Six Feet Under finale

Six Feet UnderI finally watched the finale of Six Feet Under. I’ve been putting it off for as long as I’ve had the DVD boxset for I didn’t want my time with the show to end, but I finally gave in. I’ve had a long love affair with Six Feet Under * and I was more upset to hear that HBO had decided to cancel it than when I heard the same news about The Sopranos and Oz (my two other favourites). HBO makes good television, there’s no denying it, and Six Feet Under was surely its shining star. I don’t even know where to begin with describing it, and I’m sure most of you are familiar with it already. I wager that it’s impossible for anyone to watch Six Feet Under without being affected by at least one storyline or character. I always identified most with Brenda, not because I think I’m particularly like her, but because I always loved how deeply honest she was no matter the consequences. She had that unenviable quality of complete self-destruction that became her undoing time and time again, yet she always embraced it because she knew that that was who she was. She was strong, brave and incredibly bright, yet unfailingly a slave to her ‘condition’. It was a contradiction I couldn’t ever quite fathom.


The finale. I’d heard great things about this episode so I was rather surprised when nothing happened for the longest time. No one seemed to be wrapping up any loose ends, and I certainly wasn’t experiencing the intense emotions that I’d been warned about. In fact, I watched it in three parts because I got a little bored with it twice. And then. Oh my life, and then! I’m not going to go into detail because I’m sure some of you haven’t seen it, but I can’t remember a time I’ve been so overwhelmed by watching something I knew, intellectually, was a made-up story. I sat on the floor in front of my TV like a child and I stared at the screen, and I cried and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. And when it was over, I went back and I watched it again and I cried some more. And then I watched it a third time. I remember that M. texted me at some point in the middle of it all, but I was too hysterical to respond to him. It was ingenious television, and I should have seen such an ending coming knowing the show as I do. It was the absolute perfect fit, and undoubtedly the most appropriate way to end its run. What shocked me was its rawness, and its unexpectedness. It’s almost as if they purposely shot a series of mundane story lines for the episode so that viewers would be overwhelmed by the intensity of the last ten minutes. It worked. Oz ended with some sort of metaphorical notion of all the prisoners being evacuated and driving into the distance (to what fate?), and I’m sure that the Sopranos will end with Tony losing his life, but nothing could beat what they did with Six Feet Under. Amazing. Incredibly moving. Breathtaking. I really wouldn’t tell you lies about this. I wish I could see it all for the first time again; hysteria and all. In fact, I’d recommend you watch all five seasons, just so you can really appreciate that finale. Seriously!

* Along the same lines, I still can’t bring myself to read Bukowski‘s last book with Henry Chinaski because then Mr Chinaski will be gone from my life forever. I can’t be doing with that, for I’m rather in love with the chap; vile and all as he may be.

15 responses to “Six Feet Under finale

  1. Sounds very much like what they did with the final episode of Blake’s 7. That’s still a shocker, even more than twenty years later and when everyone knows what happened.

  2. My word, you must be the only person who hasn’t! 🙂

    Major story arc: Blake and his crew are freedom fighters, trying to combat the corrupt and repressive Federation (generally represented by the evil but fascinating Servalan and her thuggish one-eyed sidekick Travis). Blake and the pilot Jenna are separated from the rest of the crew at the end of series 2, leaving the enigmatic, highly intelligent and slightly insane Avon at the helm. You would think Avon would be happy now, because he’s always said he wanted to be in charge, but Avon is never happy. He doesn’t do happy. He keeps trying to find Blake during the course of series 3 and 4, and as he does so he goes gradually further and further off the rails (and gets a lot nastier while he’s doing it, too).

    Cue final episode. Avon’s found Blake! He’s on a planet called Gauda Prime, yay, w00t. Avon makes a dangerous landing, pretty much writing off the ship as far as we can tell. (Well, actually, another member of the crew made the landing, but Avon told him to do it and he wouldn’t have tried it otherwise, so we can definitely blame Avon here.) Avon marches into the building that Blake is using as a base (it’s an abandoned Federation base – they were really going overboard with the irony here). Blake is running a complicated double cover by posing as a bounty hunter; this way he can both appear innocent to the Federation and test potential recruits to his organisation. Unfortunately, by this time Avon has pretty much lost his last remaining marble. He walks up to Blake, *twitch*, *twitch* (Paul Darrow could do barely-controlled screaming insanity like no other actor). He’s taken in by the disguise. “Have you betrayed me?” he demands, with perfect clarity of enunciation despite the fact that he’s speaking through his teeth and never actually opens his mouth at all (‘cos this is the BBC, you know). And without waiting for an answer, he guns Blake down with the whacking great rifle thingy that he just happens to be carrying (it wasn’t seen in any of the earlier episodes as far as I recall).

    Meanwhile, the Federation, who were (unbeknown to either tragic protagonist) on their way to bust Blake’s outfit, turn up to find this black-and-silver-clad lunatic standing over the fallen body of Blake looking stunned. Avon has suddenly realised that he’s just killed his best friend – indeed, possibly the only friend he’s got left. He has no idea what to do. He’s completely unconscious of everything else around him until the Federation troopers open fire.

    He’s got no chance. But he raises his gun anyway, and he smiles. No music, fade to black.


  3. I can’t remember when it was, but it is absolutely the sort of thing you never forget.

    You would totally love Avon. Well, everyone does, in their own way. I’m fascinated with him as a character; he is as complex and tragic as anything in Shakespeare, and it doesn’t hurt at all that he is played by Paul Darrow, who is an extremely underrated actor. (He’s rather lost his looks these days, so he mainly does voice-overs, since his voice is still as good as ever.) A lot of women fall for him, though I must say he’s not my cup of tea in that way, because, let’s face it, would you want to go out for a quiet cappuccino with a man who might at any moment decide to shoot the waiter? I adore writing fanfic about him, though, because there’s just so much there.

  4. Absolutely not. The real Paul Darrow is as un-Avonlike as he could be. He is a happily married old dear who keeps dachshunds and potters about in his slippers. 😀

  5. Six Feet Under is on my list of shows to go back and catch up on – I think I only ever watched the first season. I love Rachel Griffiths – she’s now in Brothers and Sisters which isn’t really good enough for her, but it keeps her on my screen at least!

    I can’t actually bear to think about the Sopranos ending. I had never watched it before, got season one just before Christmas, and then watched the whole lot in an insomnia-fuelled addiction so that I was completely done by the start of January term. I know that realistically, they have to kill Tony off, but I just have so much left I need to know about Melfi and Carmela and Paulie…. I couldn’t care less about the kids and Christopher, but I know the last however many episodes still won’t be enough. WOE.

  6. I’m not sure I’ve heard of Brothers and Sisters. She’s a wonderful actress so I hope she can find something she can excel in soon.

    The Sopranos is excellent but I really think it’s run its course now. I can’t believe you packed it all in so quickly, but it’s nothing if not additive. I conjecture that they will kill Tony off only because (a) it’s HBO and (b) his demise has been a constant threat throughout the programme. We’ll see! Interestingly, in this series (6), Christopher and AJ are the most engaging of characters. Al, particularly.

  7. Gronny, I am crying just reading about the six feet under finale. i cried through the last 10 mins and for a good long while after. and i never cry! well not that much.

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