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Six Feet Under

Season 4 Episode 6

Terror Starts at Home

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jul 25, 2004 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
157 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Robert Carl Meinhardt


David struggles with the aftermath of his attack. He downplays the incident with his family by telling them he was carjacked. He tries to go back to work, but has very little success. Keith returns to the Celeste tour with hesitation.

Rico continues to juggle his two relationships, but starts to find it more difficult.

Nate tries to get a job to fill his time. And, of course, he chooses to visit a dog kennel. Perhaps he is looking for Lisa again.

Brenda and Joe's relationship goes a step further. Joe has found a house he thinks they should live in, so they can prepare for the coming onslaught of babies. Brenda seems a bit caught off guard by all this, but goes along.

The family throws David a birthday party, and in true Fisher form, someone has to be un-sober. Claire comes in feeling a little too happy. During her drug-induced haze, she and Edie get closer. Jimmy, Russell, and Anita get a bit closer too.moreless

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  • Happy Little Life Robert Carl Meinhardt 1962-2004 Written by Kate Robin Directed by Miguel Arteta

    "Oh you just want it to be one of your NASTY LITTLE SECRETS!"--Ruth

    When this episode originally aired in July 2004 I was still recovering (as well as most of America for that matter) from the wounds of last weeks terrifying installment. Luckily this week it's a normal episode.

    A woman is walking around a home in a fur coat; we don't know at first what she's up to but it does not look pretty. It turns out her and her husband burglarized a home and to avoid charges shoot the owner who was home at the time. That sucks.

    David puts pancake on his face to try to cover up some of his bruises that happened almost 5 days ago. Keith advises David to spend more time off but after 3 days in front of the TV and Rico being majorly stressed out he decides it best to return to work. Keith then advises David to tell his family what really happened. David refuses and Keith thinks they should cancel his birthday dinner. David does not want to disappoint Ruth who had been planning for weeks.

    Rico and Vanessa are eating breakfast with their sons when Vanessa brings up the fact that David's birthday dinner is the following evening. Federico asks if they have to go but then thinks about David. Federico then realizes he can't go out to dinner with Sophia and quickly cancels. Soon finding out that he cancelled with Vanessa. During the dinner, Ruth then tells Vanessa she met Sophia which leads to an awkward confrontation.

    The only happy Fisher this week seems to be Nate who is happy to be working a dog shelter for dogs on vacation. He meets a sweet girl named Milee but all of this ends suddenly when Nate returns back to work at the funeral home. My favorite scene from the episode.

    Claire also plans a small gathering of friends the same evening to discuss an art project which quickly leads into a stoned party when Jimmy offers them drugs. They all soon get "closer" or maybe too close. David then in confidence shares a secret with Claire that becomes very intimate and heartbreaking.

    Ruth finds out more craziness about George. It seems he dumped a woman right after meeting Ruth. To add to this he tells Ruth he uses a netty pot to clear his sinuses, a present he gave to David.

    The birthday dinner goes out just as crazy as prior and future birthday celebrations (see Nobody Sleeps and Time Flies). This time to crack the ice is Claire who shows up high and Ruth who screams at George in front of the entire family.

    Brenda seems to be holding a happy little life together with Joe who bought a house for them and planning a family. Brenda scared of being committed soon turns back to Nate at 2am and the two embrace.

    Overall an excellent episode.moreless
  • .

    This was a great episode. Really enjyoed everything, mostly David's awkward birthday party.... what I didn't enjoy was Claire and her stupid art buddies. I didn't mind them until now but they just seem awfully annoying. Little Brendas. And unfortunaetly Claire was somewhat annoying too. It was a bit insulting that her brother has a birthday and manages to screw it up by getting high.

    But really, the rest was good. I find it hard to review episodes of SFU lately. Apart from David's "adventure" in the last episode, almost every storyline is progressing in an extremely linear way, and there's not much to say about them.

    The ending of course was surprising, Nate and Brenda getting back together. Seemed somewhat unfitting for the rest of the episode, but thats probably why it caught me off guard.moreless
  • Hilarious, great continuation of the last episode.

