Six Feet Under

Season 5 Episode 8

Singing For Our Lives

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jul 24, 2005 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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  • The more things stay the same, the more they change

    In this episode every single primary character makes some sort of realization about their lives, all but one for the positive.

    After failing in babysitting her new grandsons and being reprimanded by David, Ruth is back in her customary rut. Claire convinces her that after everything with George that she needs to pamper herself. This leads Ruth to seek out Hiram as he was what made her happy during the bad times in her relationship with Nathaniel. You get a sense that she is tired of being miserable and waiting to be needed by her children. She seizes the chance of fun and happiness and runs with it.

    Claire has been moping about her temp job ever since she got it. A chance encounter with Anita brings her back to the art world that she was wanting to return to so badly. With new potential love interest Ted along, she realizes that her old friends and enemies are exactly the same as they were when she last saw them. This temp job has forced her into the real world and given her a chance at a normal relationship. Plus it is fun to see characters who where so important to the show for sometime return.

    Brenda has been making strides about improving herself since season 3 but she continually reverts back into her whole defensive "I am always right" mindset. Nate calls her out on it (like both he and her mother have done before) and she again ignore it. It isn't until her friend and colleague Jackie finally calls Brenda on all her crap does it finally click about what she could be doing wrong. And willingly does something for her relationship that she wouldn't normally do just to be there for Nate.

    Keith and David continue their parenting struggle with Anthony and (especially) Durrell. More than once Keith has wanted to call it quits, but David refuses to give up Anthony. Even after Durrell steals a car and pulls a knife on Keith they continue to try the best way of disciplining him (if David hadn't been there, Keith probably would have beat the little punk's ass). It isn't until Anthony lets Keith know that both boys expect to go back into foster care and are just trying to enjoy their time out while they can. Keith and David making of plans for the future with the boys finally gives them the realization they aren't going anywhere.

    Rico has had a sense of entitlement ever since the show premiered so I (as a fan) have enjoyed the fact that he was taken down a few pegs by his actions with the stripper and losing his wife and kids. over the last couple seasons. This episode he arrogantly announces that his name on the sign is bringing in the Latin customer base and is annoyed when David disapproves of his business plans for the future. He imagines a dead woman reinforcing all his arrogant thinking about himself. This does finally empower him to confront Vanessa about their relationship, but when he humbly approaches her as opposed to his usual confrontational method he finally makes progress with her.

    Nate, on the other hand, is probably the biggest issue. While he continues to proclaim that he is committed to his relationship with Brenda and wants normalcy, he is the one who fails at it by succumbing to Maggie's whiles.

    This episode is mandatory viewing as not only does the ending lead to a huge change for one of the characters it also begins the trajectory of the other character's lives.
  • Nate and Brenda get pushed to the brink while Claire runs into some old friends.


    This is a perfect example of a show utilizing all of its characters to the best of its ability. I was sucked into everybody's plots, whether it was Rico and Vanessa or Claire and her new job. I think this season is one of the strongest ones to date and it's all because the writing, on average, has been incredibly strong. And I haven't even mentioned the ending yet, which comes as a huge out of nowhere surprise but makes perfect sense when you take everything into account.

    I'll start with Claire though. Claire has had a pretty subtle yet pretty great set of scenes throughout this season; in a way, she's been in free-fall mode for awhile and by moving away from her art career, she's seemed to not have anything to hang onto. As for Ted, the new guy she's met, this was a perfectopportunityto show her merits. He's a goofy sort of guy, very professional and career driven but also very interested in Claire and a nice guy. The scenes where Claire's old world, with Russell and Olivier and Anita and the art world, clashes with her new one, with Ted... it felt like a great set of scenes.

    And it's nice to see Rico and Vanessa finally coming to some sort of understanding about their relationship. It's been all over the place ever since Rico and the stripper slept together. However, things seem to be getting somewhat back to normal now with them.

