Bones Theory

IAYA: Why Did Booth Chase Brennan In the Beginning?


Okay, hey everyone!

I am taking a small break from Vintage Bones for a couple of days, as I have something special planned for my all time favorite episode, Glowing Bones, and I just need a couple of days to finish it! But I am trying not to leave the site dark on weekdays, so I thought I would just toss out a question and see what people think.


I was thinking the other day about Booth and why he pursued Brennan in the Pilot episode. We learned in the 100th what went down between them, and the more I think about it, I think that it was mostly that he just wanted her to think he was a good person. Booth has separated himself from many people–putting up some walls, but there was something about Brennan, and he wanted to be on her good side. He liked her, but they fought, and I think that is what ate at him…

It wasn’t so much love as it was that (like Elizabeth Bennet to Mr. Darcy), he couldn’t stand that she was alive in the world and thinking ill of him.



27 thoughts on “IAYA: Why Did Booth Chase Brennan In the Beginning?

  1. Well, there was also her invaluable expertise. He was quite impressed with her skills working their first case (remember she passed with a lot of color.) So I think he was doing it for the greater good. He wants to catch the bad guy, but the evidence always has to be there, and she and her team provided that.

    I’m not sure that when they met up again that he was still thinking that they would be “going somewhere.” They were still physically attracted to each other, but their big fight really backburnered anything else. They clashed so much with their differences and it took a while for them to learn how to work together. I don’t think Booth was drawn in emotionally until she gave him the file on her parents.

  2. I don’t think Booth likes being in the bad books of anyone unless the person is evil but with Brennan, he could not read her straight away. She was brilliant at what she does but there was a mystery to her that he was drawn to. Brennan jokingly said in 7×01 that men are drawn to women that are not easy. The fun is all in the chase for Booth and though he might have started it off as a project to find out what makes her tick, I think it evolved after that.
    Brennan was just different from all the women he had met and she was not a psychopath. Brennan spoke the truth and did not care what anyone else thought and she gave as good as she got. That would drive any man crazy and would either attract or push people away. Booth got snared in the web that is Brennan. He flew too close to the flame like Icarus.

  3. Well I think also we’ve sort of established that Booth has a “type”. He likes the smart, driven, independent, beautiful career gals. Even his “flings” like Cam (and sort of the marine lady) fit that mold. So when he walked into that lecture hall and saw Brennan, I think there was an instant attraction. But also, I think he could tell she was a bit different than his other relationships, and that using just his charm smile was not going to be enough :). I think Brennan had similar thoughts. She likes an attractive man (they make good breeders you know) and she likes hanging out with people that are the best at their craft. So Booth attracted her right away. However, she could also tell he had something different about him that she both liked, and was afraid of, at the same time.

    Brennan I think, was more scared than Booth to give it a shot. As they like to remind us on Bones, Booth is a “gambler”, but in relationships, I don’t think of that in a bad way. He’s more apt to follow his heart when he maybe shouldn’t (ie Rebecca) even if people in his life (like Hank) don’t approve. So I think he “chased” Brennan because he saw that something in her and wanted to take that chance. She would have chased back (obviously Brennan enjoyed fulfilling her biological urges!) and almost did, but her issues held her back more than Booth.

    Booth’s issues, later on, had him “drawing the line” later, so there’s that too 🙂 At different times in the series, either one of the other was chasing or running away from the other!

  4. I think another factor is that Booth probably wasn’t used to rejection. He charms women as easily as breathing and I think it needled at him that Brennan appeared to be immune to that. His absolute delight when she references his charm in Superhero in the Alley is evident.

    I’d be willing to bet that Brennan was the first and only woman to turn him down and he just couldn’t let that stand!

    • I agree with you Barbara. That must have piqued his interest more. She refused him but she was interested in him – conundrum.

