As Caroline has already mentioned in her recent blogs and our podcast of live reactions to the season finale, the difference of opinion between she, Leigh and myself over the past week and a half has been pretty widespread. It took me about two minutes to decide that I loved the cliffhanger shock, though, and I've spent all this time since then sorting through lots of different speculations and predictions in my mind.
The initial course of brainstorming dealt with Booth actually having anterograde amnesia, having forgotten the past six - eight years of his life, and what that could mean for his relationship with Brennan and the show as a whole. It's still on my short list of possibilities, but then Hart Hanson started tweeting messages about alarm clocks and how the whole episode "wasn't a dream, wasn't a book" but actually, perhaps, "a meeting of two minds." That, coupled with the official Fox Network synopsis for the upcoming fifth season, has completely changed my thoughts on the game.
Let's start with this mind-boggling, Lost-esque information from Hart. In the opening scene where we see Brennan come home and crawl into bed, the clock on the bedside table reads in standard format. After the delicious sex (and really, fake or not, that was hot), the sun has risen and that same bedside clock is now glaring numbers in military time. This, to me, suggests that the sex taking place at 4:47 and the "morning after" occurrences of a supposed hour later are not, in fact, in the same realm of reality at all.
But then what does it mean? Personally, I'm of the opinion that it's this very mismatch that explains the meaning of the episode title, "The End in the Beginning." Sure, Booth had a dream for 99% of the episode. Sure, nothing about the club and the AU of it all was real. But what if the sex was for real? What if it was a flash-forward? I know this isn't a new idea to Bones fans, as we were all tossing around that possibility before the episode even aired, but I think most people gave up on it as soon as they saw how the episode played out. Flash-forward is still my top theory right now, however, because I think it makes perfect sense. Hart Hanson kept saying that this episode - the sex scene in particular - was "a love letter to the fans." If it was all a complete sham, why would we think of it as a love letter? I don't buy that, despite the fact that Caroline and many other fans are certain to never believe a word the man says, ever again.
I think what he meant by "love letter" was that it's a promise - a commitment of things yet to come. I choose to look at that sex scene as "the end of the story/series in the beginning of this episode" - it was a glimpse of where Hart Hanson and Co. will be taking Booth & Brennan in the future. It was a promise that by the time the series finale of Bones rolls around, that's the love story we'll see these two living. They will be in love, they will be happy together, and they will absolutely have lots of sex and babies... someday.
And I'm okay with that. I honestly agree with Hart's recent explanation: "There has to be dancing, not just falling in love." I, for one, love watching the dance they do.
Other than the real/not real issue over the opening moments, though, there remains the complex mystery of what the hell was even going on. Booth woke up claiming he had a dream that was "so real," but now Hart has confirmed that it wasn't exactly just a dream at all. We saw Brennan typing out what we'd heard as voiceovers (well, almost - more on that in a minute), but Hart also tells us the whole thing wasn't her writing a new book, either. It was "a meeting of two minds," and thus my brain says: ...wait, what?
Throw in the network synopsis for next season, which includes this interesting little bit:
As Season Five of BONES begins, Booth and Brennan contend with the emotional fallout resulting from the sea-change in their relationship brought about by events at the end of Season Four. This includes Brennan's request to have Booth father her child and the strange, profound, almost psychic link they shared during Booth's coma, which left both of them wondering what thoughts and emotions the other is experiencing.
And this is the point at which I threw amnesia out the window and started to realize we're dealing with something completely different. It sounds like Booth doesn't actually have amnesia at all. It sounds like Booth is merely confused about who's in his hospital room - is it Bones? Or is it Bren, the wife he remembers so vividly from his "dream?" (I'd also just like to point out how much I consistently win at predicting character names, since I've been saying he should call her "Bren" once they become an official couple all along.) Booth's shocking question of "Who are you?" was meant to do exactly that: shock us. But he didn't mean it in the literal, "I have absolutely no idea who you are at all" sense. He knows her - in fact, he knows her on many different levels and in many different ways, and that's why he's so confused.
He probably doesn't remember how he ended up in the hospital in the first place, as is a typical effect of anesthesia and (oh, I dunno...) spending four days in a coma. So he's disoriented, the last memories he has being of his dream where Bones is his wife and she's just told him they're expecting a presh little baby. He wakes up in this hospital room and she's right there, smiling at him and so happy to see him alive and well, but he's entirely unsure of which Temperance Brennan he's talking to. That is what he meant when he asked who she was.
So, then, how does this actually change things between them next season, you ask?
I refer again to the bit from the official synopsis. Apparently what happened in the finale was practically a psychic event in which (at least this is my opinion) Brennan was writing out the voiceovers we heard - possibly even reading them aloud as she wrote - and Booth's mind grabbed onto her thoughts/words that then formed the rest of the story in his mind. If this is correct, then Booth and Brennan are reaching levels of universal recognition that rival that of Jack and Kate.
The implication is that what's taken place here is a revelation of true emotions, and that both of them struggle with what that means and how to go about their lives despite this newfound knowledge of overwhelming love for one another. Booth is completely aware now that his subconscious adores Brennan to the point of dreaming of her as his wife, the mother of his children. And Brennan... well, she wrote out all of those very telling voiceovers, effectively admitting to the audience that she's also realized her true feelings for Booth.
The difference is that Booth believes his dream, whereas Brennan deleted what she wrote. Booth, I suspect, will be entirely ready to be with her now and tormented by the inability to do so because - here's the rub - Brennan still isn't ready yet. If she were ready, she wouldn't have deleted it. And if she were ready, then what's with the mismatch of the final voiceover and what we see her typing on her laptop?
This screencap shows us exactly what Brennan wrote on her laptop in that final scene, and yet the words we hear Hodgins saying are a message of the exact opposite: "You see two people and you think 'They belong together,' but nothing happens. The thought of losing so much control over personal happiness is unbearable. That's the burden. Like wings, they have weight. We feel that weight on our backs, but they are a burden that lifts us. Burdens that allow us to fly." What does it mean that what we hear and what she's written are so vastly different? I screamed in protest when she hit the "DELETE" button (Really, I did. Go listen to the podcast.), because I knew instantly what that meant - she feels it, she knows it, but she's not ready to take on that burden yet. She's not yet ready to fly. Still, the words we hear coming from Hodgins are fitting of the Booth/Brennan relationship we've known and loved for so long, whilst what Brennan has actually written is much more of a reluctant acceptance of her emotional attachment and romantic love for her partner.
I don't know what it all exactly means, but I do know it's going to make for a very interesting new season. I can understand what Hart Hanson meant now when he said the twist at the end of the finale would "have lasting repercussions" on their relationship. Seems to me that the repercussions will revolve around the revelations of love they've both had, and how that changes and affects their relationship as a whole.
We know they're not just going to admit their true feelings and dive into a romance now - there's more dancing left to be done.
The dance is wrought with a new level of tension and angst now, though. And that's a dance I'm very much looking forward to seeing play out.
P.S. You know what I just realized it's like? The X-Files. "Sixth Extinction" and "SE: Amor Fati." You were my constant. My touchstone...