Nip/Tuck – Recap – Episode 3-8

Episode: “Tommy Bolton”
Reviewer: Tim Stevens

This Week’s Theme: Something about jumping into relationships too haphazardly. Also, the importance of family
Who Was Nice Enough to Tell Us About It: Oddly, never articulated. Surprisingly subtle this week.

Well, I’m back in the saddle. Sorry about last week. I am sure that Tim Sheridan proved to be a more than suitable replacement. Perhaps so good that you wish he stayed and I never returned. Sorry to disappoint if that’s the case. Now onto the episode.

We begin with Sean removing the bandages from Nikki and Austin after their Witness Protection funded plastic surgery. The post-op “masks” always weird me out. They look like the plaster casting one would do in the Middle Ages to make “death masks”. Perhaps this is foreshadowing? Hmm…

Foreshadowing or not, with the bandages gone, Nikki is pleased with her new look. Austin, on the other hand, does not really react. He is certainly not as angry about it as he was last week, but he does not seem to embrace it much either. He quickly reverts back to angry, however, with the revelation that this is goodbye. Upset about not being able to even know Sean’s home address to send him a postcard one day, Austin storms off. After unsuccessfully arguing that there would be no harm in it, Sean slips Austin the address anyway. Moments later, Austin is gone, presumably on a field trip to Sean’s abode. Sean and Nikki head off after him.

At the offices of McNamara/Troy (there is no Troy/Castro, there is no Troy/Castro…), Quentin and Christian are taking a consultation with the Bolton family. Their son Tommy has Dow’s Syndrome and wants to be operated on to look like the rest of his family. With Sean out of the picture, Christian is bumped up to the role of semi-empathetic doctor and Quentin nicely fills-in as amoral doc concerned with cash. Thus, Quentin tells them that the surgeries will cost 60,000 dollars and rather unceremoniously walks out on them when they reveal there is no way they can foot a bill that size.

Christian fulfills his end of the bargain by catching up with Quentin in the break room and dressing him down for being an ass. Quentin brings up investing in Julia and Gina’s spa again which does little to help matters. This clearly is on track to being an excellent partnership.

Back at the other plotline, Sean and Nikki arrive at his home and, sure enough, there’s Austin. How did Austin travel those two hours in roughly the same amount of time that Nikki and Sean did? Not sure. My guess? Magic.

Anyway, after asking to use the bathroom, Austin instead ends up passed out on Sean’s daughter’s bed. So inspired by the scene, Sean makes a really terrible decision and invites Nikki and Austin to spend their last week before going to their permanent safehouse at his home. This very well may get him some, but I just cannot endorse this. Bad idea, Sean, bad idea.

Speaking of bad ideas, Christian is so inspired by Tommy’s desire to look like his family that he calls the only piece of blood relation that he is aware of who is not legally his best friend’s son. That’s right, he and dear ol’ Mom have lunch together and he gives her the gift of plastic surgery. I know, I know. That seems less than polite to tell a woman you barely know that she needs surgery, but bear in mind, the first time these two met, she accused him of being a serial rapist/mutilator/murderer. In comparison, Christian’s move is as sweet as a bouquet of flowers and a gift certificate for Mom’s favorite store.

Meanwhile, Quentin shows up at Julia’s spa dressed to match the décor in a snazzy all black ensemble. Do you think he always dresses with that in mind or he’s just very lucky? Either way, despite his well chosen outfit, Quentin is still a bit nervous, so he takes a snort for courage. It is always heartening to see a surgeon who uses drugs. Bad things never come from that.

It turns out that Quentin is not so much for listening to what people say if he does not agree with it (a point proven over and over again this episode). So, despite Christian’s resistance, Quentin has gone to Julia with the hopes of partnering the plastic surgery firm and the spa. When she says the offer is off the table, he suggests dinner. She says no, but Quentin, being Quentin, could not care less about what she says she wants. So, dinner plans are made.

Christian’s “birth mom, you look old!” gift apparently went over like gangbusters because she came in for the consultation. The good doc apparently let the appointment slip to his fiancée Kimber so she shows up with a banquet of flowers. Seems she is a little part about this gift thing. Sadly, what she isn’t is the slight bit aware the situation she has walked into. Her enthusiasm quickly makes things very, very awkward.

Back at Bad Decision Central, a hang up phone call leaves Nikki freaked. She demands the car keys and takes her son…somewhere. Not really sure if she has a long term plan there.

Christian, coming out of his consultation with Mom, runs smack dab into another awkward moment. Tommy is back, this time with his two siblings. They say they have some money of their own to offer to the cause. The killer moment, however, is when Tommy offers up his gold medal as collateral because, after all, it is “gold”. Christian snatches victory from the jaws of sad, painful defeat here though, when he notices that both brother and sister have a bump in their nose, as does Dad. Christian offers to give Tommy one as well, calling it the “Bolton Bump”. There is much rejoicing.

Our pushy friend Quentin continues his streak of ignoring the opinions of others at dinner with Julia. He says let’s dance, she says no, they dance anyway. What’s more, she seems pleased that he made her do it. I guess being a handsome man gives you certain rights others do not have.

Quentin’s train runs into a barrier it cannot convince to think differently the next morning though. Apparently he slept over, although nothing happened, and Matt finds out before Julia can hustle Quentin out of the house. As stated before, I dislike Matt, but damn if he is not quite right a lot of the time. I especially could not help but cheer for him when Quentin says something to the effect of “In my house, we got the switch if we disrespected our mother.” I spent most of my life with parents divorced and while I never encountered such a figure dating my mother or father it was the threat that any divorced kid is always wary of in the back of his or her mind. If I was not a big fan of Quentin already, that moment all but sealed the deal.

Matt’s morning just gets worse when he stops by Sean’s to find Nikki and Austin making cookies with him. Poor kid just cannot catch a break this week. Two scenes and both of them feature who walking on his parents with other people.

Without telling Mom, Christian decides to meet with her eighteen year old son and tour the University of Miami with him. At the end of the tour/talk, the doctor assures the son that he will be off the wait list and accepted. I know rich alumni often carry much clout, but this much? With all the money Christian must have been donating to alum mater, so wonder he was in financial trouble a few weeks ago.

After that, it is right off to surgery for Tommy. In between shots of that, we see Christian trying, gamely, to fill a photo album with pictures of him, his friends, and family. It does not appear to be an easy task.

When surgery is said and done, the bandages are removed and Tommy takes a look at himself. His one comment, “I look like my dad,” is just perfect.

Quentin apparently bounced right back from his verbal drubbing at the hands of Matt because, despite her earlier “no” Julia is now okay with a plastic surgery/spa partnership.

Sadly, things do not turn out as well for other two principals. Sean gets a visit from Witness Protection who reveals that Nikki got her husband wasted and then shot him. See, I told you inviting her over was a bad idea. Christian’s bad news is less life threatening, but far more crushing. He shows up at his mom’s son’s graduation party and she stops him at the door. Predictably, perhaps inevitably, she tells him she cannot do this. After glancing in the window at what could have been his family, he leaves the photo album on the front mat. Apparently it was a gift for Mom to show what his life is like.

This was a different episode. Different pacing, no Carver, far less sensationalistic. And it worked. I love the selfish Christian, but this broken lost man aspect is an intriguing avenue to explore. He carries this episode without breaking a sweat.