Six Feet Under

Season 4 Episode 10

The Black Forest

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Aug 22, 2004 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
140 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Robert Duane Wething


Nate, Maya and Brenda go to Idaho to inter Lisa's cremains. Brenda stays at the motel, but the Idaho relatives discover the rebound relationship because of a chance encounter at a local diner. Then, the Idahoans get evidence that the cremains are not Lisa's.

David wants to have a commitment ceremony and adopt a child, after attending a friend's ceremony. Keith does not.

Ruth comes home. George is glad. Ruth sets conditions (George must be open about his life; he must accept his children into his life). George agrees, begrudgingly.

Claire is really into drugs. Russell surprises Claire by sleeping on her floor while she is still out partying; he's there when she returns. Claire dances crazily at a rave; she makes a play for Edie, the lesbian performance artist, who angrily tells Claire to get out of her life, and leaves.

Rico tries to reconcile with Vanessa, and comes home to be with the kids. Vanessa has started looking foxy, and Rico notices. Turns out, she's seeing a guy who Rico knew in high school. Rico tells her not to allow that guy in when the kids are home. Vanessa demands that Rico hand over his keys to the house, or else she will change the locks. Vanessa asserts that they are "separated," but Rico objects.

Death of the week: a drunken dad. Mom, rather than help dad, kicks him while he's face down in the mud. The kids look on. Before the funeral, mommy dearest yells at her kids for crying over their dead dad. David tries to intervene, but mom scolds him, tells him to mind his own business.moreless

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  • Dull is the word that describes this episode

    Very mediocre episode. Not average - below that. If I wanted to be artistic I'd say this episode was a gray mass. Dull too look at, dull to think about.... so it ws just dull.

    Full of things that many other series have done to death. Drunk dad, gay couple adopting a kid, awkward scenes with the dead ex's family and the new girlfriend, cheating husband trying to make up for things and "artists" getting high.

    It just felt - unoriginal. The only remotely good parts were Ruth returning and George finally showing some human emotions..... and, the ending. Lisa's family realizing that they might have buried someone else, not Lisa ....

    That is all.moreless
  • A short review on this episode and the previous one.

    I must say that I was slightly under whelmed with the previous episode 'Grinding The Corn'. Ruth and Bettina were hilarious and David and Keith were brilliant, sometimes I just felt a bit ....bored. I think it was definitely due my great expectations for the episode, if I re-watched I'm sure I'd have a different view.

    Ruth taking a stand and complaining was just great, but how sad was it when her horse die. It was amusing to see David imagine he had breasts and everything. I am glad Nate and Brenda are finally going to be a couple. Anita is stupid for ignoring Claire.

    So this episode, good enough again, no where near the strongest of the season. I liked Brenda and Nate going to Idaho, plus it was interesting to see Lisa's family find out about the ashes not being Lisa's. Lisa's sisters reaction to Brenda was very interesting, not liking it at all.

    Anita's nothing special and I dislike her more because she ignored Claire for some time because of Edie. I did like Edie's scene in the episode, it was entertaining. I understand David's annoyance and disgrace about the adoption agency, it was funny but strange to know he attacked that guy, his ear anyway.

    The Rico/Vanessa thing was less interesting, but enjoyable. Ruth being back in L.A is good. Overall I didn't enjoy this episode as much as some of the others, but it is still great TV.moreless
  • Into The Woods Written by Craig Wright And Jill Soloway Directed by Peter Care

    After last week's knuckle cracker, the pace is kept up in another brilliant instalment with many of the relationships on display being completely unified, continuously disintegrating or even re-starting so to speak.

    Best relationship from this episode (and to think a couple of weeks ago I wasn't so enthusiastic about them) is undoubtedly Nate and Brenda who continue to go strenght to strenght and actually evolve. As a support system for Nate, Brenda's almost saintly here. Coming up to Idaho and staying in a hotel while Nate and Maya attended a memorial for Lisa with her family in tow.

