I’ll admit it: I’m not a patient viewer. I like things to make sense for the full hour, which could be why the first thing I wrote in my notebook watching Bones‘ Season 4 finale was “WTF is Hodgins rambling on about?” If you’re not gonna make sense, then you at least have to give me clever dialogue and new insights to keep me playing along. That’s where the episode went wrong for me: Maybe the dialogue was purposely confusing or cliché at times because that’s what it’d be like in someone’s coma-bound mind, but by the time I theorized that, I had no desire to watch the episode again, which is what you would need to do to fully appreciate it. The writing of what I interpreted to be Booth’s coma dream revealed nothing new. By now, we all knew that he had a soft spot for Sweets, that he loved Brennan, that he wanted to be a dad to her child, that he would kill someone who tried to hurt her, and that everyone in “The Lab” would do whatever it took to save him if they believed he was in trouble (either with the Grave Digger or the law). I did get and appreciate the plethora of shoutouts to longtime fans, my favorites of which where: Sweets saying that people think he’s Gormogon, but it’s the name of his band; Nigel-Murray telling Zack that he looks like someone who would go to jail for a crime he didn’t commit; Brennan kissing Booth on the cheek after he told her that their club was doing a benefit for sick children, just like she’d done when Booth let Russ see his sick step-daughter before arresting him; Booth dressing like he did in Vegas, when they went undercover and they first played a couple; and “Bren” being accused of cheating after Brennan’s said repeatedly that monogamy is unnatural. But 59 minutes of playing hide-and-seek with references isn’t what I wanted. Nothing these fake characters did was as interesting as what the real characters could’ve been doing. The final second — when we found out that Booth (presumably) has amnesia — was, however, a season finale-sized jolt that will make the fall premiere a Must See. Let’s break it down:
• So my final interpretation of the hospital scene was that Brennan had been typing (or Doogie-Howsering) what we’d heard in Hodgins’ voiceover throughout the episode, while what we saw was the “weird dream” Booth had been having for the four days he was in a coma after having a bad reaction to the anesthesia used during his otherwise successful brain surgery. Is that how you took it, as opposed to it all being from Brennan’s brain (she wouldn’t have deleted an entire novel and, hopefully, she’s a better writer than that) or that Brennan had been reading aloud what she’d been writing and Booth’s confused mind created its own visual and filled in the holes (that idea I could like because it means that some of what we saw was new, for Brennan)? Regardless, the amnesia, however cliché, is also rather poetic: just when Brennan realizes who Booth is — someone with whom it’s worth sharing control of her happiness — he forgets her. The person who was “acutely aware” of their attraction and struggled with it daily suddenly changed, from him to her. I think the dream was a way to show us that Booth’s mind was losing its memory of people — but that it’s not 100 percent gone, so he’ll get it back my November Sweeps. Note: If he somehow doesn’t actually have amnesia, then this episode was a total waste, and I’ll have to kick someone square in the nuts. So back to Booth having amnesia… I like it. For Brennan, it’s the classic “don’t know what you got till it’s gone” scenario. Seeley had been so nice to her in recent weeks, it could be fun to watch them return to that antagonistic relationship they had in season 1, when they frustrated each other more than sexually. And then we’ll get that great moment when he remembers her (which I’m sure will come right as she moves on — the center must hold, but the tug of war must continue). Of course, we do now run the risk of Booth not being able to work, which means the show will be in full “character” mode as he tries to figure out who he is. That makes me nervous, like when my carbon monoxide alarm chirps but just to tell me that it needs new batteries. I just don’t know that Booth the man is as interesting to me as Booth the man who solves cases with the incredibly intelligent woman amidst massive amounts of sexual tension. I want the show to prove me wrong, but I don’t have complete faith that it will.
• The sex scene: Major disappointment. I forgive everyone from the show who lied and said it wouldn’t be a dream — although would they really have been spoiling it if they had been honest with us? It’s not like we believed it was real for a second. (Not like in the Season 4 Angel episode “Awakening,” when Angelus was summoned…) I’m just pissed that it wasn’t hot. I pretty much felt nothing — not even the urge to rewind. I guess it needs to be the real Booth and Brennan getting it on to get me excited. The good news: We still have that moment to look forward to. As do Emily Deschanel’s breasts, which will no doubt make another appearance.
• The cameos: It was nice to see Caroline again, although she didn’t seem to be her usual puckish self. (Damn that amnesia!) The one time I sat straight up (before the ending) was when Max mentioned the Grave Digger. David Boreanaz had told us that she might be back at some point, so for a split second I thought Oh s—, this is a drug-induced dream by Brennan, who’s buried somewhere because the Grave Digger knows the way to hurt Booth is to hurt her. That would have been ridiculous (and annoyed me, too), but it was just me looking for some purpose to all the references other than Hey, we’re making references!
• Sweets can sing! Enjoyed him more than Motley Crue, who got too much screen time.
• Back to the references: There were tons of them, which I appreciated more when I broke down and attempted a second viewing. I say attempted because at this point, I’d rather be watching The Office and Grey’s Anatomy finales that are waiting on my DVR. If you did manage a second viewing was it worth it? To be clear: I can appreciate all the work that went into the episode, I just think the script could’ve been written in a way that wouldn’t have made the first viewing an eye-rolling experience.
So to recap: How did you interpret the hospital scene? What was your favorite reference? Did you find the sex scene hot? How long do you want Booth’s amnesia to last? Was that a satisfying finale? And how long did you spend talking about it afterwards? I was up till 3 a.m. ET talking about it with a friend on the West Coast (after phoning a friend in Virginia, who got so angrily animated talking about it that her dog started barking; texting a coworker whose DVR didn’t tape it (!); and IMing a coworker who’s saving it to watch with his lunch today). You could argue that’s a sign of a great season finale, but I’d rather be debating what the amnesia twist means for next season than who the alternate universe belonged to and whether or not the episode was total bulls— or just a letdown (my opinion in the end). Have at it!