Six Feet Under

Season 5 Episode 4

Time Flies

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 27, 2005 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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out of 10
192 votes
  • Nate's 40th birthday


    One of the things I've found most compelling about the show after five
    seasons is Nate Fisher's transformation, or perhaps it's lack of
    transformation. Since the very beginning, when he discovered that his
    father has died, Nate has been terrified of death. He's had to face a
    lot of obstacles in facing his mortality, whether it's working around
    dead people all day, being diagnosed with a potentially
    life-threatening brain disorder, having his wife be murdered, leaving
    him with a young daughter to raise on his own. I've watched Nate
    carefully, and after this episode, which was superbly written, I think
    Nate has yet to truly face his own mortality. He's still afraid of
    dying, of getting older, of losing those he loves, and as a result, he
    keeps people at a distance, except for his daughter.

    What I liked the most about the episode was how halfway through, at
    Nate's party, we have everybody in the same room together (except for
    Rico and Vanessa), even some people we don't know, and the show
    effortlessly sets these people up with one another, letting them interact with each other. We get some combinations of scenes with people we never see act with each other. For instance, Billy having a conversation and sharing a beer with George? Awesome. Keith and Brenda having a discussion about kids? Interesting. Another great conversation between Nate and George's daughter. All the while, the party is trying to get rid of a bird that flew into the house and won't leave. The bird, in some way, represents Nate's fears, whether of death or of Brenda having a new kid. It's definitely one of the two, and either way, the writing is so spot on that the last thirty minutes feel like something you never want to end.

    The episode ends with a lot of relationships close to breaking apart. Nate and Brenda are furious at each other, Claire cheats on Billy, George is frustrated with Ruth's impatience and Rico and Vanessa hook up but seem to still be apart... it's an interesting place for the characters to be, one that they've somewhat been before but it's always fun to see how the writers will get them out of it.

  • Another fantastic piece..

    This was another fantastic episode. Liked the "death", even though it didn't have an impact on the show, it was a nice change of pace as it was calm, and natural.

    Nate has a birthday party and oh boy, it was crazy!

    Symbolism? Who the bird waS? Upcoming trouble? It definitely did symbolize something fatal happening soon. Either way it was rather funny.

    Billy off his meds - back to crazy. Its good to see everyone proven right and Claire and Brenda proven wrong. They thought Billy's better but no... all that kept Billy normal was the medication.

    George finally confronting Ruth was good. Hopefully Ruth now realizes that George isn't a different man. He's still the same man she married to and loved. Brenda is pregnant again and obviously Nate isn't happy about it. I liked that conflict alot too.

    The random comic relief at times was fantastic. Especially the guy nobody really liked. He interrupted almost every party scene in a funny way. Overall, fantastic episode, but it doesn't get a higher score because 1. I know it's going to get even better 2. The David and Keith melodrama is getting a bit old now.
  • I enjoyed some parts more than others, to be honest I wasn't sure what to think.

    Right, so we all know that Nate admitted that he's having another child for Brenda but to say 'Congratulations' when your wife reveals she's pregnant, a little odd. It was funny but strange. To be honest Nate and Brenda's problem's came to the table too fast for my liking, they weren't getting on and most of the time Nate was being an ass.

    You can tell all Brenda is doing is trying and Nate just throws it in her face. He obviously does not like his surprise party, you can tell by his face. I did enjoy his conversation with Nathaniel Sr but was what he said true, I hope not because I was enjoying there happiness, but it's a TV show so of course things will go downhill.

    Nate was just angry and mean, Brenda was expressing her feelings while he just said 'F**k off'. I felt for Brenda throughout the episode and I love how she is with Maya. The scene where she was reading her a story and Keith came in, a great one. Did the bird stuck in the kitchen symbolise something, who knows.

    So then Nate and Maggie nearly hook up, or kiss. My god, that was annoying, just mess up some more there Nate. I hope an affair doesn't start, I really do. When Nate started attacking the bird with a brush/broom and shouted angrily at Brenda, it was an off the wall type situation and was fairly enjoyable.