    I loved this episode, I was glad to see it being more light hearted. I love dinner parties in shows, and the Fishers never fail to disappoint. David not telling his family what actually happened, that it was just a carjack was a good idea, gave us the scene with Claire and David at the end, which was excellently done. I like there relationship and it was nice to see it again.

    Ruth and George, I really like how they've done this, because they got married so quickly, its like were following them getting to know each other. The whole dinner party was hilarious, definitely the highlight of the episode, Claire being high was so brilliant, loved her 'Why are only the woman washing up, now only the woman and the colour are" Ruth was also brilliant, her outburst to George about another one of his 'nasty little lies', just great.

    Brenda and Joe's relationship is one that I like, but it was going to come, Brenda having second thoughts, the ending wasn't shocking but it wasn't annoyingly predictable either, they kiss and I just wonder if they'll ever get back together, for real. Wonder what Joe will feel about this. Enjoyed the pillow falling scene, revealing.

    Rico, he so needs to get his act together, I'm glad Vanessa suspects something, thanks to Ruth. Nate is more lower key at the moment, him working with dogs was weird, the previous title 'That's My Dog' and the whole dog thing with David. Claire and Edie (Who I'm still liking) I think they might have a brief fling, which if done well, could be interesting. her other friends were amusing too.

    So yes, another fantastic instalment of this show, if the series continues like this, were in for another excellent season.moreless
  • Closer Written by Kate Robin Directed by Miguel Arteta

    Following last week's jaw dropping instalment, it almost felt like forever until this episode aired to see what life was like post-attack for David, and here, it's a mixed bag for viewers.

    Despite Keith's worries, David's determined to go back to work and get on with things as well as survive his 35th birthday celebrations. For the second year in a row, we get a Fisher birthday and while the fun isn't quite up to the mayhem of "Noboby Sleeps", it's still a rather feel-good event, although David's way of dealing does have it's pros and cons.

    On the flipside, he protests way too much to Keith (who then rejoins Celeste on tour) that he's fine and as brilliant as the scenes are between Michael C Hall and Matthew St Patrick in the episode, we really could have done with a few more. He's clearly not when he has a panic attack and flinches upon Ruth's questions regarding the attack.

    However, on the positive side at least the support he gets from all concerned is wonderful ranging from Keith's slight (but deeply heartfelt) overprotectiveness to the brilliant choice moments he has with Claire in which he confides the more gruesome aspects of his ordeal to her, including his attraction to the "cute boy in distress" act Jake pulled on him. In fact, Claire's general compassion and understanding of her brother's plight easily serves as one of the episode's main highlights and it's great to see the pair get much closer than usual. Sure, they've had their moments in previous seasons but here it felt all the more heartwarming that David had one person he wasn't afraid to unload on and what better than a member of his own family?

    Watching "Terror Starts At Home", there is a lot of closeness here, and while not all of it equals good for some, it has been a while coming ...

    Even Nate gets in on the act when he's forced to give up his low stress job at the kennels to rejoin Fisher & Diaz, following Claire's persuasion. In fact, we see a lot of the old Nate in here after such a long haul and while he may not be entirely enthusiastic about being a funeral director, it is nice to see him back with David and Federico.

    Speaking of old, two seasons ago, Brenda had a nightmare of Nate suffocating her with a pillow and now that she's gearing for the "grown up" place with Joe, her commitment phobia kicks in once again. The stress of buying a house, shopping for new house (in which she envisions an avalanche of pillows attacking her) and having unprotected sex in order to conceive sees Brenda what does she in true style - marching over to Nate's and kissing him in a very guilt free way. An almost anti - "Everyone Leaves". And while I had to admit my delight in seeing the former lovers in each others arms, this is becoming a pattern for both of them, in that when they hit a snag in their other relationships, they immediately turn to one another and while their snogging session was a lot more pleasant to watch compared to their uncomfortable one nighter in the season premier, I do feel rather sorry for poor Joe and am actively dreading when he finds out and him and Brenda's relationship goes belly up.

