Six Feet Under

Season 5 Episode 9

Ecotone

3
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jul 31, 2005 on HBO
9.5
out of 10
User Rating
301 votes
19

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Lawrence Hall Matheson
1971 - 2005

David and Keith begin to feel comfortable in their roles as parents to Durrell and Anthony. Claire shares a common interest with co-worker Ted. Brenda faces common truths. Federico finally understands Vanessa. Feeling liberated after leaving George, Ruth goes camping with Hiram. Nate is checked into the hospital, while the rest of the family (except for Ruth, who is unreachable) waits to hear news from the doctors. Nate enters a brief coma after an operation to repair the damage from his AVM. He appears to be on the path to recovery when he suddenly dies, with only David by his side.

Nathaniel Samuel Fisher, Jr.
1965-2005moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Nate's life hangs in the balance while the family waits for news.

    9.5
    After the twist ending in the last episode, with Nate collapsing from a stroke, I was fully expecting the screen to go white and for his name to appear in those big black bold letters that indicate death. However, it looks like I was an episode off. This episode wasn't quite perfect, but it wasn't far off. I've never seen a television show treat death the way Six Feet Under does. It's ingenious that way, and it surprises me sometimes that Alan Ball is responsible for something as great as this show and also for the campy ridiculous True Blood. But I digress. Back to this great episode.

    Nate gets brought to the episode and one by one, people learn about his admission to the hospital. In a way, the episode is very slow-moving as it shows the way each member of the family deals with theexcruciatingwait to learn if Nate is okay. Perhaps the most interesting is Claire, who we all know didn't know Nate well and saw him as a Dad wanna-be. Claire's breakdown in the episode is perhaps the biggest; Brenda is furious with him for sleeping with Maggie (she doesn't know for sure but it's implied), while David seems to be too in shock to be sad.

    What I found the most sad was the way Ruth was on a camping trip with Hiram when Nate goes into the hospital. Nate was Ruth's first-born and for her to be so far away from her son when he needs her most was heart-breaking. The show didn't really drive that fact into our skulls; instead, it was something we had in the back of our heads as we waited and waited for Ruth to show up even when she never did.

    It was a superb episode that places itself in the most classic of Six Feet Under episodes after the ending: upon waking up from an odd dream where David, Nate and their father were driving to the beach in a van and David watches Nate dive into the ocean, swallowed by the waves, David finds Nate dead. Nate had been awake from his surgery and talking with everybody, seemingly fine, so his death comes as a huge shock, not just because it's Nate, the main character of the show (arguably) but because there's still three episodes of the show left after this. It's a genius move by the writers, something I wouldn't have had the guts to do if I were on the writing staff.

    Those are just the big moments of the episode. There were so many little subtle moments throughout the episode that it's easy to forget. There was all sorts of stuff going on with David and Keith's kid Anthony, where they learn that Anthony is afraid of hospitals. There's also the absolutely heart-breaking scene where Nate tells Brenda that he wants to break up with her, claiming they have nothing left to stay together over except for the baby and that they have to move on. That makes it that much harder for me to understand Nate after he dies. He breaks up with Brenda, a woman that he loved off and on, and when he dies, he leaves her heart-broken. With Nate's death, he leaves a lot of questions about his life, and that's afterthe show attempted to give some answers over the five seasons.

    This show is just superb in the way it tells its stories and leads its characters from one life-changing event to the next. What a great episode.moreless
  • Excellent, perhaps faultless.

    10
    Luckily after the shocking end to the previous episode 'Singing For Our Lives' I was able to dive right into the next one, 'Ecotone'. The last episode was brilliant but this was even better. We start soon after last times end, Nate is being put in an ambulance and Maggie is panicked.



    After he leaves in a brilliant scene, we see Brenda try to contact Nate but only Maggie is there to answer his phone. Which she doesn't do as Brenda hangs up. We soon do the round as everyone except Ruth finds out about Nate's state. Maggie rings David in a panic and he goes straight for the AVM theory. She tells him to call Brenda which he does.



