Six Feet Under

Season 3 Episode 8

Tears, Bones and Desire

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 20, 2003 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
151 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


A unique family makes hand mops and teaches their children from the backyard. Daddy, their teacher and father, sits down as the children play and his hat slips from his hand.

The family of Daddy comes to Fisher & Diaz, and have a unique look on life. They are a communal family known as "The People". They decide to allow embalming, but they insist on remaining in his presence at all times so government agents don't take him.

David invites some of his friends to a paintball game that Keith planned. Keith seems fine with it, but once off the paintball field, he seeks revenge for the party game he failed so miserably at.

Lisa gets even more paranoid about Brenda, and decides to make an appointment for a massage with her. While there, Lisa seems very nervous, and at one point even cries. Afterwards, Nate sees something different with Lisa, but can't quite figure what it is.

Ruth kisses Arthur, but he asks her not to do it ever again. He cherishes their friendship and doesn't want it to change. Ruth agrees, and then kisses him again.

Claire and Russell go to Olivier's house to see what he wants. He wants Claire to go to Azusa to pick up something. They argue, but she eventually goes, leaving Russell behind with Olivier. While in Azusa, she meets up with an artist that was once Olivier's assistant. She finds out that Olivier usually sleeps with his assistants, and sometimes he has "boy years". She gets a bit concerned and asks Russell later if Olivier came onto him at all. He vehemently denies it and reiterates the fact that he is not gay.

David & Keith end up having a paintball buddy, Sarge, stay the night because he drinks too much. However, when David and Keith are going to bed, Sarge asks if he can join them. They both agree. The next morning, Sarge is up making breakfast and David seems to feel a bit awkward. Keith seems fine, though.moreless

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  • Friendly fire!

    This was a very fun episode. Though certain parts of it left alot to be desired, I felt that the Daivd / Keith storyline was at its peak.

    The whole paintball game was flat out hilarious... I really didn't see this storyline coming at all. Something so consistently funny in such a dark and slow paced drama.... good change of pace.

    And what came after that was pretty interesting too. Keith and David agreeing in a 3some I think is foreshadowing that their relationship wont last long. At least in its current state it won't.

    the rest of the episode wasn't as outstanding, but still pretty good. I still enjoy Ruth and ARthur alot, so awkward it's great. The deaeth of the episode I thought was somewhat silly and I couldn't really get invested in it.

    Claire's boyfriend is gay or bisexual, I'm telling you. Once this will be revealed there will be drama. For sure.

    Overall, fun episode.moreless
  • 308

    I feel bad giving this show such low scores this season, but in all honesty, this show deserves it. I really do want to like this show as much as I did in it's first 2 seasons, but it just seems impossible especially with these story lines. At least they made the death of the week related to the Fishers in some way this week. That was a plus.

    The paintball and threesome scene was pretty ridiculous, coming in to watching this, I did not expect to watch a paintball war. That's something you usually would see on Nickelodeon anyway. The Ruth & Arthur relationship is really strange, but I'm interested in seeing where it goes. We got a lot of awkward/funny moments to show for their dynamic relationship. Hopefully we get more of those moments in the future.

    The Brenda & Lisa scene was nice, it was pretty good all in all. But not interesting enough to call it a "good" plot line. I think Rico's scenes were the strongest tonight. His family troubles seem realistic and raw. Looking forward to more of Rico & Vanessa. Overall though, still the same quality of the previous episodes: not so great.moreless
  • Yearning Written by Nancy Oliver Directed by Daniel Attias

    Bigamists are usually content with two wives, but polygamists on the otherhand, usually have to go the extra mile and have more and in case of Daddy, five wives seems to suffice when he pops his clogs and all the women (plus the children whose penchant for cheese is similar to my own) take up residency at Fisher & Diaz to guard the body before it's burial.

