Monday, June 05, 2006
My Review of Six Feet Under's 5x01: "A Coat Of White Primer"
Written by Kate Robin
Directed by Rodrigo Garcia
If you haven’t been completely consumed by the lure of 48 survivors on an enchanted island or the goings on of a not so picturesque suburban neighbourhood, then the fifth and final season of one of the latter’s key influences is back and boy, does it mean business. And before I go on, I apologise for the tardiness of this review, so I hope you enjoy reading this as I have writing it.
With so many things going on in this hectic season premiere, I had a hard time deciding where to begin but I’ll go with the obvious and start with Nate and Brenda of course, who have two misfortunes that wonderfully tie in together, a wedding and a miscarriage. It was always set in stone if this these two ever made up the aisle, chaos wouldn’t be far behind and true to form, and it wasn’t.
Rachel Griffiths was on fine form as the grief stricken but determined Brenda and for anyone ever craving a Brenda/Lisa showdown, we sure as hell got one here as Lisa (so delightfully pithy here) happily taunts Brenda over her past actions and current woes, while slightly raising the notion she is being punished for her past.
I personally don’t think she is but we got some truly killer dialogue between the pair and was it me or did Lili Taylor also look absolutely stunning in her wedding get up (different from the one she wore in “Grinding The Corn” – yes I too am that sad about this show). Peter Krause got his fair share of excellent moments too, although Nate’s staunch refusal to grieve over Brenda’s miscarriage was a little off. With the amount of pain that he’s been through over the last three years I understand his reasons to an extent but even still, he could’ve been a little more sensitive to her.
As for him not caring, come on that isn’t Nate like at all and he did redeem himself at the wedding when he found Brenda and managed to persuade her that even though their special day was a suck fest, better things are on the horizon for them. Also I have to give kudos for the sneaky way Nate and Lisa’s wedding video was also thrown in, replete with agitated looking Fishers and Kimmels and an oh so annoying Carol.
Okay she get a great quip in the ep but she still rattles my cage and not in a good way. Oh and before I forget, maniacal Margaret and Olivier are still loved up (pass the sick basket please) and to rephrase Tim Howard’s question, I have to ask – why is Olivier still with Margaret? Surely that shrill she calls a laugh would’ve driven him potty by now but as annoying as she is, this episode is one of her better moments.
With so much talk of marriage and children, I wasn’t expecting more on the latter but we got it as the David and Keith plot has the boys quibbling over adoption and surrogacy, leading to an intense dinner conversation that has Keith adjacently making an insensitive comment regarding Brenda and Maya. In other words, he’s for surrogacy while David prefers adoption before the pair then decides to explore both options.
While many viewers may bemoan this storyline, I kind of approve because anything that shows the boys progressing and maturing as a couple has got to be a goodie. That being said this plot could easily wear thin if the writers tend to overstate the obstacles gay couples can have with adoption/surrogacy and I do hope that there is other stuff for the boys to do this season (like resolving the pain that is Roger first off).
I’m also wondering if part of this story has been stirred on due to recent government/clerical/worldwide events such as George Bush’s re-election and Pope Benedict the 16th ‘s papacy. As long as it doesn’t get too political, this could be a great thread and for viewers not convinced with this story, I say give it a chance – it could turn out to be something great.
Keeping up with the chaos of last season, George is still a teething problem for poor Ruth. Despite all that electro convulsive therapy, it does seem that no real effect is taking place, which is partly okay because George is more fun off his rocker than anything else. Okay so he may not be as barmy as the previous two episodes but I think it’s safe to say Ruth is gonna have a big problem on her hands.
In some ways marrying George should have finally liberated her from the caregiver role she has been relegated to so many times in her life but that looks set to be a fantasy now. With George suffering memory lapses and Ruth taking her frustration out on Claire in a shocking fashion, Frances Conroy has never been better and with her looking set to get more to do, we could get ourselves a joint Ruth and Claire year and I have no complaints about that whatsoever.
