Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Six Feet Under: "Dancing for Me"

It's Monday and once again, there's a new episode of Six Feet Under. I know I said this last week, but it's so cool having a new episode to look forward to every week. I was so used to just having the whole series there, I never really considered what it would be like to watch just one episode a week. There are certainly advantages to the binge watch, namely the plots seem to move a lot faster, there's less impatience because you get the episodes so much faster. However, watching one a week makes each episode a bit more special, and it gives me a chance to look a bit deeper at what happens in each one. So, I'm fine with watching this way.

Anyway, onto the episode itself. The season premiere, while great, was largely an overture, setting up some general themes, but mainly playing off of what we already know about the characters. That, plus the novelty of having a new episode, made it a stronger viewing experience than this episode, which is stuck with the burden of having to set up in more detail the plot arcs for the season. That's not a knock on it though, it's still a great episode, and has me really curious about where things are going.

The most interesting storyline for me was Brenda's excursion into the free clinic. She's in a situation where she desperately wants to prove her mother wrong and break out of the image her mother has constructed for her. However, she just can't face what's at the free clinic. That gets to one of her main problems, she's putting herself in danger just to show up her mother, and it must have been very tough for her to get proven wrong, and have to get her mother to pull some strings for another internship. I really liked the way they had Brenda dressed in clearly expensive and stylish clothes, to make her stand out even more in the really grungy clinic.

I found the Nate storyline really interesting too, as we see the major contrast between Nate's life and where his friend ended up. As Nate said, he's been through a lot of shit and particuarly with his near death experience at the end of season two, he understands the transience of life. He's seen all the different ways things could have gone, and that's why he knows it's pointless to look back and try to recapture something that's gone. This is a stark contrast to his friend, who crosses into borderline pedophilia just to try to recapture the feeling of his youth. I really liked the way that scene was handled, because you can understand what the guy is talking about, while at the same time it's clearly crossing a line. He says that their days back in the high school was the best time of his life and that rings hollow to Nate. I think this plot showed just how well adjusted Nate is, and gave us an understanding of how he's been able to reconcile with all the bad stuff that's happened to him over the course of the series. That said, the best Nate moment was him and Brenda having sex and Maya jumping up and down imitating them, a really offbeat funny moment.

The David and Keith plot just sort of moves along. I really liked the awkward discussion with Claire about the eggs and the dream sequence was worth it for just how bizarre it was. That fake headed Claire was rather freaky and the music was great. The sequence goes beyond the sort of fantasy stuff we'd see in the early seasons, but I think it worked, even if only as a funny setpiece.

The Rico plot was solid this week as well, though his trying too hard was a bit tough to watch. I did like him telling Vanessa that Sharon died. It's clearly a bad thing to do, but in that moment you see him getting caught up in the story and he clearly feels this is a major breakthrough in how to deal with her.

The Ruth/George tension is already being brought to a boil, a bit earlier than I would have thought, but I guess that's better than dragging things out for too long. While everyone else on the show is looking to have kids, Ruth is desperately to be single or just happily married, without having to care for someone. She barely even contains her disdain for the situation she's in, and I'm not sure how that's going to make George feel.

The Claire/Billy stuff this week is mainly just a setup for whatever's going to happen next week, when he stops taking his pills, but it's still got good moments. What it comes down to is, to really be himself, Billy can't take the pills, those supress the artistic, unique side of him. Now, it might be better for him to live a normal life, as a teacher, something he's still good at, even though he struggles with everything else. However, the people around him have an image of Billy as this crazy artist, someone he's lost touch with. Billy's reminiscing with his friends is a nice parallel to Nate thinking about his own past. However, Nate is happy with who he's become, and Billy apparently isn't, or at least feels the need to validate his friends by being who he once was. So, the pills are flushed, and we'll see what happens from there.

Lot of stuff this week, and still, I always hate it when I see that final white fade out. That's the sign a series is working when you want the episode to just keep going.

1 comment:

Keith G said...

Again, I'm happy with your assessment of the episode. It's so great that the series has returned to the tone of the first two seasons - but now with characters who have matured and been through hell. I'm going to miss the hell out of this show when it finishes up.