Six Feet Under

Season 3 Episode 1

Perfect Circles

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 02, 2003 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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out of 10
178 votes
  • Season 3 Premiere

    Great premiere of Six Feet Under, I did notice a lot of things were different from where we left off last season, and we got a slow burning feel this season, but maybe that's for the better, especially the way they built up too things last season.

    Claire's story line: Maybe she's meeting another psycho this season? First Gabe, then Billy, and now this guy? I'm intrigued. The absence of Brenda proved to impact the show a lot. Hope she comes back soon, Lisa seems interesting enough.

    What I loved about the episode was the entire concept: how everything is just so random like Nate's conception, also loved how they explored the alternate realities of the situation. Great premiere overall.
  • What a change!

    So I'm on the 3rd series re-watch and I remember being quite disappointed when I first watched this...I wasn't really the 2nd time around. The opening few minutes were excellent with Nate seeing different types of his world...from being dead to having a kid with Brenda. He is in fact alive and married to Lisa. What a huge change for him as a character. That's what is so apparent here, how different the show is in regards to him.

    I must admit that I like Lisa sometimes but other times she seems so needy. I liked her scene with her boss Carol, that was funny. David and Keith are having trouble and I found the therapy session amusing. Claire is at art school, not sure if she got in that one that she loved or not...the perfect circle thing was sort of interesting, her potentially dating that rock guy wasn't that interesting to me here...I was happy for Ruth cos she now had Maya to spend time with...but now she feels alone without here. A good premier which changes a lot.
  • Good opening, good story, good ending.

    This episode has one of the best opening sequences in all of the entire Six Feet Under series. Determining all the ways Nates life could have gone was a great way to bring back the season from a prolonged break from season 2. What would have been different if Nate had really died? Would the series have been able to go on without him? Along with some of the shows from Season 5, this episode ranks as one of my favorites just from all the flashbacks that Nate experiences. I did like that they used the scene that he dreamed with Lisa again later in the episode. He made a decision on which life he wanted to live and after seven months thats the life he was living.

    Not so sure how much I like Lisa becoming a series regular, didn't see that coming after the end of last season to be honest with you. I like how all of the storylines now are something I'm interested in again. Ruth is connecting with Maya and Lisa, Claire is off in college, David and Keith are in theorpy, and Nates got the best storyline with Lisa. All of the storylines are now fresh. Old Score: 10/10
    New Score: 9.7/10
  • A bit disappointing episode on a whole, after the amazing first 15 minutes.

    What a weird episode. It feels as if Alan Ball was ready to make something huge, then suddenly he stood down and returned to the regular storytelling.

    The first 15 minutes were the best sequence of scenes of the show so far. Nate between life and death - seeing what outcomes are possible. What if he dies? What if he dies but suffers from brain injury? What if he stays with Brenda? What if he marries to Lisa? Etc.

    It was brilliant, but... it ended too soon. I think there was a huge missed opportunity here. Maybe show one outcome throughout the entire episode and only at the end reveal that it's not the reality. But instead.... no. Besides the first 15 minutes I really enjoyed David and Keith and their relationship troubles. The roles are seemingly switched; David seems confident and very stable whereas Keith is having a personal crisis. The rest: average. Though, I enjoyed the "flashes" Nate had, especially in the end. One of his "visions" came true. Overall, average episode with an incredible start, which of course bumps it up .
  • As much as I like this episode, in my opinion this was a weak one to kick off the new season.

    First off I need to say that I thought the first scene was very brave and cutting edge. I am a huge fan of dream sequences in general (for example I simply adored the controversial Sopranos episode "The Test Dream") and I found this one to be a worthy addition to the evergrowing surrealist elements that define this show. Alan Ball obviously still knows the tricks to keep this show fresh and poignant.

    Sadly everything that followed just didn't live up to what we've already seen from Six Feet Under. It looks like Nate has undergone a frightening transformation that renders him without any personality. Creepily, he's now suddenly become a doormat husband who's happily married to Lisa and only cares for her and their oh-so-cute baby daughter. Maybe it's just the aftermath of the brain surgery Nate went through at the end of season two, but I'm completely not at ease with how they developed his character that way. I hope the writers are going to give us some explanations soon.

    The others were pretty much behaving the way they always do, except for Ruth, whose newfound smothery grandmotherness totally annoyed me. I hope she finds some new activity/job soon so we get to see some of the old Ruth back. All in all, a disappointment. Hopefully things'll improve with the next episode.
  • Not on par with the first two seasons...

