Bones Theory

Sweet Bones Disposition: A Dream


Good morning!

Okay, so admittedly, when it comes to the lyrics of this song, this ‘dream’ might not be considered “sweet”, as it really is a nightmare. I could have gone with the coma dream, but I honestly feel like this dream in Boy with the Answer is under-discussed, if that is possible.

The episode is a very popular one, even if the very ending crushes our hearts and makes us bite our fingernails nearly off. Oh, I’m the only one who still does that? Okay, I see how it is 🙂

But seriously, this dream Brennan has is very fascinating as it lets us take a look at Brennan in an intimate way we never have before. Those of you who mention that the show is called BONES because we’re seeing Brennan, but through the world Booth has built around her are correct, I think. So it’s very rare that we see Brennan home alone. I can only think of a few moments: when she watches the videotape of her mother, when she has this dream, and then later in season six, when she is preparing dinner for Hodgins, Angela, Booth and Hannah. Of course, there is an actual show to ‘show’, and so it’s not realistic to have a lot of time spent with Brennan alone in her home, but even if we consider Brennan’s ‘house’, as Booth called it (The Jeffersonian), it’s rare that we see her alone there for extended segments of time, unless it’s for effect.

In the case of this dream, we learn about Brennan’s thought processes and fears. And while we might have suspected she felt them, it all becomes very real when we actually SEE her dreaming about them. And that she (mostly, but not for long) compartmentalizes them away and works the case gives credence to the idea that she’s been having dreams for a long time.

She tells Booth that she does and that she’s worried, and she tells Angela later that she’s worried all of the time. But we see in her dream that she’s not just worried about Booth.

Brennan dreams that Hodgins is killed; she dreams that Booth is drowning; she dreams that she is taken captive, that her mouth is covered and she can’t speak and once she is able to speak, it’s only to find that she is being buried alive.

Though it’s painful to watch Brennan experience this dream, I do love that she’s the one having it. Not that I enjoy her suffering; it’s more that I am impressed that the writers had Brennan dream this dream, and not Booth, whom we might expect to have tendencies to feel as if he is failing to protect the ones he loves. But I think this dream reveals that Brennan shares that tendency. She is afraid that Booth will come to pain because of her, or that she won’t be able to stop it if he does in another way. She also fears the GraveDigger, but I believe the dream held more significance than just the impending case.

What do you think? Beyond the fact that she and Hodgins shared the experience being buried alive, is there significance that she dreamt of him?

Does her dream of Booth represent only anxiety she felt (but did not show much) when he was trapped inside the submarine, or does it represent a different anxiety she is feeling toward (or about) Booth? Do you think that even when Taffet is convicted, she still has the same fear regarding her relationship with Booth?

Let’s discuss!

Peace, Love & Bones



23 thoughts on “Sweet Bones Disposition: A Dream

  1. I can understand why Brennan had the nightmare about Booths drowning and Hodgins covered in blood. That Nightmare seemed to represent Brennans greatest fears. At that time, she was afraid that Booth was going to get hurt or die. That those she feels responsible for are put in jeopardy because of what she does. I know we talk about how Booth feels responsible for everyone around him; but, I tend to think that Brennan is the same. Her job is to catch killers, people who have no compunction about killing others. She saw just how dangerous her job was in Two Bodies in the Lab and then Aliens In A Spaceship. In the first, Booth and then Brennan were put in mortal danger then in Aliens In A Spaceship, Brennan and Hodgins were put in extreme danger. She lives with the fact that she and the people around her are targets and that one mis-step on her part could mean the death of someone she loves or she feels is her responsibility. Though she never seems to say that she has these responsibilities the nightmare tells us that she does. For someone who claims to not have love in her heart, who seems to keep most people at arms length, Brennan is someone who deep down, does care. She worries that those she cares for may someday be killed and thus will leave her. At this time, this kind of fear was really hard on her and she was beginning to question doing this dangerous job. She was beginning to think that if she just went back to anthropology and quit helping Booth search for dangerous killers; then, those she cared about, whom she felt responsible for, would be safe. I believe this episode more than any other showed us Brennans fears and the tiredness she had living with these fears.

  2. Brennan and Booth are very similiar in their own way. They both have this need to protect the people they care about.

    Booths need, i think, is more on a physical level. He feels the need to protect them from coming to any physical pain. He takes their personal safety as his own responsibility.

