Last time we talked about season 3, episode 9. With special emphasis on how annoying Lisa is and what’s going to happen between her and Nate. Which seems funny in hindsight.
The wife and I have had a few binge days. We’re all the way up to the season 4 finale. It’s literally playing right now. And man, there’s a lot to go over.
First, whoa, Lisa. Okay, so they spend season 3 making Lisa very annoying yet sympathetic yet annoying. And then they kill her! Did not see that coming. I thought suicide was on the table, given how her and Nate were. And maybe that’s what happened? Still don’t know the cause of death. The reconciliation between them in s3e9 makes more sense. Narrative relies on juxtaposition. Typically joy precedes tragedy, or a character hits their lowest low before things get better. So the fact that Nate and Lisa finally seem to feel good is of course the set-up for something very bad.
I like that this has been a sustained issue. Lisa’s missing was a multi-episode event. And her death has had major reverberations. I mean, mostly for Nate. But it’s caused all the characters to stop and think and kind of adjust behavior. But with Nate it’s been nice that they continue to explore the fallout.
WAIT LISA’S BROTHER IN LAW KILLED HER. THIS IS HAPPENING ON THE SCREEN RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE THIS HOLY SHIT.
Wow. So they went full murder mystery.
OH FUCK HE KILLED HIMSELF
This season was pretty great.
Nate and Brenda can be infuriating. The fact that Brenda cheats on Joe with Nate. That Nate keeps being a jerk to Brenda. It’s exhausting. I don’t mind the slow build to them getting back together. They had a lot of issues. And over the course of season 3 and season 4, we see both characters work on themselves. Really, everything that happens is simply a means of getting Nate and Brenda back together. Nate was the rolling stone and emotionally difficult. So Lisa and Maya ground him. Then Lisa’s death breaks him down. Nate goes through his lowest low in order to mature and be a responsible father. Then losing Lisa sets him up to be a dedicated partner. In more ways than one. His lack of connection with Lisa only highlights the connection he has with Brenda. And Brenda being there for him in tragedy only solidifies their connection. Having been with the wrong person, Nate can more fully commit to the right person.
And hats off to the “That’s My Dog” episode. That had to have won awards, right? It should be talked about as one of the best episodes of TV ever. Without any other context, David “picking up someone off the side of the road thinking he’s doing a good deed only to end up kidnapped and assaulted and facing death itself” is powerful. But it also pays off on David’s careless promiscuity. Since season 1, he’s had some more than questionable decision making when it comes to other men. From calling the hooker while in Las Vegas to inviting online strangers over to his place. Any number of those encounters could have gone badly. And now one finally did. So while the encounter could strike some as out of left field or a commentary on the randomness of violence, it’s actually a perfect byproduct of David risky promiscuity.
I was screaming a the TV every time the Jake guy talked and said some other bullshit thing that David didn’t question. Ugh. I will say, there were like two moments David could have driven away and didn’t. And one moment where he could have seriously hurt Jake but decided to runaway rather than press his advantage. Except he didn’t keep running and got caught. Sigh.
I actually had this happen to me once, in Cleveland. Marcus was nicer about it than Jake. He did ask me for all my money. But when I told him I was a poor college student who didn’t have any cash, he dropped it and instead had me drive him a few miles up the road. But he told me to stay there and keep the engine running. Then smiled and walked into this bar. I left, immediately, of course. But it was pretty intense. Thankfully he didn’t pour gasoline over me and beat hell out of me.
It was nice Six Feet Under continued to explore David’s trauma from the trip with Jake. But it does bring something up. A lot of storylines kind of overlap or echo each other. And I don’t know if that’s a purposeful thematic thing or a lack of ideas in the writer’s room or what?
What I mean is that in Season 1, Keith is Mr, Perfect. It’s David hiding their relationship that’s the issue. So Keith and David break up. When they get back together in season 2, it’s after Keith shoots and kills someone while on duty. It was clearly self defense, but the event rocks Keith. For all of season 2 and season 3, Keith’s a dick. David’s the one constantly trying to make their relationship work. Their break up seems all but inevitable. Yet! Love wins, ya know? At the end of season 3, they have a breakthrough and things seems good. And they solidify the change in Keith’s character by having him quit his security job. A job he had resented and that the show had anchored a lot of his rage issues to. So it seems Good Keith is back!
But after David’s encounter with Jake, David’s the one who is emotionally unstable. He’s the angry one, sad one, violent one. And Keith’s a saint through it all. But once again the plot relies on their relationship being unbalanced. And one of them having PTSD from a violent encounter. It seems David finally has catharsis by the end of season 4. So maybe season 5 David and Keith finally have a clean slate and can just be happy? Probably not. But we can hope, right?
Anyway, the echo thing. Brenda was in a serious relationship with Nate but couldn’t stop sleeping around. Then she’s in a serious relationship with Joe and…starts sleeping around. Claire dealt with Russell being bi-curious. Now Claire spends the season being bi-curious. Each guy Ruth dates has some relationship-shattering secret. Nikolai had his massive debt to the Russian mob. Arthur was a virgin. And now George has a mental illness.
It’s weird because so much has happened in the show. But also not a lot has actually changed? Season 1, the question is can Nate and Brenda make it. And in season 4, we’re still answering that same question. Will Keith and David make it? Ruth, Claire, and Rico have all moved forward a bit more. But Ruth’s still kind of struggling with men. Rico just frustrates me. And Claire, well, I have no real complaints. Her story really has developed a lot from trying to figure out what she wants to do and pining after Gabriel.
I do think I like season 4 more than season 3 and season 2. We did have a return of some dead people talking to the main characters. I appreciate that. It wasn’t much. But it’s good Six Feet Under didn’t completely abandon that concept, ya know?
Let’s see how it ends. I hear great things about the finale.
Season power rankings so far:
- Season 1
- Season 4
- Season 2/season 3
The last 4 episodes of season 3 are probably my favorite 4 episode stretch in the show. But everything leading up to that was just okay to me. And I could eventually put Season 4 as #1. Just need to live with it a little more.
Thanks for reading!