    As for Keith and David's plot, I think Darrell pulling the knife on Keith was one of the more intense moments that they've had on the show. Obviously, Darrell wasn't going to do anything, but boy... it was still a tense moment and another example of the dysfunction that seems inherent in these characters.

    But it's Nate and Brenda where the real drama laid here. Nate, who was still completely invested in the Quaker way of prayer, takes Brenda to a meeting with Maggie and becomes enamored with it. Meanwhile, Brenda finds herself hating it. Nate and Maggie end up meeting up at Maggie's house and sleeping together. I must say, as nice as Maggie has been and as much as I love Peter Krause's work on the show, I was annoyed when it happened. I'm not sure I 100% get Nate Fisher yet, even as the show is coming to an end, but it's definitely another twist. An even bigger twist comes as Nate is leaving and finds his arm going numb and his words slurring. He has a stroke and falls to the ground and we're left with our mouths open, wondering what could happen next.

  • The End is near.....

    What a superb episode. It felt like a series of mini episodes as every storyline had a certain amount of conclusion to it. Excluding Nate and Brenda, all of the storylines were basically wrapped up in a way that if the show ended with this episode i'd be fine with that.

    I hated Ruth in the past couple of episodes but it doesn't take much for the writers to make me accept her again as her normal self is okay. Its just that, for my liking, she was very out of character. The way she treated George. She got back together with Hiram and was actually happy and not a nitpicking sadistic witch. Great. Claire's storyline wa snever better, meeting all of her art buddies once again on an exhibition.... man.... what a great way of showing how mature Claire got in this season. And oh boy, it is much better. Really enjoyed all of the scenes there, excellent comedy, especially with Olivier.

    Then, Keith and David.... oh that was great too. It's nice to finally see them resolving their problems with the kids. I was really happy for them. They really deserve happiness. This storyline was rather funny too... especially the dinner scene with the plastic knives... lol.

    Rico finally told Vanessa what he felt and oh boy, was it about time?! They are starting anew, so there's not much to say about them. May they succeed with it.

    Really, there's only one arc left... Nate and Brenda. Nate sleeping with whatshername wasn't too surprising but his sudden passing out was. It's pretty obviously something wrong with his brain. I wonder if this means... well... with only 3 episodes left... does this mean.... Nate dies...? Oh god. I gotta see the rest of the show. Now.

    Brilliant episode. Every arc was superb, and the ending truly shocked me. Buut it will certainly be better, as the end is extremely close, so im holding off with the 10.
  • A brilliant instalment, talk about a shocking end!

    With only five episodes left I was sure that Six Feet Under would deliver excellent final instalments and so far I'm right. 'Singing For Our Lives' was a brilliant episode that left you wanting more. I think I'll start with Nate's story.
    He and Brenda are still having great difficulties in their marriage and the fact that Nate is drawn to Maggie doesn't help.

    We've been expecting it for ages now and they finally do it, Maggie and Nate sleep together. They seem to connect, something that Brenda and Nate have trouble doing. The whole thing was done very well, the Quakers church was at first amusing due to Nate standing up and Brenda being obviously not into the idea.

    They get into yet another fight when Brenda makes her feelings about the whole thing clear. She is right, I think Nate is doing it to escape. But then her friends bluntly tells her to get over herself and do something about it, which is what she does by going to the Quakers church. But Nate, who was meant to be there with Maggie, is no where to be seen.

    After getting dressed Nate tells Maggie he didn't plan on this and then out of no where he makes a complaint about numbness in his arm and within a minute he's dropped to floor, I immediately thought AVM but how evil were they to then end the episode. I seriously couldn't wait to see the conclusion to this, luckily I watched the next episode straight after.

    On a much lighter note, Ruth pursues Hiram, the man she was having an affair with while married to Nathaniel Sr. This was very amusing and at times hilarious. It was brilliant to see her so happy and shown to be having fun. When she asked Hiram up to her bedroom I was nearly in fits. Ruth then suggests going camping, which Hiram agrees to.