    Even simple things like colouring with Maya and encouraging Nate to attend the memorial as an epilogue for Maya is done in a way that is not only really sweet and true to Rachel Griffiths' character, but would manage to melt the most cynical of viewers perception.

    The memorial in itself was pretty standard stuff and didn't command much screen time and it was nice to see Michaela who was supposed to play something of a significant role this season but we've only seen twice so far. Then the mystery of the book she asked Nate to give to David, a cracking conversation between Nate and Byron about the funeral business which only proved a lull to ...

    Well, Barb actually who makes her feelings towards Brenda abundantly clear. To be honest, even though she was rather scathing on our Bren, I did understand that probably came from a family loyalty persepective. Lisa must have told her insecurities about her love rival prior to "The Opening". But that's the least of Nate's worries now that Kimmels have evidence the ashes in the mausoleum aren't Lisa's. Uh oh ...

    Being away on vacation has seemed to bring the colour back into Ruth's complexion and general presence but even Bettina is forced to spur her into returning home to face George which finally sees the pair at a more vocal part of their relationship when he promises to open up about himself and family and proceeds to do this by bonding with Kyle over dinner and their mutual pessimism over the future. Can't ask for everything I guess. I'm still convinced George will be gone by the end of this season, even if we're given the idea otherwise.

    Okay, time to complain and complain I shall. David - I love you but he's beginning to grate my cheese a little here when at Terry's commitment ceromony, he now thinks it's a great time get "married" and adopt. Keith on the otherhand, does not and who can blame him? First of all him and David are practically married as it is without needing to make it official and to be frank, neither one is even ready to take on a child. They did the best they could with Taylor but even Keith realised that the both of them couldn't provide a stable environment, which was another factor IMO that he allowed his parents to look after her. That's not to say I don't want them to eventually do both, it would be a great area to explore next season seeing as both Queer As Folk(US) and The L Word have gone there but the writers need to halt with this one for the time being.

    More importantly there's David's attack on that jerk in the sushi bar. Sure, he was a total prick who did deserve a punch but having David bite his ear was possibly the worst thing he could have done and the most sickest to watch as well. There's no way you could defend what he did because it wasn't self defence. It was plain brutal and horrifying. If David doesn't get jail, then a court would definitely have to force him to go to a professional and after this incident David has to realise he it one too. It's definitely time for an intervention for this character and if not them, then definitely Keith needs to call him out.

    He ain't the only one who could do with some therapy (hear that Margaret - you may actually be needed) as the machinations between Federico and Vanessa trundle along with the wife scorned out to hurt Rico and sleeping with an old high acquaintence, threatening to change the locks and telling him that your marriage are certainly ways to get your estranged husband riled. Vanessa's actions would be just if she wasn't also using the kids in this too which are the sole factor that neither spouse is actually considering in this matter. Rico even goes on further by throwing his wedding ring on the floor and storming out of the house which managed to hurt Vanessa. Vanessa wants to make Rico suffer in the same way she feels he made her and let's hope he's smart enough not to go lingering back to Sophia or sleep with anyone else for the matter if he's so eager to save his marriage.

    Meanwhile, she may be boinking Jimmy (wasn't once enough? I appreciate him getting her off but there's zero chemistry here so why bother exploring this any further?), but Claire's still determined to make things right with Edie and consuming drugs like there's no tommorrow doesn't help matters. Then again, neither does trying to grope her in front of everyone but if Claire was so desperate to make amends wouldn't she have followed Edie when she left the party in a huff, no matter how high she was or not? I know if I were in her postion I woulda done and while it was interesting to see Claire humiliate herself for a lover instead of them humiliating her, I still found Edie's final scenes deeply disappointing. Needless I preferred had they parted on good terms but with an ending like this, it does leave the door for Edie to return, right?

