Six Feet Under

Season 2 Episode 7

Back to the Garden

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 14, 2002 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
166 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Jeffrey Marc Shapiro


Nate is exposed to a friendly female rabbi at a funeral they have. Claire visits her Aunt Sarah's place and meets a boy that she isn't immediately disgusted by. Keith starts to get less icy towards David.

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  • Review

    Season two is really having a hard time getting into any kind of routine. Like I have stated in previous reviews of this season, there is like 8-10 minutes of "great/amazing" scenes in one episode, but the rest is simply average / slightly above average. This episode is split into a whole bunch of different parts, so let's break down each one. Nates part of the episode was the best, but I think thats just because Im most focused on his character devolopment over all of the others. Davids part of the episode was not so good, and when one of the main Fisher brothers has a bad part of the episode it tends to bring the whole episode down. Claire met a guy on her trip up to see her Aunt, but other then that part the rest of the scenes were pretty average and non-character devolopment advancing. Ruths part of the episode was more relevant to last episode with the growing old alone thing. The scene with her eating alone at dinner was really well done by the Six Feet Under team I thought. Overall, another average episode from the staff of season two. Really hoping for a revival in the second part of the season to really bring my interesting back, which has been temporarly lost.moreless
  • 207

    Solid installment from Six Feet Under but nowhere near as good as how this show has been as of late. This episode was still good substantial development regardless though. Like I said before, Brenda's story lines are just getting stranger by the episode (and possibly less interesting). I'm still trying to figure her out.

    Claire & another lover? Looking forward to see how this will play out. Claire has had her share of lovers last season, one of those people including Gabe. So I'm interested to see what will become of this new romance. The counselor scenes need to return though.

    The reuniting of Keith & David came all too soon. I felt like there could have been a little more time to let them see other people for a while. I knew that Keith's niece's stomach pains were serious, so that wasn't really a surprise. Nate and the rabbi? Those scenes were just... strange and don't even get me started on Rico and his cousin. Overall good episode of Six Feet Under.moreless
  • Not feeling in the magic in this one.

    Great thing about this show is the atmosphere that is achieved through bizarre stories and really flawed yet great characters. This episode might have had flawed characters as usual but the entire plot just felt really static and dry. The death was rather funny with a guy trying out a new sexual experience but managed to end up dying.

    However the death this week really had no impact on the story. Except for Nate talking with this female Rabbi and exposing his secrets. That was nice. Meanwhile Brenda was continuing her really silly and annoying sexual fantasies which just really upset me.

    Claire's storyline felt really dragged out. Although I liked Ruth's reaction to Claire visiting Sarah. i also wonder if Gabe is completetly dropped or if he will return. I hope he does...

    Keith and David getting close again was good, but this is honestly something that should have happened much earlier as it's extremely predictable.

    Overall, the episode had a few moments, but mostly it was just really straightforward and, because of that, dull. Second 6/10 in a row.moreless
  • Open To Suggestions Written by Jill Soloway Directed by Daniel Attias

    A Jewish funeral at Fisher and Sons leads to Nate seeking spiritual guidance from an intense female rabbi. Visiting her Aunt Sarah, Claire meets a boy her own age, amidst Sarah's hard partying "artist" friends. Brenda's prostitute pal Melissa inspires some unusual fantasies. Keith warms to David after a medical emergency involving Taylor. Ruth invites Robbie over to dinner for company, but soon realises that she prefer the solitude instead, due to Robbie's constant chatter, while Federico's suspicions about his cousin Ramon's intentions towards Vanessa prove way off the mark.

    Wow - the writers are definitely pitching for the bizarre this week as the death - Jeffrey Marc Shipiro dies while practising Auto Erotic Asphysiation whch ends horribly when he cuts off too much of his air supply, much to his wife's humiliation who can't even bring herself to admit how her husband died to Nate and David. This being the show's first Jewish funeral we get a delightful female rabbi in Ari (whom Nate tells of his AVM all too willingly), who gets Nate to open up about his own reservations on marriage, proving that this arc isn't completely one-sided.

