Six Feet Under

Season 5 Episode 9

Ecotone

3
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jul 31, 2005 on HBO
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (19)

9.5
out of 10
Average
298 votes
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 jerk
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Review

    10
    The last couple of episodes of Six Feet Under have really begun to pick up. We've pretty much gotten rid of everyones personal storylines and now the focus has shifted over to Nate and his colapse in the hospital. A lot of things happened in this episode and I think this was one of the best written works that the Six Feet Under staff has ever done. Nate dying with only 3 episodes left is brillance, much better then if he would have died at the end of Season 2. I liked Nates interactions with his friends and family and the ending movie scene with his brother and his father were great to. I always wondered why it was only Nate, David, and his father in the van but thats because when Nate died there were only 2 people there with him...his father and David. All in all this was a great episode and I hope the remaining episodes are just as good if not better thne this one
  • Only SFU would have one of the main characters die, 3 eps before the series ended... well actually he died in 301 Perfect Circles but we entered a different universe for the last two years.

    10
    Only SFU would have one of the main characters die, 3 eps before the series ended... well actually he died in 301 Perfect Circles but we entered a different universe for the last two years.

    Only SFU would have one of the main characters die, 3 eps before the series ended... well actually he died in 301 Perfect Circles but we entered a different universe for the last two years.

    Only SFU would have one of the main characters die, 3 eps before the series ended... well actually he died in 301 Perfect Circles but we entered a different universe for the last two years.
  • Oh my God!

    10
    So much happened. But all I can think about is the last few minutes.

    I can't believe that Nate is dead! This show is certainly going out with a bang!

    Ruth shooting her past relationships was a hoot. But I wish she would take responsibility for why those relationships went badly. It wasn't all them. She contributed to her problems.

    I loved Claire in this, Lauren Ambrose has come a long way.

    All in all, this episode is an example of why I watch this show.

    I'm going to miss it.
  • Into The Light Written by Nancy Oliver Directed by Daniel Minahan

    10
    Nathaniel Samuel Fisher Jr
    1965-2005

    With the amount of reviews on tv.com, it’s virtually impossible not to have learned of the frightful fate of Nate Fisher in Sunday’s episode. Both the HBO and TWOP forums have been off the scales with pedantic and intelligent comments on what should go down as the biggest shock in the 2005 television season.

    Picking up from the last episode, “Ecotone” has Nate being carted off into the ambulance with a frantic Maggie having to call David, who in turns informs everyone (except for Ruth, who’s unreachable) of the situation. This is where the bulk of the episode takes place and where all the essential and inspired stuff happens as we learn that Nate had another AVM attack and needs to be operated on quickly. The results looked good, despite physical therapy.

    Nate’s liaison with Maggie is brought to the fore when she is forced to explain to the doctor everything that happened before Nate had collapsed. Surprisingly enough, she doesn’t get the scarlet woman treatment from David and Claire, though there are a few shots in the waiting room that allude to her being an outsider of the group of people by Nate’s side. Brenda, despite her obvious frustration with her husband and Maggie sleeping together maintains a coolness and resolve towards her rival that would be lost on many other series, yet confronts both of them in two distinct but honest scenes. However before the climatic ending, Brenda herself has something much worse dished out at her when Nate, tired of fighting to save their marriage asks for a divorce, while in a fantasy sequence prior to this he professes his love to Maggie.

    The first two Nate fantasy sequences in the first half of the episode are important and raisea few interesting arguments, which I’m gonna try and speculate. Does Nate really love Maggie? I find this a hard pill to swallow. Sure, the inner peace thing and kindness Maggie has are instant attractions in my book but as a person I don’t think e really loves her. As for the fantasy Brenda arguing if she hadn’t let Nate in at the end of “I’m Sorry, I’m Lost”, she would’ve had a better life. I don’t think but she was right about Nate constantly pursuing her after Lisa died, but then again she pursued him too and it was her to said “I love you” before Nate did last season. It’s sad that after all these years; Nate would give up on the woman who’s always accepted him for who he is. He should’ve fought for her but now it’s too late. That being said both Peter Krause and Rachel Griffiths played a blinder in this episode.

