Ten years ago tonight, “Six Feet Under” aired its final episode, “Everyone's Waiting.” The drama had seen better days, but there was still enough affection for one of HBO's early trailblazers that a lot of viewers came back for it (or simply paid more attention than they had of late), and were rewarded with a stunning closing sequence that took the show's exploration of death to its logical conclusion, as you can see below (or watch in higher quality on YouTube):
For a long time, this finale was held up as the no-doubt best conclusion to a TV drama (and by some as the best TV finale of any kind), particularly as lots of the era's other great dramas went for endings that deliberately confounded the audience.
This summer on the podcast, Fienberg and I have been revisiting a lot of classic finales, including this one. That final sequence remains a stunner, and enormously helped by the use of Sia's “Breathe Me” to accompany all the deaths. But even before we began this experiment, I had begun to view the end of “The Shield” as the best drama ending, because that show was still firing on all cylinders by the end, and its entire finale is incredible, whereas virtually all the power in “Everyone's Waiting” comes from those last six and a half minutes. The rest of the episode is fine, and does a good job of bringing various character arcs to a close, but on the whole, I'll take “Family Meeting.”
What does everybody else think? Would you still call “Everyone's Waiting” the best drama finale? If not, what's your pick?