended to be run which was messed up because of the writers strike.

      • Thanks, Angelena. Any idea what the name of the essay was? I would be very interested to read it.

      • I don’t remember the name, but it’s back more than a few months. Sarah/Seels might be able to tell you if you describe the topic.

      • It was called ‘The Ends and the Beginnings’ or something like that. Sorry I’m not near a computer to link to it, but the search might help at the top of the site page. It was based on something Hart Hanson had said once about how he liked to write each finale and premiere as two parts to one story, which I interpreted to mean that I should never judge a finale until I’ve seen the next season’s premiere. Haha, I’ve never quite mastered that 🙂

        I always thought the end scene where B&B bury Ripley was meant to be the end of the Zack storyline, so I always thought any season four ep before that one was a season three ep. Excluding the season four premiere eps, which are season four SLs, haha. But that’s just me. 

      • Thanks, Sarah. I’ll check it out.

  14. I have read the books, and while I will forever be grateful to Kathy Reichs for the character of Temperance Brennan – it is really only the name and job that she provided, Hart Hanson should get all the credit for the Brennan we love. No Booth, no squints, no baby Hodgela…okay, now I really am going to barf.


    The Jeff is a research institution. As such, as in a university, she is expected to continue building knowledge. For a forensic anthropologist, no digs = no new knowledge; no digs, no publish, you perish. Any burnishing of Brennan’s resume and image burnishes the Jeff’s resume and image.

    Furthermore, some digs were at the behest of the government. The Jeff is a part of the gov. Like Booth going back and forth between the FBI and the Army, one part of the gov will work with the other part of the gov if they have something important to accomplish — like training soldiers to pursue, detain, etc. or identifying remains in mass graves. As Goodman notes a number of times, their job is to work with the other parts of the gov, like Defense.

  16. I hate to be the one person who thinks she would leave the Jeffersonian, but I think I am. There was a problem (and I can never remember the right episode) and she yelled at Dr. Goodman and said, this wouldn’t have happened at Stanford. She could have been working at Stanford. I think Brennan, wanting to protect herself from relationships, would have moved to a different institution at some point over the years. I don’t think it was necessarily to the Jeffersonian itself that she has an attachment, and as much as she respects Dr. Goodman, she was still annoyed with many of the decisions he made. In fact, because Dr. Goodman, in that first season, based so many of his decisions on good PR, I really see Brennan preferring to work at a place like Stanford, where it really is all about academic research.

    I think someone also mentioned that she pulled Angela in to work on a case, so I am also not sure that Angela would still be at the Jeffersonian, or ever would have started, if not for the partnership with Booth. So really, I think everything would be different–everything.

  17. It’s like an alternate reality thing when thinking about this question. Can we really say what would have happened to Brennan if she’d never met or partnered up with Booth? Personally, I say nay. She was different in the beginning. It’s hard for me to objectively look at her now and say that she would stay at the Jeffersonian (which I’m not sure she would have) or that she would have done this or that.

    The one thing that I’m certain of is that Bones (and Brennan) would not have been the same without the regular appearance of Booth/DB. I don’t think the show would have gone very far or it would have appealed to a different audience. And I’m pretty sure the fans wouldn’t be as awesome as we are!

  18. Good question Sarah.

    My initial reaction is that she wouldn’t have.

    I think she enjoyed her work at the Jeffersonian before Booth, but she could have worked elsewhere and been as equally content.

    She respected the people she worked with but not one of them would have been enough to make her stay. The only person she was genuinely friends with was Angela, and Angela only stayed for Brennan. Both of them could have left without looking back I think.

    And I’m with you on Brennan going on digs Sarah. I have never understood why people think so badly of her when she leaves…it’s part of her job, and I think without Booth she’d have spent a lot longer in far flung parts of the world. She curtailed that aspect of her work in deference to Booth….surely that should earn her some brownie points?

    It’d be like people getting annoyed with Booth for working cases without Brennan…but they don’t, because that would be RIDICULOUS 😉

  19. I think Brennan would have stayed at the Jeffersonian even if it weren’t for Booth. It’s her “house” (the house of reason) as Booth said once. And Angela probably would have been there as well. In Parts in the Sum of the Whole, when Booth fires Brennan and she comes in a little hung over the next day and tells the team they got fired, she tells Angela that she can offer her full time employment doing reconstructions. And Angela was happy with the stability of Brenna’s job offer. I think Brennan would have continued to go on digs and lecture and write her books but her base of operations would have still been the Jeffersonian.
    She just wouldn’t have lived as ‘wide’ as Booth allowed her to do. He opened her eyes to family and forgiveness and love and justice. Good thing he came into her life!

  20. I think she would have left, probably. One of my all time favorite things about the relationship between Booth and Brennan, is the way that despite being awesomely built and manly and protective and alpha male-y, Booth, from the very beginning, without fail or hangup, absolutely and seemingly without hesitation, accepts Brennan’s right to self define and her status as grown up. Needing a hug, crying occasionally, screaming when a corpse sits up in the MRI machine (hee hee!), NONE of that ever meant she was weaker. He unhesitatingly hands her guns and seeks advice and goes into life threatening situations with her. It is because of this, I think, that her career took on a new trajectory, one which has been unexpectedly challenging and satisfying. If this hadn’t happened, then she would have looked for other trajectories to satisfy a well earned and established drive for excellence and challenge in her work. (Same reason she HAS to go on digs.) Probably she would have gone elsewhere. Also remember the first season or two and the way that the squints are established as “her people” and her people are “Booth’s people” and the fact that Hodgins took himself and Angela off when she and Booth were both leaving? Maybe she would have formed a different sort of community. Maybe another whole series? CSI Alternate Universe: Bones II?

    Thank you for the wonderful blog; one of only two that I follow closely.

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