Season In Review: Six Feet Under (S1)

1×01 – Six Feet Under (Pilot)

Nathaniel Fisher, owner of the Fisher and Sons Funeral Home, is killed when a municipal bus broadsides his new hearse. The tragedy casts a pall on the holiday homecoming of son Nate as he must not only deal with the death of a father, but the fragile egos of mother Ruth, brother David, and sister Claire. The only good thing to happen to Nate is Brenda, a passionate women he met on the plane, just before learning of his father’s death. At home, David eschews the talents of his young mortician, Fredrico, to personally undo the damage of his dad’s accident. The ensuing funeral leaves the family’s deepest emotions exposed, and calls into question some of our more absurd rites of passage. At the gravesite, David is not amused by the advances of Matthew Gilardi of Kroehner Service Corporation, a funeral- home conglomerate looking to buy out the Fishers business.

  • This show was not what I was expecting…
  • By that I mean this show is a lot less serious than what I was expecting. I was expecting a serious show about this family running a funeral home.
  • No one mentioned that this show is actually funny. It has humor and doesn’t take itself too serious, which is refreshing.
  • Though, I was expecting something different from what the show is, I’m into it.
  • I do love black comedy and this show looks like it’s a masterclass of it.
  • I started the show because I heard great things about it, but also the cast also convinced me to watch it.
  • Peter Krause and Michael C. Hall were the reason why I was interested in the show in the first place and they don’t disappoint.
  • Actually everyone is pretty great, but they were the two I was most excited about.
  • Michael C. Hall especially plays such a different character than the one he’s most known for Dexter (another show I’m reviewing).
  • Instead of a serial killer, he’s a closeted gay man who is a bit of a control freak. Which I guess him and Dexter both do have the latter in common.
  • I enjoyed seeing everyone react to the passing of Nathaniel.
  • The pilot’s opening death was the only one not to be announced by an obituary, since it was Nathaniel’s death that set the series in motion, and also because the mock funeral product ads took up screen time.
  • On the evening of the airing of the pilot, Francis Conroy was commended for her performance by a fellow shopper at an L.A. supermarket. This shocked her because the show had not yet aired on the West Coast. The compliment-er explained that he had seen the program’s premiere via the East Coast feed.
  • Like I said in my Season In Review: 24 – S1, Eric Balfour shows up in this episode.
  • He has popped up in 24, Six Feet Under, and The West Wing. All three shows I am reviewing apart of my Watching The 19 Greatest Shows list. We will see if he pops in any other show I’m reviewing.
  • Eric Balfour was only supposed to be introduced as “Claire’s Meth Date” for the show’s pilot, but the director found his chemistry so satisfying with Lauren Ambrose that his role was developed into the character Gabe Dimas. – We do see him again later this season which I’ll talk about in a minute.

1×02 – The Will

The inventor of a franchise pyramid scheme dies in a pool accident, leaving his widow and infant daughter with a mountain of debts and no money for a proper funeral. Nate offers a solution: rent a top-line casket, then cremate the body after viewing. There’s just one problem: by law, a used casket cannot be re-sold. At the reading of Mr. Fisher’s will, Ruth gets cash, stocks and insurance money, Nate and David split the funeral business (much to David’s chagrin), and Claire gets college tuition, which she considers trading for cash. Later, Ruth breaks up with Hiram during a nature hike, David receives an unexpected visit from his ex-fiancee Jennifer, and Gabe gets Claire to suck on his toes in the back of her hearse.

  • The death erection shown when Nate and Frederico pick up the body from the morgue circumvented HBO’s standards and practices. HBO prohibited showing a male in an aroused state, so an actor with a penile pump was used. The actor pumped his gentile to an erect state before filming. At no time was the actor aroused during the scene. – You know this show is on a different type of different when this is what we’re talking about.
  • Our dead guest of the episode is Chandler Swanson, who died by hitting his head on the concrete of his pool.
  • Eric Balfour returns this episode and I don’t like his character. I have a feeling he’s going to screw Claire over.
  • Speaking of Claire, I feel like many teens today would relate to Claire said by current teen. I find she is relatable to current teens.
  • Ruth is a fascinating character, after her husband dies. She feels free and knows what she wants now and that isn’t the funeral home anymore.
  • So she leaves it up to David and Nate to have and to take control of. Which just leaves them to bicker over…
  • They reconnect after Brenda brings them onto the same bus that killed their father.
  • I’m not sure how I feel about Brenda, I’m on the fence about her.
  • I mean who takes someone onto the vehicle that killed their parent. I know she was just trying to help, but that was pretty insensitive to what Nate and David were feeling.

