For season 5 of Nip/Tuck we find our two surgeons pulling up their stakes in Miami and heading to Los Angeles for what they seem to think will be an even better run than they’ve had so far. But they quickly learn that Los Angeles runs by a different game, and fame is the key out here. Things are so bad for the duo that they must resort to trolling for business at a bar. Lucky for them their night club tryst puts them in contact with a powerful publicist (Lauren Hutton) who gets them a job on a terrible, soap opera-ish TV series called “Hearts ‘n Scalpels.”
This show-within-the-show routine gives up some of the funniest moments of the season. Oliver Platt stars as Freddy Prune, the producer of the show, and they do a great job at poking fun at the entire medical drama tv series, and they do it well. In addition, the new Los Angeles dynamic gives them the ability to take the whole “people trying to transform” themselves thing to a whole new level, where fame itself (in addition to beauty) is often used as a metaphor for that struggle.
The best part of part 1 of Season 5 is the role reversal between Christian and Sean. With Sean building his own fame and noteriety more and more as his role on Hearts ‘n Scalpels gets bigger, and Christian struggles to fine his place in the new city, sinking to posing nude in a magazine that ends up being predominantly viewed by gay men. The lesser-seen shenanigans aren’t exactly surprising, considering how well we know these characters by now, but they are a bit refreshing after seeing it go the other way for most of the last 4 seasons.
It isn’t long before Julia and Matt show up in LA as well. Julia, with her new lesbian lover, Olivia Lord, played expertly by Portia de Rossi. Olivia also has a daughter, Eden, who enters the lives of Christian and Sean. Just imagine Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character in Cruel Intentions, only hotter and naughtier (yes you heard me right). Matt also turns up in L.A. with his wife Kimber, and their child Jenna. Only they’re both so strung out on crystal meth that Kimber ends up going back to her ex-porn manager for money. It isn’t long before she leaves Matt for the porn mogel (played by John Schneider) and takes baby Jenna with her. Seems she can get more of the life she wants away from him.
Also in the mix during the first half of the season was an affair between Christian and Julia, ongoing, through several episodes. Although it has taken a backseat to recent developments with Julia, the linger affair is still on the forfront of the storyline. The increasing fame bestowed upon Sean also landed him quite the strange and obsessive agent as well, named Colleen who kills another agent who tries to steal Sean out from under her.
Just before the season finale an ongoing struggle between Eden and Julia takes center state when Eden shoots Julia in the head. It was no surprise, however, to find Julia alive, but in a coma in the final episode of the first half of the season. When someone is shot off-camera in television, they are almost never dead. Eden claimed that Julia shot herself out of severe depression and everyone bought it hook, line, and sinker, except of course for Sean. By the end of the episode Julia had managed to awaken from her coma, however, naturally, she has amnesia. Did anyone else NOT see this coming? I will say it was one of the few totally obvious moments of the season.
In the final moments of the first half of the season Sean’s daughter Annie is injured badly in a car accident caused by all of the papperazzi that are swarming Christian’s car to get a picture of her. Sean goes into the operating room to do the emergency surgery on her face, and asked to be alone in the surgery room. This is just a bad idea all around, and I knew instantly there wasn’t something terrible coming. Sure enough, crazy-assed Colleen showed up and stabbed Sean repeated in the back. The final scene we see is him lying on the floor, blood coming out of the site of his mouth, and his daughter still laying, unconscious on the table. Be a father of three girls myself, the fact that his daughter is laying there, in the middle of a surgery is what impacted me the most.
Although Sean’s fate (and Annie’s as well) is completely unknown, you can bet that they will both survive the incident just fine. Although main character’s like Sean have been suddenly killed off in shows before, its rare, and I can’t imagine them doing that on this show. The entire show is dependent upon the dynamic of Christan and Sean.
The second half of season 5 returns to F/X on Tuesday, January 6 at 10 PM eastern.