    Not having HBO for the last, well, as long as I can remember, I'm a recent fan of 6FTU, just discovering it on DVD. Gotta say... first two seasons - BLEW ME AWAY!!!!! I was waiting with baited breath for the third season to arrive in my mailbox, munching my fingernails in anticipation for what Alan Ball had lined up for us this time.

    Alas. I can't say the premiere for season three was bad. It wasn't "bad" per se... it just wasn't great. The character development was there, if not a bit forced. The quirkiness that we all know and love was there, if not a bit forced. Making sure every main character had at least 30 seconds screen time again, felt a bit forced. Let's face it. The whole episode seemed... (don't make me say it again)

    I'm hoping this season finds it's legs and moves me like the last two. Just not impressed with the first installment. (though it's worth noting that the worst episode of 6ft under is far better than the best episode of just about any network show out there)
  • This episode is about being stuck between death and re-birth. Life cannot be the opposite of death or birth.

    This episode is about being stuck between death and re-birth. Life cannot be the opposite of death or birth. Nate is trying to make choices in his life and cannot deal with every possible life choices he had seen under surgery.

    He kept being stuck in deja-vu's which he had under hte influence of Brenda, His family, His child, Maya..etc but he chose a life that he become a man of a regular family without any craziness and problems. But i believe he would like to be with Brenda unless he had a disease. Brenda is the perfect match for him to get on a life that is out of orders and not ordinary.

    Claire, David and Ruth are still depressed over life and they kept themselves stuck on obstacles that they have created along the way. Their one mistake cause them to trip and on the way to getting up, they fail miserably.

  • Will The Real Nate Fisher Please Stand Up? Written by Alan Ball Directed by Rodrigo Garcia

    So the two questions that are probably on everyone's lips, following the opening scenes of "Perfect Circles", are - "Is Nate dead?", followed by "What the hell is going on here?". Well, for the first, I'm willing to bet the answer is no, despite some evidence to the contrary. And as for the second ...

    Well, it seems that throughout the episode, Nate takes a guided tour (with his Dad - who else?) of various alternate realities, some more bizarre than others. In one, Nate and Brenda (who has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it type appearance here) are married with son, another his family are attending his funeral, while another sees Nate Sr with a different family. The "reality" however is that he's married to Lisa. It soon becomes apparant that he has survived his operation (despite a nasty setback)and is now playing the role of dutiful husband and father to both Lisa and Maya for the past seven months.

    Yes, you can suspend your disbelief as even Nate's family (in a slightly subtle way) and Lisa's friend, Dana can't help, but raise their cynicism of the couple's speedy marriage, despite Lisa's protests of them being together for the past eight years, on and off. Yes, it does feel a tad unbelievable, but im sure as the season unravels we'll learn the real reason why the two are together. And while i'd prefer Nate with Brenda any day, the chemistry that Krause and Lili Taylor (who's a regular despite being billed as "Guest Star")have, mostly at the episode's denoument is at least pleasant.

    Nate's not the only one whose sudden developments are worth noting. On a lesser note, we have Federico, who is now officially a partner and is doing his hardest to ensure this fact to Nate and David ("no fucking way, i'm not your fucking gopher", for example). Although they still get one up on him when the get Claire to do deliveries at the crematorium. I like the fact that Federico is now a partner, especially if it gives him some character growth, but that seem too unlikely here. Also it's out with Fisher & Sons and in with Fisher & Diaz.

    Speaking of the crematorium, Claire meets a new beau in the shape of rock musician, Phil (yes he was in the previous ep), who soon has her playing hooky from LAC Arts, which judging by her response of drawing a "perfect circle", isn't turning out as great as she'd hoped. Still, can't be as dire as high school and at least you get to draw naked guys which seemed to briefly enthuse ...

    David - who is having a less fun time with Keith as the pair have decided to undergo couples therapy, which helps get a few things off their chest ("Keith has anger issues which he inherited from his Dad and I have doormat issues, which I inherited from Mom"). The first therapy session is intriguing to watch as both lovers raise some good points, thus making it harder to choose a side between the pair. Some slight progress is made later in the episode when the pair open up during making a stir fry and David attempts to balance his life outside work and relationships by joining the gay men chorus, giving Michael C. Hall a great opportunity to stretch his vocal chords.

    However, out of all of the main players, Ruth is given the least to really do and her attempts to play the role of perfect grandmother (a role in which we really hope that Frances Conroy isn't relegated to this season) is almost knocked out of her, when Lisa castigates her for giving Maya peanut butter. And then there is her admission to Maya that Nate wasn't planned, which slightly bugs him.

