By EW Staff
Updated March 06, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
6 Feet Under: Larry Watson

22 Someone Else’s Eyes
Writer Ball Director Cuesta Kickoff Death A construction worker drops his lunch box from a high girder, killing a pedestrian. Plot Lisa informs Nate that she’s pregnant with his child. Meanwhile, Brenda seduces the author of a book titled (appropriately) ”The Lie of Romance.” Historic Moment David decides to move in with Keith, despite the fact that Keith’s posttraumatic stress is making him irritable and controlling. Creative Casting Leeza Gibbons as herself: David fantasizes that the talk-show host interviews Keith and him as ”one of the year’s happiest and sexiest couples”; Dina Meyer (”Starship Troopers”) as a combative widow. Critique As with the preceding episode, ”Eyes” has one big jolt — in this case, Lisa’s revelation — but the rest of it is slack, as if the series were hoarding its drama for the season’s final episodes. B

23 The Secret
Writer Kaplan Director Alan Poul Kickoff Death An elderly Thai man collapses while taking out his recyclables. Plot Karla kills a homeless man in a hit-and-run, and Keith turns her in. When Claire submits a photo portfolio of corpses for a school project, Nate yells at her for exposing Fisher & Sons to litigation. Historic Moments Nate decides that he wants to be part of his child’s life; Melissa and Brenda have a falling-out after a swingers’ party. Critique Karla’s hit-and-run is among the season’s more garishly ill-advised plot twists, especially since the rest of ”Secret” is smart and subtle drama. In a striking, melancholy sequence set to the chanting of Buddhist monks, everyone is depicted alone and miserable — just the sort of agreeable romanticization of depression that ”Six Feet Under” does best. B+

24 The Liar and the Whore
Writer Cleveland Director Arteta Kickoff Death A whiny nursing-home patient chokes to death — possibly assisted by her fed-up roommate. Plot Nate tells Brenda about the baby; after careful consideration — and seducing a pair of teenage stoners — she takes him back. Introduces James Pickens Jr. and Beverly Todd as Keith’s father and mother, who try to take Taylor home with them. Best Line ”Whatever you’re going through, I hope you don’t blame me.” (Ruth, to Claire) Historic Moment Ruth pays off Nikolai’s debt to some loan sharks. Creative Casting Glenn Fitzgerald (”40 Days and 40 Nights”) as Aaron, a nihilistic cancer patient, befriended by Nate. Critique It’s good to see the Nate-and-Brenda plot progress, but the pair of weak subplots (Keith stands up to his dad! Fisher & Sons get sued!) feels imported from run-of-the-mill network dramas. C+

25 I’ll Take You
Writer Soloway Director Engler Kickoff Death An elderly woman dies under the hair dryer at a salon. Plot Everything comes to a head: Nate reads Brenda’s novel and figures out that it’s not fiction, prompting a vicious fight; Lisa has a baby girl; Ruth realizes Nikolai doesn’t love her and dumps him; Claire decides she wants to go to LAC Arts; on a domestic-abuse call, Keith snaps and beats the husband, which results in a police brutality investigation; Rico inherits $149,000 from this episode’s corpse; Kroehner files for Chapter 11. Best Line ”Someone who’s completely not in touch with herself now has a whole new vocabulary to not be in touch with herself with.” (Brenda, of her mother’s turn toward New Age spirituality) Critique This episode could have gone over the top, veering as it does between exceptional sweetness (Rico’s memories of Nathaniel) and extraordinary bitterness (the Nate-and-Brenda screaming match, which is on a par with Tony and Carmela’s throwdown from ”The Sopranos”’ season 4 finale). But both are handled with deftness and precision, and the underused Freddy Rodriguez gets an overdue chance to take center stage. A

26 The Last Time
Writer Robin Director Ball Kickoff Death Aaron dies in Nate’s arms. Plot Nate’s AVM requires immediate surgery. Claire breaks down during her college interview, realizing that art is her way of coping with her dad’s death. Best Line ”I just don’t want him cruising me in the afterlife.” (David, explaining why slightly too-gay-friendly Father Jack won’t be conducting his funeral) Historic Moments Rico helps the Fishers pay for a new drainage system in exchange for a partnership; Brenda leaves town. Creative Casting Larry Drake (”L.A. Law”’s Benny) as a funeral-home inspector. Critique Not as emotionally tumultuous as the preceding ep, but the ensemble’s at its best as everyone copes with Nate’s surgery. A lovely reminder that this show, which often plays like a comedy, can also be unexpectedly moving. A