    And if Edie's gone, does that mean that Anita won't be far behind because honestly we can lose her already and her permanently attached to the pelvic area Russell in one fell swoop. No matter how ridiculous Claire acted here, it's almost nothing compared Russell's nasty side effects while on horse tranquilisers. Neither one of these characters have really contributed much this season only to be thorns in Claire's side and an annoyance for me. And you just know the picture taking between Claire and Russell in the darkroom will have consequences.

    Still, there's something of a silver lining as the unresolved tension between Claire and Billy could be resolved when he accepts her invite of a date. Not pitching woo here but better than Jimmy and slightly makes up for Edie and it will be interesting to see how stable Billy really is at the moment. And another non interaction with Brenda. Must be building up to something pretty big there.

    Also in "The Black Forest"

    Death Of The Week - A drunken Robert Duane Wething died of alcohol poisoning while his long suffering wife enjoyed kicking the shit outta him.

    Susan (to herself):"Hi i'm Susan Wething. Some of you may have seen me kicking Rob in the parking lot at Jen's wedding. Naturally, he was already dead from alcohol poisonong, so you can all just stop looking at me like that".

    We finally get to meet Bettina's crazy ass daughter. Did anyone catch her name?

    Bettina's daughter (re Scrabble):"Fucking Jesus Mom, you're a seven letter whore".

    Edie:"The world's not your own private, fucking chemistry set Claire".

    It's only been eight months since Lisa's death/funeral so should the gathering in Idaho been an intermemorial instead of an actual memorial?

    Nate:"I came back to tell you I love you, I miss you"

    Brenda:"And to make sure I didn't escape".

    George (to Ruth re being happy):"I'm crawling myself to comfortable". - Who says this kind of thing?

    For a commitment ceromony, the groom sure wasn't around a lot here, was he?

    Did some of the guests at Terry's wedding appear in "Timing And Space" during his party. And where was Patrick?

    George (re Ruth):"I married the 'glass is half full' girl"

    Kyle:"Which time? Oh right, this time".

    Chronology wise, it's two weeks since "Grinding The Corn".

    Loved N.E.R.D.'s "She Wants To Move" during Claire's attempt to seduce Edie. Very un-art party like for a change.

    We're now into the final three episodes of the season, which means HBO go overbill (geddit?) with the "something life changing will happen to the Fishers". Well, we've had brain tumours, fatherhood, dead spouses and surprise marriages so what next, jail for a Fisher? David for biting that guy's ear off or Nate for giving the Kimmels someone else's ashes? The mind boggles. Not quite up there with last week's, but "The Black Forest" will keep viewers reeled. Things are definitely being set in motion and with so many arcs to resolve and fans to placate, the pressure is definitely on for Ball and co. In fairness, while both Wright and Soloway have written better in the past there is plenty to recommend and even the most unsatisfying plots are kept afloat by the acting and direction from Peter Care. Only two to go.

  • You Light Up My Life Robert Duane Wething 1958-2004 Written by Jill Soloway and Craig Wright Directed by Peter Care

    "The world's not your own fucking private chemistry set Claire, just stay away from me!"--Edie

    In the beginning, we are born, go to school, get a job, marry, raise a family, party, get laid and several other things. Mind you where's there's life...there's death and certainly life as an alcoholic isn't going to last you a long time and then to have your wife kick the shit out of you in the parking lot of your friend's wedding when you were already dead is extremely embarassing despite the fact you're already dead. Maybe an AA meeting or two could've helped.

    Nate has officially moved into Brenda (formerly Joe's) home with Maya and brought several of Lisa's personal effects with him. He expresses his desire how he really doesn't feel like going to Lisa's memorial service in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho because he does not want to be in the company of the depressing Kimmels. Brenda then explains to him that giving Maya a look at this memorial service gives the same closure/effect as if it would to save Lisa's clothing. "That way you can say to Maya, you were there".

    Other important events in "The Black Forest"...

    *Title meaning: I thought someone was actually going to wind up somewhere in a forest, but it is actually the name of the hotel where Nate, Brenda and Maya stayed.