    Usually when you think "polygamist", the connotations are rarely good and while most viewers wouldn't approve of Daddy's lifestyle, you can't help but but like the guy from the few minutes we see him alive on screen with his gentle affection for the children (and his rather fun way of teaching them arithemathic) to Eve's conversation about him with Ruth. I'm not for polygamy and you may be able to accuse Six Feet Under for possibly glamouring the kinds of cults like The People but neither Daddy, nor his followers fall too much into the stereotypes that other shows would depict them.

    It was only a matter of time before Ruth would properly make a move on Arthur and when it comes to romance, she's usually the one to initiate all of the work and twice passionately kisses Arthur before he eventually reciprocates, giving the episode something of a happy ending. That's twice this season. Not that i'm complaining.

    However continued heartbreak comes to Lisa as her desperation to learn about Nate and Brenda's past relationship sees her paying a visit to the latter at the spa as a client (and yes - I noticed where Brenda massaged Lisa) and despairing over the possibility that Nate's distance from her may be something else all together. And then there's her scene with Nate in which she almost looks like she's had something of a character transformation when she gets to be the mysterious one. Something which I noticed intrigued rather than frustrated Nate.

    Vanessa's depression storyline continues to get some much needed screen time as Federico berates his wife over her recklessness when Julio gets head-lice, only to turn that he was responsible for his son's predicament thanks to The People's refusal to bath. Still, it manages to try and get Vanessa to re-access herself although im not entirely convinced that she will. Not this soon anyway.

    I know being humiliated at Terry's party must have been a bad experience, but am I the only one who found Keith a little out of line? Deliberately setting up the paintball so that him, David, Patrick and Terry could be on opposing teams was rather petty (although it was funny when he shot Patrick and Terry) and what's up with him smoking pot with Sarge? You'd think after what happened with Karla, Keith would have a bit more sense and then the three way with him, David and Sarge also seemed out of character. Could Keith be travelling down a similar path that almost destroyed Brenda? God, I sure hope not, but i'm beginning to side with David a little more than Keith just of late although neither one of them are flawless.

    It was obvious as soon as Olivier said to Russell (re Cliare) "I love her too", that the pair were gonna screw around and naturally enough they did. In this episode, Olivier went almost out of his way to make Claire feel like a third party and it wasn't until her conversation with that frustrated Azusa sculptress that her suspicions about Olivier were aroused and Russell's empathetic denials of being gay (personally I believe he's bi) didn't really convince Claire. Then again, the tension between Russell and Olivier when Claire returned from Azusa set that up nicely anyway. On the plus side, Claire also finally stands up to Olivier when she quits being his assistant. Atta girl.

    Also in "Tears, Bones And Desire"

    Death of the week: It's in the opening paragraph.

    Federico (to Vanessa):"Hey listen to me. Y'know you don't smile or laugh anymore, you don't act like you. You act one of the Fishers".

    When investigation Todd's ex-girlfriend, Dana found out everything, right up until the number in her implants. Check you, Nancy Drew. It makes Lisa's desperation seem less desparate.

    Ruth (after kissing Arthur):"Oh shit, shit".


    A lot of the Petrach referencing that Arthur used kinda seemed irrelevant for his admission of his feelings for Ruth.

    Olivier:"I mean what would you do in Azusa anyway?"


    Chronology was in May 2003.

    That massage really put the colour back into Lisa.

    Was it me or did that 13 year old girl try to make a pass at Nate?

    Out of the wives, Eve was the most likeable. Plus their fear of the government taking Daddy's body was hilarious.

    Keith:"Welcome to my world baby".

    David:"Bitch. You set me up." - Keith did do that, but he also brought out the inner butch in David as well.

    Would have been nice if we had seen a glimpse of the three way. Also didn't Sarge kinda look similar to Olivier?

    Lisa:"You look sad"

    Brenda:"I'm not so lucky, not lately but I wouldn't change anything".

    Lisa (to Nate):"You're lucky I love you, you're lucky I do".

    No real standout music except for the score in the closing credits.

