Bones Theory

Booth and BBB: Sins of the father?


After the “fallout” from the premiere about the lack of Parker time, I started thinking again about Booth, his father, and what it means for Booth as he tries to raise children of his own. Awhile back, I wrote about Nature vs. Nurture regarding both B&B, attempting to sort out what part of Booth’s issues are genetic, what part are from his upbringing, and how Booth will raise Parker with all those factors in play.

Well, now we have BBB on the horizon. I decided, as I think the show will, sort of give BBB the front seat and make Parker take the back seat (sorry, Parker!) because they’ve already set up that Parker’s primary residence is with his mother, and Booth never seems to get the time with him that he wants to. Presumably, he will get to do this with BBB, as long as B&B are together. (Which better be forever!) So the situations are a bit different.

So back to BBB.  This Bible verse came to my mind today in regards to Booth:

Exodus 34: 7 “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

Booth, as a devout Catholic, is probably familiar with this passage of Scripture.  Assuming that applying this verse starts with Booth’s father (we don’t know what kind of father Hank (Pops) was, but backstory hints point to him being a good guy, plus it’s Hank here! ) , then Booth’s dad’s sins will affect the Booth family for generations (beyond this, James Wilkes Booth started them off on a bad foot too I suppose!). 

We have seen this already, haven’t we? Booth’s life has been filled with instances where he is either trying to make up for what his father has done/didn’t do, he’s alternatively filled with anger, guilt, sadness, over past events. He is doing things to atone for his father’s sins and mistakes even now. His handling of his brother Jared, his past romantic relationships, how he views his upbringing of his first child, and now his thoughts about living with Brennan, so that their child can feel secure in  her father’s presence and love.  Booth’s father is always a part of him. He’s constantly trying to do things that “are not his dad”.

This has also made Booth the man he is today in positive ways. He is kind, protective, loving, and he has that “lion heart” we all love.  Again, this is very real to me, as my own father is “Boothy” in that way as far as his own upbringing vs. my own upbringing (me being Parker I suppose 🙂 ). My father’s unpleasant past in turn gave me a great dad, who wanted to do things differently for his children. I completely relate to, and understand Booth’s motivations in the show.  Which is probably why I forgive Booth almost anything!

So…how does this relate to BBB? He will be having a little girl, who he is going to want to protect, guide, love. He is actually going to be living with the mother of his child, in some sort of committed relationship, under the same roof, which are all new experiences for Booth. How will Booth handle this new situation? How will his upbringing manifest itself as he tries to be a present, hands-on, involved everyday dad with BBB?

 And how will the sins of the father affect the future generations of the Booth family?

{Edit from Seels: I know this topic is very…shall we say, relevant, to the next episode of Bones. Discuss away, but please, keep it spoiler free! 🙂 )


29 thoughts on “Booth and BBB: Sins of the father?

  1. I think it bodes well for Booth’s children that he is cognizant of his father’s failings (and John Wilkes Booth’s) and that he tries so hard to over-compensate for that. The fact that he knows that our beliefs and actions are influenced by our parents will help break the cycle. His effort and love are commendable and Parker and baby girl Booth are sure to have a better childhood than he and Jared did while in their father’s care. While we don’t get to see much Booth/Parker interaction, we can infer from the episodes where he worries about how finding the finger in the nest will affect Parker, worries about whether or not Parker is getting the right education, and that Parker always wants to be with Booth shown in a couple of Christmas episodes, that Booth and Parker have a great relationship and he is doing a great job as a parent. What Booth has overcome and is still battling are part of what makes him so endearing to many of us.

