Six Feet Under

Season 2 Episode 3

The Plan

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 17, 2002 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
162 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Michael John Piper

Nate and David have their first customer for the wall-o-caskets. This mourner is unlike most, though. She can still talk to her deceased husband, and he helps her pick out the casket of his choice. Ruth goes to a ceremony for graduates of a self-improvement class and decides it's something she needs to do too. Nate and David attend a lunch for the Independent Funeral Directors where they vent about their mutual hatred for Kroehner. David and Keith continue to play racquetball together. Claire gets into a bit of trouble because of Gabe and his continuing downward spiral.


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  • A simple note

    I love the way Claire turns to David when she really needs help, after all the times she had tried to talk to Nate, I think she realised that David is more constant in her life. (sorry for my English)
  • 203

    The third episode of the second season of Six Feet Under proves to be the best yet with some very intense scenes. It's amazing seeing this show develop so well over the course of 1 year. In third episode of last season, we got some great interactions between Keith and Claire, and we got more of that here.

    Also who would have known that the "foot guy" (Gabe) of last season would end up getting Claire in so much trouble. The scene in which Gabe shot the other driver just for checking Claire out was an intense scene, and we got some great acting on Lauren Ambrose's part.

    On other revelations, Nate & Brenda are having a dry spell meanwhile Brenda psychotic side is resurfacing. I loved the development with the Brenda character, I can't wait to see what's to come with her. Ruth's break down was another noteworthy scene. Overall, a superb episode to a great show.moreless
  • What happens after we die?

    Great episode, started slow but really found itself in the second half. There was nothing wrong with the episode, except maybe the usual- Ruth was really silly, and her storyline didn't add anything. Of course her "coming out" at the end was funny, but in my opinion it was simply not worth the 15 minutes long dullness.

    But besides that, it was a really well constructed episode. Nate and Brenda's relationship seems to be in trouble,and of course, because of Brenda. Can't say I'm surprised. I liked Nate's and David's visions about their father, and them trying to figure out what's after death. It was captivating.

    But the storyline of the week was, for me, Claire's, Gabe reappearing was very dramatic, and so was the ending. I liked how Keith was brought into the picture.

    I have to say though.... the second season so far isn't as impressive as the first one. It just feels like an extension of the first season. I don't feel that there's anything new... it's just the same things further explored.

    Now I know it's a high concept show but even the most serialised shows bring in new dynamics / elements / characters from season to season. But regardless, this episode was a great one.moreless
  • Review

    The beginning of the episode started off a little slow for me but the longer it went the more I got into the story. I really loved the central question of the episode: What happens to us after we die? Everyone seemed to have a different thought about what happens. Nate was really confused and turned to his father for answers, David believes in heaven and hell, and Brenda doesnt buy into any of it which I think is very fitting of her character. Nate and Brenda are still going through so much in their current relationship and Nate is trying to figure out the pieces. I think this episode is certainly foreshadowing Brenda cheating on Nate. She used a different name at the bar just before Nate comes to have dinner with her and then she has a "late client" which I thought was odd at the time. The death in this one didn't do much for the ovrall story as far as our of our main characters having to talk to the dead - but the woman was very strange in the way she was talking to her dead husband. Ruth scenes with "The Plan" were really boring right up until the scene where she just goes off on everything and everyone in the room. That made it all worthwhile to me. Overall, I would say season two is off to a more bumpy start then season one but it was still a very solid episode.moreless
  • Actualise This Written by Kate Robin Directed by Rose Troche

    The self-actualisation mayhem and fun of last episode continues in this brilliant piece. After attending Robbie's "graduation" last episode, Ruth twigs that she needs to repair her own "foundation" by working on her own blue prints, but seeing as she is the least vocal of the Fisher clan, this is easier said than done as her time in The Plan has a mixtures of outcomes.

    On the plus side she manages to get a lot off her chest when she gets het up with Alma, The Plan's somewhat leader, but you get the impression that it's going to take a lot more to get her children to open up to her about their "nasty little secrets".

    While he isn't informing her of his every move, David's not really hiding anything from Ruth. Nate and Claire on the other hand are the ones leaving their mom in the dark.

    Last week Nate told David of his AVM, but this week acts almost in denial and dismisses his brother's concerns and spends more time fixated in Brenda's continued uninterest in sex.

    Claire, meanwhile hasn't told anyone about Gabe and is furious when Gary, her guidance counsellor betrays her confidence. It seems that the police now know about Gabe's involvement in the convenience store robbery and Claire is finally woken up his true colours when her attempts of helping him result in a driver being shot. Again, you really have to ask why does she keep defending him?

    Even Nate (in a less patient manner) asks this while Keith takes a statement from Claire, to which David responds "because she loves him". Yes, it does seem that Claire has a thing for men who emotionally hurt her. Maybe it's because men like this make her feel alive in some way and if that's the case then nice guys dont stand a chance.

    Nate Sr crops up to both Fisher men in the episode. I'm finally beginning to realise that it's David's homophobia that speaks out during the scenes with his father, while Nate Sr continues to guide Junior into the life of a funeral director. "I'm just here until you get used to it". Not sure if Nate sees it that way, though.