    Claire's story was probably my favourite of the episode because I'm just so glad to see her back to her old self. She obviously hates her job but at least she's trying. There definitely hinting that Ted could be the one for her and to be honest I'm okay with that. Basically every guy she's dated has turned out badly so she needs a break.

    I love that she bumps into Anita and her old life comes back to haunt her in a sense. Not really because she's happy to go to an art show when Ted says he'll come along if she'll go somewhere with him. She agrees and we soon see them in a bar chatting away. The art show itself was great, old faces like Russell, Anita, Jimmy and others appear.

    Russell seemed more messed up than usual and it was amusing to her Anita's story about him being in love with Jimmy after a drunken scenario. After a talk with Olivier she realises that nothing has changed which makes her quite happy. She says her goodbyes and they leave. The next day, Ted kisses her in the supply closet, which was good.

    Now David and Keith, its an amusing storyline but also interesting. Ruth babysitting was humorous and how she left was even better. Why David hid Durrell's problem with the car from Keith is above me, just tell him. This soon leads to Keith finding out and Durrell putting a knife on him.

    It was quite funny to see Keith hide all the knifes and for them to be replaced with plastic ones was brilliant. But Keith soon realises that the kids think that they'll be sent back soon. So he makes it clear that that's not the case by mentioning a family holiday. I'm glad it's working out for them.

    Finally Rico still has problems with Vanessa, who really does treat him like crap. But he confronts her when she tells him she does love him but can't forgive his 'affair'.
    This episode really was brilliant, the next four look promising!
  • Review

    This is the Six Feet Under that I have craved since the start of Season 5. Season 5 has been good dont get me wrong, but I feel this is the first time that back to back episodes have been amazing just to watch.

    The return of Hirum was great as I think that Ruth can really find a future with him. I could see her being happy with him and for the most part with only a handful of episodes to good I think hat Ruths storyline is over. David and Keiths storyline is also just about over, with the kids now knowing they are there to stay.

    That leaves Claire and Nate, the heart and soul of the series. Nate fooling around with Maggie and then dropping dead was the best ending the season has had so far. Claire and Ted dont seem like a together forever couple but you never know...we have 4 episodes left to judge that.
  • Valentine's Special?

    Wow, after some dull recent episodes the pace has finally picked up in the new series of 'Six Feet Under' and it appears that cupid's arrow has hit a few hearts! Claire, Ruth and Nate all have a fling. As for Nate, looks like he was going to get sprung by Brenda but does a new fainting spell save the day? Will Frederico and his wife ever patch things up completely. Hope the new kids can adjust, looks like things may chandge there. Had to laugh when Tirrel said Ruth looked like a witch! Guess he did her a favour, heading into the hands of an ex lover! Hope next weks episode is just as good.
  • That Awful Sound Written by Scott Buck Directed by Matt Shakman

    All I can say is what the hell as I reattach my jaw to the rest of my head. Nate and Maggie did the naughty we’ve been expecting them to do for weeks now, got dressed and the former got struck down and hit the floor with a defiant thud. Is he dead? I’m really going to try and not guess or assume anything but I do think that AVM from Season Two could be resufacing once again and boy, is that final scene replaying in my head like crazy or what?

    Before the shocker of a denoucement the episode pretty much went out it’s way to keep Nate and Brenda on opposing paths on virtually everything. Brenda was so turned off by Nate’s negativity regarding their baby, she took Jackie to her ultrasound instead of her husband. The baby by the way is a girl, defying the vision of her and Nate with a son that we saw in “Perfect Circles” and is looking far more likely to be healthy than her ill-fated father. Jackie also got to shine by telling Brenda to shut the fuck up and essentially meet Nate halfway. Not entirely the best advice but the way she delivered it was straight to the point.