  2. I’m really interested to see how the show handles Parker’s reaction to his new sister. They could sugar coat it or they could have it so Parker is kind of mixed. Parker IS getting older now so I think it would be natural if he didn’t just embrace this idea. His Dad, who he has had to himself, now has a new baby and is going to live in the same home as this new baby. Part of me thinks that Parker has to be a little jealous and even wonder why that couldn’t have been how his life was with Booth. I mean, sure, Parker may really like Brennan but, come on, this is different. I’m sure he would come around but Parker not being completely sold on the idea would give some angst for Booth, right? I could see Booth as really wanting his kids to be close, even if they have different mothers. Couldn’t you just see Booth telling Parker that he needs to take care of his little sister and look out for her? That they are family and that is the most important thing in the world? I could see Brennan wanting that for their daughter as well due to her issues with Russ, etc. And, yes, I think instead of abuse continuing on Booth has made a conscience effort to give his children a different experience. I just hope Brennan isn’t portrayed as completely clueless with all this because she HAS had some abandonment issues and a difficult childhood and I think that she and Booth SHOULD be able to connect in a way over these experiences.

    • The times that Brennan has been with children give us some idea of how she is with them. She was pretty good with Andy, has fought for foster kids and has interviewed a few kids because Booth couldn’t and did fine. I agree, I don’t want to see her lose IQ points simply by talking to her own kid.

      I, too, would like to see Parker’s take on all this. I think they must have gotten him used to the whole thing by now, but when the baby comes and his father isn’t his 100%, that might make things a bit more difficult for the Booth men.

  3. Awareness is the first step and Booth is very much aware of his father’s failings and he sees his own faults in his parenting (Epps and Silence episodes). The next step is to act on those failings and try to not repeat the same mistakes. Clearly Booth is both aware and consciously acting to avoid the sins of the father.

    But the themes/messages that Booth keeps recycling– issues with money and addiction seem to be with him still as well as the violence that sometimes crops up in his job. Granted, he’s not gambled since he gambled on Brennan and the money issues seem fairly old-fashioned and possibly something he might be able to negotiate with Brennan. He tries hard not to show the violent side to Parker and is a great weekend father so he’s got a great foundation to build on for the littlest BB.

    The thing that I’ve learned from my own situation is that you’ll always carry your parents and your upbringing with you– it creates ripples that affect everything. But with Booth, he is so aware of just how bad those ripples can get and how damaging they can be, that he’ll reign in problems before they become too great. His job also lets him see the tsunamis that people create with their greed, anger, fears and lies. And one of the things we’ve seen time and time again is that Brennan knows him well and can reason with him or listen to him and help calm the situation, too. He’s already had a taste of parenthood and he wants all the ripples for his children to be the good kind.

  4. I have to add too that it will also be interesting to see how they add the baby to the mix. I’m not too sure we will see her that often….I’m thinking we may hear about her more than actually see her. Also, I think we all can agree that episode 2 of season 7 will not go down in anyone’s top 5 or 10 anytime soon. After seeing episode 3, the characterization of B&B seemed really, really off. Anyway, I really thought we were going to hear more about Booth’s reaction to having a girl. In Shallow Grave when Booth told Brennan about why getting their own place was so important to him, he referred to the baby as ‘him’. That coupled with DB’s tweets for the episode and I thought we’d get a little more insight into the female child issue. To me it wouldn’t have been out of character if Booth had worried a little about the difference in raising a girl and a boy. He has experience raising a boy, he probably felt he had a pretty good handle on everything but a girl is different, right? I get that the initial reaction is just happy and thrilled no matter what the sex but after absorbing it for a bit, and thinking about the future….and boys wanting to date her and Sweets talking about how important the father/daughter dynamic is…yeah, there was more to explore there. Plus, I think the conversation has been had here about the similarities between Booth and Max. You know the saying, girls tend to be attracted to men who remind them of their fathers…. interesting.

    • I’m interested to see how next week’s episode is played out because what I’m getting from the episodes so far is that if I’m expecting insight into deep emotional issues, I’m not going to get it. Even when those issues are hinted at (ep.2), they’re played for laughs instead of anything meaningful.

      And maybe I’m expecting too much by looking for them to give me those moments. The serious moments that have worked have been the short ones anyway.

      That’s why I don’t look for Parker to experience any kind of angst over his new sister. If we get anything, I think it will be a line or two and that’s it. There’s just no inclination (IMO) to delve into those issues.

