Bones Theory

Premiere Week: Widow’s Son in the Windshield: Is “The Center” Inside or Outside The Partnership?


Good morning again!
 I apologize for totally missing yesterday, and I know I just posted this week’s Rock the Vote 2011 post (click here to vote if you haven’t already!) , but I thought I would continue with Premiere Week today so we stay on track.

pic courtesy of @brennanbooth

We’ve talked about ‘The Center’ before a few times (most recently, according to my math, was back in March with “Is Brennan the Center“), and it’s one of those Bones-isms that I find fascinating. In theory, ‘the center’… whatever it is, must hold. So in my mind, this means whatever it is…must be a constant. Yet (and my apologies to those of you who stack ‘the center’ up with ‘eventually’, ‘someday’, ‘imperviousness’ etc, etc, as words you are tired of hearing over and over again!) when I think of Bones and this idea of the center, and it holding, it seems like this fluid thing to me.

Has ‘the center’ changed over the course of the series? Even if B&B identified it at the end of the season three premiere, had it already been in existence at that point? Is the ‘center’ outside of B&B’s control, or are they in control of it? Is it something that originated with their work, but then expanded, or always encompassed both their partnership, and their relationship…at various levels? Is it like a Venn Diagram (and if you don’t know what that is, as Brennan would say, “You need to Google ‘Venn Diagram’ “), where the center sort of overlaps different areas of their life, or what?

My mind is rebelling, haha, as if The Center is like The Matrix or something that is meant to not be perfectly defined.

What do you think? When B&B talked about “We’re the center, and the center must hold”, did they even know what that meant?

Let’s discuss!

Peace, Love & Bones,



9 thoughts on “Premiere Week: Widow’s Son in the Windshield: Is “The Center” Inside or Outside The Partnership?

  1. I would say that B&B is the center, and that they appear to be holding together for Season 7!

    First of all, the show is called Bones, so she’s got to be in the center. However, she would not have achieved her writing or crime solving successes, not to mention her personal/emotional/family growth without Booth’s influence and support, so he is also in the center.

    Second, B&B have a team built around them, that basically disintegrated at the end of Season 5. Without the brain and heart of their team, it fell apart. We see this also paralleled in the coma dream. Their workers at “The Lab” hid evidence, and did everything they could to protect Bren and “Mr. B”. We have revolving squinterns, and bosses, people like Sully, Hannah, Hacker, come and go, but still, we always have B&B.

    Lastly, the chemistry. As we discussed in the Pilot scene study, from the 1st episode, B&B were captivating. Of course, pilots are a little weird sometimes, things get added and taken away for the actual show, but the B&B intense chemistry has always remained. Not even just physical attraction. I think on a subconcious level, they were attracted. As we get their backstories, meet people like Max and Hank, we see how B&B are completely connected and attracted to each other in numerous different ways. They are two parts of a whole. And even when they were physically separated to Maluku and Afghanistan, and then emotionally separated, they still couldn’t ever make that final break. After the 100th ep, Brennan still wants to work with Booth even when she rejects him–and he accepts! That’s crazy! But neither of them could be apart. Even when Booth is with Hannah, he’s still working with Brennan and talking to her about the “one you love the most”. The B&B story, is what moves the show, gives the show a great deal of its substance, and you could not have the show without them.

    Yes, they are the center. B&B (and B!) will ultimately hold, as they become a family unit. They are linked in a profound way, we’ve heard, and I think that is very true. Now that many of the barriers they’ve had up are down, I think there’s no going back, and yup, they’re holding 🙂

  2. To me the center of the center (to expand the diagram into little Venns) is the instant attraction B&B felt for each other from the beginning. That led to their desire to work together as a team and not work with other partners. From the attraction which grew into a partnership, the mutual respect, dependency, memories and experiences over the years formed an ever thickening ball of center-ness. Maybe it’s easier to think of them as gases and matter floating in the universe. Attraction pushed them together to form a planet which grew into a sun and around that sun circle planets called Hodgins, Angela, Cam, Caroline and various squinterns. The more profound the attraction fed by continuing actions, memories and experiences and companioned by a new moon known as Baby Booth, the brighter shines the center.

    • EL, I love this idea of the sun, planets and moons.

      My own take isn’t at odds with that, but has always been pretty simple — and a lot less lyrical. 😉

      B&B are the center of their “de facto crime fighting unit.” Thanks to GGW. That’s rather obvious. I will add one thing, however, Bones not only doesn’t become a crime fighter without Booth; she doesn’t become “Bones” without Booth. So, without the two of them, there is no center to begin with, let alone hold.

      My other interpretation of the center is that they became the center of each others’ lives. I was going to say that when they weren’t (from the 100th to ~ Daredevil), everything was a mess, but then I rethought it. The problem during that period was that deep down inside each of them — sealed in a little compartment in each of their hearts — the other was still the center of their lives, but they couldn’t or wouldn’t let it fully manifest. Booth was there to save his Bones’s life in DitP, but when she admitted her mistake, he couldn’t clasp her to him, sigh in relief and tell her he still loved her. Similarly, the minute Brennan heard about Hannah in Mastodon, she couldn’t tell Booth about the change in her feelings, but she still stood beside him even to the point of saving Hannah’s life.

