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, elderly Mr. Jones finds that his wife Hattie has died in her sleep, while elsewhere Brenda is annoyed by Nate's fascination with the book written about her childhood. Later, Nate finds that his father allowed a mechanic to pay him in trade, and finds several other similar transactions marked in the ledger. David meets with Mr. Jones, who orders him not to "mess" with Hattie, though David tactfully explains why she must be embalmed before burial. David and Ruth then encounter Tracy at church, and David hastily covers when she mentions his "fiancée." Hiram asks to see Ruth again, though she refuses, and David quickly realizes who the man is. Mr. Jones barges into the house early in the morning, demanding to see his wife, and Brenda finds Claire reluctantly comforting the old man. Nate is surprised when he finds Jessica, a former customer who regularly supplied Nathaniel with marijuana, and she states that Nathaniel was in fact proud of his son for running away from the family business.

David hands out food to the homeless with Father Jack and tries to ignore Tracy's chatter, and when Hiram questions him about Ruth's unhappiness, he flatly refuses to assist his mother's adulterous lover. Nate then finds that Nathaniel also had a secret hideaway in a room behind a restaurant, and he speculates about what his father might have done there. Nikolai, the florist, flirts openly with Ruth, and Claire is intrigued to spot "Charlotte Light and Dark" in Brenda's home, explaining that she identified strongly with it. Billy then appears and reveals that Brenda is in fact "Charlotte," much to Claire's shock. Nate "talks" with his father, admitting that he never truly knew him, but Nathaniel informs him that he now knows "the secret of life" and is enjoying his death. David firmly rejects Tracy and tells her to "go pick somebody up," and Billy romances Claire, who informs him that he will not simply use her for sex. Mr. Jones confides in Rico about his life with Hattie, and Nate brings Brenda to his father's mysterious room and asks if she can sense the "vibe" of what he might have done there, though she points out that he will likely never know the truth. Ruth accuses Nikolai of regarding her with a "sex look," and Billy and Claire's flirtation continues as he takes her photograph, though he seems unhappy when she suggests that Nate has fallen in love with Brenda.

Nate finds Mr. Jones still hovering by his wife's side, and Jones tells him about their long and often tumultuous marriage. David takes his own advice and nervously goes home with a stranger, though he later realizes that he is still thinking of Keith. Ruth admits to Nikolai that she is surrounded by "relics" of her former life, and he shocks her with a kiss. Billy coldly rejects Claire, though Brenda urges her not to take it personally, explaining that her brother is "high-maintenance." Nate takes David to Nathaniel's room, though David is uninterested and declares that his father had a right to a "private life." Nate finds his father's photo album, which suggests that he was not using the room to "escape" his family after all, and he demands to know why Nathaniel really left him half of the business, though his father tells him to "stop caring what he thinks." Nate then gives Ruth some of the old photos, though does not mention the room, and Ruth explains that they were taken at the height of their passion, right before Nathaniel left for Vietnam. Nate finds that Mr. Jones has passed away by his wife's side, and Brenda and Claire continue bonding as Ruth rethinks her decision and returns to Hiram after all.


  • DATE: July 8, 2001 Sunday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:57:01
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:75259
  • 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
  • Bruce Eric Kaplan … Supervising Producer
  • Laurence Andries … Producer
  • Rick Cleveland … Producer
  • Christian Taylor … Producer, Writer
  • Robert Del Valle … Co-Producer
  • Lori Jo Nemhauser … Co-Producer
  • Rodrigo Garcia … 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
  • Rachel Griffiths … Cast, Brenda Chenowith
  • Jeremy Sisto … Cast, Billy Chenowith
  • Bill Cobbs … Cast, Mr. Jones
  • Ed Begley Jr. … Cast, Hiram Gunderson
  • Richard Jenkins … Cast, Nathaniel Fisher
  • Ed O'Ross … Cast, Nikolai
  • Tim Maculan … Cast, Father Jack
  • Dina Waters … Cast, Tracy Montrose Blair
  • Shishir Kurup … Cast, Restaurant Owner
  • Jeffrey Corbett … Cast, One Night Stand
  • Tim deZarn … Cast, Mechanic
  • Lorinne Vozoff … Cast, Jessica Wilcox
  • David Stifel … Cast, Indigent Man
  • Howard Mungo … Cast, Man at Viewing
  • Jessica Stone … Cast, Young Brenda
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