      • I agree MJ – Bones seems to be quite light in tone so far this season – maybe that will change as the season goes on, because I would like to see some meaty emotions dealt with (fingers crossed for ep4)

        I think maybe it was just a really light, happy place in the writer’s room this summer – going into season 7, B&B are together and having a baby, the lovely Emily D is having a baby – perhaps they just wanted to write some relatively happy episodes 🙂

        I don’t want angst between B&B, but I’d love to see them supporting each other like they have in the past but from the new context of their acknowledged love. Bones does heartbreak really well, mixed in with the lighter tones so it’ll be nice to see them mix it up.

      • I agree, MJ. But last year was so heavy, maybe they figured they give us a break for a while. I think from time to time we will still see “meatier” episodes. They just don’t want to do them all the time. And I also think that everyone was so pumped about the new direction of the series.

      • When I said everyone, I really meant to say the cast and crew. They are officially out of the will they/won’t they zone they have been writing for almost six years. They get to stretch new creative muscles. I’m actually pretty happy for the actors because I know they love to be challenged.

      • ED is a professional but I’d imagine that they probably did not want to get too heavy in emotion with ED so far along by the time the first half of S7 began. I’ve seen some actresses state that they are concerned about having “negative” karma around them when they are so far along and filming. I don’t know if that would be ED’s stance but I could see them trying to strike a balance that wouldn’t be as emotionally draining. I think we got a nice mix in the first episode but, mostly, where B&B are now they’ve clearly worked out a lot of emotions already. Seeing Brennan say “I love you too, Booth” was HUGE. HUGE! Yes, they still have more to work out but I think there has been a conscience effort to just go with it and have them already pretty stable by the opening of S7. I think we learned in S6 that Brennan did not want to have regrets with Booth so once Hannah was gone and Boot was ready I think she knew she had to go for it and give them a try; just as Booth had asked in the 100th episode. I know there’s some debate about Brennan’s response in the 100th episode but I’ve always viewed it as Brennan being afraid that she could not be what Booth wanted or needed. So far when they’ve hit little obstacles in S7 they’ve been able to work it out between the two of them. Yes, they still have different POVs and, yes, frustrations, but they seem to be united in making this work. I have to think Booth knows Brennan loves him because he knows how different this is for her and how far she has come. And Booth? Well, I don’t think admitting to fears or feelings is really Booth’s thing. I think a lot of us theorize that Booth has opened up and shared more with Brennan than anyone else. Booth telling Brennan his POV on why it was so important to him to get “their” place is pretty big. Hannah was told to pack up and hit the road whereas with Brennan he seems willing to “have any life they want” so for two strong-willed people I’d say they are evolving. My only hope, without spoiling, for the next episode is to not see Brennan completely clueless. She has been there for Booth in the past and she does seem to know, as we have seen before, how to help Booth when she senses he needs support.

      • I’m inclined to agree with Sophia here: last year was so-o filled with angst and sadness, they are going for something different now.

        I also think that a lot of what people are complaining about missing either 1) was theoretically worked out during the time jump or 2) is stuff that fans seem more disturbed about than Brennan does. On the latter, for example, so many people thought that there needed to be some big blow out over what happened with Hannah. I’ve always thought that Brennan understood and didn’t need any big heavy explanation from Booth about it. All Booth needed to do from her perspective was to get over his anger.

        Camcat raises the issue below about how heavy emotional stuff might effect Emily during her pregnancy. I don’t know if ED is the type who is worried about karma, but I do think that HH, et al. were working to not give her any unneeded stress. Another reason to not have a lot of big heavy duty emotional scenes or issues that drag out.

        For those who aren’t so thrilled about the perceived changes to Brennan, I would point out that HH has always said that this is all about Brennan’s journey. This is the continuation of that journey and journey implies change — perhaps dramatic change.

        Back to point: This may be the first time that Booth has ever gotten what he has longed for. He has viewed Bones as a gift to be cherished, almost from the beginning. Parker too. A daughter with Bones is the ultimate gift. As he has always tried to give the best of himself to Brennan and to Parker, he will continue to do so. Even when he was with Hannah, he never stopped trying to give Brennan his best. An important piece of the best of himself is the part that strives to not be like his father.

