It would have felt wrong to give Kimber a happy ending. Right from the very beginning she's always been the archetypal 'victim'. She has dreams of becoming a model/actress/whatever, submits herself to various forms of humiliation and self-abuse along the way, becomes involved in drug addiction, pornography and cults, and finally ends it all. It's a horrible fate, but one that was inevitable. What makes her demise even sadder is the fact that her professional life hasn't been this positive in a while. While she's still drifted aimlessly through various careers of late, she seemed to have a newfound direction and a drive to overcome the obstacles in her life.
But, in the end, the men who spent so long defining her only destroyed her. After so many years of being manipulated by Christian, he finally dumps her horribly. Instead of using it as a chance to break out of the McNamara/Troy 'bubble', she immediately flings herself into the arms of another man. When he similarly rejects her, she's bottomed out. Without a man to cling onto, she feels worthless. It's a tragic story, but a fitting end for one of the series' most fascinating characters.
The theme of self-destruction and suicide ran through the rest of the episode. There's a man who only realized he had so much to live for when he was plummeting to what should have been his death. Then there's the other patient who plays with fire in his pursuit of the perfect orgasm. The latter story was difficult to watch, especially seeing Christian choking Kimber. It's unsurprising that Christian would do something so stupid, but it was still horrible.
Meanwhile, Sean experiments with a new direction in his life, but once again caves and abandons it. Yes, Kimber is dead. Yes, Christian needs emotional support as a result ('deserving' that is another subject altogether). But abandoning the whole Doctors Without Borders plan felt needlessly grand. He's another character who never changes, instead spending the entire time whining and never doing anything about it. Gah.
This was a strong episode with a strong central idea and some excellent character work. Christian at this point is entirely irredeemable in my opinion, but I guess you needed something like that to make Kimber hit rock bottom. Additionally, Kimber was a great character. She wasn't always given great material, but Kelly Carlson was one of the revelations of Nip/Tuck, who always leveled the character with a sense of inner sadness and vulnerability. I don't know if she'll ever find another character with so much depth again, but she did a really good job over the years on this show. A
Guest stars Mario Lopez (Dr. Mike Hamoui); Tim Guinee (Joel Seabrook); George Newbern (Dr. Curtis Ryerson); Greg Ellis (Adam Wise)
Writer Hank Chilton Director Tate Donovan