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September 2, 2015

Six Feet Under: The Rainbow Of Her Reasons

by Russell Shaw, posted Jul 11th 2005 5:41PM
Sarah OConnerSome Six Feet Under episodes are writing-driven, character-plot showcases.

"The Rainbow Of Her Reasons" is a bit different. This latest episode is acting-driven, namely a showcase for three of the most emotive actors working on any screen in this generation.

I'm talking about Patricia Clarkson, who plays Ruth's sister Sarah O'Conner; James Cromwell, who portrays Ruth's husband George Sibley; and yes, Lauren Ambrose, who, of course, is Claire Fisher.

 "The Rainbow Of Her Reasons" story arc is largely centered on Sarah. Out on a hike with her old friend Fiona Kleinschmidt, she pushes her pal to climb to a particular vista where she can see the Pacific Ocean below. Tragically, this the last such vista that Fiona sees, at least in this plane of existence.

Decidely New Age, Sarah does not have the usual take on death that many practitioners of monotheistic religions do. She, Bettina (Kathy Bates), Ruth and several others commemorate their friend in adoring tones partly informed by lots of red wine and more than a little giggle weed. 

Yet the wine and weed awaken sentiments in Sarah that make her feel guilty for "killing her friend." The script then arcs Sarah's regret into an overall "everything sucks" mood that encompasses her lot in life, and most certainly, her political views. Don't invite Sarah, and say, Sean Hannity to the same party.

In this portrayal, Clarkson manages to masterfully extract and bring to the screen what we've known all along- that Sarah is not just an aging hippie chick, but a deeply emotional, sensitive and conflicted soul.

Cromwell has played George Sibley as a conflicted being. That George most certainly  is, but on this episode, we see a different Sibley - one calm and confident in light of Ruth's benignly intended deception. But still, a deception, and a manipulative one at that. He handles it with surprising grace and strength.

In Six Feet Under's five seasons, Lauren Ambrose's Claire has grown up from a slacker with attitude to a young woman entranced with the life-transcending potential of art. As Claire's latest artistic opportunity proves elusive, and she moves out of a too-mercurial living situation with Billy, she is forced to enter the conservatively dressed work-a-day world.  By her body movements and facial mannerisms, Ambrose/Claire masterfully plays this fate (cruel for any creative type- just ask me) far deeper than a mere "this sucks" treatment. An escape-daydream sequence spotlight's Ambrose's real-life, trained singing talents as well.

Later this week, I'll post my take on what happens next.

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Steve Portigal

I felt very critical of this episode in terms of where Six Feet Under has headed to versus how it started out... http://chittahchattah.blogspot.com/2005/07/six-feet-under-or-over-shark.html I realize that a lot of online discussion around TV shows features "worst episode ever" type of criticism and hopefully you may see this as something with a bit more than a knee-jerk hater reaction. I do love the show.

July 14 2005 at 12:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to disagree that this episode's story arc centered on Sarah -- in my opinion, it was all about Ruth. Not only did we get some resolution and closure to the problems she and Claire have been having all season, Ruth finally unloaded George -- only to realize that she may have made a mistake. Also, the disillusionment that Ruth feels upon realizing that the all-woman commune was just drunk talk and that no one can be trusted to follow-through on anything (not even herself) puts Ruth and the big T truths of her character front and center. Meanwhile, I absolutely LOVE the character of Claire and Lauren Ambrose, but the pantyhose song was even more of a shark-jump moment than that dreadful bird device from a few episodes back. P.S. The "Calling All Angels" moment, where the camera touched upon the angst of several characters, felt VERY "Magnolia." Too bad they didn't use a better song (or have Aimee Mann, like "Magnolia").

July 11 2005 at 9:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes the acting is great but the Claire story line is an exact copy of the Dead Like Me premise I believe they may have used the same office.

July 11 2005 at 5:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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