Review: Nip/Tuck - Willow Banks
by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 14th 2010 1:10AM
(S07E02) "For once in my life, I just want to be able to walk down the street and be ignored." - Willow Banks
Imperfection. Though it's something that Nip/Tuck has tried to buck since its inception, and despite the claims of Drs. McNamara and Troy being able to make you perfect, the notion of imperfection has, in a way, always been the core issue of this show. But just like the surgeries performed week in and out, there are layers upon layers that make up the idea of perfection vs. imperfection and, more importantly, how different people perceive that battle.
This week's episode of Nip/Tuck tackled that issue in what was arguably one of the most nuanced and, yes, layered, episodes in the series yet. Considering that we're in the midst of Nip/Tuck's swan song, "Willow Banks" might very well turn out to be one of the show's most important installments when we finally have the opportunity to look back on the series as a whole.
While I complained last week that it was annoying more often than not when the patient's struggles so closely mirrored the struggles of the main characters, I gave it a pass because Dan Daly's story (and how it related to Sean and Christian) was done so well. