Six Feet Under

Season 1 Episode 2

The Will

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 10, 2001 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
245 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Chandler James Swanson
July 29,1967 - January 8, 2001
During a get together around a pool, people discuss a franchise pyramid scheme. Chandler Swanson dives into the pool, but he doesn't come back up. He leaves a wife and an infant daughter.
Nathaniel Fisher's will is read and Ruth gets money, stocks and insurance money. Nate & David are both given the funeral business. Claire receives college tuition, but she considers trading it in for cash.
In an effort to help the Widow Swanson, Nate starts learning a few things about the funeral business. First up, caskets cannot be rented. By law, a used casket cannot be re-sold.moreless

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  • The Fisher Family Legacy Continues

    This episode didn't amaze me but I enjoyed how Dave's character continues to grow. We're seeing a bit more of each individual and I appreciate that as a whole. Hopefully the structure of this show will allow it to expand in its scope psychologically and plot-wise.
  • The Fisher family receives Nathaniel's will

    The second episode of "Six Feet Under" falls into the usual rhythm that most shows do following a fantastic pilot episode. That's not to say that "The Will" is a bad episode. Now that we know the characters and who they are, it's fun to watch the situations they get into. In a way, the second episode gives us even more of an idea how the show will proceed, and just like the pilot, this episode was filled with so much small details, great written lines and subtle plot developments that it's a shame a single review can't cover the whole thing.

    Following their father's death, things somewhat return to normal for the Fisher's. However; Nathaniel's will is released, and David is furious to learn that Nate, the son who moved away from the family business and did his own thing, got a cut of the business. The common line here is "Well, it is Fisher and Sons," but David doesn't want to hear it. As a result, Nate ends up doing what he moved away to avoid doing: helping with the business. And it's clear he has no clue what he's doing. He leaves a body in the heat and lets it crap itself, he loans a casket to a woman who can't afford to pay for it and loses out on about six thousand bucks. Much of the episode's tension comes between arguments between Nate and David, or even David and his mother. It's clear there's a lot of unaired bad blood between everybody, and I'm sure as the season progresses, we'll be seeing more and more of that.

    Even a character who doesn't get as much to do, such as Claire in this case, is getting some good scenes that give us a glimpse into her psyche. I'm not sure how much I care about her little tryst with Gabriel, the guy who gave her crack, but it's the other scenes I enjoy, the ones where she stands up for David when Nate is giving him a hard time about who he had sex with the night before, or when she voices her frustration at being given a college education when that's not even what she wants. I have no idea what the rest of the show will entail for her, but I'm curious at how she'll grow from here on out.

    The episode, for the most part, kept me as intrigued as the pilot. There's clearly a lot of stuff going on in the background that will probably come to have a bigger role later (the Matthew Gilardi guy trying to buy the Fisher business, Ruth's hairdresser boyfriend, David and Keith's affair) but I'm willing to just watch the Fisher family be the Fisher family for now. I like the way the episode begins with death and how the theme continues throughout the rest of the episode. I'm also glad Richard Jenkins is still showing up. I hope he's a presence throughout the rest of the show, because he reminds me of Dexter's dad in a way in the show "Dexter." But the show is still extremely well written and every character we've been introduced to so far seems to have some of those wounds that Brenda was talking about throughout. I'm sure a big part of the show will be exposing those wounds and seeing what lays underneath.moreless
  • 102

    An episode with definite development, we got to learn a bit more of the main ensemble, and the Fischers continue to grieve over their father's death.

    The format of this show is very intriguing, with someone new dying in every episode, and how the Fischer's deal with the body and such. The cold opening was interesting and it gave us a feel of what future episodes will be like. Claire starts dating a stoner with a foot fetish, meanwhile David sees his ex-fiance and lies to his boyfriend about it, we get to learn about him too. And Nathan continues his relationship with Brenda. Nathan & David get 50/50 in the family business, Clare gets a trust fund, and the mother gets half a billion dollars in life insurance. This upsets David since Nathan did nothing to deserve it. Nathan starts to get a hang of things at the mortuary, once he starts running it in his own way. The Fishcers get threatened to go out of business, this leaves things in the air. The end was sad, and I'm definitely excited for episodes to come even though this episode definitely wasn't as strong as the pilot episode. Great episode overall though.moreless
  • I think this was actually better than the pilot.

    Oddly, I thought this was even better than the already great pilot, which is a nice achievement by the show.

    The first traditional episode... I guess from now on, most episodes will go down like this. A random person dies, and the family has to set up the funeral.

    It sounds good enough to me. While a bit too structural, if they keep the character development / business at this percentage, I think it will take many many episodes to get boring.

