Six Feet Under

Season 5 Episode 1

A Coat of White Primer

1
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 06, 2005 on HBO
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

8.9
out of 10
Average
197 votes
  • Season 5 premiere.

    9.0

    I'm approaching the fifth season of Six Feet Under with a heavy heart. For the last three months or so, this show has been the one constant thing in the middle of work and college related stuff, and as sad as it is at times, it's also uplifting at others. And it's not as if the third and fourth seasons were bad, but sometimes, the show would seem to create drama out of nothing to fit the story when the first two seasons seem to organically grow their drama. It never felt false... more as if the drama existed the whole time and the characters just needed the right circumstances for it to come out. However, Seasons three and four found Rico cheating on Vanessa with a stripper he met and then taking care of her and her daughter, Lisa dying and later discovering that she was killed by her sister's husband, who was actually somewhat having an affair with her (this plot was actually enjoyable.. it just felt like a way to get Nate and Brenda back together), Brenda dating a musician who she cheated on with Nate, Claire experimenting with the other sex and a dozen other plots that came and went. One of my favorite ones, a very subtle plot, was involving George Sibley. James Cromwell played him very well, and while I thought the show didn't give him a lot of to do at first, his character blossomed into something worth watching. He went from being an intelligent, semi-nerdy man to a paranoid, depressed husband who Ruth learns is suffering from a psychological disorder.


    I apologize for the long rant but I haven't reviewed the show in awhile. I had strong feelings, both positive and negative, for the past two seasons, but after seeing the Season 5 premiere, I was sucked back in. It was a fantastic look into all of the characters and was a perfect progression of where all of the characters were at the end of last season.


    The biggest change is that Nate and Brenda are engaged and pregnant. Nate still suffers from Lisa's death, but he's ready to move on and marry Brenda. Meanwhile, David and Keith are getting closer and closer to adopting a baby while Claire is dating Billy, Brenda's brother. She's also still heavily into doing her art and seems to be hesitant to move forward with Billy, fully expecting him to devolve into his old crazy self. Rico has started dating again and seems to be on okay terms with Vanessa.


    Once again, the MVP for the premiere, for doing extremely subtle and heart-breaking work, is Claire and George. As it turns out, George has some sort of depressive psychosis that has lasted for years and years. He got hit hard in Season 4 and his psychosis was a slow progression, one of the first real plots that the show had that season. In the premiere, George returns from the hospital after having ECT and different medications. Ruth is hesitant to move forward with him, seeing him as a child and an invalid, and watching Ruth treat him like a baby even if he is healing. It's incredibly sad and I was never expecting the show to go in this direction for these characters.


    There's other stuff going on in the episode, such as Brenda's eventual miscarriage and her near-breakdown after the marriage goes through... I could go on and on, but I won't. Let's just say that this was a fantastic start to Season 5.

  • Dead Lady, Dead Baby Andrea Kuhn 1963-2004 Written by Kate Robin Directed by Rodrigo Garcia

    10
    "I'm bitter... who's drunk and yelling at a dead woman?"--Lisa

    Welcome back everybody! It has been 9 months since the last SFU and I'm glad it's back. After SFU ended it's fourth season on September 12, 2004, there has been so much activity and so many new and interesting things on the tube for the 2004-2005 season. ABC ressurected with a bang with smash hits, "Desperate Housewives" (my personal favorite with SFU) and "Lost". An amazing second season of "Deadwood". An excellent season of Carnivale which was then canned. Pope John Paul II passed on, Pope Benedict XVI elected. South Park entered it's 9th season. NO SOPRANOS till 2006. Carrie Underwood won Idol 2005, (Thank God) and the shocking announcement that Alan Ball will be ending SFU after it's upcoming 5th Season. Now that hit home hard.

    Looking back in time to last year's shocking and amusing season finale, "Untitled", I never thought they would come back with an episode so well written, directed and shot. It was very refreshing.

    I felt bad for the woman in the opening death, (Andrea). She was only doing what was being told of her by her therapist to make amends with the people close to her and then her boyfriend throws her into brass andirons. Tragic.

