Season Three is where things really start to fall apart for the Fisher family—and Six Feet Under as a show. Nate recovers from a brain hemorrhage to find himself in an unsatisfying marriage; Keith and David are considering a breakup; and Claire is forced to come to terms with her boyfriend’s bisexual affair with her art instructor.
A lot is happening, and by midseason it’s beginning to feel as if the writers are having a hard time fitting it all in. New characters aren’t fully developed, storylines are introduced then dropped, and surreal interaction with the dead—one of the most innovative narrative devices of the first two seasons—is all but abandoned.
The third season’s real achievement is its honest portrayal of people trapped in situations where redemption seems elusive. Such honesty helps the series overcome its flaws; Six Feet Under remains one of the most engaging shows on television.