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Six Feet Under: Back to the Garden

Rabbi: "Maybe your soulmate is the person who forces your soul to grow the most."

Keith and David may be soulmates. Nate and Brenda? Not so much.

Brenda, fascinated with Melissa's lifestyle, finally crossed the line. She cheated on Nate in a totally bizarre way, just when he needed her the most. To be fair, Nate still hasn't told Brenda the truth about his condition, but I don't think that had anything to do with Brenda's behavior. I think Brenda was subconsciously rebelling against commitment. She tried to get Nate to act out her fantasy, and he wouldn't even consider it. He wanted love, intimacy, tenderness, a spiritual connection. She wanted hot, rough, forbidden sex. Talk about different wavelengths. Houston, we have a serious problem.

As Nate's relationship with Brenda disintegrated, David and Keith began re-integrating. Keith finally broke up with Eddie because Eddie wasn't there when Keith needed him. But David was. David was totally supportive during Keith's parental crisis with Taylor. I really love David and Keith together. They work.

Ruth and Margaret were couple-less, and in a different place entirely. Margaret moved into her own condo and was having a terrible time adjusting to life without her husband. Ruth was so lonely that she invited Robbie over for dinner, and immediately regretted it. At least she stopped speaking in building metaphors.

Meanwhile, out in Topanga Canyon, Claire took a time trip back to the sixties with her newly discovered aunt Sarah, who apparently holds an occasional bacchanal. The middle-aged adults were cavorting about and acting like hormone-crazed teenagers, while Claire and the mature, designated driver, no-gratuitous-sex teenager, did the role reversal thing. This guy could be a much better choice for Claire than the tragically dysfunctional Gabe. Since he asked for her phone number, we'll probably find out.


— This week's opening death was an embarrassing and idiotic way to die. It was also a negation of whatever the Shapiros had together as a couple. A posthumous slap in the face to his wife, if she had known about it. It was easy to compare to what Brenda was doing.

— The song "Back to the Garden," along with being an anthem from the sixties about Woodstock, could be interpreted as referring to Adam and Eve, and a return to goodness and innocence. Couples, relationships, meaning of life, and so on.

— Brenda brought Margaret a cactus as a housewarming present, and said it was perfect for Margaret because it needed no care or attention. A gift with an insult attached.

And pieces:

— "Jeffrey Marc Shapiro, 1963-2001."

— More interesting couple stuff, with Rico so concerned about Vanessa that he ran home during lunch and found his married cousin Ramon having sex with another man. Poor homophobic Rico was probably thinking gay men were everywhere now. And Ramon's poor wife hadn't a clue.

— Margaret didn't think Nate was smart enough to satisfy Brenda. I don't agree with her. I think that something else is wrong. Nate isn't brilliant, but he's certainly intelligent and complex.

— I thought the beautiful and serene rabbi would be a much better possible soulmate for Nate, who is a spiritual person. Nate found it easy to tell her the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

— The rabbi told Nate that for her, the meaning of life was kindness for its own sake. For Keith, it was striving for perfection. For David, it was learning to accept himself as he was.

— Sarah knows Ruth better than Ruth knows Sarah. Sarah knows that Ruth keeps herself enclosed and shut off because she is afraid of rejection.

— Melissa perceptively pointed out that Nate and Brenda were performing for her. Nate mocked Brenda's job, and Brenda mocked Nate's. Not a sound basis for a good relationship.


Melissa: "Please don't tell me you're one of those couples that likes to bicker in front of their company until it gets uncomfortable and I have to leave and you guys fuck?"
Nate and Brenda: "No, no. No, no, no. Not us."

Nate: "So, what's shiva mean? Stand-up?"

Three stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Ok, so I know it's never too late to comment on an old show, but this is like a ridiculous kind of next-level delay here. Anyways...

    I've been watching and re-watching this series for years and I almost never fail to spot something new. I just noticed that early in this episode when Claire tells Ruth she's going to Topanga for the weekend, Ruth is eating waffles (round ones, and Claire takes one for herself while Ruth says nothing - I'd be slapping her hand away!). Ruth doesn't want Claire to go, but Claire is adamant that these are her plans.

    Later in Topanga, the morning after the Howl, Claire is up and about for the day and her aunt Sarah is making waffles too. Square ones (side observation - she seems like a square peg who's probably never fit into the round hole). She doesn't offer Claire any and Claire doesn't take, but Sarah seems keen to end the interaction and get Claire out the door. I just found this interesting, as Sarah is dangling the creative carrot in front of Claire, and Claire is interested, but it's only really at home that she is truly wanted... That scene with Ruth and the childhood art solidified this moment for me.

    Sorry for my babble! I've never commented on your reviews but I love them (this series and Dexter in particular... MCH obsession much?).


    Tess from Australia.

  2. Ps I meant that the MCH obsession is mine, not yours! :)

  3. Aussie Tess, thanks so much for your interesting comment. I haven't rewatched in awhile, but Six Feet Under is such a richly detailed and complicated show, isn't it? It's also one of our most popular classic shows on Doux Reviews as far as hits are concerned, even though it doesn't attract a lot of comments. Please do feel free to post comments!

  4. Thanks Billie! I was so excited to get your response. There definitely haven't been too many shows like SFU, have there? I recently gave a good friend of mine the box set for her 40th birthday, she's so hooked now. It's always amazing when someone connects with certain shows/material in the same way we do. I'll probably post some more comments as my marathon re-watch continues.

    Cheers from sunny Newcastle (2 hours north of Sydney),


  5. Auntie Tess, great insight. I never noticed the waffle thing. The box of childhood art was very poignant since my children are 15 and 21 years old. Children often never really understand the depth of love and caring parents have for them until they have their own children.


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