Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
Long-simmering plot threads finally boil over in the second-season finale of HBO's Six Feet Under. The episode opens, atypically, with shots of the Fisher clan, setting up the expectation that one of them will provide the weekly corpse that is the hallmark of the series. Ultimately, though, it's Aaron (Glenn Fitzgerald), a terminally ill friend of Nate (Peter Krause), who dies -- not that Nate, himself, is off the hook. When his AVM worsens and his doctor insists on immediate, life-threatening brain surgery, he finally faces up to telling Ruth (Frances Conroy) about his condition. He also faces Lisa (Lili Taylor) and their newborn child, with whom grandma Ruth has been spending plenty of time. Brenda (Rachel Griffiths) has been spending her time at 12-step meetings for sex addicts. A meeting with ex-fiancé Nate provides plenty of 20/20 hindsight but little resolution, so Brenda skips town on the eve of his surgery. Claire (Lauren Ambrose) ultimately skips out on her own high-school graduation so she and David (Michael C. Hall) can wait with Ruth at the hospital. Beforehand, David finally tells Keith (Mathew St. Patrick) to stop treating him like a doormat and Claire (Lauren Ambrose) comes to terms with the fact that she's probably destined for community college. The only person with much cause to celebrate is Federico (Freddy Rodriguez), who uses his recent insurance windfall to buy his way into a full partnership in Fisher and Sons. As for the funeral home's dear, departed patriarch (Richard Jenkins), his spirit appears repeatedly to Nate, who ends the episode in total limbo -- just like the breathless audience. "The Last Time" marked season two, episode 13 of the made-for-cable drama.