Six Feet Under: 4/21: Out Of Control?

Wow. Everything’s getting pretty crazy.

For a while it looked like Claire was doing alright… but with the way she told off Toby and sent him packing, and that shot of what we can expect from her next week… Yeesh.

I knew Billy would be back. I was just saying to myself last week that it was about time for him to show up again. I didn’t realize it would be him immediately when Brenda said her mom was having a ‘special guest,’ but as soon as they went into the apartment it hit me. He does look good though. But this thing with Claire really has me worried.

Seems like they were trying to hit us with a lot of curveballs this ep. The whole Claire/Billy thing happening offscreen that we have to figure out, the mystery of what happened to Nikolai offscreen that I imagine will be revealed gradually… How about Keith’s niece’s mom showing up at the last minute. Ramon beating the crap out of Rico. I knew it was a bad idea for him to tell his wife about the ‘screwing’ thing – actually I was rather surprised that she believed him at all.

I’m a little concerned. Seems like they’re bringing all the conflict in everyone’s life to a boil all at the same time. Brenda’s flipping out, and now she’s found out about Nate’s illness (and what a way to find out!). Keith’s got P-TSD, takes David for granted, and now the whole niece thing is gonna stress him out even more. Claire’s a half-nutcase who’s gonna now start hanging out with the uber-nutcase. The only character who I think is doing decently is Ruth, I think having someone around to take care of will be good for her. But Nikolai’s gonna have to be going bananas sitting on the couch all day, every day.

I mean really – what is it all leading up to?

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
Oh, and also, why was it Christmas?

I hate Brenda. Hate, hate, hate her! Nate’s waaay too good for her.

Claire sending Toby on his way was disappointing. Especially since he was absolutely right. She’s got the whole cynical outsider thing down to a fine art.

David has been a complete asshole to Ruth lately. She’s trying to be accepting toward his sexuality. He could at least cut her a little slack.

Ruth…god, where do I start? The woman needs a center. She’s been flapping in the breeze since Nathaniel Sr. died, being blown this way by one pop psych theory and that way by the next. She annoys me most of the time.

And speaking of Dad…stay dead already! Nothing’s more annoying than a man who can’t tell when he’s been called away.

Rico…I’m wondering how much of his totally irrational attitude toward Ramon is coming from repressing his apparent homophobia around David (the boss, after all).

And last, but not least, Keith. Can this man not take everything as a personal insult, please? His mental integrity is getting shaky from all the strain.


Last week, when Nikolai cancelled his dinner with Ruth, he was worried and upset while reviewing a bunch of papers on the table. This week, he ends up with a couple of broken legs. I say he’s seriously into some loan sharks - part of the Russian mob, maybe?

First off, am I completely deranged for laughing out loud at the mall scene with the canceled Santa thing, knowing poor Santa was on a slab at Fisher & Sons? That was so funny.

Poor Ruth. She just wanted a nice family Christmas and no oe was cooperating. It was the first anniversary of her husband’s death. Everyone was remembering their last moments with Nathaniel, Sr. I thought that was a nice touch.
What was he always smoking? Just cigarettes? Or pot? If he was stoned, that helps explain the accident a little more.

I though the person showing up at Keith’s was the old boyfriend (forgot his name), not Taylor’s mom. I though there was going to be a confrontation between him and David.

What is with Brenda? Is she turning into a whore or what?

Yeah, I think Nikolai is into loan sharks or something. How else do you end up with two broken legs? And he’s staying with the Fishers? That sounds like fun! :rolleyes:

I nearly didn’t recognize Billy. He seems better. His mom, though…sheesh. He wanted her to take down that picture, and she wouldn’t. Nice, Mom, that really helps.

Claire. She’s turning into a brat. Toby seems like a nice guy, just wanted to be with a ‘normal’ family for Christmas, and all she could do was mock him.
She’s going to get in trouble with Billy, no doubt about it.

I think the season is probably nearly over. We’re going to be left with a bunch of cliffhangers. Arrgghh!

I’m glad Toby set Claire straight. She needed that. Her outlook is getting annoying.

I missed the first 20 or so minutes.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a flashback episode, even though they are cheesy, with Nate Sr. I’d like to see how he interacted in real life with everyone.

Well, that’s kind of the point of the show, isn’t it? That people who are close to us aren’t really dead to us. At least he was only in flashbacks and not walking aroung in people’s delusions.

What’s irrational about his behavior? The guy was cheating on his wife in Rico’s living room! Any way you cut it it was out of line. The fact that it was with a guy might have made Rico a little madder and that does make it a bigger betrayal of his marriage (Hell, Rico might have protected him by clinging to some kind of irrational male “code” if it had been a woman). He should have told his wife in the first place so she could call the guy’s wife. “Oh yeah, your husband’s cheating on you and he’s a homosexual. Have a nice day.”

