Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot3 June 2001
On Christmas Eve, 2000, funeral-director Nathaniel Samuel Fisher is involved in a hearse-accident with a bus and is killed. Ruth Fisher has a hard time coping, so can't bring herself to identify her husband's body at the morgue. David, the secretly gay younger son who remained at home to help with the family business, feels nothing but dismay at the prospect of now continuing his hated job for good, and focuses on keeping everything in order for the newest funeral. Claire Fisher gets the news just after smoking crystal at a party, and is forced to hide it. Nate Fisher returns home just in time to learn of the death after making out with fellow plane passenger Brenda Chenowith in an airport supply closet, and is forced to keep Claire's secret, console Ruth when she confesses she'd been cheating on Nathaniel, and take abuse from David for conversing with embalmer Federico Diaz, not helping him or forcing the others to swallow their grief, and insisting that David unleash his own. Then, before before Nathaniel Fisher is cold in his grave, David gets an invitation from funeral-home chain Kroehner Services to join.
Season 1, Episode 2: The Will10 June 2001
Chandler James Swanson dives too sharply into his pool and drowns...and leaves his family not with the multi-million-dollar pyramid scheme business they thought he had, but a mountain of debt. Nathaniel's will gives Ruth all his money, Claire an unwanted trust fund, and David and Nate the funeral business. Nate tries to give it to David or Ruth, but neither will take it, so he's glad to get Matthew Gilardi's offer to join Kroehner, but first has to convince David. With their client having too little money to even buy the $9000 casket already ordered and David and Rico unavailable, Nate decides to help her out by temporarily using the coffin at Swanson's funeral, then cheaply cremating him and selling the casket to another client...before learning he can neither reuse nor resell it legally. Meanwhile, David's ex-fiancée Jennifer Mason comes with belated sympathy for his father, and says Nathaniel hinted that he realized David was gay. Ruth goes hiking with her boyfriend Hiram again, but this time chooses to make it the last. Nate is bewildered by David's lack of emotion toward their father's loss - even seeing his totaled, bloody hearse makes him feel nothing (except betrayal), until Brenda makes a shocking move with surprising results.
Season 1, Episode 3: The Foot17 June 2001
While cleaning a dough-mixer from the interior, Thomas Alfredo Ramono gets caught in his aide accidentally activating it. Nate agrees to sell to Kroehner's, with Ruth's support (and David's opposition overruled), but changes his mind when he hears another's view of Gilardi so is forced to reconsider if this easy choice is the best one. Gabe reveals that he and Claire slept together, resulting in mockery from half the school, so she decides to get revenge on him in a disturbing, sick move. Ruth's friend Amelia makes it over to offer sympathy and eventually succeeds in raising her spirit by gambling at the racetrack...but Nate and David sink it again after it already falls when her luck reverses. Just as Claire returns with more bad news for the family, an apparently good piece of news comes up: the cheap crematorium Gilardi planned to open in the house across the road burns down...but the timing, between Claire's recent suspicious actions, Nate's brutal rejection of Gilardi, and his and Brenda's sleeping there hours earlier, doesn't look good for the Fishers in the short run.
Season 1, Episode 4: Familia24 June 2001
The police are investigating the fire across the street and it's clear that the police suspect a member of the family. Claire is their first choice. Nate and David find themselves caught in the middle between a family and a gang leader when 'Paco' Bolin is killed by a rival gang. The family want to bury their son but his gang leader, 'Powerful', wants it done his way. The business is in dire need of the money so they get Rico to try and settle any disagreement. David and Keith are called fags in a parking lot and Keith can't comprehend David's passive reaction to the slur. Nate invites Brenda over for dinner and they are caught by his mother in a compromising situation.
1 July 2001
Nate finally gets to meet some of Brenda's family. he's invited to dinner but gets there to find that he is the only guest. He learns a lot about Brenda and gains some insight into her history and background. He also gets to meet her brother Billy who has moved in with her for a while. Dave is pleased when his Minister asks him to become a Deacon at the church, a post his father occupied prior to his death. His refusal to reveal that he is gay leads to a break-up with Keith however. Ruth is worried about Claire and attends a counseling session at school with Claire. She would like the two of them to be closer, as was the case when Claire was younger. She decides to visit a relative to show Claire what a close mother-daughter relationship can be like. At the funeral home, Rico is faced with a unique problem when Jean Louise MacArthur aka porn star Viveca St. John is brought in after being electrocuted in her bath tub. The memorial service is anything but ordinary.
Season 1, Episode 6: The Room8 July 2001
Mildred Effinger "Hattie" Jones passes away in her sleep, leaving behind her gruff, crusty husband of 56 years who forcibly stays at the Fishers' even before the brothers can see him, and stubbornly insists they can't embalm his wife despite a 2-day wait on the service. Claire falls for Billy before learning of his odd nature, and gets some interesting news about Brenda. Ruth introduces David to Hiram, which naturally doesn't go well, and is pursued by the family florist, Nikolai. David is forced to admit to Tracy Montrose Blair his engagement is actually over without giving anything away in front of Ruth, and must forcibly reject her later. Nate looks through old business records and discovers Nathaniel respected his decision to leave, and took pay for certain funerals in odd ways - like purchasing drugs, or renting an apartment for free.
15 July 2001
Gulf War First-class Private Victor Wayne Kovich finally passes away after years of suffering lung disease, and Nate must persuade Daivd and the man's angry brother that he should receive a military-honoring burial as he wished. Claire prepares for the PSAT test she doesn't care about and wonders how much better her life will turn out compared to others'. Ruth takes a job at Nikolai's shop and invites Hiram to join them for a meal (prepared by him). Rico, angry that Nate plans to take a weekend trip with Brenda to the desert, professes the Fishers' lack of appreciation to him just before getting a call from Gilardi. As for Nate's plans, just as they're accepted grudgingly by Rico and David, a turn of events might throw them.
Season 1, Episode 8: Crossroads22 July 2001
Celebrating her divorce with wine and a limo ride, Chloe Margaret Bryant [formerly Yorkin] runs into a cherry-picker while hanging out of the sunroof. Rico, working at Kroehner's for extra money, earns fame for embalming her. Failing to realize he's been lying to them, or taking their supplies, Nate decides to hold square-dancing lessons to raise money in a slow time, and the instructor has an interesting reaction to David. Claire's outreach trip turns out to be a disappointment. Ruth is torn between Hiram and a jealous Nikolai. Nate has to deal with one of Brenda's old friends visiting, Just as business begins to rise again, Rico is convinced by his wife to leave Fisher & Sons for Kroehner's superior offer.
29 July 2001
While babysitting, Gabe kicks his little brother out of the room so he and Andy can get high, but Anthony Cristopher Finelli ends up playing with a gun and it goes off. Claire tries to support Gabe since no one else bothers trying, and Nate has to deal with his abusive stepfather when he arrives at the funeral. David goes with Kurt to a disco where he gets some ecstasy, and later hides it in the aspirin. Unfortunately, this appears to be a weekend where the family has a case of headaches, so he has to inconspicuously question Claire if anything unusual happened after she treated hers, and never suspects that Ruth took some on her camping trip with Hiram. Brenda gets Nate to act as a potential customer for some local funeral homes so he can get into the feel of his job.
5 August 2001
At breakfast, egomaniacal Jonathan Arthur Hanley receives a blow on the head with a frying-pan when his wife finally has enough of his mouth. Rico's replacement David and Nate find is difficult to reason with and informs Ruth she's convinced David is gay. Nate confronts Billy after he displays a degrading picture of him at an art gallery, and Brenda too grows disgusted with him when his parents reveal what he actually did instead of attempting suicide years before...but not enough to believe he should be institutionalized as they do. Ruth shows her feelings about Nikolai, and a rival shows her feelings about her. David meets Keith at a food distribution and is disappointed to learn his feelings for him aren't mutual. Claire is concerned with Gabe's continued possible depression without any support from his family, especially when she picks up on an underlying message in his words to her.
