The Wife:

This week, Nip/Tuck returned to its usual form, beginning with a consult by the members of McNamara/Troy, including their new addition, Raj. The patient is Gene Shelly, a mildly androgynous ranchhand who is upset at not being viewed as male. His partner, Tracy, and he are often viewed as sisters, which irritates them both. Christian offers immediately to do Gene’s masculinization surgery, but Gene is worried about the entire team’s qualifications, considering Christian’s cancer, Sean’s partial paralysis and Raj’s, well, age. Regardless, Sean assures Gene that he is in very capable hands.

At home, Christian is beginning to experience the drawbacks of chemotherapy – you get better, but you vomit a whole lot and you feel and look like shit. Liz has taken up the mantle as his caretaker, perhaps a little more than Christian would like. She’s babying him, rubbing his back and fluffing his pillows, which is the only way she really knows how to take care of someone. It’s what she did for Sofia Lopez during her gender reassignment surgery.

“What are you doing? I don’t need a mommy! I don’t want a mommy! Stop being my mommy!” – Christian

As for Sean, he’s still working through physical therapy, taking time out of the chair to play with young Connor on the days that he has visits. Julia is impressed with how adeptly Sean can get in and out of his chair. She’s still with Olivia and still working on remembering things before Eden shot her. She remembers her childhood. She remembers her relationship with Sean. But she doesn’t remember the shooting. She tells Sean that she still doesn’t understand why he lied to her and told her they were together, but, despite that hesitation, she actually seems like she’s, for once in her life, really happy. Nip/Tuck has this habit of making some of its characters into entirely different people with each new season. (Kimber would probably be the best example of this.) Although this is technically not a new season, Julia really seems like she’s been entirely rewritten. She’s no longer angry and embittered beneath her perfect surface. She seems rather pacified and calm, not unlike those mannequins in the show’s opening sequence. As a result of this newfound Zen-like state, Julia feels some sympathy for Sean. She wants to reach out to Sean and care for him, offering to cook him dinner on the nights that Olivia works late.

Oh, youre a man. Well, thats honestly not what I expected.

Oh, you're a man. Well, that's honestly not what I expected.

At the office, Christian and Raj operate on Gene Shelly while Sean supervises. Raj, ever tactless and presumptuous, tells Christian that soon it will be him on the slab with Raj inserting the pectoral implants. Christian is angered that Raj would assume he’d be doing Christian’s reconstruction, when it was Sean he had asked. The agitation in combination with chemo and hormone therapy make Christian vomit, which he does so neatly into a kidney-shaped pan. I like knowing that Christian Troy is just as good at throwing up neatly into odd-shaped vessels as I am. I once threw up in a crème brûlée bowl at a pub in Vegas. I think I could take him in a vomiting into odd receptacles competition.

The next day, Kimber comes over to Christian’s house just as he is about to send Wilbur to play with his nanny’s son for the evening. Kimber refuses to let Christian hold Jenna or even watch her while Kimber heads out to get her oh-so-important massage, not wanting Jenna to “catch” anything from Christian, as though tit cancer is contagious. Seems like, in grand Nip/Tuck tradition, Kimber is a completely different person than she was in the previous season, now moving on from being “porn-again” to becoming, possibly, the most wretched human being I’ve ever seen on this how. Kimber goes on to talk about how being a mother is far more being stressful than having cancer, which Christian, hoping to get a pity fuck, tries to exploit by bringing up the fact that Eden has been living with Kimber and Ram. Wait a minute, what? I thought Eden Lord was dead. I thought she shot herself after shooting Julia. What the fuck do you mean she’s living with Kimber and Ram, happily continuing the fuck-fest they’d started before Julia’s accident? Did I miss something? Am I completely misremembering the first half of this season? Granted, even if Eden is living with Ram and Kimber, we likely will never see her again, unless 90210 gets canceled and AnnaLynne McCord can return to playing a character that’s actually evil and awesome. Anyway, Kimber is ready to pity-fuck Christian, until she sees his chest divot and laughs. She can’t help it, she says, claiming that the cancer is exactly what Christian Troy deserves for spending his life casually fucking women and leaving them with numerous emotional scars. His disease, she says, is karma coming back to him. That’s just vile. I mean, Christian may have fucked a woman with a bag over her head, but in no way can I see the Universe punishing him with cancer for those offensive acts. That might be the most vile thing I’ve ever heard on this show, and Nip/Tuck is filled with many unsavory notions. (Also, Kimber, that’s just not how cancer works.)

While Christian’s disease seems to be a complete turn off to people, Sean’s infirmity has only improved his sex life. The student he’s sleeping with gives him routine head after class as a way of thanking him for teaching her how to give better consultations with clients. Being a doctor in an actual practice also seems to have improved Raj’s sex life quite a bit. The camera cuts immediately from Sean’s blowjob to Raj, seemingly masturbating, being walked in on Christian. From below the camera rises Tracy. Christian is furious that Raj has put McNamara/Troy in danger of a huge lawsuit from recovering Gene, but Gene rises from his bed to assure Christian that he wanted Tracy to go down on Raj, as they do this kind of thing all the time. I guess there really isn’t much to do on the ranch but ride and . . . uh . . . ride?

Matt helps Sean with his physical therapy in part of his grand effort to stop being a total douchebag. The physical therapist wants Sean to try to walk from the parallel bars to his chair, but Sean refuses. His therapist knows Sean has the physical capabilities to walk again, but is simply holding himself back. When Sean falls, Matt fires the therapist, finding his methods too cruel. This leads to another dual sex scene, this time with Sean’s student giving him a bath, carrying him to bed and then shaving his pubic hair, which is, frankly, just fucking weird. Christian, meanwhile, has called for a hooker, feeling that paying for sex is the only way he’s going to be able to release the negative energy Gene and Tracy accused him of harboring. The hooker, Kitty, is not what Christian expected and, after she asks him if he has AIDS, he doesn’t want to pay for her services, despite her amazing sales pitch:

“I’m here. I have a vagina – a pretty good one, at that – and for 300 bucks, I’ll let you put your dick in it.”