Well, no. You can disagree with someone cheating on their wife (even with a man) without taking just about every opportunity to call him a “fucking homo”. Rico’s reactions certainly seemed to be based much more on the “with a man” aspect than the “cheating on Graciela” aspect. And Ramon isn’t necessarily a homosexual…he could be bi.

Can’t say that I didn’t wish I’d taped the “discovery” scene so I could replay. And pause. And replay. :wink:


Oh, I think Rico has some repressed homophobia, alright.
Wasn’t it last season, with the young gay kid who was killed (the hate crime), when he said something like “stupid homos” and David said, “I’m a stupid homo”.
Not that exactly, but something derogatory, with the word ‘homo’, which David then repeated.

Points taken. I was thinking about what he did after that, namely taking him off of the job and keeping it to himself until anger forced him to tell his wife (eventually).

Another aspect of the whole thing is the betrayal of Rico. It put him in an awkward position, homophobia aside. By expecting Rico to “keep his mouth shut” he was basically expecting Rico to become an accomplice in his betrayal of his wife. The sad thing is that if it had been a woman then Rico might have been voluntarily complicit. Macho stuff.

Yeah, Christmas seemed a little odd at first, but it wasn’t exactly a Hallmark Event episode. The only touchy-feely characters were the bikers (loved the widow - she was way cool) so it wasn’t like you had to have the tree lit in the living room to enjoy the show.

I have to admit that every character is shooting off in wild directions at the same time…never quite seen a show like that, but that’s why I tune in. I do agree with the criticism of the lame dead-dad flashback stories…leave that to Providence and move on.

As far as Rico is concerned, rabid homophobia is usually a cover for other feelings. Most truly straight guys don’t give a damn if a guy is gay - it just means more women for them…maybe there is a plot twist down the line with Rico?

Also in response to DMark on preview:

First, standard disclaimer: I am not Latino. But it’s my understanding that the machismo thing makes the general Latino culture(s) fairly homophobic at the outset. While this may make Rico’s homophobia understandable, it doesn’t make it any less wrong or disgusting.

Although Rico has far less fault in his attitude than the smug, self-righteous old man on the parish board had back when Father Jack was being accused of being gay.


I think you guys are right about the Mafia thing with Nikolai. I hadn’t connected it with that shot from last week, Labdad, good call.

Did anyone else notice that the actor that plays Billy (forgot his name) was billed as a ‘special guest star’ after last night’s show? Is that how it used to be? We know he’ll be around next week, but if he didn’t get a regular gig, maybe Billy isn’t gonna stick around long. It occurred to me that maybe next week Claire will come to her senses and flip out at him and realize how crazy she’s been acting, and he’ll flip out and go back to the institution he was at. Yes? No? Maybe so?

Rico’s got a lot of anger, and he totally doesn’t know how to handle it. Remember that if the ‘homo’ thing hadn’t come up with Ramon, he was headed for a confrontation with his wife. Now he must feel so lonely – he can’t trust anyone. That can’t be good.

It’s just that they’ve got everyone in these humongously destructive relationships, with no way out. It’s disconcerting.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure Nathaniel Sr. was smoking cigarettes, not pot. I was trying to pay attention, and he was lighting up cigarettes (also remember the way Nate hid the joint from him when he interrupted Nate and Claire on the porch). Then again, he was definitely drinking all day. The cup of rum he offered David was a good example. When he was talking to Claire in the kitchen while she was on the phone, I initially thought he was grabbing a beer out of the fridge but I think it turned out to be a diet soda.

I’ll be watching it again on Tuesday to catch anything I missed the first time around.

I was laughing when he died. I don’t know what that says about me.

I love Brenda. But I seem to be in the minority.

Toby had a valid point, but he’s a condescending putz.

Toby may have had a valid point if it weren’t the first anniversary of Claire’s father’s death. Even if she wasn’t consciously aware of it, she – like the rest of the family – was undoubtedly stressed and depressed.

Brenda’s losing it. I think she’s on the right track in the upcoming episode when she tells her whore friend that she thinks she’s developing a mental illness.

Things are definitely coming to a boil. Brenda is working on my one good nerve, and I wish she’d just get over herself. I loved her in the last season, but this season she’s irritating me no end. Open a vein already, will ya?

And I disagree with the dead people showing up on the show. I don’t understand why this bothers people (on the HBO message board people take issue with it a lot) . . . this is great writing. The dead “speaking” to Nate, David, etc. are there to explore the inner conflicts of those characters. And dead daddy is their Jiminy Cricket. Albeit a chain-smoking, cynical, dead Jiminy Cricket.

