Monday, June 05, 2006

My Review of Six Feet Under's 4x12: "Untitled"

Written by Nancy Oliver
Directed by Alan Ball

Unresolved, unfinished, unclear, unanswered and of course, unknown. Alternative words that also easily could have been a title for the latest season ender in Six Feet Under's truncated fourth season. And also how I feel in parts about this episode.

The biggest mystery that has plagued all of the last year was how one Lisa Kimmel-Fisher died. It bugged Nate, her family and a large percentage of the audience and all along a vital clue to her final day lay inside the book that Michaela was so adamant that Nate give to David.

Okay so the photo of the last image of Lisa could have come from any standard and frankly moronic soap but the real question is - do I buy into the idea of Lisa and Hoyt having an affair?

To be honest, not completely even if it does make me sympathise with Barb and slightly understand her little bit. But the thing that stops this revelation from being complete tripe is the surprisingly powerful scenes between Nate and Hoyt. They are quite believable and even his suicide does incur a slight amount of intrigue.

With Hoyt dead the complete answers of Lisa's own demise now goes with him. Did I really think it would be that easy? For a second, yeah. I wanted to believe an enraged Hoyt had offed her. That Lisa was coming to visit to tell her about her cheating hubby (not that I'm siding with Lisa mind) and break off their affair.

Then there's Maya. Given the longevity of Lisa and Hoyt's affair, is it possibly that Maya is Hoyt's? Possibly but honestly I believe she is Nate's. She definitely feels like his and if she isn't, then I'm gonna be one teed off viewer.

And let's not forget Nate and Brenda's engagement, which for all it's initial cheesiness is still a believable ploy and a sigh of a relief we didn't get a pregnancy revelation although you can bet there'll be struggle with them trying to play happy families.

In much better arcs, David identifies Jake in a police line up, leading to a much necessary and totally compelling confrontation between the pair as it manages to get David to face his demons (although being David you know he's not completely out of the woods).

And then there are the David/Nathaniel scenes where he's forced to call on his own behaviour and accept the fact he's lucky to be alive, giving Michael C Hall another fine chance to emote. And how I’ve wanted to see that since "That's My Dog" and it certainly lived up to my expectations.

It's also great to see David and Keith as a more functioning couple than we've seen so far this year, but Roger hiring Keith as his bodyguard worries me though. I'm not sure if getting a job from the guy who was gonna sue your boyfriend a couple weeks ago bodes well.

Keeping with genuinely great plots, George is definitely off his rocker and I for cannot wait to see where this is heading. Yes, I was wrong he's survived the season but his apocalyptic fears are now heightened with nightmares of a turquoise dressed woman which I guess we're supposed to interpret as one of his wives or possibly his mother - Ball and company do like to keep things ambiguous.

Poor Ruth definitely has trouble on her hands and how convenient was it that Maggie had her twig about George's behaviour? The consensus with US viewers is either schizophrenia (which I concur) or Alzheimer’s. I actually quite liked Maggie - very pleasant but nobody on this show is a paragon of stability and I think it's fair to presume we'll be seeing more her next season. I'm genuinely compelled with this thread.

Also compelling was Vanessa asking for a divorce from Federico. Yes I should have seen it coming but that still didn't prepare me for the shock anyway. Poor Rico. He laid his heart on the line, finally conceded what an idiot he had been for getting involved with Sophia and apologised.

Yes he should get the consequences of his misguided actions but that doesn't stop for feeling for the guy, even slightly more than Vanessa but seeing as her and Rico were only the real stable couple on this show since "The Will", you just can't help but feel despair. However seeing as Justina Machado is supposed to become a regular next season, I hold out hope for reconciliation.

Not onto the worst aspect of the finale which sadly lies with Claire's gallery opening. I didn't like her and Jimmy as a couple but did she really need to be such a bitch towards him for no good reason? If it wasn't for him, her star turn wouldn't have happened and having her spent long lengths of time ignoring him and then casting him aside was pretty despicable and Claire's not that kind of person.

And what was up with her snorting coke like some strung out junkie? For crying out woman - get your shit together and sort yourself out before you become the embodiment of how not to act like as an artist (basically Olivier).

I didn't really mind her and Billy hooking up - it didn't feel forced and the only things that have prevented from furthering their relationship have been her age and his mental state, although their entanglement can go either way. And just wait until Nate and Brenda find out.

Russell equally pissed me off with his storming and disgusting need to claim credit. Sorry Rusty, this isn't a time where you have the right to claim your pound of flesh - Claire owes you nothing on this score.

His actions were complete and utterly selfishly motivated, although their little catfight was absolutely hilarious and at least we're finally rid of Anita (who leaves with Jimmy - talk about would you jump into my grave half as quick?). But for the third year in a row, Claire is left with no friends and for at least one of them, she is to blame. Will she ever learn?

Also in "Untitled"

Death of the week: Kenneth Henderson getting diced in half by the elevator door. Way too corny and Final Destination for it's own good, but it may make you more conscious of elevators.

Man: “We’re gonna drop ten floors and we're all gonna die.”
Woman: “We could use a little more Bruce Willis attitude here, Mister.”

Claire's new cyber name is CFisher220 while Billy's is MrChen106.

Nate (to David): “I hit a new low. I made the bereaved vomit.”

Maggie (re George): “Well thank God he shaves for you. He used to have a big scraggly beard.”
Ruth: “A beard? I can't picture it ... yes I can.”

Margaret wanted Claire to do a similar collage of her and Olivier. Wonder it that's to see what demonic child these two could produce.

Federico: “I am so sorry from the bottom of my heart.”
Vanessa: “You finally said it, thank you.”

How come Ruth and Maya were the only people from Claire's family at the gallery when we had all the Chenowith's? I get Nate being in Idaho but David's visit to Jake was well finished before the opening.

David: “Well I walk around all the time thinking everyone is going to humiliate and murder me."
Jake: “Well they are so I did you a favour.”

Wished they had gotten someone better than Nicole Richie to buy a piece of Claire's work. No offence but next season be a little more picky with guest stars.

Claire: “How are things going?”
Anita: “What?”
Claire: “My show, whore.”
Anita: “Oh fine, whore.”

Brenda and Maya together was adorable. The twins who play her definitely got more to do here than they have since ever. I also think Maya clung onto Brenda at the gallery because she was scared of Margaret's hideous top.

Olivier (to Claire): “I toast you with this shitty wine.”

Chronology wise, its 18 days since “Bomb Shelter”.

Nathaniel: “What do you think? You can do anything you lucky bastard, you're alive! What's a little pain compared to that?"
David: “It can't be that simple.”
Nathaniel: “What if it is?”

Standout music of the episode including the ubitiquous brilliantly score piece from Rick Marvin during all those interjected scenes, as well as practically everything from Claire's gallery party.

I immensely enjoyed this actually. Okay, so the “fates sealed” spiel I don't necessarily buy into and while the major death was of a character who didn't engage me, this was still a terrific way of ending the season. Yes, we should have gotten two episodes instead, with double yes on that Alan Ball should have scripted this, hats off to Nancy Oliver for a brilliant episode after the hit and miss "Coming And Going". It may not be an ultimate cliff-hanger like the previous two season enders but a damn sight better than finales we've had this year compared to other series.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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