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Six Feet Under: Everyone Leaves

Russell: "Claire, I need to tell you something."
Claire: "The words every woman longs to hear."

This episode was like one huge multiple emotional meltdown.

The big one was Billy finally leaping over the line and making a pass at his sister. I could see it coming, too. Brenda was re-reading the Nathaniel and Isabel books and seeing them with newer and more objective eyes, and Billy took her comments as a rejection of their past close connection, as well as himself. Brenda was living with him and dependent on him, and she literally had nowhere to go; it must have felt like the perfect time to make his move. I completely got why Brenda took off, and showed up at Nate's door.

Russell did something healthy: he told off Olivier, ripped shit up, and stomped out of class. Too bad that telling her the truth cost him Claire. Although I can definitely see the other side better; Claire was absolutely right to decide against nursemaiding another emotional cripple. Ruth did something healthy, too: she confronted Arthur about their physical relationship (or lack of), and realized that he was both inexperienced and incapable. I loved the heart-to-heart conversation that followed between Ruth and Claire. It felt like that big breakthrough conversation you have with a parent when you're relating to each other as adults for the very first time.

Keith confronted his father about the abuse. Keith, Keith, Keith. I know that confronting the abuser is supposed to be a healthy step, but the reaction you mostly get is complete denial. And there's a good reason. Abusers usually need to lie to themselves about what they did, or their emotional framework will collapse. It's really too bad that Keith turned on David when David was just trying to be supportive. Maybe Keith was just mad that David wanted to stop doing threesomes.

Lisa was only gone a few hours, and Nate and Brenda were already locked in a passionate embrace. (Although, to give them both credit, they did stop before it went too far.) What happened to Lisa? She took a solo vacation, which was probably a good idea, but she didn't show up at her sister's in Santa Cruz and she wasn't answering her cell phone. The title of the episode was "Everyone Leaves," and practically everyone did. Did Lisa just leave Nate? It doesn't seem possible. Lisa wasn't acting like she had made such a momentous decision. And she would never leave her baby.

But there were a number of odd hints that Lisa was gone, as in permanently. The "bad husband" told Nate that he wanted to do one last thing for his wife, who wasn't ever coming back. Lisa told Nate, "You want to get rid of me." Lisa usually made lists for Nate, but she didn't this time. Lisa didn't want Maya to watch her leave. Nate had that odd conservation about how good it was to be divorced with that other father in the park.

And when Nate and Lisa were talking on the phone, it began breaking up. The last thing Nate said to her was, "Lise, I'm losing you."


— The Opening Death was all about the sudden and unexpected. Nice family picnic, bee sting, and boom: tragedy. That correlated to all of the sudden, painful break-ups.

— The disappointing Nathaniel and Isabel video was a pale, pasteurized interpretation of the books. Billy and Brenda's relationship had become the same thing. Billy tried to return their relationship to what it was. In the book (but not the video), Nathaniel saved Isabel with mouth-to-mouth. Billy drove Brenda away by kissing her.

— Ruth got pregnant the first time she ever had sex. Which certainly explained the way she was flitting from man to man since Nathaniel died. She never got to be young and carefree and experimental; one initial sexual experience changed her life forever. Like what just happened to Russell.

— Arthur was confused about which of his identical black socks were supposed to be pairs. He didn't understand pairing, and couldn't see how it would work.

— David told Keith to slow down so that they could walk together. Keith told him to speed up. They were progressing in their relationship, but at different speeds. David was ready to commit, and Keith wasn't.

— David was mistaken for the funeral director. :) And being David, he just went with it.

And pieces:

— "Jeanette Louise Bradford, 1928-2003." For one long, terrible moment, I thought Keith's niece Taylor was going to get run over. (I'm fond of Taylor.) Apparently, she was doing well in school, Keith's father wasn't abusing her, and she seemed happy; she wasn't even swearing any more. Good. Although I still think Keith and David should be raising her.

— Vanessa's flirtation with depression drugs hit a new high, so to speak, and then a new low. And we got a Rico and Vanessa sex scene, which was new. I think we've seen everyone else in the cast having sex but Rico.

— Completely unrelated-to-the-episode observation. Peter Krause is a beautiful man, but in the past few episodes, he looked even better than usual. It was like artificial fatherhood gave him a glow.

— Nate breaking down and crying at the kitchen table really got to me. I can't imagine what dealing with people's grief every day must be like. I'm way too empathic; I'd cry all the time.

— Billy's apartment was oddly empty, nearly nothing on the walls. And he's an artist.


David: "When I was a kid, I used to have GI Joes. They were always getting court-martialed, which in my version meant they had to stand naked in front of all the other dolls."

Arthur: "Perhaps you'd prefer it if our laundry didn't mix any more."
Ruth: "Honestly, Arthur. I don't care what our laundry does."

Claire: "I wonder how much of art really is accidental. I mean, maybe like Magritte when he was painting his 'Listening Room' was like, 'Damn, I made the apple too big again'."
(In case you don't know that particular painting, here it is.)

Billy: "We are so damaged, Bren." You think?

Ruth: "There will never be another man who will love me when I'm young and pretty and always have that picture of me somewhere in his heart." That made me cry.

Four stars,

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

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