    • I would agree with that. Now, I don’t think Booth honestly gives too much of a crap if just anyone turned him down, but he had a connection with Brennan from the start that he didn’t have with anyone else, and I think that the fact that she was able to both succumb to the Seeley Booth charm and then reject it really got under his skin, and he wanted to fix that.

      It’s also could be seen as another example of HH’s gender stereotype reversal, because Booth becoming even more interested in someone who rejects him and desperately wanting to fix it is a trait that’s usually attributed to women in the reverse. At least, that’s what my husband would say, because he used that tactic to snag me and it worked like a charm. 😛

  5. Oh! Be still my heart. You just compared Booth to Fitzwilliam Darcy. This is officially My Favorite Bones Theory Post.

    Besides the fact that he pursued Brennan because that’s what the script told him to do (Hi, Barb!), I think he pursued her because he just had to. He couldn’t not go after her. Once he met her, once he felt that – whatever it was – there was no way he could let that go without doing his best to find out what it meant. IMO, he kept trying right up until that moment on the steps of the Hoover when she broke his heart.

    But even then, he couldn’t quit her. (Sorry, I know that’s an overused quote but it fits.) He couldn’t walk away from their partnership then. He couldn’t walk away after he fell in love with someone else.

    And because you started it . . . “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

    Booth and Fitzwilliam. *sigh*

    • Booth and Mr. Darcy-it is the best post ever! When you think about it, there are many parallels there. Him chasing, her retreating, her changing her mind only to think that she’s lost him forever all cappped by weird events (Mr. Darcy’s aunt’s meddling, poor Mr. VNM) that finally right the ship and help clarify what they both still want. Jane, you were one smart, insightful lady…

      Re why Booth chases? Sure, it’s the thrill of the hunt but I also think that in Brennan, with her brutal, non-judgmental honesty, Booth found a person he could finally feel comfortable showing a glimpse to of the pressure-cooker that was his private life. He figured pretty early on that he could confide in her and trust her and that was the one element that was majorly missing for him. What sealed the deal? That she came to trust him just as much. It was always such an equal-footing relationship in terms of what they gave to each other, and this appealed to him. It still does, which is why he’s adamant about doing the 50/50 thing up to this day.

      • Another similarity – the quote I mentioned was from Darcy’s disastrous first proposal to Lizzie, the one she laughed off and responded to by telling him no.

        Brennan didn’t laugh at Booth, obviously, but Booth put his feelings on the line for her once, was rebuffed and still came to her rescue when she had her emotional crisis the night of VNM’s death.

        Oh! Does that mean Hannah is Wickham? 😀

      • Oh dear, does that make Max Mrs. Bennett? Trying to nudge his daughter towards Booth?

      • Ha! Now I’m picturing Max having an attack of the vapours! lolololol

    • Plus, once H exited last year, it did not take Booth very long – angry or not – to start that pursuit of Brennan back up again. He may not have been ready to admitt that, but he was. Come on, Booth, we know you weren’t just jogging around on your day off in KITCH! As Caroline put it, of course he was. I think the juxtaposition between Booth’s reaction to Brennan at the end of the 100th episode and his handling of H at the end of DITM says it all. And thinking about how happy B&B were in their mighty hut at the end of CITC, so sweet!, makes it all worth while.

      • Well worth it camcat. Booth was ready but he still was not sure about Brennan because she still said a lot of stuff that he did not process right. He waited for her to make the first move. I also think he ‘spied’ the date she wrote on the burnt paper in Blackout which we will never find out now since they are where they have always wanted to be 😀

  6. She really wasn’t what he expected and she continually surprised him. Combined with her physical appeal, her knowledge and her desire to find the truth, Brennan was a kindred spirit for Booth. Here was a woman who was committed to finding out the answers– probably more so than he was– and it intrigued him. She went about things in a way that was foreign to him, but got results and gave him a new perspective on the cases.

    She made him better professionally. But he needed to replace the gambling addiction with something else and I think that became work first, then Brennan. The year apart gave him a chance to clean up his act and put his efforts into working cases rather than his bets. She triggers something in him, certainly, that makes him give up on gambling almost immediately, but it also makes him angry and creates that year-long separation.