Season 1, Episode 11: The Trip12 August 2001
3-week-old Dillon Michael Cooper suffers SIDS - an extremely uncomfortable charge for the Fishers as far as comforting the family but even more so for Rico, since his wife is currently pregnant for a second time. After Gabe's suicide attempt fails, Claire lies to Ruth that his drug overdose was an accident and points out that she, not his uncaring family, should help. David, Nate, and Brenda go to Vegas for a funeral directors' meeting where Nate informs Gilardi he knows what the arsonist's motive was, David meets Keith under unpleasant circumstances just after being caught with a male prostitute, and Nate and Brenda have an equally unpleasant encounter with Billy though have different opinions on how best to deal with it. To avoid all her floral arrangements looking like those in funerals, In between worrying about whether David really is gay and what it means for their relationship, Ruth takes a class on arranging which also instructs how to use instinct.
19 August 2001
A pair of young gay men is attacked, resulting in Marc Foster, Jr's death. With citizens arguing over the morality or immorality of the situation, David feels extreme discomfort on his being gay, making it even more daunting when he is encouraged to confess it to Ruth. So does Keith, instructed to deal with any troublemakers who attend the funeral. Nate tries to convince Brenda that Billy should receive treatment as their parents suggested after he attacks him, but Brenda doesn't get it until it happens to her.
19 August 2001
Matthew Gilardi discusses the difficulties of convincing the Fishers to sell to Kroehner's with his superior Mitzi Dalton Huntley while golfing, and one of the balls hits Tracy Montrose Blair's aunt Lillian Grace Montrose. Tracy is her usual difficult self while refusing to sign the Fishers' service contract, changing her mind completely about what kind of service to have, and being finicky over the only coffin available of the chosen kind, but shows a different side of herself when revealing why she's so devoted to keeping this funeral perfect. Claire is unaware that Gabe robs a convenience store, but still fears for him when she dreams that her father predicts his life won't last much longer. Father Jack is reprimanded for presiding over a lesbian marriage, and when the deacons get to an argument over this David is forced to voice his opinion as a tie-breaking vote, so his secret is revealed and he is dismissed quietly in order to keep Fr. Jack there. Ruth and Hiram decide their relationship has lost its original touch and each have found a partner; in Ruth's case, it's Nikolai. Brenda is troubled by Billy's unhappiness with institutional life and argues with Nate about him - and they're involved in a car accident that may have dangerous consequences for at least one of them.
3 March 2002
Drug-addict actress Rebecca Leah Milford overdoses on cocaine, leaving her fellow cast and crew members, including Rico's sponsoring obnoxious sister-in-law, to set up the funeral. A guide to parents with gay children recommends accepting them by welcoming their lovers for a family meal, so Ruth prepares to invite Brenda, Gabe, and Nikolai before learning that Keith is no longer part of David's life. David and Nate both get bad news on their MRI's: David has gonorrhea and Nate learns that his brain condition is indeed AVM, potentially (but not necessarily) fatal, but upon learning there appears to be no effective solution for curing it, leaves the doctor angrily with no intention of learning anything more about it. He tries harder than usual to stay fit and healthy by taking an aspirin a day...but ends up taking one of David's ecstasy tablets instead, making Ruth's dinner an interesting one. Later, he dreams his father introduces him to Life and Death, playing Chinese checkers with him, asking Nate to choose whether or not to join the game.
10 March 2002
A football player collapses of dehydration during a practice session, but doesn't die...but his fellow player and best friend Joshua Peter Lagmead is ignored as he falls a moment later. Nate and Brenda prepare to make her high-school boyfriend Trevor envious when he visits for dinner with his own family, but in between trying to succeed, Nate is plagued with visions of Josh weeping, afraid of what will happen to him in death, and does his best to ignore his presence. Robbie graduates from The Plan, and invites Ruth to be his witness, and she's intrigued by the positive outcome and free-spiritedness seen in all its graduates so considers enrolling. David tries to keep contact with Keith as a friend, and when he tags by Keith's sister Karla's houses so he can give his niece Taylor a birthday gift, Taylor becomes intrigued on their relationship, while Keith is angry with his relapsing drug-addict sister for neglecting Taylor. Claire learns that Gabe stole embalming fluid from the Fishers to create a more powerful drug substance, though doesn't reveal it to an investigating cop...before learning he robbed the store, causing her to refuse to help anymore. Rico requests a $20,000-loan for his family's first house, and is disgusted both when he's forgotten to the offer of a modern casket-display wall, and when his sister-in-law Angelica gives one. Nate and David are even more disgusted, though, to learn there was a string attached when they bought the wall.
Season 2, Episode 3: The Plan17 March 2002
Michael John Piper finally passes away, depressed and delirious, after a long battle with cancer, and his "psychic" widow sticks around Fisher & Sons to discuss his funeral arrangements with him. She also predicts that one of the brothers will have a child, and perplexedly tells Nate she doesn't sense Nathaniel - though only because the funeral home is crowded so not everyone can be sensed. Nate is also baffled by Brenda's so-called ebb in sexual activity, especially when learning even Rico, with a family of four, has an extremely strong pattern of one. He does get some good news, though - at his first funeral-directors' meeting he enthusiastically declares war on Kroehner's and is well-received by all present. Ruth begins attending The Plan seminar when Robbie invites her, and alternates between resisting their hate-the-world policy and taking a hard look at her actual family relationships, meaning she mostly insults her kids. Claire soon has more to worry about than cutting remarks, though, when she's questioned by and lies to the police about any knowledge of Gabe's store-robbery and theft of her, then later gets a phone call from him begging her to pick him up and take him somewhere safe...until he shoots an insulting driver and she's forced to desert him again. As she tries to tell Nate, he's distracted by bad news of his own - an apparently devoted independent funeral-director has sold. Later Keith, looking after Taylor in his sister's absence and trying to convince his mother to handle the situation more effectively, is forced to come in to help.
24 March 2002
Harold Mossback falls asleep but doesn't wake up on a bus tour in Seattle, where his kids hire the Fishers but insist he should transported by land back from LA since he feared flying in life. Unable to get any transportation services, Nate chooses to fly to Seattle and stay at his ex-roommate Lisa Kemmel's, then transport him by rental-car, offering to take Claire along for the ride (and to help drive). David is stuck sitting Taylor for Keith when he's stuck on assignment for several hours, annoying Rico and causing Ruth, now trying to contact old friends and estranged relatives to discuss their relationships, to remind him he shouldn't be too candid on his gayness with a child still "developing her blueprints"...until David advises her to mind her own business and drop the metaphors. Brenda, still fantasizing of seeing other, preferably dangerous and exciting, men, is called to be with her mother in an "emergency", only to discover she wanted attention as she stalks then attacks a woman her father is seeing, so has a major confrontation with her for it afterward. In Seattle, Nate receives affections from Lisa (whom Claire finds odd) that he doesn't return and later has a seizure at a drive-through in front of Claire, confesses his disease to her, and gets consolation from Lisa later.