    Then there’s the Quaker storyline. Nate for all his faults did genuinely seem to be embracing the faith and I can see why he buys into it. Brenda’s cynicism about Quakerism was a little disrespectful even if she was right about Nate using it as another ruse to avoid her. Her complete contempt fro being dragged to a service was probably similar to how Nate probably felt with the marriage counselling session but when it comes to self expression, these two have always been chalk and cheese. She’s a thinker, he’s a feeler and that could be part of the divide between them.

    As for Maggie (or if you’re going by Brenda’s dubbing of “sappy little ferret”), I still refuse to hate this woman. Yes she and Nate had sex, they shouldn’t have, both of them knew better etc, etc but it takes two to tango and online, Maggie seemed to have been more villified over it than Nate but it’s not like either of them did out of spite nor did either of them gain any enjoyment from the experience. Peter Krause, Rachel Griffiths and Tina Holmes were all exceptional tonight but out of three I fear more for Maggie. Nate could die and Brenda could become a single parent but Maggie will probably have to face the wrath of the Fishers and Miss Chenowith as well as her own father and that’s just as bad seeing as the girl essentially is a loner. She made a mistake by sleeping with a married man/step-brother but for crying out loud the way some viewers are going on, you’d swear she was evil incarnate. Give the poor girl a break already.

    Speaking of breaks the least demanding but still fun storyline involved a newly single Ruth meeting up with Hiram. Yes he’s back and I was surprised to see him to and while him and Ruth never riveted me as a couple, at leaset we got to see the fun and spontaneous Fisher matriarch we love so much. Her flirtatious banter with Hiram is amusing and the camping was a nice nod to their past common ground. It was nice to see her having the time of her life just around the time Nate is close to death. This plot made up for the unsuccessful babysitting fiasco with Anthony and Durrell.

    Yes, Durrell quite the troublemaker manages to steal Keith’s jeep while their new Grandma was baking cookies. Ruth and David’s argument was pretty petty on both fronts. She wasn’t to blame for Durrell’s antics and David was incredibly stupid in trying to hide it from Keith. When Keith did find out it lead to an extreme showdown with him and Durrell. The kid behaved like an asshole, expecting Keith to pay for damages he caused and then pulling a knife on him. I have to say Keith handled the situation appropiately but him and David need to band together and come with compromises and solutions on disciplining the boys.

    However one thing they now agree on is keeping the little bundles of joy as Keith makes stealthy arrangements for family holidays during the later months. Quite a generous stroke on Keith’s part after what Durrell tried to do to him but will it be enough to curb his behaviour? Probably not at first but the writers are continiung to sell me onto what could have been a cringe-inducing thread as I’m happy to say I’m enjoying David and Keith as parents (now can we have some sex with them?). They’re not perfect at it but they’re learning and are doing a lot better than expected.

    While we’re on improving plotlines, Claire’s are still getting better and better. Okay so now she’s going on coffee rounds for her co-workers which is never fun but the return of her art buddies and the fruition of her relationship with Ted speed things up nicely. Tackling the first part, revisiting Claire’s art stuff from last season was so much fun on different levels. Anita and Jimmy were genuinely glad to see her and the former didn’t annoy me once. There’s also a truly priceless conversation with Claire and Olivier replete with some honest insights of the state of their own creativity. Russell’s appearance (despite the apology Claire gives him over the collages) was going fine until he went berserk on Jimmy’s piece and still proved to be a wimp. Ted, meanwhile is still a question mark. Everything we learned about him in this episode most of us could’ve written but he does seem to be nice enough guy. Whether or not he’ll be a good influence on Claire remains to be seen.