    I don't about anyone else but I was thoroughly impressed. A fun, tense (though not as much as last week) episode, "Tears, Bones And Desire" was another brilliant debut from new staffer Nancy Olivier. Another superb offering. With episodes like this, Six Feet Under, you really are spoiling us.moreless
  • That Thing Called Love Daddy 1940-2003 Written by Nancy Oliver Directed by Dan Attias

    "I care for you Arthur. I care for your music, I care for your hankies. And I won't deny it because that would be a lie. But if you want me to leave you alone, I will because that's your choice. But I choose you."--Ruth

    There is something to love about most of the characters on this outstanding drama series. For one, the character of Ruth yet mysterious and controlling at times is still a very lovable character because she always tries so hard to do the right thing. The same could be said about her son David. David's love for Keith is so evident that he would actually make up for Keith's humiliation by agreeing to go paintballing with him and his cop friends. Claire shows love for her profession more than for Olivier, her love for Russell is visible which Olivier sees becoming a problem in the forseeable future. Federico seems to want love since Vanessa is the one who so desperately needs someone to love ever since her mom died. And Lisa is looking if Nate still loves her.

    The opening teaser is a rather odd and unusual one at sorts since the family is not typically a traditional one. Affectionately titled as "The People" (neighbors of Fisher & Diaz) they live a relatively quietly life, homeschooling their children and making and selling handmops. Their loving father and "leader" named Daddy is a very charismatic and warm figure who helps the children learn by using metaphors. Near the end of one of his teachings, Daddy gives the children something to live for that everyday they should dance whether it be for gratitude or love. After this, the children play and Daddy sits down in awe of all his children. His hat slowly tips out of his hand and he peacefully falls to sleep. His youngest daughter looks on in panic.

    When "The People" come to arrange the funeral for Daddy, David and Nate ask the wives pretty average questions which leads to their demands. They would like to accompany the body at all times and set the children in groups. David assures them "Daddy" will be fine in the prep room but the wives insist and that they must acquire the legal permission. Federico wonders "Why us". When David responds that they lived a few blocks away. Federico decides who should run the show the next day but David politely informs the two that tomorrow is "Gay Paintball Day".

    During breakfast, Ruth delivers Arthur's freshly laundered clothing when Arthur tells her that she does not have to do his laundry or mother him. Ruth replies "That's what makes it fun" and soon after gives Arthur a big kiss right on the lips. Arthur pulls away quickly when Ruth delivers a panicky "sh*t". Arthur later forgives Ruth for kissing him but asks that she not doing it again. The two talk for a little while but Ruth cannot resist when the two hug and she kisses him again. Arthur runs away in fear as Daddy's children watch from the other room.

    At bed that evening, Lisa asks Nate about his sudden break up with Brenda. Nate answers calmly (seeing that he is half awake) that he and Brenda just faded apart. Lisa doesn't really buy this since all the breakups she has witnessed have been very gory. That's really all she gets out of Nate and has to fend for herself for the rest. Now they say when you betray your spouse it's an all time low, but when you go stalking your spouse's ex-fiancee that is definitely lowest of low. (Is Lisa becoming Lynette Scavo, jealous of Nate's every mood?) Lisa goes for a massage at Brenda's spa where she unleashes her emotions after Brenda massages her abdomen. She says she has so much yet feels as if she has little. Brenda tells her that life has not been so good to her lately and that all it takes is time and all will be fine. After Lisa feels rejuvenated and tells Nate that he's lucky that she loves him.

    David accompanied by friends Terry and Patrick meet Keith at paintball where Keith decides he will be on a different team. David is clearly upset since they are a couple but Keith tells David that it will be more fun (which it really is). David seeks revenge as the game goes on and even cheats when he is allegedly hit. It comes down to him, Keith and David's game partner, Sarge. Sarge decides that if David sacrifices himself they could win. David does this and the two both shoot at Keith when they are all shot and the game is over. After, David and Keith invite Sarge, Terry and Patrick back at the apartment for dinner. Sarge stays behind and sleeps out on the couch. But after getting an erection after watching David and Keith make out, Keith and David decide to welcome him into the bed leading to mixed emotions the following morning.

