Friday, June 02, 2006

My Review of Six Feet Under's 4x01: "Falling Into Place"

Written by Craig Wright
Directed by Michael Cuesta

Keith (to David): "I feel like I’ve been eating this cake for 12 months".

I couldn't have thought of a more appropriate way to open my first paragraph to review the new season of Six Feet Under and after those supermarket promos with Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" the anticipation reached fever pitch. Since "I'm Sorry, I'm Lost", we've gone through Sex And The City's final season, the marvellous Carnivale and Angels In America as well as The Sopranos' penultimate year and after all of the above was the first episode of Season Four worth the wait? Despite some rather question worthy and puzzle some moments, this opener had a lot to offer, so here goes...

"Falling Into Place" takes just seconds after the final moments of "I'm Sorry, I'm Lost" where Nate shows up at Brenda's and tells her of Lisa's death. However his search for comfort with his ex leads to an unwise (but brief) sexual encounter between the pair, adding further awkwardness between the former lovers the morning after.

Also during the night, a seemingly reunited David and Keith stay over at the former's childhood room, which is made even weirder for Dave when he has to hear Ruth in the throes of connubial bliss, which I’ll get back to later.

Next day everyone, including George (who Nate's hostility towards is almost non-existent - Bet that won't last long, though) learns of Lisa's death and at the coroner's office, it is David who has the unenviable task of identifying the body, turning what Nate had to do in the Pilot regarding his father almost on it's head.

From here on in, the bulk of the premiere now largely revolves around Lisa's funeral and some viewers may be delighted to see Lili Taylor's ill-fated character in a nicely done flashback where Lisa gives her burial wishes to Nate.

These wishes come into direct conflict with Lisa's freakish mother, who could possibly give Margaret Chenowith a run for her money in terms of parents you wouldn't want as she wants her daughter cremated and when you think you fathom the outcome, the episode's denouement turns everything on it's head as the Kimmel's leaves with ashes believed to be Lisa, while Nate buries his wife in the desert in a scene that will have viewers reaching for their hankies as the end credits roll.

But it isn't just Peter Krause who steals the show as going back to the current Nate/Brenda situation. While there may be tension still between the pair, unlike Season Three's closing instalments, at least Nate isn't trying to blame her for anything, even when he puts the kibosh on Brenda's plans to go to the funeral.

Still though, at least she's got the lovely Joe to get neighbourly with and moves in rather closer to him when the previous day she was determined to maintain some reasonable distance. Second episode in and my opinion on the guy still stands - I like him and great casting in Justin Theroux who is developing some brilliant chemistry with Rachel Griffiths. Unlike last season when the Brenda/Nate/Lisa triangle had the latter of the bunch not sitting well with viewers and critics alike, the same cannot be said about the inevitable Nate/Brenda/Joe entanglement here.

And with Brenda's celibacy now obliterated, how long are the writers gonna be able to maintain this arc where other shows have fallen flat on their arses with? On the plus side, at least Brenda seems more integrated this season than last and if she and Joe are heading for a collision course, can it be at least towards the end of the season, please?

Meanwhile Claire confesses all to Russell regarding the abortion and sends him packing when he breaks down. It's nice to see Rusty again and maybe Claire could've been more sympathetic when telling him, but at the same time his melodramatic act is getting a little tedious at the moment. If he's going to be around for this year, in whatever capacity, maybe the writers should make a couple of changes for the character.

David and Keith also remain a question worthy topic as the status of their new relationship is also kind of unknown to either of them. Both of them want to be with the other and both confess that they don't want anyone else but each other and while they are willing to make some changes, you can't help but feel that David moving back in with Keith is a tad rushed.

Wouldn't it have been more logical for the pair to rebuild their relationship, but have some distance between them? Then again, with the ecstatically happy Ruth and George (for now) shagging, maybe that's why David was so eager to scarper back to Keith. But, I can't help but feel that by doing this they will fall into old familiar shoes.

Following his indiscretion with lap dancer Sophia, Federico allows Angelica to stay longer until an impatient Vanessa turfs her out and after three seasons of not featuring in premieres and playing second fiddle to her husband, Justina Machado gets to cut loose her character shows why we should be watching this season as well as Federico's bizarre, as despite confessing all to a priest, he can't help but not drive by the strip club to get a glimpse of Sophia. And I can't wait to see where this heads.

Also in "Falling Into Place"

The fake ashes given to the Kimmels are from Bruno Baskerville Walsh, who in a flashback to 1972 we see jump off the roof after an acid trip in a nicely prodded nod to the brilliant Almost Famous.

Claire (re Ruth/George): “I was completely scandalised.”
David: “I never knew the word ‘George’ could sound so obscene.”

Anyone else notice Rachel Griffiths' post pregnancy show? This episode was only filmed a few weeks after the actress gave birth.

Nate (re Lisa): “I kept thinking please don’t let it be me who messes it up.”
David: “And it wasn’t.”
Nate: “Good for me.”

David: “So are you dating? Do you have a thing for anyone?”
Claire: “Ugh, no. Everyone is a total asshole who ultimately fucks you over.”

Loved Barb's eulogy to Lisa. I am so the type of person to call my friends at inappropriate times over something trivial.

Barb: “Lisa didn't believe in borders and that is why I know that wherever Lisa is right now, she's everywhere! She's everywhere and that means, she's home”.

Claire: "I got an abortion."
Russell: "When?"
Claire: "Like, right after we broke up."

Not only does Russell still have that unclean hair, but now he's got a moustache to match, which is worse.

Priest (to Federico): “That was very fast.”

Federico could barely contain his joy at Angelica being kicked out. And what about his confession to that priest and for a man allergic to cats, shouldn't even feeding them be a little harmful to Joe?

Brenda: “That was very kind, what you did the other day.”
Joe: “No it was selfish. I just wanted to see you.”

Chronology it's still obviously July 2003.

David: "So what did we just do? Did we just get married?"
Keith: "No."
David: “Feels like we did."
Keith: "Yeah, well don't over think it."

Standout songs included the Pernace Brother's "Baby In Two" during Claire and Russell's phone conversation and Jonathan Rice’s “Breaks So Easily” played during David and Claire's "eye-breaking" conversation stood out.

Had to admit that I was worried over the fact that Alan Ball didn't script this episode (I hope this isn't a sign of reduced involvement in the show - way too many producers/creators are doing that these days), but the superb Craig Wright kept us on our toes once again, although a bit more of poor Arthur would've have been nice and while things weren't as dark as last season, you can't help but wonder if David and Claire's "eye-breaking" conversation may foreshadow for bleaker things to come. However, despite some mishaps, "Falling Into Place" still displays why this show is probably the best thing on television right about now.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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