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.