    Brennan, on the other hand, is someone who i see as needing to protect those she loves on a more emotional level. From herself.

    Both B and B have issues with their own self worth and part of Brennans is that she fears she will only ever hurt the people she cares for. And this is what i feel the dream is about. Of course it is also related to the Gravedigger and what has happened in the past but on a deeper level i think it shows her need to protect others from herself…and her fear that she won’t be successful.

  3. I think the dream represents Brennan’s fear of needing others…sure, the case is about the gravedigger and Hodgins and Booth were both her victims too, but they are also the only two people Brennan has ever absolutely *needed* for her very survival.

    Take Hodgins out of that car in Aliens and Brennan is dead. She can’t determine their location by tasting the dirt.

    Booth, we know, has physically saved Brennan many times, and only Brennan knows how vital he’s been to her mental well being.

    Brennan has always been fiercely, determinedly independent. Sure, Angela is her friend, but she doesn’t *need*Angela. Brennan has a relationship with Max now, but she doesn’t need him either. She spent 15 years proving to herself and everyone else that she didn’t need Max or Russ.

    In her other relationships, there is a certain balance of power: they get of Brennan just what Brennan is willing to give. Hodgins and Booth are different. She has needed and depended on them both. There’s a scene in the beginning of Harbingers in a Fountain; Brennan returns to the lab and Cam *asks* if Brennan would like to hug. Brennan says no. Hodgins doesn’t ask, he hugs. The fact is, their shared trauma bonded Brennan and Hodgins in a way that she can’t just dismiss.

    Booth just hugs too, without asking, but because her relationship with Booth is a zillion times more complex, he gets a hug back (and why does Angela interrupt them? Grrrr)

    Anyway, we know from Brennan’s coma dream/book that she considers love a burden. She tries to qualify that as a burden with wings, but the bottom line is that she deletes the whole thing. She isn’t ready to accept the burden of loving and being loved, needing and being needed. In this episode, Boy With the Answer, she thinks that her relationships have made her lose something.

    That, IMO, is the symbolism behind being unable to speak and being buried herself That her relationships with others diminish her, make her less than what she is, make her lose her voice, her independence.

    I read the most brilliant insight yesterday – I have to go back and find the name of the person who wrote it because I think they deserve kudos. When Brennan returns from Maluku, everyone has changed and moved on. Cam doesn’t offer her a hug, she’s furious! Angela and Hodgins are having a baby. Booth met Hannah. Wendell got a job. Brennan went off to find herself and perhaps arrogantly assumed that she could just come back with her revelations and get back to her life. It’s what she’s done in other years. But you can’t just pop in and out of people’s lives forever. Relationships are a responsibility and Brennan hasn’t always been holding up her end of that burden.

    Now I admit, I don’t spend a lot of time studying Season 6 episodes. Even the transcripts are rather painful for me to read! But I do think Brennan has tried, this season to be more of a participant in all her relationships, not just with Booth. She’s become willing to accept the burden of needing and being needed.

    • There’s always something I forget to say!

      As much as Brennan needed Hodgins & Booth, she was also needed by them. Hodgins would be dead from compartment syndrome before she even had the chance to possibly turn his brain to jelly with the airbags!

      And of course she’s saved Booth many times. For all Booth’s “alpha male” tendencies, as we so lovingly recalled yesterday, Booth has no problem at all being rescued by a girl. Every time Bones saves his hiney he just says “thanks” and there’s no male posturing or angst about it. He accepts that needing and being needed are part of relationships. Quid pro quo and all that.

    • I love the “hug&percentage” moment, as I always thimk of it, and I’m glad you brought it up!. Cam asks for but doesn’t get a hug, Hodgins hugs without asking and gets an awkward semi-hug bag (one tha might mean “what did I do to deserve that hug?”,even) and also gets away with saying unsolved murders went up “a thousand per cent” since she left; while Booth gets an enthusiastic hug, but doesn’t get away with his “a hundred and ten per cent” comment! lol
      I always loved seeing Brennan&Hodgins friendship moments on Bones! Even though(or maybe even more because) they are so rare, lately!

  4. This isn’t something I usually think about, probably because Brennan doesn’t normally show her emotions unless it’s an extreme… although she is getting better.

