Monday, May 25, 2009

Bones: But What Does it All Mean?

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...

20 Responses to “Bones: But What Does it All Mean?”

Breda said...

This is basically what I'm thinking. That episode WAS vital not only because it was an awesome insight into the characters, but because it showed the heightened awareness both characters have suddenly been thrust into. They were settling down into a nice little pattern, a comfortable almost-relationship that wasn't quite satisfactory but was good enough, but this whole incident has made them realize that it's not going to last like that forever. And Booth, at least, doesn't want it to. So yeah, I think it's gonna be great. And I'm glad to have a little reprieve: give me some more tension and less casual affection before the actual consummation, please!

Anonymous said...

what brennan wrote on the computer was actually said by hodgins. It wasnt said when she was typing it, it was said before 'bren' announced her pregnancy to 'mr b'. After hodgins says this then he goes on to say 'you see two people..' after the baby anouncement is when he says the other thing that is not on brennans computer

Mae Vaughan said...

@Breda - You know I agree! And I think that's been my main problem with the show for the past year... it's gotten too easy, too comfortable. The tension was gone and it just started becoming so goofy instead of the serious explorations of not only emotions, but also crime. I look forward to the new wave of tension and angst next year, and I expect it will totally reinvigorate my passion for this show.

@Amandaaaa - I realize that it did get said, and I guess I should have better explained my point: my curiosity is over why what what Hodgins says ("You see two people...") existed in the voiceover but not in Brennan's writing? There's a reason for that, I just don't know exactly what it is yet...

As an extra note, I also find it interesting that the very first thing Hodgins says in the voiceovers is "People say you only live once, but people are as wrong about that as they are about everything else." This implies alternate realities and the concept of two people being together in another life, but - again - I'm not sure what that all means in terms of this show yet. Sigh, it really is like I have to use my Lost brain on this show anymore...

ForensicMama said...

Such a great review!!!!!!!!! Woooo!

ForensicMama said...

I'm linking this review to Bones Spoilers Blog if one of my 2 new blog authors hasn't yet! :D

Mae Vaughan said...

Wow, thanks! Glad you enjoyed it! Your support at Bones Spoiler Blog means a lot to us here at CiG :)

Anonymous said...

I have been on the future!sex train from the start, from when I posted my theory about it at 206, and I'm still on that train. The clocks are what did it for me at first, but then the Season 5 summary nailed it for me. The amnesia thing is totally a red herring - the casual viewer/viewer who is not going to be all over the internet this summer may just accept it, and be done with it, and then be shocked to all hell in the fall. I really think Booth is just confused, but that when he comes to, he's going to be all about Brennan. It's like that summary says - Booth is struggling with the feelings, while Brennan says they need to focus on their work. To me, that says that he ends up confronting her about where this relationship has been going, and what we're going to see in S5 is a real evolution. They're both going to know, definitively, that something is there, and they're going to have to deal with it. The summary makes it sound like Brennan understands that something is up, but like you said, she's not ready to take on the burden.

I firmly believe that Booth, now that he realizes he loves her, and that on some level, he knows she loves him, is going to go after his girl. And is watching Booth actually try to woo Brennan maybe the most awesome thing ever? UM. YES. He's already a dreamboat when he's just friends, trying to make her feel better. IMAGINE HOW DAMNED CHARMING/HOT HE CAN BE WHEN HE'S REALLY TRYING. I get the vapors just thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree with the presumd amnesia if he really didn't recognize her he wouldn't have been talking about hisdream and how it felt so real! So I think that he's trying to guess if she's bones or the brennan of his dream. For the rest I would love to see the whole flash forward hapening but i don't think it is.

Elena said...

It's like you took my thoughts and put them in your blog. Though I was initially confounded and disappointed by the episode, I took a DEEEEP breath and watched it again and again...each time I did I found new "Easter eggs" hat have made me so excited about next season. I know now what HH meant about this episode being a love letter to the fans. He is definitely showing us what's to come for Booth and Bones...the end is in the beginning, right? What I am really looking forward to is seeing how this all plays out now that it seems Booth just may be ready to take that next step with Bones while she is clearly still not ready. He is already adorable when he is being sweet to her and clearly struggling with his feelings for her...imagine how charming and irresistible he could be when actively pursuing her and trying to change her mind about things.

I noticed that there is a significance tied to flashes of light in the last two episodes of the season. The first flash of light happens as Booth is wheeled into surgery, the second after the sex, and the third after Bren tells Booth about her pregnancy and leading into Bones typing at his bedside. I think the flashes all signify jumps into and out of reality.

I am with you Mae in thinking that Booth knows who Bones is, he is just confused about whether she is Bren or Bones. Amnesia is too trite a storyline and I just don't think HH is going down that road. He is too creative for that.

Anyway, brilliant analysis of the episode. I love that it has a Lost-y kind of a feel to it with the whole "meeting of 2 minds" business, and I think it's fantastic that HH has slipped in so many Easter eggs for the faithful to ponder over the summer.

Thanks for your thoughts! I really enjoyed reading your post.

