Six Feet Under
Hold My Hand

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M. Giant: B- | Grade It Now!
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Amour-ticians

George is trying to get Ruth to let him help with dinner, saying he wants to. "So you say," she says, smiling fakely, "but then you come back from the grocery empty-handed." Before that can escalate, Nate carries Maya into the house. Maya and George are sweetly thrilled to see each other as Nate makes weak excuses for Brenda's absence. Maggie arrives moments later. George introduces Nate and Maya to his daughter. "It's great to see us all together," George says, and Nate smiles agreeably. Naturally, Ruth has to put an end to the sweet moment. She shoos everyone out of the kitchen so that she can finish dinner. And also pour herself another glass of wine.

Over at Jackie's house, there's a dinner going on where nobody hates anybody else, but that's only because most of them just met Brenda. She's violating doctor-patient confidentiality by repeating the story of her assault today. Everyone sympathizes. "There is nothing more dangerous than an adolescent male," says Jackie's grinning adolescent daughter, to which Jackie's adolescent male child takes offense. "I just cook," he protests, and Brenda compliments him on the food. Jackie and her husband talk about attacks they've sustained in the line of duty, which sends the kids into promo-speak: "Our parents: therapists on the front lines." That gives Brenda an opening back into her favorite subject -- Brenda -- as she says that her parents were also therapists. Jackie's son thinks he's got her childhood all figured out: "Too many hugs, all that support and understanding?" "Not exactly," Brenda understates. When the daughter asks if Nate's a therapist too, Brenda says, "Not officially, but sort of?" "So do you guys discuss every little thing to death?" asks the son. Brenda says she tries. Oh, does she ever. Jackie starts into a funny story about the one time they had to discipline the son, and Brenda basks in the wholesome functionality of it all. As if these people won't all be at each other's throats the moment Brenda's out the door.

After dinner at Ruth's, Maggie stands in the doorway to the kitchen and watches George hold Maya in his lap and tell a nonsensical story that involves a puppet parrot or something. He's probably just vocalizing what's going on in his head in real time. Maggie goes back to the sink, where Nate's doing the dishes, and comments on Maya's attachment to George. Nate says he sometimes thinks Maya's the only thing he ever did right, and Maggie says she finds that hard to believe, which is just a polite pleasantry here and nowhere near the big moment it was made out to be in the previews. Nate says that he and Brenda are trying for another, and Maggie expresses her sympathies about the miscarriage. Nate asks about Maggie's romantic situation, like this wouldn't have come up during dinner. She says she broke up with someone just before moving to Los Angeles from Phoenix. I'm going to have to get used to months passing between episodes like this. Where I come from, we viewers have only missed about two minutes between one show and the next. She was married before that, but now her job makes it easier for her to be on her own. Nate asks if she has any desire for kids, and then looks up nervously when the silence stretches out. He asks if that was too personal. Maggie says that she and her ex-husband had a son who died of leukemia. Nate fumbles an apology and gestures helplessly toward Maya in the dining room, saying, "I can't imagine." Nate asks how long ago this happened, and Maggie answers, "He was two, so, God, six years ago." Kind of a telling calculation there; sounds like she thinks of him in terms of how old he would be if he were alive. "Time doesn't help, does it?" says Nate. Maggie agrees. Nate starts to talk about "my first wife," but Maggie's already heard. She has an advantage over him, doesn't she? She knows his whole story already, but he didn't know the first thing about her until they were alone in the kitchen together. I'm sure that's somehow Ruth's fault. "So you know how it goes," she says. Except that unlike Nate, she probably didn't hate her dead family member.

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