Bones Theory

Vintage Bones: The Headless Witch in the Woods: Scene Study- It’s a Guy Hug


Hello! I hope you are having a good weekend!

There are several good things about this season two episode, but if we’ve only got one shot at each ep in this Vintage Bones project, well…I’m going to go with guy hugs. It just seems necessary!

One of my all time favorite things was when Booth would sort of lean in Brennan’s office doorway. In this episode, she has just found out that a man she thought would be possibly a good date is actually the killer in their recent case. Brennan felt a bond, and Booth appears to be seeking her out to make sure she’s okay.

“Sure know how to pick ’em, don’t I?” she asks, a bit self-deprecatingly. Side note: I’ve tried *not* to go on and on about how the earlier episodes of the show were SO GOOD and how it’s such a crime how Brennan’s character has digressed in certain areas–because, well…it’s no fun to be depressed about it, and there is a lot of good to discuss, so why dwell, right? But…you know…Brennan is aware in this scene. She made a mistake in measuring someone; she recognized it, she felt remorse or frustration about that, etc. Okay…moving on before I punch this computer screen.

Side note #2. Remember when Tom Hanks was in Saving Private Ryan and he did that interview about how his character was supposed to have a giant, sweeping, epic monologue at the end of the film and he refused to do it–because it was wrong for the character? I think that happens sometimes in movies and TV shows, and cheers to Tom Hanks for being true to the character. I think David Boreanaz has a way of taking “writer-speak” and actually making it work for Booth’s character. It’s true–writers write things that ‘people’ don’t actually say in real life situations. Sometimes writers want to say the perfect thing, but if the characters aren’t perfect people, it comes across as awful. I’m getting off topic, but the point is, Booth’s next lines are totally… ‘written’, basically, which means they don’t feel natural from him. But cheers to DB for pulling it off and thereby making it Boothy…if that makes sense. It’s a nice speech, don’t get me wrong. But most people don’t give nice speeches. Writers do, though 🙂

“Well, you know,” he begins…

“Our perceptions are always colored by what we hope, what we fear…what we love. We do the best we can.”

“I’m afraid my best isn’t good enough,” Brennan tells him. “I can read bones, not people.” That is a huge admission from her, and I like the way Booth handles it. He just casually enters her office and smiles.

“Well, you had no trouble seeing through me.”

He makes her smile, and then she wipes away a stray tear (speaking of stray tears…when she cries a bit at the dinner date, and Booth stares at her as he makes his arrest? GUH SO GOOD!)

But then Brennan gets down to business and pretends nothing is wrong. I love how Booth’s eyes just stay on her, no matter what. He also does this little swallowing thing that tells me he thinks she’s really pretty and wonderful and that he likes her AND that he cares about her a lot.

“It’s a good thing I like being alone,” she tells him, and he is still staring at her, sort of gently amused by her actions and the way she is closing up, right in front of him.

“You know what, Bones? You’re not alone, okay?” he tells her, and when she doesn’t seem to listen, he puts his hand on her back.

She stands up and looks at him and says “Booth” in a way I’ve always thought was interesting. I can’t quite tell if she thinks he is making a move (they did have another talk in this episode about physical/biological needs and ‘connections’) or if he feels sorry for her. But the point is that she is not interested in going wherever she thinks he’s going with it.

“Hey,” he interrupts her. “You’re my partner. It’s a guy hug. Take it.”

Booth, no one believes you. There is no such thing.

Except…Brennan might actually believe him. We don’t see her annoyed by his charm here. She is genuinely considering it. Which is probably less of a fight about it than Booth anticipated.

Considering, considering…

Ah, excellent choice, Brennan!

Meanwhile Booth smiles dreamily and caresses her back and strokes his thumb through her hair–like I’m sure he does with all guys he hugs.

Haha, nice one Booth. Very nicely done!

Okay, season two is moving right along! PS: Apparently new episodes of BONES start on April 5th, so we’ll keep Vintage Bones going up through then! Obviously we won’t be through all of the eps at that point, but I’m sure there will always be something to talk about!