    Brenda snaps down the phone thinking its Nate but David then breaks her the news, she's confused but obviously affected. She asks who was with him, who called David but he doesn't give out this information, he tells her to get to the hospital.



    Then we have Claire who is having a quiet dinner with Ted at a fancy restaurant. They have a common interest in politics and there are some amusing lines here. Then she gets the call and all she says is 'Oh no'. Back at the hospital Maggie basically has to reveal her and Nate's affair to the doctor, David's reaction was quite amusing.



    Then Brenda arrives and it becomes painfully clear what's taken place. I thought Brenda would end up getting in a fight with Maggie but she remains calm and silent for a lot of the time. Claire arrives with Ted and consoles Brenda and David. In an amusing moment Claire asks David why Maggie's there, he tells her he'll tell her later.



    The Doctor arrives and tells them they don't know what's going on but will find out, then comes the waiting. Brenda's interrogation of Maggie was brilliant and I seriously predicted her to boil over but she doesn't. Brenda and David discuss there kids, Ted stays to comfort a sad Claire and Maggie remains sitting alone, sort of the other person.



    Meanwhile Ruth is out camping with Hiram having no idea of what has happened to her son. This was a great storyline which gave the episode a sort of light colour at times. When she refused to have sex with him, or where she told him to 'go give yourself a hand job'. The best part was definitely when she imagines shooting each and everyone of the men who were in her life.



    This was hilarious and it shows how Ruth is maybe realising some things. She then gets home by getting a lift with some foreign tourists who give her some friendly advice. I can't help but feel for her as I can imagine what she'll feel on her return. Especially due to what takes place at the episodes end.



    The Doctor returns and informs everyone that it is in fact a new AVM. She says he's in a coma and there's two problems, they don't know when he'll wake up and there's a big chance of various problems for him. Claire was brilliant when she shouts 'Thanks for the worst f**king news in my life and she really was great throughout, as was David.



    Anyway, Nate does wake up and Brenda is there to see this. Everything is fine, except for numbness in his legs and arms. He talks to Claire and David about Ruth's absence where Claire says she's not worried anymore but pissed off. Then comes the visit from Maggie, where it becomes clear that Nate wants to be with her. So is Maggie the love of his life, are they meant to be? To be honest, I'm not quite sure.



    In a fairly heart-breaking scene Brenda says they'll try harder but Nate shocks her by saying it's over, basically asking for a divorce. Like Brenda, I couldn't believe it, she was horrified. Also, Claire and Ted seem to be heading in a very good path, David discovers that Anthony hates hospitals because of his mother. Rico and Vanessa also seem to finally make up, but is it for real?



    So here we are, the final scene. David is by Nate's side and they start to watch TV. We then suddenly go into Nate's dream. David's seems to be a stoner and he and Nate are driving somewhere, Nathaniel Sr being the driver. I wasn't sure what to think here but when they stopped at the sea I had told myself that Nate Fisher was going die.



    I don't know what it was it just came into my head, probably due to David's dream which is same except Nate runs into the ocean while David remains due to a fear of sharks. David suddenly wakes up to see Nate has flat lined and has died. Though it was in my head it was still shocking to then see the screen fade out and his name appear in front of me, he's dead.



    Someone I watched it with didn't know whether to think it was dream (Like the earlier episode 'Perfect Circles) but I watched the next time and sure enough his death is real, he's gone. Thinking about it since there's only three episodes left it was maybe coming for a while. But we've watched him for however many episodes and its strange to see it happen.



    I'm sure he'll appear, each family member and friend having a few words with his ghost, which I can't wait for. So this was an excellent piece of television and another superb instalment of Six Feet Unders closing episodes.moreless
  • they probably forgot what the show is all about while they were writing this one.

    8.4
    Nate dies..Ok.Wasnt this what we've been expecting for five years? from the beginning;it was about nate facing death. he encountered it with his father,then he accepted the job to get familiar with it.He even experienced it himself,and it was always about Nate trying to deal with the mortality of himself and his life.