And this time, it wasn’t speaking to ‘Dead Daddy’; it was everyone remembering the last time they saw him.
Look how different things could have been. He asked Claire to go with him to pick up Nate; would she have been killed also, or would she have picked up the cigarettes for him, and then he would have not been hit by the bus?

Wonderful comments about Sunday’s show so far! I’ll chip in with these:

  1. I think Billy Chenowith is the scariest character on television. He makes my flesh crawl. And I can’t stand the idea that Clare is going to get involved with him again.
  2. I do like Clare. And I like how much she looks like her mother. I think she offed Toby because Toby hit a couple of nerves. I also think we might see more of Toby somewhere down the line. But she’s got to get through this habit of falling for dangerous losers first!
  3. Brenda? Hmmmmm. How complex can she be? She gets more and more slutty by the minute. Is it because Nate is really too square for her? And how will she behave long term to his illness? I don’t see her standing by as loyal nursemaid. Or maybe her deal is to push people away BEFORE they can push her away. Think back to last week’s scene where her mother screamed at her and made her leave when Brenda offered to help her work through her sadness.
  4. Nicolai is definitely in trouble with some bad dudes. My thought was: The Russian Mafia.
  5. I think Keith and David are a great couple and I think they’re going to work through their problems. My guess is that they’ll evenually form a happy little family with Taylor in their custody.
  6. Rico? I think he thought Ramon was doing Rico’s wife behind the plastic. So discovering that it was a man/man coupling was really a good news/bad news shocker for him. He was right to tell his wife what had happened because she deserved to know why he was so upset. But things are really spiraling out of control.
  7. I loved the fact that it was a Christmas show. We shouldn’t always have to have Christmas shows in November or December. April is a very refreshing time for a Christmas show.
  8. Loved the biker funeral and everything that came with it. Loved Marilyn, the widow. And loved the gift of the Harley. It symbolizes freedom for Nate and he needs a little freedom with all that’s hanging on his shoulders right now.
  9. Dead Dad: love him. Loved getting everybody’s memories of their last moments with Dad. And loved that Ruth finally broke down about his death. I think Nathaniel was her center for so long that she’s floundered through this year trying to find a new center, trying to keep her family and business together, etc. It’s too much change in one short year for a person to deal with. Give her a break; she’s trying!
    This is a wonderful show! It’s one of a handful of shows that I WILL NOT MISS!

I like the talking to dead people thing. It’s a show about death, and the theme works for me.

Brenda…hmm. I like her enough that I mainly feel sorry for her. Her mother is just a car wreck - I can’t stand her, I want to slap her every time she says anything - and Billy was her burden for so long. Clearly hers was not a healthy upbringing. She’s involved with a guy who seems so normal, steady, and grounded, and she doesn’t know what to do with him. She’s flaking out. That she slipped back into the caretaker role with Nate after he told her (but did he tell her everything?) about his illness is a bad harbinger, I think, for their relationship in the short term. She needs drama in her life, and especially now with the book-writing endeavor, she needs it to fuel her.

Speaking of people who are heading for a crack-up, Rico’s on the edge. I’m expecting a blow-out with David.

The role reversal in Keith and David’s relationship is interesting. Keith was so confident and secure initially, and now that everything in his life as been upended, David is his rock. I thing David wants that role, but I wonder if he’ll be able to handle it.

I loved loved loved the biker funeral. If I didn’t intend to be cremated, I’d want that coffin, except maybe with some boobs airbrushed on it.

Bikers are the coolest… I wish I were one.

I’m such a snob. I thought all the bikers looked like they needed to take a bath and wash their clothes.

And as far as plotlines go, I’m terribly excited that Claire and Billy have been communicating. Fascinating from the whole “are the insane really the sanest among us?” perspective. But, what happened last season with Claire and Billy? Didn’t he diss her?

Brenda, Brenda, Brenda…what is up with this whole stranger danger sex thing she’s got going on? Let’s not forget that she and Nate screwed in the janitor’s closet of the airport not mere hours before meeting each other on the plane. So, I keep wondering if this is some sort of pattern with her that we as the viewer just aren’t aware of since we don’t know her past.

And Toby was such a smug little twit. Everytime Claire would make a comment about her family, he would counter with “at least your family doesn’t dance naked around the campfire to celebrate the winter solice” or “at least your family doesn’t get naked and baste the turkey”. Gah, he had this perfect, Norman Rockwell picture of Claire’s family and life and he had no clue. He was talking out of his ass and I’m glad she told him to stuff it.

I’m biased. I absolutely adore Claire. I think she is one of the best written teen girl characters to come along in basically forever.