    One disentanglement that I am clamouring for is Ruth and George as the cracks between the pair continue to widen a little more when she learns how her new husband dumped an ex and George's response is even callous than that nasty barb he made last episode. At this point, I really want and wager that Geoerge will be gone and hopefully by Ruth's hand. The guy who was so sweet and caring in episodes such as "Twilight" has now become a selfish prick and the sooner Ruth turfs his ass out, the better.

    In much better storylines, David's birthday party also sees Vanessa finally getting suspicious of her husband's clandestine activities when Ruth inadvertantly lands him in hot water by mentioning Sophia's recent visit to the funeral home and Federico's little subterfuge about being a charity case for the stripper doesn't wash with his wife. I enjoyed watching Rico squirm and he got plenty of moments to do so when he barely explained that message for Sophia on their answering machine. Having said that, though, I am hoping that Vanessa is a lot more composed when she meets the other woman as such compared to the Margaret Chenowith School Of Dealing With Mistresses and despite it's initial tedium, this story is really hotting up. Federico is so screwed and I so cannot wait to see what happens when Vanessa puts all the pieces to this puzzle together.

    Just like with Sophia/Rico/Vanessa, last week I didn't give a toss about Claire's little art antics and whatnot, but this week complete change as I actually found myself rather intrigued. Okay, they may not be the most original of an artistic lot, in fact they're in breech in many an art cliche, but their little painting session and drug consumption does reap some fun moments here (especially when Claire turns up high for David's party - why is that the Fishers are the most hilarious while under the influence?), although Anita's continued desperation for attention is getting tiresome. This time she's asking both Russell (at his most likeable here so far this season) and Jimmy (whose soul purpose seems to look pretty and not much else) to shower with her as well as moving in with Claire.

    Thankfully the continued flirtation between Claire and Edie (with some sexy but tasteful pictures taken of the latter) keeps this plot above the surface. I'm really beginning to appreciate Edie's presence and influence on Claire just of late. Not only has she reawoken her passion for art but the more the pair hang out with each other, the more open minded Claire becomes and at the moment, i'm really all for the imminent Claire/Edie fireworks, given the great rapport between Lauren Ambrose and Mena Suvari. And it won't be long anyway ...

    Also in "Terror Starts At Home"

    Death of the week - Robert Carl Meinhardt who was bound and gagged to a chair and shot in the head while a younger couple made off with his goods.

    Keith:"David you can take a little more time off"

    David:"Four days of daytime television is my personal limit. If I have to watch another triumph over weight loss, i'll kill myself".

    Claire:"All these real things happen in the world every day that has so much more impact than art does, like my brother getting beaten up by some random asshole"

    Edie:"Yeah, it's horrible".

    It's three days since David's attack so it's January 2004 and while I wish this had taken place from where the last one had left off straight way, i'm glad the time distance wasn't too long.

    George:"Well that's the one good thing about getting robbed right? An excuse for a new gadget"

    David:"I hope it happens again so I can get a new pon-pilot".

    The old Fisher table is back. Glad to see they didn't burn in the bonfire earlier on this season.

    David:"I forgot to pray. Can you that? I totally forgot to pray"

    Claire:"That's okay. God saved you anyway.

    David, like Ruth is also an Aquarius, but like his mother he doesn't seem to embody any of the characteristics of an aquarian. Not that it matters, just I thought I'd mention it though.

    Edie:"I wish you here. All these guys wanna do is lick each other. I just wanna go roll in the grass"

    Claire:"Let's go. We've got some really amazing grass outside".

    Claire and Edie paint the episode's title. And what about all the liberal/conservative chatter between certain characters. Even David and Claire have a rather frank discussion about God here.

    Again no Nathaniel. Um, why?

    Liked Claire's picture gift to David. Simplistic, but sweet.

    It definitely wasn't me, there was way more music here than usual. In fact a grand total of 15 tracks. Cool. And check out Death Cab For Cutie's "Translatlanticism" track.


    Keith:"Seriously we should all be working with dogs".