In the meantime, here is the B&B of the day:

The “A gentleman is discreet–even if Zack happens to be literally standing in the middle of an argument.” B&B

From The Headless Witch in the Woods: Season Two


24 thoughts on “Vintage Bones: The Headless Witch in the Woods: Scene Study- It’s a Guy Hug

  1. Sarah, love the scene you chose.

    Booth must have been surprised when she cried at the date. Normally she is able to hold it all together.

    Of course there is no such thing as a ‘guy hug’ but Brennan was hurting and he wanted to comfort her. I think she hesitated at first because she found out during the case that he had a relationship going with Cam which Booth had kept under wraps. Brennan has always been careful not to mess with Booth’s relationships. She’s curious, yes, but she will not compromise it in any way and I think this may be why she hesitated. Remember with Tessa, when Angela kept trying to get her to consider Booth, she kept saying he already had someone.

    The hug itself is another thing. Wow! Booth could just not let go. The smell of her hair, the feel of her in his arms and she hugged back. IMO not a comfort hug or ‘guy hug’. His smile was one of total contentment. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! – I’m home.
    Comforting Brennan here contrasts with him not being able to do so in tDitP and also him being the cause of her hurt. He must have really felt rotten but then change happens and it is not always pleasant.

    Need to watch this again 🙂

  2. My very favorite part of this episode (as much as I love the “guy hug” at the end) is the very beginning when they are all watching the video made by the victim and Brennan grabs Booth’s hand. He hesitates for a second (presumably because of Cam’s presence?), but then wraps his fingers around hers. I have probably watched that little moment a thousand times. Every time I watch that episode, I rewind it a few times. It’s one of those little things that makes Bones obsession-worthy for me.

    As for the “guy hugs” and, on a related note, “partner rules,” we had an interesting discussion about that in an older post, if you wanna check it out.

    The discussion to which I am referring begins in the seventh thread, with a comment by Barbara (va32h).

    • I think that’s Cam who grabs Booth’s hand, and he hesitates because they’ve been keeping their involvement private. But Brennan notices.

    • I always thought it’s Cam that grabs Booth’s hand, and he hesitates because they’re still secretive. And then Brennan notices, and it’s what gives them away for her. Before that, she didn’t know. And if you rewatch the scene, it’s Booth&Cam that are next to each other, Brennan is sort of behind them – that’s how she sees them hold hands, while the others don’t.

      • Well, crap. I just watched it again and you are totally right. I have watched that scene a million times and I always thought it was Brennan grabbing his hand. I guess this is a prime example of seeing what you want to see.

    • Sorry, but I think mamamiau and JPSTG are correct. Do you think she was jealous, or was she just curious why Booth didn’t tell her anything? Booth had convinced Brennan that partners share things, and I think she was opening up to him as a friend and was taken aback that he was actually the one holding things back from her. I think even at this point she felt like her relationship with Booth was special and important; that she was privy to know certain things about Booth.

  3. Thank you Sarah! What a nice way to start a Sunday. Booth being “Boothy” and a “guy hug”. When I watch these earlier episodes it really highlights to me just how much I miss the the much more aware Brennan, (sorry I just had to vent on that one because in my mind, Brennan’s character just seems to have digressed so much the last two seasons…end of vent.) and of course, Booth’s presence in the lab (almost non-existent recently). I think I am going to re-watch this episode today to take in all that “Boothy” goodness!

  4. I know the seasons have a different feel to them, and maybe the show tends to go for laughs more, but I’m a little confused when people keep using the term aware. It’s a little vague to me, and I’m not really understanding what people are saying. Aware of pop-culture? Aware of other people’s emotions? Aware of her own? Because I still see evidence of that kind of awareness. She may know less pop-culture (which I personally don’t care about) but I think she knows more about herself than ever before (which I definitely think is an improvement.) I also know that in the past she was not always aware. Why do you think it took her more than 5 years after meeting Booth to believe love comes first and creates the chemical reaction? I think a lot of times Brennan just thinks differently.

    Didn’t the show creators say that they decided to show Booth in the lab as much because he doesn’t really belong there? When I think about it, I did like to see him there interacting with the others more, but he really doesn’t have to be there. The investigation probably goes faster if he’s not. Hmmm, doesn’t DB hate that place? Maybe it’s really his fault.

