On ''Six Feet Under,'' Nate's custody battle is resolved violently. Meanwhile, Vanessa gives Rico the boot, but Ruth isn't so brave with crazy George

By Liane Bonin
September 11, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Six Feet Under: Danny Feld
  • TV Show

”Six Feet Under”: Nate’s custody battle is resolved

Despite a few twists — and one shot to the head — this was a surprisingly groggy season ender. It wasted too much time on plot lines that are already resolved or not worth caring about.

Nate and Brenda When an increasingly paranoid and restless Nate decides to confront his crazy in-laws about a suspiciously recent photo of Lisa, a collective ”Oh, God, not again” was heard across the country. In matters concerning Lisa, Nate seems hardwired to act like a delusional freak at the slightest provocation. And really, the idea that her sister or her brother-in-law was on the beach with her when she died seemed pretty irrational.

But lo and behold, Nate isn’t crazy after all, although that minor triumph couldn’t have given him a very warm and fuzzy feeling when his brother-in-law stuck a gun in his mouth and blew his brains out. I guess in some alternate universe (where the writers of this show clearly live), seeing a guy die by his own hand right after he confesses to a lengthy affair with your late wife makes a fella feel like running home in his blood-spattered T-shirt to propose to his girlfriend. Personally, I would at least take a shower first. As shocking as this twist was, it felt a bit hacky for the fight over Maya’s custody to be gorily resolved in less than ten minutes. Worse yet, we’ll never get the full picture of Lisa’s transgressions. Who would have guessed lovable Lisa was capable of an affair, much less with her sister’s husband?

Claire and Her Drug Problem So Claire has her big show, and everyone loves her except her friends. Considering that this was the least interesting and most predictable story line on the show, of course much of the episode had to be devoted to it. While I feel for Claire, given that her art-school buddies are so desperate for attention that they can’t feel a shred of happiness for her newfound success, I’m starting to wish she’d fade into the background where she can enjoy her seemingly endless supply of drugs without boring me to death. (We have to hope that the producers were being ironic when the big-deal celebrity who wanted to buy some of Claire’s portraits turned out to be Nicole Richie.) The only glimmer of interest is that she and her substitute teacher, Billy (Jeremy Sisto), seem to be getting hot and heavy. Where there’s Billy, there’s usually something really freaky and disturbing going on.

Rico and Vanessa Rico finally apologizes to Vanessa for his infidelity, and Vanessa, no longer consumed by her anger, is able to hear what he has to say. But seriously, how can Rico be surprised when she calmly asks for a divorce? It was a poignant moment between the two of them, full of emotion and genuine regret, but the message is clear: Stick a fork in this marriage, because it’s done. While Rico may be broken inside, we can only hope he’s learned something about women, like confessing your sins to your wife before you give a stripper $5,000 is probably a good idea.

Ruth and George Having gone completely over the edge upon learning that the Fisher home has a bomb shelter, the paranoid George is now conducting creepy conversations with an imaginary woman in a vintage housedress about preparing for someone to drop the bomb on Los Angeles. Even Ruth, who is perhaps better equipped than most to deal with nutjobs thanks to her immediate family’s bottomless pit of neuroses, has to admit this is a bit much, and I’m wondering how many burly hospital workers it’s going to take to hold George down long enough to medicate him properly. But this unhappy turn of events could actually signal an improvement in this marriage. Ruth is never happier than when she has someone to take care of, so what could be better than this?

David and Keith So David decides to confront his attacker, and Keith considers becoming a part-time bodyguard (read: prostitute) for the smug jerk movie producer that David bit earlier in the season. These two have enough drama between them to fuel Days of Our Lives for a year, and yet they got shamefully short shrift in this episode. (One high point: During David’s misguided visit to the pokey, his attacker earns the award for the most insightful line of dialogue spoken by a raving lunatic when he spits, ”I’m not the one who sits in jail when he doesn’t have to.”) While Keith seems to be losing his moral compass, David actually seems to rediscovering his mojo, as shown by his meeting of minds with his dead father, Nathaniel. I predict that next season we’ll see the kind of happy-go-lucky, carefree guy who’s just open-minded enough to give a cute young guy a lift. Or maybe not.

What do you think? Are you mourning that the season is over or that it wasn’t better?