31 March 2002
Emily Previn chokes on her TV dinner and isn't discovered dead in her apartment until a week later. Her funeral has already been set up, but Rico finds it a time-consuming impossibility to let her have an open-casket one since she's in such bad shape and Nate and David are only able to contact one of her friends (the one who has a funeral-phobia). The questions left of who she is and why she lived alone have an even more profound effect on Ruth, who begins having troubling dreams of living in an empty environment. David hopes to begin a strong relationship with Ben Cooper, but Keith turns up at his door after he awaits judgment for shooting an intoxicated man arguing with his wife...then leaves the next morning, apologizing for his "wrong" action and leaving David depressed. Claire is enraged to hear that Parker McKenna is cheating on her SATs and that she claims she's slept with Gary Deitman. Brenda befriends her prostitute client Melissa and watches her at work after determining to start writing a book, and later proposes an engagement to Nate. With no luck even getting the requested Catholic priest for the Previn funeral, Ruth insists her family and Rico attend, and later finally confronts her children about their relationships.
7 April 2002
At a corporate-funded boat-party he denounces, Matthew Heath Collins has too much to drink, drops his latest beverage over the side of the deck, and in attempting to retrieve it falls underwater and is cut by the propeller. His widow Catherine first contacts Fisher & Sons for a closed-casket funeral without bodily repairs, then chooses to switch to Kroehner's instead, forcing David and Nate to think of a way to set a cheap, but reasonable, price to convince her to switch back. Ruth's sister Sarah comes to visit upon receiving her message after years of feuding, angering Ruth once again at the memory of how her friend slept with Nate as a teenager and she did nothing to help with taking care of their grandmother. So she's not very supportive that Sarah informs Claire she's a natural artist. David continues dating Ben but doesn't feel anything for him - he chooses not to invite him to Nate and Brenda's engagement dinner with the family, Sarah, and Nikolai, where the dinner's conversations and divulged secrets make it difficult for Ruth to receive it well. When David and Nate are invited on a recreational Kroehner business trip where they again forcibly reject the offer, Rico gets into an argument with his family that he can't stick around to help them repair their mold-infested wall. Brenda goes beyond her normal interactions with clients to sleep with one. Just before her husband's funeral, Catherine Collins requests Nate to show her the body she asked not to be cleaned, and has an interesting reaction compared to her grief and despair earlier.
14 April 2002
Jeffrey Marc Shapiro performs asphyxiation therapy while watching an adult video and jogging on his treadmill, but winds up hanging himself after not using his lemon slice to assist breathing. Nate befriends the man's religious leader, Rabbi Ari, and asks her the Jewish beliefs on death and afterlife. Claire chooses to go to Tapenga Canyon to visit Sarah for a weekend, despite Ruth's objections, and is interested more in the teenage son of a pair attending the artists' party there than the partying artists themselves. With Claire gone, Nate busy, and David going out to dinner with Keith after he leaves Eddie and invites him out (though dinner is canceled after Taylor undergoes appendix surgery), Ruth is lonely at home but makes a mistake in how to deal with it. Brenda continues to get advice from Melissa, cheat on Nate, and meets her mother with the usual disastrous results. Rico suspects his cousin Ramone is sleeping with Vanessa, but discovers the truth is even more shocking.
21 April 2002
Christmas Eve - and the 1-year anniversary of Nate and Brenda's meeting and Nathaniel Fisher's death - is approaching, and this year, the Fishers are requested by the Hell's Angels motorcyclists to allow the funeral home to be open on Christmas Day so they can have a party/memorial service for Jesse Ray Johnson, who was involved in a motorcycle accident on his way to his part-time job as a mall Santa while greeting some kids. The family (and Rico) each remember their last moments with Nathaniel and, in most cases, regret what they didn't do for him before he died. On Christmas Eve Brenda's mother invites Brenda and Nate over for dinner with a "special guest", who turns out to be Billy. Ruth prepares to take Claire to church with David out to visit Keith and Taylor, but they never make it when they enter Nikolai's shop to see it robbed and him shot in the legs with both now broken. Ruth decides, to the chagrin of the family, that he'll stay with them until he can walk, since he has no insurance. Nate is forced to confess his AVM to Brenda when he has a seizure as they sleep together. On Christmas Day, Marrilyn Johnson offers Nate a motorcycle as a gift so he can live every day to the fullest. Toby, Keith, and Taylor are invited for dinner that evening. Rico has a good holiday with his family - until his cousin Ramone arrives to attack him when he's forced to tell Vanessa he's gay and she told his wife. Also, Claire's holiday takes an interesting turn when Toby calls her "hostile" and she drives him away, though she does enjoy keeping in touch with Billy Chenowith.
28 April 2002
A construction worker's metal lunch-pail falls from his perch on the building and strikes Dwight Edgar Garrison on the head - resulting in a major family conflict between his current wife and her 2 stepdaughters from his first marriage, on whether he should be buried with his late wife or the widow. Besides having to deal with that, Nate remains unaware that Brenda is still seeing other men but wonders whether she still wants to marry him, or just does out of pity...and whether he should wed at all when Lisa meets him and announces she's pregnant with his child. Claire has doubts about her relationship with Billy, who's also throwing Brenda and her perspective on most of her relationships into confusion. David's relationship with Keith is strong, but Keith's life is troubled when Karla relapses into drugs. Meanwhile, just about everybody finds Nikolai to be a pain while Ruth's working - even Rico loses his sandwich to him. But Ruth is more concerned with the fact that he's in debt to Yuri, a loan shark.
Season 2, Episode 10: The Secret5 May 2002
Benjamin Srisal suffers a heart attack at home, requiring a Bhuddist service at Fisher & Sons that Nate gets a crash-course in how to conduct, but he's still got no answers as far as what should be done concerning Brenda and Lisa. Lisa apologizes for her outburst in the store but requests she have full custody of the child, causing him to be haunted by visions of the first child they conceived, as well as all the others he lost to abortion. David and Keith begin to argue again, especially after Karla accidentally hits and kills a homeless man on the street, and Taylor is too shaken to actually keep it secret and tells David under the pretense that it's a joke - David is troubled enough to tell Keith, but feels too guilty to report to the police as Keith does. After hearing her "soul-twin" parents have chosen to remarry, Brenda attends an orgy with Melissa where she sleeps with more than one man but then chooses to blame Melissa for her infidelity so breaks contact with her. Claire considers attending an arts college. Ruth returns Nikolai to his apartment prematurely at his request, but invites him to move in with her.
12 May 2002
Edith Kirky is the 4th patient of the year to be brought to Fisher & Sons from Bay Breeze Hospital where Vanessa works, so David predicts Rico's usual pride over the fact...but no one predicts him, suspicious about her neck-markings, to discover a whole hot dog wedged down her esophagus. When informing the authorities, Fisher & Sons is forced to allow them to bring Vanessa and her partner to be examined since they failed to find the hot dog themselves. Rabbi Ari encourages Nate and Brenda to be honest with each other, but Brenda reacts badly when Nate informs her he's going to be a father (though fails to mention she's unfaithful to him) and he later talks about it with Rabbi Ari, who introduces him to a Jewish client, Aaron Buchbinder, who needs a pre-meet since he has pancreatic cancer. Brenda's reaction after criticizing Nate is to get high and sleep with a pair. At Brenda's bridal shower, Bernard Chenowith asks Ruth what she's done as far as Claire's depression, but when Ruth visits Gray Deitman to see if she is depressed, the answer comes as a different sort of shock. David encourages Keith to stand up to his father when he and his mother ask that Taylor come to San Diego to live with them, and David himself is forced to find some inner strength of his own to get Catherine Collins, supported by Mitzi Dalton-Huntley, not to sue them for "emotional distress" after Nate's showing her husband's mutilated body at her request. He doesn't have any qualms about becoming angry with Ruth, though, after she pays all of Nikolai's debt to Yuri just before David and Nate have need of it themselves.