1×03 – The Foot

A bakery owner meets an unsavory demise and it’s up to Fredrico to put the pieces back together. The Fishers decide to sell out to Kroehner, but Nate backs down after meeting with Gilardi. Claire finds a disturbingly apropos way to pay Gabe back for blabbing to the school about her toe-sucking exploits. A vengeful Gilardi tells Nate that Kroehner has bought the abandoned house across the street, and plans on turning it into a cheap crematorium. Looking for a way to feel alive, Ruth visits the horse track with best friend Amelia, but loses a bundle. After Nate and Brenda make love in the Kroehner house, it suspiciously catches fire.

  • Our dead guest of the episode is Thomas Alfredo Romano who was cut into pieces with a dough mixer.
  • Just like I predicted, Gabe screwed Claire over. He told his friends about their sexual encounter and now everyone is gossiping about her and taunting her.
  • To get revenge, Claire steals Thomas Alfredo Romano’s foot from the funeral home to play a prank on him which is pretty cruel.
  • I guess this lets us know not to mess with Claire.
  • I liked that Keith helps Claire to try to find the foot once it’s dumped.
  • It’s sad that this was the only way he could connect with any member of the Fishers clan as David is still hiding him from his family and well himself.
  • The funeral home is look at for purchasing, but the Fishers turn Kroehners down which I knew them would.
  • The show wouldn’t have last 5 seasons if the Fishers weren’t owning it.
  • What did surprise me was the Kroehner’s newsest property burning down. Didn’t see that coming.

1×04 – Familla

A Mexican-American gang member is killed, and the Fishers find that the family’s wishes for burial are at odds with those of the gang’s leader, Powerful. Meanwhile, with arson investigators breathing down the family’s neck, Nate, David and Ruth wonder if Claire might have had something to do with the fire across the street. Brenda arrives for her first dinner at the Fishers, but fails to make a favorable impression with Ruth. And David gets courage from an unexpected source to end a feud with Keith and stand up to Gilardi’s threat to destroy the Fisher’s business.

  • Our dead guest of the episode is Manuel Pedro Antonio who was shot to death.
  • I wonder if funeral directors have to deal with this often, and by “this” I mean gangs and orders for funerals. I never thought that was something that happened often, but it’s possible I guess.
  • Okay, I get Claire stole a foot and that’s not a really sane thing to do, but the Fishers thinking that’s the same as setting a house on fire doesn’t put themselves in a good light.
  • The girl needs therapy not being accused of setting a house she was nowhere near on fire.
  • Ruth’s face when Nate and Brenda were going at it in the living room is a face I won’t ever forget because I think mines closely resembled hers.
  • What made them think that was a good idea? They act almost as if they were horny teenagers, which I would believe.

1×05 – An Open Book

The death of a porno queen shocks Ruth, who is not prepared for the crush of co-stars who arrive at the Fisher’s home to eulogize the fallen star. Keith takes issue with David’s desire to replace his father as deacon at the family church. Claire and Ruth attempt to spend some more quality time together, and make a spontaneous visit to their cousins’ Cleaverian home. Nate has dinner, sans Brenda, with her psychiatrist parents Bernard and Margaret, and has an unsettling first encounter with her brother Billy.

  • Our dead guest of the episode is Jean Louise McArthur killed by accidental electrocution.
  • I would like to note I saw Sandra Oh as one of Jean’s porn friends and screamed Sandra Oh out loud. I love Sandra Oh.
  • It was Kathy Bates’ idea to make David imagine everyone in the church naked. – That’s so random, but that seems like something she would think of.
  • David came out to Nate in this episode, well kinda. It wasn’t outright, but Nate’s not an idiot (mostly) and could figure out the rest.
  • I liked seeing Claire and Ruth bonding, we hadn’t gotten any of that before this was the first. I hope we more of that in the future.
  • I also loved the show that we see Ruth, Claire, and their respective sister/cousin watching was Gilmore Girls.
  • 1.) Because I love Gilmore Girls and 2.) If you watched Gilmore Girls you know that the two main characters, Lorelei and Rory have a close mother-daughter relationship which Ruth and Claire do not…to say the least.
  • We are introduced to Brenda’s brother Billy… I don’t like him. He seems like a creep and his relationship with Brenda is really weird. I haven’t even mentioned their parents whom we also met in this episode…
  • If I were Nate, I would get myself away from Brenda and her family as soon as possible. She’s not worth the trouble in my opinion.

