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July 26, 2014

Six Feet Under: All Alone

by Russell Shaw, posted Aug 8th 2005 2:58PM
Nates Burial

"All Alone" is far more an acting episode than a plot-driven story line.

That's because we already knew- or at least thought we knew - what was going to happen. Nate, who died last week in "Ecotone", would now be buried. And because grief was the understandably dominant emotion, the outpouring of grief required and indeed got, some great acting.






A lot of it was crying: Brenda crying in her brother Billy's arms, Claire finding comfort in the words and hand of her new friend from work Ted; Ruth's inconsolation.

Apart from the crying, there were four great displays of character. These displays required and got great acting. As such, they proved to be the real value add of the episode:

  • George, perceived to be emotionally shaky, gave a graceful and evocative eulogy.
  • David's stress-induced trauma, in which he "sees" an image of Jake - the deranged slacker who attacked him a couple of years ago.
  • Keith showed himself to be a strong, supportive and loving partner to David and a great father to their two foster children.
My favorite moment was the Brenda-Maggie confrontation. Maggie brings a quiche to a mourning Brenda. By this time, Brenda knows that the sex that Maggie shared with Nate most likely was the major factor that  brought on his brain hemorrhage and his eventual death.

"What is this? Some Quaker thing? You ... someone's husband to death and then bring them a quiche?"

Maggie leaves, and in her gentle way, leaves the quiche outside Brenda's door.

So that as they say is that. Two more episodes. We can expect to see at least some closure. Or maybe not.

What do you think will happen next?





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13 Comments

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fernando

Claire was born in 1983. So she was 11 years old when Kurt Cobain died. Nate lived in Seattle at that time, but he was problably taking some days in order to see his family...

December 06 2005 at 7:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Herman

By the way....in one of the last scenes in "All Alone" Claire has a flashback of the day Kurt Cobain died. A much younger Claire notices that Nate is in his room upset over Cobain's death. Cobain died on April 5, 1994. This would make Nate 29 years old and Clair about 8. Wasn't Nate long gone by then, living in Seattle at the time? Doesn't Claire look older than 8 or 9?

August 13 2005 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Herman

I view the end of SFU as Fisher and Diaz last "intake". The funeral to end all funerals. When Nathaniel Fisher Sr. and Lisa Fisher died many questions were left unresolved. (Was Lisa killed by her brother-in-law? What did Nathaniel Sr. do in the "Room"). Now that Nate is dead, I suspect some loose ends will be left unresolved when SFU reaches it's final resting place.... and many of us will be left yearning for answers that will never come. This time, we will all be relatives of the deceased.

August 13 2005 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
treasureme

I guess the fact that Brenda has been in both Ruth and Nate's life a lot longer and now is his pregnant widow caring for his child calls for less empathy than newly introduced Maggie - PLEASE - I don't buy it. Also, in the Fisher family was either yelling at or comforting each other - but no one from that family comforted Brenda - not even Clare who Brenda had supported during her abortion. A pregnant woman at her husband's funeral and burial is a fragile person. Someone in that family should have put their arms around her, sat down with her and shown her love.

August 11 2005 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gigi

In response to the last comments about Ruth's affection toward Maggie... We have to remember that Ruth doesn't know anything about Maggie and Nate. Plus, Maggie was there for Ruth when George lost it. It was obvious that all of the characters were in shock, so I don't think any of them were intentionally snubbing Brenda...plus, she was being very standoffish. I kept thinking that Brenda was feeling fed-up with the Fisher family. (And I also thought that Ruth probably feels fed-up with the Chenowiths, given how she was reacting to Billy and Claire being together at the beginning of this season.) Hope that made sense.

August 10 2005 at 7:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
treasureme

Where was the love and empathy for Brenda in this episode? It's a wonder she didn't go into early labor. Only Rico and later Billy had any compassion for that grieving widow. I was disgusting by Ruth's display of affection toward Maggie and not for her son's widow.

August 10 2005 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
treasureme

Where was the love and empathy for Brenda in this episode? It's a wonder she didn't go into early labor. Only Rico and later Billy had any compassion for that grieving widow. I was disgusting by Ruth's display of affection toward Maggie and not for her son's widow.

August 10 2005 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jill

Sunday night's poignant episode had me sobbing. I mourn not only for the Fishers, but for the loss of a beloved series. And like many other fans of this extraordinary show; I will have a hard time letting go.

August 09 2005 at 5:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karl Kotas

I just finished watching this episode for the second time in order to study it a little closer. It's realism and authenticity was profound and nuanced as it examined how people behave under the stress of an unexpected younger person's death. Everyone chips in and helps each other out, taking up the slack for each other as the need arises. Ruth agrees to take on Maya, Roger (the sleaze) takes care of the kids and buys them iPods, the kids make David a mix of "light jazz," George makes an impromtu eulogy that comes off quite beautifully, Ruth's sister reads the poem at the burial because everyone is too overwhelmed. The pitching together and helping-out created a great theme and rhythm to the episode. It created a sense of people having to "go on---that's what people do," as David remarked in one scene, finally culminating in each character throwing dirt on Nate's shrouded corpse. Ruth's dream sequence was surrealistically hopefull as Jake explains "There's no death! Isn't it a relief to know that?" ... We don't see who he is talking to, but later Ruth's sister tells everyone she had the same dream suggesting that she was, the mysterious other person that Nate was talking to. The scene with Claire in the car with her new boyfriend was also interesting in the way it was composed--essentially split in two by the frame of the car's window. Claire is hanging out the side window, overwhelmed by emotion and memories, while her friend is trying to listen and be supportive at the same time trying hard to pay attention to driving. It really communicated a kind of vague stress that he is taking onto himself in a very weird situation. This new beau of Claire's--a right wing lawyer who likes top-40 music is refreshingly sympathetic, although we were initially led to believe he was just a sleazy office lothario. He comes across as very compassionate in Claire's time of crisis. It will be interesting to see where this is heading. It's also great to see the addition of character with a conservative slant in contrast to all the usual California lefties, shrinks, artsy types, gays and new-agers. An unusual aspect of the dialogues between David and his Father in the mortuary, as well as Brenda and (deceased) Jake after the funeral, was that each is projecting their own guilts onto the ghost characters, instead of the usual rhetorical banter between personalities. The line "God is an asshole!" by Ruth, and then "God is a major asshole!" By Ruth's sister made me laugh out loud, in recognition of something that could never be shown on network TV in a million years.( Bravo HBO! ) And to balance that by the touching religious poem read at the burial giving a sense of reverence to the whole show. The other bittersweet funny line in the show was Brenda--"Is this some kind of a Quaker thing?.....You fuck somebody's husband to death and then make them a quiche!" Incredible writing and acting. I thank the the writers and producers for incredible work of inspiration and beauty that far exceeds anything on the network channels and theaters. Thanks.

August 09 2005 at 12:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jane Brown

Like others, I felt the sadness almost seeping out from my TV. Great acting. Having said that, there was a very palpable something missing and it is the character of Nate. I know when somebody dies, they are gone, but he really was the glue for the whole series. I can't help but feel that the final two episodes, although I'll watch them, just won't be the same without Nate. I expect them to be kind of boring.

August 08 2005 at 7:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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