    Nate is preparing for his wedding, David is pinning a flower on Nate's shirt as they prepare for his wedding. Claire then starts to interview family and friends on Nate's wedding. It all sounds as if this is Nate and Brenda's wedding until Barb and Carol come back into the picture. Turns out Brenda is watching a 2002 home video of Nate and "Lisa"'s wedding. Brenda is also pregnant and nauseous (she looks beautiful, might I add)

    Also in "A Coat of White Primer"
    -Nate and Brenda prepare for their wedding which is in 2 days. The evening before Brenda miscarries.
    -Ruth is upset when George comes back home from the hospital.
    -David and Keith discuss adoption/surrogacy.
    -Claire drops out of college and moves in with Billy.

    This episode truly shows that "Six Feet" is back and better then ever. I enjoyed every minute. Welcome back!
  • The final season begins the right way.

    8.5
    Very good episode. Loved the Ruth flashbacks that showed how George lost it. I felt really sorry for him: and his memory loss actually managed to give us some funnies in the present time.

    Brenda lost her baby which was a good twist but I felt it wasn't exploited well enough. THe vision she had with Lisa was great though and I have to say I agree with Lisa.... lol. The conflict with Claire and Ruth was very good too. I just hope she won't dump George because there are certain difficulties with him, that would be out of character.

    Nate and Brenda got married. Yay? Brenda didn't look so good, Rachel Griffiths has so many manly facial features, the makeup department shouldve tried hard for the wedding scenes.

    Overall, good episode, nice premiere. Sets up the storylines for the final season very well.
  • An excellent start to the final season, new storylines seem promising. I'm looking forward to the next 11 episodes.

    10
    I loved this episode, it had everything I love about the show. Humour, drama and realistic situations. It was great that it jumped six months in time, almost felt like a new beginning for the show. The characters had moved on from the finale, I was interested throughout to see how they were coping.

    I felt even more sorry for Ruth here than I did in the previous episode 'Untitled'. It was so sad to watch her go through this, George being taken away was upsetting too. It was believable how she wanted him to not come back home, when he did it did become clear that he will need a lot of effort put into him. Her outburst was well done and showed her feelings.

    Nate and Brenda being happy really satisfied me, I just kept thinking, this is what I've wanted to see. While the miscarriage was sad, I think it should have happened, give us some interesting storylines along the way. The wedding was very entertaining and I loved Brenda's conversation with the dead Lisa, very funny but was so needed. There great together, Nate and Brenda.

    Claire and Billy seem happy but it seemed to imply that things may go downhill soon. Billy is a very interesting character and I think I'll enjoy seeing more of him, especially with Claire - who has changed from last season, when she was a bit, unlike herself sometimes. Claire's estrangement from Ruth was quite funny, Ruth slapping her was classic.

    David and Keith adopting will be so entertaining, I can't wait. I liked how David had to handle and get used to the surrogate idea, which he did, there going to adopt as well - big step. Rico and Vanessa being friendly was good and I liked them that way. Funny seeing Rico with the online dating, I'm interested to see if his girlfriend (Pam from The Office) will remain.

    The dinner party was great as per usual with this show. Next week looks just as good, can't wait.
  • Review

    8.8
    A lot has happened since we have last seen the Fisher family, which is a lot to talk in for just a one hour premeire. Ruth is sturggling to try and invite George back into the house. He hardly knows what is going on and ruth is beginning to see that this may be a little harder then she may have first thought.

    Rico seems to have finnaly begun to get over Vanessa, as the two has been seperated for quite a while now.

    Nate + Brenda seemed to have everything going right for them, which is unheard of on Six Feet Under. However, by episodes end Brenda loses the baby, which is fine by me as I thought it was a good twist.

    Claire was boring in this episode, which dropped it to an 8.8 for me
  • New Beginnings Written by Kate Robin Directed by Rodrigo Garcia

    9.0
    If you haven’t been completely consumed by the lure of 48 survivors on an enchanted island or the goings on of a not so picturesque suburban neighbourhood, then the fifth and final season of one of the latter’s key influences is back and boy, does it mean business. And before I go on, I apologise for the tardiness of this review, so I hope you enjoy reading this as I have writing it.

