Six Feet Under, Season 4

I think I’d like to start off this review with my favorite exchange.

Ruth: [about George’s other son] Why have you never told me this?
George: Because he’s never really been part of my life.
Ruth: If he’s sending us shit in the mail, he is a part of your life!

Frances Conroy is the best. I mean, seriously. She gets the greatest lines and she delivers the hell out of them. And that’s saying a lot, considering how well-written this show is, how many one-liners there are, and how perfect the moments of comedy must be in a series about a family running a funeral home. She really just nails it.

Last season, I was beginning to worry that I’d get tired of these folks, but I’m definitely not tired of them now. I think it’s because they were starting to be annoying, what with Ruth’s weird relationship neediness, Claire’s horrible taste in men, Nate’s non-marriage to Lisa, David’s constant complaining, you know the drill. They were all in horrible, annoying places in life, and they honestly weren’t that much fun to watch. You suffered with them. And while the fourth season didn’t exactly bring rainbows and butterflies, it showed a marked growth in each of the characters, and since they’re so real and well-written, you find yourself uplifted because they are, too.

For starters, Ruth got hitched to James “The Nose” Cromwell, D.B.A. George the guy who’s been married a shit-ton of times. He kind of sucks, to be honest, but maybe that’s just because I’ve been partial to Ed Begley, Jr. since he appeared on the screen so many seasons ago. I’ll never get over her relationship with Hiram. It was too cute. But nevertheless, she’s settled down “again,” or whatever, and that’s what she wants, so she’s less frantic and high-pitched. Phew. And then we have Claire, who ditched Russell (though he’s still around, not sure why) temporarily for Mena Suvari, because let’s be honest, she’s a total babe. It made perfect sense for Claire to try out the lesbian thing for a little while, and not because she’s “always displayed same sex tendencies” or however you want to put it. It’s because she’s always been so closed, and this season was about opening up for her, and she’s become so much cooler and freer and more creative, so why not see what it’s like to play for the same team? Ultimately, though, spoiler alert, she ends up mackin’ on Billy, which was a moment I’ve been waiting for forever. And while we’re on the subject of Billy, why is it that I hate and love him that much? Jeremy Sisto does an incredible job with this character, even if it is a little unbelievable for a guy to be THAT far off the deep end last season and then turn it around and enter the teaching field less than a year later. For the sake of his chemistry with Lauren Ambrose, I’ll suspend my disbelief and say that I always had faith in him.

I love that the show addresses how awkward Lisa and Nate were together. They had nothing except that one time they had sex and made a baby, and it’s painfully obvious, and it’s a fascinating thing to explore on TV, as is Nate’s subsequent grieving over her death. The shocker moment, when we found out that the brother-in-law was the guilty party, was at once horrifying and heartbreaking, just the kind of thing that Six Feet Under is really, really good at. But then, in a rather unconventional turn of events, Nate and Brenda get back together, and it seems like they’re not fucking around this time. Her whole stint with Justin “Joe/Sr. Aniston” Theroux wasn’t very believable, though he was sweet in that Steve Brady sort of way. I’m just glad everything is back to (ab)normal. Same goes for David and Keith, who were downright bitchy up until this point, but are now just genuinely sweet. They’re also, funly enough, becoming the comic relief of the show. Their casual, punchy interplay usually brings a smile to my face.

Except, of course, for that one horribly fucked up episode where David gets the shit beat out of him. I don’t even think that’s much of a spoiler alert, as this episode caught me COMPLETELY by surprise. It’s deeply disturbing, if only because absolutely nothing about the episode is funny. I’m still not sure why they did it, or what function it served, though it was executed very well. I can only imagine what it must have been like for Michael C. Hall to pull out those kinds of emotions for a performance like that. He must be phoning Dexter in at this point.

I’m pretty excited for the home stretch of Six Feet Under, as I’ve heard the ending is one of the best in TV. Bring it, Fishers.