    As did Michael C. Hall for David’s best turn in this season. David was an absolute trooper here. He was the only one to think of getting Nate’s specialist; he was totally sweet and supportive to both Maggie and Brenda. I loved the scenes in the hallway where David and Brenda were discussing Nate and his unborn daughter. Why did we have to wait so long to be given such a great mundane scene like that between these two? David’s honest attitude about having chosen adoption also got tested quite nicely when Anthony started flipping out in the hospital. Sometimes kids play up but the revelation of Anthony hating the place because his mother also had to go there after she OD’d was a nice touch. Durrell got to play the supporting brother while Keith the supportive boyfriend, as well as cracking a few jests with Nate down to a tee.

    Claire was also priceless in this episode and Lauren Ambrose got spoiled with so much good dialogue here. Her reaction to the side effects of her brother’s condition were on the mark, her pacing and mini-meltdown was reminiscent (though not a rethread) of the “Pilot”. She also picked up on the tension between Maggie and Brenda and although she chose a non-vocal stance she more than made up for it with her enquiries of Ruth’s absence from the hospital. Then there’s her date with Ted which starts with them arguing over politics (he’s a Republican, go figure) and ends with her thanking him for his supportive turn at the hospital. With the amount of liberal people Claire’s been with in the past I suppose it was only a matter of time before she’d wind up with a conservative. But that doesn’t mean all conservatives have to be bad and it would nice to have Claire in a stable relationship as the series. Her and Ted could also teach each other a thing or two.

    For the only Fisher not at the hospital, it’s amazing how Nancy Oliver managed to keep Ruth’s plot an interesting diversion from the crux of the episode but she did it successfully as Ruth and Hiram renewed fizzled out quicker than frostbite when Ruth refused to have sex with him and decides to hitch a ride back to LA with a busload of Chinese tourist. This served as a long overdue self-reflection for Ruth and her romantic woes since Nathaniel’s passing. Ruth has flitted from one relationship to the other with no logical thinking and has felt sorry for herself when each one of them fell apart. Maybe Courtney and her mother’s advice will hit home for Ruth, although I say she’s going to have some serious guilt issues for not being by her son’s side though she really shouldn’t.

    Another who wasn’t left out was Federico. Although he had less to do than anyone else we finally got a proper reconciliation scene with him and Vanessa, who admits to still loving her husband but at the same time, doesn’t want to be a victim for him. Fair enough and Rico resolves her fears in a truly tender moment between the pair. The there was his brief visit to the hospital where he was all buddy, buddy with Nate, finally leading to…

    The final five minutes of the episode, in his hospital bed, Nate and David are watching television but fall asleep and share a dream. In his dream, Nate wakes up in his childhood bed and heads outside in the funeral van with a stoner (you’ll be rolling your eyes when you see this part). Both guys sit in the back as it drives off, smoke a joint and howl hysterically when Nate wonders if the last couple of years have been a dream because this feels so surreal. Nathaniel, the driver pulls up at the beach and everyone gets out. Nate, entranced by the sea begins to strip and dive while David fearful of sharks and in his funeral suit sadly watches his bother’s fate.

    In reality Nate’s vitals have stopped and he’s dead and to speak for everyone who’s seen this, it’s a total shocker. Yes, Nate Fisher is really dead and all I can do is look in stunned silence.



    Also in “Ecotone”

    Deaths of the week: A cougar mauled Laurence Hall Matheson and Nate died of AVM to simply recap.

    Ted: “The world is corrupt. Freedom isn’t free”
    Claire: “What are you? Like some red neck blogger pig?”

    Vanessa (to Rico): “You’re not supposed to love someone who cheats on you. It’s weak, it’s stupid”.

    The episode’s title, Ecotone refers to two ecological areas overlapping, such as civilisation and wilderness. It’s very appropriate considering the deaths this week.

    David (re Anthony/Durrell): “I didn’t know I would feel like this. Like a lioness to her cubs and then they are days where I wanna kill them”
    Brenda: “Well, that’s the fun part”.

    Brenda and Nate agreed on calling their baby girl Willa. Unusual but very nice!

    Hiram: “You have no wilderness skills”
    Ruth: “Oh, go give yourself a hand-job”.

    Ruth’s fantasy sequence where she got to shoot all her previous lovers (yes Arthur and Nikolai got to reappear) was hysterical and the only real laugh out loud moment in an otherwise morose event.

    Brenda (to Nate): “Oh right, you fucked her because of silence, because of God. Not because we’re having a hard time but because you needed an illusion to put your dick in”.

    Nate’s first two fantasy sequences looked way too weird. I think the large amount of colour used kinda made it feel distorted in a way.