1×06 – The Room

An ornery grieving widow camps out in the Fisher Funeral Home after the death of his wife of 56 years. Sparks fly when Claire meets Brenda’s brother Billy. Ruth spurns Hiram after running into him at a church; later, she’s wooed by Nikolai, the Fishers’ Russian florist. While serving church meals to the homeless, David finds himself pursued by pushy divorced parishioner Tracy Montrose Blair. And an examination of funeral-home receipts leads Nate to uncover some of his father’s secrets, including a mysterious room that he bartered in exchange for a funeral.

  • Our dead guest of the episode was Mildred “Hattie” Jones who passed away in her sleep.
  • Nate finds his dad had his own secret room he kept from everybody. It’s weird, no doubt, but honestly, if I had to live with the Fishers on a daily basis I probably would have wanted a room of my own away from everyone else too.
  • Plus it’s not like he sought out the room himself, he barters it for a funeral. I feel like it would have been worse if he went out of his way to get away from his family.
  • If I didn’t think Billy was a creep before, I sure did after this episode. He totally went after Claire to get back at Nate for dating Brenda. Who does that?
  • Don’t even get me started with she’s under-aged and he’s a grown man. It’s just a gross situation all around for more than one reason.
  • Tracy repeatedly hitting on David was so cringy. I kept wanting to shake her and say “leave him alone, he’s gay.” I know it was the early 00s, but come on it felt pretty obvious he was gay.

1×07 – Brotherhood

When a young Army veteran dies of Gulf War syndrome, his embittered brother decides to eschew a military funeral in favor of a simple cremation and disposal. Ruth invites Hiram over to cook dinner, then takes a job working for Nikolai. David casts the swing vote in the church search committee’s decision to hire a progressive young associate priest. Claire has trouble recognizing the value of algebra at school and in her life. Nate and Brenda plan to spend their first weekend away, but Billy has other ideas.

  • Our dead guest of the episode is Victor Wayne Kovich who passes from lung disease.
  • I’m glad that Nate was able to convince Victor’s brother to give him a military burial.
  • I was also glad to see Ruth getting a job for herself, something that makes her happy.
  • It seemed that Ruth wasn’t living only for her husband and their children until he passed, now she is living for herself and it’s a beautiful thing to see.
  • The show really wants us to believe that Billy and Brenda had a sexual relationship. Now, this is HBO the network that brought us Game of Thrones, so I wouldn’t put it past them to had done another incest storyline.
  • That being said, I think that’s the most obvious storyline path to go down now, therefore I don’t think that’s where this is heading anymore.
  • I feel there’s going to be another twist involving Billy that’s going to happen very soon.

1×08 – Crossroads

With a lull in business at Fisher’s, Nate and David decide to rent out a room at the funeral home to make some extra income, and Rico is tempted to take on some extra work at Kroehner’s. Claire struggles to grasp the lessons of her outreach hike in the mountains, and Ruth struggles to reconcile her feelings toward Hiram with her need for excitement. Connor, a longtime Aussie friend of Brenda’s, gets under Nate’s skin. David’s mood is buoyed by some good news: a bus crash has killed scores, and many of them are local.

  • The dead guest of this episode is my favorite thus far into the show. It’s a morbid death, but a fun one.
  • A newly divorced woman gets her head cut off while I Will Survive is playing in the behind. Morbid, but very fun indeed.
  • I like Claire’s storyline the most in this episode, even with David finding himself a little twink.
  • It’s something about Claire’s character being stuck in the wilderness with her classmates, hating every minute of it that is entertaining.
  • I also feel like I would very much act like Claire if I was put in the same situation.
  • Like I mentioned before, David finds himself a twink in this episode and it’s to see him explore his sexuality even if this relationship won’t last.
  • Speaking of relationships that won’t last, Nate and Brenda! I’m kidding, mostly. I really don’t like their relationship.
  • Maybe that’s too harsh, but I don’t care about their relationship. They have far too many trust issues or issues period.
  • Nate was justified in his feelings, while Brenda was simply messing with them.
  • I also still don’t care much for Brenda herself. I hope that changes, she gets a lot of screen time, so I hope for my stake I start caring about her character. For right now though, I’m still just eh about her.
  • A fun little tidbit, Nate watches Will & Grace. I love that.