      • You know I’ve wrestled with the whole Brennan befriends Hannah thing, or alternately, Brennan allows Hannah to befriend her which for Brennan was so OOC. And I’ve decided that it wasn’t an attempt to keep Booth close to her on any kind of professional level since she saw him every day at work. It was a desperate attempt to somehow use Hannah as an emotional channel to maintain an emotional connection that she now realized she needed but was too late to express. If Hannah was a surrogate Brennan for Booth in the way Sully had been a surrogate Booth for Brennan then — sorry about all the metaphoric stuff — Hannah became not a friend to Brennan but an emotional surrogate, the only access Brennan had to exploring Booth’s heart. And how agonizing that must have been for her.

  3. When I think of what “the center” means, it always makes my head hurt-no exception the Sunday morning following a Halloween party… Even though Booth is couching the “are we solid” question in terms of their work, there’s no doubt he’s referring to their relationship which by now encompasses a lot more than that. Brennan made him nervous by pulling away from him after Zack joined the army and now he’s trying to get reassurance from her that they’re back to wherever they were before she got mad.

    It’s clear that where they’re at in Season 3 (and 4, and 5, and most of 6) is a no-man’s land that even they would have been hard-pressed to define. And they kind of liked things being murky, because it gave B/B room to do a lot of things with and for each other that wouldn’t have been acceptable if their relationship had been defined as one thing or another-kind of like the “we’re partners” line. So “the center” is everything each of them wants it to be at any particular time. Does your head hurt as much as mine now? Time for Motrin.

  4. I think Brennan and Booth are the center. They were instantly attracted to one another even though, on the surface, they seemed so different. Together they combined their individual strengths and POVs and it was a successful combination. In theory they shouldn’t hav worked but they did. They shouldn’t have wanted to be around one anther but they did manage to stick it out and thrive. They developed a professional partnership that very quickly evolved into something more. He could see her and she could see the best in him, even if he didn’t seem like someone she could relate to. In season 2, Booth recognized that they were not working well together after Sully left….something was off. In season 3, after Zach went into the army, Booth was concerned that Brennan didn’t want to work with him. They talked it out and found that they were good, they, the center, was holding. Personally I think the coffee scene on the bench DID go beyond professional partnership. No One told them to talk, but they did and seemed to figure things out for themselves. Sound framiliar? In season 4, Booth is again concerned that Brennan doesn’t want to work in the field with him anymore (Passenger in the Oven). Brennan assure Booth that while she loves anthropology she was the one who asked to go in the field. All is right with their world. But the center breaks in BWTA. They were able to hold, even if strained, after the 100th but it’s BWTA where Brennan pulls away. It’s interesting, to me, that at the beginning of S6 they are so strained that they can’t even have a “Center must hold” conversation. Looking at S6 again I really don’t think the tension breaks until Brennan has her moment in the SUV in DITP and, of course, the center steadily comes back together after Blackout in the Blizzard. I think by CITG the center was back, baby. The question going forward will be if it will hold. That’s the question with any relationship, couple, right? Yes, there are good times and bad times, but can and will the center hold through it? I think and hope it will! B&B can no longer deny what their relationshp is. Yes, they are work partners but it is clearly more now. Without question. They are partners that helps solve murders, they lead a team of devoted professionals, and now they are also mom and dad and are responsible for their child and family’s happiness and well-being. Pretty high stakes. Nothing worth having is ever easy and B&B don’t go at anything with less than full commtiment.

  5. I guess I’m a little more prosaic about this scene. I think “the center must hold” is about them professionally, not personally. Brennan had been refusing to go out in the field with him and while there are multiple theories as to why, they are all personal reasons.

    I always interpreted Booth’s “the center must hold” speech as his way of saying “We can’t let our personal issues get in the way of our ability to work together and lead this team.”

    Brennan understands what he’s saying and agrees not to let it happen again and it doesn’t happen again until the end of season 5, when the team dissolves.

  6. Obviously, the “center” idea is up for interpretation. Perhaps the writers had different intentions for that statement than we might take it. But this being “Bones”, a show that deals with crime fighting and relationships, I would say the center idea is to be taken both professionally and personally. The friendships, bonds, relationships, all tie back to B&B and the team centers around them. Also, B&B are the center because they are the main characters of the series. We can take it from its very basic forms into all sorts of areas…but no matter how you arrange it, B&B are the center of everything. They just are. You take one or both of them out of the equation, and you don’t have the team, you don’t solve the crimes, you don’t have a show.

    Plus that coffee scene is just too darn cute. Just a small, small glimmer though, of the intense cuteness that awaits us on THURSDAY 🙂

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