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Six Feet Under: Driving Mr. Mossback

Claire: "You know, people don't just spaz out and hork all over their shoes for no good reason, Nate."
Nate: "Two words: tofu meatloaf."

The Bus of Death returned for the Opening Death scene, which of course was a precursor to Nate's seizure. I don't know about you, but Nate's seizure was so real and unexpected that it freaked me out. Having to drive Mr. Mossback from Seattle to L.A. was just a vehicle :) for the main plot, which was Nate connecting with his past while facing his possible lack of a future.

Nate didn't take Brenda to Seattle with him because of Lisa. (I could easily imagine Brenda verbally ripping Lisa to shreds.) Lisa, as Nate said, was not an easy person to categorize. I mean, come on – trying to reason with ants? Yes, Lisa was clearly a good person, and she was madly in love with Nate which meant she had taste, but I didn't care much for her. I wasn't quite sure why.

Claire learned about Nate's condition pretty much under battlefield conditions. But Nate was still underplaying it. I just need to take anti-seizure meds for the rest of my life, that's all. Don't tell David about the pills, Claire. Don't tell Mom about anything. He was facing it, but not facing it. He needs to "come out," like David did.

Brenda and the completely unstrung Margaret Chenowith had a totally bizarre mother-daughter bonding exercise that ended with them coming to blows, both verbally and physically. The elaborate rules that Brenda's parents had for sex outside their "holy bonds" were just bizarre. Come on, people. Cheating is cheating. Making elaborate rules so that you can do it is just disguising the truth. Despite being a lunatic, Margaret was probably right that Brenda was at loose ends because she didn't have Billy to look after any more. Nate and Brenda both cried in this episode: Nate with Lisa, and Brenda alone. Making the point that it was something they should have been able to share with each other.

In the last episode, David had a serious police-related problem and called Keith for help. This time, Keith had a serious family-related problem and called David for help. Little Taylor with the exceptionally awful mouth was impressed by the dead body in David's basement, and it shocked her into opening up to David. And he handled it so well. David is obviously good parent material.


— Margaret was practically doing Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, and she told Brenda not to be dramatic. That made me laugh out loud.

— Lisa lied about giving Nate's shirt away because she wanted to keep it for herself. Nate realized what she was doing and insisted she keep it. He wanted Lisa to love him, even though he didn't love her back.

And pieces:

— "Harold Mossback, 1932-2001."

— Claire was mad at Gary the counselor about the whole police thing, but has apparently already forgiven him.

— Ruth was spouting Plan-speak, and David finally told her to mind her own fucking business. David has changed, and for the better.

— Little Taylor didn't like Eddie. But she did like David. Probably because he told her the truth and didn't condescend to her.

— The cops were still looking for Gabe.

— Ruth has a sister, Sarah, who doesn't return Ruth's calls.

— Brenda was obviously intrigued by one of her clients, Melissa the hooker.


Claire: "Is she all crunchy granola, backpacky, and way into grunge?"
Nate: "Um. Crunchy granola, maybe a little. Backpacky, definitely. Into grunge: no way."

Brenda: "Can't we at least go inside? I could get a seaweed wrap while I pretend to listen to you."

Margaret: "Just because your parents are shrinks doesn't mean you know about psychology."
Brenda: "Just because you're a shrink doesn't mean that you're not out of your fucking mind."

The standard good SFU episode. Three stars,

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


  1. Keith's niece is cool. David is a natural with kids. I wish I was like that.

    Lisa has weird quirks and is highly idealistic, but she doesn't seem to be destructive. I think Nate would have a much easier life with Lisa than with Brenda. But I guess that's not how love works.

  2. Brenda probably would have been better off with Joe, but they, like Nate and Lisa, were incompatible.

  3. That scene with Nate in the drive through was extremely effective. I remember the first time I saw it I had no idea what was going on and it unnerved me. It still had that affect. I could feel my stomach knotting up - fearful for Nate, because even though he is still in denying, the seizure made the AVM much more real. It's clear it is not just going to go away.

    Also, Nate and Brenda are clearly drifting apart. Nate should have told Brenda by now what is going on, but if Brenda wasn't so self-involved at the moment she would have sensed something BIG was up with him by now. Since the season started, Nate has made numerous attempts to reach out to Brenda and she has denied him each time, shutting herself off from him both emotionally and physically. Because of this she can't be there for Nate when he really needs her (although the same can be said for Nate being there for Brenda - I just happen to lean in the direction of his medical condition triumphing over her identity crisis)

    And on the mother front, Margaret Chenowith showed just how bat shit crazy she really is. The first time I saw the show, I had no idea what to make of Margaret, but I am loving her this time around. What a fun character - I love her cackle of a laugh.

    I'm beginning to get tired of Ruth's constant plan lingo. The architecture and blueprint stuff is getting old. Go David for shutting her up!

  4. I loved Nate flossing, when he'd previously mentioned he didn't have the self discipline. He's doing anything possible to prove he's too healthy to have a time bomb in his brain. Too bad that's not the way it works. Even a meal of vegan meatloaf couldn't save him from a seizure.

  5. That episode made fall in love with SFU big time.
    It just hits the right notes: dry dark humor ("another one died on the bus" with an eyeroll just like this happens all the time) and wildly over the top humor (Margaret!!!), but also tiny moments which make the characters seem like real people and not Hollywood creations: This jumped out to me in scenes in particular, when Rico and David talk about their relationship and when Ruth and David talk about Keith's niece. Rico is stuck between being an employee and a buddy, and he's getting tired of it. The cliche for such a small role would be to be one of the two, but SFU handles the conflicts around him very realistically.
    Maybe I misinterpreted Ruth's talk (if so, please let me know :)) but it reminded me painfully of the coming out of one of my friends and his wonky relationship to his parents, who try to be open and understanding, but blurt out homophobic comments out of.. what? Habit or tradition. Ruth seemed a lot like this so yay for David for telling her off. He and Keith should totally get back together and raise the niece - didn't the psychic predict a child for one of the brothers recently? :)
    And as if the humor and those soft nuances weren't enough, Nate's seizure felt so strikingly real that it made me genuinely sad.
    All that rolled into one episode... suberb :)

  6. Lisa is the anti- Brenda. Lisa is warm and nurturing ( overly so) while Brenda is cynical and hard and flippant to avoid making herself vulnerable. It is no wonder Nate could cry with Lisa. Also, Lisa should not think of moving to LA. She would not survive there.
    I could tell Brenda's "visitor" was a fantasy within about 10 seconds ( after stalking was pretty much ruled out). Really enjoyed David with Keith's niece. Her situation is heart breaking.

  7. And the actress who played the prostitute massage client ( Suzanne Kellie Waymire) died in 2003.

  8. The usually reserved David's outburst at his mom was so unexpected, and surprising. On the other hand, Margaret's outburst was just wait-for-it. Comedic relief in an otherwise profound episode. I'm watching this series for a second time and it's honestly better the second time around.


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