So how was your summer vacation? Good? Mine too. I got to go to New York and see the "allegory, all the time" season trailer for Six Feet Under on HBO in our hotel which, like last season's promo, will probably end up being more interesting than the actual show. It's the one where all the characters are driving through the desert in their various vehicles, encountering alternate versions of themselves, and then they all stop and get out and see something that seems to bring them some kind of peace or healing. And then they go back to their cars, leaving us wondering what this fabulous sight could possibly have been. But then the words "The Final Season" appear on the screen and we go, "Ohhhhh."
Full disclosure: up until the season, I haven't actually been a regular Six Feet Under viewer, mainly because where I live the cheapest way to get HBO is to check into a hotel that has it. But not to worry; I've been getting up to speed by cramming with the old recaps. Except, of course, for the second-to-last one of last season, which was crap.
Ready to meet the season's first Corpse of the Week? It's either the therapist or the client on the couch in her office, who's confessing that she doesn't tell anyone in her life how she feels about things because she's afraid it'll lead to screaming or crying. "Would that be so horrible?" asks the therapist. The patient says it would. And then kills the therapist. No, what really happens is that the therapist asks if it would really be worse than the way the patient is living now, and reads from her notes: "'Isolated, and invisible, like an empty, gaping hole in the universe'?" The patient ponders that, gaping emptily.
And then we see her on a beautiful back porch behind a beautiful house, speaking to someone's beautiful wife (where? How did we get here?), explaining that when the other woman complains about her comparatively perfect life, it makes our patient feel bad about her own, which is nowhere near as nice. The other woman looks taken aback for a moment, like she's ready to stand up and kill the patient, but instead she sincerely apologizes for being wrapped up in her own problems. "I am so glad you finally said something," she says. The patient's face says, "Fuck, man, not nearly as glad as I am."
And then she's trying it with her nearly-identical sister, who also fails to stand up and kill her. And then her gruff, stone-faced dad, who doesn't stand up and kill her, but does start crying. And then she goes to her significant other, Leonard, who does stand up and kill her. Well, what actually happens is that he reacts badly to whatever she's just told him. He bitches about the gifts he gives her, pointing out antiques like the ashtray, the mirror, and the fireplace andiron, which she says aren't for her, since she doesn't smoke, lacks a fireplace, and is a vampire. Except for the last one. Although that would hardly be more ridiculous than the fireplace thing just sitting there on the floor with its useless, pointy spikes hungrily waiting to impale someone through the eye and straight into their brain. Not that that would ever happen, obviously. "I'll take it all back, then," he says petulantly, and decides to start with the chair the woman's sitting on. When she refuses to get up, he pushes her to the floor. Where one of the spikes of that useless, ridiculous andiron impales her through the eye and stabs right into her brain. "Oh God, don't do this to me," whines Leonard, selfish and petty to the last. "Oh, Jesus, now what am I gonna do?" Still all about him, and not poor Andrea Kuhn (1963-2004). I'd speculate on what that means for the show's timeline, but I'm still too fresh from 24 to worry about anything less egregious than people driving across the city in ten minutes. As for Leonard, he should look on the bright side: at least he doesn't have to take anything back now.