    I think this scene was great because it showed us all that she really isn’t a robot with no emotions.

    She care deeply.

    I think it is also showing an underlining meaning of how she wasn’t dealing with her feelings for Booth at that time… the Hodgins part… well they were buried together so of course she feels worried about him as well. I have no doubt she might dream about others if they were in danger as well. I wonder if she ever dreams about Zach?

    • I’d love to see some acknowledgement of Zack and how he might still be in her thoughts, some time. They don’t even have to show Eric, if it’s so difficult to arrange it; she could just mention (to Booth?) visiting him in the facility he’s in, mention a conversation they had or something. I like to believe she still thinks about him often.

      • I can’t remember the episode name but it’s the one where Wendell lost his scholarship and there’s a scene where Brennan tells someone, “I find its best not to become too attached to my assistants, even the best can disappoint” or something along those lines. And I think that’s a very pointed reference to Zack.

        I don’t know if that’s what you ‘all meant by acknowledgment of Zack, but that’s def one I think. Of course, there could be more, lol, it just seems like the writers are too busy telling other stories to go there. 🙂

  5. It’s to be expected that the Gravedigger trial would bring these memories to the surface for Brennan because she had to prepare for it by reliiving the hell she went through with Booth and Hodgins. But something else is going on. I think that ever since Booth’s confession in the 100th the thought that not only someone’s physical safety but their emotional safety as well might be in her hands has been working its way through her subconscious. We didn’t see Booth’s nightmares in this regard because he chose a career of danger ever since he joined the army; for the most part, he’s probably processed and accepted most of the terrible consequences from that job (although we do have him feeling responsible for the death of Teddy in Hero in the Hold.) Brennan didn’t actually choose to be involved in this violent career; what she really wanted was to work with Booth, intrigued as she was by him, and to see people’s interactions outside the lab. She wanted to explore the world through Booth from what she thought would be the safety of her scientific dettachment.

    The Gravedigger turned all of Brennan’s cliinical observations into deeply personal ones. She’s been touched before of course, particularly by the foster children in Boy in the Bush and Boy in the Shroud, and to a greater extent by Zach’s defection to Gormogon. But the GD threatened her and the people she’s close to personally, putting her in a repeated position of actively having to do something to save their lives. Just like Booth’s revelation, the Gravedigger’s threats have been lingering just below the surface until this episode. She was able to defeat the Gravedigger before, but ever since she turned Booth down, telling him she couldn’t change for him, I think that she’s also been mulling over her perceived inadequacies. She might have been able to save Booth physically, but she can’t spare him the deep pain he’s been in since the fateful 100th. I believe the nightmares reflect this situation; she doesn’t have the control that she felt she had all along. In a way, Booth took that away from her when he placed his happiness in her hands and she said no, exposing weaknesses she didn’t realize she had.

    It’s interesting that she sees herself alone in that box, as claustrophobic a situation as you can imagine. I think the sense of responsibilty she feels towards those around her, but particularly Booth-the pressure he inadvertently put her under, makes her feel like she’s boxed in and unable to function in her current environment. Her only choice is to free herself from the pressure by leaving the people she feels are casuing it behind. She probably believed at the time that “out of sight” would be “out of mind,” but we know after Mastodon that this wasn’t the case. But Maluku did allow her to explore possibilities from a safe distance, something that was necessary in order for her to reach a crucial turning point, that amazing moment of self-discovery that was Doctor in the Photo.

    • Out of sight, out of mind – absolutely! Considering Brennan’s opinion on love, that it’s a chemical response triggered by visual cues and physical proximity it must have been an eye opener that she missed and cared for all those people, not just Booth, despite their being out of sight.

  6. I love this episode and I love Brennan’s dream. What I love most about it is that it’s probably the first time the writers show us so openly what really goes on in Brennan’s head when she “compartmentalizes”, when she says “I’m ok, why wouldn’t I be?” and “It’s just another case, that’s all” (as she does the next morning when Booth asks her how she’s doing). I always felt she would be like that, fighting her own emotional battles alone, but it was good to finally actually see it played out; because not all fans seemed to believe that, and before that episode especially, I had heard and read so many comments about how cold and unfeeling she behaves… sometimes it seems people need things completely spelled out for them. Anyway, I was glad the writers decided to do it.