    Also in "Perfect Circles"

    Real Deaths Of The Week - Claire took B.Folger's cremains to the crematorium and there was a Mr Bennett as well.

    Nate:"Can you hurry up? I don't want to be late for my own funeral"
    Nathaniel:"Relax, you've got plenty of time. Hell, you've got nothing but time which doesn't exist anyway".

    Frank (re David):"Now Keith, what did you hear?"
    Keith:"A lot of whining".

    Brenda: "I swear if your mother tells me again how you were a gassy baby, i'll scream".
    Nate: "And i'll start farting".
    Brenda:"Thank God we got high before we got here".

    Anyone else kinda felt that Rachel Griffiths' appearance in this episode was a little out of sync? Maybe it was just me.

    Ruth (re Carol):"She's energetic"
    Nate:"She's a lunatic".

    Nate:"And how come any of you two haven't been to visit recently?"
    Claire:"Because being a father has turned you into a dithering idiot".

    The chronology in the real world is January 2003.

    Fabulous slapstick moment in where David gets spruced up to have sex with Keith, only for Keith to be asleep when he came back. Quite funny.

    Keith:"Are we having sex?"
    David:"Okay, just let me take a shower first".

    Liked Dana and Todd (the couple who Nate and Lisa have a barbeque with) and what about Lisa's boss, Carol? Besides Nate's accurate assessment of her ("she's a lunatic"), the bigger question would be - what's up with that wig? Or more accurately - what small animal had to die to be an ornament for her head?

    Phil:"You wanna play hooky?"

    I loved that song playing during Claire's attempts of drawing a perfect circle. It's called "Little Miss More Or Less" by Magnet.

    Coldplay (who tend to be overused on US television quite a lot, as understandable as it is) were brilliantly used here. Having the wonderful "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" playing through the closing credits and final scenes really heightened that intimate conversation between Nate and Lisa on the choices we make in life.

    Overall verdict? Despite the utter confusion, this was a bloody brilliant way to open Season Three, even if the show steeps into fantasy territory more than Ball and co may be willing to admit (although they do acknowledge that unlike their Emmy rivals, they have a "cult" appeal) and this foreshadows the inevitable darker than usual tone this season is set to take.

  • Life, Death, Afterlife, Rebirth Written by Alan Ball Directed by Rodrigo Garcia

    "Some places your dead, some you never even existed, possibly, theoretically... who knows this just might be the anesthesia talking to you"--Nathaniel

    What would happen if Nate died? If Nathaniel had never met Ruth in 1965? If Nate awoke from surgery and married Lisa? Married Brenda? If Nathaniel had not died in 2000? If Nate was a redneck? If Nate never had left for Seattle?

    All of these questions plus more are answered in the shocking but good 3rd season premiere.

    After a life threatening illness, Nate recovers from surgery as mentioned above and marries Lisa. I saw that coming. It is six months later in 2003 and Nate has a clean bill of health. Nate has also permanently moved into Carol Ward\'s house with Lisa.

    David is in couples counseling with Keith. David is tired of always treating people like a doormate which is true. And Keith's reasons are that he had inherited anger issues from his father. Makes sense.

    Claire is enrolled in art school and is currently helping out at the newly christened Fisher & Diaz Funeral Home by picking up bodies and death certificates, etc. She then meets Phil, from Episode 26 "The Last Time" and the two begin a relationship.

    Ruth is very alone and tries to fill the void by spending a lot of time with Maya. Now Lisa and Nate don't mind but it all comes to a head when Lisa scolds Ruth for feeding the baby peanut butter. A little PB&J never hurt anyone, Lis.

    Federico is now a partner in Fisher & Diaz and wants to be known that he is no longer their gofer, he's a partner. Nate tells him to stop lecturing him and acknowledge him as a partner.

    *David auditions for The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. He has some great voice. Loved his little musical rendition.
    *The title for this episode is perfect. Perfect Circles is a great way to describe the episode: everyone's striving for perfection.
    *I enjoyed the music Claire had on when she was drawing, I have to look that up!
    *No Brenda. And she won't appear until episode 5, so we'll get a huge dose of Lisa.
    *No deaths so no title cards. I'm not counting Nate's or the minor deaths in the episode.

    Overall an excellent and killer season premiere. And it continues as the season progresses making it one of the greatest seasons SFU has had.