Bones Theory

Morning After Q: Did Brennan Give Booth Too Much Credit


Hello, all. Sorry for the delay!

Here’s a question for you based on last night’s episode “The Patriot in Purgatory” : Did Brennan give Booth too much credit in terms of her ability to feel the loss of human life?

She shared with Booth that because of her relationship with him, because of knowing him, she now feels unable to completely compartmentalize loss–she can’t help thinking of him as being someone who could have died.

But do you think it’s only because of Booth’s influence in her life that she now feels this way? Or is she attributing this growth to Booth because she’s closest to him? I can see either way, so I’m interested in what you think.


28 thoughts on “Morning After Q: Did Brennan Give Booth Too Much Credit

  1. Brennan is pretty honest when she talks to Booth and if she says that she could avoid feeling anything because she didn’t have anyone in her life then I think she is being very honest in what she is saying. Booth entered her life and because she’s allowed herself to love him now when she thinks of those lost on 9/11 she can see the pain of their loss because when she thinks of them she thinks of him. Now she thinks that he could have died on that day.

    We have always assumed that her parents deserting her was the reason she was so compartmentalized; but, we now see it was more than that. She didn’t feel that she had anyone in her life; so, she wasn’t emotionally invested in anyone. Even surrounded by death and destruction she didn’t feel vested because she thought she was alone and unloved. She didn’t have the human connection she needed to make her feel.

  2. I think for one thing, she started off talking about her experience on 9/11, which was before she met Booth. We have to take her word for what she was feeling (or not feeling) at those times. Analyzing her at any other point in the series is “compromised” because she had already met Booth.

    That event had a bigger impact on her years later because of her relationship with Booth. I can believe that. But it’s not like she ever disregarded the bodies she was dealing with in her life work. She understood she was giving people back their identities, and we were lead to believe that her motivation stemmed from her parents’ disappearance. But I think her revelation was moreso about her personal life than how she does her work. That facade is needed to do her job, but she was trying to keep it beyond her job. We saw instances where things did get to her, even when she was trying so hard to stay unaffected, and usually Booth was there, encouraging her that it was okay for her to feel whatever she was feeling.

    • Maybe I’m moreso wishing this is the case. Because I don’t necessarily want to see her upset over every dead body she comes across. They can save that for special cases, like they’ve been doing.

  3. “I have cried throughout this episode.. at the memories, at the sadness, at the loss, at the selflessness, at the courage, at the love Brennan finally opened herself up to for Booth…she basically told him she cannot live without him”.

  4. I think that its not only Booth who influenced her in this way but just in general people she began caring about The reason Booth kind of deserves all the credit because it was after she met him that she really started having these wonderfull relationship with others. So yes I think Booth deserves all that credit because he is the thing that caused her to open up and grow.

    • She was friends with Angela first, but she could and often did ignore Angela’s attempts for Brennan to open herself up in that way. Booth she couldn’t ignore so much, even if it took her a long time to realize that and admit it.

      • Exactly, Brennan and Angela werent too close at the time but she couldnt stay away from Booth and his hotness 😉 which brought the two soon to be BBF’s together:)

  5. Can I be a neutral politician and choose “both”?

    The case for “Booth’s influence”: Booth really was the only one who could truly break down all of her walls and defenses. Angela could to a certain extent, but it was only Booth who saw through it all, and made her really see things in new ways and go beyond what she thought she could do. She knew it too, evidenced by her not sleeping with him that first time. I think she darn well knew what he could do in her life and she was flat out running scared. Through Booth’s influence over time, she has been able to grow out of her self-imposed cage and be a part of the world again. I said before, she’s still a top scientist and author, but now is a loving friend, partner, and mom on top of it! I think that would not have happened without Booth.

    The case for “Booth is the closest”: Booth, specifically, did help Brennan see things from a different viewpoint as a solider. She learned how hard it can be for him to have to take lives. She learned that she sucked at reading people when she tried to imitate what Booth could do. He is with her, all the time. Partners that share meals, personal experiences, near-death brushes, etc. I don’t think she had a choice but to be influenced by that. It’s not like her 9/11 experience that was temporary and she could shut her emotions down with, but he has been a constant, steady presence that she could not dismiss and move on from. Her abrasiveness had pushed aside many before him (and almost did to Booth on that first case too!) but she was unable to shake the handsome FBI agent 🙂 And after awhile, nor did she want to!

    So my lame, cliche answer is both! 🙂

  6. It wasn’t only Booth who helped her break down her walls, but at the same time, I personally believe if she had never met him, she would have gone on living her life the way she always had. I don’t think anyone else had the power to strip away all her defenses. He is the one person she couldn’t keep out.

    Yes she’s close with Angela. But she’s not nearly as open with her even now as she is with Booth. At the beginning of the series, she was friends with Angela, but they although they were good friends, I think it only extended as far as Brennan let it. She was still in control of that relationship.

