Hey there Bones Theory friends! I hope the summer hiatus has treated you well thus far. Today I’d like to work through a little mystery that’s been bugging me for quite some time now. I’ll call it:So grab your sleuthing cap and your trusty sidekick, and let’s get started. First up…
We have now seen 4:47 on three clocks in three episodes in three straight seasons of Bones. It first appeared (as I am sure we all remember very, very well) during the love scene between Booth and Brennan in the season four finale coma dream (The End in the Beginning). It popped up again (along with Fisher’s tower of wings) in the hoarder’s apartment in the season five finale (The Beginning in the End), except that this time it was flashing.Then, in this season’s penultimate episode, The Hole in the Heart, we see the clock for a third time at the beginning of the scene in Booth’s bedroom.As in the season four finale, this clock wasn’t flashing. So what does it mean? Well, let’s see what the witness says…
When asked about the meaning of the clock in an interview following the season six finale (The Change in the Game), Executive Producer Stephen Nathan told Inside TV/Entertainment Weekly:
“It’s just a little consistency that we try to string through the series, just [to mark] important moments: 4:47 was when they slept together in the alternate reality, and 4:47 was when she walked into the bedroom last week. So, you know, I guess it’s our little smoke monster. [Laughs] It’s Bones’ stab at being Lost.”
While I thought Stephen Nathan gave a pretty cool explanation, I still can’t help but wonder if there’s supposed to be more to the story. In other words, is this Easter egg simply an Easter egg, or are the clocks also a symbol of something much deeper and ultimately more meaningful?
Evaluation of the Evidence
When I saw the clock on the bedside table in The Hole in the Heart, my first thought was, “this is pretty damning evidence that Booth and Brennan are going to have sex.” I even said as much to my husband when the show cut to commercial after the scene ended. Of course when I had to explain the significance of the clock to everyone I know in real life who watches Bones, I realized that only crazy, obsessed fans like myself even noticed it. Naturally I started wondering if perhaps I was reading something into nothing.
And yet, it’s the very first thing we see when the scene opens, and that tells me that we were supposed to notice it. Don’t get me wrong, Stephen Nathan’s explanation that the clock marks “important events,” fits. It doesn’t really confirm or deny my sex theory, but I actually think it’s kind of cool that the writers left the specific issue of when open to interpretation (Brennan’s pregnancy proves that it happened, if not that night, then at some point in the very near future). Sadly, commencing a rousing round two debate of, “did it happen that night?” won’t solve this mystery. So we’ll move on.
If all three clocks had been exactly the same, I think I may have been able to accept the “important events” explanation and let it go at that. But they’re not all the same. One is flashing, two are not. Now it’s completely possible that the writers decided that the clock in the hoarder’s apartment should be flashing simply because he had so much stuff that he didn’t notice it wasn’t working properly or care enough to fix it, or because it stopped working at some point after he died. They are all perfectly rational (albeit horrifically boring) explanations. However, I prefer to think that this particular mystery is not so easily solved.
So What Does It Mean?
I believe that we can use what we do know about the two clocks that aren’t flashing to ascertain the meaning behind the one clock that is. In other words, now that we’ve seen the non-flashing clock twice in a similar context (representative of physical and/or emotional intimacy), what does that tell us about the one clock that’s different?
In terms of important events, the end of season five marked the (temporary) end of Booth and Brennan’s work partnership and, ultimately, the break-up of the entire Jeffersonian team (physical and emotional separation).
In my post-Hole in the Heart comment to Sarah’s MAQ, I suggested the following theory about the clocks:
“[D]id anyone think it was significant that the clock wasn’t flashing this time like it was in the season five finale? A sign, maybe, that things are moving forward, as opposed to the end of last season when B&B were kind of stuck in limbo (or dare I say, moving backwards)?” (“MAQ: So…Was It As Good For You As It Was For Me?”, 5/13/11)
Here’s the thing: a flashing clock, for all intents and purposes, is a broken clock. It will keep flashing the same time until the problem that caused the malfunction is found and resolved, and the time is reset. Only then will time (according to the clock) begin to move forward again. In the fifth season finale, Booth and Brennan, both as partners and as individuals, seemed a lot like that clock. They were separate entities, broken and unable to move forward together until they found a way to fix what had gone wrong between them.
So what do you think? Are the clocks simply Easter eggs meant to signify important events, or are they symbolic of a larger theme (separation/brokenness vs. coming together/intimacy)? Does it matter that one clock is flashing and the other two aren’t? Feel free to comment on my theory or share yours if you have one. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!