Six Feet Under

Season 5 Episode 3

Hold My Hand

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 20, 2005 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
192 votes
  • George continues to deteriorate while Brenda begins her work as a psychiatrist and Rico tries to move on.


    I was surprised at how much we were brought into the past for this episode. The show seems to be shifting to a place where the past is as important as the present, or where the past is influencing the present. The opening death is a good starting point. At first, it seems like another death, another day, but the scene, which stretches on for over five minutes, gains much more poignancy after we learn the little kid we're watching is George Sibley and the woman over-dosing herself on medication is his mother. Talk about a surprise.

    That's not the only place where the past becomes prevalent. Rico goes on a trip to Las Vegas again for a funeral director's conference and runs into that woman Vanessa, the person who was slightly crazy while Rico worked for Krohner. I wasn't expecting her to return and I was even less expecting her and Rico to hook up in a hotel room, but they had a weird little chemistry between them and it was interesting to see a glimpse into her character again. As for David and Keith, it ends up being David's tryst with a male prostitute in Season 1 that leads to them being unable to adopt a kid through an agency. This means they have to focus on a surrogate mother.

    I wasn't expecting that plot point to come up again, but as I said, this episode seems to be focusing a lot on the past. There was a great poignant scene where Nate and George's daughter share their experience with grief; we learn George's daughter had a kid herself who died of leukemia. The writing here is perfect; the show has been so good this season about giving everybody something to do, and whether it's Ruth and George's damaged relationship or Nate's paranoia over starting a family or Brenda's insecurity as a psychiatrist and a member of Nate and Maya's family, it's a great start to what should be a great season.

    The only thing I didn't enjoy as much in this episode was Billy and Claire. I thought Billy and Claire had some great scenes in the first two episodes, and now that Billy's off of his medication, it should only be a matter of time before things get nuts. Plus, Claire's argument with Ruth was fantastic and well-acted all around. I just feel like it's less interesting than the other stuff, less high-stakes. That could all change, of course, but for the time being, I was less intrigued by this.

  • A fantastic episode.

    This episode was really really good, and definitely something I would except from an episode in the show's final season. LEarning more about George and his past was very important and made me feel extremely sad for him. I think many people underappreciated this episode because his character isn't a major one, but... in my opinion at this point he's more interesting than half of the main cast. James Cromwell does an incredible job.... He's one of the best "elderly" actors overall. What annoyed me was once again Ruth, and Claire a bit. I think Ruth really needs to get a reality check. It's not like George is a cripple: he just has minor difficulties that are extremely easy to tolerate. But of course, for him, it's extremely frustrating too.

    I loved the ending when he finally asked for help from his daughter. Brillient scene. And the opening death explains alot about his current condition. Amazing writing.

    Also: loved how Angela from season 1 was brought back just to have sex with Rico.Much cooler than if they brought in a random character. The rest wasn't so great, only good. I have hard time tolerating Brenda, and really... i'm just sick and tired of her constant problems.

    Claire was acting like a teenage b*tch this episode, but then again, that's what she is... Billy was cool although I wonder how long his coolness lasts. I think not very long.
  • A great episode, not as good as the previous two though ....

    I think I'll always enjoy this show but when you enjoy two episodes so much, your bound to be a bit let down with a following one. This wasn't really the case here, it was still very entertaining and each storyline has been without a doubt enjoyable. I just didn't think this was as strong, I'll start with Nate.

    It was interesting to see him talk to Maggie and how they kind of connected. But of course it instantly warned us of an affair. To be fair to Nate, sometimes Brenda does seem very on the edge, but that doesn't give him the right to go that fair. Luckily here, he didn't but I'd imagine that they'll cross paths again.

    It was also good to see George remembering his mothers death, these were perhaps symptoms of his illness. Ruth was great as always, but it did have a sad tone to it with her basically giving up on him. At least he told Maggie to help him, which she agrees to.

