Bones Theory


If You’re Gonna Play the Game, Boy, Ya Gotta Learn to Play it Right.

Hello, Bones Theory!           

  I’ve got another theory for you, but I have to say that every time I sat down to write this, only fanfiction came out. Stories of Brennan leaving with the only explanation being that Booth is a gambler.

            This all started with talk of Billiards in my History of Theatre class. The play we read [The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov] contains a character who often, randomly, makes billiards references. Our teacher claims that the character, Guyev, makes the references because he feels as if he has lost control. Billiards is a game of control. And…here is where I lost the class and my brain got all Bones-ified. [Yeah…like YOU haven’t gone on a Bones tangent in your lives. =p ]

            Fade to the first flashback in D-Day [100th]. Booth is playing billiards. And he is winning. He is completely in control, and everything is fine. As Cam helps point out to us: he won, so it’s okay.

CAM: Speaking of which, you look like you’ve been up all night.

BOOTH: I’m fine.

CAM: Meaning you won.

            Pause. Now, we know that Booth “takes a gamble” on Brennan. He calls 8 ball to the corner pocket and he scratches. Then he meets Hannah, who doesn’t know [presumably] about his problem, calls 8 ball to corner pocket and sinks it. Then he calls 9 ball to side pocket and scratches. After each loss, he loses control.

            Okay. Back to D-Day. They are at the bar and looking at each other like this:

And then they go outside.

Booth tells Brennan about his gambling problem.

And Brennan looks at him like this:

While many may not see it, OwlStory and I do. Brennan lost it. Right there ^^^. That look in her eyes tells us all we need to know. She no longer wants him.


            She now knows he is a gambler.

            She doesn’t want to be something that is gambled on.

            Sure, she kisses him still, but doesn’t go ahead and sleep with him. The feeling is lost. She doesn’t feel like a person anymore. She feels like a game. Now, perhaps she didn’t “anthropomorphize” herself and a game like that, as Seels pointed out, but I think she definitely senses a shift. She realizes something, and it’s not positive. If you watch the scene [from when they exit the bar to the kiss], I think it is very clear that there is a negative presence after he confesses his problem to her. For those of you few who went off to watch the clip. What do you think? Do you see it too?

            Face back to reality. Or at least real-time in Bones. Sweets tells Booth that it’s got to be him because he’s the gambler.

Camera to Booth

“Make that work for you,” Sweets says.

Another shot to Booth

And then a shot to Brennan

Her facial expression can say a lot of different things: Hope, Anticipation, Giddyness, etc.

But for me, it’s a look that I give almost daily: the “I should have known this would happen. I can’t believe I thought any different. *scoff*” followed closely by “I’m gonna kill Sweets”. Brennan is an intelligent woman. She knows what will happen.

            So when Booth stands in front of the Hoover building and asks her to be with him, she says “I am not a gambler. I am a scientist. I can’t change.” However, what I hear is “I don’t want to be your gamble.”

Now. Is this a stretch? Maybe. But let’s continue.

Booth is a gambler. In Woman in the Sand, Brennan freaks out about Booth being in the casino. He ends up telling her how it started:

BOOTH: This kind of reminds me of the first time. I walked in the Desert Inn with 35 bucks in my pocket and I walked out with a cool 10 grand. The next night, I lost everything. Tapped out my ATM trying to get it back.

Booth played and played and kept losing that second day. He didn’t play a different game. He didn’t take a break. He kept gambling. Then he met Brennan and his problem seemingly went away. He didn’t need Craps or Billiards or Poker anymore. He had another game: her. Now, does he realize it in that precise moment? Probably not. In fact, I don’t believe he realizes it until Woman In The Sand. But, still. In the thirteen months less a week that Booth and Brennan were apart between first meeting and the Pilot, Booth doesn’t gamble. What does this mean? Did he, in fact, realize it that night outside the bar? Or did he have his epiphany during that year apart and that caused him to “chase after her”.

            Fast forward five years of partnership and Brennan leaves for Maluku and Booth finds Hannah: another gamble. She may not be a gamble at first. She may be the “real thing” that he wants, and yet, she becomes a gamble. Somewhere between him leaving Afghanistan and the proposal, she became a gamble. Booth has to see it; it’s the same game. What do you do when you’re losing at one table? You switch to another one and hope your luck is better. And it is for him, for a while. Brennan even tries to warn Hannah:

BRENNAN: One thing, Hannah. (Hannah turns back) I want you to be sure about this.

HANNAH: The phone?

BRENNAN: No, although I understand the misunderstanding. No, about you and Booth moving in together. Booth will give himself to you completely. And it will be very painful for him if you aren’t as serious about the relationship as he is.

HANNAH: I am. But thanks though.

She tells Hannah that Booth will inevitably be “All in”. Hannah has been warned. Hannah has warned Booth about her nomadic style. But then, Booth proposes. Paying no attention to the “odds” or the cards in his hand, Booth goes all in. But the dealer, in effect, won. Sure, Booth should’ve known that Hannah wasn’t the marrying type, but he had to. He’s a gambler; it’s a compulsion.

            Now in the last few episodes, I’ve had hope for Booth. After Daredevil, I thought Booth would “walk out of the casino” or “fold” or “put down the pool stick and leave”. And for a few episodes, he has. He even took his poker chip out of his pocket and tossed it on the bar.

            I, sadly, do not have the answers to any of these questions. Personally, I think that what Booth feels for Brennan may be that similar to the way a child feels about a toy another child has. He only wants it because it’s something he hasn’t had. I know that’s a big statement to make, but I made it. =p

            Well, what do you think? Does Booth’s gambling addiction affect his world as much as I’ve stated? Or is he “cured”? What are some pre-100th episodes that portray Booth taking a gamble? What about Brennan? Hannah? Where do they fit into all of this? Were we more tolerant of his potential gambles because the stakes weren’t as high? Is it possible that Brennan is both attracted to that part of him and also nervous about it? Will Booth be successful if he only can learn to plays his cards right, or does he need to forget about gambling altogether?

Let’s discuss!