    Brennan tells Booth much later that he is good at using intelligence and we’ve seen that again and again. Whether he realizes it or not, in the pilot he is in pursuit of the intelligence that is going to set him apart from the others. Ego drives people to be the best at something and the top sniper has a means to be the best at his new profession and that requires the best forensic anthropologist. The year gives him enough time and space to put up some walls, but we all know those break down eventually. He pursues her expertise, but he does so on his terms– Tessa and secrets and snarkiness, oh my! But he’s a goner.

  7. There WAS something about Brennan for Booth….something that made him want to be honest/vulnerable with her. I really cannot imagine that happening easily for Booth…especially where he was at that point in his life. Think about where Booth was… Parker was, what?, 2 or 3 years old so Rebeccas was not too far in his past. Up to that point, Rebecca was the one serious love he had in his life and that whole thing was pretty traumatic. He was still gambling and, it seems, he recognized on some level that he had a problem. Aside from the Army, it appears he did not partner-up in the FBI. Booth’s view was that cops do the crime solving, not squints. Plus, well, look at what we know about Booth. He’s not real comfortable in the lab. Enter Brennan.

    Brenna was not what he was expecting, and I think that can apply to a lot of things with her. With Brennan, there would be different outcomes. I think Booth was ready for different outcomes, right? He rejected Cam’s suggestion about working with a Forensic Anthropologist, but then Cam pointed out that he looked like he had been up all night gambling. There, right there, that’s when he became open to a different outcome. Right? Booth knew he was going down the wrong path. We know he had to be hyper-sensative to becoming like his father. If we piece things together, Booth left the army to be there for Parker. Then he meets Brennan.

    To me, the moment in the 100th episode when Booth wants to share with Brennan that he has a gambling problem is BIG. HUGE. I think Brennan knew that too. We know how that first meeting ended. We know between their first meeting and their second case, Booth must have sought some help for his gambling problem. Booth had to wonder why they did not sleep together, right? I can’t imagine he has been turned down too many times. Yes, they fought and it was ugly. Brennan calling him a bully had to sting. I wonder if that confession about gambling haunted him a bit? Right? Booth is all about making things right. He liked Brennan. Not just physical attraction, he liked her. He was hooked. And I can easily imagine him wanting to call her and make things right between them. Their work caught a bad person. They both exceled in what they did, they could do more good work together. Booth being Booth probably also wanted to just make things right all across the board. And if they got a second chance at “going somewhere” that would have been fine by him.

    • Great insight about the haunting, Camcat. Maybe there was just a little part of him that wondered whether that confession had something to do with her rejection, and he didn’t like the possibility that his bad habits had kept them from being together. I tend to think it was fear of his intensity and his commitment that made her run like a bat out of hell for the nearest taxi, but he had no way of knowing that.

  8. I think it was a combination of things. She is the best at what she does, and she could help him with cases. Like others have said, she turned him down and he’s not used to that. He’s a charming guy and I can’t imagine many women turning him down. I think she was also unlike any other woman he had ever met, and she really interested him.

    I don’t believe in love at first sight, so I really don’t think that was it. Obviously they felt something right from the beginning, but I don’t think that’s really what had him chasing after her. Because although he did want her as a partner,and was still attracted to her, he did not chase her so that he could date her or sleep with her. He wanted to be her friend and chip away at her walls, because she wasn’t like anyone he’d ever met.

  9. I didn’t really have time to read the rest of these replies so forgive if I’m repeating but there are a few things that immediately stuck out to me after reading this post

    1) HH said that Booth has always liked women who say no. Brennan doesn’t say yes, and that’s the difference. I’ve always loved that quote because I think it says so much about Booth’s need to chase. Maybe it’s to prove to himself that he is worthy of these bright, stubborn, intelligent women (we know he has some insecurity issues). Maybe it’s because he does like to charm and win over and people who say No are more gratifying to win over, whatever the reason he does (or rather DID) it all the time.