1×09 – Life’s Too Short

A tragedy reunites Claire with Gabe, the “foot guy” who sullied her reputation at school. David and new boyfriend Kurt explore the disco circuit. To improve Nate’s sales skills, Brenda suggests they pose as bereaved relatives at several funeral homes in the area. Ruth finds a weekend camping trip with Hiram to be an eye-opening experience.

  • Never has an episode title ever been so true. Life’s too short…far too short.
  • I saw where the cold open was going and when the actual death happened. I had to look away. That’s the first time a death in the show has affected me in this way.
  • Eric Balfour/Gabe returns, but not under the best circumstances as Gabe’s brother was the young child killed in the cold open when he was playing with a gun when Gabe was supposed to be watching him.
  • This wasn’t the easiest episode to watch, especially considering I was watching this episode a day after the Gilroy mass shooting where a child was killed.
  • Definitely a heart-wrenching episode, I’m just glad that the other storylines were much more lighthearted.
  • I was not a fan of Gabe when we first met him earlier this season obviously, but I’m intrigued by how this storyline will affect him and Claire’s relationship.
  • “You know what I find interesting? If you lose a spouse, you’re called a widow, or a widower. If you’re a child and you lose your parents, then you’re an orphan. But what’s the word to describe a parent who loses a child? I guess that’s just too fucking awful to even have a name.”
  • Predictably, David’s relationship with a younger man doesn’t work out, but I did enjoy seeing it overlap with Ruth’s relationship. Gave me a much-needed laugh.

1×10 – The New Person

Nate and David decide to hire a replacement for Rico: Angela, who does good work and speaks her mind – too well. Billy has a gallery exhibit for some recent photos, including one taken of a surprising (and surprised) subject. David reacquaints with Keith, Ruth dines with Nikolai, and Claire frets over Gabe’s inconsistent behavior.

  • Our dead guest in this episode is a man killed by his wife with a frying pan who is tired of him.
  • And honestly? That may have been the most realistic death so far in the show.
  • I liked how Angela put the whole family on edge like they aren’t a bunch of weirdos themselves.
  • Still, I’m glad they got Rico back because Angela wouldn’t have lasted with the Fishers anyways.
  • Angela did manged to spill the beans to Ruth that David’s gay before leaving. So, you can’t say she didn’t accomplish anything.
  • Billy is back to being a pervert and overall creep.
  • I seriously don’t get how everyone has turned a blind eye to him stalking Nate.
  • Sure, it’s a little bit funny, but come on. Nate clearly didn’t know he was having his picture taken or that Billy was even there. That’s stalking in my eyes.
  • I don’t know what to make of Claire and Gabe’s relationship. I’m glad he has someone, but if I had to use a word to describe Claire it would not be stable. I can see this going south again fast.
  • Claire mentions at dinner that she has an overnight astronomy thing for school, and Nate and David cover for her. They then have a discussion about the planetary status of Pluto. The same discussion occurred on an episode of Peter Krause’s previous show, Sports Night, between him and his co-workers. – I loved Sports Night, far too good to have as short as it was.

1×11 – The Trip

David, Nate, and Brenda travel to Las Vegas to attend a funeral directors conference and experience the highs and lows of Sin City. Ruth takes a floral-arrangement class and learns to listen to her inner self. A baby’s death from SIDS cast a pall over the Fisher and Sons return of Rico, whose wife is pregnant with the couple’s second child.

  • I think the fact we didn’t actually see the death at the beginning of the episode shows how truly horrific losing a child, especially as young as an infant.
  • I wasn’t even over Gabe’s brother’s death, and yet 2 episodes later we have another child death.
  • I could seriously go the next few seasons without then.
  • It was nice to see David, Nate, and Brenda on a sorta vacation, well until Billy started to stalk Nate and Brenda and David got arrested.
  • It was so awkward seeing Keith have to bail out David for being with a prostitute. Talk about an awkward encounter with your ex…
  • Still, it shows Keith still cares about David, even if he doesn’t understand what’s going on with him.
  • It’s truly upsetting that things with Billy had to go this far until Brenda had to see something was wrong. Even so, she and Nate still can’t get on the same page about the best way to get about him.

1×12 – A Private Life

The homophobic killing of a gay man forces David to confront his own fears about his lifestyle – and life choices. After a particularly sick “joke” by Billy, Nate agrees with Brenda’s parents that Billy should be institutionalized, but Brenda isn’t convinced – yet. Ruth shares a secret about her love life with fellow florist Robbie, Claire shares a secret about Gabe with her school shrink, and David shares a secret about himself with his mother.