    I suspect she’s worried about the safety of the people in her life in general, and it was just the Gravedigger case that brought it more to the surface. Especially Booth, as we see her admit to Angela on the next episode, the finale: “I’m worried all the time; worried that Booth might get hurt on a case and I couldn’t prevent it, worried… about what our partnership means…”. And especially the “couldn’t prevent it” part: in the dream, she appears powerless, helpless; unable to do anything to help either Hodgins or Booth. And it’s something to consider, that a woman as strong(impervious?) and as able as she is, who has faced so many life-threatening situations both in cases with Booth and in her traels abroad, has trekked trough Tibet avoiding the army, beat up guerillas, is trained in three kinds of martial arts..(should I go on?), would be so worried she might be unable to help those she cares about from danger.

  7. I don’t think we can overlook any responsibility Brennan might feel for the death of her mother. Her mother and father fled, abandoning Brennan and Russ, in order to save them. And Brennan’s mother was found and murdered.

    Obviously, the life of crime her parents led was the direct cause, but would her mother have died if she’d been able to disappear without having to think about the safety of her children?

    Something to add to the complex soup that is Brennan’s brain, anyway.

  8. Definitely!! I think that in the same way Booth feels a need to protect Brennan from harm that can come to her when they work together, Brennan feels the same way but much more. I think she not only wants to protect him from work’s harm (Taffet or any other homicidal maniac out there), but also from emotional harm (from herself). Now that’s A LOT to take on!! ><"

  9. Hi all! Brand new to the Bones fandom and wanted to comment that this is a terrific blog! I love that you guys spend so much time trying to decipher the [surprisingly rich] subtext and psychological implications of the show. Kudos to you all!

    I was wondering–I have a conspiracy theory about Hannah I’d like to share that would do Hodgins proud. Where is the best place to put a [rather long] comment like that on your wonderful blog?

  10. I have a theory on Brennans dream that comes from the hindsight of season six. I hinge the Emotianal changes in Brennan down to this dream. Prior to the dream we saw Brennan able to control and compermentalise eveything then the dream happened and she started to explode, so she ran it became to much to heavy a burden.
    we see the Gravedigger piling dirt onto brennan and in my mind that symbolises all the bad emotions she doesnt want to feel all burrieing her further from the surface.
    She is Burried in a clear box. Her walls. Protection from the dirt but also her tomb. She can be seen but she cant escape/ deal with the emotions.
    She is unable to get to Hodgins or Booth, she cant connect to them, so they are taken away from her. Her biggest fear in my opinion is abandonment people being taken away from her.Hodgins is pullled away on the convayer belt. Booth is swept away by the ocean.
    The gravedigger symbolises a perfect example of dissociate behaviour, the type of behaviour Brennan sought before Booth etc. And Brennan sees her helping to pile the dirt on her laughing as if to say this is what you wanted…
    my dark and twisty thoughts any way.
    The dream scared her, she let it into her life she told Booth. It was important to her enought to make her run, worrie all the time and express distress to others. once distanced from it in maluku I like to think Brennan would have been able to learn from what her pychie was telling her once she came back and was forced to act upon this new truth. She trys we see that in the bunsen jude episode she trys to connect, but it isnt perfect which is why she starts to struggle and she falters in DitP as the weight of carrieing her burdens alone finally catched up on her and she has to let some more out, like a pressure valve.

    wow i took to much from one dream and when it was first shown i saw it completely differently but hay ho…

  11. I think Hodgins being in the dream was directly related to their shared experience. I wanted to say that he represents the Jeffersonian team that she considers her “family” and his presence in the dream represents her fear for the entire team but I think if this were so, they would have placed Angela in the dream since she is her “best” friend, so to speak. So, Hodgins being in the dream seems to be about their shared experience. Booth being in the dream is primary reason she left for Maluku and left their partnership. She’d lost control of her “orderly” life by bringing Booth into it and the end result was caring for him which, because of the nature of their jobs, also resulted in real fear for his life. She cared for him as more than just a friend and partner and didn’t know what to do with these emotions. These emotions created the notion that she would experience pain again because of the dangerous life they led so she escaped, again. It was the only thing she knew how to protect herself. I don’t know why she thought she was needed to “protect” Booth from danger. It never made sense to me cuz Booth is the one qualified with the skills and job to “protect” someone. This need to protect Booth and the fear that she couldn’t showed how she was at the end of her rope at that point in time. So the dream and the case were the breaking points for her…leaving was the only thing she could do to bring back a measure of control to her life. I’ve posted somewhere else that I felt this was the 3rd time Bones rejected Booth…when she got into the taxi to leave him. The first time being in the 100th epi when she said she never wanted to see or work with him again after that first case. The 2nd time in the same epi when she turns down his…let’s give us a chance…speech. And the 3rd time in this episode when she removed his hand from her arm and got into the taxi…again…leaving him knowing that she was already halfway out of the partnership…at least emotionally. This epi made me angry because of that taxi scene. Should have known what was going to happen after seeing this.