    And Brennan says what she means-if she said she could avoid it all until Booth, then in my eyes that’s exactly how it was. That was a huge admission on her part. He’s the person that if she lost, it would crush her. I think she already knew that, but she openly acknowledged that. Not just to herself, but to Booth.

    So yeah, I think the whole Jeffersonian team has helped her, but it was through Booth that she lost the ability to compartmentalize.

    • One thing I wonder is, was she admitting that she loved him for all those years but was too afraid to let herself go there? I think we all know that she did, but was she saying that?

      As for the question, yes, I think Booth deserves the credit. He was the one who would never give up on her and the one she just couldn’t stay away from. He slowly but surely chipped away at her defenses.

      • Hmm that’s a good question. I think at least in a way she was. Because she couldn’t keep him out, couldn’t stop herself from feeling so much for him that she couldn’t compartmentalize it anymore.

        God that scene was so raw and beautiful. DB and ED were absolutely amazing. You could feel her pain(and even some guilt) and his pain that she was hurting.

      • That’s how I took it Mar. She was admitting that she was so scared to give in to her feelings, she kept him at arms length for a long time. Booth’s face when she started saying that looked to me like he was thinking ‘woah…this is new. We’ve haven’t broached this before’.

        Her development here is a continuation of the ‘I missed my chance’ line in Dr in the Photo and the strong/impervious thing. She’s still coming to terms with what she almost lost/didn’t experience through her own fear. I think it scares her how misguided she was in trying to keep him out/turning him down/pretending not to feel anything etc.

        Booth should get the credit, he saw the real her from very early on (and was dazzled by it) and then he was patient, didn’t let her push him away and didn’t push her either. Lovely stuff.

      • “I’ve spent so much time trying to control my life. I thought it meant that I was strong but I was just afraid….all these years I never let myself feel it. I could avoid it all before I met you. I had no one in my life. And now I think of those people, and I think of you. Anyone of them, it could’ve been you”

        I don’t even know how to explain it but it’s just so beautiful. He allowed her to feel again. He gave her someone to care about and he was someone who cared for her when she had no one else. Also, in a way, he also gave her her family back. To me, she’s admitting that all those years, she was trying to control her feelings, including her feelings for him because she didn’t want to deal with what it means to need someone and the fear of losing someone you love. However, she failed miserably. She’s been in love with him for years but had been fighting it until she could fight no more and had to relinquish that control.

  7. So I just watched last night’s episode, finally, and I loved it. I was so worried when I first read the concept for this episode that we would get something like “The Soldier on the Grave,” which is not my favorite (I like the last scene, but the rest of it feels preachy in a Bush-era way that I just can’t get behind, and that’s enough politics). Instead, we got an episode that really focused on the PEOPLE (both the victim and our people), which is really my favorite kind. Arastoo’s speech to Finn, in particular, really got me. I thought this was a lovely, sensitive, complex episode that brought out the best in all of our characters.

    As for the ending, I keep thinking of “The Girl in the Fridge,” when Brennan says that she sees a face on every skull and attributes that sensitivity to the disappearance of her parents. Brennan has always understood what it is to lose someone, and that gives her a desire to help others in the same boat–to say the victims’ names out loud and return them to their families, as she says in “The Woman at the Airport.”

    So I think Brennan already had the capacity to understand loss: the difference now is that she can’t keep it at arm’s length quite so easily. That’s what Booth gave her. In a professional sense, he showed her that empathy can be helpful in solving a case (in “Stargazer in a Puddle,” she doesn’t understand the killer’s motivation until she looks at her own life, at which point the details of the murder come together). In a personal sense, he encouraged her to open up and show emotion (brains and heart, Bones!). And in a romantic sense, he has become the person she now fears losing. She has understood the experience of loss for quite some time, but experience is still, in a sense, rational. It’s her own personal evidence: it HAS happened to her. Fear is irrational. It’s emotional. She feels it now when she identifies bodies, and she feels it because she loves Booth. In my opinion, that’s the difference he’s made. On 9/11, she was able to remain dry-eyed and clinical (though I’m sure she still felt the pain). Now, loving Booth makes everything personal.

  8. Brennan giving herself permission to be with Booth after his near-death experience when Vincent died was to me what started the ball rolling, as much as her realization after Doctor in the Photo that she didn’t want to keep living the way she had always expected to live-unconnected and thus uninvested. It was an even bigger leap for her to decide to remain with Booth after they slept together; she was willingly opening herself up to everything that came with that decision, good and bad, although I don’t think she had any idea at the time of just how quickly the good and the bad would be coming or how intense it would be: the baby, the compromises, the fights, the loss of independence, and as we saw last night, the realization of just how much she has to lose now. It’s not that she couldn’t feel before; it’s that she didn’t want feelings to affect her, so she put them aside-but she can’t do that anymore because of her love for Booth.