    David: “Thank you Doctor”
    Claire: “Yeah, thank you for the worst fucking news I ever heard”.

    Maggie: “If only I hadn’t asked you for a ride”
    Nate: “I’m not sorry for anything. You’re making love with someone and your head explodes. That has to be a good sign”.

    I liked Nate’s roommate, Chuck and how the main players kept referring to him whether it was Claire saying goodbye to him or David asking him to turn up the volume. It was amusing without being too distracting.

    Brenda: “Yeah, you’re a narcissist. I don’t think you’re capable of committing to anyone or anything, even yourself”.
    Nate: “I’m not gonna fight. I am so tired of fighting”.

    Claire (re Ruth): “You’d think she’d be here for her own son’s coma”.

    Exact chronology is May 21st 2005. Nate died on a Saturday.

    Nathaniel (re Nate): “Why don’t you join him?”
    David: “Why don’t you join him?”

    Standout music was definitely The Brother’s Johnson “Strawberry Letter 23” and of course the lack of music in the closing credits, used before in “The Last Time” and “That’s My Dog” worked a treat.

    Unbelievable. “Ecotone” is hands down the most important televisual highlight of 2005. After 60 episodes and so much dancing with death, Nate has finally bitten the dust and it was done in such a sad, understated and true to life fashion, it’s hard to believe this episode was only 48 minutes because it felt longer. The entire cast played a blinder and it will be interesting to see how Late Nate Jr will in the final three episodes. Nancy Oliver and Daniel Minahan just killed off a main character, what other shocks are left for us as we reach the end?










  • NO WAY!

    10
    It's the excellent writing episodes like this that I will miss the most about this series. You think you know where everything is going - Nate will leave Brenda for the Quaker - and then the screen fades to white and I realized what was about to happen. I'm watching it alone and I literally sat up and said NO WAY and then it said Nathaniel Fischer, Jr. 1965-2005. It was brilliant. It kept us all guessing, is he really dead? is it a dream? is he still in bed with the quaker? brilliant! It doesn't hurt that we aren't bombarded with snips and clips and previews all week prior to a show so the whole thing is relatively surprising.
  • First time ive broken down and cried

    10
    I think after 5 years of this show all my pent up feelings came out when Nate died. Ive never cried from anything like this before but, the dude is one of my favorite tv characters of all time, i say we all smoke a joint for Nate, its what he would want, haha
  • The most important thing is Nate's death

    9.5
    That was awesome... I mean, an awesome episode, but Nate's death was so painful.
    I think it was so obvious that something like that has to happen. On the episode 'Singing for our lives' everything was begining to go extremelly fine, so something bad was on its way. I had to admit I don't think Nate was going to be the dead character, I thought it was going to be Ruth. But it's better that way, the show will have more stuff to write about and here is where you see how good the writers are.
    Congratulations you are making a great end for a great tv series. When the end arrives I will miss it a lot.
  • The title kind of gave it way.

    10
    So you had to know Nate was going to die if you knew what the title of the show was. Still I really didn't expect it to happen, at least this quickly. I feel bad for thinking about how glad I was Nate died, I mean look at what he's done on the show this whole time. However,a part of me is still sad that he won't be on the show alive anymore. I mean even after a week it doesn't seem real. Ruth, being out in the wilderness with Hiram, has no idea what has gone on and I wonder how she will react. Claire had a great Shirley MacLaine "Terms of Endearment" moment and David was probably the best I've seen him this season. I could have done without the Rico storyline for this episode but that was the only set back. Frankly, I wanted to slap Maggie to kingdom come since she showed up and now I'd really love to do it. When she said "Well, he's still alive.", it was almost as it she was saying. "Well, glad I didn't kill him." I really hope we get to see her reaction when she finds out Nate's dead and I hope Brenda punches her lights out.

    All in all this was a perfect episode. The writing was fabulous and the whole cast was superb. I especially loved the "dream" sequences Nate and David were having. I watched this episode 4 times this week, which is very rare for me and an episode of SFU.

    I cannot wait for the next episode.
  • Who will they kill off next!?

    10
    The death of the character in this episode was absolutely shocking. Granted, the show only has three episodes to go, but wow! The way in which it was done was so elegant and amazing. It didn\'t really seem sad to me which is strange because I have watched this character grow and develop for five years, but it was more just what I would expect out of an amazing show like this. Too bad it is ending...
  • Upcoming Episodes?? Seeing Lisa??

