I started this particular post months ago. And I continued putting it off week after week because I simply couldn’t find the words. Well, I’ve waited long enough (“we have”). And I’ve finally realized that I will never be able to sufficiently convey how deeply and thoroughly I worship this scene. So here’s part 4.5 of my recap. I gave this scene its own post, which is what it rightfully deserves.
So many scenes in this series have affected me in innumerable and indescribable ways. And they continue to do so with each and every additional viewing. This is one of those scenes. I’ve been quite careful to limit my references to anything implying finalities over the past few months. However, how much does this moment capture this couple’s entire journey? It was touching, meaningful, but very in character. Not over the top. Nothing sappy. Completely unique, and tailored perfectly to recap their story. I don’t know, there is just something about the way Bones is written that is extremely satisfying to me. This is a realistic mature couple very deeply in love. But when they make declarations to each other, it doesn’t feel as though they are borrowing lines from a cheesy romance novel. It’s genuine. For me, I’m grateful that nothing these two ever did was ever cringe-worthy. And in my experience, most any couple who turns romantic on a show tends to have moments or dialog that just seem out-of-place. The most simple statements from Booth and Brennan exude more love than any of them. Out of context, something like “I love every day” or even “We’re symbiotic, like a clownfish and a sea anemone” wouldn’t mean too much. But with Booth and Brennan, it’s everything. They are incredibly romantic and so thoroughly in love with each other- if you take the time to understand them. Booth’s speech in this scene encompasses everything Brennan is, everything they are together, and everything they’ve been through.
If you remember this far back, Booth was discussing the case at hand with Aubrey and Karen, but became distracted by Brennan who had slowly made her way into his office…
Time is of the essence at this point. They cannot afford to waste a minute. But Booth has to make sure Brennan is all right. After everything she’s been through. And everything they’ve been through. Booth enters his office and witnesses Brennan mindlessly (there’s a combination of words I never thought I would say) playing with Bobblehead Bobby. Side note- you’ll notice that throughout the series, Booth does not want anyone touching Bobby. Anyone who isn’t Brennan, that is. Booth asks her if she’s okay. He is so extremely gentle and loving towards her in this scene. I’m not usually a gushy person, but these two are everything to me. So I will just say that it makes me figuratively melt. Brennan responds by asking Booth where their children are. An understandable inquiry when there’s someone on the loose determined to kill your entire family. But Christine and Hank are safe. They have only gone to the FBI cafeteria to procure some food. Booth asks if she wants to see them. Her gut reaction is “yes,” of course. But then she immediately follows it up with “no.” She doesn’t want to worry them. Meaning that Brennan is so out of sorts by this point, she knows that her kids would be able to discern that something is not right with her. Hank and Christine have been through enough during these past months. Booth approaches her and asks once more if she is okay. Brennan walks right towards Booth who automatically opens his arms for her. She cries for a moment on his shoulder. And he tells her that it’s all okay. “I just want to see you.” SHE JUST WANTS TO SEE HIM.
They break apart and a tearful Brennan admits that “it’s not coming back” to Booth. Her initial reaction to the contusion on her brain was something akin to denial. Then she became determined to spark something in her memory by examining the piles of remains lying on the floor of the former bone room. But after spending countless hours with the bones, there was still no hint of her former skill set. She is frustrated. And she is losing any semblance of hope she once had by the minute. Booth tries to soothe her by encouraging her to give it some more time. In reality, it hasn’t been that long since they were caught in the explosion. Booth makes an attempt to ease her mind as he explains that he knows men from the army who lost their memory for a period of time. But that their memories were later restored in full. Brennan feels that this is more than just a case of amnesia. “It…my brain, it’s it’s different. I mean, I’m I’m different.” Booth continues his attempts at comforting her. “Look, you know what? You’re healing, all right? You’re gonna get better.” Brennan is not so sure anymore.
What if I don’t? I mean, so much of my life, my intelligence is all I’ve had. You know, I-I may not have had a family, but I understood things that nobody else could. My my brain, the way I think, is who I am. Who I was. I…Now I-I don’t know, I’m I don’t know anything, Booth. I mean If the thing that made me, me, is gone…who am I?