19 May 2002
The Diazes' friend and former neighbor Leticia Perfect Perez dies in her sleep at a beauty parlor and leaves his family a large sum of money, causing Rico to remember how he lost his father and got into the funeral business to begin with. However, she also leaves behind a son, never close to her in life, who wishes to give her a more expensive casket than her pre-meet's choice and is jealous of Rico. Nate and Brenda attend her parents' remarriage, he goes to cheer up Aaron Buchbinder, and Keith, David, and Taylor are visited by a social worker. Nikoai responds indifferently when Ruth tries to plan what days they'll meet, and while watching a separate movie than he is, she breaks up with him. Claire likes the prospect of attending LAC Arts school but is disappointed that Gary Deitman is about to transfer jobs. The news that Kroehner is bankrupt and undergoing a federal inspection is overshadowed by bad news for both David and Nate - Keith is found innocent for his shooting, but hours later attacks an argumentative abusive husband he investigates and is judged guilty; and Nate reads Brenda's story then recognizes it's not fiction when one of the subjects Brenda slept with from the night before comes by. Nate breaks off his engagement with Brenda just before Lisa calls to inform Ruth his daughter has been born.
2 June 2002
Aaron Buchbinder passes away painfully shortly after Nate arrives to visit (after he argues with Ruth about her visiting and photographing his daughter Maya). Kroehner's last act against the Fisher & Sons funeral home is to hire an inspector to examine the place, and they're fined for the problematic drainage system. Nate has a bleed requiring a cranial surgery to cure. Vanessa encourages Rico to ask for permission to be a partner since he has the money to pay the fine, and he's given 25% of it only when Nate reminds David he may need a replacement for Nate. Ruth quits her job at Nikolai's since she feels they can't easily share an environment. Claire goes to an interview at LAC but remembers her father's loss was the reason she began artwork, so cries for the first time since his death. Nate goes by to see Brenda one last time to attempt reconciliation and announce he'll be getting surgery, and finally tells Ruth about the surgery and its cause on their way back from seeing Maya. Ruth, still trying to keep control, insists Claire and David go to the gradation Claire doesn't care about rather than be with Nate. At the hospital, Nate receives anesthesia and dreams that he's running in the desert when a bus pulls up next to him. He boards it to find it's empty and doesn't start moving...yet.
2 March 2003
The surgeons are dismayed when Nate's blood vessel ruptures and he suffers a hemorrhage, and his blood pressure continues to rise, then Nate dies...At least, the family and Rico are in shock, grieving, while Nate himself is dining in a hated restaurant with his father, impatiently waiting to get to his own funeral. He arrives early, sick of the food, and sees his funeral (open-casket, not a memorial service after cremation as he wished)...then hears David speaking to him from the next room where he sees himself paralyzed and with speech problems struggling to relearn. He continues through the home and witnesses himself completely healthy living with Lisa and Maya; at Christmas dinner with his family, including his father, who never died; living with a woman he has yet to meet and their son; spending his time lazily, watching TV and drinking beer with a woman. Returning to the funeral room, he meets his father again, who doesn't give him a straight answer on whether he's alive but suggests he just traveled through parallel worlds and must open a white coffin to get his answer....7 months later: Nate, Lisa, and Maya live with Lisa's self-absorbed actor boss Carol, where Lisa is a cook. David and Keith, now a reluctant security guard, are in therapy to find a healthy relationship, and David is advised to find an activity for himself so applies to the Gay Men's Chorus. Claire is attending LAC, enjoying it less than she anticipated, and starting a relationship with rock-band member Phil. Nate learns an interesting secret about his own life from Ruth and all the while sees scenes shown in his surgery that make him wonder if this life is meant to be.
9 March 2003
Telemarketers Andrew Wayne Milne, Matthew Clark Hazen, and Martin Jacobs are shot by their insane former co-worker Daniel Grant Showalter who then commits suicide. Fisher & Diaz gets both the Milne and the Showalter funerals - but Rico objects to having the killer's, especially on the same day his victim's is to be held, so makes David's life miserable by refusing to pick up his body or do his job quietly. Stuck picking it up himself, David misses therapy with Keith, and Frank Mushler encourages him to view his own feelings about David without him around to defend himself. Lisa and Nate manage to invite David and Keith over for a barbecue dinner for a while before Carol barges in and literally demands Lisa's attention, but it gives Keith and David plenty of time to reflect on what problems their relationship has. Though she claims their own marriage is wonderful, Nate's dream of whether it was meant to be begin to crumble as several minor arguments arise with Lisa. Ruth's trip to Tapenga Canyon to give Sarah some Vicodin turns interesting when she learns her sister is addicted to it, and she befriends her spirited friend/caretaker Bettina.
16 March 2003
Callie Renee Morimer flees a group of jeering young men calling to her as she walks alone in the dark, who turn out to be some joking friends, but stops in the street and is hit by a car upon realizing it. David enjoys singing in the choir but turns down an opportunity to go to a member's open house - he and Keith are spending the weekend at a hotel out of town, but from the moment they get there David worries about seeming too obviously gay in front of the straight couples. Carol finally crosses a line when blaming Lisa's family for not allowing her to give her constant perfect emotional support, so Lisa quits and she, Nate, and Maya are forced to temporarily move in with Ruth. For her own part, Ruth is happy to have them, and happy in general, with Bettina instructing her in the arts of receiving massages, shoplifting, and just enjoying life. Claire continues to accept Phiil's player attitude until it gets in the way of their personal schedule, so leaves him, and is intrigued by the unorthodox artist teaching her class in place of the one she took it to see.
23 March 2003
Robert Lamar Griffin's rare heart disease finally takes its fatal toll, leaving behind his boyfriend Kevin Lamb, a scene-designer of the opera company where he was a lighting-designer, who requests Fisher & Diaz to allow him to create a Chinese opera set for the funeral. David suspects Rico's views of homosexuality are narrow and defends it, while the couple's having been together so long offer new insight to his relationship with Keith. With Ruth's birthday approaching, Lisa prepares to throw her a party despite Nate's warning that she prefers her birthdays without any celebration. But with fun-loving Bettina invited and at Lisa's insistence, Ruth breaks her own standards of not using the best china or dancing. Claire is the only one not to attend the party; she's out watching the introduction of ultra-radical artist Scott Philip Smith, and is invited to dinner with Russell by Olivier and Smith, later learning what her potential may come to and wondering what it will be. After a while, Nate retreats from the party, too, disturbed by the growing similarities between Lisa and Ruth. He dreams that his father hints that between the wife he married by default and his hated inherited job, Nate may soon wish to use the old apartment he used to escape from the same things, and Nate retorts that he's less secretive, he loves his family, but Nathaniel wonders...why shouldn't he have loved his own, if he remained with them?
Season 3, Episode 5: The Trap30 March 2003
A lost pair of hikers discover the wrecked remains of a car with the skeleton of the driver, William Aaron Jaffe, inside. Nate is surprised by the son who never knew him not seeming to be troubled by it, and worried by the remarried widow's remark that they weren't right for each other and married too hastily - his own relationship with Lisa has become strained when she encourages him to cut back on his spending and considers staying home with Maya for a few years, without even letting him be the first to know. Things are further complicated when Nate runs into Brenda, and Lisa suspects the drinks they had together weren't just for catching up and apologies. David's enjoyment of the choir is overshadowed by one of the members recognizing him from a shameful experience several years before. Claire's invitation to go with Russell to his brother's wedding is forgotten when Olivier asks her to be his assistant - which turns out to mean his driver. Keith is ready to quit his job. Rico convinces David to hire an apprentice, despite Nate's and Ruth's doubts, to assist in Claire's place, and hires nerdy Arthur Martin, who turns out to be oddly like Ruth. Later, Nate is accused of living in a marriage that will surely fall apart and be bad for their offspring the way Will Jaffe's would have, but Nate rejects the prediction...without convincing himself.
