Six Feet Under

Season 2 Episode 1

In the Game

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 03, 2002 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
183 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Rebecca Leah Milford

Brenda and Nate seem to be in a bit of a slump, or rather Brenda is in the slump for both of them. David gets some good news, but then continues to get bad news of varying degrees. But if David's news is bad, Nate's could be considered slightly potentially devastating. And it doesn't help Nate that Brenda is being so detached and cold towards him. Ruth is trying to figure out ways she can be more accepting and open to David's homosexuality. In the process she questions Claire about her sexuality. Rico is trying to become more involved on the sales side of the business but strikes out.moreless

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  • Bit underwhelming.

    Not much was going on. Unfortunately David proved to be the weakest link in this episode which was surprising. Nate fortuantely had a very good storyline but it should've been longer. He gets high and has weird dreams with alot of symbolism. It was fun and made you think, but they didn't last long... besides it felt really off.

    There's not alot to say about this episode. The death was meh, though the friends smoking the ashes was funny. The episode did a good enough job in developing Nate, but it just seems the rest of the characters got nowhere.moreless
  • Season 2 Premiere

    I was really excited for the season 2 premiere of Six Feet Under, and surely, I wasn't disappointed. I never expect a lot from season premieres, considering there's a lot of premieres that just fail at setting the tone for the rest of the season, or are over come by after math of events that happened in previous finale.

    We didn't get a lot of huge cliffhangers last season, so in a way, the premiere didn't have to deal with all of that, but it's just, I'm not completely in love with the direction this show is getting at. I'm not going to judge by the first episode, but I kind of just wanted more season-long development.

    Sure, we got Nate with his brain clot, and David with his continuing struggles with his sexuality, and you can't forget Claire and Gabe. I really hope these two end it soon, I think Claire is better off single any way, and I never liked Gabe at all. Overall, great premiere with some continuing themes put to the forefront, can't wait for the next episode.moreless
  • Why does my friend have to be special?

    Alan Ball knows how to start off a season of "Six Feet Under". I love the new direction of the show. We are done with the character introduction and we are full steam ahead for character and plot advancement now. A lot of Peter Kruase in this episode and I think this may be his best performance to date on the show. Loved the entire scene with Nate and his father with Chinese Checkers. There was so much symbolism in this scene that you're going to have to watch it over and over to really get it. Represented was life / death and then obviously the title reference to the episode. Aren't we all in a way "In the game" until the very end. I love it when strong connections are made to episode titles and this was one of them.

    The remaining members of the cast also came through with very strong performances. Brenda acted much of the episode without Nate - and did a fantastic job. Claire and Gabe go back and forth in the episode, I wonder what the endgame is going to be for that pairing. Ruth is a more interesting character this season then I can remember. Her awkward questions at dinner with Nate, David, and Claire were hilarious. "Why does my friend have to be special?" What a great and hilarious response to her statement of David's personal life. David was actual the weaker of the main characters in this episode. It looks like he wants to have Keith again, but Keith seems content to be where he is. Overall though, amazing opening episode.moreless
  • Loved this opener!

    This was just so good! The diner party scenes were funny and so entertaining. Ruth reading that book was hilarious and when she was telling the kids there bring there dates and then she got to David. Now Nate has avm, that coukd cause a lot of drama in the future of the season so thats good. Breanda shouting at that she was massaging was great but I can't help but prefer Breanda when shes not so depressed. Claire's boyfriend I can't make up my mind about, sometimes hes super nice and then super bad. Really like Claire herself. loved when Ruth asked her has she experienced any feelings for the same sex. I want Keith to just go back to David. Loved this episode, it was a great opener and this to be a promising 2nd season!moreless
  • Life Or Death Written by Alan Ball Directed by Rodrigo Garcia

    Having viewed Season One in mid-2002, I had to wait exactly a year until Channel 4 aired Season Two, and thankfully it was worth the wait. Let's start of with the death of the week - Rebecca Leah Milford, an actress of a dire slasher flick, who spends most of the time at the movie's press party snorting drugs and subsequently dies of violent overdose in the bathroom.

    Her co- stars then decide to give her a cheap send off at Fisher and Sons by having her cremated and then snorting her ashes, much to Claire's disgust. And believe me she isn't the only one repulsed - even I couldn't stand to look at it. Meanwhile both Fisher men (I realise that by calling them boys I almost make the sound like The Dukes Of Hazard and that's one brotherly duo you shouldn't compare Nate and Dave to) receive news from their doctors - David's being a minor infection (has to be from that guy in "The Trip") and Nate learning from his MRI test results that he's got AVM (or Arterio-Venous Malformation), a condition that could be fatal if not operated on immediately, but a very pissed off Nate storms out of the doctor's office. I can almost side with him as the doctor a little too smug.

    Ruth, meanwhile decides to hold a dinner (after reading a book targeted for parents of gay and lesbian children) for herself, her children and their significant others and this is where this openers really shines as in classic SFU style chaos isn't far behind when Nate inadvertently takes an ecstasy tablet, that David left in the aspirin bottle after his disco session with Kurt. So much has happened since then I almost forgot about him.

    Anyways Nate gets high as a kite, much to everyone confusion and horror, but it sure does make for some truly priceless entertainment though. Openers being openers of course, there's also another much welcomed appearance from Nathaniel as he mocks Nate's AVM despite his healthy living.