    10
    I'm in LOVE with this show and I did not expect Nate to pass away... The following episiode I'm going to need a box of tissus sitting besides me. Haha.

    Now think about this.... Now that he died, Do you think that he will meet up with Lisa somehow??
  • It doesn't get any better than this. This episode had such a quiet dignity. It was strong, engaging and an utter powerhouse that exceeded all my expectations and delivers and emotional payload that will blow you away.

    10
    This episode is the best example of why a series can be SO compelling. Having a long form format, where characters can develop and mature can yield such rich rewards - rewards that can only come after years of character exploration. There's no way get reach the heights that this episode reaches in a movie. This episode represents the pinnacle of series writing and provides an emotional payload that will linger with you for days.

    For 5 years we've followed the lives of the Fishers and all the in-and-outs of their relationships, struggles, triumphs and humiliations. Nancy Oliver's writing of this episode should win an Emmy for her brilliance in bringing back themes from all five years and weaving them into a phenomenal story. Scott Buck wrote the lead-in by writing the previous episode, but Oliver bring it all home and then knocks it out of the park. The thematic elements that she pulls together is some of the best writing for television I've ever seen, which culminates with the ocean theme - B R I L L I A N T - and then slips in a quiet curve ball.

    Yet there's all the classic story elements that we come to expect from Six Feet Under, such as dream sequences, fantasy exposition and almost hard to watch drama. This is definitely an episode where you dare not give anything away, otherwise you could spoil another viewer's experience, but there are just too many standout performances not to at least mention them. Clarie's relationship with a new friend in the parking garage - Ruth's escape from the woods and her past relationships - David and Keith finally getting to understand the under pinnings of their adopted children's past - and Federico and Vanessa finally understanding each other are just a few scenes that cement why we love the show so much.

    However, the best scene for me has to be the discussion between Nate and Brenda at Nate's bedside. You know it's coming and you know it won't be pretty, but you can't help but watch. It can sometimes be hard to sympathize with Brenda, but you can't help but do that as you watch the scene unfold. Some of the best acting and writing the series has had. So on the money and yet so heartbreaking and real. And to be honest, that's really what makes the series so compelling.

    None of the characters are cookie cutter stereotypes. Everyone has flaws and weaknesses and yet at the same time they can each display such strength and dignity. Who would have thought that the backdrop of a funeral home could bring to life such dynamic, entertaining and real characters? It's simply amazing at what the cast and crew of Six Feet Under have been able to achieve over the past 5 years. They have created the hallmark of what a series drama can be.

    This episode had such a quiet dignity. It was strong, engaging and an utter powerhouse that exceeded all my expectations. Nothing flashy. No explosions, or fantastic spectacles to lure us into a false sense of excitement or titillation. No, this episode cuts no corners. It earns every emotion it illicits by delivering fantastic writing and top-notch acting and floors us in the process. This episode will leave you thinking about it for days and relishing each bittersweet moment.

    It doesn't get any better than this.
  • Vanished and Reappeared Laurence Hall Matheson 1971-2005 Written by Nancy Oliver Directed by Daniel Minahan

    10
    "There was physical activity... which concluded with a... climax"--Maggie

    Well, with 3 episodes left in the entire series, Six Feet Under wastes no time in sending a character "six feet under" but first let's recap before I jump to the main attraction.

    Several minutes after his alleged collapse, Maggie intends to go in the ambulance with Nate however seeing that she isn't a blood relation that's a no-no. Maggie then proceeds to call David who then calls everyone else.

    Claire has her first date with Ted at a swank LA eatery which Claire calls the "Republican nest" since Claire obviously shows views similar to Democrats. Ted then declares himself Republican and the two argue on Iraq and conservative/liberal issues. It's always nice to have a conservative view since a lot of characters on the show are liberals (i.e. Aunt Sarah, Nate, Claire)

    The family (excluding Ruth) meet at the hospital where the doctor mistakes Maggie as "Mrs. Fisher", Brenda quickly corrects that she is "Mrs. Brenda Fisher". The Emergency Room doctor prepares for emergency surgery after learning Nate had suffered from a brain hemmorhage. After the surgery, the doctor gives the somewhat good/bad news that even though Nate is alive he is in critical condition and is in a comatose state.

