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Six Feet Under: The Silence

George: "Do you want to talk about your feelings?"
Ruth: "Strangely enough, I don't think I have any."

Pretty clear theme with this one: doing things out of obligation, not because you want to do them. And trying to find a way to listen to the truth inside oneself.

Oh, Nate. Never happy with what he has. Nate wanted Brenda to have the amnio because he was afraid that having a sick child would make him even more trapped than he already was. How Brenda felt about it didn't seem to matter to him. The two of them should never have gotten married; whatever connection they had at the beginning of the series is gone. And now Brenda knows it.

So Maggie is a Quaker. I've been to Friends' meetings; silent worship can be very powerful and peaceful. After Nate tried silent worship, he opened his eyes and looked right at Maggie. Is Maggie herself what he wants? Or does he just want to be like her, calm and at peace with all of the terrible things that have happened to him? I think Nate was seeing Maggie and/or her religion as a magic pill that would fix his life. Wrong.

Ruth discovered that going places for the sake of going places made her feel empty. George actually moved on with incredible speed. When he told her he was engaged to someone else, I laughed out loud. Ruth confronting George's new honey with the truth about him was pretty funny, too. I was glad she did it. If I were George's new honey, I'd want to know. Was that really why Ruth did it, though? Was she having second thoughts about dumping crazy old George?

"The silence" was also about Claire's creative dry spell; she also felt empty. Maybe going out with her co-workers — or possibly with cute lawyer Ted — will jumpstart her life and get her going again. I just can't see Claire in a cubicle forever, though. (Not that there's anything wrong with cubicles. I've worked in a cubicle. Lots of people do. Okay, I'll shut up now.)

Keith was acting like he was putting up with Durrell and Anthony for David's sake and for no other reason. But then he listened to David, and recommitted to his family. (A marked contrast to Nate.) I just loved that David was right about going to Durrell's play against Durrell's wishes. Paying attention to your kid works. Praise works. Durrell was visibly happy. Maybe this will work out, after all. Chalk up one for David.


— The Opening Death showed a guy dying while watching a play he had absolutely no interest in seeing. (Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?) But you know, trying new things and accepting invitations is often the right thing to do. Isn't it?

— Ruth, super controller of all things related to food, took potato salad to a party. She didn't belong there, and neither did her potato salad. You know, if the mayo didn't smell right, she shouldn't have made it, anyway.

— Vanessa has allowed Rico into the house and back into bed with her, but she refused to participate or enjoy it. She was at a play she didn't want to attend.

— I loved David and Keith surreptitiously tossing their porn into a strange dumpster, symbolizing their renewed commitment to their adopted boys. And the psychological advice Keith got from Roger's kids. Very cute.

And pieces:

— "Peter Thomas Burns, 1948-2005."

— "Yeah, baby." Bleah.

— Margaret was cheating on Olivier. Too funny.

— Billy has left town.

— Where was Anthony during Durrell's play? He wasn't in the play, and he wasn't in the audience with Keith and David.


Mr. Burns: "Why do people invite anybody to anything?"
Mrs. Burns: "I have no idea."

David: "Those tapes were in a locked box underneath a pile of old Ralph Lauren sheets underneath our bed."
Durrell: "Well, then you know where I found them."
If you really want to see private things your parents have hidden, you don't do it in front of them. Durrell just wanted to freak out and embarrass David and Keith. Mission accomplished.

Claire: "Anyway, I'm exhausted. I had no idea doing nothing all day could be so tiring."

Maggie: "We believe that God is within all of us. If we get together and are silent, hopefully we each hear something from God."
Nate: "What if you don't?"
Maggie: "You make something up. At least I do."
Nate: "How do you know God's not telling you what to make up?"

George: "I think it will be healthier for our psyches if we just, you know, move on."
Ruth: "You want to fly to Haiti for a quickie divorce just for our psyches?"

Margaret: "All couples have these kinds of disagreements. You think I didn't want to abort you and Billy?" I love Margaret. She's such a hoot.

Three stars,

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


  1. So sad that this is already the final stretch in SFU - what a show.
    Looking back, some characters really had an amazing arc, Claire and David in particular. I'm rooting so hard for both of them. David starting out as repressed, tightly controlled and deeply unhappy now being a struggling but happy caring parent is just plain awesome. And how great is M.C Hall singing? Absolutely amazing (Just like Claire's musical number last episode!).
    Claire's storyline is also riveting, since she's come such a long way - in contrast to Nate, where is his emotional growth? Both have such a "the grass is greener on the other side" mentality towards life in a sense of always wanting more. She is a lot younger and inexperienced, so it's easier to forgive her mistakes. While I thought the way she treated Billy in the end was really harsh and cold, it probably was the only way it could have ended.
    On Nate's birthday, she said everyone should live in constant cake-light, a sentiment that means everyone should be happy all the time. But she and Nate mix up happiness and contentment. Cake light is happiness because it's rare. It's not realistic to feel happy all the time, but content is feasible. Claire wants everyone to be happy, but Nate just to be happy himself. He treats Brenda a lot like he treated Lisa. While before, I didn't really care for him, this episode cemented my intense hatred of him. On a realistic level, I get his arguments, but emotionally, he was stone cold. He treated this unborn child like a complete favour towards Brenda. It's tolerable if it turns out right and doesn't take away from Maya (or rather, Maya is just a foil here, it would just be a burden for him), but in any other case it's a burden that has to go. He twisted Maggie's words about her son Jesse until they suited him, too. Not really a "connection" there imho. He either didn't get what Maggie expressed or he didn't care.
    The funniest moment this season so far: Rico opening up to Ruth, I mean, REALLY opening up :) I didn't get at all that this was a dream sequence. Is it wrong to root for him and Vanessa? I really shouldn't like him, but I do.

  2. I started reading your reviews of Season 5 of SFU when I realized that John Teti over at the AV Club never got around to writing his recaps of season 5. His articles were much longer but both you and him have many good insights into the characters and I like to read them as I go through the series.
    However, I have to express my disagreement about your remarks on Ruth telling George's new fiance about his health condition. I found it to be mean spirited and coming from a jealous and petty heart in Ruth. One of the things we know about all the Fishers but especially Ruth is that they are control freaks. Ruth set about moving George out to an apartment and was controlling the whole situation. She was so happy with herself at the knitting club for how she had solved the problem of George. I am pretty sure she thought about him as if he was being punished in his bare little apartment while she got on with all the excitement of living and attending shows and exhibits with her new circle of friends. She even was controlling the divorce by making him wait it out. But George didn't go along with her plans and had already met and wooed another lady. And this infuriated Ruth who had a hissy fit at the cocktail party when she expressed to her knitting pal Cindy that "everyone just gets to find someone just like that" but not her. So I see this tracking down of George's fiance and spilling the dirt on him not as some act of kindness from one woman to another but as an act of hatred for George and self-pity that Ruth is still alone. She is miserable and she wants everyone around her to be miserable too, especially George.


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