You know what I liked the most about this episode, by the way? It's perfectly symmetrical. Everything that happens in the first half has an equal and opposite twin in the second half. Think about it. Nate crying in the kitchen because he loves Lisa is mirrored by Claire doing the same thing later on because she hates Russell. Billy kissing Brenda is mirrored by Brenda kissing Nate. David's exclusion from the Kharles family at the funeral is followed his jumping right into the fray during the big fight that ensues back at the house. Hell, even Claire and Ruth dump their boyfriends for almost completely opposite reasons. It's by far the tightest episode of the season structurally, and yet it still delivers on the emotion and characterization, especially with Ruth and Claire. That's what earned it a solid A, despite the presence of an StC (and StTM) value that's rapidly approaching infinity. Nice work.
And just to prove my point about symmetry, we now get another scene of Rico and Vanessa dancing, complete with a Matrix-worthy 360-degree variable-speed swirling camera shot that emphasizes the sudden dizziness of Vanessa's drug-induced crash. Rico pulls her off the dance floor when she starts to hyperventilate, and she frantically demands that he find some Xanax in the pill case she carries in her purse. He fumbles through all the various medications for a while before finally finding the right one, and then just sits there looking frightened as he holds her in his arms. I don't know what he's so worried about. Sure, she almost had a heart attack. But at least she doesn't have lice, right?
The Fortress. Claire comes downstairs to find Russell waiting for her in the funeral home lobby. It's your typical bad boyfriend begging for forgiveness scene, only with an extra-greasy layer of creepiness added by the vaguely stalkerish subtext of Russell's entreaties. "I don't want this to end," he pleads. "I need this. I need you. I know I'm confused, but the one thing that I'm completely sure of is that I love you." "And I believe you," she answers. "But I've been through this before. I am not some nurse who's here to take care of the misfits!" Hmm. I sure hope that wasn't another shout-out. "I'm going to change your mind," he declares. "I swear. I would cut out my heart and give it to you in a box if it would change anything." Oy. It's the "in a box" part that makes that sound so sinister. I can totally picture him building the box out of leftover scraps from the spiral sculpture he made last week. And besides, you just know that Van Gogh bit from a few weeks ago is going to come back to bite him in the ass. Or the ear. Or the heart. Whatever. Claire's response to this offer is to point out that the only thing cutting out his heart would change is the fact that he'd be dead. Then she runs back into the house, and starts crying as she passes through the kitchen. See? This is where the episode starts folding back on itself. Ruth is there to observe, just like she was before, only this time she starts crying herself when Claire won't accept a massage. It's all about the massage, my friends.