    The family then prepares for the worse but the following morning Nate awakes immediately recognizing Brenda. Brenda ecstatic that Nate is alive and awake quickly rushes in the other Fisher members and saunters off to fetch Maya. Nate then talks with several members of the family including Federico, David and Keith, Maggie & Claire and Ted. Brenda then arrives with Maya when they then have the discussion of the previous fight. Nate says he's tired of fighting and asks when they get better that he wants to leave. Brenda feeling betrayed flees with Maya and calls him a narcisist.

    David stays behind with Claire and the three watch TV until Claire leaves to take a shower. Nate tells David he is going to take a nap and so he does leaving David to watch the ocean (on television).

    Soon after we journey into Nate where Oh My God, the 3rd, 4th and 5th seasons have been a dream. Oh wow. Nate is laying on his childhood bed in Arthur's former room when he hears a horn honking from outside. He goes out to find a shaggy haired David (creepy) and tells him to get in the van. The brothers then smoke weed and get ready to go surfing with Nathaniel. When they arrive at the beach, David suddenly cowers out after thinking about sharks but Nate urges him to jump in the water. Nate then disappears into the waves when in reality his heart monitor suddenly stopped working, David tries for help as the screen slowly, and I mean so damn slowly and then:
    NATHANIEL SAMUEL FISHER, JR.
    1965-2005
    No!!! This can't be happening, credits roll in silence. Well they said they were going to kill someone off but never in my mind would they intend on killing off Nate, again. Luckily those who die in SFU don't really stay dead for long as they are always coming back to haunt or visit those they left behind.

    Other important events in "Ecotone"...
    *Death of the week: a outdoorsman hiking through L.A. canyon gets mauled by a cougar. Yikes, the "Ecotone", where civilization and nature clashes.
    *Ruth is still on her camping trip with Hiram feeling good but when it comes time for her to satisfy his needs, she backs out and has a fantastic dream sequence where she kills all of her past loves with a shotgun a la Carnival style. Hilarious.
    *Federico and Vanessa discuss their relationship and how they are progressing yet there is still tension. Vanessa states the reason being she has so much love for him that she treats him like shit on purpose.
    *Ted goes to the hospital and sticks around with Claire. Very moving and very unusual on a first date. I can see Ted as a keeper.
    *Loved the stand out music when Nate, David and Nathaniel were at the beach: Strawberry Letter 23 by The Brother's Johnson. IMHO that should have been used for the end credits.

    I really enjoyed this episode a lot even though it was only 49 minutes and had such a plot twist you couldn't even see coming. Fantastic. Well nine down, three to go and next week is The Funeral of Nate Fisher, have your Kleenexes ready. I can't believe it's almost over... now what am I going to watch.
  • OH MY FREAKIN GOD!!! (Spoliers)

    10
    Tonight's episode of Six Feet Under will have to go down in history as one of the best plot twists ever written. I mean, shows in the past have killed off major characters before the series finale...but never have I seen a show kill of THE major chrarcter.
    Not only that, the writers did it in such away that litterally for an hour, I wandered around my house mubling like a crazy person. I have to say, that I have been a faithful viewer of SFU since it aired, but I have never been "jump off my couch, and screaming at the TV" excited about it ever.
    Tip of the cap to the writers for such a beautifully excecuted shake up, can't wait to watch next week....have a feeling this one is going to need tissues...
  • So long, old friend.

    10
    You're going to have to excuse my review this week... it's not going to be as long as they usually are. Probably for the better, as I go on and on about plot lines you already know very well about. Major spoilers of this episode will appear if you haven't seen the episode yet.

    So. Nate's dead. Nate is, my God, dead. I just stared at the television for, I fear, thirty minutes after the episode aired. Of course on mute. I couldn't stand to hear the constant barrage of Entourage (bleh) when one of my favorite characters of all time just died.

    In true, classic Six Feet Under tradition, the way he dies is a bit unexpected. When we last left Nate, he had (apparently) very passionate sex with the "sappy little ferret" Maggie. After which he promptly went "narm, narm" on us and collapsed onto a hard wood floor.

    Some say he deserved it.

    I expected the death sequence to be somewhat like the first episode of the third season. You know, messed up weird stuff happening and then finally his death.

    But, those damn SFU writers -- they actually did something better. They let us take a moment with him, they let us relish his last few moments. The generic plot synopsis handed off at TVGuide.com and on your Tivo set pretty much said it the best: Nate brings together the family together.