When Christian turns her down, she’s determined to get her money from his wallet, citing a no-refunds policy. When he tries to stop her, she beats him with a lamp and steals his medication. Broken and beaten, Christian calls the only person he has left: Liz. Much like Sean’s girlfriend, Liz takes care of Christian, only unlike the previous caregiving scene, he actively encourages her to baby him. He wants his back rubbed after he throws up and his pillows fluffed. In pain, Christian asks Liz to stay until he falls asleep. She does, but falls asleep herself, waking up when a sleeping Christian’s roaming hands find her body. The sleep-groping turns into sleep-fucking, which I was going to call sleep-raping, except that Liz seemed to want to be with Christian in that moment in which they were both vulnerable. I had mixed feelings about this scene. At first it was rather shocking, but then turned into something kind of sweet as Liz, for once, was pleasured by a man – a man she once found to be the epitome of heternormative masculinity. There was something very sweet in seeing how close these two characters have become. But then it got a little creepy again when, in the aftermath, the expression on Liz’s face was ambivalent and worried. And it got even creepier the next day when Raj outs Christian and Liz’s tryst during Christian’s breast implant consult and Christian tells Liz he was awake the whole time, a fact which angers Liz considerably, for obvious reasons. I still, by the way, am unsure how I feel about that revelation, especially because, by the light of day, Christian has returned to his steadfast machismo, bragging to Raj and Sean about how he made her climax repeatedly during the sleep-fuck-rape.

Sean returns, again, to his student’s bed, only to be turned into an adult baby (complete with a man-sized diaper), an act which rightly forces him to forget his fear of walking and actually do it – standing up in a diaper to kick the girl out. This is the exact moment, however, that Julia decided to drop by and cook Sean dinner but, astonished by what she had just seen and assuming Sean has been faking his injury so that people would pity him, she leaves before he notices she was even there. This apparently angers Matt so much when he hears it that he punches a wall, coming to Christian with his mother to get his hand cleaned up and to tell Christian about Sean’s big secret. In a nod to Sean being completely infantilized during sex play by his student, Matt calls Sean a “big baby,” constantly needing people to take care of him. Christian tells Matt and Julia that he’ll talk to Sean about it himself.

At McNamara/Troy, Raj discovers that Tracy is actually a transwoman when he sees her peeing next to him at a urinal. I love this frank and honest exchange between the two of them:

Raj: You have a penis.
Tracy: Yup. It goes with my balls. But it doesn’t make me any less of a woman.

Finding out that Tracy is biologically male Raj to question his sexuality. He seeks advice from Liz, the show’s resident lesbian-until-that-sleep-rape-fuck-incident, asking her what is pretty much the best question I’ve ever heard:

“Liz Cruz, why do you choose to rub vaginas with your own sex?”

Liz and Raj go on to have a very earnest conversation about definitions of sexuality, in which she ultimately advises that sexuality isn’t a thing that should really be labeled. Labels, she says, “are for cans of tuna, not people.” I also liked this scene a lot because Nip/Tuck has never shied away from discussing the spectrum of sexuality, and, aside from Lisa Edelstein’s role as transgendered Cindy McCauliff on the 2000-2001 season of Ally McBeal, it was one of the first shows on television to expressly deal with gender reassignment and transgender issues. The show has had several transgender characters, the first of which was Sofia Lopez, which whom Liz had a brief flirtation during her multi-episode arc in season one. Liz questioned her sexuality then, wondering what it meant to be attracted to a woman who was biologically male, and Sofia did, too, as she did not identify as a lesbian, but, rather, as a straight woman born in a male body. Here, Liz questions what it means to actually feel something for Christian, looking past the constructions of his gender and falling, in some way, for the person that he is. For as brutal as Nip/Tuck can sometimes be, it also really does a great job of looking at complicated issues while satirizing our image-obsessed society. As Liz discusses her confused feelings for Christian, Raj becomes my hero when he tells Liz that he thinks she is beautiful, no matter what she tries to be, lesbian or straight or something in between without a label. I really love Raj, so much, after this conversation. Earlier, I thought he was a presumptuous asshole, but now I want to hug him.

After hearing about Sean’s range of motion from Matt and Julia, Christian comes home to confront him. Sean is working out, standing on his own two feet, but returns to the chair when he hears a key in the door. Before Christian can begin to discuss any of what’s on his mind, Sean assumes he is upset because Sean isn’t performing Christian’s reconstructive surgery. He apologizes to his friend and roommate and promises him that he’s doing to best he can given his limitations. Christian tells his friend to stay in that chair as long as he needs to, suddenly realizing just how many people Sean has had to take care of throughout his life – especially Christian himself. In the chair, for once, people have to look out for Sean. But later that day, when the chemo and too much Scotch make Christian sick, it is Sean who stands by Christian’s side to rub his back and care for him. Emphasis on “stands. ”

I don’t think Christian will be nearly as upset as Julia and Matt about Sean’s recovery, as I think he is aware that his roommate is not the same kind of person he is and wouldn’t have been faking it the whole time. Sean may be kind of a bastard, but he isn’t selfish. I just hope he doesn’t give up teaching. I’ve really enjoyed seeing him have a space of power akin to Christian’s power space of the bedroom.