Cut to a rain-soaked windowpane, on which appears the faint reflection of David and the Hoedown Ho rolling around on the bed. There's also been a lot of discussion in the forums about why they chose not to just show the gay sex straight up, and while I'm sure Gerald Levin wasn't too upset about avoiding the potential controversy that would have entailed, I honestly think they were just going for a cool shot here. Especially since David and HDH pop right up into the frame (from an angle that would have made their reflection in the window impossible) at the very last second. "Damn, you are versatile," says the HDH, and we fade to white.
At the Fortress, Nate is asking Ruth for advice on his love life. Yeah, that's a good idea. You might as well be asking me. Ruth basically tells him that women are free to make their own choices these days, and then David skips in, looking all cheerful and reporting that a bus overturned on the highway the night before. "Forty-four passengers, most of them dead," he says, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. Nate knowingly asks if David got any sleep at all last night, and David turns it around by asking Nate how he did on the funeral director's exam. In Running Gag #753, Ruth chastises the boys for their foul language. Enter Rico, who thanks the Fishers for all their help over the years before saying he thinks it's time to move on. Nate tries to convince him to stay, but all Rico wants to know is, "Am I a partner?" Nate and David are silent, and Rico realizes that they never even discussed it. David decides to be the good cop for once, and shakes Rico's hand. "I'm sorry we can't offer you more," he says. "You will always have a job waiting for you here." As Rico leaves, Foreshadowing rips the camera out of Allen Coulter's hands and points it straight at Mommie Drearest. Who wants to bet that Ma hands over her silent partnership to Rico when he comes crawling back in a few episodes? I'll take all comers. Except you, Larry, since you already know if I'm right or not. Rico starts to walk out, but not before dispensing one final bit of advice: "Don't turn your back on Gilardi."
Moving rapidly into the denouement portion of this evening's festivities, Nate has returned to Brenda's house. He starts apologizing for his jealous behavior, and then Brenda explains that she threw CD out because she couldn't deal with his behavior anymore. Once she agrees to forgive him, Nate says that it's her turn to apologize for "trying to use Billy's meltdown and Connor's visit to push [him] away, for being impatient with [his] very valid emotional response to each one, and for always asking [him] to adjust [his] behavior and feelings, but never being willing to do the same herself." Amen, brother. Also, can you get her to do something about that public sex fetish while you're at it? Brenda agrees that he's got a point, saying that she's "already gone further than with anyone since…" Since Billy, perhaps? Or is this just more fake flirting with the issue, the same way they tried to make us think the Nathaniel tattoo was The Late Nate back in the day. Care to enlighten us, Larry? Or are you just pissed that I keep mentioning you? David Chase got back at me by introducing a character named Aaron with narcolepsy, so I can only shudder at the thought of what you crazy SFU kids might come up with. Nate makes Brenda promise that "from here on out, [he's] the only naked man in her bed and in her life," and while maybe I'm old-fashioned, I'd have to say that's a fairly reasonable request of one's girlfriend. "I love you, and want to be with you for the long haul," he says, "but there is a limit to the amount of shit I'm willing to put up with." It frightens me how much I sympathize with Nate sometimes. Nate goes over and kneels beside her, and Brenda apologizes once again for being "so weird about intimacy." What intimacy? She can't even get naked unless there's twelve other people in the room. She continues to remind us of plot developments past by adding, "I guess spending your childhood being picked apart by psychologists will do that." Nate is frightened by how much he sympathizes with Brenda here, and points out that "not being able to sleep at night because you know your basement is full of dead people takes its toll too." Actually, it hasn't bothered me a bit. Hi, Kenny! Nate's cell phone rings, interrupting their tender moment. David excitedly tells him that they're getting three bodies from the bus crash, and Nate is forced to resort to tired and lame HBO puns when he tells his brother to "curb [his] enthusiasm." Man, what kind of a loser would write something like that?
And finally, Claire returns at long last to the Formaldehyde Fortress. She slumps down at the kitchen table and waits for David to start yelling at her. She's shocked to learn that he hasn't told Mom about what happened, and even more amazed when he says he doesn't plan to. I'm shocked when Claire admits that she actually "learned something really valuable" on her trip, which turns out to be that "everything [she] knows is wrong." Yeah, especially all the things she knows about me. I'm really a sweet guy, Lauren. You should give me a call. After a moment, Claire asks David about Keith, and he reluctantly tells her, "It just didn't work out." David pours her a glass of orange juice, and then excuses himself to get to work. And with that, we're left with just a simple wide shot of Claire as we fade to white.