One in this series about the Fisher clan, a loving -- if dysfunctional -- family struggling to maintain a sense of normalcy in the face of the stressful day-to-day operations of the eccentric family business, a funeral home in Los Angeles. In this episode, a young Gulf War veteran, Victor, dies in the hospital, and Nate blurts out an "I love you" to Brenda. He invites her to go away for the weekend, declaring that David is overworking him, and Ruth informs Claire that she has invited Hiram over for dinner. David asks to meet with a prospective assistant priest, Father Clark, before casting his vote, though the other officials tell him that Nathaniel was against appointing the "radical" young man. Billy barges into Brenda's house and catches her in bed with Nate, and she lies about her weekend plans when he asks. David talks with Victor's brother Paul, whom Nate recognizes from high school, and Paul explains that Victor contracted lung cancer from Gulf War Syndrome and hated the Army as a result, declaring that he wants a simple cremation for his brother. David tells Nate that they cannot spare him for the weekend, though Nate remains determined to go, and after Claire drifts off in algebra class, her guidance counselor recommends that she attend the Sierra Crossroads Project over spring break.

Ruth visits Nikolai's flower shop and asks for a part-time job, declaring that she is better with people than he is. Father Clark states that he intends to make meaningful changes to the church if hired, and he observes that "right and wrong matter" to David. Rico disapproves of Paul's decision to simply cremate Victor, feeling that he deserves better, and Nate finds that Victor in fact requested an official military funeral. He visits the VA and learns that Victor did not hate the Army at all and is eligible for a burial allowance, while elsewhere David is angry to find Rico restoring Victor, realizing that Nate is defying their paying customer's wishes. Hiram attends dinner, much to Claire and David's discomfort, and when Claire mentions Crossroads, Nate admits that he took the same trip in high school and lied to Ruth and Nathaniel about it. Ruth reveals that she has started working for Nikolai, and David argues with Nate about Victor, determined to follow his true wishes and not his brother's. Billy sends a strangely inappropriate gift basket to Brenda and Nate, and Brenda explains that her brother is bipolar and sometimes has boundary issues, though generally means well. Walter asks David if Clark could be gay, worried that he will alienate the congregation with his "agenda," and Nate is amused to find David enjoying some fittingly Army-themed adult entertainment.

Claire imagines her classmates' varying post-high school futures, and David decides to vote against Clark, admitting that he himself is unhappy and considers the church a place of reliable sanctuary, not progressive change. Gilardi secretly contacts Rico, and Paul finds several of Victor's Army friends sharing their memories at a wake. Paul angrily states that the military is using his brother for "PR," but Nate assures him that the VA is paying for the ceremonial funeral and that Victor wanted his death to be meaningful, and Paul sadly accepts his brother's wishes. Claire purposefully bombs the PSATs, and Nikolai finds Ruth overcome with emotion, having grown accustomed to helping customers in states of grief rather than happiness. Nate tells David that he loves him and David agrees that he did the right thing in defending Victor, but Nate then finds that Billy has gone off his medications and is having a manic episode, demanding that Brenda stay home with him rather than departing for the weekend. Nate protests that he is too possessive of her, but Brenda explains that sick or well, he is an important part of her life, and she tells him to head off to the desert without her.


  • DATE: July 15, 2001 Sunday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:50:47
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:75257
  • GENRE: Drama
  • SERIES RUN: HBO - TV series, 2001-2005


  • Robert Greenblatt … Executive Producer
  • David Janollari … Executive Producer
  • Alan Ball … Executive Producer, Created by
  • Alan Poul … Co-Executive Producer
  • Christian Williams … Co-Executive Producer, Writer
  • Bruce Eric Kaplan … Supervising Producer
  • Laurence Andries … Producer
  • Rick Cleveland … Producer
  • Christian Taylor … Producer
  • Robert Del Valle … Co-Producer
  • Lori Jo Nemhauser … Co-Producer
  • Jim McBride … Director
  • Richard Marvin … Music by
  • Thomas Newman … Theme Music by
  • Peter Krause … Cast, Nate Fisher
  • Michael C. Hall … Cast, David Fisher
  • Frances Conroy … Cast, Ruth Fisher
  • Lauren Ambrose … Cast, Claire Fisher
  • Freddy Rodriguez … Cast, Federico Diaz
  • Mathew St. Patrick … Cast, Keith Charles
  • Jeremy Sisto … Cast, Billy Chenowith
  • Rachel Griffiths … Cast, Brenda Chenowith
  • Ed Begley Jr. … Cast, Hiram Gunderson
  • Ed O'Ross … Cast, Nikolai
  • Wade Andrew Williams … Cast, Paul Kovitch
  • Raphael Sbarge … Cast, Father Clark
  • Brian Kimmet … Cast, Victor Kovitch
  • Frank Birney … Cast, Walter Kriegenthaler
  • Tim Maculan … Cast, Father Jack
  • David Noroña … Cast, Guidance Counselor
  • Nancy Linehan Charles … Cast, Connie
  • Eric Ware … Cast, VA Administrator
  • Davis Henry … Cast, Private Bailey
  • Gary Murphy … Cast, Mooning Private
  • David McSwain … Cast, Vet in Wheelchair
  • George Peña … Cast, Flag Folder
  • Marina Black … Cast, Parisian Classmate
  • Ange Billman … Cast, Classmate with Children
  • Shannon Convery … Cast, Classmate with Cancer
  • Dianna Miranda … Cast, Bride at Flower Shop
  • Luke Sabre … Cast, Porno Private
  • Keith Amos … Cast, Porno MP #1
  • Raphael Gamon … Cast, Porno MP #2
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