Directed by: Alan Ball
Written by: Jill Soloway
When Ruth and George announce that they've decided to get married, the reaction is not what they'd hoped for. Nate is openly hostile, Claire protests that they barely know each other and David feels that in light of the ongoing search for Lisa, it would be more prudent to wait. Ruth listens until she can't take any more. "Life doesn't stop, all right?" she says curtly, "We didn't die. We have this precious gift of life and it's so terribly fleeting and that is precisely why it's important to keep on living, to not give up hope." The wedding will take place in two days - whether her children attend or not.
Unlike Ruth, none of the other Fishers feel especially hopeful. Claire remains conflicted over the abortion, and David is not one hundred percent certain of his decision to leave Keith. But at least they're able to function - something that is becoming increasingly difficult for Nate. He's drinking more and more, while neglecting his responsibilities as both a businessman and a parent: he angrily dismisses a client and leaves Maya alone in the middle of the night.
There's turmoil in the Diaz household as well. Angelica is in residence, ostensibly until she finds her own apartment, but she shows no signs of leaving. "I swear I wish I could just kick her sorry ass out," Federico tells David, "Vanessa always takes her side; it's like I have a fucking two-headed wife now." One night, to escape the tension, Federico goes to dance class by himself. Afterward, he accepts an invitation to a strip club, the first one he's ever been to. He gets drunk and one of the dancers flirts with him - and then they have a brief sexual encounter in his car.
After the unpleasantness surrounding the wedding announcement, both Claire and David are visited by Nathaniel. He takes Claire on a visit to the afterlife, which is a kind of blissful street carnival. There she encounters beatific versions of people she's cared for and lost: Lisa, Gabe Dimas - and the baby she decided not to have. As she's about to leave, she asks her father whether it bothers him that Ruth is remarrying. "Nah," he replies, "That's you."
David's vision of his father is much simpler; Nathaniel appears to him at the funeral home and coaxes him into phoning Keith. "Can't help who ya love, kid," Nathaniel tells him. David makes the call and arranges to meet Keith for church. But instead of attending the service, they have an open and -free discussion of their relationship. It ends with Keith telling David that he loves him and will do anything to keep from losing him. "Just don't give up," Keith pleads, "Not yet."
When Ruth and George are married, David, Keith, Claire and Maya are in attendance. Nate is not. Unknown to the others, he finally got the phone call that they'd all been dreading: the police have found Lisa's body identifiable only by her dental records. In a state of utter despair and guilt, he goes to a local dive and goads a patron into beating him into a bloody mess; then he gets into his car, where he envisions his father and Lisa urging him to commit suicide by driving himself off the road into a canyon.
Eventually, however, he ends up at Brenda's. He pounds on her door and she opens it, expecting to see Joe, the intriguing neighbor with whom she'd just had a pleasant dinner date. But when she sees Nate's beaten and bloodied face, she looks into his eyes and then slowly lets him in.
Lisa Kimmel Fisher