    Rico, menwhile, also got some terrific moments in tonight’s instalment. First of all with the Latina funeral of the week giving Freddy Rodriguez some brilliant character pieces. He dominated the funeral arrangements, had something of a racial fantasy sequence after unfairly branding Nate a racist. Just because the guy is ingnorant of Latino culture does not make him a racist. Rico acted a little too much like the disgruntled employee and his attitude towards cremation is somewhat outdated, even for him. I'd personally opt for cremation myself and a lot of people do. It’s down to people’s personal wishes and even if Rico doesn’t like it, he should at least respect it. Thankfully the plot picksup with him and Vanessa finally reaching a truce when she reveals her inability of getting over her husband’s infidelity. They’re not out of the woods yet but at least progress is being made.

    Also in “Singing For Our Lives”

    Death of the week: Pilar Sandoval getting hit by a car while walking dogs on rollerblades. Thrillseekers beware.

    Durrell: “You look like a witch”
    Ruth: “I assure you I’m not”
    Durrell: “I didn’t say you were one. I said you looked like one”.

    Was it me or did Anthony barely speak above a whisper in this episode? Then again, so did Brenda in a few scenes.

    Rico (re cooking): “Oh right”
    Vanessa: “Don’t give me that look. You have one night a week, I have six”.

    Nate (re church): “I just wanted to say how good it feels to be here. All day long I deal with death, stress and it’s nice to be in a place of peace. That’s all I wanted to say.”

    David (to Nate): “I’m sorry but a world that I’m broke in doesn’t seem better to me”.

    The guys ideas for the bonus funeral money were – David: a crematorium, Federico: another Spanish speaking employee and sponsorships in the Latino culture and Nate: natural burials, Lisa style. I would’ve gone with David’s on this one.

    Claire: “Actually Ted was admiring your photograph”
    Anita (to Ted): “Oh I got a whole box of them in the car. Really, please buy them. I need clothes and drugs and shampoo”.

    Jimmy’s lollipop piece was cool, Anita’s piece was a bit blah, Russell looked like a wino, Billy has quit LAC Arts and why the hell didn’t Edie appear in this episode since no-one else has mentioned it?

    Pilar (to Rico): “You need a nice Mexican girl. Not those Puerto Rican bitches that come with razor blades in their pussies”.

    HBO had no previews for the next episode. How audacious is that?

    Ruth: “I was thinking we could take it upstairs to the bedroom”
    Hiram: “What?”
    Ruth: “All the way back I was practising how to say that”.

    The timeline (I don’t speak Spanish) I think is May 2005.

    Jackie: “Now can we talk about something meaningless like last night’s episode of American Idol”
    Brenda: “I’ve never watched American Idol”
    Jackie: “Well let me know when you have”.

    Nate: “My arm is numb. Numb arm. Numb arm. Narm! Narm!”
    Maggie: “Nate! What’s the matter? Oh my God”.

    Standout music in this episode ws the quaker friends singing the episode’s title, Subnoize’s Souljaz “Let’s Ride” and Rick Marvin’s score which closed the eerie episode.

    “Singing For Our Lives” is a total jawdropper. The final scene excluded, this episode excelled from start to finish proving once again that there’s more quality, complexity, shocks and realsim in this series’ than any of the this year’s hot new favourites. Every thread demanded and maintained full attention, every actor shone. Hats off to Scott Buck and newcomer director Matt Shakman for this unforgettable hour. The final four cannot come quickly enough.

  • Stroked Out? Pilar Sandoval 1970-2005 Written by Scott Buck Directed by Matt Shakman

    "I'm here Brenda, and I'm not going anywhere!"--Nate

    Pivotal, amusing, entertaining and dramatic. All words that can be used to describe this week's episode of Six Feet Under, aka "Singing for Our Lives".

    The opening death starts off pleasant with a "young Latina" (as in the HBO episode description) who is multi-tasking by rollerblading and walking a bunch of rich people dogs. The "Latina" is obviously a daredevil as she blades down a very steep hill not knowing it will cause her death seconds later. Now I will never rollerblade down a hill with a dog's leash in my hand.