    Finally Claire sees through Billy and finds out he isn't on his meds. About time, this was my favourite storyline I think, there arguments were engrossing and the bird one was amusing too. Strange how Brenda saw them arguing but didn't do much, at least I think she saw. But then Claire ends up sleeping with someone else (A common theme in the show at times) and Billy becomes desperate and even more mental by asking Claire to f**k him, but she leaves in horror, I look forward to more of this story.

    David and Keith's story was funny, mainly Roger's kids, who were extremely amusing. But I did not like that David nearly got with the hairdresser, I wish they'd stop with that, deja vu anyone? So there going both routes baby wise, I don't know which I'd prefer. The surrogate does seem slightly strange and too happy.

    Rico sleeping with Vanessa was another, it was obviously going to happen scenario. And I find it even more stupid that Vanessa is going to say 'it was only a one time thing' sigh, I wish they'd just get back together. The highlight of the episode was Ruth's speech at the party, when she snapped at Claire I was in fits of laughter.

    George talking to Billy was strange. But I liked how he and Ruth had a sort of heart to heart, maybe it'll get better soon. The knitting circle was very low key, which surprised me. So this was my least favourite episode so far and I can't really explain why, the Nate story was a big part of it though. I still enjoyed it and can't wait for the final 8 episodes.
  • Nate has a birthday, Ruth struggles with George, Claire struggles with Billy, Brenda struggles with Nate.

    There were some periods during the series where Brenda frustrated me very much as a character, but as the series winds down, I start to see her as the character who has both grown the most, and tried the hardest to grow. Nate continues to repel me (which is interesting, considering he was my favorite character in the beginning of the series) with the way he seems to view people as objects to be shifted about, and seems unable to evolve beyond the expectation that he will remain the center of the universe. This episode, in particular, made me sad: I agreed with Brenda's sentiment that Nate should want the child with her or he should have been more honest about it- he lies to people and then expects their actions and reactions to reflect what he's *really* thinking... but how could they? He takes out his frustration and self-doubt on those around him, as though he assembles people to be a buffer between himself and reality. He uses, and he scorns those who let him use them. I do sympathize with "feeling lonely with people around you," but I also choose not to hurt people by fooling myself into believing that I can take on the responsibility of supporting others' happiness... I also feel sorry for Billy and his illness- I actually think that this and the last episode (during the time he has dated Claire) that we've seen the most about him... it's quite interesting to hear how the writer's understanding and research of bipolar disorder shapes Billy's character. I am a little miffed at the fact that Claire seems to either have no grasp of reality or no sympathy, or both, when it comes to Billy (who I can honestly say is the only man I ever thought was incredibly hot with a beard! hehe). She seems to not take his illness seriously, one exhibit among many of an immaturity that, over the course of the series, has only marginally decreased. I feel disappointed, in her character. Although I'm young myself, and have no children of my own, I feel that I understand quite well Ruth's loss of patience with Claire, who seems unable to move beyond being flippant and selfish. As for Ruth at this point- I both sympathize with her situation regarding George, and believe she is quite hateful and unfair to him. Quite often, he seems lucid and makes no comment or suggestion that is out of keeping with his essential personality, but because Ruth feels anger toward him, she constantly belittles him, and if I were standing in the same room with her I would say something about that. I absolutely loved the part with Billy and George on the front porch... how it calls to one's attention the way that mental illness affects the ill individual's self-perception. Both Billy and George seem to be caught between a need to get better, and a desire for others to accept them as they are... a very poignant conundrum, which is very much the signiture of this show. Another thing that is great about this show, as exemplifed by the birthday party, is how so many events and situations in the lives of regular human beings start out with grand intentions and deteriorate into drab and somewhat disturbing melodrama. I suppose, by that, I mean it captures humanity in all its faded realism. Oh.. and the entirely irreverant ending... tragic and fabulous, just like this show, which I must add, is hands down the best show ever to air on television. ;]
  • Review

