Bones Theory


When the Walls Come Tumbling Down

The lack of physical contact between Booth and Brennan this season. Discuss.

WAIT. Didn’t we just talk about this a couple of days ago?

Yes, we sort of did. Stephanie, in her post, “You Say You Want a Resolution” talked about the disappearance of the UST (unresolved sexual tension) and I really liked her take on that whole issue. I had never thought about that particular aspect…probably because she looked at the big picture, while I am mired in the little details. 😀

So, perhaps you will humor me in my microcosmic world. Nicole did this great post back in October about the meaning behind Brennan’s touch (“I Hate Psychology”: The Deeper Meaning Behind Brennan’s Touch”) and said this:

“Why does Brennan touch Booth? In my opinion she touches him to keep a connection between them. She needs to be reassured that he’s there so she reaches out for him, literally. She has found herself in this serious relationship (not quite the romantic relationship we all hope for but serious anyhow) and now she needs the keep a connection so she won’t be abandoned again. She’s been abandoned by others that she’s loved deeply (i.e. her parents, Russ, Zack) and it’s hard for her to keep the connections she has because of her fear of being abandoned. She needs that connection. Touching Booth, whether she realizes it or not, is how she keeps her connection with Booth. It’s how she knows that he’s still there.”

I think she’s right on with this… and Brennan’s hand on Booth’s arm is ever present in almost every episode this season. I really feel like she’s good to go with Booth, don’t you?

Shortly thereafter, Sarah followed up with “Booth and Brennan and The Five Love Languages” where many people agreed with the idea that both Booth and Brennan have Physical Touch as one of their top 2 languages of love, or preferred ways of receiving or giving love and I really liked ShrinkyMojo’s take on it:

“Brennan is the only one that is allowed to touch Booth. He cringes if anyone else tries to, backs away and basically withdraws from any sort of touching or hugging, unless he initiates it.”

I remember blabbering away that I did not think Physical Touch was one of Booth’s primary languages, but when I contemplate what I have been seeing this season, I am inclined to change my mind. Bear with me here, as I will admit that I am now going to just drift away from a well-organized essay, and simply share some evidence and my reactions, and hope that it will elicit some great insights from all of you.

I miss Booth being all over Brennan. I mean, who doesn’t?

And all through this season, I’ve been sad that not only do we not have THIS,

End scene Boneless Bride - Booth's arm around Brennan

but we haven’t even had THIS,

Cinderella in the Cardboard - Booth's hand on Brennan's back

And I think it is partly because of THIS:

Mastodon reunion hug 1Mastodon reunion hug 2

(I call this the “oh-crap-I-totally-thought-seven-months-away-AND-meeting-someone-else-would-help-me-forget-how-totally-amazing-this-woman-is” reunion hug.)

I think with that hug, at that moment, that Booth very clearly needed a definite physical separation from Brennan, to do what he could to keep himself from something he didn’t think he could have.

This whole season I’ve been thinking about how Booth NEVER touches Brennan – well, okay, yes– except for pulling her away from the car in Doctor in the Photo and a couple of high-fives. Very impersonal. However, in trying to find photos from season 5 to demonstrate how often Booth used to touch Brennan, I discovered he didn’t touch her nearly as much as I thought I remembered. This changed the tenor of how I decided to approach these thoughts of mine in this way:

Why do I feel like this is such a big deal THIS season?

Upon further re-examination of season 5, I found six instances of Booth touching Brennan, but all were of a much more intimate nature:…

The reunion hug at start of Harbingers in the Fountain:

hug at the beginning of Harbingers

The embrace and kiss on the head later in Harbingers:

I got you baby scene in Harbingers

(BTW, fun fact: I had to replay this scene a dozen times and crank the volume to finally hear the "baby" part that everyone kept talking about.)

Brushing her hair away from face in Night in the Bones Museum:

Booth brushing Brennan's hair back in Museum

The hand holding in Tough Man in the Tender Chicken:

Booth grabbing Brennan's hand in diner in Tender Chicken

The thank you hug in Proof in the Pudding:

booth's thank you hug in Pudding

And the “heart-crushing” (Please, I need someone to come up with a replacement phrase for that blasted ‘heart-crushing’ expression. Please.) hand-holding in The Beginning in the End:

hands at end of season 5 finale

These touches were different than prior seasons… this was not the “casual” arm about the shoulders or the fanfic-glamourized hand at the small of Brennan’s back. These are deeply intimate, and I think that this is why I found the lack of contact this season so drastically different.

It is my thought that at this point, touching Brennan in any sort of intimate or affectionate way will cause those walls he’s built to come crashing down. I believe my exact words to Seels last week were “he’s going to be a goner.” I think he is acutely aware of this potential response, making me believe that y’all were right about Physical Touch being a primary love language for Booth.

Dates on a slip of paper? Disappearance of anger and imperviousness? “One year from now” coffee cart date? Sure, these are all great foreshadowing signs, but “Ima risk it” and say the walls will come crumbling down when Booth touches Brennan in the way that she has been doing with him all season.

Or not. I’m a good waffler that way.

So, to recap:

The lack of physical contact between Booth and Brennan this season. Discuss.