  • Another heartbreaking death at the beginning of the episode.
  • Seeing someone get beaten to death is difficult enough, but knowing they are getting beaten because of their sexuality is on another level of hard to watch.
  • This obviously affects David and his struggle with his faith and sexuality. But, if there’s anything good to come out of this is that David does finally tell Ruth, he’s gay and she reacts in the most Ruth way possible (which is good).
  • But, things don’t go so well when David tells Rico he’s gay. It was shocking seeing such a nice character react pretty poorly to someone having a sexuality different than their own. It does show though, even the nicest people can have bigoted views.
  • I want to see where their relationship goes from here, will Rico eventually accept David or if things will remain as tense as they are now. I hope it’s the former, but who knows…well other than the people who have already seen the show.
  • Billy fully flies off the hinges in this episode as he attacks Nate and Brenda.
  • This at least finally allows Brenda to see what Nate and her parents already have that Billy is not well and desperately needs help.
  • I do understand why it took Brenda this long to come around on Billy getting help because at the end of the day he is her brother and no one wants to believe their family is capable of hurting people. But, wow am I happy to see finally accept this fact.
  • Maybe her relationship with Nate will be better now that she has accepted what was going on with Billy.
  • Protester: “God hates f*gs!”
  • Nate: “God hates morons!”

1×13 – Knock, Knock

David and the rest of the Fishers experience the control-freak side of Tracy Montrose Blaire when she envisions a “resplendent” funeral for her dearly departed Aunt Lilian. Brenda visits a remorseful Billy in the institution, then gets into an argument with Nate that has some serious repercussions. David is forced to take a stand at church when he and the other deacons are told that Father Jack has been presiding over same-sex marriages. Gabe reverts to some bad habits when he and Claire attend a party hosted by her sometime friend Parker. Ruth closes one door on Hiram and opens another with Nikolai. And Rico celebrates his son’s christening with a spirited reception at Fisher and Sons Funeral Home.

  • After the last few episodes of the season having quite a few heartbreaking deaths, we end the season with a more lighthearted one, with Tracy’s aunt’s being killed when she gets hit by a golf ball.
  • Tracy is a pain, but she does bring some funny moments when she pops up on the show. That’s why when we see have a breakdown toward the end of the episode, it is particularly striking.
  • I like that we can multiple layers of every character, even the secondary ones like Tracy.
  • Coming out of the finale, there are two storylines that I am most intrigued by as we head into season two. Those two storylines are Claire and Gabe’s relationship along with Nate’s health.
  • I obviously don’t expect Nate dying anytime time soon, he’s in it for the long haul I’m sure. However, I’m interested where the show is going to take this storyline and how the rest of the family and Brenda will react to Nate’s health crisis.
  • Then we have Gabe and Claire. I don’t see this ending well at all.
  • There was some foreshadowing with Claire dreaming of her father saying that Gabe won’t last much longer and if he continues to go down the path of robbing convenience stores then that prediction will become true.
  • Which would be so tragic for Gabe’s mom who already lost her youngest son and for Claire. She finally has someone she cares about and who cares for her to abruptly lose him would hit her hard.
  • I’m most excited to see what happens with them in season two.
  • I loved seeing Ruth take back her life during the course of the season and end the season with someone she deeply cares for in Nikolai.
  • I also loved seeing David stand up for himself and Father Jack, even if he is dismissed from his church.
  • With mean the end of Six Feet Under season one!

Six Feet Under was not what I was expecting. I have heard a lot about the show over the years, but no one ever told me the show was funny. It can be emotional as well, but the humor surprised me as I wasn’t prepared for it. Season one of Six Feet Under was different from what I was expecting, but once I got attached to the characters everything came into place. It wasn’t a perfect season in my opinion, but it shows potential for how the rest of the show could be and that’s what makes me excited to move forward to season two. Favorite character? I would say Ruth surprisingly, didn’t expect that when I saw the first episode. My favorite episode will have to be 1×12, my favorite plot (the Billy storyline) closes here strongly and David reevaluating his lifestyle was powerful to watch.

Pros: The characters, the performances, dark humor, the ending to the season finale.

Cons: No overarching storyline that involved all the main characters for the entire season, some episodes stronger than others,

Other Seasons In Reviews: The Office – S1, 24 – S1, Breaking Bad – S1, Dexter – S1, The West Wing – S1, 30 Rock – S1, The Good Wife – S1, 24 – S2

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