    Claire and Billy, it has always spelt trouble and it gets worse her as Claire is driven further away from Ruth. I thought the highlight of the episode was there confrontation, I didn't know who to side with, but Claire can be nasty at times. It was funny but dramatic. How could she not tell he's off his meds?

    David and Keith was funny, there surrogate seemed fairly crazy and a bit odd. I thought David blaming Keith about his arrest four years ago was harsh and not needed, after all he shouldn't have done it. But they made up and things may even be going too well for them.

    Brenda going to her boss's house was a little bit of the blue, but I guess time has passed. It was interesting to see her struggling with a job, her patients and everything. The family she went to (Her boss's) just were weird, too in your face for me. And we saw more of her paranoia when she imagines Nate roaring some harsh words at her, but then the real Nate tells her they are a family.

    It was strange seeing Angela again, it took me a few minutes to get who it was, she is funny but sometimes a bit irritating. It was great to see him bonding with someone and sad when he realised she wasn't available. He is desperate though, which could cause problems.

    So this was another great episode, look forward to more.
  • Review

    It was refreshing to see Rico finnaly move past Vannessa and start to mingle with other women, or woman shall I say. I thought that after the "She Died" dinner with Vannessa something may have sparked again between the two and I didnt really like the fact that the writers just kind of wrote that off as some random dinner that never amounted to anything more.

    Billy and Claires storyline is beginning to grow stale, I see a Billy blow up in one of the upcoming episodes which will make it better.

    Keith and David choosing the Saraget was dissapointing because we may never see them as father figures. Nate and Brenda are doing fine...something has to happen soon to mess things up.
  • Resurfacing Written by Nancy Oliver Directed by Jeremy Podeswa

    Normally I’d relegate the death of the week to later but for first time in a long while it’s actually relevant to the plot as the mysterious turquoise woman who we’ve suspected all along is revealed to be George’s mother. In a disturbing flashback, Loretta commits suicide while forcing her unwilling son to hold her hand in the process. With an incident like, it’s amazing George remained a large part of his life unscathed. That is until now.

    With the strain of his behaviour taking it’s toll on Ruth, its George’s perspective of the entire situation that once again is the most fascinating. For a guy supposedly off his rocker, George is well aware of the impact he’s having around him just of late and despite Cromwell’s unhappiness with the plot, it’s still bloody riveting to watch. From George’s panic at the supermarket to his attempts of getting close to Ruth and his fears of losing her are all very bittersweet and effecting but even a realist like him should realise that lying to his emotionally fraught wife about getting further treatment is going to help matters.

    Ruth on the other hand, needs to loosen up and fast. The ways things are going in this episode, it looks like she’s more of a threat to their marriage more than George and while she’s at, and she needs to do something about that temper of hers. I’ve never her this angry before and it’s quite saddening to watch actually.

    I have to talk about that scene and so I shall, what the hell is up with her freezing Claire’s trust fund like that? Sure, the latter’s being a total pain in the ass just of late but the fact Ruth didn’t even consult Claire about it was spiteful and selfish on her part. I’m not siding with Claire either. Her comments regarding George were low and unjust so in my opinion both women were as bad as each other.

    However that scene between Frances Conroy and Lauren Ambrose was spectacular. Both women played it with such immense intensity and realism, it was upsetting to watch. In its first season, Desperate Housewives has done several parent/child scenes (mostly with Bree and Andrew) but haven’t always nailed it. Six Feet Under once again further proves that they are the experts of the domestics in a way that rings true to life. As shocking as that argument was, I’ve had similar bust ups with siblings and parents myself, so kudos for getting it right, again.

    While I understand Claire’s desire to spread her wings and ripen as an artist and as a person, her obliviousness to Billy’s rapidly deteriorating mental state confused the hell out of me. How could she not notice his obvious frustration over her trust fund being frozen or the excessive spending splurge he indulged in? Unfortunately Claire’s tendency to be with danger guys has once again clouded her better judgement and a part of me thinks she likes crazy Billy compared to his non carving saner counterpart. Thankfully with Billy off his meds, Claire should be getting closer to the harsh reality she so desperately needs, so I for one can’t wait for the inevitable train wreck that’s coming for her.

