Six Feet Under: Ecotone
December 4, 2019 7:37 PM - Season 5, Episode 9 - Subscribe

A man out hiking through the beauties of nature suddenly finds himself much more in touch with nature than he expected. Ruth's camping trip with Hiram proves less than satisfactory, and meanwhile Nate is rushed to hospital, and Maggie, David, Brenda, Claire, and Ted wait through the night while he undergoes surgery to repair the AVM rupture in his brain. He awakens from his coma, but only for long enough to briefly reconnect with those he loves, and to disconnect from Brenda.

The obituary from this episode:

Lawrence Hall Matheson (1971 - 2005)

Lawrence died suddenly at the age of 34 while hiking in the Santa Monica mountains on the evening of May 20th. He lived in rural Calabasas with his two dogs Chip and Pepper and spent as many hours a day outdoors as possible. On the weekends, Lawrence was proud of his work as a Mountain Forestry volunteer and devoted member of Tree People, a group committed to the restoration and replanting of forests throughout the Southern California mountains. He studied Business Economics at Cal State Berkeley and worked as a securities broker at Morgan Stanley in Huntington Beach. Lawrence will be greatly missed by his coworkers, family, many forestry friends, and his golf buddies, who were continually amazed that Lawrence had the perfect golf gadget for every situation.

Memorial Service on Sunday May 22 at 11 a.m. at Fisher and Diaz 2302 W. 25th Street in Los Angeles. Funeral to follow at Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery.
posted by orange swan (3 comments total)
Ruth's camping trip might have been a bust, but at least she wasn't attacked by a cougar. Good for her for telling Hiram off and bailing when acted like she owed him sexual favours.

David was so kind to Maggie and such an adult re: the whole Nate having banged Maggie situation. He was simply not going to sit in judgment on Maggie, especially when there were much larger, more important matters at stake.

I will say for Brenda that she conducted herself amazingly well too -- I'm not sure I could have been as restrained in her situation. Probably most women would not be. She did resort to her usual weaponized psychological analysis after Nate told her he was done with their marriage, but even then, it was mild compared to what she might have said, and I didn't disagree with her assessment of Nate as a narcissist who can't commit to anything.

Fucking Nate, man. He and Brenda have been married for just six months, she suffered a miscarriage at the time of their wedding so that's still pretty fresh, she's pregnant, and she really loves Maya and will lose her in their divorce... and he first cheats on her, then tells her he's leaving her. Because, you know, life is too short to spend actually putting in the effort it takes to make a relationship work. It's true that their marriage wasn't working, but why the hell did he have to jump headlong into making a new family with Brenda?

What do we think of Nate's interest in Maggie? Was it likely to actually work out any better than his two marriages or would it have been merely a way to transition out of his marriage to Brenda? They haven't known each other long at all, the timing is terrible... but I am inclined to think Maggie might have proved the kind of mild, responsible Ruth-like woman he needs, rather than another sardonic, heedless person like Brenda, and like he is himself. If he'd, you know, not been so quick to go back to Brenda in his grief over Lisa, he would have gotten a chance to know Maggie while still single, and might have given things with her a shot instead.

Do educated, cogent, principled Republicans like Ted actually exist in real life? One sees them a lot in TV shows, but even then, I can think of some damn good rebuttals to their supposedly great arguments. They always feel like a "both sides" construction to me, rather than convincing as characters.

Poor little Anthony. Had he even met Nate before? The boys just met Ruth last episode.

David's stunned grief over finding Nate dead.... I think that might have been one of the most heartbreaking moments in the entire show.

You'd think there would have been medical personnel rushing in to the room to at least try to resuscitate Nate, though.

I am so fucking bored of The Rico and Vanessa Show.
posted by orange swan at 5:33 PM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have no idea what it was like in the writer's room for these episodes. It's hard for me to call any TV "significant," but never have I been affected more by the boob tube (The Wire is different). The rest of the series is great as a tidy soap 1000x better than Picket Fences, but these episodes fundamentally changed my perspective on what it means to be a living person. I think about this and the next episodes pretty often.
posted by rhizome at 10:11 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Re Lawrence Hall Matheson: There is a tradition of being reticent about cause of death in obituaries. In this particular case I am picturing the author making herculean efforts to talk about Lawrence's commitment to forestry restoration projects and love of golf gadgets rather than to say "mauled by a cougar".

As a heterosexual man who has spent his life working in a hairdresser - Hiram does not seem to have learned an awful lot about women. Ruth's "shooting gallery" sequence, does indeed summarise that she has had a few problems with all guys we have seen her with.

I didn't disagree with her assessment of Nate as a narcissist who can't commit to anything.
Nate is (was) an interesting character - and I think his final dream of going to the beach to surf with hippy-fied David in a van driven by Nathaniel - sums up a lot about him. He is the oldest son who would have been the default one to take over the family business if he had not abdicated responsibility to follow his hedonistic trail. We see him as being self-centred throughout the show cumulating with the relationship wreckage he leaves behind on his deathbed by pledging love for Maggie and the end of a relationship with Brenda - left pregnant with Nate's child and acting as mother to the daughter he had with Lisa. Yet - at the same time we also understand what draws people to him: he is attractive, a good listener and a wise council to others.
posted by rongorongo at 1:57 AM on July 22, 2022

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