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Six Feet Under: The Plan

Nate: "But there's no plan?"
Brenda: "No, there's definitely no plan. Just survival."

Last week, Nate faced the fact that he might die soon. This week, it got metaphysical.

We had a psychic who was talking with her dead husband while she was arranging his funeral. The theme of her husband's memorial service was that there was more than we could see, that the dead were "alive and well somewhere." Nate had conversations with both his dead father and with David about life after death.

And then there was Brenda.

Brenda doesn't believe there is anything other than this life, and doesn't understand people who do. Tellingly, Brenda was picking a class to take, and she and Nate were totally bored with each other's choices, with Brenda all about the hard sciences and Nate showing an interest in the spiritual and religious stuff.

And what about this whole 'no sex' thing? Brenda doesn't feel attracted to Nate right now, because (she said) that's what happens in long term relationships. (Really?) But she flirted with a perfect stranger and took his card in order to, what? Toss it? Or meet him later?

Brenda and Ruth were basically in the same situation, trying classes in order to improve themselves and alleviate boredom. Even though she hated it, Ruth stayed for the entire Plan workshop (until midnight, even), did her homework, and went back the next day. I must confess that stuff like The Plan turns me off in a big way; my bullshit meter is occasionally hair trigger. (Is that a mixed metaphor?) But I did love Ruth telling the entire workshop and all its participants to fuck themselves. And at least Ruth put effort into improving herself, and got something out of it. Brenda was in class for five minutes, got into an argument with the professor, and walked out.

I seem to say negative stuff about Brenda all the time, but I don't dislike her. Rachel Griffiths is an outstanding actress, and Brenda is a fascinating character with tremendous depths. I would probably love being a casual friend of Brenda's because she's so interesting and fun. But people like Brenda, well-meaning though they may be, tend to leave relationship debris strewn in their wakes. I think I see Brenda only from the relationship-with-Nate standpoint, and that may be wrong of me. (But I can't help it if I feel protective about Nate, can I? Nate is lovable. He just is.)

Last but far from least, Claire's relationship with Gabe reached the crisis level. Claire was just incredibly lucky that Gabe didn't shoot a stranger, or even herself. She finally got help: unsolicited from Gary, the school counselor, and solicited from her brothers. And again, David called Keith. Keith was great with Claire. Terrific. What a guy. I love Keith.


— Brenda created another false identity for the guy at the bar: Candace Bouvard, who had a surprisingly lucrative job teaching sign language to the newly deaf. She said she liked to communicate using her body. What a come on.

— I think the movie Claire was watching was Badlands, which was about two young people on a real-life killing spree. Which related somewhat to Gabe and the gun.

And pieces:

— "Michael John Piper, 1952-2001." They never really explained what killed him, or why he was talking about the dog. But he and his psychic wife were there to bring out the life-after-death theme, anyway.

— Bless David. He was researching AVM. Somebody needed to do it.

— Keith didn't sound happy with Eddie.

— Rico superglued the dead Michael's mouth shut. Accchhh.

— When Eileen was trying to feel if Nate's father was in the room, the camera panned around and there was an unidentified man standing behind the coffin. Could have been Michael or Nathaniel, I suppose. Hard to see.

— Alice Krige the Borg Queen was back with the Plan and the extensive and annoying building metaphors.

— David dragged Nate to lunch with the funeral directors' "community," and of course, David was quiet, while Nate was a hit.

— Keith's mother was enabling drugged out, absent Karla in a big way, and little Taylor's behavior was out of control. I could almost see Keith itching to do something about it. Tough situation.


Eileen: "This room has a lot of pain in it."
David: "Well, yes."

Claire: "You know, it's polite for the first person downstairs to make the coffee, even if that person has a penis."
Nate: "Well, you know, it's also polite for the first person who uses the bathroom to spend less than forty-five minutes in there, even if that person has a vulva."
Ruth: (coming in) "Oh, goodness, everyone's here."
David: "With all their genitalia."
I loved this one because it was so characteristic of the Fishers as a family.

Claire: "The thought of Mom being self-actualized is kind of making me nauseous."
Nate: "Are you sure it's not the thought of Mom pissing into a jar?"

Gary the school counselor: "No one can ever solve someone else's life."
Claire: "So basically, your job is totally pointless?"

Eileen: "I do see a child coming into your life."
Now, that was interesting. Was it for Nate or for David? Let me add that if she wasn't really psychic, guessing that two good-looking guys in their thirties might soon have a child coming into their lives was a logical guess. (Note from further on in the series: pretty accurate, huh?)

Brenda: "Academia is one big circle jerk."
Well, yeah. Sometimes. But you get out what you put in, I always say.

The usual good SFU episode. Three stars,

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


  1. Funniest scene so far: Straight after the scene with the psychic, Nate and david talk in the kitchen where Nate takes out a jar with nuts. The label was so front and center, it felt like a cheeky way of saying, c'mon, the "psychic" is just a fraud.
    Ruth and Brenda switched roles in my head. I loved Ruth's scene at the weird cult, but Brenda get more annoying every episode. Yes she's smart and snarky, but she's also so extremely selfcentered and zero appreciative of Nate. It seems like every conflict between them stems from one of her moodswings. My guess is that she (subconsciously?) blames Nate for Billy's meltdown and his current situation. Have they ever talked about what happened straight before the accident or are we supposed to believe that this was solved off-screen?

  2. I had to show Kwin the everyone hates Brazil nuts line. I know I do, but they are his favorites, lol.

    1. Enjoying another re-watch of this amazing series, and the kitchen scene “with all their genitalia” had me giggling like never before. The writing in this show was just incredible. It’s like music - perfectly composed.

  3. Also - after several pauses and re-winds, I think the man behind the coffin when Eileen was trying to read if Nathaniel was present, was actually Nathaniel. And Rico mentioned Michael’s body had “hardly any decay for a cancer death,” so I guess that sums up roughly how he died.

    Gosh, it feels weird to add comments so long after the show aired and the season finished!


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