  5. While some of Brennans changes have been benefitial… her lack or awareness and not knowing any pop culture is really starting to grate on me. She is my # 1 favorite character in television but why does she always have to be the clueless one/person who is learning a lesson. I feel like the lessons other character try to teach her are just useless because they usually fail for the characters thamselves (if that makes any sense)
    I wonder how long they hugged for and what where the next couple of words they said to eachs other- ex)
    “*cough* so see you tommorow?”
    or was it something else?

  6. It is so interesting that you say that about DB being able to pull off what the writers write and make it sound Boothy instead of like a monologue. I just happened to watch the season 2 gag reel last night and there’s a part where David Boreanaz is looking at a script and he kind of says to himself, “Who says this sh*t?” Ha! But somehow he manages to pull it off.

    Oh, and guy hugs are awesome…and so don’t exist 🙂

    • DB does that a lot with scripts. Honestly, if someone else had given the “making love speech” it would have probably been laughable or cringeworthy, but he makes you look and listen with a straight face. I don’t think he gets near as many kudos as he should for his acting chops. Pulls it off, every time!

  7. Man, I love this scene. Up until then, Booth is easily able to compartmentalize his relationships. He has his little thing going on with Cam. He has his partnership/friendship with Brennan. He can do both happily and uncomplicated. Why not offer a hug? They’re friends. That’s what friends do. I almost think he phrased it as a ‘guy hug’ as much for his own benefit as for hers. 😉

    AND THEN,,,there’s a point in that hug, and I think Sarah captured it with the screencap where he blinks, where you can see Booth is clearly not able to compartmentalize the feelings he’s feeling at that moment. And what’s more, he doesn’t want to compartmentalize it. He’s allowing himself to feel everything in that moment and he doesn’t want to stop. It’s one of my favorite moments in the show, and DB’s acting in that scene is just amazing. – Booth’s feelings are utterly transparent at that moment, yet shown in a sublimely subtle and understated.way.

  8. Guy hugs make me laugh!! I have never seen guy friends hug like that lol!! That hug is really something. You can see his feelings yet it’s subtle and sweet. He really hates to see her hurting, and comforting her comforts him. I don’t really think he was in love with her yet(it’s hard to really choose when he fell in love with her), but he certainly had some strong feelings for her.

    The Cam/Booth relationship always made me cringe, not so much because they were together but because even though I didn’t like Cam then, she was so the third wheel even though she was sleeping with Booth. He seemed so uncomfortable being affectionate with her outside of the bedroom. When she grabbed his hand, he looked like he didn’t want to hold her hand, but did because it would be rude not to. Or when she wanted to go away for a weekend in another episode, he clearly didn’t want to.He also really didn’t want Brennan to know about their relationship.

    Like others have said,one thing I love about DB(what don’t I love about him??) is that he can be given cheesy lines or unrealistic monologue and somehow make it Boothy and not cheesy. I’ve noticed it many times through the series. Sometimes good actors save the writers!!

  9. Oh Booth. So sly. Guy hug my tush

    He likes it….a liiiiitle too much.

  10. Late to the party (massive internet issues) but just wanted to thank you for the wonderful post. And those pictures, to die for…

  11. I love the way Booth reacts to being close to/actually touching Brennan. It’s kind of like his heart stops for a second. I’m thinking of this scene, the “prom” dance, the cheek kiss in the hospital… He closes his eyes and just stops for a second and enjoys it. No words at all are needed, you can almost feel his reaction to her through the TV, just by the body language. He just instinctively knows this shizz is serious, but at this point, neither of them wants to go there. But I’m so so glad Booth just can’t help himself get a hug, lift her chin, brush her hair, etc., every now and then 🙂

    • The hug he gave her in tWiL was probably the first and last purely platonic hug he ever gave her. I think the hurt/comfort aspect of their relationship is what really melds them together. Some people still don’t like that their first time together was under those circumstances, but I actually think it was appropriate considering the course of their relationship. Yes, they bonded over happy times together, but I think the emotional support they provide for each other when the other is in pain have been some of their most powerful moments, especially with Booth comforting Brennan. Booth made his decision to stand by Brennan a long time ago. When he sat in Cullen’s office and was told that she was his responsibility out in the field, he took that responsibility very seriously. It wasn’t long before he also wanted to protect her from emotional harm. Brennan came to rely on that and really missed it when he was with Hannah. Booth isn’t the only one who enjoys those embraces. Although Brennan looks more like she’s content and safe and soothed. Brennan is no small, petite woman, but the way Booth puts his arms around her makes her look that way in comparison. Who wouldn’t want to be in his arms?

