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.