    Speaking of reality checks, this episode’s recurring theme of past actions coming back to bite you in the ass gets blindingly played when David and Keith’s adoption plans go to pieces after David’s indecent behaviour with Brad from “The Trip” cinches the deal. Unfortunately David decides to blame Keith because the fact he committed a felony is in no way his own fault. I am curious if Keith didn’t fuck it up, then who did? I also would like to think Keith would never do something to hurt David like that either, even if he wasn’t for adoption and David outrightly pissed me off with his whinging, I gotta admit I did enjoy their little making up scene but agreeing with most recent HBO posters when are we gonna get some raw, naked sex with these two already?

    Sadly though, this means we’re still straddled with the surrogacy plot which takes another objection from me when the boys meet Mary, who isn’t unfamiliar with having babies for other couples and is a little too overeager to get impregnated by them. I’m begging you Alan Ball, scrap this plot and bring the adoption angle bak, find a loophole. Strangely enough, the most fun from this plot is the return of Roger. Ye, the gut creeps me out big time but he is funny in his own little disturbing way and he does offer some sage advice to David and Keith regarding children that wouldn’t go amiss to taking heed of, but the poster boys hanging out at his pad and leeching off him made me feel a bit sorry and creeped out by Roger.

    Still though, there are always happy families at the Chenowith-Fishers, right? Um, kind of, except for the fact Nate and Brenda have illuminating dinners without each other. Nate’s hang time with Maggie at his mother’s yields some great moments as the pair discuss their own individual losses. We learn that Maggie had a son who did of acute leukaemia six years ago. I always enjoy watching the more compassionate Nate, rather than the bullish, bitter guy we’ve seen too much of in the last two years but was there some of a flirtation between the pair? I really hope not. It’d be interesting to see Nate have a relationship with a woman without wanting to bed her and I’d also like to think the writers can come up with other ways causing tension between Nate and Brenda without resorting to adultery for once.

    Brenda’s dinner, meanwhile was more of challenging her ideas of family when she spends time with Jackie’s. I really like this character. Brenda hasn’t had a proper friend since Melissa in Season Two and Anne Ramsay is such a good addition to the show but are Jackie’s family for real? Okay, so they aren’t perfect in the sense you need a sick basket but even still, they’re a little far fetched. It’s a minor quibble in an increasingly compelling story. Brenda’s quest for normality is fine but she needs to accept that her and Nate are an unconventional but can still provide the right environment for children. It’s not like they’re monster or anything. The psych stuff is a little iffy her with the only remarkable thing being Jackie’s notes on losing weight and having a patient kick her in the stomach once.

    The best part of the episode though was Federico and more importantly the return of Angela. Making such a vivid impression in Season One’s “The New Person”, Angela’s reappearance is nothing short of brilliant and pairing her up with Rico was genius. Freddy Rodriguez and Ileana Douglas had such great chemistry together, their scenes were just magic. Their flirting was outrageous, the sex scenes priceless and the comparing on their divorces and mutual appreciation of each other in different aspects was so sweet. The only thing that disappointed was Vanessa and the fact that three episodes in newly appointed regular Justina Machado has been given bugger all to do, other than spurning her ex-husband’s advances. Sort that out please?

    Also in “Hold My Hand”

    Since I’ve mentioned the death of the week at the start, I’ve gotta to say the flashback felt incredibly colourless, especially with Loretta and young George.

    Nate (re George): “He just tried to crash a funeral in his bathrobe”
    Ruth: “No-one’s perfect”.

    I may be a little dense here but since when has Ruth taking up knitting and why does she needs to use needles like daggers?

    Roger: “It’s been months. I’ve been well behaved. I employ your husband. I think I’ve proved I’m not Satan”
    David: “Yes you have pretty much”.

