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Six Feet Under: Out, Out Brief Candle

Claire: "Welcome to Casketeria. May I take your order?"

Last season, David's ghosts confronted him with his biggest issue: his belief that he would go to hell for being gay. Here, the ghost of Joshua Langmead confronted Nate with his biggest issue. Gee, I wonder what that could be.

The ghost-of-Josh scenes were jarring. Josh couldn't talk at first; then he kept talking about how frightened he was. This very much paralleled Nate's silence about his illness, as well as his fear. Josh's ghost told Nate, "I want you to see me. Look at me," because Nate needed to face that he might die.

I was so glad that Claire finally woke up and smelled the embalming fluid. She saw Gabe for what he was, saw what he was doing, and she dumped him. Claire may act like a rebel, but she's protective of her family and wants to do the right thing. Helping others is a good, yes, but some people are truly not worth the pain and trouble.

And that's still how I feel about Brenda. She's a fascinating character, but I wouldn't want to marry her. Nate wanted so much to tell Brenda, but even though her depression had passed, Brenda was again talking only about herself. In the end, thanks to their new closeness, Nate told his brother David the truth.

We finally got to meet Brenda's former amour, Trevor; his wife, National Book Award; and their hyperactive rug rat. What jumped out at me was that Nate was looking at the little boy like he wanted one of his own. Not surprising, since the urge to reproduce is often a by-product after a close encounter with death. During their visit to Keith's niece, David looked at Taylor the way Nate was looking at little Will. Obviously, Nate and David both want kids. I sense approaching plot developments.

The Fishers now have a bizarre casket wall, compliments of the very amusing Mitzi Huntley. It certainly had its comical aspects; David was like a kid in a candy store with all the toy caskets. It felt wrong to me, though. It made the funeral home seem too much like a business. Yeah, I know. It is a business.

Bits:

— In season one, David used "racquetball partner" as a cover for his real relationship with Keith, and now, they really are racquetball partners. They were making real what used to be a pretense.

— The kitschy, just too much casket wall sort of went with all of the stupid building metaphors in "The Plan." Nate and David were building a fake foundation for their future.

And pieces:

— "Joshua Peter Langmead, 1981-2001."

— Happily, David was actively pursuing Keith, and Keith was letting it happen.

— Nate didn't go running at the end of the episode, which indicated that he was finally listening to what the doctor said.

— Did Mitzi really fire Matt Gilardi? How lovely. She's much more fun than Matt Gilardi was, anyway.

— Keith's sister Carla was obviously drugging and lying about it. Much like Gabe.

— Rico and Vanessa bought a house. I thought that Nate and David should have given him the loan, especially since the casket wall turned out to be a gift from Mitzi.

— Trevor's wife Dawn said women diagnosed as borderline were just victims of patriarchal bias. Brenda said that, as a child, she had faked being borderline for the shrinks in Charlotte, Light and Dark. Was she really faking it? Truly?

— Robbie forgave Ruth for destroying the natural order of his flower-arranging universe, and took her to a workshop on "The Plan." Ruth was at the perfect point in her life to be receptive to silly self-help crap. Ah, well.

— Alice Krige, whom I think of fondly as the Borg Queen, appeared briefly as "The Plan"'s host.

Quotes:

David: "Just do me a favor. Don't even mention the word 'cremation'."
Nate: "Okay. Can I mention the word 'condescending'?"

Nate: "Pretty bitchen, huh?"
Claire: "When did you start getting a pup tent over caskets? You're turning into David."
Nate: "Don't ever say that again."

David: "She has us selling Kroehner caskets."
Nate: "Wow. She's good."

Three stars,

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

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