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Six Feet Under: Hold My Hand

Ruth: "He did not intend to finance you while you play house with a crazy person!"
Claire: "Look who's talking!"

Lots about mental illness. Brenda's patients. George and Billy as patients.

George was still trying. Ruth was still angry, and we were pointedly shown that Ruth was drinking. She simply wouldn't forgive George for being sick, and I got that. She wanted a partner for her approaching "golden years," not another child to take care of.

But we also finally got George's side. His mother, the woman in the blue dress, must have been deeply disturbed, and it wasn't just that she was feeding him fried bologna and Velveeta (gag). She died of an overdose at the kitchen table, holding his little hand so hard that it hurt. Essentially, she kept hold of his hand his entire adult life, passing her illness on to him. When people experience significant trauma at an early age, they often stay that emotional age. Ruth refused to give George the mothering he still needed, and at the end of the episode, George was holding Maggie's hand, as if he was passing it on to her.

Unmedicated Billy was already manic; even his hair was levitating. And he was planning to run off to Europe with Claire. Why wasn't she noticing the change in him? Was she just enjoying his new, youthful craziness, and thinking it was all due to her? And she and Ruth finally had the fight we knew was coming. Why was Ruth so angry at Claire? Was it just tossing away college and throwing herself away on Billy, compounded with displaced anger with George? I guess that's more than enough, come to think of it.

Very interesting dinner party, with Brenda marveling at the healthy, well-adjusted Feldmans, a family of shrinks like her own parents but one hell of a lot healthier. So what did Brenda do? She immediately tried to recreate that atmosphere at home with Nate and Maya. Couldn't blame her, growing up the way that she did, but all it did was emphasize the artificial feel of her own marriage.

David was completely on top of the adoption and surrogacy paperwork, right up until the moment they were rejected because of David's arrest in Vegas. It's such a shame, too, because David would make such a great mom. This just backs up my strong belief that prostitution should be legal. Pointless political comment over.


— Nate finally met Maggie and they had common ground: she lost her two-year-old son to leukemia. That made me like Maggie more. It takes a strong person to bounce back from something so devastating.

— Angela said her marriage got a fast-acting cancer and died very quickly. Like Maggie's baby.

— At one point, Ruth said "good-bye" to George when she meant to say "good night." She wanted to leave him.

— George's mother talked about college not teaching you what you needed to know, which happened to be Claire's current opinion of higher education.

And pieces:

— "Loretta Smith Sibley, 1908-1953." This opening death was different from every other one; it was a long time ago and had nothing to do with Fisher and Diaz.

— Brenda's new internship might be in a more affluent area, but it was far from easy.

— Rico hit the Catholic singles scene and went right for Vanessa. And then he met Angela at a conference. Rico and Angela together made me smile. The two of them having sex made me laugh out loud.

— The supermarket was called "Jons." You could actually see where it had been altered from "Vons."


Keith: "You are such a mom. You are."

Angela: "Of course, they fired me. The Fishers. I broke a glass, you know. They acted like I murdered someone or fucked a body."

Claire: "How am I supposed to move to Europe and fucking ripen when you won't give me my money?"

Maggie: "I got so lost. The ten, the five, the two, the two ten, the one oh one..." Los Angeles in a nutshell.

Three out of four stars,

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


  1. The opening death always transports a sense of what the episode is all about. This time, it was about holding tight and letting go.
    Billy let go of reality and decided to descend into creative craziness once again. Is it frustration with being bland, unproductive and sexually handicapped or if it's jealousy concerning Claire's youth and fire? Probably both.
    Rico holds the idea of his slowly dying/already dead marriage tight. He can't really let go of Vanessa, although she let go of him. Maybe Angie will help.
    Georg wants to hold onto his marriage, although I don't believe him that he loves Ruth so much. Their wedding was far too rushed and secretive for that... he rather loves her mothering, something he obviously never experienced from his own mother.
    Keith and David both might have to let go of the adoption idea, which, quite frankly, really is a shame. David would make a great mother-figure and their relationship really seems solid and stable now a days.
    Brenda let go of her lofty dreams about what she can and can't do as a therapist. If only she could let go of her marriage ideals. She sounded a lot like Lisa during their family dinner, didn't she?

    The most interesting conflict this episode was between Claire and Ruth. Ruth is frustrated with Claire for a couple of reasons: Obviously, she is projecting her own frustrations onto her (no college, crazy partner) but there's also the element of letting go of a growing up child - both figuratively and literally (Spain? Ruth wants her children close, even Seattle was too far). It's like a throwback to her sister who left to live the wild life while she was the caretaker of the legless mother (grandmother?).
    Ruth fears that Claire makes a big mistake, and I agree. College is not about what they teach but what you learn: persistance, complex problemsolving, dealing with frustrations, etc. Sure you can learn this in real life too, but do you have to? Is it easier to be a successful artist on your own or as a graduated college student? Her drug use indicates that Claire rather wants to easy quick cocaine induced way to success than the long, tedious way. What does Claire need to "ripen"? Maybe not college, maybe not Spain, but definately not Billy and not being high all the time.

  2. I seriously love reading these reviews as I watch along.... Hmmm, that either makes me really sad or really smart, I can't decided which.

    Anyways, this isn't so much of a comment on the show itself, but rather a comment about the adoption process. I work as a recruiter and assessor of foster carers who wish to adopt, and the paperwork is no joke. David slapping at Keith's hand and saying, "Don't touch anything, there's a system!" made me laugh audibly. I imagine so many of our applicants doing the same thing. It really is excessive, even though we rationalise it with the knowledge that all kids deserve to be placed with safe families, especially kids who've already experienced trauma.

    I can also relate to the adoption worker who stumbled across David's Vegas indiscretion. I would've been a lot more professional when discussing it with them, but I have spent very long hours with some applicants, constantly banging on about the importance of being honest, only to discover a road block right towards the end that means we can't move forward. It's a frustrating process for everyone involved, but so worth it when we get it right and see children flourish.

    Sorry for the post that's really more about me than the show :-)


  3. Thank you with these write ups. It’s so important to be able to see someone else’s thoughts after watching these episodes. And serane I really appreciate your comments too. It’s easy to put Nate down, but he does have a remarkable empathy. He’s the one who’s really there for George sometimeS. We all really want Clare to get away from Billy. Yes, mental health

  4. Hi it’s me, another person named Tess who enjoys your reviews! I’ve been catching up with your reviews after each episode since mid season 2. I’ve left a few comments but I don’t think any of them actually posted. I just want to say thank you for all of these write ups!

    1. Tess, your comments may have posted. I've had to turn on moderation because of spam and trolls, and if you posted it when it's night on the east coast of the U.S., it wouldn't have gone up immediately. I hope they did. We've been getting a lot of SFU comments these days since the show went up on Netflix.

      And you're very welcome!


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