    Brenda (re starving): “Did you ever at all?”
    Jackie: “Oh God, no. I was too weak. Those anorexics are made of steel”.

    One of Brenda’s “clients” has had problems with anorexia, two incidents of alcohol poisoning, cutting herself and pulling her hair. It was also funny how Brenda compared notes with the Feldman’s and her own family.

    Angela (to Rico): “I broke a glass. They acted like I murdered someone or fucked a body”.

    Last episode George mentioned Maggie being one of the few things he got right, tonight Nate said the same regarding Maya. Is there something we’re supposed to take note of there?

    Ruth: “That is not true”
    Claire: “Then stop being such a controlling bitch and give me my money. I will hit you back this time!”

    Is the lawyer Claire called the same one David’s used in “The Liar And The Whore” and “Bomb Shelter”? It does look like him.

    Rico: “I wanna do it in another position”
    Angela: “Oh my God, you are such a sexy little fucker”.

    Time wise, I’m not sure long has passed since the previous episode but we do know it’s been 51 years since Loretta topped herself. George was twelve when it happened and even then he was a bookworm.

    Keith (to David): “You know when you apologise you are one sexy motherfucker”.

    Claire (to Billy): “You bought leather pants? You are such a fucking rock star”.

    Billy did look sexier in his white vest and black briefs than the leather pants but with the added facial hair, crazy Billy is making reappearance.

    Standout music included Scissor Sisters “Filthy/Gorgeous” (could you get any gayer?) and The Special’s “Monkey Man”.

    Three episodes in a row and things are still going wonderfully strong. “Hold My Hand” is one of those rare episodes where every single plot warrants interest of some kind, it nearly killed me to rate this instalments. The shocks and tension came in thick and fast. Another fantastic hour, the writers seem to be in a creative heaven just of late and despite certain disapproved character developments by others, this is beginning to shape up into an amazing even if we’re still in the building up stages.

  • I Remember Mama Loretta Smith Sibley 1908-1953 Written by: Nancy Oliver Directed by Jeremy Podeswa

    "He did not intend to finance you while you play house with a crazy person!"--Ruth
    "Look Who's Talking!"--Claire

    It's another great week at Fisher & Diaz where this week we go back in time to 1953 with an 8 year old George eating breakfast with his mother (Yes, the Woman in Turquoise from "Untitled"). Loretta is preparing to overdose on sleeping pills after she explains to George why life is so hard. George doesn't really understand what is going on but is there for his mother as he "holds her hand" (as her direction) and seems to fall off to sleep. I found this very upsetting because you really see how screwed up George is in the present. No wonder he went through 6 wives.

    The history/continuity on the show is fantastic. I love how they keep going back and forth to Season 1. Between David's 2001 encounter with a male prostitute "Brad" and the return of the brilliant Angela, played to perfection by Illeana Douglas. I say no show doesn't get any better than this.

    -Ruth looks as if she's about to either commit suicide or get a divorce between her troubles with George and/or fighting with Claire.
    -Speaking of Claire, she and the now "crazy"-un medicated Billy are planning to move to Spain to live and be inspired. Ruth therefore cuts off her trust since she is no longer attending college. This irks Claire until she explodes in one of the season's greatest scenes to date.
    -As I mentioned David and Keith are not allowed to adopt, so are therefore brought to Mary a very fertile woman who would "love" to have a baby for them. The storyline was a little boring but I'm sure there it will better in the following episodes.
    -Nate and Brenda win the Most Normal Award in my book this week. Brenda is trying to establish a firm family something she experienced while dining with her supervisor's family. Nate is ready which makes Brenda very happy.
    -And finally I have to say I enjoyed Rico's storyline the best. I love when a character comes back and Angela's return was great. I did not expect for them to end up back at the Quality Inn though but it was great to see her again.

    Overall a great week. Kudos to "Nancy Oliver" and "Jeremy Podeswa", the writer-director team.