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Six Feet Under: In Place of Anger

Sarah: "God, there is so much emotion to navigate where family is concerned. Vicodin, anyone?"

I loved Ruth's sister, Sarah. Impulsive, irresponsible, fun, oddly tragic, going about life on her own unusual terms. Ruth and Sarah were so different. On a basic level, the problem with their relationship is that they envy each others' choices. They're also threatened by each others' choices.

Although Ruth spent most of the episode looking like she'd bitten on tinfoil, offended by everything Sarah said, Sarah did something terrific: she paid a lot of much-needed attention to the neglected Claire, and made a big deal of Claire's artistic talent. It was time somebody did it. Claire and Sarah clicked, and had much more in common than long, red hair. But even though Sarah gave Claire something special for a moment, Ruth has been there loving and supporting Claire her entire life. Ruth kept every piece of art that Claire ever created. I loved that scene in the end where Ruth brought Claire the box of her things. That's love.

Nate still hasn't told Brenda about his medical condition. That was almost as bad as Brenda's sexcapades. What was she thinking? Was she thinking? Was it because she finally, officially had someone to cheat on? Exploring one's sexuality can be a good thing. But not with a stranger when you just committed yourself to someone you supposedly love.

David and Ben were together, briefly, but broke up because David didn't bring Ben home for dinner. Actually, no. Because David was still in love with Keith. During that scene at the church, Keith looked jealous. Good.


— Matthew Collins, the Opening Death, was drunk and offending people right and left, echoing Ruth's basic interpretation of her sister Sarah. Collins was attending a big company party on the boat, much like Mitzi's Palm Springs junket. I wonder if Mitzi's company is also going under?

— Nate didn't give Brenda his grandmother's ring because he didn't know about it. That sort of symbolized that his family wasn't on board. And they weren't. Ruth was totally freaked. She isn't the type to get over walking in on them in the slumber room.

— Brenda dreamed that Nate literally suffocated her with love.

— When they reconciled, Sarah finished the mopping that Ruth had begun.

And pieces:

— "Matthew Heath Collins, 1959-2001."

— Two more performance gems, something we get a lot of on this show: Patricia Clarkson as Sarah, and Harriet Sansom Harris as the angry and abused widow Collins.

— The oh-so-funny Mitzi Huntley was back and trying sugar instead of vinegar, plying the Fisher brothers with a company party to Palm Springs to play golf, and tossing them out of the jacuzzi when they didn't fall in line.

— The reason for Ruth's estrangement from Sarah was the last time the boys were visiting, fifteen-year-old Nate lost his virginity, and David (eleven?) actually got lost in the canyon. Claire had never even met her aunt Sarah, which says a lot for how long Ruth could hold a grudge.

— I loved little Taylor running over to hug David.

— Rico and Vanessa were at odds because of a pricey problem in their new house that Rico's cousin didn't catch.

— Sarah lives in Topanga Canyon. For those of you who don't live in SoCal, it's a hippie-like community in the mountains north of LA with craft shops and experimental theaters and such. It's very cool. I like Topanga.

— Nate knew who Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye) was, but not Humbert Humbert (Lolita) or Constance Chatterley (Lady Chatterley's Lover).


Sarah: "I met Vollhoffer at a party once and he came on to me. But I'd just dropped acid for the first time, and I thought he was some Mayan death priest who wanted to cut out my heart and throw it into a pit. So I blew him off."

Mitzi: "I think I need to spend a little quality time with the fabulous Fisher boys."

Nate: "My family's anything but normal."
Brenda: "Compared to mine, they're the fucking Cleavers."

Ruth: "David, you remember your aunt Sarah? I'm sure you couldn't forget her if you tried."

Sarah: "To romantic love. Both the inspiration and the utter folly of it." Now, that was an interesting wedding toast.

Three out of four stars,

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

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