FROM SEASON 1
The death of Nathaniel Fisher, Sr.
Both swift and shocking, the car crash that took the life of the Fisher patriarch was the catalyst for five seasons of superb, challenging, intelligent (albeit sometimes maddeningly uneven) drama. Who knew a bus broad-siding a hearse could yield such delicious fruit?
The foot in the locker
In only its third episode, Six Feet Under put an exclamation point on the notion that its story arcs and characters would be going places seldom seen on the small screen. Exacting revenge for boyfriend Gabe blabbing about how she sucked on his toes, Claire’s ”gift” of a human foot in his locker was at once grotesque, hilarious, and deeply disturbing.
FROM SEASON 2
Brenda’s bookstore encounter
Brenda’s descent into sexual addiction, and the unraveling of her engagement to Nate, always seemed like an inevitability. Still, seeing her raw encounter with an author on the floor of a bookstore bathroom was the kind of shock to the system that Six Feet Under delivers like no other series.
FROM SEASON 3
Nate’s bar fight
It’s not often that a series’ central character is allowed to be as maddeningly self-absorbed, difficult, and human as Nate Fisher. Yet when the news finally arrived that Nate’s missing wife — the mother of his toddler daughter — was indeed dead, it was hard not to feel your heart break along with him, or to empathize with the drunken, self-destructive bender that leads him to Brenda’s doorstep.
Sarah’s painkiller addiction
Dark as Six Feet Under can be, it’s easy to forget the series is also funnier than almost any sitcom in production. Watching Ruth and her new pal Bettina (Kathy Bates) strap Ruth’s sister Sarah (Patricia Clarkson) to a bed to help her break her Vicodin addiction was a black-comedy high note for the series, especially when the timid Fisher matriarch threatened to break the drama-queen addict’s arm.
FROM SEASON 4
Vanessa attacks Sophia
No highlight reel of Six Feet Under would be complete without tipping a hat to Justina Machado’s subtle, witty portrayal of Rico’s wife, Vanessa. Watching her lay the smackdown on her hubby’s stripper mistress, Sophia (Idalis de Leon), was undoubtedly Machado’s shining moment. Someone, get this woman her own series.
The most polarizing story line in five seasons of Six Feet Under, David’s kidnapping at the hands of an alternately charming and terrifying, crack-addicted hitchhiker (Michael Weston) was, depending on your take, a riveting walk on the dark side or an hour of near-unwatchable sadism. Either way, though, the trip was harrowingly unforgettable.
The death of Dorothy Sheedy
Everybody’s got their favorite Six Feet Under death sequence, but watching bespectacled Dorothy Sheedy mistake the sight of airborne, helium-filled sex dolls for The Rapture (with unfortunate consequences) was a thing of morbidly comic beauty.
FROM SEASON 5
David and Keith meet Anthony
Six Feet Under has never shied away from portraying the challenges of modern gay romance, especially since David and Keith have both struggled with internal and external homophobia. Maybe that’s why their connection with foster kids Anthony and Durrell has been such a poignant highlight of Season 5. Seriously, how could you root for their surrogate to get pregnant after Keith admitted after meeting little Anthony that he was ”kind of cute…in a f—ed-up, serious-problems kind of way”?
The death of Nathaniel Fisher, Jr.
Even though Nate’s brain hemorrhage arrived suddenly and violently — eyes rolled back, body in convulsions, his creepy final outburst (”Narm!”) — his death drifted in like an unexpected breeze, lifting him away as he slept in front of the television. Still, it was the sight of David and Ruth washing Nate’s lifeless body in the Fisher and Diaz basement that made the loss, the grief, and the fury of this central character’s death all too real.
What were your favorite moments from the series? Post them below.