This line resonated so deeply with me. Not because my intelligence is all I’ve had in life. I can assure you, I’m quite unremarkable in that department. In broader terms, to have something define you and your entire sense of self for your whole life, the threat of losing such a fundamental piece of your identity is confusing and terrifying. Something a bit more relatable and somewhat less vague is that last line. If one of your defining qualities is compromised, are you still the same person? That line hits hard for a plethora of personal reasons that I won’t get into. But let’s take Bones, for example. For better or for worse, my life revolves around Bones. Since the realization that I was going to have to surrender myself to this show a million years ago, it’s been infused into every facet of my life. Without it, what does my life become? What happens to my inspiration. To my motivation? It sounds trite, but without certain staples in my life, I find that I am eternally lost. Which is precisely how Brennan feels at this moment.
Brennan hasn’t lost her memory. She knows her friends and family. She remembers all the moments, good and bad, that they’ve shared together. And that’s undeniably important. But her work, it’s always been her passion. It’s what got her through those years following abandonment and foster care. The promise of a life where she could prevent someone else from suffering the same fate she was forced to bear. She loves learning. She loves science. Her work fulfills her. Yes, she has a family now. And her priorities have shifted, rightly so. But she always retained that passion. If anything, it’s grown. Her work remains a substantial part of her life. Her brilliant mind, she’s always had that. But that part of her brain is lost at this point. And she feels that a piece of herself is gone too. What would her life look like if this was a permanent alteration? It’s unimaginable. To Brennan, it’s her only defining quality. But to Booth, that is so clearly not the case.
I don’t even know how to properly build up to what happens next. All I can say is that Booth comes up with the perfect response. One that reduces me to a crying mess in a ball on the floor, time after time.
You’re the woman I love. You’re the one who kissed me outside of a pool house when it was pouring rain. Took me to shoot Tommy guns on Valentine’s Day. That’s who you are. You’re the one who proposed to me with a stick of beef jerky in her hand, even though you’re a vegetarian. You’re the Roxie to my Tony, and the Wanda to my Buck. Who else is gonna sing “Hot Blooded” with me? Hmm? And besides, we’re way better than Mulder and Scully.
I don’t know what that means.
I don’t care if you know about the bones or if we know how to solve crimes. All I know is that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. This is you. Temperance Brennan. You. You’re my partner. Don’t forget that.
What can I even say about this? Nothing I type here will be right. Nothing I say will do justice to this moment. It’s been months now, and I still can barely articulate all that this scene is, and all that it is to me.
First off, something that has always drawn me to these two is that they take turns being there for each other. They are both strong individuals, that much cannot be denied. But it takes an exorbitant amount of strength to allow yourself to be vulnerable with another person. This astonishing connection didn’t start after they got together. It began long before. Booth and Brennan are each survivors in their own right. After the tragedies they faced earlier in their lives, they both learned the hard way that they could only rely on themselves in this world. When we met Brennan in season 1, she was completely closed off from the world. I imagine it was actually far worse before she became involved with the team at the Jeffersonian. Angela would have forced Brennan to open up just a little. But both Booth and Brennan were never big on sharing. Even their respective significant others over the years didn’t seem to really know them. But they found sanctuary in the other. It was unlikely, sure. But they do fit together. In more ways than one. They are what each other needs. And wants. When one’s in trouble, the other is there. When one is hurting, the other will stand right beside them. I think these broken pieces inside of them began to heal when they started working cases together. Booth adeptly hid behind his seemingly confident (“cocky”) attitude. But with Brennan, he didn’t always have to put up any sort of front. Brennan obviously hid beneath her work. She kept everyone at arms length and immersed herself into the world of science and bones. Now look at them. Look how far they’ve come. Yes, tragedy seems to befall this group more than most. But all in all, Booth and Brennan share a life they love living. They remain partners, and continue to find meaning in their work. This is a life they worked hard to achieve. The pain of the past will never go away, but they helped each other heal. And helped each other ultimately thrive.