        The irony is that his father is the cause of both the best of him and the worst of him. Or, that he always strives to be selfless and to make the world right and to be loving and protective toward those he loves. Yet, it is also why he never can accept that he is a good man or that he does deserve having those things that he so deeply desires — or happiness generally.

        That Brennan 1) understands these demons and 2) so clearly sees his difference from his father must mean the world to Booth and must be a source of great reassurance to him. Which isn’t to say that he doesn’t have any doubts any more, but that as far as Brennan has come and as far as she has yet to go, so too does Booth.

        Brennan has at least had the opportunity to confront her father and establish a renewed relationship with him. So far, Booth has not had that chance. It is intriguing to think about what Booth would do if he too had a chance, with Bones at his side, to confront his father and what the outcome of that would be. Would he be able, like Brennan, to find some peace (and even happiness) in the relationship with his dad? Would he at least be able to get answers to the questions that have eaten at him all these years and have a chance to heal as Brennan has with her father?

        On Parker: first, the age differences is so enormous and when you add in the gender difference, I don’t think there has to be a big problem there. TPTB may use it for storyline purposes, but my own experience with a sibling so much younger was not jealousy, but taking on a kind of surrogate parent role. I was proud to be able to change her diapers (in the days before Pampers when diapers required sharp pins), bath her, feed her, babysit her and so on. It gave me the chance to show how grown up and responsible I was. Given that Parker is so much his father’s son, I see him as more likely to become his baby sister’s protector. That will give any future boyfriends for baby girl BB two scary guys to deal with.
        ;-D And, watching my little nephew who is just crazy about his 20 year older brother, I think that baby sister will be Parker’s biggest fan and will just adore being with him any time, anywhere. That should go a long way to ease any jealousy from her getting extra attention in her earliest years. Finally, as my older nephew discovered, there is nothing better than having a little kid you care about with you to impress the babes. With Parker moving into adolescence, I suspect he’ll quickly discover the added benefit of having an adorable younger sibling tagging along.

        I should probably stop now.

      • For me the whole point of the scene at the end of Pinocchio in the Planter where Brennan made a toast ‘to the things that we don’t say’ was her way of saying, let’s leave the past in the past and move on; we won’t talk about what went down but create our relationship in the present. For me, she was saying that neither of them had to talk about the blond ever again.

        And as for Brennan reassuring Booth that she knows he’s not his father, she already said this to him in season 4 in Fire in the Ice. I guess he just forgot.

      • Responding to EL:
        Yes, Brennan said she knew he wasn’t his father way back in s4, but it is something that bears repeating, especially now that they are starting a family together.

  5. Regarding John Wilkes, I imagine this infamous event has brought Booth a sense of greater public obligation because he’s quite naturally ashamed of his ancestor’s hand in history and maybe feels he has some atoning to do on his family’s behalf. As to Booth himself though, most Catholics tend to be New Testament people, meaning they believe in a merciful, loving God who allows for personal redemption even at the very end of life. I think this is at the core of who Booth is, that he allows for second (and third and fourth) chances for himself and others. I don’t believe he sees himself as genealogically “cursed” in some sort of Biblical way or that Parker would thus be similarly affected.

    That being said, I do think he views himself as damaged, a fact that we have seen him go out of his way to hide from people maybe because he’s afraid they’ll invariably reject him once they find out, much as he might have viewed his dad’s defection. The anger that abused children feel is often as much about the abuser as it is about the irrational possibility that they might somehow be to blame for their situation; the abusers themselves often reinforce this idea by saying that their victims brought the abuse on themselves. I also think Booth holds that “flawed” part of him back to protect the people he loves, as if unleashing all those feelings could hurt them. As much as he and Brennan have shared over the years, Brennan really doesn’t know all that much about him and has only gotten a glimpse of the parts of him that are wounded. It’s way better with Brennan than it was with H of course, but unless some deep conversation happened that we weren’t privy to (that couldn’t possibly happen, could it?!!), my guess is that he’s still holding back a lot from her, which would be completely in character. This sort of thing isn’t good for relationships; it can obscure motivations and affect actions and perceptions, leading to big misunderstandings. It might also cause Brennan to question whether he really trusts her with the hard things, and whether she really can be enough for him.