    The wife of this week's death - she's a psychic is simply delightful as she "communicates" with her dead husband to see what sort of casket he would like to be buried. It's amazing how often this show strays into the elements of sci-fi and fantasy and gets Emmy nominated (seeing as the sci-fi/fantasy genre is savagely ignored at the prestiguous awards ceromony) as let's face it Six Feet Under is hardly the safe, cosy and conventional show, compared to the likes of The West Wing or Law and Order that they usually favour. Not that that's a bad thing of course, just a wonder.

    She says a lot of interesting stuff here too. When she talks about the funeral parlour having so much misery it was pretty obvious that she was referring to the Fisher's themselves. Plus one of the Fisher children should be expecting imminent parenthood. Gee, I wonder who?

    As usual some truly delightful and bizarre goings-on with Brenda as she ends up walking out of a biogenetics class when she refuses to worship the teacher (unlike the rest of the students - leeches). Onto the bizarrer stuff would be giving her phone to a random stranger, whom she flirts with. One of the lines includes " I like to communicate with my body" - an official slogan for prostitutes everywhere. For someone with a supposed current "no sex" state of mind, she did seem more than willing to her naughty on with "RandomCuteStranger" or Scott, whichever you prefer.

    Even more bizarre was her telling Nate that she's been prepared to die since the age of six. Well having Margaret and Bernard as parents I almost understand.

    Also in "The Plan"

    Death of the week: John Michael Piper died of cancer.

    Claire:"You know it's polite for the first person downstairs to make the coffee even if that person has a penis"

    Nate:"You know it's also polite for the first person who uses the bathroom to spend less than forty five minutes even if that person has a vulva".

    Ruth's pink/blue dress obviously used again. With a lot of shows these, once you see an outfit, it's gone. Hideous dress though.

    Nate (to Nathaniel):"You'd think getting hammered by a bus would make you less of a dick?"

    Brenda's choices of course were ethics of evolution and biogenetics. I think Nate's religious studies would have been one i'd selected if faced with these three courses as options.

    Chronology wise, it's September 2001.

    David:"Get this, Bobo sold to Kroehner"

    Nate:"My Bobo?"

    Guy:"Hey baby, you like to give blood?" Claire:"That's incredibly original".

    Nate(to Claire):"God, why are you still protecting this loser?"

    Keith:"Because she loves him".

    Standout songs of the episode were Roy Kohn's "Young Girl" and Built To Spill "You Were Right".

    The subplot involving Keith's drug-addled sister continues as she goes missing and Keith's left looking after Taylor. I don't mind Taylor - she's sorta amusing for a nine year old ("I know words worse than shit y'know"), even if she does drive Keith nuts. Also two episodes in and where's Eddie? Has Keith dumped him, and if so then why isn't he trying get back with David as the final scene of the episode shows that both men still have feelings for one another. All in all i'm impressed. This episode had some truly genius moments.moreless
Mare Winningham

Mare Winningham

Eileen Piper

Guest Star

Alice Krige

Alice Krige


Guest Star

Grant Show

Grant Show

Scott Axelrod

Guest Star

Richard Jenkins (I)

Richard Jenkins (I)

Nathaniel Fisher

Recurring Role

David Norona

David Norona

Gary Deitman

Recurring Role

Eric Balfour

Eric Balfour

Gabriel Dimas

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • This is the first episode in which Brenda is receptive to a come-on from a stranger, an aspect of her character that will have major implications in the second season.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Ruth: I joined "The Plan".
      Claire: Isn't that like a cult?
      Nate: No, it's one of those self-actualizing things from the 70's where they yell at you for 12 hours and don't let you go to the bathroom.

    • Claire: You know, it's polite for the first person downstairs to make the coffee even if that person has a penis.
      Nate: Well, you know, it's also polite for the first person who uses the bathroom to spend less than 45 minutes in there even if that person has a vulva.
      Ruth (enters the kitchen): Oh, goodness, everyone's here.
      David: With all their genitalia!
      Ruth: Excuse me?!?

    • Ruth: You want me to complain? Alright then, fuck this. Fuck you. Fuck all of you with your sniveling self-pity and fuck all of your lousy parents. Fuck my lousy parents, while we're at it! Fuck my selfish bohemian sister and her fucking bliss. Fuck my children with their nasty little secrets! AND FUCK YOU ROBBIE FOR MAKING ME COME TO THIS HORRIBLE PLACE AND NOT LETTING ME HAVE A SNICKERS BAR! I'm going to get something to eat.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Brazil title: "A Planta" ("The Blueprint")

    • Songs:
      Franz Schubert - "Opus 29, No. 1, Andante"
      Roy Kohn - "Young Girl"
      Andy Caldwell - "Invierno"
      Joel Evans - "Somewhere in a Dream"
      Built to Spill - "You Were Right"
      Meeting Minds - "Strong Nature"
      Custom - "Hey Mister"
      Wayne Hancock - "Man of the Road"


    • Pastor: Eileen asked that I close with a reading from Michael's favourite poet, Walt Whitman.

      Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was a prominent nineteenth-century American poet noted for his emotional style and "distinctly American" voice. Whitman broke with much of the European poetic tradition and so became an influence on and an inspiration for future generations of American poets, a legacy which continues to this day. The selection the pastor reads is from "Song of Myself," lines 115-122.

    • Eileen Piper: That reminds me of that IKEA couch your mother bought us.
      IKEA is a furniture outlet that sells inexpensive furniture and has store outlets all over the world.