    I liked this episode for two reasons. The first being that everyone showed up for Nates birthday party and having the entire family in the same place at the same time can only be trouble in the long run. Nate and Brenda have begun to fight and the scene with Nate and Maggie was very interesting. Maggie and Nate seem to see eye to eye on things that Brenda and Nate clearly do not, could Nate cheat on his wife after being so loyal for so long. The opening of the adoption option for David and Keith was both needed and hopefully it will work out so we can see them as struggling parents. Ruth + George had a heart to heart and I really thought for the first time there storyline may finnaly begin to move on. They needed to struggle early on to keep Maggie in the area, now that she and Nate may start something Ruth + George may be able to move on.
  • Free Bird Lila Simonds Coolidge 1909-2005 Written by Craig Wright Directed by Alan Poul

    "When it's not right... it's not right"--Brenda

    There are those episodes that put you down and those that are so well done and over-the-top that make you scream "Damn good". This week's episode of Six Feet Under made you feel both of these things. It was a put down because of what the bird represented: the ability to be free. Nate is the bird and wants to be set free, but as Nathaniel says Time flies and the next 40 will be faster than you know it.

    The directing in this episode is superb, I have to give my "props" to Alan Poul for the nice direction he always brings when he directs an episode of Six Feet Under.

    The episode was written by Craig Wright, who has written very good episodes in the past (e.g. Twilight, Falling into Place, Timing & Space). The episode was very well written and kept me on the edge of my seat.

    Those Pasquese kids are WEIRD. I would never lead my children in on all those secrets. They reminded me of the Fockers. David had every right to intrude on Enzo's conversation about the orgys.

    Brenda disappointed me this week, she's usually my favorite character with David but she was so bitchy when Nate wasn't ecstatic about her pregnancy. I mean he already had a kid without thinking and I think he was surprise more about that.

    Ruth seems to be getting on her with her life when she meets new friends from a "knitting" shop. A former actress and an Asian woman who says Ruth reminds her of HER mother have become her best friends. I like them but where's Bettina? "I think I need to spike the punch with a little LSD!"

    Nate's birthday party was interesting, there was that creepy guy from "Dancing for Me" Tom, and that guy who loved to bang his wife from Season 3, Todd who just divorced his wife after she cheated on him with a man with testicular cancer and Billy, just as crazy as ever. There was also one uninvited guest: a bird which flew into the kitchen. After being patient with the bird, Nate finally lost his temper and went ape-sh*t. The next day the bird ends up in the trash can.

    Did anyone notice the fact that there were no fade-to-whites? The same thing happened in "That's My Dog" also directed by Poul. I think these "fades" mean a day has passed and since this episode was only one day maybe that is a reason.

    Overall a pretty good episode, (one of my favorites actually) definitely worthy of being inducted as an excellent edition to the Six Feet Under collection.

    Jumped the shark in my opinion (as some message boards have mentioned)? Never jumped.

  • When You're Not Having Fun Written by Craig Wright Directed by Alan Poul

    Maggie (to Nate): “Well I know if that if you think life’s a vending machine and you put in virtue and get out happiness, you’re going to be disappointed”.

    Another Fisher, another birthday bash filled with surprise and discomfort and a hatrick for birthday episodes with this outing. This time, the Fisher is Nate, who’s turned the big 4-0 and not surprisingly enough, the tradition of mayhem at these things crops up once again.

    Where do I begin? Well first off, Brenda’s pregnancy yields the opposite reaction of what even I was expecting of. In the last few episodes, Nate’s been banging on about his wife’s fertility and now that she’s with child he’s less than enthusiastic. However it’s his behaviour over the whole thing at his party (which he wasn’t thrilled about either) that really stunned me. Why is he being so vile to Brenda? Telling her to fuck off in front of everyone as well as throwing enough hints for everyone to deduce her condition while at the same busting her chops for telling Jackie first was terrible. Brenda was right to want to confide in someone outside her family and hey, Jackie’s her friend at this point. Nate was totally out of order and should have kept his mouth shut until se felt comfortable enough to tell everyone which she clearly didn’t here.

