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October 10, 2015

Six Feet Under: Ecotone

by Russell Shaw, posted Jul 31st 2005 10:41PM
If you haven't seen "Ecotone" yet, I won't spoil it for you. Not at least - to use a newspaper term for the top half of the front page - above the fold.

But if you have already seen "Ecotone," or even perhaps if you haven't, then you will want to read on.

Peter KrauseNathaniel Fisher- 1965-2005.


And how did we know thee.

Nate's dead. He's gone. I have to admit I am surprised. And since only 33 percent of you predicted this in the poll we ran on Nate's fate, I have to think most of you are as well.

In lesser hands, the first 45 minutes of "Ecotone" would be a tease. Nate is shown snapping out of his possibly climax-induced AVM episode at Maggie's quicker than was expected, and much quicker than was feared. He recognizes everyone, jokes,and is his flippant self.

During the episode, characters have some redeeming moments.In a fantasy sequence, Ruth plays out her hatred of most of the men that have been in her life. Vanessa admits that her hostility to Rico is a direct result of being scared. Claire and her new very pro Iraq-war friend from work start out their first date with a highly political argument- a tiff that is quickly forgotten when they get THE CALL.

Brenda is among the first to arrive, but as soon as Nate has the strength to talk to Brenda alone, he tells her their life together is over. At least as far as he is concerned, the energy is gone from their marriage. He retreats to a dream sequence in which he is apparently lost to the sea, in the same ocean that was to carry the lifeless body of his first wife, Lisa.

And soon, the machines he is being monitored with in the hospital sing their most ominous monotone song. The song that creates tears more than any other ever written.

If indeed Nate's body was compromised and then rendered for the ages  by the jolt of  an  adulterous liaison, that is the utmost irony. A discharge that in some cases creates life ultimately took his.

So with only three Six Feet Under episodes to go, what happens next? Post a Comment and let us know.

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the series is over! and I tought it was a good season thanks writers. smile

August 27 2005 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what episode is it that says Maggie is Pregnate or is this a speculation?? she may not be Pregnate and I truly hope she isnt.. I cant blame Brenda for takeing Maya to Ruth she has had the worlds worst luck with the Fishers I would sever ties with them too.. I just like Brenda. she didnt deserve all the crap she has gotten for the fishers

August 10 2005 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have never missed an episode from season 1. This show has followed me through my own mother's death two years ago. I relate to SFU very much and to hear and see the flatline at the end of the last Sunday's episode made me ill. Nate is my favorite character and I really felt like someone I personally knew had just died. I couldn't sleep last Sunday thinking about how they will end this wonderful and fascinating series. I really don't know what will happen, but it made me mad that right when Nate finally seems happy, he dies! How tragic, but so SFU!

August 03 2005 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James Kew

Allison: Nate didn't have a brain tumor; we were told he had a second AVM which burst, leading to a haemmorage. I don't recall the first AVM causing behavioural changes -- wasn't it more nausea and disorientation? Judy: the law didn't stop Nate from burying Lisa in the desert, as she wished for.

August 03 2005 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jo Ann

Well, some staff member of St. Bridget's just might notice that the slave monitor at the desk is ALARMING! They might also rush in with the crash cart, charge the paddles of the defibrillator to 300 joules, apply the paddles to Nate's chest, shock him, give him a little atropine and voila.....we are on to the next episode.

August 03 2005 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One last thing and then I'll shut up, I promise :-) When Nate went and slept with Lisa in Seattle, during his relationship with Brenda, he was drawn to Lisa in part because she was easy to be with, like Maggie. I am not saying Lisa and Maggie are exactly alike--that's obviously not true. But they have in common that Nate finds them less difficult than Brenda (more submissive to him, possibly). When season (3?) opened, with Nate married to Lisa, one of the things he said was, "We never fight" (same as what he likes about Maggie). It was easy to have peace with Lisa--at first. But as the season progressed, he got bored with Lisa, and frustrated, and ended up kissing Brenda. (And going back to her, after Lisas death.) I can already hear people arguing, "Maggie is so much deeper than Lisa! And Maggie and Nate seem to have actual passion, unlike Lisa and Nate!" Okay, that is true--fair point. But I still can't help feeling that both Lisa and Maggie are less challenging to Nate, so part of him thinks they are the answer... but that other part of him, the part drawn to a crazier, more challenging woman, would still exist and rear up to cause trouble.

August 03 2005 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am not a fan of Brenda's, but I just want to raise something in response to the viewer who said Brenda was borderline psychotic and that Nate was not a jackass, that he forgave Brenda all her transgressions; it seems like we all forgot that Nate also cheated on Brenda during that time (right? Or is my memory failing me?). When he and Claire went to Seattle, Nate slept with Lisa (right?), hence the possibility that he is Maya's father. I am not saying that that makes Brenda's behavior acceptable, but it is at least a *little* more equal than I think the show acknowledged, or than people seem to remember. Oh dear, oh dear... I just read the list of spoilers for the future episodes, including the one about how Brenda secretly cheated on Nate again and so the child is not Nate's. I *hope* that is not true, because if it is, it seems as though the show would be reducing the rich moral ambiguity of Nate's final decision (to choose Maggie over Brenda) to a simple matter of right and wrong... if Brenda cheated, and is deceiving Nate right up till his last moments, it will seem as though Nate had perfectly clear, almost supernatural vision in his last moments and saw that the "right" answer was to be with Maggie... but I don't want that to be true. I liked the ambiguity of his final decision--the idea that it's not clear whether he's really had an epiphany and should be with Maggie, or whether he's simply repeating old patterns and abandoning Brenda because he's afraid of committing to a challenging, sometimes difficult relationship. I don't want that ambiguity to be simplified into "Brenda was bad, Maggie is good"!

August 03 2005 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just wanted to add, for the person who asked what was up with the dream at the end of "Ecotone" about David being a stoner, that I guess that was based on the offhand comment David made about wishing he'd had a joint at the parent-teacher night, while he and Nate were talking, before they took their nap... I guess their unconscious minds incorporated that detail into the dream :-)

August 03 2005 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That last comment expressed exactly the way Nate saw himself -- as a put-upon guy who never gets the credit for doing the right thing. When he told Maggie "This wasn't planned" about their sleeping together it was a perfect example of how passively manipulative he always was. But I think that's part of the human condition, and the reason it hit people so hard when he died.

August 02 2005 at 11:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What will be the legal/inheritance consequences of Nate's death? Seems to me the only one alive that knows he'd planned to end the marriage is Brenda. She's his heir...he was part owner of the business. Will she get another license and begin therapy with those that return from the dead to kibbitz????

August 02 2005 at 12:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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