Written by Alan Ball
Directed by Rodrigo Garcia
Having viewed Season One in mid-2002, I had to wait exactly a year until Channel 4 aired Season Two, and thankfully it was worth the wait. Let's start of with the death of the week - Rebecca Leah Milford, an actress of a dire slasher flick, who spends most of the time at the movie's press party snorting drugs and subsequently dies of violent overdose in the bathroom.
Her co- stars then decide to give her a cheap send off at Fisher and Sons by having her cremated and then snorting her ashes, much to Claire's disgust. And believe me she isn't the only one repulsed - even I couldn't stand to look at it.
Meanwhile both Fisher men (I realise that by calling them boys I almost make the sound like The Dukes Of Hazard and that's one brotherly duo you shouldn't compare Nate and Dave to) receive news from their doctors - David's being a minor infection (has to be from that guy in "The Trip") and Nate learning from his MRI test results that he's got AVM (or Arterio-Venous Malformation), a condition that could be fatal if not operated on immediately, but a very pissed off Nate storms out of the doctor's office. I can almost side with him as the doctor a little too smug.
Ruth, meanwhile decides to hold a dinner (after reading a book targeted for parents of gay and lesbian children) for herself, her children and their significant others and this is where this openers really shines as in classic SFU style chaos isn't far behind when Nate inadvertently takes an ecstasy tablet, that David left in the aspirin bottle after his disco session with Kurt. So much has happened since then I almost forgot about him.
Anyways Nate gets high as a kite, much to everyone confusion and horror, but it sure does make for some truly priceless entertainment though. Openers being openers of course, there's also another much welcomed appearance from Nathaniel as he mocks Nate's AVM despite his healthy living.
Better still is his guidance of his son's first meeting with Life (a coloured free-spirited woman) and Death (a white, somewhat grouchy man) as they get Nate to put everything on the table. Which he tries to, but as Daddy said, - not a wise move. Still though, Nate is a rather risk taking kind of guy, so it’s hardly uncharacteristic of him to do so.
Now that Claire is aware of Gabe being back to his drug taking ways, how long will it be before she learns of his other activities, like the convenience store, for instance. I love Claire but when it comes to Gabe, there seems to be a blind spot with her, though a personal highlight from her in the premiere were blasting Rebecca’s talentless co-stars’. Weren’t they an annoying bunch?
Also in "In The Game"
Death of the week: See opening paragraph. I’m guessing the movie Rebecca and her talentless co-stars were parodying was Scream, right?
Nate (to AVM consultant):"I'm gonna try to put this out of my head, no pun intended and get on with my life."
Nate may have been woken up by Brenda "going down on him", but it seems that since the crash her sex drive is on an ebb of some kind.
Ruth: “You know Claire when I was your age I had a crush on Jane Fonda.”
Claire: “Well she's single again so now's your chance.”
Claire (to Nikolai): "You'll have to forgive David. He's been majorly cranky ever since he stopped getting laid." Yet Alan Ball made sure that we got to see Michael C. Hall briefly nude anyway.
We also met Federico's sister in law, Angelica and it's easy to see why he doesn't like her. I say bring her back as she could be a good foil for Rico.
Ruth: "David if you have a special friend, I would like for them to come as well."
David:" Why are my friends special?"
Ruth:" All right, if you're having sex with anyone, I’d like to meet them. Is that better?"
Apparently Nate taught David to masturbate. Okay that's too much information but it does turn out Nate somewhat respects his younger brother's opinion.
Brenda (to Nate): “You are so fucking high.”
Notice how he was smiling when David told him he was proud of him upon learning that Nate is now a licensed funeral director.
Claire (to actor guy):"Yeah, well we'll see you back here and we'll be snorting you next time."
Nathaniel (to Nate): “You’re in the game now buddy boy.”
Standout Music: Four from the first soundtrack which were Lamb's ethereal "Heaven", Stereo MC's "Deep Down & Dirty" , The Dining Room's "Pure & Easy" which were used to great effect. Only PJ Harvey's "One Time Too Many" didn't work for me. Chronology wise, it’s July 2001, nearly four weeks after the events of “Knock, Knock”.
Despite one or two little flaws, I absolutely loved this episode. It may not be a resounding epic, but it sure as hell was a brilliant way to open this season. Here's hoping the good work continues apace. “In The Game” has definitely opened Season Two off to an intriguing start.
Rating: 9 out of 10.