Saturday, July 24, 2010

Nip/Tuck: Quentin Costa (3.15)

I don't fully understand some of the hate for this finale. The problem with the Carver arc was that it was never supposed to last so long. Originally intended for just one episode, a spike in ratings inspired Ryan Murphy to make the Carver season three's big bad, with the mask to be taken off in the season three finale. A lot of fans were annoyed at the identity of the Carver but, thinking rationally, who else could it really be?

Sean, Christian, Julia, Liz, Kimber and Matt are too valuable to the show to write-off as a masked psychopath, while somebody like Gina wouldn't have the intelligence to carry off something this huge. And if somebody like Ava or Escobar suddenly showed up behind the mask, it would spoil the characters we've gotten to know already, who just wouldn't realistically moonlight as a serial slasher.

So it pretty much fell to Quentin to be the bad guy. I did appreciate the Kit twist, and I liked their unique backstory. While it was corny, and a little like something out of a bad horror movie from the '70s, it was at least a viable motive. It's also disturbingly twisted to imagine the both of them carving each other and being involved in this incestuous relationship centered on sex and violence.

Probably the only major issue I have with the finale is the revelation that Quentin has no penis. While he does explain away some of the scenes this season where he appeared to have a penis, it just came off badly, like the writers were desperately coming up with excuses for a twist that was only created at the eleventh hour. For instance, it's ridiculous to try and make us believe that Julia wouldn't have at least groped him while they shared a hottub, and no vapid sorority girl would simulate oral sex on a guy who has no penis, especially when she was so drunk. She would scream and cause a big scene if she saw that. And I know this'll sound wrong, but I couldn't help wondering how Quentin peed. Or what he actually has there. Does he have testicles? Is it just a big gaping hole of skin? I know this is gross, but it really did distract me for a while...

The Matt subplot was probably more engrossing, especially since all the performances were so great. I felt a much greater sense of terror in the Matt/Cherry torture scenes than I did with Quentin and Sean and Christian. Quentin's madness seemed almost cartoon-y, while the Alderman family were terrifying, appearing so normal. It was difficult not to cheer Cherry on as she rose up behind Mr. Alderman and slammed a shovel into his head. While the Carver arc was so huge across the media, the Alderman arc was, at least in my opinion, much more powerful to watch. Featuring truly phenomenal performances from John Hensley, Willam Belli, Brian Kerwin and Brittany Snow, this story featured better characterization and more believable situations, despite being about something as crazy as neo-Nazi's.

Season three has been a busy year for Nip/Tuck. Obviously darker than the previous two years, most of season three suffered from some inconsistent storylines (the Carver arc), some terrible surgery cases (like the god-awful Frankenlaura episode), and arcs that went nowhere (the unnecessary Spa De La Mer). It also sucked that so many of the characters were split apart this year. While Ryan Murphy may be commenting on how characters need to separate in order to eventually come back together in a happier state, it just wasn't fun to see Sean working alone at the FBI, Julia becoming an independent businesswoman and Kimber being kidnapped from her wedding.

However, season three did eventually get better. Julian McMahon held the show together with a truly epic performance throughout the year, and the writers really allowed Christian to completely re-examine himself and journey into the depths of his soul in order to find what kind of man he wants to be. Kimber had never been better, growing as a person and realizing she truly loves Christian (well, until the Carver ruined all that). Matt was also great in the end, and the Nazi story was both disturbing and violent, but ultimately hopeful. I loved his friendship with Cherry, and Willam Belli was a good addition to the cast.

This season finale pretty much summed up the whole year. Some of it worked. Some of it rocked hard, some of it was disappointing. But after two years of near perfection in seasons one and two, Nip/Tuck's occasional drop in quality is excused. A-

Guest stars Brittany Snow (Ariel Alderman); Rhona Mitra (Kit McGraw); Veronica Cartwright (Mother Mary Claire); Kelsey Lynn Batelaan (Annie McNamara); Willam Belli (Cherry Peck); Colleen Flynn (Dr. Allamby); Megan Paul (Chelsea Myers); Brian Kerwin (Eugene Alderman)
Writer Ryan Murphy Director Ryan Murphy

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