    We get one of those lovely SFU sequences where David and Claire are sitting in the waiting room, waiting for any information. It's handled especially well, wonderful cinematography and all.

    Ruth is nowhere to be found. No one knows that she's on a camping trip with Hiram. Unsurprisingly, it goes sour; Hiram's lack of subtlety spoils the evening. She eventually runs away from him and gets home via (what I presume to be) a chinese speaking tourist-like group. She converses with a translator and a feisty old lady about her romantic troubles. She also says something I found interesting -- that George was boring. Yes, thank God! Someone finally said it!

    So, unbeknownst to her, her son Nate just had a pretty bad AVM experience and went into a coma.

    Maggie is subject to some wonderfully uncomfortable moments. Whether she deserves them or not is up in the air for me; I actually developed a genuine pity at certain points. Brenda rightfully drills her, though, asking why Nate didn't come home for near two hours and why he was at her house at the time of the accident.

    I felt awfully bad for Brenda. She turns up at his little Quaker meeting while he doesn't, and has to stay up all night long for a cheating husband who eventually tells her it's not going to work out. Ouch.

    Yeah, Nate wakes up. Everyone is happier... he seems to be pretty fine, a bit slow perhaps but nonetheless rather normal. His right side is still somewhat numb.

    Admidst all of this beautiful plot development, we experience Nate's last moments with his family. My God. I'm so sorry, but if I wasn't at work right now, I'd just sit here and cry.

    Nate seems at peace with everything. He breaks it off with Brenda, and while you sort of hate him for doing so, you sort of don't. What he says makes perfect sense -- they've ALWAYS been trying to repair the relationship. What's the point anymore?

    His love for Maggie is real, and as horrible as it feels at first, you begin to feel happy for the poor guy. His first and only confrontation with Maggie after said coma is a beautiful moment of understanding. If the result of making love to someone is that your head explodes, isn't that a good thing?

    Maggie seemed a bit off-putting all the while, though. The way she sneakily lies to Brenda's face is a bit sleazy. But what would you do? Especially at a moment like that?

    In Nate's last moments, he's by Claire and David. I absolutely love this trio, these siblings. They're so relaxed and real around each other. And it's so Goddamn heartbreaking.

    Claire leaves and tells David to call her if anything happens. David, of course, stays by Nate's side. That's one thing about David that'll miss -- his nagging desire to be caring. You just have to surrender to his completely inoffensive character; he was the main reason I fell in love with the show in the first place, although Nate and Claire weren't too far behind.

    I'd be the happiest guy alive if I knew someone like David.

    And so he sits there with Nate, watching the television. Eventually, though, he dozes off, and so does Nate.

    In Nate's head, or perhaps both his and David's, we witness a neat dream. David has gone all Shaggy on us with a weird goatee and greasy hair, smoking pot continuously in the back of a van with Nate. "I always knew there was some other side to you!" Nate exclaims. It's all rather cute.

    I found the dream sequence to be interesting but not of particular importance at first, as it was Nate's, what, third, fourth in the episode so far? But then they pull over by a deserted, beautiful beach. Everything is still incredibly surreal and a bit scary. Nate Jr. takes off his shirt and youthfully jumps into the ocean, while David and their father stay behind.

    "C'mon, man!" Nate shouts, while David says "I don't know..." in a shakey voice. All of a sudden, David has his usual work clothes on and we hear a distant flatline.

    David wakes up. And Nate's dead.

    When this happened, I also tried my hardest to think it was just another twist in a series of unending twists. David would run and get someone, and they would recessitate him. Or something. My God, anything, anything at all! Just save the bastard! Please!

    But the camera just slowly, oh so slowly, pulls away from David at Nate's bed. Eventually, the thing I feared would come indeed does:

    NATHANIEL SAMUEL FISHER, JR.
    1965 - 2005

    Credits are quiet. I was quiet. I stayed that way for thirty more minutes.

    Words cannot express the feelings I had at that moment. This is the end of a character, the end of an era, the end of the best series I've ever had the pleasure to have seen.

    It only hits you at that moment that the show is *really* ending.

    And, a bit besides the point, the episode has the best mixture of season three and two and one that you could ever imagine.

    There are only three more episodes. Isn't that funny? Only three more episodes of this beautiful thing. What the hell am I going to do when it ends? What will replace it?

    I'm afraid that nothing ever will.
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