6 April 2003
Karen Postell Pepper suffers a hemorrhage to the nose while preparing to enter the "Making Love Work" TV studio with a question to ask Dr. Dave. Nate prepares to go on his first camping trip in 2 years (where he went without Brenda), with Lisa, Maya, and Dana, Todd, and their toddler daughter Spencer. By the time they arrive, though, he realizes he won't be able to drink 3 cans of beer that night or smoke cigarettes. Ruth becomes interested in Arthur the more she gets to know him, and rents a movie whose score he says he favors. David believes Russell is gay, though Claire doesn't and defends him from Olivier's harsh criticism. An obese man's body causes trouble for everyone when it falls from its extra-large coffin and Arthur Ruth, Claire, and Russell must move it back. Lisa is annoyed with their friends' constant claims of affection for one another, but Nate simply grows jealous and worried that he can't seem to have any of those moments with Lisa refusing to smoke or hike with him. After mutilating a snake and forcibly demanding why no one will join him, he hikes alone to a towering mountain where he finds Brenda has been pursuing him. He agrees to kiss her but then sends her away - and she leaps off the cliff, and Nate wakes up from his dream. When he and Lisa finally do go out hiking, it's anything but peaceful when she takes his remark on how they differ from Spencer's parents to mean he rejects her, and he retorts that she won't accept him without change. They end up sleeping together passionately before returning home.
13 April 2003
Surrounded by his family, Bernard Asa Chenowith dies of stomach cancer, and when Nate learns of it he requests Lisa's permission to attend his funeral since Brenda was there after his father's. Lisa agrees, and Nate plans to leave Maya with Ruth, but she's out secretly stalking Arthur jogging. Claire chooses to go shopping with Russell at an arts store, where Russell buys her a gift of an expensive bottle of paint she refused to purchase. David takes a reluctant Keith to Terry's party, where he's humiliated at playing a game and eventually leaves David to take his drinks alone. Nate doesn't want to leave Maya with Arthur and almost drops her off at the Diazes', but Vanessa is so distracted and on edge he decides against it. He informs Rico, though, who worries that she's depressed over her mother's loss and despairs of getting her to talk about it openly. Nate ends up taking Maya to the funeral, which angers Lisa, who believes Nate still loves Brenda rather than her, along with the fact that Brenda touched Maya.
20 April 2003
63-year-old polygamous family leader "Daddy" leaves behind 5 wives and numerous children of The People clan, making the Fishers intrigued about their spiritual and cultural beliefs, like their guarding his body throughout the embalming. Ruth gives Arthur an unwanted kiss and instantly breaks her vow not to do it again, so struggles to find a new way for her to express her passions for Arthur. Terry and Patrick invite themselves to Gay Paintball Day - which plays right into Keith's hands since he chooses to be on the opposite team as David as revenge for being taken to the hated brunch. Lisa schedules an appointment with Brenda under a false name to see if she and Nate are still passionate, but hears that Brenda has gone through some difficult times love-wise lately but is ultimately content now. Claire becomes suspicious of Olivier's motives for not letting Russell go on her errands with her when, in Azusa, a former assistant tells her she enjoyed sleeping with him as her job, then asks if this is a year he's chosen a male as his partner when Claire says she's never been in that position. Rico's concern for Vanessa and her possible depression turn to certainty of and anger for it when, despite his pleas for her to try to reconnect with her family, he finds she's neglecting them.
27 April 2003
Melinda Mary Bloch shuts herself in he garage in her activated car by way of suicide, leaving behind only a guilty ex-lover who worries Rico when he mentions she'd actually received treatment for depression, and Nate when he admits he'd tried to end their relationship more than once but wound up staying longer than he wished. Lisa, who's been having arguments constantly with him, officially meets Brenda at Claire's art show where Billy also has a display, and Brenda confronts her about her sneaky meeting and assures her she isn't close to Nate. When she and Olivier run into Billy, Claire learns that Billy slept with Olivier when he was his student, heightening her worries about Russell. David and Keith, after both their secrets of paint-ball and 3-way sex have slipped in counseling, get approval from Frank to do the latter if both of them so desire, but David's agreement in public doesn't match his private doubts later on. Arthur gets close, in both senses of the word, to Ruth and they almost sleep together, but then he leaves abruptly, puzzling her.
4 May 2003
Jeanette Louise Bradford has an allergic reaction to a bee-sting in Balboa Park, causing Keith to go to San Diego for his aunt's funeral and David to join him, encouraging him to discuss sleeping with a third man with him and to confront his father on his abusive childhood after the funeral. Russell admits he was sleeping with Olivier and an angry, betrayed Claire demands he leave her alone from now on. She and Ruth talk with each other about their relationship problems when Ruth learns Arthur is a virgin so there's nothing new to be gained from spending time with him. Vanessa is now again living life to the fullest, taking dance classes with Rico, but then collapses one night from too many medications. Billy, remarkably depressed after watching a poor video version of his and Brenda's beloved childhood book "Nathaniel and Isabel", kisses Brenda, who goes to visit Nate. Alone with Maya while Lisa goes to visit her sister's family in Santa Cruz, Nate consoles Benda until she begins to appear to want to become closer to him, and she quickly stops herself and departs. Keith and David are relieved to hear that Taylor is doing fine with Lucille and Roderick, but when Keith finally chooses to tell his father he's willing to forgive him for beating him and his sister, it's met with denial and quickly becomes a fight...and when David tries to calm both of them down for Keith's sake he's insulted by Roderick and unappreciated in his efforts by Keith, so leaves. When Nate calls Lisa's sister's, he learns Lisa hasn't yet made it to her place as expected, and isn't worried when he can't get through to her phone the first time...but he does start to be when he continues to call with no response.
11 May 2003
Convience-store owner Dorothy Kim Su is fatally shot during a robbery. Nate is forced to file a missing-person report when he continues to hear nothing from Lisa. Construction-worker Edward Tully hits some electrical wires in the site where he's working during an earthquake, is electrocuted, and falls to his death. Nate calls David, where he's sleeping with Patrick, and tells him he's starting to panic, especially after the earthquake. Ruth has convinced herself, as usual, that everything, including Lisa, is fine, but doesn't convince Claire, who is set to believe she's died. David Jordan Monroe suffers a fatal heart attack while on a treadmill at his health club, giving Fisher & Diaz a full schedule of 3 funerals in one day, 2 at the same time. forcing David and Rico to quickly escort the mourners out. Brenda is now living in an apartment to avoid Billy, but Margaret forces both of them to show up to dump Bern's ashes, and when she can't be persuaded to place them where her kids know he would have preferred them, she chooses an unorthodox place to put them. Vanessa sees a psychiatrist who reduces her medication and her pushy sister Angelica comes over to help...by encouraging her to spend freely without Rico's consent, and ignore any practical advice he gives. Claire again refuses to take Russell back and confronts Olivier - before discovering that she is pregnant. Ruth finally accepts something terrible must have happened to Lisa and ends up crying on a man's shoulder when he comes to reclaim his glasses in the funeral home, but Gerge Sibley is accepting and sympathetic to her worries. When Lisa's car and cell phone are located in a state park, deserted, Nate checks into a nearby hotel and waits in despair, while David and Claire try to console him.