    For their relationship to thrive, Booth will have to accept that he can’t be all things to all people, that he can’t fix everything and that he doesn’t have to be perfect. They are the same issues he had last year with H, but now they take on a whole new meaning because this relationship really matters. And Brennan deserves the chance to be there for him, just as she’s been strong enough to let him help her. It’s a partnership-both people have to be willing to give and take at times. (Okay, is this officially longer than the post? Sorry!)

    • This is driving me crazy as an historian. John Wilkes Booth never married and had no children. He could not possibly be an ancestor of Booth’s nor did he look anything like him. The idea that Brennan looks at Booth and sees Lincoln’s assassin is nuts. John Wilkes Booth’s brother, Edwin, who was a celebrated actor, did have children but as I recall they were all girls. Why the writers couldn’t have researched such a simple fact is annoying.

      • I’m pretty sure the writer’s know the Wilkes Booth history, but chose to ignore it for the sake of their story – artistic license and all that.

        It’s one of those things that some people won’t care about and will drive other’s crazy 🙂

      • There are plenty of Booth family descendants. I recently watched an episode of “Decoded” on History about John Wilkes Booth and there was an interview with a descendant about giving DNA samples (something about confirming JWB body really was JWB).

        If Booth is descendant of “that” Booth family, JWB is one of his ancestors, whether or not he was great great great grandpa or great great great uncle or great great great cousin.

  6. I am a descendant of a “Booth” mom and dad. They literally broke the cycle. You can see the difference between my siblings and my mom and dads generation. Then when you look at my cousins it is like night and day. We have discussed this verse a great deal in my small group. Many of the moms in the group are fearful that their children will have to pay for the sins of their husbands fathers. However, all of these fathers broke that cycle. If it was abuse…..they broke it. Alcoholism….they broke it…..Absentee father….they are around. When you break that cycle and don’t repeat the sins of the fathers you get a blessing for 1000 generations. Think about women that are abused….many times they were abused by their fathers and they seek out a mate that is abusive. Children of alcoholics are more likely to become alcoholics. Drug addiction runs in the family. Children that are abused grow up to be abusers. But Booth has made a conscious effort NOT to be his father. He is fearful that he will become like his father but has acknowledged it and desires not to be like him. He struggles with the sins of his father. He is tempted and has anger issues. He knows this but consciously tries to live life differently. Therefore, I believe his children will receive a blessing to 1000 generations because Booth (And Jared in a lot of ways) broke the cycle that is his father.

    Exodus 20:6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    • The job Booth does gives him a great deal of insight, too, into the whole addiction/abuse cycle and he’s an intelligent man, so he’s doing exactly as you said, he’s breaking the cycle. BTW, I do hope breaking the cycle rains down 1000 generations of good luck. Could use it.

  7. What was it Sweets said early on in the episode about how children who are the victims of abuse often repeat the cycle and wind up in abusive relationships when they’re older? Interesting, when considered in the context of Booth and his subconscious sabotaging of his relationships.

    I think there are many many conversations that viewer’s would like to see take place between B&B, but I’m not sure we’ll get to see the majority of them. (eg, my personal bugbear, WTF is the deal with his Mum?! How can we possibly not know if she’s dead or alive after 6 seasons! argh!) When Booth has mentioned his background, it’s in the vaguest terms – we know very little indeed. If I was Brennan I’d have a lot of questions for him.

    Booth is a very very private man, but also I think he avoids dealing with some things. He seems to have an inability to answer most questions with a straight answer – even to Brennan he only gives the barest details. This is something I’d really like to see him working through, now that their relationship has changed.