    Better still is his guidance of his son's first meeting with Life (a coloured free-spirited woman) and Death (a white, somewhat grouchy man) as they get Nate to put everything on the table. Which he tries to, but as Daddy said, - not a wise move. Now that Claire is aware of Gabe being back to his drug taking ways, how long will it be before she learns of his other activities, like the convenience store, for instance. I love Claire but when it comes to Gabe, there seems to be a blind spot with her, though a personal highlight from her in the premiere were blasting Rebecca’s talentless co-stars’.

    Also in "In The Game"

    Death of the week: See opening paragraph. I’m guessing the movie Rebecca and her talentless co-stars were parodying was Scream, right?

    Nate (to AVM consultant):"I'm gonna try to put this out of my head, no pun intended and get on with my life".

    Ruth: “You know Claire when I was your age I had a crush on Jane Fonda”.

    Claire: “ Well she's single again so now's your chance”.

    Claire (to Nikolai): "You'll have to forgive David. He's been majorly cranky ever since he stopped getting laid". Yet Alan Ball made sure that we got to see Michael C. Hall briefly nude anyway.

    Nate may have been woken up by Brenda "going down on him", but it seems that since the crash her sex drive is on an ebb of some kind.

    We also meet Federico's sister in law, Angelica and it's easy to see why he doesn't like her. I say bring her back as she could be a good foil for Rico.

    Ruth: "David if you have a special friend, I would like for them to come as well"

    David:" Why are my friends special?"

    Ruth:" All right, if you're having sex with anyone, I’d like to meet them. Is that better?"

    Chronology wise, it’s July 2001, nearly four weeks after the events of “Knock, Knock”.

    Apparently Nate taught David to masturbate. Okay that's too much information but it does turn out Nate somewhat respects his younger brother's opinion.

    Brenda (to Nate): “You are so fucking high”.

    Notice how he was smiling when David told him he was proud of him upon learning that Nate is now a licenced funeral director.

    More dinner time fun with Nikolai's over embellished "Lord have mercy", and more importantly, Nate's response ("You are a beautiful person"). That scene was so funny, I almost could have wet myself with the laughter.

    Not only is Billy a no-show here, but actor Jeremy Sisto has been removed from the opening credits. And Keith had bugger all to do here.

    Claire (to actor guy):"Yeah, well we'll see you back here and we'll be snorting you next time".

    Nathaniel (to Nate): “You’re in the game now buddy boy”.

    Wow, breaking some records here as four songs from the soundtrack feature here. Both Lamb's ethereal "Heaven" and Stereo MC's "Deep Down & Dirty" featured during the Rebecca scenes, while Nate's Life/Death dream sequence featured The Dining Room's "Pure & Easy" to great effect. Only Brenda grooving along to PJ Harvey's "One Time Too Many" didn't work for me.

    Despite one or two little flaws, I absolutely loved this episode. It may not be a resounding epic, but it sure as hell was a brilliant way to open this season. Here's hoping the good work continues apace. “In The Game” has definitely opened Season Two off to an intriguing start.

Ben Scott

Ben Scott


Guest Star

David Shatraw

David Shatraw

Shiatsu Client

Guest Star

Mary-Pat Green

Mary-Pat Green


Guest Star

Melissa Marsala

Melissa Marsala


Recurring Role

Paul Terrell Clayton

Paul Terrell Clayton


Recurring Role

Richard Jenkins (I)

Richard Jenkins (I)

Nathaniel Fisher

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • When Nate is high and fills his glass with wine he slurps a bit off, then the camera goes away from the glass to his face, and a bit more is gone, then it goes to his face and the glass is full again! Continuity guys!

  • QUOTES (3)

    • During Nate's hallucination: "All that lives, lives forever. Only the shell, the perishable, passes away. The spirit is without end, eternal, deathless..."

    • David: Why are my friends special?
      Ruth: Ok, then, if there is any one you are having sex with I'd love for them to come.

    • Ruth: You know Claire when I was your age I had a crush on Jane Fonda.
      Claire: Well she's single again so now's your chance

  • NOTES (5)

    • Shawn Hatosy (Boyd Fowler) previously worked with Michael C. Hall on the HBO series Six Feet Under in the second season premiere episode 'In the Game'.

    • Brazil title: "Entrando no Jogo" ("Entering in the Game")

    • Songs:
      Lamb - "Heaven"
      Stereo MCs - "Deep Down and Dirty"
      Aquanot - "True Love (Petalpusher remix)"
      MJ Cole - "Sincere (Petalpusher remix)"
      Lux - "Northern Lights"
      Peggy Lee - "I Love Being Here With You"
      PJ Harvey - "OneTime Too Many"
      H.A.L.O. - "Eclipsed (LFO remix)"
      Tomasso Albinoni - "Violin Concerto in F Major, Op- 9, No. 10"
      Ludwig Van Beethoven - "Opus 18, No. 6"
      The Dining Rooms - "Pure and easy"

    • German title: "Am Spieltisch" (= "At the Gambling Table")

    • Starting with this episode, the epitaphs for the "body of the week" include only the years the person lived. Dates of birth and death are now omitted.


    • Brenda: It's from the Bhagavad Gita.

      The Bhagavad Gita is a portion of the larger Mahabharata, a sacred Hindu text possibly written around 2000 B.C. It recounts a discussion between the warrior Arjuna and the god Krishna--who has taken the form of Arjuna's charioteer--immediately before a battle. When Arjuna worries that he will have to kill those he loves, Krishna tells him that physical death destroys only the body; the soul is immortal.

    • Ron Popeil: If we had some mint jelly, that would be FABULOUS!
      During Nate's haluccinations, he is watching various paid programs on television which are usually shown late at night. The program Nate was watching was an advertisement for the "Showtime Rotissere"