Season 3, Episode 12: Twilight18 May 2003
Woman-killer Carl Desmond Williman finally receives the death penalty by a lethal injection in Texas, and his unemployed daughter hires Fisher & Diaz for the funeral, and sleeps with Nate since they're both miserable and want to escape their problems, but he treats her unsympathetically the following day out of sheer guilt. David breaks up with Keith after spending more time with Patrick. Claire chooses to get an abortion and calls Brenda when she learns she needs a driver, who accepts. Ruth considers marrying George but does decide to slow things down a bit after learning he's been through 6 marriages. Angelica continues to give Rico grief at home. Claire tries to convince Nate to speak to Brenda after her favor to her but Nate's too wrapped up in thinking up everything that could've happened with Lisa to welcome her in, or pay attention to much else.
1 June 2003
A piece of "blue ice" broken off an airplane strikes Anahid Havanessian, whose husband goes to Fisher & Diaz for a funeral...but changes his mind when, frustrated with the government for hiding that such deaths are common and suspecting Nate's silence is indifference, he's snapped at by Nate, who then snaps at David and Rico for telling him he lost them money by not demanding payment for the meeting when they "switched to the local chapel". Walking in the early hours of the morning to clear his head without success, and drinking heavily and sleeping with a bar prostitute, he's in bad shape and can't accept the news of his mother marrying George. David and Claire are also reluctant, since David is worried about his brother and believes it should be delayed and Claire is worried they haven't known each other long enough to wed, but they know they'll marry either way. Claire visits her father's grave and learns, along with the fact that he's OK with the marriage himself, Lisa, Gabe Dmas, and her child are all with him. David is encouraged by his father to make up with Keith, which he does at church by talking with him so long they forget to go in. They're both present for their mother's wedding, but Nate isn't - after getting the news that Lisa has been found drowned, he continues to drink heavily and gets into a bar fight. Rico gets into a situation almost as bad when getting the bad news that his sister-in-law, despite being a nuisance, won't leave yet. Angry with Vanessa, he goes to dance class without her then is invited to a strip club where he sleeps with one of the dancers, Sophia. Brenda prepares to date, but not sleep with, her charming neighbor Joe. Nate finally leaves the bar after losing the fight, drives drunk, and is haunted by visions of Lisa and Nathaniel urging him to drive off a bridge, and finally ends up at Brenda's.
13 June 2004
In 1972, Bruno Baskerville Walsh took LSD at a party, and "flew" off the balcony where he stood, landing on a car in a parking lot. Ruth and George sleep together their first night of marriage...extremely loudly, annoying David and Keith, and Claire. The next day, Rico is guilty and tells Vanessa Angelica can stay however long she wants, but Vanessa actually kicks her out. Claire is furious with Nate for missing Ruth's wedding, until he returns home from sleeping with Brenda and announces her death. Claire tells Russell she aborted his child, and gets an amazing reaction. Rico goes to a church he doesn't attend and confesses his infidelity. Nate gets into an argument with Lisa's mother, who she never got along with - her mother insists she be cremated and placed in the family burial grounds, but Nate insists Lisa get her wish of a green burial in a national park without embalming. He and David can't see any way they can legally win, so Nate is forced to think of a solution that may not be legal, but right.
20 June 2004
Devoted Christian Dorothy Sheedy mistakes inflatable dolls floating from a truck bed for angels, and jumps out of her car, unaware of her surroundings, and is hit by another driver. Her husband, also strong in his faith, doesn't know whether his wife's death was an odd accident or suicide but remains calm about it, believing it was simply her time to die. Nate doesn't accept that and when David forces him to stop pressing the man with questions on why his beliefs are thus and why he won't appear more angry or saddened, he quits the business and confronts Ruth for trying to persuade him to stay at all. Keith goes to a job interview to be a celebrity's security guard. A plumbing-system problem causes blood to arise in all the building's drains, and David has an interesting reaction to the plumber that Keith takes in stride. Everyone else gives Ruth a hard time for putting George's belongings up in place of the family's. Rico continues to weakly answer Sophia's pleas to see him, spending less time with his family or at work.
27 June 2004
Nate meets a divorced mom with a tot the same age as Maya and they soon arrange for a play-date for the kids - which turns out to be quite playful for them as well. David works with Arthur on his appearance - he buys him a new suit - and on his technique for dealing with clients. Arthur and Ruth receive a wedding present that contains a tin of feces. She's convinced she knows who is sent it. Sophia has Rico wrapped around her little finger and he agrees to pay for her new boob job. Claire is surprised when she learns that Edie is a lesbian. Joe tells Brenda he wants to spice up their sex with a little role play.
11 July 2004
Ruth is more convinced than ever that Arthur is responsible after they receive yet another package with feces. She decides she's going to lay a formal complaint with the police but Arthur finally tells her it's not Arthur and knows who is sending these packages to them. David receives a frantic call in the middle of the night from Jennifer, his one-time fiancée, telling him that her father Lawrence Mason died from a lightning strike. He wants to help her out as much as possible but worries when her current fiancé seems less than supportive. When he reaches out to her she unleashes her pent up anger over their failed relationship. Nate begins to think that Lisa may not be dead. Brenda and Joe have dinner with Brenda's mother and Olivier. Keith has yet to come out at work and it's starting to weigh on him.
18 July 2004
Although their earlier visit did not go very well, Ruth suggests they invite George's estranged son Kyle for dinner. She's also thinking of inviting a friend of hers and introduce them. Nate goes to a grief management class but has trouble relating to the other participants. At the funeral home, Rico and Dave console Anne Thornton's husband who blames himself for his wife's death. Claire doesn't react well to criticism of her self-portraiture photos. David picks up an apparently stranded motorist but it all turns nightmarish for him.
25 July 2004
David has recovered physically from his carjacking but refuses to tell his family what really happened to him. At the funeral home, he has the case of Robert Meinhardt who he thought was a suicide but then learns he was shot in the head by burglars. David has a panic attack and has to call 911. George and Ruth attend an academic receptionist where she overhears a conversation and learns of George's philandering ways. It's David's birthday and Ruth has organized a dinner to celebrate the occasion. In the kitchen she lets slip to Vanessa that Sophie visited Rico. She also embarrasses George by lashing out at him. Nate gets a new job taking care of dogs in a canine retreat and is at peace with himself. Joe has found a house for he and Brenda but she drops in on Nate, not sure she can live a simple life with Joe.
Season 4, Episode 7: The Dare1 August 2004
Claire has taken a liking to her friend Edie but is having difficulty coming to terms with her emotions. With Vanessa suspicious, Rico decides to tell Sophie he can't come by anymore. She's at her manipulative best and he can't bring himself to break away. Vanessa follows him and assumes the worse when she sees her. Nate and Brenda have been sleeping together but he also goes on a date with a fellow worker from the pet retreat. George and Ruth's relationship is strained and he invites her on his annual fossil hunt. Their outing doesn't go well and they end up at her sister Sarah's house. Sarah's overcome her addiction but Ruth realizes she may have more in common with her sister than she would like to admit. Keith is on tour with Celeste who takes them to a gay bar.
8 August 2004
David is living at home alone now that Keith is on the road with rock star Celeste. He does take advantage of an out of the blue call from an old acquaintance, Sarge, but still suffers from post-traumatic stress. Keith finally comes out to one of his co-workers but it's an encounter with Celeste that sends him packing. Ruth has come to the end of her tether when she returns from church to find that George has trimmed a tree her first husband had planted in the yard. She leaves a note saying she's gone away for awhile. Having told Joe that she has slept with someone on the side - without identifying who - she undertakes to try harder to be good. When Joe unexpectedly comes home and finds Brenda and Nate on the sofa half-naked, he doesn't have to guess who the other guy was. Claire comes to a decision on advancing her relationship with Edie but it leads to frustration all-round. Vanessa and her sister Angelica decide to visit Sophia and let her know just what they think of her fooling around with Rico.