    And then we had the thing with the bird in the kitchen. Was it Nathaniel or Lisa? I’ll go with the latter, although after reading online posts it seems the bird could’ve represented Nate which is also a neat theory. He’s beginning to feel trapped once again which means sadly the spiel he fed Tom (one of the guests here) in “Dancing For Me” was a load of crap, I hate that. Also Nate’s attack on that bird was incredibly feral in the same way he smashed that snake up once. Thankfully though Maggie, who’s becoming quite the voice of reason among this dysfunctional bunch gives a well meaning talking down session to Nate. Annoyingly there’s still some pesky flirtation between them and it did look like they were about to kiss. I like Maggie, I really do but please SFU writers don’t make her into a marriage wrecker.

    However despite his awful behaviour, the one thing Nate is more than accurate on is his mistrust of Billy and that was possibly the only thing besides the final shot that didn’t make him a total asshole. How can Brenda be so blind-sighted with Billy? Sure he’s her brother but this is the same guy who tried to carve and kiss her at one point which is enough to make Brenda’s sudden naivety regarding her sibling unjust. Nate’s fears then justified as Claire finally sees her beau going off his rocker. When Claire sleeps with Todd and Billy finds out and forces him on her, she finally realises she’s way in over her head on this one. Crazy Billy is well and truly back and the almost attempted rape thing scared the hell out of me (one of Jeremy Sisto’s best performances to date). I don’t believe that Billy is a rapist and I’m not implying it’s in his nature but Claire did have to fight him off. Her snotty attitude is coming back to haunt in more ways the one and I feel this is just the beginning. I also had to laugh when Ruth put her in her place at the party but it’s still sad to see these two at loggerheads nonetheless.

    In other news, David and Keith are still forging ahead with the surrogacy plot and the overly eager Mary (she reminds me of Tracy a bit, sorry for not mentioning it in my last review), until Roger and his wife come up trumps and manages to get the boys the ability of adopting through them. I’m still not a Roger fan but I have to admire the writer’s determination in attempting to win me over with this character. Even David’s beginning to warm to the little reptile but Keith seemed far from pleased about the adoption. Also is he reverting to even more mundane routes than when he did in Season Three? Instead of protecting Roger he’s picking up his smelly cat from the vet’s as well as driving his kids to their trendy hair salon. Yes peeps, Roger is married with children which would have been a shocker if he hadn’t made that crack about children last episode. What is shocking though are those kids who are way too savvy about the ins and outs of their parents’ sex lives for it to be really plausible. I was really taken aback when by the amounts of questions and frank discussions they had about sexuality although Tate asking Keith if her haircut looked deviant was oddly funny.

    However it did lead to some interesting discussion. I agree with Keith that children deserve perspective and more forthright relationships with their parents so instead of taking any real moral high ground with Roger and Sissy’s techniques for their liberal attitude, I think some things should be left for later. These kids were like, what six and eight years old? Also before I forget, I loved Keith and Brenda’s parenting discussion (these two so need more scenes together), but I hated David almost romping with the hairdresser. That arc sucked in Season Four and I don’t want to see a repeat performance. Let this be a minor discrepancy in an otherwise beginning to find its feet plot for the boys. Keith’s gentle poking at David’s new haircut had me in hysterics though.