    Yes, Brenda's sexploits keep a coming here as her and Melissa discuss Auto Erotic Asphixiation and other aspects of the fetish community, while later fantasising about a guy she meets at the drive way. As much as I love this story - arc(from a creative point of view), we need it be more literal so no more fantasy sequences on that score. On a less important scale we learn that Brenda's parents are getting divorced, not that she or maybe the audience will take it into account, given the great stuff here.

    Claire's trip to Topanga reaps some great fun here as well Sarah's art buddies prove to be a riot (and more than partial to get their kit off at any given opportunity too). Plus we meet the woman who "deflowered" Nate. Claire also meets a nice guy in Toby, but seeing as Claire isn't attracted to "nice", how long will it be before she casts the poor lad aside?

    Finally David and Keith are back together and what a beautiful(and somewhat lenghty) kiss the pair shared at the episode's beginning. Okay so it was in Keith's dream sequence (a first for him?), but even still it was much welcomed. Those two haven't properly "got it on since "The Will". However now that they are a couple again, it's only a matter of time before trouble begins to rear it's head. Hopefully the boys get some fun time before that happens though.

    Also in "Back To The Garden"

    Death of the week: See opening paragraph.

    Eddie:"I have a better idea, i'll go now and if you find any of my stuff you can shove it up your tight white ass"

    Keith:"Who the hell you thinking you're talking? I know you didn't call my ass white".

    Claire's little scaffolding analogy was clever and the start of Ruth scrapping her plan fixation.

    Chronology, it's December 2001.

    Brenda (re Nate):"Like you? Like me? No, Mom he's not like us. He doesn't think so hard he wants to put a staple gun to his head".

    Margaret:"Oh I get it, he's uncomplicated".

    Melissa:"Please don't tell me you're one of those couples that like to bicker in front of their company until it gets so awkward I have to leave so you guys can fuck".

    Nate/Brenda:"Oh no, of course not".

    Nate and David's shaving conversation was a fun brother moment between the pair and David looked pretty good with the stubble.

    Ruth (re Robbie):"If you say another word, I will stab you in the heart with a fork. If there is a God in heaven, he will surely shut your mouth".

    The episode's title came from a line from the Joni Mitchell at the end. Very appropriate too.

    Standout songs of the episodes were Mercedes "It's Your Thing" and Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock", beautifully played at the end of the episode.

    Meanwhile, the revelation that Federico's cousin was in fact screwing a guy and not Vanessa as I had feared was genuinely surprising and absolutely hilarious for Federico's horrified look at his cousin have his recreational fun was priceless. The episode's only disappointment would be Ruth's further misery as the episode closes with her in the kitchen listening to one of Sarah's tapes and singing along sadly.moreless
  • By The Time We Got to Woodstock... Jeffrey Marc Shapiro 1963-2001 Written by Jill Soloway Directed by Dan Attias

    "I think a soul mate is the person who forces your soul to grow the most"--Ari

    Let me say before I go into the full detail at this episode. WOW! This episode was good, Season 2 turned out to be quite an adventurous and seredipidous journey, as Arthur Martin would have set. I only say this because this is the episode I really started watching on. I had seen other SFU\'s but this marked the starting point that this was the best show on television besides The Sopranos.

    The death of the week showed true courage to actually display this kind of death on television. A man cuts a lemon wedge and a glass of water. He then puts some astroglide on his hand and puts a belt over a machine in his workout room. He puts the TV on and it's a porno. Is that Rico's cousin who turns out to be gay? No actually the two are nothing the same. Anyway, the guy starts jerking off so hard that he cuts off his air supply and dies. How humiliating yet somewhat satisfying the guy died with the orgasm that killed him. Sad.