15 August 2004
Having agreed over the phone not to have sex with others, Keith on his return tells David of having slept with Celeste. Still stressed from his attack, David now worries that Keith will develop an interest in women. Claire is still having trouble coming to grips with her own sexuality. Her friend Edie no longer wants to speak to her but Jimmie suggests they sleep together. Claire is also surprised at school when she learns that Billy Chenowith will be their substitute teacher for the rest of the term. In the year he's been away he seems to have gotten his act together but does admit he's not seen his sister Claire in that time. Brenda and Nate are sleeping together regularly but her admission that she loves him elicits a strange and unexpected response. Ruth has no interest in returning home and she and Bettina set off for a holiday in Mexico that has its own surprises for them. At the funeral home, Nate and Rico's latest client is Lawrence Tuttle, a comic book collector who died when a bookshelf fell on him. Rico is still living at the funeral home and pining for Vanessa and the kids; Arthur suggests it's time to move on and find a new woman.
22 August 2004
Nate dreads having to go to Idaho to visit Lisa's family and attend a service they have arranged. He and Brenda have reconciled and she convinces him that going is the right thing to do. He asks her come along. The visit goes well but after Nate returns to LA, the local funeral director tells Lisa's parents he doesn't think the ashes they interred were in fact Lisa's. David and Keith attend a friend's wedding and decide they want to adopt a child, though David seems to think it's more pressing. Ruth returns home and tells George what it will take for them to continue as a married couple. She invites George's son Kyle and her friend, who are now a couple, to dinner. Claire has a final confrontation with Edie and seems to be getting friendlier with Billy. Rico is happy to have spent some time at home with the kids but is quickly dismayed when he realizes that Vanessa has asked an old high school friend to visit her.
29 August 2004
Brenda feels the clock is ticking and wants to have a baby sooner rather than later. Nate wants to think about it for a while. A lunch with her mother Margaret doesn't go particularly well - Margaret is rushed to the hospital. The event does give Brenda and Billy a chance to see each other again. George feels they should be preparing for whatever catastrophe may befall mankind. Ruth tells him of the old bomb shelter and he thinks it's just perfect. Claire's latest project gets raves from Billy and several of her classmates but she reacts badly when Russell claims to have originated the concept with her. She's thrilled though when she gets the opportunity display some of her work at a show. David learns that the man whose ear he's bitten is suing him for $500,000. There's one way he can get out of it but it involves Keith. At the funeral home, Rico and Nate deal with a particularly tragic case when four members of the Gorodetsky family - parents and two children - are killed in a car accident leaving only their eldest son to deal with it all. Nate is forced to admit to Lisa's sister Barb that he buried her in the desert.
Season 4, Episode 12: Untitled12 September 2004
George's infatuation with impending disaster is causing him nightmares. His daughter Maggie joins him and Ruth for dinner and she has a lot of stories about her dad. Later, Ruth is quite concerned when she finds George talking by himself to an imaginary person. Claire's showing of her work is a huge success but she ignores her friends in the process. Nate is stressing over Barb's threat to take Maya away from him. He learns more about the circumstances of Lisa's death, leading to another tragedy. David hopes that if he faces his attacker, who is now in prison, he will feel liberated. It doesn't quite work out that way. Keith gets an interesting offer from Roger, who had promised to drop his lawsuit against Dave in return for sex.
6 June 2005
The insecure Andrea Kuhn is encouraged by her psychiatrist to disclose her true feeling to her family, and when she is happy being herself, her husband accidentally kills her after an argument. Ruth recalls how stress triggered a depressive psychosis in George and his treatment with electroshock. Brenda has a miscarriage in the eve of her wedding day. Billy invites Claire to move to his place. David and Keith are discussing the alternative for their baby, adoption or to rent a belly. Rico misses a steady relationship while dating women from an Internet site.
13 June 2005
While trying to reach the newspaper on the sidewalk, Samuel Wayne Hoviak, who was the best high-school friend of Nate, falls and his truck run over him. In the funeral service, Nate meets their other former best friend, Tom Wheeler; they recall their adolescence and realize that they are getting up. The bitter and deranged Ruth has no patience with George, and they receive his daughter Maggie. David proposes Claire to donate her eggs for the baby of his own with Keith, but she refuses. Claire feels her art rejected by the owner of a gallery and Billy misses his former personality. Rico dates Sharon and does not understand her hint that she does not want to see him again. Brenda begins an internship in a free clinic and does not support her first day, seeking Margaret's influence to help her to find a better place to work.
20 June 2005
In 1954 Loretta Smith Sibley committed suicide in front of her son George. With the anniversary of September 9th approaching, George is haunted by her presence enough to distract him at home, repeats his habit of placing unwanted food in his pockets, telling Ruth he was saving it, and confesses to Maggie that he again needs therapy. Ruth also has to deal with Claire confronting her after she freezes her account since she's no longer in school. Billy buys her the camera she wanted to purchase herself as they consider leaving for Spain, but Ruth disapproves of the whole thing. Rico runs into but is rejected by Vanessa at a church dating meet, so dates his former replacement Angela. Brenda befriends a co-worker after her first counseling experience results in a physical attack, and Nate befriends his stepsister Maggie, a divorcée whose son passed away at a young age.
Season 5, Episode 4: Time Flies27 June 2005
Lila Simmonds Coolidge passes away just before her 96th birthday...which she happened to share with Nate. This year, Nate's 40th is marked by the news that he'll be a dad, which he doesn't react to as enthusiastically as Brenda had hoped. Claire breaks off with Billy after a final night together because of his wild behavior off medication, while George's apologies to Ruth don't lessen her impatience toward his problems. Rico sleeps with Vanessa when he shows up to remind she forgot to pick their son up, but she ensures it will be the last time. At Nate's unwanted party where his mood is already low after accidentally revealing Brenda's pregnancy and creating more friction, a bird some consider to be an omen and others merely to be an annoyance continues to invade the house. When Nate is insulted for allowing its return by not closing the window it originally entered through, he takes out all his frustration on the bird.
4 July 2005
Diabetic Daniel Holzenchenko succumbs to the call of canned peaches...and leaves behind 2 brothers and 2 sisters who seem unable to agree on anything from refreshments to music to be used at his funeral. While trying to mediate them, Nate also has to figure out how to convince Brenda not to tell Maya that she is her stepmother and her real mother Lisa is dead. David and Keith go to an adoption agency picnic where they meet Anthony, and choose to foster and possibly adopt him and his brother, when Mary's news about conception changes to news of an error. Ruth tells her knitting group her patience with George has officially ended, and at their urging convinces him to find an apartment for them and a job for himself - but actually plans to leave him with the apartment. Claire has a worse time leaving Billy, pressured by Margaret as well as him. Julio torments another student so Rico volunteers to go in and explains his anger is actually from his parents' divorce, but Vanessa confronts him about what he says. Nate is advised to make a choice about talking with Maya from an interesting source, and gets a surprising response from Brenda.
10 July 2005
Sarah O'Connor's best friend and Nate's first love Fiona Lenore Kleinschmidt falls down a mountain on a hiking trip with Sarah, causing she and her friends to stay a few days at the Fishers' and giving Ruth a good excuse not to show up to George's apartment for a few days...until Maggie notes she's put nothing of hers in the place. Claire applies for a temp agency job but the blandness of it is disappointing, especially with an art grant's rejection at about the same time. Anthony's older brother Durrel proves a rebellious, trouble-making thorn that Keith is all too eager to rid himself of but David wouldn't mind adopting, causing tensions to quickly mount as the social worker's visit nears. Vanessa's housekeeper Donna proves to have issues so Rico is unexpectedly asked to return to help with work. When Ruth finally does make it over to George after Sarah, Bettina, and the other drinking, smoking mourners have cleared out, he coolly reveals he knows her plan and breaks off with her, saving her the trouble.