Don't Call Me Bones! said...

First...can I just say how refreshing it is, to FINALLY read a positive review about the season finale? Ohmigosh, I had to stop reading the responses on my two favorite Bones websites, b/c I just couldn't take all the negativity anymore. I don't understand why everyone was SO upset about this finale. We don't even know what exactly is going on yet! So thank you, for this great post, and for giving us fans who enjoyed the finale, a place to respond, pick at and go over every little detail (and easter egg), in depth!

That being said...I totally enjoyed reading your review here, and all of the responses, thus far. I cannot wait for the 5th season premiere. I too, am on the Booth is confused bandwagon, in regards to his "who are you" question. Meaning, are you Bones or Bren? If that is the case, it's going to be soooo exciting, if we (the audience) is clued in on Booth's very real feelings, for Bones. Yeah, we (the audience), have known this for a long time. But if we get actual acknowledgement in some way, it's going to rock. I definitely want to see more of the's what is so good about this show. This show has the potential to carry out one great love story. These two characters / actors have so much chemistry, that it just ooozes out of the tv screen!

I really hope we do get to see Booth go after his girl, and little by little, change her mind about everything she's ever believed, when it comes to loving someone. It's gonna be one great love story!

By the point about the flashes of light. Very interesting. I hadn't thought of that before!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and DEAD ON imo.

Brennan just needs confidence that she can fly. That she let go of her inhibitions and be to Booth all he needs her to be. She will get that opportunity in Season 5 as Booth's past rears it's ugly head again. He will need her in ways he's never asked of her and she will find she is up to the challenge and that success will allow her to believe in what she thought impossible.

Elena said...

I was also really bummed to read so much negativity surrounding the finale on a bunch of Bones sites. I think people FREAKED OUT because they felt mislead by HH's comments about whether or not the hook up would be real. So, ok, he played the semantics game with us, but he couldn't tell people what was going to happen...where's the fun in that? Admittedly, I was annoyed with the finale at first, but I wish more people would take it easy and watch it again. The episode really is so much more than meets the eye.

I love what HH has said about B&B having to do some more dancing before falling in love. As much as I want them to get together already, I do love the dance they are doing. Their dance had gotten a bit calm this season, so I'm looking forward to it getting more and more intense...maybe more lambada than Viennese waltz. I trust HH and know he will make the fans happy. Patience is virtue, people!

Hannah said...

Ok, this is just a thought, but it's been bugging me. EitB was supposed to be a meeting of the minds between B&B. I get that. Mae, I agree with you that it's bits of Brennan's book and Booth's hallucination and it's all melded together to create the episode.

However, what I've been wondering for almost two weeks was why parts of Hodgins' narration was the same as what Brennan was writing and some was different.

Maybe the parts that Hodgins said that Brennan didn't include in her document was actually Booth's contribution?

I'm not sure. If I don't make sense, I blame it on the huge amounts of Lost and Jate I have on the brain.

(FANTASTIC blog by the way, Mae!)

Anonymous said...

I've just read this article in TV Guide - I was sort of satisfied with the finale, thinking the sex happened in the future, but now it seems it did not. The article also contains spoilers about Booth-amnesia thing and (im)possible sex in the next season.

Anonymous said...

This review has completely changed my mind about the first and last scenes! I still don't think the story during the episode was all that great but now I'm going to watch it with all these different ideas about what's really going on.
: D

Anonymous said...

I've always thought that the whole difference in clocks was due to the different perspectives of bones and booth. it shows from the beginning that the entire episode will be from both points of view. the regular clock is what shows when it is from brennan's point of view and the military time represents booth's point of view. i dunno. maybe that's just me trying to explain it in my own head.

Groovycathers said...

Hi everyone, first time poster on this *great* site (which I found via the link from Obsessed with Bones) Your blogs are awesome :-)

@Don't call me Bones, I LOVED what you said, I totally agree with all of it - if you listen to Booth's inflection when he says "Who are you" he knows it's Brennan, just which one?

I am frustrated and angry with HH but I am also gagging for S5 as I think we have some great opportunities as long as HH and the writers don't stuff it up. I really hope we get a commentary on EitB when the DVD comes out with HH, ED and DB. Hopefully they explain it all out.

LaughOutLeigh said...

i am a Bones newbie, but have essentially watched every single episode in the span of 1.5 weeks - i kept on watching and rewatching EitB. this is the best blog on the episode that i've seen so far! i wonder if there are any other bones-blogs one can point in my direction - thanks!

BonesLover said...

I absolutely adore this show, and I can't miss and episode without groaning aloud and seaching the internet for re-runs and hulu....It's addicting. Thank you for this overview....I've been searching for an answer to all this confusion for moooooonths! And yours was very, very good. I've actually created a site for Bones....(Speaking of which I have to update that!) But I would love for some tips on it.

P.S.- I almost screamed, too!
P.S.S.- Click my web name for the hyperlink. :) Please visit!

BonesLover said...

Also, I will be linking your page. Hope you don't mind! :)