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Six Feet Under: Perfect Circles

Nate: "Just tell me. Am I dead? Yes or no."
Nathaniel: "Yes. And no."

What just happened?

The first part was like Nate was walking through his own brain, with streams of consciousness, lifetimes he could have had, and lots of unfun options. Lots of big D's, like death, disability, disfigurement. I spent the entire episode wondering if what we were seeing was reality, and waiting for something coherent to happen. Which reminds me of another D word: disappointing.

So. Assuming that the second half of this episode was actually happening in our fictional Fisher world, what the hell was up with Nate? He was practically a pod person. Why on earth did he marry Lisa? Well, yeah, obvious. It was all about the baby. He said, about Maya: "Is that the face of God, or what?" and that was exactly it. That baby is the only immortality Nate will ever get and he knew it. But why marry Lisa?

Lisa told a woman at the dinner party that she and Nate had been together on and off for eight years. That wasn't even close to being true. Lisa is lying to herself about this marriage, big time, and its inevitable failure will be devastating. How could this end in any other way but a horrendous, acrimonious divorce?

Speaking of unhappy couples, Keith was unthrilled with his new career in security and taking it out on David. They were in couples therapy, and Keith was clearly unthrilled about that, too. They don't have fun any more. If they're that unhappy, why were they still together? Was it just the great sex? I don't think so.

Claire got into LAC-Arts after all, in spite of falling apart at the interview. And being Claire, she was already rebelling against forced creativity. Claire constantly distances herself from the family business, but there she was, taking a body to the crematorium in her own hearse, and sleeping with Phil the crematory guy. At least she had a lot in common with Phil, and he seemed, at first glance, saner than Gabe.

So, essentially, seven months passed since the end of season two. Nate nearly died and now he's fine, married to Lisa, and almost surreally happy with his baby. This wasn't what I expected. Wasn't what I wanted, either. I think I'd be a lot more comfortable if Nate had reacted to near death by taking up hang gliding, group sex, and backpacking through Europe. But that's just me.


— Claire being compelled to draw a perfect circle until she got it right was a metaphor for Nate's resurrection, if that's what it was. Karmic, too.

— Nate discovered that he wasn't the planned baby he always thought he was. Clear correlation to his unplanned illness and survival.

— In Nate's dream/hallucination/whatever, Nathaniel Senior was eating fenugreek with maple syrup. In real life, if that's what it was, Lisa was taking fenugreek, an herb that increases milk production. In other words, Nathaniel, in the Restaurant of Death, was eating something that created life.

And pieces:

— "Nathaniel Samuel Fisher, Jr., 1965-[2002]." This was the first time we got a date that changed; the death date vanished. Except Nate said he didn't die on the table.

— No Brenda this time. But she was still in the cast. She must be out there still finding herself. No, wait, we did see her in Nate's dream/hallucination/whatever.

— Fabulous baby casting for Maya. She had big, wide-set dark eyes like Peter Krause, and really looked like she could be his daughter.

— Ruth was deeply obsessed with Maya instead of with an unsuitable boyfriend. Easier to take and probably better for Ruth. Nikolai and Hiram weren't right for her, anyway. She should find someone else. Because hey, babies grow up.

— Lisa's boss, Carol Ward the vegan lunatic, spent all of her screen time trying to control Lisa; she said several times pointedly that she was Lisa's boss, and she was actually threatened by the mere existence of Nate and Maya. How incredibly immature. I will forever associate Catherine O'Hara with her wonderful performance as the lunatic mother in Beetlejuice.

— Nate sold his motorcycle. His brush with death took all the risk-taking out of him.

— The sign in front of the house changed to Fisher & Diaz. Certainly more euphonious than Fisher & Sons & Diaz. Rico was feeling his oats, too.

— David tried out for the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. He can really sing. How adorably out of character and in character at the same time.

— This was the first wide screen episode.


Nate: "I don't like knowing that my whole existence is an accident."

Television woman: "That was Dr. Schrodinger. A kitty. Didn't make it."

Television man: "There, there. We always end up in a universe in which we exist. Remember Copenhagen?"
Television woman: "The eigenvalues in blue."

Ruth: (on Carol) "She's energetic."
Nate: "She's a lunatic."

Carol: "I have to pitch to McG in person. Whoah. Is he intimidating."

David: "Keith has a lot of anger issues that he inherited from his father, and I have a lot of doormat issues that I inherited from Mom."

I hate watching something and not knowing what actually happened. Two out of four stars,

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


  1. I think Nate is alive, for very boring reasons: the series can't conclusively show what the afterlife is like, so all of the 'afterlife' scenes are actually Nate's drug-induced hallucination.

    Another clue that Nate isn't dead: many parts of the episode are not from Nate's perspective, so they are definitely 'really happening'. I've never seen a show where fake scenes would be mixed with real scenes, except Lost (and even there it's made explicit with a sound effect).

    So, what's really happening in the second part of the episode is that Nate has loads of deja-vus because his brain is reconnecting the dots after his aneurysm on the table.

    Assuming that everything is real, I'm a little disappointed with the 7 month jump. We basically missed out on a season.

  2. weird start into the season, I didn't care much about the confusing start. The drama between David&Keith seems manufactured, but how eery was David in the bathroom flossing? Such a Dexter thing!

    And how lng till Nate cheats on Lisa with Brenda? He's way too chill in this situation.


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