17 July 2005
Maggie Sibley's friend and fellow Quaker Peter Thomas Burns suffers a heart attack while watching a play, and Nate becomes intrigued about her faith when she brings it up. Brenda's blood tests reveal that her and Nate's child has a higher-than-usual possibility for developing Down's Syndrome or other complications at birth, and the doctor recommends amniocentesis to eliminate these factors. Ruth, feeling a misfit among other women in the sudden free time offered her without George, is displeased to hear that he wants the briefest divorce possible since he's already found another woman, so warns her she'd be marrying a depressed, sick man. Meanwhile, Rico is disgusted that sleeping with Vanessa is brief, to the point, and unenthusiastic, almost like another chore for him to help out with. Claire meets Ted, a lawyer, at work and eventually chooses to try to connect with him. David accidentally learns that Durrell will be performing in a school musical, and, remembering what it was like to have a parent who didn't have time to do it for him, he insists to Keith that they should go see him in it...despite the fact that Durrel's embarrassed enough about it not to want them to. After hearing Maggie admit her handicapped son's life was painful for her, Nate is inclined to agree with the doctor that Brenda should test to ensure there are no problems with her pregnancy, but Brenda is doubtful enough of his support to refuse.
24 July 2005
Pilar Sandoval attempts to Rollerblade a steep hill while walking her dogs but literally doesn't make it when she loses control and is hit by a car. Brenda is upset with Nate's fists-up attitude toward the daughter they'll have, and is suspicious that his latest wish to attend Quaker meetings is simply to join Maggie. David, Nate, and Rico try but fail to agree on how to invest on the business, but it gives Rico a good opportunity to focus on pursuing his relationship with Vanessa. Ruth's babysitting experience with Durrel and Anthony goes sour when they don't return from playing basketball until Durrell drives the SUV home, and, only after David blames Ruth, is learned to have done it before. Later Durrell threatens Keith during a confrontation over it, and David learns from Anthony that he doesn't get they won't won't have to eventually leave. Ruth, encouraged by Claire to get a haircut, goes camping with Hiram again. Claire herself only attends Anita's show when Ted offers to tag along, and it goes smoother than she expects. The second night Nate attends a Quaker meeting with Maggie, Brenda goes there after her ultrasound with Jackie, only to find Nate absent, since he and Maggie got wrapped up talking and never went. As Brenda waits for his arrival, they sleep together...then Nate gets up, and immediately goes numb and collapses.
Season 5, Episode 9: Ecotone31 July 2005
Lawrence Hall Matheson chooses the wrong moment to check his pulse while jogging in a California "ecotone" - a cougar mauls him. Hospitalized following his seizure, an unconscious Nate dreams he returns home after he simply woke his asleep arm up and requested a divorce, while in reality Maggie struggles to answer medical questions and contact the family. David arrives only to learn that Anthony is terrified to be in a hospital, and Claire is accompanied the whole time by Ted, so she respects him despite the fact that he's Republican. The doctor, unfamiliar with Nate or the family, at first only manages to report redundant information, then finally concludes he should be fine, save some left-side weakness that therapy should eventually cure. Ruth doesn't have a cell phone so while everyone else awaits news of Nate, she is unaware of the situation and rejects Hiram, fantasizes revenge on all her boyfriends (and what her reaction would be to her husband), and after a long walk manages to start home via Chinese tour bus. Brenda guesses what "physical activity" caused Nate's heart to race just before his incident, and confronts him when he awakens, only to find her offer of forgiveness rejected: Nate says he's tired of fighting and is ready to give up on their relationship. When he and David fall asleep together, they both dream they're in the back of their father's VW bus smoking. A casual, relaxed David (Nate says he dreamed he was a whole other person) is surprised to see "what they've been waiting for" turns out to be the ocean, where Nate eagerly jumps in and encourages him to follow, though he's not as surprised as Nate and their father are that he balks and makes excuses about sharks. But David has to face the shock of his life when he wakes up.
Season 5, Episode 10: All Alone7 August 2005
The family prepares for the worst funeral of their lives. Ruth makes things worse on David by taking out her pain on him until he stands up for himself, and Nate makes things worse for Brenda by reminding her she had the chance to marry Joe if she doubted him. Claire, troubled by the fact that mainly negative memories come to mind, again finds comfort in Ted, who explains that it's not unusual. In the middle of the preparations, Keith gets an emergency call from Roger to remove a breaking-and-entering actor...who reveals Roger taped their affair as he promised he wouldn't, so Keith quits working for him. David has no other business so concentrates on the funeral to keep himself together, especially after a brutal insult from his father, who dodges the question on whether he had favoritism among his children but openly condemns David's gayness. Ruth's pain increases when learning it's a green burial so helps David in order to see the body. At the private burial, David is terrified when he imagines he's attacked by Jake in an orange-sweatshirt in the car and suffers another panic attack, so doesn't help. Ruth gets some comfort with Bettina's visit and, after the funeral, with Brenda's request for her to watch Maya until she can recover from her own pain...and anger.
Season 5, Episode 11: Static14 August 2005
Iraqi War veteran Paul Ronald Duncan receives a euthanasia in the hospital - and Claire, on drugs, takes out her own loss on the family by denouncing the war in general but also them for letting their son serve. Later, after several days of drinking, she is fired and fights Ted for taking her keys, then later crashes her car by trying to avoid hitting a deer when going to visit the family's newest grave. David can't find a way to express his feelings so colorfully, so is still plagued by nightmares and daydreams 6 weeks after the funeral, mostly involving an orange-hooded figure resembling his attacker. When reports come out that a similarly-clad child-killer is loose, David becomes increasingly worried about the boys, troubling his family enough to have Keith suggest he leave until he's calmed down. He's too distracted to talk business yet, so Rico begins to plan ahead for himself at Vanessa's advice, finds an available spot, and learns she's a natural when it comes to consoling mourners. Nate supports Ruth's keeping Maya permanently, so she argues when Brenda first attempts to pick her up until it's agreed to lengthen her temporary stay. Brenda plans to have Billy help raise Maya and her second daughter, until a troubling dream changes her mind. When attempting to reclaim Maya for a second time, Brenda's proposed argument is about to be delivered, when she goes into labor prematurely...
21 August 2005
Nate and Brenda's daughter Willa is born, but 2 months early and at only 2 lb. 4 oz., requiring a prolonged hospital stay. Nate is convinced she won't make it and insists that he can't accept it if she does and is "damaged", shaking Brenda's own confidence. Rico encourages David to sell the funeral home but instead he and Keith buy out Rico's 25% so he can start his own. David agrees to temporarily leave home, and goes to the funeral home. There he's confronted by Nathaniel about considering leaving the business and for his gayness, and is forced to fight his mysterious attacker back, then finally sees his face. Maya is returned to Brenda and Ruth has to face her own problems, until Maggie reveals Nate did see her, happily, as Brenda insisted. Claire takes up photography (of Ted) again and gets a job offer at a New York photo production company, but offers to be there for Ruth until she insists she go and unfreezes her account. Brenda gets a surprise visit from Nate, who finally shows love for his daughter, and someone else. Claire learns the company who gave the job offer has just failed, but Nate encourages her to go onto New York anyway.
You may add a new episode for this TV series by clicking the 'add episode' button