I digress once again, as I only meant to highlight the fact that Booth is comforting Brennan here. But there are just as many times when the situation has been reversed. And that’s one thing that is so special about the show. Booth and Brennan are equals. Always have been, always will be. Their partnership has been life-altering for the both of them. Through it, they built trust, friendship, and love. And while they tried to maintain an image of strength and invulnerability, they learned to let each other in. Let the world in a little too. Maybe the Jeffersonian/FBI team really did begin as the “Land of Misfit Toys.” But they have all seemed to have found a place of (relative) peace now.
Booth’s speech briefly but profoundly accentuates their journey over the past 12 seasons. From that fateful night outside the pool house, to Buck & Wanda/Roxie & Tony, to the infamous beef jerkey proposal- it’s all a part of their incredible story. There were callbacks to the pilot, and of course a mention of Hot Blooded (don’t even get me started on that song, and the evolution of their relationship. I’ll be here all day). All Booth wanted to do was show Brennan that there is so much more to her than she realized. Her intelligence and her profession are a huge component. Of course it would be a tragedy if she never reclaimed those memories. But her brain is not her sole identifier. Not even close. Booth knows who she is. He has known right from the beginning. And he proceeds to tell her in this moment.
Booth understands that Brennan’s work means the world to her. And it’s always been far more than just a job. The booth of them value what they do immensely. And they have (mostly) loved working together to solve these murders. They’re partners, they like being together ;). But they are so much more than their work. Brennan is so much more than her work. She is someone who cares about people. Contrary to popular belief, she takes the time to consider what she can do to make her friends happy, or to help them through something. She doesn’t always act in conventional ways, but her intent is clear. I mean, Booth was proposed to with a bag of beef jerky. Because she just wanted him to have it. Because she wants him to be happy- that’s all she wants. And while it may strike some as an odd way to decide to get married, Booth could only use the word “amazing” to describe his new fiancée’s proposal.
Booth doesn’t need or want Brennan to be anything other than the woman he fell in love with. While the part of her brain that enables her to do her job is malfunctioning, she could take all that drive and passion and apply it to something else. Another job. There are still so many things she could do. Because there is so much more to her than forensic anthropology. Booth sees all of her. Every piece of her. He understands what a shock to the system this has to be. But he also knows she has so much more to give. His words are so sincere. So genuine. And they served their intended purpose. Because she is listening.
Booth picks a few select moments to make her see what they’ve shared together and how wonderful, dedicated, fun, daring, and compassionate she is. All it really comes down to is the fact that all of these things also make her Brennan. He loves her. He wants to spend his life with her (in case she doubted that for a second), and they are partners. “Don’t forget that.”
It seemed like Brennan went from a quasi end-of-the-world mode straight to everything’s going to be fine pretty quickly. But it’s because these words were coming straight from Booth. Children aside, this is the person she loves most in this world. And on top of that, well over 12 years of partnership has enabled the two of them to build an impenatrable lvel of trust. Brennan can look straight into his “fine” face and know that this is coming from his metaphorical heart. That he would not lie just to make her feel better in the moment. Every word coming out of Booth’s mouth is true. It’s how he sees her. It’s what she is and has always been to him. He has always seen her, even when others could not. “I know who you are.” So maybe if Booth is telling her that she’s more than just her intelligence, it’s true. Maybe over the years, after letting people into her life and learning how to love again, she those carefully concealed irrational parts of her out in the open for others to see. She let people in, let people know her. And what she began to share with others was far more than just science.
So, Brennan can believe what Booth is saying because it’s Booth who is saying it. She truly does find comfort in his words. And he brings her to tears with his love and sincerity. This man loves her. And she loves him, however irrational it is. It would be an unimaginable loss and a definite adjustment if this was a permanent situation. But being able to see herself through her partner’s eyes, she comes to realize that she has a full life with more than just work to define it. She has balance. Perhaps she had yet to realize how wide her world had really become. How rich her life is now. But there it is. She’s Temperance Brennan. And Temperance Brennan is so much more than her brilliant mind. And if she ever doubts it again, she can just ask Booth.