This just in: pigs are very smart and very clean. Adjust your perceptions accordingly.
(But seriously, Bones teaches me things.)
When a dog stands guard over a dead body in season two’s “The Blonde in the Game,” B&B talk pets. Booth asks Brennan if she’s ever wanted a dog, which is one of those ‘feeling each other up out’ moments. He wants to know if his partner is nurturing, if she’s an animal lover. (Let me answer that for you, Booth: yes.) Brennan admits that she always wanted a pig. They’re not actually dirty. Pigs—much like a certain forensic anthropologist—are intelligent and misunderstood. Once again Brennan has ignored a bad reputation and gone straight for the truth. It’s her unique brand of compassion. Booth stores this info in his brain under Interesting Brennan Facts.
It doesn’t take much investigation to realize that Howard Epps, creeptastic death row serial killer, is responsible for the murder. Zack and Brennan examine the remains and talk game theory, but Booth has something else in mind.
Booth: You know, if you had a pet pig, what would you name him?
If I’m ever in a position to name a pig, we have a winner! Brennan’s expression is all kinds of baffled. I know she’s probably just startled by the random interruption, but I prefer to think that she’s upset Booth even has to ask. Obviously she’d name the pig Jasper. She’s thought about it, and it’s objectively the best name. Get on her level.
(Full disclosure: The first time I saw this episode, I laughed harder at this moment than I have ever laughed at anything else on Bones.)
Later, Hodgins mentions to Zack that Booth wants them all to get together and buy Brennan a pig. Oh, so Booth has a plan! It’s adorable that he’s thinking of her and that he wants to give her something she’s always wanted, but you can’t just buy someone a pig, right? Right? Raising an animal takes time and commitment. Also, what kind of message does it send when you hand someone a pig? Here, I want you to not be lonely. Have a pig.
Epps, meanwhile, continues to dig his creepy serial killer hands into everyone’s sanity, using his accomplice to kill one young woman and kidnap another. B&B, because they are B&B, find the girl, and Booth orders Brennan to stay with her while he finds Epps’s partner. The partner finds Booth first and proceeds to beat him with a pipe. Fortunately, Brennan’s not very good at following orders, or at letting Booth walk into danger without her. She shoots the guy from behind, and he dies immediately. Brennan’s first kill.
The two of them visit Epps in prison to let him know that his partner is dead, which is silly because Epps wasn’t programmed to feel human emotions like grief. They think they’ve knocked him off his throne, but Epps is just glad to know that he’s turned Brennan into a killer. That was the whole point of his game: he wanted to lead them right to his partner, to make them feel the dirty rush of taking a life. Charming.
So we find Brennan late at night in the loft of the Jeffersonian, a space that’s reserved for great moments. She’s deep in thought, staring at a photo of the girl they didn’t save. Booth approaches in that beautiful bicep-hugging t-shirt, curious what Brennan is drinking. When she informs him that her water is not, in fact, vodka (though it is on the rocks), Booth is ready with the advice. “You know Bones, I’m not sure you grasp the basic theory on how to get drunk.” Hint: it involves a bartender named Shaky.
Brennan insists that she doesn’t need a drink. She’s fine. She’s sitting here thinking about it, and she’s fine. So now we know: Booth deals with dark times by drinking, Brennan deals by thinking. He escapes emotionally, she escapes intellectually, but only when they’re alone. Thank goodness they’re not alone.
Booth nods. “Ok, you know, what I’m getting from you here, Bones, is that you’re fine.” Then he sort of raises his eyebrow and waits for her to admit that she’s not fine. He doesn’t push. He just waits. Brennan picks up the picture again.
Brennan: He murdered Sarah. He was about to murder Helen. Why should I feel upset about shooting him? I mean, if I was going to be upset—which I’m not—it would be because Epps thinks he beat us, so…
Booth: He didn’t.
Brennan: I know.
Booth: You’re upset because you think he beat us. And you know what? He did.
Oh, this show and its moral complexities. Epps will never define them or take away their reverence for life, but he did push them to violate it. Brennan killed a man. Epps forced that on her.
Booth: You’re afraid that Epps turned you into him, into a killer. You have to come to grips with the fact that you killed another human being. Because when you kill someone, there’s a cost: a steep cost. I know. I’ve done it.
Brennan: I did the right thing.
Booth: I know. I was there.
I love that line. He doesn’t say that she did the right thing because she saved him; he just says that she did the right thing, and he paid witness to it. Without pushing her into any sort of emotional conversation, Booth makes it clear that he’s grateful. She had his back and now he has hers.
Brennan cries on the victim’s picture, because she totally is upset and Booth’s given her the freedom to admit it. She wipes it away and sighs over ruining a memento of the girl’s life. Booth is quick to comfort her and tell her that it doesn’t matter, but Brennan is even quicker to insist, “It does. It matters.” Brennan is the best. She values every detail of the victims’ lives.
Booth’s more concerned with every detail of Brennan’s life. He has a surprise for her, and I’m super impressed that he’s waited this long to share it. Look at that smile—he’s like a kid with macaroni art for the fridge.
Brennan thinks maybe it’s a bottle of hard liquor, but not quite. “Next best thing.” Stop being modest, Booth. You know it’s way better.
And then, in one of my all-time favorite Booth moments, he leans in close, a toy pig on his open palm. He cocks his head and smiles playfully and utters that confident “mmm?” as he offers up his gift. And I melt. Every. Single. Time I watch this. I melt.
Brennan stares at him for a few seconds, like she wants to make out with him and is so annoyed that he keeps doing adorable things that make her want to make out with him.
Finally she just laughs and accepts the pig, because he is very cute. And by “he,” I mean both the pig and the guy giving it.
Brennan’s “Awww” is I think one part “Awww, cute pig,” and one part “Awww, you remembered?” I think that’s what Jasper’s all about. Booth hears her and he’s there for her. He sees the side of Brennan that is intelligent and misunderstood. He sees her nurturing side, the part of her that wants companionship, and instead of actually giving her a pig (see above, re: You can’t just buy someone a pig), Booth kind of gives her himself. Here Brennan, he wants you to not be lonely. Take this pig and know that Booth will always keep you company.
I just love these two. They complement each other in ways that are all on display in this scene. With his sniper experience and her empathy for the victim, they know the cost of violence and how to deal with it. Booth follows the bad guy and Brennan follows Booth. Brennan chases the truth and Booth chases Brennan. They give each other permission to be themselves and to talk things out just by sitting together. They’re so in touch with the pain of the world, but they’re not above bringing little toy pigs to cheer each other up.
Booth looks her in the eyes.
Booth: You’re gonna be ok.
Yeah she is, Booth. And so are you.
Ok, team, time to weigh in. What are your thoughts on this scene? Do you wish he’d given her a real pig? Why does Booth love giving gifts so much more than he seems to like getting them? And does anyone else like to think the night watchman in the background is Micah?