    In my last review I said it was strange Ruth had taken up knitting (I’m not knocking it, I get the appeal) and now I know why as her new circle of friends (like prized vultures) feed on Ruth’s every day struggle with George. While it’s nice to have Ruth finally open up about her feeling instead of just bitching and blaming everyone around her, it’s Sarah and Bettina who should her relief, not this dreary bunch. Fortunately though, the episode is a big progress as George finally confronts her over her recent behaviour. Once again, blinding stuff with Frances Conroy and James Cromwell. I felt so bad for these two in the bedroom, I really want them to work things out and George to get better but it’s not entirely possible, is it? There’s also an incredibly amusing scene between George and Billy where they both compare medication and personal treatments. It’s always interesting on this show when two complete opposite character or similar ones with different qualities and quirks pair up. The interaction was brilliant but it was amazing how neither of them mentioned how their behaviour was affecting their other halves. Maybe the writer thought it would have felt forced?

    The only person not to attend Nate’s party, Federico wasn’t deprived as we finally got a fantastic confrontation between him and Vanessa. After tiptoeing in the past two weeks, it was fun to watch them let rip at each other. Rico is right – Vanessa can’t kept using his fling with Sophia as leverage because she needs to take some responsible herself. It was okay seeing the separated pair sharing dinner and watching some of their new quirk was neat but the sex did seem a little pushed and Rico being turfed out the next day was obvious. Overall, a little anticlimactic compared to everything else this week but the best stuff Vanessa’s had so far this season.

    Also in “Time Flies”

    Death of the week: Lila Simonds Coolidge died on the toilet seat but there wasn’t any explanation on how she snuffed it.

    Was it me or was there way too much emphasis on Lila’s belongings before we saw her body?

    Lila’s friend (to Nate): “You don’t look that old. What have you been using?”

    Claire: “Don’t you think you should see a doctor?”
    Billy: “For what?”
    Claire: “Dry skin”.

    Ruth’s annoying knitting instructor was a television star. There’s always a Hollywood connection in the show. Well it is LA.

    Jackie (to Brenda): “I swear sometimes you’re like Eeyore”.

    Enzo: “Do you ever have sex with chicks?”
    David: “I don’t”.

    The banner for the big party – Oh Lordy, Nate’s Forty. Oh lordy indeed.

    Nathaniel (to Nate): “Don’t apologise. You did what you had to do, you little fucker”.

    Federico (to Vanessa): “When anything goes wrong with the boys from now until the end of time, it’ll be my fault all because I went out and fucked some whore”.

    Rico was pissed off about Vanessa edited “Grace”. I was more annoyed with comment regarding the boys sleeping through her variation sex sessions. Her and Todd should meet.

    Ruth: “These past five years have been a gift, Nate. That’s all I wanted to say”
    Nate: “Thank you”.

    Claire mentioned living in a cake life. In “Nobody Sleeps”, Ruth and Bettina fantasised about china, “Terror Starts At Home” we got dogs and here it’s raspberry cake. These people are whacked and will we get a Claire birthday ep?

    Keith (re Roger’s kids): “It’s good they have some perspective”
    David: “Yeah in exchange for a childhood”.

    Brenda (to Nate): “No, that wasn’t excitement. That was macho, aggressive, male bullshit”.

    Chronology department, has this show flash forwarded 11 months in the future? Continuity please.

    How did Billy know Claire and Todd slept together? I assume no one saw Claire and Todd doing the deed, so is Billy stalking Claire like he used to with Brenda?

    George: “No it’s pronounced Omen”
    Keith: “Thanks”.

    SFU wins the award of being the first US show to feature music from X&Y by playing “Speed Of Sound”. Best song of tonight though was Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies)”.

    Nate (re bird in the kitchen): “Get out, motherfuck out”.

    Oh my God! I totally loved this episode from start to finish. How this show so good? This season has been brilliant so far, even better than the second year and “Time Flies” is the best episode so far. Every thing you want, except for Bettina and Sarah was offer and nothing really disappointed. Craig Wright and Alan Poul have contributed to some of the show’s best moments and pairing them together resulted in an absolute masterpiece of an episode. As soon as you’ve seen this, you’ll want to rewatch it again. Trust me on that.
  • Perhaps a little too depressing?

