'Bones' season finale recap: Zzzzzzz...WHOA?!

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!

Comments (308 total) Add your comment
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  • Heather

    I was, and still am, so mad that I wasted my time watching the season finale. It was so ridiculous to create this fantasy plot, especially as a SEASON FINALE. I thought the Bones writers were above that. Now even the Booth amnesia ending might not pull be back as a regular viewer.

    • scarlet

      if you’re going to let one episode keep you from watching it regularly, then you obviously weren’t a regular viewer to begin with. It’s not like they’re going to keep switching back and forth between the two types of plots. get a grip.

      • priynaka

        yeah i totally agree.

  • Melanie

    I usually love Bones – but you’re absolutely right -it was a total bore. An hour of my time that I can never get back.

  • Chris

    That was one of the worst season finales of any show ever. Come on – an insipid dream sequence? It was LAME. Shame on you Bones writers.

  • Sue

    I LOVE Bones, but this episode was AGONY! All I wanted to do was fast forward the episode so I could see what happened to Booth. If they want to make a “dream” episode, don’t make it the season finale. What a rip-off.

  • JJ

    I’m MAD about this episode. It was a total cop-out! I watched a mildly entertaining/somewhat irritating show last night, but it was not the Bones I know and love. I was really disappointed with least year’s season finale too…are the Bones writers starting to make a pattern out of really terrible season finales?? I get what was accomplished here, in terms of their romantic relationship–but seriously, was this the only way? Could we not have done better? Most of the hour was not worth watching, and the part that was–the last four minutes or so–didn’t really make up for the rest of it.
    I don’t know if I would have been as upset if there hadn’t been so much hype about the episode…definitely did not live up to expectations.

  • lynne3

    Has anyone thought that the title “The End in the Beginning” actually means that the sex scene we saw in the beginning was in fact a future sex scene…as in real…as in they ACTUALLY HAD SEX?!

  • Erica

    I was so bored I couldn’t pay any attention to it. I don’t really know what happened during the episode. I tried my damnedest to stay focused, but the whole thing was a mess. What a massive disappointment.

  • Mike B

    Don’t get me wrong. I really love Bones. I do. But that was really bad. I can see where the writers will get away with the “it wasn’t a dream” thing. They will say it was Brennan’s writing.
    I must say though that the last 4 seconds was pretty good and next season should be fun with Bones and the squints trying to help Booth get his memory back.
    And yeah. I to am waiting for the return of Brennan’s breasts.

  • Erin

    My interpretation at the end was that the two of them were having the same “dream”: that what Booth had been dreaming was roughly equal to what Brennan had been writing. Regardless, I think the point is that she has finally accepted the fact that she is in love with him, which the end made so much more painful.
    I personally hated it…I thought it was a waste of a finale, and after the emotional ending of last week’s episode, there was so much real material to explore that they could have turned into an excellent finale. Yes, it had enjoyable moments, but it was just unnecessary, and the amnesia is so cliche and I hope it doesn’t last for long.

  • Ephiny

    I was really angry right after it ended, but I’m starting to calm down. But next season’s opener better be really, *really* good.
    I did realize something interesting – that comment that ‘Vinnie’ made to Zack about being the kind of person who’d go to jail for something he didn’t do? I thought we were led to believe that only Sweets knew Zach didn’t kill that man, but apparently Booth had (at least subconsciously) figured it out too.

  • RustyT

    Yeah, overall this finale was a disappointment. If they had put it more in the middle of the season as an oddball interlude between cases, it would have been more palatable, but to end the season and serve as its climax point, it felt all wrong. We wanted something other than a “greatest hits on salvia” folly. Hart Hanson the show’s creator wrote & directed this episode, so he must have felt it served some big season-ending purpose, but from a viewer’s perspective, it was profoundly odd and ultimately a let-down. Also, I hate “amnesia” as a plot-twist; it’s so overused. Come on, have you ever personally known anyone with amnesia, but it gets recycled on shows all the time. To me, it epitomizes a real lack of creative problem-solving on the writer’s part.

  • Denise

    What a waste of hype and time! So disappointed. I don’t even care that Booth has amenesia, unless he forgets the dream and the dream never happened, like I wish I could do. I don’t think Brennan and Booth should ever become a “couple” because that would ruin the reason why we watch it — the tension their characters create is terrific. Remember what happened in “Moonlighting” after Shepard and Willis “did it”? The show became boring and viewership tanked. It was soon taken off the air. Really don’t want to see this happen to “Bones”.

  • AmyK

    Not a big fan of the episode either, just one big letdown. And I can’t believe that 2 of my favorite shows on the same network, House and Bones, both had the 2 main characters have hallucination/dream sex. Aren’t there any other original ideas out there?

  • amanda

    That episode would have been an ok/so halfway through the season segue to another plot point, not the last, most important episode of the season. Shame on you Bones writers for getting lazy on your audience!

  • cregis

    I thought the writing was very clever. I know this technique has been used before, but can’t remember. Was it 21 Jump Street?

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