      You know one thing that’s great about Season 7? Now he can pull Brennan into his arms whenever he wants (without others around, of course) and she happily goes into his embrace. And sometimes there’s even a smooch. 😉

  12. Of course, both of them are a little frozen in time here:


  13. “Meanwhile Booth smiles dreamily and caresses her back and strokes his thumb through her hair–like I’m sure he does with all guys he hugs.”

    Ha! Am in class at the moment…apparently teaching grammar….getting distracted and this little line made me laugh out loud. Oops, busted…finite verbs really aren’t funny…

  14. Anybody else said “he just wants to hug her” in a singsong voice while reading this??? LOL. I should just go back to kindergarten. XD

  15. How telling it is that Booth knew she would be feeling like this. In my head-canon, he turned over the Donny Osmand-lookalike to the police and got back to her as quick as he could, because he knew she needed him.

    I disagree that guy-hugs aren’t a real thing, though. But they’re not a real thing when there’s this much going on beneath the surface, between two people who are so not in the Friend Zone.

  16. Late to reply here but I just wanted to tell you how much I LOVE the scene studies. All of the different types of posts are great, but I feel like the scene studies are special treats.
    I rewatched all of the earlier episodes (excluding the Hannah crap) while waiting for s7’s late start. It’s really a bitter sweet experience for me because, while I SO enjoy the early seasons, it makes me almost sad to realize how much the show (Brennan’s character especially) has changed. Sometimes I wonder if HH and ED ever sit down and rewatch early seasons and if so, do they see it? I know this isn’t the topic for discussion, so I’ll try to make this quick, but to me, this episode (like the pilot) really makes those changes glaringly obvious. One of my favorite lines of all time is an example,”Zack, place some garlic around the remains and chant the Hmong ritual for preservation of souls.” When he asks her if she’s serious, she follows it up with something like, “This is going to be a long case.” It’s smart ass lines like this that made me love Brennan and the show. (And yes, I know her intelligence ‘has nothing to do with [her] ass.’) I tried to introduce my sister to the show with the s7 premier and her first question was, “Does Brennan has aspergers?” All I could tell her was to watch the earlier seasons. K, Brennan rant over. I’ll try to adopt your attitude and not “dwell.”
    As for the “guy hugs,” they do exist, but they don’t look like THAT! Speaking purely heterosexually of course, the ones I’ve witnessed look more like this: a loose embrace at best (often involving only one arm while the others shake hands), very quick, and maybe including a back pat or two. There is no hair smelling, back stroking, wistful facial expressions, etc. But who wants to watch B&B do that? It’s like clasping hands at the airport to tell each other goodbye FOR A WHOLE YEAR…WHILE ONE IS GOING TO A WAR ZONE!
    One last thing: I’ve never really understood why everyone thinks Zack looks so young (maybe because I’ve heard so often that he’s older than most of the other actors) but wow! That last screen cap makes it clear as day. The kid looks 12.

    • Our cable channel here in Australia has been screening 1 episode a night each weeknight all summer (plus a 5 ep marathon on Sunday) and I’ve been catching up with some of these earlier eps the last couple of months. I also watched all 6 eps of season 7 (first run) and thought to myself ‘are they really the same people?’ Brennan has changed a lot…and I still don’t understand how/when/why it happened. I think it was around the time that I became so obsessed with analysing every tiny interaction/exchange between her and Booth, that I didn’t notice. But I miss her. That line to Zack is priceless. Now we would get the ‘the practice of hanging garlic originated from the….tribe in order to…’ with the wide eyed look, before Booth tells her it was a joke and she scrunches up her nose in confusion…

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