    Ruth and Keith have an actual conversation? Took them four seasons but at least we got one of our wishes.

    Not quite as good as the previous two in my opinion, but "Terror Starts At Home" is still another fascinating outing and after a slightly unfocused start, Six Feet Under has quickly regained it's footing. Although clearly a set up for what's to come, it's a good set up, which sees the show revisiting some of it's former roots while still trying to reinvent itself. And it's also time that I admitted that after year two, this would rank as my favourite season of the series and if the next six episodes are as good as what we've seen recently, then we're in for a real treat.

Peter Krause

Peter Krause

Nate Fisher

James Cromwell

James Cromwell

George Sibley (episode 40+, recurring previously)

Mathew St. Patrick

Mathew St. Patrick

Keith Charles

Frances Conroy

Frances Conroy

Ruth Fisher

Lauren Ambrose

Lauren Ambrose

Claire Fisher

Freddy Rodriguez

Freddy Rodriguez

Federico Diaz

Carol Hickey

Carol Hickey

George's Ex Friend

Guest Star

Rebecca Wink

Rebecca Wink

Hellen Meinhardt

Guest Star

Ken Land

Ken Land

Robert Meinhardt

Guest Star

Mena Suvari

Mena Suvari


Recurring Role

Bronwyn Tosh

Bronwyn Tosh


Recurring Role

Brenna Tosh

Brenna Tosh


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Ruth: I want to know why your other wives left you!
      George: Because they asked too many fucking questions!

    • Keith: There's a lot more insanity in the world than people realize. Sometimes I'm surprised it's just not total mayhem out there.

    • Ruth: Where do you keep your .. nostril pot?
      George: Neti pot.

    • Ruth: Claire, will you help me clear?
      Vanessa and Ruth stand up and start taking the dishes
      Claire: I'd love to, mom, but I can't have it be just the women who clear.
      Everyone look at her confused
      Keith and Rico start taking the dishes
      Claire: And now it's just the women and the people with color who are clearing.

    • George (About David's new cellphone): Well, it's the one good thing about getting robbed, right? It's a great excuse for getting a new gadget.
      David: I hope it happens again so I can get a new palm pilot!

    • Claire, stoned, has just written "Terror Starts At Home" on the wall
      Claire: It's like, how many evildoers do you have to kill before you become one yourself?

    • Claire: The world is ending out there and people are just getting cosmetic surgery and watching debutants get screwed up the ass.

    • George: The green house effect will definetly come to pass if we start to burn coal as oil supplies dwindle over the next twenty years, but I don't think even we could be that stupid!

    • Keith: David, you can take a little more time off.
      David: Four days of daytime TV is my personal limit, ok, if I see another triumph over weight loss I think I'll kill myself!

    • Claire: We should all be working with dogs

    • Claire: Eww. Totally smells like sex in here
      Edie: You missed a great show
      Claire: Someone better be planning on washing my sheets tonight
      Edie: How was dinner?
      Claire: Kinda amazing. I really felt like I connected with my family. I wished you could have been there
      Edie: I wish you here. All these guys wanna do is lick each other. I just wanna go roll in the grass.
      Claire: Let's go. We've got some really amazing grass outside.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Brazil title: "O Terror Bate à Porta" ("Terror Knocks on the Door")

    • Songs:
      Jem - "Just a Ride"

      Rilo Kiley - "The Execution of All Things"

      Stereolab - "Margarine Melody"

      Death Cab For Cutie - "Transatlanticism"

      Fruit Bats - "Rainbow Sign"

      Yo La Tengo - "Nowhere Near"

      Bent - "So Long Without You"

      Richard Marvin - "Happy Little Life"

    • David is the second Fisher family member to celebrate a bithday after Ruth in "Nobody Sleeps" and if we're going with the Better Living Through Death companion for the series, then he's 35.

      Brenda had a similar dream with pillows attacking her in "In Place Of Anger".

    • The "I need you so much closer" song that Claire and her friends have a sing-a-long to is "Transatlanticism" by Death Cab For Cutie.