Bones Fans Have Some Pretty Strong Opinions About Booth's Mom

"Bones" is a TV show that is best known for the characters who grace the screen. Of course, like most series, "Bones" is headed by a strong lead. Seely Booth (David Boreanaz) is a tough and sarcastic FBI agent who solves crimes using his sharp street wit and ability to read people. Add an unkillable determination to find the truth, and you have a formidable force for good. Once he is paired with the perfectly-cast Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) at the Jeffersonian, he is given a new set of tools to add to his arsenal. The Jeffersonian team uses science and a combined IQ of a small country to point Booth in the right direction, making him a guided missile that can't be stopped.

Booth's family history is complicated, at best. His younger brother, Jared (Brendan Fehr) was dishonorably discharged and was seemingly competing with Seely until his death in Season 11. His father was an abusive alcoholic, forcing them both to be raised by Hank (Ralph Waite). His mother fled their father, leaving them to grow up in a house Booth characterized as being filled with violence and hatred. 

This caused Booth's mother to be on the receiving end of fan anger when she returned in later seasons of "Bones," which hasn't died down in the years since. This was seen on Reddit in 2022, when u/swimming_peacock97 wrote, "When Booth and his mom are at the park, and she tells him about Reggie... it has ALWAYS bugged me how she talks to her GROWN son like he's a ten-year-old hearing about mommy getting remarried. OBVIOUSLY, he's hurt; she left and never even made an effort, even after knowing the boys were safe with Hank." 

Others chimed in to agree. Here's why fans feel so strongly about this.

Parents are a theme for the cast

It is undeniable that parental relationships are a theme throughout the series. Multiple characters display some kind of conflict and estrangement from their parents in the early seasons. While Booth's relationship with his parents is more alluded to than actually stated in the early seasons, other characters see their parental relationships brought out into the spotlight more immediately. For example, there is Hodgins (T.J. Thyne), who spends his time as the "bug and slime guy" as he uses an assortment of insects to inspect and locate particulates, often leading to cause of death. However, he has a deeper character trait revealed in the first season: He is filthy rich. He is the sole heir to the fortune of the Cantilever Group, the single largest donor to the Jeffersonian. As a self-labeled conspiracy theorist, he rejects the elite status and hides his wealth and status behind his work.

Of course, one of the more prominent storylines surrounding parents is the mystery of what happened to Brennan's parents. It is revealed in the first season that her parents disappeared when she was 15 years old, and she was placed in the foster care system. She eventually discovers that a set of bones brought to her to identify were that of her mother. She later finds they were bank robbers living under an assumed name, and she reconnects with her father. With those themes of parental estrangement being a clear favorite of the writers, it is no wonder that Booth's relationship with his mother is complex. However, the way that it's complex bothers viewers more than the other character dynamics in the series.

Booth's mother is deeply disliked by fans

Booth is the kind of alpha male who rarely likes to speak about his hardships. Vulnerabilities and heartaches are never something he would offer up to people without deep trust and understanding. Therefore, information on his family is hard to come by... at least, at the beginning of the series. One of the more intriguing facts comes in Season 11, Episode 17, "The Secret in the Service," when viewers discover that Seely Booth is related to notorious John Wilkes Booth.

When Joanna Cassidy was cast to bring the long-lost Marianne Booth to life in Season 8, fans wondered how the two would interact. There were obviously unresolved feelings as she disappeared and left him and his brother at the mercy of their father. When asked by TV Line about bringing her into the show, Boreanaz said, "I think the relationship just in general is better with his mother than it was with his father, so it'll be something that we look at and try to figure out how we're going to incorporate it into the storylines." 

When she returns, though, it is to ask Booth to give her away at her wedding to another man. And while Booth's mother wasn't the one who abused him, her inaction — and the way she returns — rubs viewers the wrong way. After all, who could just forgive being abandoned with an abusive parent? As Redditor u/Wrong-Disaster-125 says, "If my mother left me with an abusive parent, she could stay gone." And u/AlbatrossSenior7107 agreed with the poster and validated Booth's negative reaction. "I JUST posted about this. 100% agree. His reaction was 1000% normal. I hate what they did with this. Very happy she was blip in the storyline."

Fans found different ways to deal with her

Another factor that bothers some fans is that the character's absence makes such a deep mark that, perhaps, her actual appearance on the show — and her request to her son — only did further damage, rather than repair anything. As explained by u/Triplesso, "Id always assumed she was dead; she's basically never mentioned beforehand and then basically never mentioned again afterward like [what] was the pint of her showing up?"

Like any good TV show, the conflict and unresolved feelings between Booth and his mother are addressed. While the series could have gone deeper with more resolution on screen, his mother did attend his wedding, making us all believe that all is at least civil. Fans, though, are less apt to forgive her, and some Reddit users, such as u/Bussieboo, even avoid her episodes when they rewatch the series

Since she wasn't integral to the series plot, it is certainly doable to watch the entire series and not miss any major plot points if you skip her appearances ... that is, except for the wedding episode. Regardless of the family issues that showed up for all of the characters, though, the real-life cast of "Bones" found a new family in each other. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Emily Deschanel revealed that she and David Boreanaz had a sibling dynamic on the set. Despite the heavy nature and dysfunctional families all of the characters had, the real people involved obviously found solace in one another and worked together to craft an enduring legacy, of which Booth's mother is also a part.