As expected, the Bones
fandom is in an uproar over the trauma introduced by "Murder in the Middle East." Booth's gambling has reached a tangible level putting his family and his career, not to mention his life, at great risk. Most disturbing for some viewers is Brennan's expulsion of her spouse from home and hearth. Other viewers feel differently. Let's discuss.
Boneheads desperately debate the questions: Is this the beginning of the end? Was this a realistic treatment of Booth's gambling problem, or are the Bones Fairies tormenting our beloved dynamic duo for ratings? And most the most divisive question of all, were Brennan's words and actions too harsh? That's what we are here to discuss, my friends.
Uninteresting Questions Are Immaterial
Let's dispatch the first two questions immediately because the immaterial is uninteresting.
Is this the end of B&B forever? There is no answer for that. The possibilities are infinite and thus unattainable. Based on the past, Brennan and Booth could very well overcome this fracture. However, addiction is a remorseless assassin and I don't care who you or what credentials follow your signature, you cannot solve a problem with so many unknowns. Period.
What about this being a bid for ratings? Every episode is a distracting bid for ratings forced upon producers as part of the longevity/profitability game. The inexperienced, conventional, and less audacious television fairies will sacrifice quality and believability for numbers meaningless to viewers (unless they put an end to a beloved show). In a race between conventionality and audacity, balls always win over banality in my book. So why should we even care? Seriously.
Was Brennan Wrong to Give Booth the Boot?
Any single human action is a single point on the trajectory toward life's final scene. Major life issues rarely resolve to an individual's satisfaction in regard to timeliness, and because we continue to live, we continue to be at risk for an unsatisfactory outcome even post resolution. Brennan, hoping that this is not their final scene, had several options before her as we all do in the face of personal tragedy. Let's consider those options and discuss below.
Option #1: She Could Have Put Her Head in the Sand
You've done it. I've done it. We see something terrible in someone we love and we look the other way hoping that somehow it will change. Or we rationalize: He was just under a lot of stress, right? It was a one time thing, right? Surely it won't happen again, right? We don't want to confront and risk embarrassment or, worse yet, a defensive counter attack. We think that if we love a person, our love should override their problems. We think if we love them, we shouldn't make them uncomfortable by confronting them. In the meantime, we stand by and watch our love slowly get beaten to death by the ravages of addiction. This is not a good option, folks.
Option #2: She Could Have Waited and Watched
Brennan could have said nothing upon Booth's return since the man has just had a harrowing experience in Iran. Then, she could have just watched carefully to see if this might have been a one time deal, or if he's gambling regularly again like he was before they met. She could have waited for him to tell her. At least then he'd still be at home, right?
The thing is, Brennan knows full well that as long as he's at home, his life is still comfortable and Christine is still in danger of being exposed to bookies like GQ Jimmy seeking retribution. There would be no incentive for Booth to stop what he's doing, especially if he thinks no one knows. He's already edgy and uncomfortable because he's hiding something. He walks around feeling guilty and acting defensive. This behavior will manifest itself right into irritability
, which will damage his relationship with Brennan.
Option #3: She Could Have Confronted Him, But Let Him Stay
Again, this keeps Booth's life cushy, insulating him from the true cost of his folly. Addiction is a disease. It's a parasite that feeds on the psyche with no antidote save total and complete abstinence. If Booth was allowed to stay at Mighty Hut 2.0 and promised to stop gambling, he would feel like he will always be judged and watched. He might even turn on her like he did in "The Eye in the Sky." That's the addiction speaking. She would be in the uncomfortable position of codependent; feeling responsible for him getting into a support group, which would end up feeling like nagging. Addicts can't tolerate nagging, so it would get ugly. Can you see a proud man like Booth going to a support group and admitting his faults to a room of people? In the words of Pops, I don't think so.
Those same troubles that weakened him and got him in this mess, (conspiracy, imprisonment, Sweets' death), still fester and will continue to do so until he talks about it or processes it some other healthy way. When he sees the disappointment and mistrust in Brennan's eyes, his life will be turned completely to bovine feces with no relief except the high he knows he can get from gambling. If he stays, things will fall apart eventually, but first they will cause 100 times more damage between them.
Option #4: She Kicked Him Out
What does this mean, kicking him out? It means she knows that he is responsible for his recovery. He has to want to recover, which means getting himself the help he needs. He needs to see and deeply experience the losses that will result from his unwillingness to admit that he has become powerless over his addiction and that his life has become unmanageable. In short, he needs to want to do whatever it takes to get his family back.
Brennan is brilliant and she has researched addiction. She knows that this is the fastest way to find out if Booth is willing to do what it takes to extricate himself from the claws of addiction.
So, what made Brennan's particular confrontation successful, giving us hope for their future together? 1) She respected him. 2) She acknowledged the wonderful and courageous things he did in Tehran. 3) She gave him a chance to fess up. 4) She gave him power over his own life by unhesitatingly letting him experience the consequences of his actions. 5) She questioned his love for her, which is the key to his recovery.
Her questioning his love for her gives him something worth fighting for. It makes it clear that addiction and his love for her are diametrically opposed as far as she's concerned. She loves him enough to rip off the Band-Aid. She needs him to know that sh*t just got real, and she wants him to take care of it now before it causes permanent damage.
Option #5: She Could Have Changed the Locks and Burned His Belongings
Yeah, that was an option as well. If she didn't love him any more, or if she was simply not willing to put up with the lying, cheating and squandering that addiction inspires, she could have moved all his stuff to the front lawn and changed the locks on the doors and refused to see or work with him. She could have blasphemed him to anyone who would listen. She could have refused to pay the money, letting him experience the wrath of GQ Jimmy. She could refuse to let him see his daughter. She could have reported him to the FBI.
She did not do any of this, because she is not finished with him. She is saying, "I love you, but I cannot be with you when you are doing these things, so you have to choose."
Here's what some of the fans are saying on Twitter
. Do you feel the same, or do you have a different perspective? Add your 25 cents in the comments section below.
Bones airs Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.