    Six Feet Under has always been, to an extent, somewhat depressing, but this episode really flaunted that, big time. Believe the once-annoying critics -- everyone on this show really is messed up. And why? I understand that life ain't pretty, but we always knew that. Just because of the fact doesn't mean there isn't any fun to be had at all, right?

    My main problem with this episode is that it's probably one of the best made SFU episodes ever, and yet I still feel sort of uncomfortable with it.

    The acting was superb, of course, and the writing/direction/editing was wonderful too. The scene with George and Billy on the porch was poignant, as it was both unexpected and needed. These two misunderstood (to a lesser extent with Billy) characters needed to be in the company of someone sort of like them. George is coming off more and more a heartbreaker, as he really does love Ruth and life and all the things in it, but he doesn't really get much in return.

    Of course, Ruth feels the same way. Her sudden outburst at Claire during her disappointly brief speech was shocking and pretty unsurprising. "THIS ISN'T ABOUT YOU!" In a humourous way, the second of screaming is brought to an end almost immediately, as Ruth continues her speech to Nate about watching him grow up and yada yada yada. No one really reacts to the sudden outburst, but that's probably because they're so used to it.

    Claire (Lauren) has a fantastic scene at the end with Billy, when she admits she slept with a random guy (one of Nate's acquantinces). Her eyes tear up and you geniunely feel scared for her life. Billy is a crazy guy when he's off his meds.

    Speaking of Billy -- upcoming death? Especially the way things ended up for him in this episode, I'm halfway expecting it. However, the writers of this normally fantastic show always throw us a curve, in pretty much every episode, so it probably won't be him. Other possibilites: Ruth, George, Claire even.

    Nate and Brenda's marriage is seriously on the rocks. It all began with Brenda's last episode attempt to become a "normal family" -- one that always sits down for dinners at the table and discusses ordinary, cornball things.

    When Nate doesn't react to Brenda's revelation the way she wants him to, I have to admit I felt bad for her. Nate obviously doesn't want to be in this situation (family, wife, another kid, ahem, responsibilites) and Brenda probably should know of this. There has been a vague undercurrent of hollow emotion concerning their marriage since day one, and I don't know if it's intended or just an unintentional problem due to writing.

    I hope they don't split after one measly fight. How many have they had already? And haven't they always, in some way, gotten back together? Breaking off the marriage at this point would be both premature and rediculous.

    The bird was probably the highlight of the show. Such an odd occurance throughout this season. And I don't know, it might have been just me, but the ending of this was episode was very Sopranos-esque (Nate throwing the garbage on the dead bird, walking away, a still frame of the top of the garbage can, etc). I liked it.

    I have read many theories on the damn birds, and the one I agree with the most is that it resembles personal freedom, something Nate has very little of.

    Also, supposedely, a bird in a house is bad luck.

    But what does that matter? In every episode, these characters are constantly the victim of bad luck and circumstance.

    It's a sad day when the biggest fanboy on the planet can start to agree (if only in a minor way) with the detractors. This season has been perhaps a little too dark. These characters are some of the most depressing ones seen on television, and that's probably not a good thing. And perhaps worst of all, is this season all that necessary, considering the exquisite ending of the underrated season four? It feels a tad like an overstuffed, extra epilogue. We all know the end is coming for the characters, and apparently, the writers knew it all too well. Every episode is jam packed with revelation upon revelation, and it's starting to take it's toll on me. I don't know if I'm having a horrible morning (which I am) or that the episode really indeed depressed the hell out of me. Regardless, Six Feet Under is still my favorite show, I think, and this season is pretty damn good. Hell, this episode was probably, realistically, the best one so far. But I think it's getting a tad too depressing.

    ***spoiler for next episode***

    Especially when you realize that the next episode contains a death of a character we know pretty well by now. I won't say who, as I have no clue, but someone will die. Maybe it'll be one of those more amusing, funny-touching-sad deaths, ala season one?

    ***end spoiler for next episode***

    Anyway, I look forward to the next episode like no other, and hopefully the dirge will lighten up.

    RATING = 7.7