Formaldehyde Fortress. More frantic doorbell ringing. Nate answers this time, and Tracy barely lets him get a word in before running down her list of complaints once again. When she shows him the "nick" in the casket, Nate quickly offers to knock a hundred bucks off the price. Yep, that’s right, folks. The man has a gift. Tracy, however, is still screeching about getting a new coffin, so Nate brings up the fact that she hasn’t signed a contract yet, and says that she’s not allowed to complain anymore until she does. Then he goes really nuts and starts shouting at her. "You ought to thank your fucking stars that you’re alive and healthy, and that you don’t live in a place where you have to work like a dog just to starve or get shot in the streets." Alan Ball then dips his comedic pen into the rapid-mood-swing inkwell one last time, having Nate follow that mini-diatribe up with a super-polite "I’ll be right back with that contract." Fade to white.
We fade back in on what appears to be a home movie of Claire, descending the Fortress steps in her Psycho Beach Party pigtails. The Late Nate appears with his camera, but she tells him that even if he's "trying to get [his] wings," it’s still too late to make up for all the missed opportunities. Dad, however, has finally figured out what it is that he likes about Gabe: "He’ll be headed over to my neck of the woods pretty soon." Well, duh. I mean, who doesn’t like that about Gabe? Anyway, Claire jerks awake once again, only this time she’s been sleeping on the sofa at Parker’s place. She looks up to see the Dangerslut herself, macking on a totally new Boy Toy Du Jour. Then she rolls over and shares a tender moment with Gabe, which inspires me, in the immortal words of one William Martin Joel, to leave a tender moment alone.
In yet another nice bit of symmetry from the opening episodes, we get another taste of the Jogger-Cam, as Nate runs. And runs. And then runs some more. Gee, do you think he could be mocking death? I’m not really sure. He’s still running, by the way.
Time for one last trip to Nikolai’s "Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon" Flower Shop. Ruth has snuck over on a Sunday morning to pick up her things, and she’s surprised to find a drunken Nikolai there waiting for her. When she chastises him for having spent the night in the store, he tells her to "go drive in the woods with your man who burns chicken in the funny, little toy car." Oh, all right -- one last "heh" at Ed’s expense. Nikolai goes on to say that he hopes the St. Elsewhore is either rich or a really good lover, "because [Ruth] is a woman who needs a good lover." I’ll say. Ruth is suddenly overwhelmed by Nikolai’s raw, animal attraction, and as the love theme from Dr. Zhivago swells in the background, she steps in for a kiss.