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Six Feet Under: The Trip

Rico: "How can that be? How can the beginning and end be so close together?"

Nate and David attended the Annual Western States Funeral Directors Conference, while Rico stayed home and embalmed a three-week old baby. Doesn't seem quite fair, does it?

Rico, who always faced the most gruesome challenges with enthusiasm and creativity, finally showed that there was something that really got to him. It was very touching to see the shell-shocked young parents so comforted by what Rico did, and those scenes with Rico alone with the dead baby were very moving. It certainly got to me.

Speaking of much too early deaths, Gabe was angry, depressed, and suicidal. His mother appeared to be practically throwing her other child away. David was also acting out in a self-destructive way, and Keith and Claire were stuck doing mop-up. Keith loves David. Claire said she loved Gabe. Does she? Or does she just need to help him because he has no one else?

David became more and more reckless. He cautioned Nate not to lose it with Gilardi, and then literally tossed away his notes and attacked Gilardi in front of an audience. Then he booked a liaison with a prostitute after his new compatriots bought him a lap dance. I found that whole thing with the hooker to be somewhat weird, like David didn't really want to do it but felt compelled. David was in the closet too long and now he's overcompensating. Unfortunately, his walks on the wild side will not endear him to Keith.

So while David was getting into Gilardi's face, having unprotected sex with a prostitute (David, David, what were you thinking?) and getting arrested, Nate and Brenda were having a ball enjoying Vegas for exactly what it was. It would have been perfect... except for Billy stalking Brenda and taking photos of Brenda and Nate asleep in bed. And did that show us where Billy's head was at, or what? He is so in love with Brenda. And Brenda was reaching her breaking point. Way past time, too. Billy could kill someone.

Bits:

— We saw little Dillon's crib death from his POV, as his viewpoint floated into the air and through the weirdest baby mobile I've ever seen. I know I've seen those pictures before (black and white face, stripes, spiral, checkerboard), but I can't think of where.

— Did the baby's death mean that some things just aren't meant to be? Was it intended as a contrast between what Rico does for a living, and the birth of his second son?

— I'm sure the vicious pounding of the flower stems with mallets to make them draw water had some sort of meaning.

— Last week, Angela outed David to his mother. This week, a stripper outed David to several of his colleagues. (Is "outed" a verb? It's certainly not in my spellchecker.) By waiting so long, David lost the opportunity to do it himself.

And pieces:

— "Dillon Michael Cooper, 2001-2001."

— I got to say that Jeremy Sisto (Billy) is an amazing actor. Billy was so out of control and threatening; genuinely scary.

— Ruth's flower arranging class was another lesson in letting herself go. Pretty much her theme all through this first season.

— David called Keith in L.A. for help. Not his own brother, who was right there in Vegas. L.A. is a five hour drive away from Vegas.

— Vanessa's obstetrician was played an actress I'm fond of: Jenette Goldstein, who was just amazing as Vasquez the Marine in Aliens.

— There was another performance gem. This time it was by Mary Gross, who played the flower arranger who taught Ruth to breathe from her stomach.

— David refused to discuss his overnight guest with Ruth. They still haven't had "the talk."

— Rico's "Sistine Chapel" was the subject of a workshop at the conference, and Rico wasn't even credited.

— Rico and Vanessa appear to have a good marriage. She knew immediately why he was upset. They now have a second son, Augusto.

— Ruth's workmate Robbie was clearly put out by the favoritism that Nikolai showed Ruth.

Quotes:

Nate: (looking at Brenda's nametag) "Who's Jasmine Brecker?"
Brenda: "She's either a federal judge or a sex surrogate. I haven't decided yet."

David: "Nate, that was not smart."
Nate: "I should have set his fucking hair on fire."

Brenda: "I love Las Vegas. It has to be the most artificial place on earth." It's true. Vegas is bizarre. The last time I was there, my aunt told me there's one with a roller coaster that goes right through the casino. I think she wasn't kidding.

Three stars,

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

2 comments:

  1. I didn't think the writing for this show held up to the rest of the season. The plot was a bit over the top and disjointed, especially David, the lap dance, and the male hooker scenes. Also, Billy was more interesting as a borderline psycho, not a full-fledged psychotic.

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  2. That was certainly some episode. Ruth was really funny for once, Claire just needs a purpose which is why she made Gabe her mission and Billy?! The actor is amazing, but the character became too over the top, too one-dimensional.
    And David is spiralling... hooking up with another anonymous tourist I could imagine, but a prostitute? That felt wildly out of character.
    I'm a bit scared now after I discovered that Alan "Beyull" Ball produced this show. Is it going to jump the whole shark tank, too?

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