If Bones Killed Off Brennan or Booth — Could the Show Still Survive?
Credit: Photo Illustration: Wetpaint Entertainment/©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co.    
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If Bones Killed Off Brennan or Booth — Could the Show Still Survive?

Earlier, we asked a very tough question: If Bones HAD to kill someone off — which main character should go?

Through careful evaluation, we determined that the show would sink without Angela and Hodgins, but Sweets and Cam could ultimately go. But the real question is: Could Bones really survive without either of its two leads?

Here's our two cents:

Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel)

If Bones Killed Off Brennan or Booth — Could the Show Still Survive?
Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co.    

Do we really have the gumption to consider killing off Brennan, the character after whom Bones itself is named (at least kind of)?

Well, we are attempting to think the unthinkable — so we must leave no stone unturned!

Just what, practically, is keeping Brennan on the show? Well, she’s the best forensic anthropologist in the universe, for one. But in TV-land, it’s easy enough to conjure up more of the “best in the universe.” Bones can always just write itself another supergenius.

Naturally, then, the reason to keep Brennan is emotional. The simmering sexual tension between Booth and her drove the show for six years. She’s about to have Booth’s baby now, for goodness’s sake! We were willing to give Angela and Hodgins a “baby pass,” so why not Brennan?

If Bones Killed Off Brennan or Booth — Could the Show Still Survive?
Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co.    

But there’s the rub: if we have one happily married mother-father team raising a kid, that’s cool. But two? Indeed, we strongly suspect that the Bones brains are doing everything they can to make the two parenthood situations as different from each other as possible — Booth’s and Brennan’s constant sniping versus Angela’s and Hodgins’s supernatural marital bliss comes to mind, not to mention the the disparity in the babies’ sexes.

So what better way to really differentiate the situations than to kill off Brennan? Think about it. Remember that simmering sexual tension that kept Bones going for six years? That’s gone now; the mystery is over. Executive producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan have decided to roll the dice on this parenthood dynamic replacing the old magic, but how is that any better than a “Booth grieving as a single parent” narrative? Heck, we can’t think of a better way to let David Boreanaz shine as an actor — and it’s not like Boreanaz hasn’t done this before. (Whedon fans will recall Angel grieving over Cordelia through more than one season.)

Now, before you descend upon us with torches and pitchforks, remember that we’re not actually advocating for Brennan’s death. But with the dice still rolling on Bones’s decision to fuse Booth and Brennan together, all we’re saying is that hacking Brennan off the mortal coil could work.

Verdict? Brennan can go.

Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz)

If Bones Killed Off Brennan or Booth — Could the Show Still Survive?
Credit: Beth Dubber/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co.    

And that leaves us with our last main character: the indomitable Seeley Booth. We’re going to say right up front — and maybe this will help us curry favor with those of you outraged over the previous verdict — that there’s no way Bones could kill off Booth. And to prove that we’re not playing favorites, we can make the case in a thoroughly practical way.

The thing about the squints is that they become a herd — say, a herd of gazelles. If one gazelle gets eaten by the lion, you still have a whole bunch of gazelles to watch and enjoy. But if the lion dies, then we have serious problems.

Booth is less of a gazelle and more of a lion. In short, his occupational loner status makes him indispensable to Bones. While there are a bunch of squints (which, we argue, made it especially easy to shoot Vincent Nigel Murray to death), Booth is the only character to offer a window into the FBI world. Sure, some other FBI folks have been introduced — like Andrew Hacker (Diedrich Bader) and Genny Shaw (Tina Majorino) — but those characters are either short-lived or so tied up in Booth as to be meaningless without him. (And yes, Sweets might be FBI, but he’s so removed from that world that we hardly notice.)

If Bones Killed Off Brennan or Booth — Could the Show Still Survive?
Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co.    

Granted, there is an emotional component to this argument. Granted, due to the “experts everywhere” TV trope, Booth could be replaced as easily as anyone else — but the problem is that we would have to care about that replacement.

Brennan 2.0 might annoy us, but we’ll still have characters we care about in the lab. Booth 2.0, on the other hand, would cause us to check the fridge or fire up the microwave during every scene at the FBI headquarters or in the interrogation room. In effect, getting rid of Booth would shut viewers out of the whole “criminal investigation” deal, which is a huge part of Bones.

So it’s not just that Booth is necessary in and of himself as a character. Moreover, he’s necessary as a representation (synecdoche, anyone?) of practically half the show.

Verdict? Booth must stay!