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Six Feet Under: Knock Knock

Tracy: "Why do people have to die?"
Nate: "To make life important."

Death is knocking at Nate's door. And I'm totally bummed about it.

Nate went running from death, just as he did in the pilot episode, and after the doctor told him not to run any more. When he stopped, exhausted, the Bus of Death passed by. May I just say that I am not happy with this development? Nate is my favorite character. It certainly makes sense that the main character in a series about death would have to deal with the possibility of his own, but I so don't want Nate to die.

That scene near the end with Nate and Tracy was surprisingly touching. (Wonderful performances.) Nate didn't tell anyone about his possibly fatal illness; he was trying to see the glass half full. He told Tracy that death made life important. Which was beautifully illustrated by the final scene, with Rico and his family taking over the funeral home with a big, noisy christening party for baby Augusto.

David came Out with a capital O, and finally stood up for himself. I loved what David said about God and tolerance. I loved that Keith was there to show support for David. (It's not over for them. It can't be.) When David looked back and saw Marc the ghost, for the first time without his fatal injuries, it brought me to tears. In fact, a lot of this episode made me weepy. So I'm a wuss. Sue me.

This was the first time I felt sympathy for Billy, who calmly apologized to Brenda in a sincere but medicated monotone. He didn't choose his illness, which was easy for me to forget when he was doing such frightening things. He didn't succeed in busting up Nate and Brenda, but maybe he should have. Nate and Brenda, both inexperienced with successful, long term relationships, were talking marriage. I'm sorry, but train wreck, waiting to happen.

After a lot of back and forthing with her two suitors, Ruth came to grips with what she really wanted and skipped church to have sex with Nikolai. (Now that was some pretty obvious symbolism: skipping church and "sinning.") Claire's romance went strangely, too. They were out at a party, and Gabe skipped out and robbed a convenience store. Color me so not surprised.


— Tracy's Aunt Lilian was just sitting there minding her own business, and she got conked in the head by a golf ball. Like Nate just got conked in the head by a strange and possibly fatal ailment he didn't know he had.

— David seeing Marc whole symbolized that David finally accepted and loved all of himself.

— The big, green, boxy car that Nate and Brenda wrecked oddly resembled Claire's lime green hearse.

— Hiram dumped Ruth in a restaurant. She not only didn't care, she ordered dessert to make them both feel better. Food again.

— Brenda dreamed she and Drew Barrymore were swimming and flying with dolphins, and were pursued by Courtney Love as a shark. I could come up with all kinds of meanings for this one, but it was probably just meant to be funny and strange, like Brenda.

— I've meant to mention for awhile that Gabe's face, accentuated with a pointed goatee, strongly resembles cartoon representations of demons. Which doesn't bode well for Claire's relationship with him.

— Tracy the funeral groupie is a professional party planner. Of course she is.

And pieces:

— "Lilian Grace Montrose, 1939-2001." The opener made it seem that Gilardi's boss, the hilarious Mrs. Huntley, was going to die. There were some sex vibes between Gilardi and Huntley. I think. I could be projecting, though.

— The doctor said Nate had AVM: arteriovenous malformation. Nate mentioned headaches a few episodes ago that he thought were caused by embalming fluid.

— Nathaniel the ghost visited Claire several times. He told Claire that Gabe was going to die. We saw some movies of Nate and David when they were little. None of Claire. She was the second class Fisher again.

— Rico treated David as he always had. That was good. And interestingly, Ruth was very nice to Brenda for the first time.

— Rico still wants to be a partner. I think they should find a way to make Rico a partner.

— Father Jack is probably gay and still in the closet. He could actually lose his job if he came out.

— Nathaniel's death opened the series. And he was in the final scene of this season ender. Bookends.


Mrs. Huntley: "Hey, fuck you with the ma'am shit. You call me that one more time, I'll have your balls on a plate, your spleen on a stick, and your heart bubble-wrapped and fed-exed to your mama, all right?" (Somehow this made me think of embalming.)

Parker: "So what are you up to this weekend?"
Claire: "I don't know. I'll probably come up with some creative way to avoid my family."

Nate: "There's got to be some kind of mistake. I don't smoke. I haven't had any red meat since 1989. I run three miles a day." (This reminded me of a tee-shirt I saw years ago: "Eat right. Exercise. Die anyway.")

David: "'Let me never be ashamed.' Now there's a concept."

This was a wonderful season ender, so full of emotion and promise and confusion. Four stars,

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


  1. I have begun re-watching this show with a good friend of mine and am so happy for an excuse to read your reviews again! This was a wonderful season finale. I like to think of season one as Act 1 of the series, with this episode really forcing Nate to consider his own mortality and focus in on his deepest fear. This storyline for me is truly the backbone of the series. I love Nate - he is funny, loving and compassionate, while at the same time occasionally rude, selfish and stubborn - but as Ruth said to David in the previous episode, I love all of him, not just bits and pieces. His humanity, flaws and all, is why he is such a great character and seeing his journey from beginning to end was one of the most powerful television experiences I think I've ever had. I'm excited to experience it again. But really I love all of the Fischer family, and can connect with all of them in different ways. The show wouldn't be the same without Ruth, David or Claire either. They're such a wonderfully loving & dysfunctional family.

    I'm getting nostalgic right now. Re-watching this series is like connecting with an old friend. I have to say thanks once again to you Billie, because if it wasn't for your reviews I would have never completed the series four years ago. I had started the series several times but never got past the first couple of episodes. It wasn't until you began to review it that I gave it a chance and fell in love, and I'm happy to get to experience it again.

    Onward to season two!

  2. You're so welcome, MiguelJ. I feel the same about Nate, obviously. He's one of my favorite fictional characters, mostly because he's such a real person to me.

  3. This is one of those series that I always meant to get around to. I haven't had even basic cable for 25 years, so once I got online (finally) a few years ago and found Netflix, I started out on the must-sees (Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, Breaking Bad, etc.) I finally got around to SFU, and so far, my husband and I have enjoyed the first season immensely! So gross and SO funny. Have enjoyed your reviews and we're starting on the second season today. Wish me luck. What a bunch of marvelous actors, particularly Lauren Ambrose, who is perfect as a teen loaded with angst and humor.

  4. Just finished season one.. Was a complete surprise to me since I didn't think I'd get attached to the storylines/characters.. Superb acting , original stories .. Totally a masterpiece.. Good reviews Billie!! U were on to a bunch of things I didn't notice.. And I couldn't find any other place on the web that explores the episodes of SFU .. Great job:)) on to season 2 ..

  5. After finishing season 1, I can't see where this Nate-love comes from... yet. He's likeable, but up till now, he's a tad too perfect. Where are the flaws, or the interesting conflicts? So far, David had the much more intriguing storyline. Or Claire.
    Onto season 2! It's great to read the reviews here as usual... so far I have yet to encounter a show that was recommended here that I don't like :)

  6. This series is one of my favorite of all time. I watched it likes 3 or 4 times before and never truly related to it. My dad just died 10 days ago, out of the blue, like the quote you said "Eat right, excercise, die anyway". Some how I just can't get the reality and I remember this series and your reviews. Just want to say thank you!

  7. TG, you're welcome, and I'm so sorry about your dad. I know what you mean about how unreal it feels. Do take care.


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