    With so many things going on in this hectic season premiere, I had a hard time deciding where to begin but I’ll go with the obvious and start with Nate and Brenda of course, who have two misfortunes that wonderfully tie in together, a wedding and a miscarriage. It was always set in stone if this these two ever made up the aisle, chaos wouldn’t be far behind and true to form, and it wasn’t. Rachel Griffiths was on fine form as the grief stricken but determined Brenda and for anyone ever craving a Brenda/Lisa showdown, we sure as hell got one here as Lisa (so delightfully pithy here) happily taunts Brenda over her past actions and current woes, while slightly raising the notion she is being punished for her past.

    I personally don’t think she is but we got some truly killer dialogue between the pair and was it me or did Lili Taylor also look absolutely stunning in her wedding get up (different from the one she wore in “Grinding The Corn” – yes I too am that sad about this show). Peter Krause got his fair share of excellent moments too, although Nate’s staunch refusal to grieve over Brenda’s miscarriage was a little off. With the amount of pain that he’s been through over the last three years I understand his reasons to an extent but even still, he could’ve been a little more sensitive to her. As for him not caring, come on that isn’t Nate like at all and he did redeem himself at the wedding when he found Brenda and managed to persuade her that even though their special day was a suck fest, better things are on the horizon for them. Also I have to give kudos for the sneaky way Nate and Lisa’s wedding video was also thrown in, replete with agitated looking Fishers and Kimmels and an oh so annoying Carol. Okay she get a great quip in the ep but she still rattles my cage and not in a good way. Oh and before I forget, maniacal Margaret and Olivier are still loved up (pass the sick basket please) and to rephrase Tim Howard’s question, I have to ask – why is Olivier still with Margaret? Surely that shrill she calls a laugh would’ve driven him potty by now but as annoying as she is, this episode is one of her better moments.

    With so much talk of marriage and children, I wasn’t expecting more on the latter but we got it as the David and Keith plot has the boys quibbling over adoption and surrogacy, leading to an intense dinner conversation that has Keith adjacently making an insensitive comment regarding Brenda and Maya. In other words, he’s for surrogacy while David prefers adoption before the pair decide to explore both options. While many viewers may bemoan this storyline, I kind of approve because anything that shows the boys progressing and maturing as a couple has got to be a goodie. That being said this plot could easily wear thin if the writers tend to overstate the obstacles gay couples can have with adoption/surrogacy and I do hope that there is other stuff for the boys to do this season (like resolving the pain that is Roger first off). I’m also wondering if part of this story has been stirred on due to recent government/clerical/worldwide events such as George Bush’s re-election and Pope Benedict the 16th ‘s papacy. As long as it doesn’t get too political, this could be a great thread and for viewers not convinced with this story, I say give it a chance – it could turn out to be something great.

    Keeping up with the chaos of last season, George is still a teething problem for poor Ruth. Despite all that electro convulsive therapy, it does seem that no real effect is taking place, which is partly okay because George is more fun off his rocker than anything else. Okay so he may not be as barmy as the previous two episodes but I think it’s safe to say Ruth is gonna have a big problem on her hands. In some ways marrying George should have finally liberated her from the caregiver role she has been relegated to so many times in her life but that looks set to be a fantasy now. With George suffering memory lapses and Ruth taking her frustration out on Claire in a shocking fashion, Frances Conroy has never been better and with her looking set to get more to do, we could get ourselves a joint Ruth and Claire year and I have no complaints about that whatsoever.

    The Claire plot of the episode has its moments. As a couple, she and Billy are a bit odd and unexpected. They’re a lot more settled than everyone else and have even gotten to the steps of moving in with each other but throughout this episode, there’s an indication of doom. We get an illuminating conversation between Nate, David and Keith who all compare notes on Claire’s choices of partners (Edie conveniently being edited) and during a hilarious scene with the Fisher kids high, Claire’s attempts of convincing her brothers that Billy’s fine falls on deaf ears. I don’t actually mind Billy and Claire as a couple, even if the latter is still acting like the untouchable art princess she was dubbed last season. As for her and Billy, though, well it’s that time again when Billy has a bi-annual meltdown and this time it will be Claire who’ll bear the brunt so I say to all Claire/Billy shippers, enjoy it while you can because it won’t last. And no, that is not a spoiler. Then there’s also the tension between Claire and Ruth when the former takes a semester out of college, slightly mirroring a dilemma of my own right now.

