Nothing I have ever seen - or read - has provoked such an intense emotional response in me as much as the ending of Six Feet Under.
The series ended back in 2005. I watched bits and pieces of the last few episodes because my mother was watching them. I was 12, I had no idea who any of the characters were or what the context was, but I watched the last ten minutes of the last ever episode and then I went outside by myself and I cried my eyes out.
I got the boxset of all five seasons and started watching them in October or November last year. Seeing everything unfold, getting to know the characters, experiencing everything that Six Feet Under is... this time, when I got to the end, even when I knew what was coming - especially because I knew what was coming - I felt that same heartache. Maybe even more, because I knew Brenda and Billy's relationship. I knew Claire and every little twist her life had taken. I knew Nate.
What makes this a great ending is the way we get to see how things will end, and we get closure, with none of the forced and unbelievable happy-happy that some books/shows/films end with. It doesn't fast-forward just ten or twenty years, so that we only see Claire getting married and finding happiness at last, or David showing Durrell the family business ropes. We see their lives play out until the end. Until death.
Because that's what Six Feet Under was about, wasn't it? Death.
But what really makes this perfect is that as we see Claire and Ruth and David getting older, dying, it keeps cutting back to Claire. Claire in her car, with the wind in her hair, driving to her future. And it's like they're saying to us, "This is what happens. They are all going to die. We are all going to die. But don't worry about that yet - that's in the future, not now. Right now, we're here. Alive. See Claire? She's on her to live her life in New York. None of this, what you've just seen, has happened to her yet. It's going to, but it hasn't yet. Now, she's still here. We're still here. Don't worry."
Because that's what Six Feet Under was about, wasn't it? Life.
In between 2005 and 2011, between the first time I saw the ending and the first time I saw it all, I must have watched the last ten minutes...oh, I don't know how many times. Ten? Twenty? Thirty? More? I don't know. But a lot. And tears, each time. More heartache, each time.
That's what makes it the best ending ever. My most loved. And then this, the words on the case of my boxset:
Watch this video, even if you've never seen any of the show before and you don't plan to ever watch it. Or even if you are planning to watch the whole series at some point. Trust me, it only makes it better.
(And that song, if you're wondering, is Breathe Me by Sia.)