    We’ll never know whether Brennan would have grown so much (and yes, I believe what we’ve seen in her over the years is growth) without Booth, but like most people here, I’ll take her word for it. They always had a special connection, one she knew was dangerous because it might make her emotionally vulnerable. That connection has been established plenty of times throughout the series and there are very few instances of her having major emotional breakthroughs without her partner and now mate playing a big part in them. But Booth has also been changed by being with Brennan; it’s not like she was some charity case of his-there’s been a lot of back-and-forth between those two.

    I loved seeing Brennan admit to Booth how much he means to her. Most of us already knew that was the case, but hearing her say it was as exciting as getting those first “I love you’s.” Also a first I believe was her introducing herself as his mate to a third party and then blurting out that they have a kid together. I was never sure how that would come up, or if it would ever come up at all, and Booth’s flabbergasted expression when he heard that line was worth the time it took to get it.

  9. I think Brennan isn’t giving herself enough credit in this area as I feel she often doesn’t, and ‘is’ giving Booth too much credit. I think Booth helped to bring her feelings out and see things differently, and maybe he’s the only one that ever could have, but only because she had those feelings deep down inside of her to begin with.

    • I didn’t get the sense from the show or anyone’s comments here that they were implying that Booth gave her those feelings. I think when you say that Booth was perhaps the only one that helped bring her own feelings out, that’s where I think people are giving him the credit.

      Because it wasn’t easy to get through her smokescreen. But he was constant and steady in his support and encouragement to let her walls down. You are right that she often doesn’t give herself credit, because from almost the beginning he has seen how big her heart is, even when she was still very guarded. He knew it could grow to be even bigger, or at least more people would see it, if she stopped limiting herself.

      • I agree and don’t think the show or anyone else was implying that Booth gave Brennan those feelings and I hadn’t intended to imply that. I agree with people giving Booth credit for helping Brennan bring out those feelings and I agree with what else you wrote, though I think Brennan deserves credit as well and maybe a drop of credit to a few others. Those feelings that she already had but were buried very deep inside. Brings to mind “Girl in the Fridge” as I think someone else mentioned. Also brings to mind for me other episodes and arcs. I think it’s one of the many things that attracted both of them to each other. He saw what was in her, though I don’t think he was the only one who saw those things in her, but perhaps the only one that was driven to bring it out in her, and the only one she would let bring it out in her to such an extent. I answered “yes” to the question because of the word “too” in the question. Yes, I think Brennan gave Booth “too” much credit. Brennan has been so criticized throughout the series for how she is and how can that not affect what she thinks of herself. I believe it affects her deeply. She’s very adept at hiding her pain, her deep feelings, and other things. I admire her openness and willingness to listen, to learn, to try, and take action. I think she’s still thinking through her feelings and other things and trying very hard to find her balance. I don’t think Booth has really found his balance yet either in spite of having nearly everything he’s ever wanted. I read so much about where and how would Brennan be without Booth, but I also wonder where and how would Booth be without Brennan. I think she’s influenced him and his life just as much as he’s influenced her and her life.

        Thanks for your reply C-bones. I appreciate it:)

  10. Both Booth and Christine. Several have commented about Brennan’s friendship with Angela, but although Angela tried to persuade Brennan to be more open to emotion, people are correct in saying that Brennan was always in control of the relationship with Angela, that Angela couldn’t break through Brennan’s barriers whenever Brennan was firmly determined to resist her efforts. Booth slowly wore Brennan’s resistence down and the birth of Christine probably pulled the rest of the walls down.

    Prior to Christine’s birth, Brennan had questioned whether or not she’d be able to relate to her child, but there have been so references to any such problem since Christine’s birth. Three months on the lam, constantly in Christine’s presence, while missing Booth deeply and being concerned that Christine wouldn’t recognize her daddy once the family was reunited, thus leading Brennan to show Christine pictures of Booth and to describe to Christine who he is and that the three of them together comprise their family, had to have made the bond between mother and daughter very, very solid. As Sweets told Brennan, her happiness is now contingent upon both Booth’s and Christine’s happiness. Christine is definitely a big co-factor along with Booth in Brennan’s current emotional receptivity.

  11. I think Christine REALLY did open Brennan up and break down those final walls. And I think Brennan knows that her love for Booth, and his love for her, made that possible.

  12. I didn’t really see that scene as being as broad in scope as others did. When she tells Booth that could have been him, the unsaid part of that for me is that the victim’s wife – that could have been her. The woman who was left behind to raise a child by herself and who never really stopped loving her husband all these years later. I saw that as something that tapped back into some of what she realized while she was on the run. And that it added an additional layer of meaning for her in terms of her own 9/11 experience. A “there but for the grace of God” kind of element in terms of not just those who died, but for those left behind.

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