    Last but not least we’ve got the Rico plot, which unsurprisingly enough is the episode’s lightest moments as he struggles to find a perfect woman through a dating service and when Vanessa refuses to be his date at the wedding, he takes a fairly alright woman named Sharon instead. While this may be stalling time for the inevitable reunion of Rico/Vanessa, it’s actually quite good fun and Ruth’s sage advice to Federico on his newfound way to meet women is nothing short of priceless. Plus, this is way better than the Sophia angle of last year but here’s hoping it’s not too long before him and Vanessa make up.

    Also in “A Coat Of White Primer”

    Truly sick death of the week with Andrea Khun getting impaled by a chair but top marks because it was so damn effective.

    Claire (re wedding video): “Nate might have to get married without a prick”.

    David (re DOTW): “This is what happens to couples who never learn how to fight”.

    Justina Machado is finally made a series regular (good for her) and the credits are stretched (musically too) to accommodate her. And they couldn’t have done this last season?

    Ruth (to Federico): “Enjoy it dear but try not to be blinded by lust if you can”.

    Carol: “I love how weddings just erase the past like a coat of white primer. Slap a veil on her and even the biggest slut bag becomes a fresh faced ingénue”.

    Brenda (re Ruth): “Because she hates me”
    Nate: “She doesn’t hate you anymore”
    David: “Now she hates Claire”.

    I still think HBO made a dumbass decision in moving this show from Sundays to Mondays for their final season, especially now that the same thing will not happen to The Sopranos next year.

    David: “I can’t rent out some woman’s uterus like it’s a storage locker”.

    Lisa: “All the moments in your life have been leading up to this one. That’s why you’re being punished”
    Brenda: “I’m going to get my baby, you bitch”.

    Six months has passed since “Untitled”. It’s now October 2004.

    In the hair and looks department, Nate’s locks are back to his former glory, Claire is noticeably thinner (but not anorexic), Brenda’s hair much longer and Lisa’s much lighter.

    Again Nathaniel didn’t appear in the season premiere unless we’re supposed to believe that disruptive seagull was supposed to be him. And how cool was it that Nate and Brenda got married in the same place they discussed in “Someone Else’s Eyes” and “Timing And Space”?

    Brenda: “I was remembering when you threw your ring at me”
    Nate: “Ah memories”.

    Great music in this episode with Bebel Gilberto’s “Aganjou” (featured on the new SFU soundtrack) and various tracks from The Martini Kings (the wedding band), including two versions of “Teach Me Tonight”.

    This was excellent. Once again the producers have managed to get the new season off a flying start with a premiere so jam packed with events; you need to catch your breath. Kate Robin (whose other memorable instalments include “A Private Life” and “Terror Starts At Home”) aptly kept me entertained. We got a clever use of flashbacks and dream sequences and the various throwbacks to previous seasons proves how consistent this show is with their continuity, it’s impossible not to love this episode. Roll on the next eleven.

  • More of the same.

    8.4
    6FU returns from a massive hiatus with more of the same patented brand of soapy drama/black humor that has served it well for four prior seasons.

    Nate and Brenda are still as dysfunctional as ever. So are David and Keith for that matter. And Claire and Billy. And... well, basically everyone is one big ball of neuroses. Not that that's a bad thing. 6FU has made a strength out of exploring these fractured people in depth, and the formula still has life in it. I love the naturalistic performances of the actors. The scene where the three Fisher siblings get together and debate how best to get stoned is one of those low-key moments that defines the tone of the show. They're ribbing each other but you can tell they really care. In lesser hands it might come off as filler, but here it's just another well-realized slice of life.

    If you didn't like 6FU before, this will certainly not convince you to jump on the bandwagon now. On the other hand, if you have been faithfully following the story, you will find plenty to enjoy. Maybe a slight feeling of "been there, done that" but nothing worse.
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