Everything. Everyone. Everywhere, Ends. HBO presents the fifth and final season about an L.A. family who run an independent funeral home.
Ruth dreads George's return from the hospital in light of his recent diagnosis; Nate and Brenda prep for a big day, but an emergency makes them reconsider; David and Keith bring up alternative parenting options for discussion; Rico navigates new waters via internet dating; and Claire enjoys domestic bliss, but crosses a line with her camera, inciting an attack from Ruth.
Nate hangs with some high school friends but finds that as adults, they share little more than teenage memories; Ruth gets relief from George's daughter Maggie; Brenda is reluctant to accept Margaret's help and struggles in her new internship; David and Keith's latest baby dream starts to resemble a nightmare; Claire bemoans being pigeonholed by her art; Billy defends his career but secretly wonders what happened to his old self; and Rico, mortified that he couldn't take a dating hint, seeks sympathy from Vanessa.
Claire is seduced by Billy's newfound lust for life but hits a roadblock trying to fund the next leg of her educational journey; George is haunted by visions of an early trauma; David and Keith meet Mary; Vanessa encourages Rico to mingle, so he does--at a funeral directors' conference.
Brenda is disturbed by Nate's reaction to her latest news; Ruth shares her feelings about George with her knitting circle; David and Keith "propose" to Mary and meet Roger's equally unconventional family; Rico is shocked at how Vanessa and the boys are doing; frustrated, George shares a beer and a song with Billy, whose recent behavior repulses Claire; and Nate comes home to an unpleasant surprise.
Diabetic Daniel Holzenchenko succumbs to the call of canned peaches...and leaves behind 2 brothers and 2 sisters who seem unable to agree on anything from refreshments to music to be used at his funeral. While trying to mediate them, Nate also has to figure out how to convince Brenda not to tell Maya that she is her stepmother and her real mother Lisa is dead. David and Keith go to an adoption agency picnic where they meet Anthony, and choose to foster and possibly adopt him and his brother, when Mary's news about conception changes to news of an error. Ruth tells her knitting group her patience with George has officially ended, and at their urging convinces him to find an apartment for them and a job for himself - but actually plans to leave him with the apartment. Claire has a worse time leaving Billy, pressured by Margaret as well as him. Julio torments another student so Rico volunteers to go in and explains his anger is actually from his parents' divorce, but Vanessa confronts him about what he says. Nate is advised to make a choice about talking with Maya from an interesting source, and gets a surprising response from Brenda.
Ruth is delighted when her sister Sarah calls. Claire finds a way to keep her money problems at bay. Nate reminisces about his love life while Brenda is away taking time out for a little rest and relaxation. Federico entertains an interesting offer unaware of someone’s motives.
Maggie Sibley's friend and fellow Quaker Peter Thomas Burns suffers a heart attack while watching a play, and Nate becomes intrigued about her faith when she brings it up. Brenda's blood tests reveal that her and Nate's child has a higher-than-usual possibility for developing Down's Syndrome or other complications at birth, and the doctor recommends amniocentesis to eliminate these factors. Ruth, feeling a misfit among other women in the sudden free time offered her without George, is displeased to hear that he wants the briefest divorce possible since he's already found another woman, so warns her she'd be marrying a depressed, sick man. Meanwhile, Rico is disgusted that sleeping with Vanessa is brief, to the point, and unenthusiastic, almost like another chore for him to help out with. Claire meets Ted, a lawyer, at work and eventually chooses to try to connect with him. David accidentally learns that Durrell will be performing in a school musical, and, remembering what it was like to have a parent who didn't have time to do it for him, he insists to Keith that they should go see him in it...despite the fact that Durrel's embarrassed enough about it not to want them to. After hearing Maggie admit her handicapped son's life was painful for her, Nate is inclined to agree with the doctor that Brenda should test to ensure there are no problems with her pregnancy, but Brenda is doubtful enough of his support to refuse.