  12. Man, this episode was so tough to watch. We’re used to seeing Brennan really confident and compartmentalizing with the best of them, but she was so vulnerable in this episode I was worried for her (as worried as you can get about a fictional character, that is.) She was really having a tough time dealing with everything, not even Booth could get her spirits back up or convince her otherwise. To me, it felt like part of it was her having an identity crisis, wondering if she can still be that rational, objective, successful scientist and let herself be emotionally involved with the people around her.

    Anyways, I got off an a tangent, back to the dream. I don’t really get into interpreting dreams because it’s too much psychology for me, lol. I think Hodgins was in the dream because she was buried alive with him; I don’t know that he was “representing” anything. Yes, they did have a bond because of that, but I thought it was interesting that later on when she found out that his hiding of evidence put Booth’s life in danger, she said she didn’t trust him (at least at that point in time), showing that Booth will always come first for her. Booth was in there because he was also a victim of the GD. So for me, it was more that the fact that she did have this nightmare signified the emotional turmoil she was going through.

    The whole ending of the episode was heartbreaking outside the bar, but it really starts to hit me the way she says “You almost died, Booth. That could happen again. What if I can’t get to you?” with tears in her eyes. I was really surprised she revealed that fear to him. Is it just me, or does she seem more rattled with his life being in danger rather than her own? This was another one of those times where she wished she could believe him when he said it would be okay, but she just couldn’t. Brennan didn’t have the strength at the time to deal with all the turmoil. I never begrudged her going away. I only begrudged that it had to be a whole year – thank goodness it at least got cut down to 7 months.

  13. I was so sure you’d write about the coma dream for the dream chapter, but this is very interesting!

  14. Thanks to everyone who so kindly did NOT point out that the title of this post originally was “Sweets Bones Disposition” Hahaha! That’s Bones for you, making it so that normal words like ‘sweet’ or ‘boot’, are on autopilot, and the characters’ names just pop out 🙂 Of course, thanks also for every one who weighed in, too! 🙂

  15. Thank you picking this dream. The coma dream has been analyzed quite a bit but this one hadn’t yet. Everyone has such great insights. I thought part of the reason Hodgins was in the dream was because he was running to catch up with her when she was kidnapped. I don’t think he was the original target so the fact that he was buried alive with her, could seem like it was partially her fault (in her own eyes, not in mine). Also, Zach was her intern that she loved and nurtured and then he ends up hurting Hodgins (more than the others since they were the closest friends). I could see where she mistakenly takes on the burden of responsibility in both instances. One of my favorite parts of the season 5 finale is that she tells Hodgins “I love you too”. I would really like to see their friendship bond explored more on the show.
    Anyway, I think it is interesting that in her dream, Brennan is more concerned about not be able to help Hodgins and Booth and feeling like they are slipping away then she seems to be about her own predicament of being trapped in the box with the dirt coming down. The whole dream sequence scene was just awesome and now it is even more so because of everyone’s replies here.

  16. I think Hodgins’ inclusion in her nightmare is very significant, because I think it illustrates how much she has come to love her “more than one kind of family” and the stress she feels at the thought of losing one of them.

    At the end of “The Beginning in the End” when Hodgins hands her the chart with the reptile and amphibians on it, she takes it an “thank you, Doctor Hodgins. I love you, too.” And he is more or less left speechless by her admission. I think the fact that they shared the experience in Aliens made her more able to tell him that than she would have anyone else. She’s been to hell and back with Hodgins, they saw each other at their most terrified, so to admit she loves him is, in a way, safe. But it doesn’t make those feelings any less real.

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