    I know they’ve positioned Sweets as the ‘baby duck’ (which I’m not a fan of – Sweets is a genius like the rest of the squints, but they don’t treat him with as much respect. It annoys me, he’s not a child and has a lot to offer) Both Booth and Brennan could benefit from some therapy, but unfortunately they mostly play that relationship for laughs in the show rather than actually letting them really get anywhere. It’s one reason I’d like to see GG again, Booth actually opened up to him a bit in Girl in the Gator.

  8. I think Booth has already proven that he will not repeat what his father did. Parker is what, 10 years old now? And although we don’t see him a whole lot, they clearly have a great relationship, and Booth is an amazing father.

    As others have said, Booth is so aware of his father’s failings, and very determined not to be like his father. And from what I see, he has succeeded. Does he have some issues? Yes, but they don’t control him, and he knows what they are and he works on them. Those kind of issues that stem from childhood never fully go away, but Booth has not let them turn him into his father. I think him and Brennan will be amazing parents, because they know each other’s problems and insecurities, and can talk things out, and calm each other down. And they have no problem calling each other out.

    Also, I think he feels a lot of guilt over not being with Parker very much, and he will really work hard to give this child a solid home life. The life that neither him or Brennan had, and despite being a good father to Parker, he was unable to give him. I think that the cycle has been broken, and that this child will be very loved, and will know that it is loved without a doubt.

  9. One of my favorite lines from S7 premiere:

    Booth: “I just didn’t think you’d understand.”
    Brennan: “I don’t. I know you’re not your father.”

    I love this because even though it sounds literal, Brennan is really saying, in the most simplest of terms, that she knows without a doubt that Booth is not anything like his father. Booth will always battle with the issues of his father and his own behaviors as a parent because of it, but to have the woman you love and the father of your child say this to you goes a long way.

  10. Can’t….resist…chiming in…. 🙂

    The results of the “sins of father” can manifest themselves in many ways. I’ve heard my own dad say things very similar to Booth, almost verbatim, how he doesn’t want to be his father. And he, like Booth, definitely isn’t…however, they are both haunted by the possibility that any part of them could be. Even though they are striving to not act or be like they were raised, it is still in a way a part of them. Something that 20, 30, 40, years later, they will always be thinking of. So the sins of the father are at least being visited upon the next generation in terms of those painful memories. And in my experience personally, it is being visited now to my generation as I can see how it has affected/will affect my father. So while he made a distinct choice to break the pattern, psychologically, the damage is still there, and even down to my generation I can see it.

    And I was sort of making a Parker/BBB distinction because Booth will, presumably, be around this child daily, as opposed to Parker. Perhaps there might also be at least perceived differences about raising a girl. There are only girls in my family (sorry Dad!), so he would relate differently to us now than a father/son dynamic from the 60s.

  11. Oops, I typed a whole comment out and it disappeared! Rats! Sorry if it double-posts 🙂

    Even though Booth is breaking the cycle, the memories will always be in the back of his mind, haunting him in a way, as I know it is affected my own father. So while he made that distinct choice as well, it will in some ways always be there…and then its visited upon my generation as I see the toll some of these things has taken. So it has trickled down to the 3rd generation at least…and I know if I am ever lucky enough to have kids, it will be in the back of my mind as well. So while it is “breaking the chain”, it some ways, it is not a clean break. It might always linger, in memories, when other family conficts arise, etc. It might pop up in your mind when you least expect it. So the “sins of the father” can still be present even if its not the exact same physical/mental abuse.

    Also, I am kind of making a distinction between Parker and BBB because, presumably, Booth will be present in BBB’s life daily and truly getting to be a hands-on dad. Also, there may be some differences because of gender, not that he’d treat her worse, but I think a daddy/daughter relationship now just naturally may have differences to a dad/son relationship from the 60s-70s.

  12. To me it’s so sad to see that Booth never got closure with his father, to have some kind of reconciliation. Not because his father deserved it, but because of how much of a burden it is on Booth. But Brennan did help him acknowledge that in spite of the pain and bad memories, he still had good memories, and there will be a part of him that misses his father. The Male in the Mail is probably the last we’ll hear about Booth’s dad for a while, but something tells me there were even deeper issues with his father for his behavior – he died with a lot of guilt and regrets.

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