Six Feet Under: In Place of Anger
July 12, 2019 9:57 PM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

A drunken man falls overboard during a corporate event cruise, and his widow gets a good deal on his funeral due to the unfriendly competition between Kroehner and Fisher & Sons. Ruth's sister Sarah visits for the first time in 20 years, and she and Ruth have issues to resolve. Nate announces his engagement to Brenda at a family dinner. David's fledgling new relationship runs aground. Rico and Vanessa find out their newly purchased house has mould and water damage issues. Mitzi Huntley whisks Nate and David away for a day of pampering and enticement at a resort. Claire begins to think there is an artist awakening within her.

The obituary from this episode:

Matthew Heath Collins (1959 - 2001)

Matthew Heath Collins died on Friday, Nov. 16, 2001. He leaves behind his wife of twenty years, Catherine, his father John and stepmother Gloria.

Matthew will be remembered by his friends and business associates at Parkinson Media.

Services today, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2001, 11AM at Fisher & Sons Funeral Home.
posted by orange swan (6 comments total)
The brevity of Matthew Collins's obituary is so telling. Sometimes the less said, the better.

David was more than a bit of a dick about Catherine Collins's comparison shopping -- does he never shop around for the best deal on major expenses? -- but then I suppose that he's not really used to people shopping around for the best rates on funerals, because most people who have lost someone are in no condition to do so. This is not to say that Catherine isn't in a tailspin. In my experience one often to needs to get completely away from a bad relationship to even begin to see just how bad it is, and she didn't get that distance as a part of any gradual, emotionally healthy process, but with a traumatic turn of events... which means she may never get to a good place emotionally.

I don't blame Ruth for being absolutely, irredeemably furious with Sarah for being so incredibly irresponsible. Aunt Sarah takes the two boys for a weekend visit, and ten-year-old David spent an entire night lost in a canyon!!! Fifteen-year-old Nate lost his virginity to her 32-year-old friend -- hello, that's statutory rape, Sarah!!! You think maybe there's some connection between such a huge emotional violation and 36-year-old Nate having such difficulty forming a mature and functional romantic relationship with a woman or in committing to any sort of educational or professional goals, Sarah? Yeah, he was happy to go for it at the time, and he still probably thinks of it as consensual, but it's like his emotional development stopped at 15. Yet twenty years on Sarah still doesn't think she did anything wrong, which makes me kind of glad she was infertile.

Obviously, though, there were other causes for Ruth and Sarah's estrangement. Ruth resents Sarah. As Sarah rightly points out, her life has not been easier than Ruth's, but she's temperamentally quite different from Ruth, which has had a huge impact on how much they enjoyed their respective lives. Sarah is free-spirited and at ease with herself, which means she's happier and more expressive and that people respond to her more readily. Ruth clearly couldn't stand the way Sarah smoothly rejoined the family circle, establishing camaraderie with Nikolai, relating easily to Brenda, Nate, and David, dazzling Claire -- and even worse, immediately zeroing in on something fundamental about Claire that Ruth had never really recognized.

Mitzi Huntley tries so, so hard to be flirtatious and charming in a "Southern Belle in the boardroom" kind of way, and her efforts just make her all the more abrasive. I still don't understand why Kroehner is making such strenuous efforts to get hold of Fisher & Sons. Their business plan makes no sense.

David still wants Keith; Keith still wants David. Come on you two, just get it on with it and get back together. You just wounded sweet, cute little Adam Scott! What will you do next in an effort to thwart your destiny, kick puppies?

Although Nate tells David he has told Brenda about his AVM, he has not. But he's forging ahead anyway with a doomed engagement that has Brenda dreaming about Nate suffocating her and offering a bonus handy to a massage client. Although apparently she's also doing it to give herself something to write about. Ever learned any brainstorming techniques, Brenda?

Rico found the right woman for him and the work he wanted to do as a teenager, which in some ways indicates admirable qualities in him, but it's also left him immature in several important ways. He takes what he has too much for granted and expects more on a platter, and has a narrow worldview.
posted by orange swan at 6:15 PM on July 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I loved this series and cannot comment as eloquently as you, orange swan. I just wanted you to know that I enjoy these posts!
posted by sundrop at 2:09 PM on July 14, 2019

wanted you to know that I enjoy these posts

Yep! I consider each post a signal to watch the episode it covers.
posted by kingless at 4:41 PM on July 14, 2019

Thanks for the appreciation, but I was really hoping to get some actual conversation out of this endeavour. I'd like to hear other people's thoughts on the show. Instead the episode threads have somewhere between 0-2 other comments besides my own, and then those comments are usually a quick, "Hey, thanks for doing this."
posted by orange swan at 5:09 PM on July 14, 2019

Unfortunately I started rewatching the show a bit before you started your series of posts, and ran through the series fairly quickly. I think I was almost done when you began. You and I were almost in sync, orange swan!

The thing that stood our for me while watching this episode is how good a performance Harriet Sansome Harris gave.
posted by goofyfoot at 6:21 PM on July 31, 2019

Six feet under does some of the best family meals. I think what makes them so well done is that unspoken dialogue is considered every bit as important as what is said. We are told nothing about Clare's rapidly growing interest in Sarah - or about Ruth's frustration - but we can absolutely infer it. That meal was also a terrible context for Nate and Brenda to announce their engagement.
posted by rongorongo at 11:00 PM on April 7, 2022

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