    The dominant storyline this week is Nate and Brenda's. Nate wants to attend a Meeting of Friends at Maggie's Quaker church but Brenda is far from positive on attending. Brenda obviously knows there is some sort of attraction between Nate and Maggie, whom she calls "a sappy little ferret". But Nate insists on going to another meeting.

    When trying to deliver the sob stories to Jackie, Jackie then responds with a Shut the F$#% UP! Exactly what I would've said in that situation. I mean if you keep continue to say the same story on and on it gets tiring and I guess Jackie has been tired of hearing the same story since Episode 4. Brenda does get positive results back which include the gender of the baby, "It's a Girl!" As much as I love girls (including baby girls) I thought the writers would show Nate and Brenda having a son to come full circle in Episode 27, Perfect Circles. I guess that's not going to happen though. Maya's adorable though so this little girl if they flash forward should be just as cute.

    Nate then goes to the meeting without Brenda and ends up picking Maggie up at her HOUSE. Wow, I really thought she lived in her car but when Nate walks into this luxurious well furnished apartment I said, Oh S#&%! And rest assurred, we all knew it was coming and it came! Then a closeup on Brenda, immediately at that moment I felt so bad for Brenda who showed up at the meeting. Then, Nate dresses and when about to leave, his arm turns numb causing him to collapse to the floor. Now he's probably not dead, but I'm pretty sure he had a stroke. I hope the AVM hasn't come back. That was almost 3 years ago. Fade to white. The closing credits music freaked me out, if Nate's really dead I will be really sad. But if he is maybe he will reappear like Nathaniel and Lisa.

    Other important events in "Singing for Our Lives"...
    *Fisher & Diaz plans for the "future". Federico wants a Spanish speaking employee, David wants a crematory and Nate wants there to be a natural environment funerals. I think I'm going to have to go with David on this one. Rico annoys me with his hatred of cremations.
    *Ruth babysits for Durrell and Anthony and later finds that the two had escaped which David witnesses while in the condo's parking lot where Durrell drove the Suburban and knocked someone's headlight. Keith then finds out and the two go at it causing David and Keith to hide the silverware. Anthony then explains to Keith that Durrell just wants to have fun before they go away. Causing Keith to think about the future.
    *Ruth goes for a haircut and ends up with Hiram, from Season 1. The two have a wonderful evening and then decide to go camping. Now that's the Ruth I know.
    *Claire goes with Ted to an art show where she catches up with old friends. Anita who is with Jimmy now and Russell, who was hit by a car and has a shaved head. And of course, Olivier who seems to be in a better mood then the last time we saw him in "Untitled". It's so nice to see Claire's old friends when they're not in every episode. The need of closure from Claire's friends was well needed and handeled.
    *Federico confronts Vanessa and threatens to leave because obviously things haven't changed. Vanessa tells him it will get better and the two make their peace and then leave for a romantic dinner.
    *No George this week, Alleluia, sort of. Even though I enjoy George's ongoing wisdom and craziness. But a whole lot of Maggie under the blue shirt.
    *WTF? No previews? I was very disappointed because I expected a preview of the next episode, there's 4 episodes left and we're left with a cliffhanger. Can't wait till Sunday.

    An excellent episode, instant classic. It reminded me a lot of Season 1 with a hint of Seasons 2 & 3. They really caught me off guard with that ending. Ciao Ciao.

  • So Nate gets what he deserves. NARM!

    Though the lack of previews was alarming for a minute, I am glad to have the cliffhanger. Is he dead or alive?

    As for the rest:

    Ruth- could they not think of anything (or one) else for her to do other than Hiram?

    Clair- This guy is interesting. Loved the LAC-Arts show. "This is indestructable!"

    Rico- I so don't care anymore

    David and Keith- Wow, this might actually work out. Loved Durrell- "you look like a witch" have the kids not met their grandmother yet??

    Brenda- Loved the smackdown from her boss. Fealt very sorry for her sitting in the Quaker meeting alone.
  • Oh my God!