    Keith fantasizes about David in a dream. They passionately kiss, Keith wakes up and then breaks up with Eddie. Keith then calls David the following day to ask if he wants to go on a date. David hesitant at first gladly accepts.

    Claire tells Ruth later that day over breakfast that she will be sleeping over Aunt Sarah's for the weekend and will be back on Sunday. Ruth objects but her mind is made up.

    Nate and David arrange a funeral for the deceased who turned out to be Jewish. This episode also marked the recurring role of Rabbi Ari, one of my favorite characters played by the fabulous Molly Parker who went on to have a starring role in the HBO series, Deadwood.

    Brenda tells Melissa she jerked off a client weeks before which causes awkwardness when Melissa mentions the engagement. Brenda doesn't really mind and they go on discussing sex and their lives. The following evening, she tells Margaret of her engagement who laughs and then totally loses it when she thinks about her separation. Brenda is then asked to leave which leaves her bored and she soon has fake sex with a truck driver.

    Ruth eats dinner alone. How sad. You can see she's so lonely and vulnerable. None of her children are there and this is what her life would be like if she doesn't have anyone. She later invites Robbie over who then she tells to shut the hell up. Classic.

    David has a date from Hell when Keith doesn't show up. Turns out Taylor's appendix was exploded and she had to be operated on right away. David then comforts Keith, poor kid.

    Nate asks Rabbi Ari about Jewish matters of life and death. And then flirts with her but then tells her he's engaged. She gaves him lovely advice which is mentioned as the quote of the week. I like her.

    Claire has an exciting weekend with Aunt Sarah and her artist friends. She also meets Fiona Kleinschmidt who deflowered Nate and Toby a teen, who is nothing like his hippie parents.

    Claire returns from Aunt Sarah's and gives Ruth a tape with a lovely song by Joni Mitchell \"Woodstock\". Ruth starts singing and displays her loneliness as Claire watches from the top of the stairs. Fade to white.

    An excellent episode which proves Six Feet Under is the best show on television.

    This episode was Jill Soloway's first and I would like to give her a belated welcome (3 years) as displaying her excellent writing for the series.

Stark Sands

Stark Sands


Guest Star

Molly Parker

Molly Parker

Rabbi Ari

Guest Star

Eric Bruskotter

Eric Bruskotter

Keith's Partner

Guest Star

Kellie Waymire

Kellie Waymire


Recurring Role

Patricia Clarkson

Patricia Clarkson

Aunt Sarah

Recurring Role

Joanna Cassidy

Joanna Cassidy

Margaret Chenowith

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Autoerotic Asphyxiation is the process of cutting off one's air supply to increase the intensity of orgasm during self-pleasure. This practice has led to several deaths including Jeffrey Shapiro's.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Ramon's Wife: Ramon told me why you wouldn't let him finish the house.
      Federico: Really...
      Ramon's Wife: Yeah, just because you have different taste in tiles, you don't need to blow up at him like that.
      Federico: Whatever...

    • Nate: What is Soul Mate?
      Female Rabbi (Ari): A person who makes you be the most you that you possibly be. A person who forces your soul to grow the most.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Brazil title: "De Volta ao Paraíso" ("Back to the Paradise")

    • Songs:
      Antenna - "74 Willow"
      Nathan Larson and Nina Perrson - "Just Because A Man"
      Nacho Sotomayor - "Island God"
      Stoppa and Nobby - "Sweet Lassi Dub"
      Timo Maas - "Bad Days"
      Chopin - "Opus 10 #3"
      Los Zafiros - "Bossa Cubana"
      Bellini - "Que La Voce Sua Soave Vin Diletto (from I Puritani)"
      Mercedes - "It's Your Thing"
      Joni Mitchell - "Woodstock"

    • German title: "Tante Sahras Party" (= "Aunt Sahra's Party")


    • When Federico tells Nate about how Shapiro died in an autoerotic act, Nate says "Oh, like that singer". The singer is Michael Hutchence of INXS who died in a Sydney Hotel with a belt around his neck