Pilar Sandoval attempts to Rollerblade a steep hill while walking her dogs but literally doesn't make it when she loses control and is hit by a car. Brenda is upset with Nate's fists-up attitude toward the daughter they'll have, and is suspicious that his latest wish to attend Quaker meetings is simply to join Maggie. David, Nate, and Rico try but fail to agree on how to invest on the business, but it gives Rico a good opportunity to focus on pursuing his relationship with Vanessa. Ruth's babysitting experience with Durrel and Anthony goes sour when they don't return from playing basketball until Durrell drives the SUV home, and, only after David blames Ruth, is learned to have done it before. Later Durrell threatens Keith during a confrontation over it. Ruth, encouraged by Claire to get a haircut, goes camping with Hiram again. Claire herself only attends Anita's show when Ted offers to tag along, and it goes smoother than she expects. The second night Nate attends a Quaker meeting with Maggie, Brenda goes there after her ultrasound with Jackie, only to find Nate absent, since he and Maggie got wrapped up talking and never went. As Brenda waits for his arrival, they sleep together...then Nate gets up, and immediately goes numb and collapses.
David and Keith begin to feel comfortable in their roles as parents to Durrell and Anthony. Claire shares a common interest with co-worker Ted. Brenda faces common truths. Federico finally understands Vanessa. Feeling liberated after leaving George, Ruth goes camping with Hiram. Nate is checked into the hospital, while the rest of the family (except for Ruth, who is unreachable) waits to hear news from the doctors. Nate enters a brief coma after an operation to repair the damage from his AVM. He appears to be on the path to recovery when he suddenly dies, with only David by his side.
The family prepares for the worst funeral of their lives. Ruth makes things worse on David by taking out her pain on him until he stands up for himself, and Nate makes things worse for Brenda by reminding her she had the chance to marry Joe if she doubted him. Claire, troubled by the fact that mainly negative memories come to mind, again finds comfort in Ted, who explains that it's not unusual. In the middle of the preparations, Keith gets an emergency call from Roger to remove a breaking-and-entering actor...who reveals Roger taped their affair as he promised he wouldn't, so Keith quits working for him. David has no other business so concentrates on the funeral to keep himself together, especially after a brutal insult from his father, who dodges the question on whether he had favoritism among his children but openly condemns David's gayness. Ruth's pain increases when learning it's a green burial so helps David in order to see the body. At the private burial, David is terrified when he imagines he's attacked by an orange-sweatshirt-clad character in the car and suffers another panic attack, so doesn't help. Ruth gets some comfort with Bettina's visit and, after the funeral, with Brenda's request for her to watch Maya until she can recover from her own pain...and anger.
Iraqi War veteran Paul Ronald Duncan receives a euthanasia in the hospital - and Claire, on drugs, takes out her own loss on the family by denouncing the war in general but also them for letting their son serve. Later, after several days of drinking she is fired and fights Ted for taking her keys, then later crashes her car by trying to avoid hitting a deer when going to visit the family's newest grave. David can't find a way to express his feelings so colorfully, so is still plagued by nightmares and daydreams 6 weeks after the funeral, mostly involving an orange-hooded figure resembling his attacker. When reports come out that a similarly-clad child-killer is loose, David becomes increasingly worried about the boys, troubling his family enough to have Keith suggest he leave until he's calmed down. He's too distracted to talk business yet, so Rico begins to plan ahead for himself at Vanessa's advice, finds an available spot, and learns she's a natural when it comes to consoling mourners. Nate supports Ruth's keeping Maya permanently, so she argues when Brenda first attempts to pick her up until it's agreed to lengthen her temporary stay. Brenda plans to have Billy help raise Maya and her second daughter, until a troubling dream changes her mind. When attempting to reclaim Maya for a second time, Brenda's proposed argument is about to be delivered, when she goes into labor prematurely...
The drama about a Los Angeles funeral home meets its maker after five compelling seasons. Three weeks ago, Nate Fisher Jr.’s death ended speculation about which of the show’s major characters would die. But in the hands of creator Alan Ball, who wrote and directed this episode, you can bet the finale will be anything but anticlimactic. One issue certain to be resolved involves the health of Nate’s unborn child, since tonight, Brenda goes into labor. While the last two seasons have been downbeat, the writing has remained original, the acting terrific. Like Nate, the series will be missed.