    Okay, what the hell is wrong with Nate! He goes from telling Brenda that he was not going to leave her and that he was there to stay to sleeping with Maggie (the trollop!) I knew that Nate was going to put a move on Maggie, I just thought she would stop it before it went to far. There is nothing worse than what Maggie did. Brenda invited that woman into her home! I felt bad for Maggie at first, but now no more.

    And now with Nate having a stroke or what ever that was, Brenda is definitely going to know something happened. I think it was probably his brain thing returning.

    How great was it that they brought back all of Claire's old friends from art school. I loved that Russell was there especially and that she apologized to him for stealing his idea. I wonder where they are going to take this Claire and Ted thing. There aren't that many episodes left.

    I love that Keith is getting to like the kids better. Especially Derrell. I'm glad that it was discovered why he would take the car, because it was obvious that he wanted to get caught. And you could tell that Ruth was out of practice watching kids to not know that they had left. She should have had the boys with her making the cookies or at least have checked on them when they went out side. I couldn't believe when he pulled the knife on Keith. It was shocking.

    Ruth is back with the original guy from Season one. How long will that last? I think Ruth should spend sometime on her own for a while because she has bad taste in men.

    I feel bad for Brenda. Sitting in that church while her husband is boffing some woman. And she's pregnant with a baby who could have problems. Her very new marriage is not going so well.

    I'm really anxious to see what is going to happen with all the Fishers and the Diaz's and all there little friends. I have a feeling that one of them is going to die.
  • Absolutely incredible.

    This season has been, in a major way, pretty damn underwhelming. I always resisted going for the "I miss the first (two) season(s)!!" complaint as it annoys the hell out of me for usual fanboy reasons. Denying that the fourth and current season have even the slightest powerhouse moments seems odd.

    And season five has had quite a few of these. But more and more, at least before this episode (and excluding the wonderful "Time Flies"), I began pining for days of the old, much to my displeasure. Season five just hasn't been all that great, even if it's really well made and stuff like that.

    It's the situations that sort of bore me. Brenda and Nate? Zzzzz. Been there, done that, and in a much more effective way. Nate's incessant lifelong whining has reached an all-time high this season, and since he's sort of the main character, the show has taken an incredibly dour tone.

    Other than the random moments with Nate and Brenda that seemed to work, the only other storylines I thought were particularly noteworthy were David and Keith's struggle for adopting kids (and then their somewhat cute struggle to raise the hellish little bastards), and Claire's new beginning as a temp at an office all too familiar to many viewers. Moments of pure happiness and wonder occured within these storylines, and that's what the series needs more than anything. A little happiness.

    But then this episode came along. I was doubtful the series would pick up it's feet and stop staggering, but my God, this is classic Six Feet Under here. A true classic.

    First off, happy people! Well, at least, somewhat happy people. Claire gets a breath of fresh, pretentious air when her old friends wander back into her life. They're the same old pack of hippies we once knew and somewhat loved -- Jimmy is still boyishly cute (although -- IMO -- his new sorta-mullet is kind of a turnoff) and still full of himself; Anita still talks a million miles per minute about "art, sex, drugs," etc; and Russell is even weirder. He apparently got into a (big?) car accident and now has a shaven head. He won't explain the specific reasons for said car crash though... he'd rather put his feelings of that matter into his art. Of course.

    Things get serious for Claire and Ted in an office closet. I understand that some people (online) don't care for this character, but his stupid grins and awkward confidence make him endearing. Hopefully it lasts, but I'm pretty doubtful. Claire really seems to be smitten at the moment, though.

    Ruth tries cutting her hair herself and is looking usually depressed while doing so. "Pamper yourself a little bit, go to a salon," Claire says. "It's not like we live on a prairie." I love Claire.