    Federico discovers Vanessa is really, really hitting rock bottom. She is unresponsive, sad and ultimately being negligent. After discovering Julio has lice, Federico blames Vanessa for not caring but it turns out that he actually caught it from a few of "The People's" children. Federico delivers Vanessa an ultimatum that she must change which is what Vanessa plans she will do.

    Claire tires of being Olivier's assistant since Olivier's demands are becoming as mediocre as whie rice. Claire notes the final straw when she makes Claire drive to Azusa for bisquene without Russell and makes her drive back. Claire quits soon after when Olivier makes a off color remark. Claire then asks Russell if Olivier tried to make a move which Russell quickly resolves saying "Never". Claire then asks that if ever he does, that he will tell her.

    After a very moving funeral for Daddy, Ruth visits Arthur in the prep room. Ruth delivers her little emotional speech where she admires Arthur and is very fond of him yet he doesn't really like her. Arthur reveals to Ruth that he likes her but as a good friend. He then announces to Ruth that Petrarch, a romantic created the Renaissance. The two embrace in awe as the screen slowly fades to white.

    Other important events in "Tears, Bones and Desire"...

    *We never actually find out Daddy's real name but it may be a changed name since no one really would name their kid "Daddy".

    *Could Carmen be a foretelling of Claire if she decides to remain Olivier's assistant? Something I was thinking about during the scenes they shared. I'm glad Claire got out.

    *Russell looked way to obvious when Claire informally interrogated him. Something definitely went on, why else would Olivier ask him to stay?

    *I've never been paintballing but its supposed to be a lot of fun. I loved the part where Keith got his revenge by shooting the "Leading Ladies" and yelling "JEANNE TRIPLEHORN". Hilarious!

    *That form of embracing that both Ruth and Arthur did was very warm and touching. It's in the middle between a kiss and a hug.

    "Tears, Bones and Desire" definitely demonstrates a very well written episode by newcomer Nancy Oliver. The episode was excellent on a lot of levels since it really focused on the structure of trying to build and see that desire for love something very true to life. Wonderful!moreless
Leon Rippy

Leon Rippy


Guest Star

Matt Winston

Matt Winston


Guest Star

Josh Stamberg

Josh Stamberg


Guest Star

Ben Foster (I)

Ben Foster (I)

Russell Corwin

Recurring Role

Justina Machado

Justina Machado

Vanessa Diaz

Recurring Role

Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson

Arthur Martin

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Arthur: Your friendship, has so much value for me. Anything more would be unprofessional.
      Ruth: I know, I know.
      Arthur: Please, don't kiss me again.
      Ruth: I never will, never.
      Arthur: Friends?
      Ruth: Friends.
      Arthur moves forward to hug Ruth, but she kisses him. Arthur pulls away surprised, and runs out of the room. At this point, some children run into the kitchen
      Ruth (placing a tray of snacks on the table): You'll have to help yourselves, I'm out of control.

    • Brenda: I wouldn't change anything. If you change one thing, that changes everything. And some things are the way they should be.

    • Nate: And your organization is called... The People?
      Wife #1: Organization, I wish.
      Wife #2: Family.

    • Lisa: Hi, I'd like to make a traditional massage with Brenda. I hear she's so good.
      Secretary: She's booked solid.
      Dana: That's what they always say and give you an intern. Do Carol.
      Lisa: (impersonates Carol) This is completely unacceptable! Sherry Lansing said you can help me out.
      Secretary: You're in luck, there's been a cancellation, what's your name?
      Lisa: (hesitates) Dana... Todd.

    • Ruth: I care for you Arthur. I care for your music, I care for your hankies. And I won't deny it because that would be a lie. But if you want me to leave, I will because that's your choice. Because I choose you.
      Arthur: You know something else about Petrarch? He started the Renaissance. (the two embrace)

    • David: And you are his wife?
      Wife #2: Yes
      All Wives: Yes

    • Olivier: You're eighteen! You should be consumed with sex! Everything that happens should make you want to fuck. Your flesh should be on fire all the time!
      Claire: [Deadpan] It is.
      Russell: Yeah.

  • NOTES (2)