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"Everyone's Waiting" is the 12th episode of the fifth season of the HBO television series Six Feet Under, the series' 63rd episode overall and the series finale. The episode was written and directed by Alan Ball and originally aired in the United States on August 21, 2005. It was met with universal acclaim from both critics and viewers alike, often being cited as one of the finest series finales in the history of television.[1]

"Everyone's Waiting"
Six Feet Under episode
Sfu everyones waiting.png
The extended Fisher family toasts Nate’s memory at Claire’s farewell dinner.
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 12
Directed by Alan Ball
Written by Alan Ball
Featured music Breathe Me” by Sia
Original air date August 21, 2005
Running time 72 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Six Feet Under episodes



The episode begins like no other: not with a death, but with a birth. Willa Fisher Chenowith is born prematurely, and Brenda is plagued by visions of Nate, who vicariously conveys Brenda's internal fears that the child will not survive and insists that he cannot accept it if she does make it and that she is "damaged." Ruth stays by Brenda's side during Willa's recovery and stops fighting to keep Maya with her. Brenda later has a vision of Nate and Nathaniel holding Willa, with Nate showing his love for both Brenda and their daughter, suggesting that Brenda is finally positive for Willa's health and welfare.

Ruth sinks even deeper into her depression when Brenda takes Maya back. George tries to comfort her and promises he will help her get through it. Ruth is helped by a phone call to Maggie when she tells Ruth that Nate was happy the night he suffered his ultimately fatal stroke.

Claire gets back into photography with Ted's help, and later receives a phone call from a stock photography company in New York saying they have a position for her as a photographer's assistant. She later finds out that Olivier recommended her for the position. After finding her mother crying, she says she will stay at home to help her, but Ruth insists that she move to New York so she will not regret it later. Ruth also unfreezes the trust fund set up by her father. Claire later finds out that the photo company consolidated its operations and her position is no longer available. As she considers calling off her trip, Nate tells her she needs to go to start a new life in New York anyway, as he did years earlier when he moved to Seattle with no guarantee of employment.

As per Keith's suggestion, David agrees to temporarily leave home so he can recover from the loss of his brother, and returns to the funeral home. During a nightmare, he is confronted by Nathaniel about considering leaving the business and his sexuality. He is then confronted by the attacker in a red hooded sweater that has plagued his recent thoughts. This time, David fights back and finally sees his own face, allowing him to let go of his past.

Rico, disillusioned by the direction Fisher and Diaz have been taking, encourages David to sell the funeral home as he has had the business valued and realizes that his 25% share is worth $500,000, which he and Vanessa want to use to buy their own funeral home. David initially agrees, but changes his mind after having a vision of his father Nathaniel telling him that the business is his birthright. Instead, David and Keith buy out Rico's 25% share using Keith's life savings, freeing the Diaz family to pursue their own venture. Brenda also agrees to give David and Keith as much time as they need to buy her share, which she inherited from Nate. Keith and David move into the funeral home with their sons Durell and Anthony and redecorate it. Ruth initially plans to move in with George but changes her mind and instead moves in with her sister while continuing her relationship with George in separate residences.

Nate visits Claire one last time as she prepares to leave for New York.

The extended Fisher family (with the exception of the Diaz family who have their own family dinner to celebrate the buyout) has a farewell dinner for Claire where they reminisce about Nate, telling stories and toasting Nate's memory. The next morning, Claire has a tearful goodbye with her family and drives off into her future.

The episode ends with flash-forwards to milestone events in the main characters' subsequent lives and, ultimately, their deaths. The montage – set to Sia's "Breathe Me" – is intercut with views of Claire driving out of Los Angeles.

In the flash-forwards, Ruth is seen enjoying life in Topanga; David teaches Durrell about embalming; the extended Fisher family celebrates Willa's birthday; and David and Keith get married. Ruth dies in 2025 of old age in the hospital with David, Claire, and George at her side. She sees her deceased husband Nathaniel and son Nate before she dies. Ted shows up unannounced at Ruth's funeral; Claire and Ted later get married. Keith is shot and killed in 2029 by robbers while exiting an armored truck owned by his self-named security firm. At a family function in 2044, David dies of a heart attack after seeing a vision of a young Keith smiling at him. While on a cruise with his wife in 2049, Rico has a heart attack and collapses. Brenda dies of old age in 2051 at her home while her brother Billy talks to her about Claire and Ted. Finally, in 2085, having outlived them all, Claire dies at the age of 102 in her own home, with photographs of the Fisher family adorning her walls.


In 2006, the episode received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards. Creator Alan Ball was nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Directing for a Drama series; it was also nominated for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series and Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series. It won for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie, or Special.

TV Guide ranked the episode #22 on its list of "TV’s Top 100 Episodes of All Time" and also named it one of the best TV moments of the decade.[2][3] Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Wrapping up an acclaimed show is pretty much a no-win proposition (e.g., The Sopranos). But Alan Ball’s 2005 coda distilled all that we'd learned about life and death after five seasons with the Fishers."[4]

In 2011, the finale was ranked #8 on the TV Guide Network special, TV’s Most Unforgettable Finales.[5]


  1. ^ "Six Feet Under – The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME". TIME. September 6, 2007. Archived from the original on March 17, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
     • "5 Best TV Finales". Pop Vultures. March 14, 2008. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
     • "The Best Series Finales". June 11, 2007. Archived from the original on August 24, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
     • "Top 10 TV Series Finales: The Sopranos, Friends, Cheers". April 2, 2009. Archived from the original on March 16, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 9, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Top Moments of the Decade". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  4. ^ Geier, Thom; Jensen, Jeff; Jordan, Tina; Lyons, Margaret; Markovitz, Adam; Nashawaty, Chris; Pastorek, Whitney; Rice, Lynette; Rottenberg, Josh; Schwartz, Missy; Slezak, Michael; Snierson, Dan; Stack, Tim; Stroup, Kate; Tucker, Ken; Vary, Adam B.; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Ward, Kate (December 11, 2009), "THE 100 Greatest MOVIES, TV SHOWS, ALBUMS, BOOKS, CHARACTERS, SCENES, EPISODES, SONGS, DRESSES, MUSIC VIDEOS, AND TRENDS THAT ENTERTAINED US OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS". Entertainment Weekly. (1079/1080):74–84
  5. ^ TV’s Most Unforgettable Finales – Aired May 22, 2011 on TV Guide Network

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