    2) My second reason is that he had to make things right. That’s Booth all over. 🙂 Let’s be honest, their first meeting was a disaster. He wants to be the best man he can be and I think his conscience would have nagged at him for saying the things that he said and leaving it unresolved. So yes, she’s talented and he needs her help, but I think there is a second layer that required he find her so he could prove he actually was a good guy. Which he is. 🙂

  10. So as I was thinking about this question, I had a totally random, out of the box, off the wall thought. Presumably, Brennan wrote her first novel between their first case/100th and the pilot, right? Then she went to Guatemala and didn’t even know how well the book sold when she got back – Booth had to tell her. And we know that Booth reads her books.

    So, my thought was maybe Booth was seeking her out because obviously she wrote a book that “wasn’t” (yeah right) about a certain FBI agent. The impression that was made on that first case for her, even though she ran and they fought, was so emblazoned in her mind, that she wrote what was to become a series of books that kept him in the forefront of her mind. That gave him the foot in the door he needed to get back in touch with her and set into motion the chain of events that brought them together as partners.

  11. I think he pursued her in the pilot because he really really wanted to solve Cleo Eller’s murder. Justice is important to Booth and he knew he had got to a dead end in the case, hence why he pushed so hard to get Brennan involved.

    I don’t believe in the love at first sight theory and I don’t even think there was an instant ‘connection’ between them. I think in the first few episodes they really were just getting to know each other and they discovered, to their surprise, that they actually shared a lot of values and got on pretty well, despite finding each other quite annoying.

    I think the friendship, partnership and eventual love came a lot later.

  12. Great comments, but I will throw in my 2 cents now.

    In the 100th, it’s clear that Booth was blown away by his first sight and conversation with Brennan. He asks if she believes in fate. I really think that from that very first moment, he HAD to get to know her. She was a complete surprise to him, nothing like what he’d expected and just so-o beautiful.

    It’s also clear that that quickly included sexual attraction. I think that by the time of that first kiss in the rain, he already knew that it would be about more than just sex.

    Then they have that nasty encounter at the end of the case and parted ways. He keeps trying to reach out to her during that 13 months — Zac just keeps him at bay for Brennan. Booth was clearly trying to reestablish some kind of connection with her. Since he doesn’t go to the extreme of having Homeland Security detain her until he has a case where he really needs her, I conclude that the earlier attempts were not solely about the work relationship. At that point the professional need for her becomes acute and he does what he has to do to get her back as a work associate at least.

    So he starts to get to know her again. She drives him nuts, but he needs her for the work, and, as a man, he’s still blown away — and gets more so the more he gets to know her. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that he’s smitten from the get go. He may have had qualms about pursuing her on either level, but he couldn’t not.

    Net net – he was chasing her from the very beginning and never really stopped. I’d argue that he is still chasing her in the sense that, even though he appears to have caught her, he’s never quite sure what’s coming next, so he’s always trying to catch up. He knows her better than anyone, but she can still astonish him which is exactly what has kept him running since the beginning and will keep him at it for the rest of his life.

    • I agree Angelena. You can’t look at the way they are gazing at each other at that first meeting and not see their instant connection. It’s not the “30,40,50 years” love yet, but there is that spark of “something”, whatever you want to call it, from the first moment. When Booth walks into the room, its like someone hit him in the head with a 2×4. His brain just went, “whoa!”. And as they are talking, she gets a similar look in her eye. Physical interest sure. I mean, look at him. 🙂 But she also knows there is something more there. Call it a spark, or attraction, or something–but its there. It’s palpable. At least to me 🙂

  13. Booth is shown to be an ambitious man at the beginning of his career, and solving cases would do well to move him up the FBI ladder of success. Getting Brennan to help him solve those cases might have been a means to gain the position he aspired to, but he got a lot more than he bargained for from that “partnership”.

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