Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nip/Tuck: Giselle Blaylock and Legend Chandler (5.22)

Nip/Tuck is usually at its strongest when a central idea runs through several of the various subplots piled in on one another. The season five finale is all about mortality, those hungry for it, those losing it, and those just discovering it. At its heart is Christian's impending death, an event that causes him to focus his life, gain some newfound perspective, and forget about the things that once made his heart tick. He wants to go to Europe, buy expensive suits and eat unhealthy food. He wants to marry somebody for love and compassion, not because they necessarily look pretty on his arm. As always, we understand why Christian is doing this. Liz is a different story, but the finale manages to make the most of a ridiculous storyline. At the same time, we have one last attempt to reverse Christian's terminal prognosis, real-life vampires seek eternal youth, Kimber faces up to her own personal emptiness, and Teddy's agenda is revealed. It's a doozy of a finale, and considering how awful the back-end of this season has been, it's surprisingly entertaining.

Of course we all knew Christian would survive his cancer. And could they have done anything but the old soap opera stand-by of 'accidentally switched medical results'? Christian's interest in cryogenic freezing was completely ridiculous, but the writers thankfully treated it as such, revealing it to be nothing more than a science-fiction pipe dream. I also loved Matt's line about Christian being hung up on Jabba the Hutt's wall.

For the first time in a while, I really loved Kimber. She finally cut ties with Ram and Eden, those awesomely-dubbed 'scumbag assholes', and proclaimed that her legendary status will live forever. I do believe that her compassion for Christian here was genuine, not a form of gold-digging like Liz suggested. Her throwdown with Liz was campy soap opera awesomeness, and I do believe Kimber's heart was in the right place. Being Kimber, however, she did the dumb thing by thinking attacking Liz would get her Christian. She's endearing, but so naïve a lot of the time.

Teddy, like so many of Sean's love interests, turned out to be a cold-blooded murderer. I've really disliked this character so far. Katee Sackhoff was trying way too hard to be sexy and ambiguous and almost constantly came across as majorly contrived. And, once again, it's hard to care too much about a sexy serial killer. If anything, it says so much about where Nip/Tuck is at this point that a murderous con-woman is redundant and boring.

Season five has been majorly problematic for Nip/Tuck. It's meandered for too long, squandered most of its ensemble, and featured storyline after storyline designed only to shock and create sparks of post-show conversation. There have been some interesting moments, but it was mostly a holy mess. I enjoyed the finale a lot, but there's still the nagging sense that everybody is quietly sick of playing and writing for these people. B+

Guest stars Katee Sackhoff (Dr. Teddy Rowe); AnnaLynne McCord (Eden Lord); Wendy Glenn (Giselle Blaylock); Graham Shiels (Legend Chandler); Damien Leake (Dr. Moss); Grainger Hines (Dr. Harland Frank); J. Paul Boehmer (Cryogenics Doctor); John Schneider (Ram Peters)
Writers Lyn Greene, Richard Levine Director Lyn Greene

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