Sunday, April 24, 2011

Nip/Tuck: Ricky Wells (5.18)

This episode was all about uncomfortable truths, the idea of people denying their true instincts and others being deluded enough to not realize the obvious 'thing' that's right in front of their eyes. A lot of the episode consisted of Liz being hurt by Christian, a spectacularly predictable route the show went down. Liz ordinarily is a smart woman, but she's become so wrapped up in this doomed quasi-relationship that it's not surprising when Christian immediately begins banging a bunch of women right in front of her. While the story is explored well on a surface level here, we still don't understand what is motivating Liz to act like this, and I'm unsure the writers do either. She loves Christian, sure, but what is driving her to change herself, her sexuality and her morals? It's so strange.

Dr. Raj, a walking stereotype in his previous two appearances, was rendered actually sympathetic here, the victim of an oppressive, abusive father who demanded the unattainable of him and demanded he follow what he believed should be his dreams, rather than the dreams he actually wants to fulfil for himself. The ending, in which he asked Matt to crush his hand so he can escape his father's wrath, was mildly poetic.

Matt and Sean's relationship was also explored here. I don't know who was supposed to be the bad guy in this particular subplot, but you can understand Sean's disappointment in his son. Matt has drifted through life in a dazed and frequently self-destructive way, frequently doing the stupid thing with little regard for the possible consequences. And now he wants to be an actor. Sean and Matt seemed to reach some kind of common ground at the end, but it'll simply be discounted in the next couple of episodes, I'm sure.

The Ricky Wells story, ripped from the headlines though it may be, was a lot of fun. Predictable in where it was heading, but fun all the same. It was a classic Nip/Tuck horror story in a lot of ways, with characters attempting to justify whatever icky hoodoo they're wrapped up in, only for it all to fall apart in an even grosser manner in the end.

This episode was mostly played straight for a change, and felt more in line with the somber, introspective tone that Ronnie Chase seemed to be setting the rest of the season up for. Of which hasn't totally materialized so far. Great acting work all round, creating a surprisingly moving hour. Beautiful use of Henry Mancini's Dreamsville, too. B

Guest stars Adhir Kalyan (Dr. Raj Paresh); Suzanne Cryer (Carrie-Mae Wells); Brando Eaton (Ricky Wells); Iqbal Theba (Dr. Vijay Paresh); Lisa Howard (Liz's Date); Gregory Mikurak (Chris Wells); Drew Pillsbury (Robert Wells)
Writer Brad Falchuk Director John Scott

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