After driving 1000 miles yesterday, I sat down at midnight to watch the "Six Feet Under" finale (available on HBO on Demand). I'm going to watch it again and come up with some more comprehensive comments, but let me go ahead and give you some preliminary observations.
1. If Claire was moving to NYC to be an artist, why did she buy a new car? Where was she going to park that thing? It seems to me that the only reason she bought that car was so they could have that artsy montage in the end with her driving the car across the desert. That was nice and all, but I was distracted by the ridiculous impracticality of the car. And what kind of car was that — a Prius? I guess maybe that fits with Claire's political rants, but it's such a dorky car for a cool young person. It's Larry David's car. And even assuming Claire would buy a Prius, why would she buy a blue one? That medium light blue color is THE most suburban-minivan color for a car. That's just an incomprehensible color for Claire to choose. Did she ever wear blue clothing for the entire series? Maybe it was supposed to represent new hope — blue skies ahead — but I so completely detest that color for a car that I can't accept ANYONE choosing it. It's better than teal, but nothing else.
2. Judgments about how great the finale was need to distinguish between the final montage and the portion of the show that proceeded it. The final montage was a nice idea, but basically the same idea George Lucas used at the end "American Graffiti," suddenly telling you the entire future of all the characters. And that ending is one of the big clichés in all of moviedom. There were no freeze frames with text as in "American Graffiti," but the white screens with names and dates were rather similar. It was interesting that all the Fishers who survived to the finale were granted long lives. Ruth and Claire looked fabulous in an extreme way, lying on their deathbeds. Brenda — who was a rather grand character — was given a comical death. And poor Keith had a death less elegant than a "corpse of the week" death from the regular series.
3. How good was the drama that preceded the montage? It was pretty schmaltzy. Nothing bad happened. Lots of reconciliations. Ruth's freak out over the stuffed monkey was impressive, and nicely paired with the okapi scene. The finale matchup between Ruth and Brenda must have pleased those who long for happy endings, but it lacked any edge at all. Claire just getting a job was a rather dull ending for her, and the need to leave Los Angeles seemed to be a concoction to provide some drama for her (and to set up that montage). That ending didn't really grow out of her character. As manifested in the shows of the last few weeks, Claire's problem was substance abuse and emotional instability, not overconnection to Ruth. So the problem resolved in the finale wasn't the problem she had! After all that craziness, she just got sensible (not counting the car thing). Similarly, in the last few episodes David had been having a total breakdown, but then he just — I don't know — ate a bowl of Trix and got better. The raise-a-toast-to-Nate dinner table scene relied heavily on swaying the camera around to let us know something special was happening. Oh, okay, I guess everyone's come to terms with Nate's death. And the Maggie-on-the-telephone scene? Lame! So Ruth just needed to know that Nate was happy on that last night? And that's it for Maggie. All is resolved, all is reconciled, everyone will just slide on uneventfully to their graves. Life is beautiful! Love everybody! Kiss! Kiss! Cry! Cry! Drop dead. Looking at the last episode without counting the final montage, I'd say it was not as good as at least four other episodes this season.
4. Maybe I'll take some of this back when I rewatch the show. I did see it while mentally frazzled from a hard day's drive and at a time of night when I'd usually be asleep.