    So this last episode he is alive in; i was expecting for some really big face-off.Something like he knews that he will die and tries to deal with it,accept it.it should've been about this.but instead;it was about how he becomes an a-hole -as he practiced through the most of this season. i mean,his last conversation with Brenda was soooo unfair and not in a heartbreaking way;more of a pissing off way,which totally took my sadness out.



    So;i wasnt sad or anything as he passed away.maybe because i already rode some reviews and know what was gonna happen. But still,it wasnt what i was expecting to get,from this apperantly most important episode of the series.Sorry,let down.



    This shows edge is the amount of depression it holds inside but lately;it is not because of death. it is simply because the main character chosed to turn into a jerkmoreless
  • I was thinking about reviewing the series finale, "Everyone's Waiting", but I chose to do this one right now because I found this one way more effective and touching.

    10
    To me, "Ecotone" meant two things: 1) Utter bittersweet perfection and 2) the beginning of the end. The first remark is a positive one, as I thought the episode was very cleverly written, it pushed all the right buttons. It was a worthy ending to Nate's storyline, the guy we all loved to bits and were still a little bit mad at. I never quite got over the indignation I felt when Nate left Brenda at the end of season two to shack up with preggers Lisa. This may have tainted my further view of him but I still sympathized. So I thought it was a master-stroke to proceed Nate's demise by him having sex with Maggie, who had always played a rather dubious role on the show. You knew the two were going to hook up right from the first moment they met, but that it would mean his death? Wow, so much for predictability!



    The fact that Nate still got to talk to all those who were close to him (except for Ruth - which was in a way fitting) was very well done. The dream sequence with David was utter perfection. My negative thoughts are these: I found this episode to be almost literally "the beginning of the end". The ones that came after were also quite shocking but didn't have that same punch to me. It's like there couldn't be any more feelings of shock or sadness after the departure of Nate. Not because I loved his character that much, but I just sort of "endured" the rest of the season, without it much affecting me. I generally found "Ecotone" the more effective episode of the last four because initial shock tends to hit hard.moreless
  • Nathaniel Samuel Fisher, Jr. 1965-2005

    9.5
    By my own fault I arelady saw the episode after this (All Alone) before watching this one. I was hoping and trying to believe that I'm not not rating this a 10 because of that.. but... doesn't matter how I look at it, while the ending was beyond shocking and excellent, and of course incredibly touching, the rest of the episode didn't live up to it. Of course, for most people this is a clear 10/10, but I often have a problem with episodes that have an outstanding ending that makes me feel like its worthy of a 10/10, even though the rest of the episode isn't.



    Put it this way: if you don't watch the ending, this feels like a 7-8/10 episode at best.



    Now, enough of that. Nate dies and oh man, writing that down makes me shiver. I can't believe it happened and the way it handled was of course brilliant. The episode was alla bout Nate saying his final good byes without him even knowing that and thats a true heartbreaker. But, it was perhaps Ruth's silly adventure that prevented me from fully getting into this.



    Nevertheless, amazing.moreless
Frances Conroy

Frances Conroy

Ruth Fisher

Freddy Rodriguez

Freddy Rodriguez

Federico Diaz

James Cromwell

James Cromwell

George Sibley (episode 40+, recurring previously)

Justina Machado

Justina Machado

Vanessa Diaz

Lauren Ambrose

Lauren Ambrose

Claire Fisher

Mathew St. Patrick

Mathew St. Patrick

Keith Charles

Vince Grant

Vince Grant

ER Doctor

Guest Star

Michele Greene

Michele Greene

Dr. Fraker

Guest Star

Mae Hi

Mae Hi

Lin

Guest Star

Brenna Tosh

Brenna Tosh

Maya

Recurring Role

Bronwyn Tosh

Bronwyn Tosh

Maya

Recurring Role

Ed Begley Jr.

Ed Begley Jr.

Hiram

Recurring Role

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