    In the pilot we learned plenty of the characters, but in this episode we learn more. Especially about David. His character really stands out to me. The best part of the episode was probably the reacting to the will. Almost everybody had problems with it which besides drama also created some comedic scenes. Mostly involving Nate and him dealing with the dead...

    Nathaniel appearing in visions is great, I hope we'll see more of him. The only issue I had with the episode is the uninteresting romance of Claire's, I really don't see the point. But other than that, first-class episode.moreless
  • 1.02: Definitely improving. I'm loving this series by the episode.

    After watching the Pilot episode for Six Feet Under, I was left wanting more. LOTS more. I wanted to see some character development, and I wanted to see how they were going to continue the series.

    This episode didn't really strike me as 'Brilliant', but it was definatly a good watch and it still didn't make me want to turn off.

    What I like about this series, and what I'm hoping happens in future episodes is the fact that Nathanial Sr is always watching over his family. I love that. I really like how his point of view and his influences really pass on and live long despite his death.

    In this episode, Nate and David each get half of the Fisher and Sons business. David, at first, isn't happy.. but soon resigns himself to the fact that he's now working with his older brother. Claire isn't very happy that she only gets a College Grant or money when she's 25 and becomes quite bitter about it and considers trading it in for the money.

    I found this episode quite entertaining and was once again left for more. I liked the Chandler Swanson storyline about the women with the debt. That was a refreshing break from the main plot, and I'm presume this will happen in every episode.moreless
Tracy Middendorf

Tracy Middendorf

Adele Swanson

Guest Star

Missy Yager

Missy Yager

Jennifer Mason

Guest Star

Mark Devine

Mark Devine

Chandler Swanson

Guest Star

Ed Begley Jr.

Ed Begley Jr.


Recurring Role

Richard Jenkins (I)

Richard Jenkins (I)

Nathaniel Fisher

Recurring Role

Garrison Hershberger

Garrison Hershberger

Matthew Gilardi

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Nate : Look, don't take this out on mom. What is it that you want to say to me?
      David : Well, there's a body that's spent over two hours in a van, unrefrigerated, decomposing at a rate much faster than you could ever imagine, thanks for making my life just that much more difficult. Thanks for undemining my authority with our employees. And thanks for making it so clear to me that my choice to dedicate myself to this business and to this family was really stupid, because apparently I would have been rewarded just the same for wasting my life.
      Nate : Oh, my life is a waste? Fuck you! At least I enjoy it.
      David : Oh, well lucky you.
      Nate : Dave at-at least let me help.
      David : You've helped enough!

    • Claire : Okay, spare me the tough love rationalization. Just bottom line it, please.

    • Federico: (Referring to the deceased's erection) Angel lust. You can be dead, but you're never really dead.

    • Claire:(To Ruth) Apparently you want a child with an eating disorder.

    • Nathaniel Sr. (Reading his tombstone): Is that the best anybody could come up with? "Father, husband, caregiver"?
      Nate: How would you prefer? "Introvert, sadist, mindfucker"

    • Nate: Umm, Brenda? Why is my name tattooed on your ass?

    • David: Do you have any respect for human life at all?
      Nate: I have a huge respect for human life. I just didn't know they can take a dump when they're dead.

    • Claire: Why are you still here anyway? Why don't you go back to Seattle?
      Nate: Because I would miss the joyful sense of belonging I get here.

    • Claire: Great, I have to miss another day of school? What am I like some poor old knocked up Victorian waif, who wants to stay hidden from school?

    • Nate: I get enough dead at home. You're supposed to be me haven away from all that.
      Brenda: I'm not supposed to be anything.

    • David: Why'd you let me sleep so late?
      Keith: I didn't have the heart to wake you up. You looked so relaxed. Which I don't see that often.

    • Notary: Should you choose not to go to college, the money will become available to you when you're 25.
      Claire: So this is like Blackmail from beyond the grave

    • Nate (About getting 50% of the company): What? Wwwas he high? Why would he do that?

    • Brenda: We're all wounded. We carry our wounds around with us throughout life and eventually they kill us. Things happen that leave a mark in space, in time. In us.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Music featured in episode:
      Dean Martin - Ain't Thank A Kick in the Head, Soulstice - Tenderly, Submarine - Girl Who Fell to Earth, Peggy Lee - I Love Being Here With You, The Blasters - So Long Baby Goodbye, The Starseeds - Parallel Life,
      Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You

    • - German title: "Der letzte Wille" (= "The Last Will");
      - Italian title: "Il testamento" (= "The will").