    So, what do you know? She visits Hiram (yes, that lovable nerd) for a stylish new hairdo! Sort of! And, of course, sex. I was very happy to see him again; when they're together, they have this weird, incredibly sweet chemistry on screen that I can't resist. And when Ruth is happy, I'm so off the wall happy that it's sort of scary.

    Hell, they even end up going camping together at the last minute. "Let's go camping!!" Ruth shouts out of nowhere. I love it when she's so spontaneous.

    More on the heartwarming front: Keith finally connects with Durrell. Apparently, it was still assumed among the kids that they were going to be taken away. Shocked, Keith makes a point by announcing some family-oriented plans for going on vacation. All of them, together. And then another vacation later in the year. Durrell is noticably happy, and realizes that he probably has a permanent family now. Good for them.

    The storyline with this family is so simple compared to the rest of the exquisetely plotted out madness of the season that it acts as a fine counterpoint. This makes it probably the most effective one on the show as of currently.

    One of the storylines I never thought much of (other than "well, wasn't that dull") has taken a 180. Federico and Vanessa have finally, I think, put some of the bullpoopy behind them and started anew. The way Vanessa casually smiles at Federico on the couch is really quite a beautiful moment. (My fanboyness is showing, is it not? Heh heh heh.) It's refreshing.

    And, finally, the most important (plot wise) storyline: Nate, Brenda, and that sappy little ferret, whatshername. (Just kidding, it's stupid Maggie.)

    Maggie is awfully boring, and if you read my last review, you'd already know I think that. So I won't drive home the point again, as it'd be a bit redundant.

    However, admist much more fighting and bickering -- this time actually compelling, thank God, Brenda tries to reconsile the relationship with Nate by going to the creepy (to her) Quaker meeting again. Brenda really tries hard to maintain a working relationship, and Nate's just being a complete ass. Like, as of late, usual.

    He likes Maggie. A lot. We know this, and Brenda does too. It's quite obvious -- they talk on the phone at seemingly odd hours (once between late at night and 8:30 in the morning, for example) and his sudden interest in Maggie's religion.

    Nate finally does what we've been hoping wouldn't happen all season -- sleep with Maggie. While Brenda is at the boring (again, heh, to her) Quaker meeting. What a bastard.

    But while I was cringing, at the same time, I was actually somewhat happy for Nate. He really likes Maggie, and he always seems at peace when she's around. The stupid bastard.

    What's awful about his sleeping with Maggie, though, is that he's STILL married. He could have broke it off with Brenda, and always had the opportunity to do so. But he never, ever did. Cheating bastard.

    It's oddly tender and infuriating, the moment between him and Maggie. I don't know how to explain it (obviously, as the above shows pretty well).

    But then it ends on a shocking and unexpected note. Nate puts on his shirt and notices his right arm is feeling numb.

    "My arm.. is numb. Numb. Numb arm, numb arm, numb narm..." he chants, the eyes in his head roll backwards and he collapses in front of a recently dressed Maggie. His head bounces twice on the hard wood floor.

    Maggie freaks out, and runs for the phone, while the last shot shows Nate seemingly dead, just staring through the camera lens with glazed eyes.

    Everything about this moment is shocking -- the music in the background is also, of course, completely on target.

    What really frustrated me after that horrific incident was the no-show of a "Next week on 'Six Feet Under'...". My God.

    I think Nate's dead. I kept muttering that to myself the day after the episode premiered, and my sister said "well, he deserves it."

    But does he? Does he really deserve to die? I think it has to do with his previous condition, as we well know it could act up again. But I'm sort of hoping for the best, expecting the worst.

    Besides, if he's dead, the constant bickering and bitching between him and Brenda will finally be over. Unless he does a Lisa and haunts Brenda until the last episode.

    Regardless, this episode could not have been more perfect. The dialogue wasn't dull, the characters were interesting once again, the events always entertaining, and the shocking conclusion that will play on my mind all this week until Sunday rolls around.

    This episode reminds me of why I love "Six Feet Under" so much. And I really needed to be reminded.