The Claire plot of the episode has its moments. As a couple, she and Billy are a bit odd and unexpected. They’re a lot more settled than everyone else and have even gotten to the steps of moving in with each other but throughout this episode, there’s an indication of doom.
We get an illuminating conversation between Nate, David and Keith who all compare notes on Claire’s choices of partners (Edie conveniently being edited) and during a hilarious scene with the Fisher kids high, Claire’s attempts of convincing her brothers that Billy’s fine falls on deaf ears.
I don’t actually mind Billy and Claire as a couple, even if the latter is still acting like the untouchable art princess she was dubbed last season. As for her and Billy, though, well it’s that time again when Billy has a bi-annual meltdown and this time it will be Claire who’ll bear the brunt so I say to all Claire/Billy shippers, enjoy it while you can because it won’t last. And no, that is not a spoiler.
Then there’s also the tension between Claire and Ruth when the former takes a semester out of college, slightly mirroring a dilemma of my own right now.
Last but not least we’ve got the Rico plot, which unsurprisingly enough is the episode’s lightest moments as he struggles to find a perfect woman through a dating service and when Vanessa refuses to be his date at the wedding, he takes a fairly alright woman named Sharon instead.
While this may be stalling time for the inevitable reunion of Rico/Vanessa, it’s actually quite good fun and Ruth’s sage advice to Federico on his newfound way to meet women is nothing short of priceless. Plus, this is way better than the Sophia angle of last year but here’s hoping it’s not too long before him and Vanessa make up.
Also in “A Coat Of White Primer”
Truly sick death of the week with Andrea Kuhn getting impaled by a chair but top marks because it was so damn effective.
Claire (re wedding video): “Nate might have to get married without a prick.”
Justina Machado is finally made a series regular (good for her) and the credits are stretched (musically too) to accommodate her. And they couldn’t have done this last season?
David (re DOTW): “This is what happens to couples who never learn how to fight.”
Ruth (to Federico): “Enjoy it dear but try not to be blinded by lust if you can.”
In the hair and looks department, Nate’s locks are back to his former glory; Claire is noticeably thinner (but not anorexic), Brenda’s hair much longer and Lisa’s much lighter.
Carol: “I love how weddings just erase the past like a coat of white primer. Slap a veil on her and even the biggest slut bag becomes a fresh faced ingénue.”
Brenda (re Ruth): “Because she hates me.”
Nate: “She doesn’t hate you anymore.”
David: “Now she hates Claire.”
I still think HBO made a dumbass decision in moving this show from Sundays to Mondays for their final season, especially now that the same thing will not happen to The Sopranos next year.
David (to Keith): “I can’t rent out some woman’s uterus like it’s a storage locker.”
Six months has passed since “Untitled”. It’s now October 2004.
Lisa: “All the moments in your life have been leading up to this one. That’s why you’re being punished.”
Brenda: “I’m going to get my baby, you bitch.”
Again Nathaniel didn’t appear in the season premiere unless we’re supposed to believe that disruptive seagull was supposed to be him. And how cool was it that Nate and Brenda got married in the same place they discussed in “Someone Else’s Eyes” and “Timing And Space”?
Brenda: “I was remembering when you threw your ring at me.”
Nate: “Ah memories.”
Great music in this episode with Bebel Gilberto’s “Aganjou” (featured on the new SFU soundtrack) and various tracks from The Martini Kings (the wedding band), including two versions of “Teach Me Tonight”.
This was excellent. Once again the producers have managed to get the new season off a flying start with a premiere so jam packed with events; you need to catch your breath. Kate Robin (whose other memorable instalments include “A Private Life” and “Terror Starts At Home”) aptly kept me entertained. We got a clever use of flashbacks and dream sequences and the various throwbacks to previous seasons proves how consistent this show is with their continuity, it’s impossible not to love this episode. Roll on the next eleven.
Rating: 9 out of 10.