    *Ruth leaves Bettina's where she is forced to make an apology with George which turns out to be tearful for the two. Ruth explains to George that "she wants a continuous flow of family" including his family: Kyle, and George's other children Brian & Maggie. George and Kyle then begin to bond after discussing current events during a dinner with Becky, Ruth and themselves.

    *One of the more memorable and popular events of 2004 were gay weddings. David and Keith attend a same-sex wedding for Terry (remember he was in the GMCLA with David in Season 3) which causes David and Keith to reflect on their future as a couple. David then decides they should adopt a baby but things turn sour when David angers a sushi patron and a fight pursues, David then pulls a Mike Tyson and bites his ear. Ouch!

    *Claire spends some quality time with Jimmy when they plan another "Jimmy" party. At the party, Claire warms up to Edie who refuses, expresses her feelings to Claire and leaves the party. Later, Claire and Russell develop a new type of art piece which will be very popular in later episodes. Claire then asks Billy on a coffee date which he gratefully accepts.

    *After Lisa's service, the Idahoan funeral director meets Lisa's parents about Lisa's cremation. He tells them he doesn't even think that they are hers. Uh-Oh. Nate looks like he got some 'splaining to do. We'll see how this plays out.

    I really enjoyed this episode despite the fact with David's sushi encounter with Roger Pasquese. Nate's storyline this week was the most enjoyable. I think Claire needs to get away from Russell permanently.moreless
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

Veronica Cartwright

Veronica Cartwright

Peg Kimmell

Guest Star

Adam Rodriguez

Adam Rodriguez

Kenny Simms

Guest Star

Matt Winston

Matt Winston


Guest Star

Sprague Grayden

Sprague Grayden


Recurring Role

Mena Suvari

Mena Suvari


Recurring Role

Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The classic act, to schedule a date when you're divorcing your ex. A similar scenario occurred in "Desperate Housewives" season 3.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • David: It's just so absurd. The idea that there are kids waiting for homes, and people still have the nerve to say who's good enough, and who isn't, based on are you gay or not.
      Keith: People are stupid. What a shock.

    • Keith (To David, about marriage): You're in my will, I'm in yours. We basically are married, even if the law refuses to recognize it. But then again, I refuse to recognize most of the Bush administration, so I guess it all evens out.

    • Edie: The world's not your own private f*cking chemistry set, just stay away from me!

    • (David looks in cupboard)
      David: It's a Chinese baby!
      Keith: What's it doing in the cupboard?
      David: Someone must have left her here for us.
      Keith: Who.
      David: I don't know, someone Chinese!

    • Bettina: I have colitis
      Ruth: Oh, no
      (playing "Scrabble")
      Bettina: C-O-L-I-T-I-S

    • (Suzanne kicks her dead husband and yells)
      Suzanne Wething: You stupid, son of a bitch, you've got three beautiful girls! And they're never gonna be able to take a drink! They're never going to be able to go to cocktail hour! (kicking him very hard) YOU WANNA NO WHY?
      Man: Suzanne, take it easy!
      Suzanne: Because you are a f*cking AL-CO-HOLIC!
      (scene fades to white as people run for help)

    • (talking about Lisa's internment)
      Brenda: Well, when you think about it this ceremony does the same thing. You want to go so that when Maya grows up you can say that, you were there.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Brazil title: "A Floresta Negra" ("The Black Forest")

    • Songs:
      Terry, Harry and The One Night Band - "You Light Up My Life"

      James Combs - "Ok It's Sunday"

      N.E.R.D. - "She Wants to Move"

      Truby Trio - "Universal Love"

      Mellowdrone - "Beautiful Day"

      Mindy Smith - "Jolene"

      Mo Horizons - "Mambuloo"

      Joe Henry - "Stars"

    • The song at Jimmy's party where Claire tries to woo Edie is "She Wants to Move" by N.E.R.D.

    • Phil Reeves, who plays Stan the minister and Matt Malloy, who plays the man David picks a fight with, both appeared in the film Election as Principal and Vice-Principal,respectively.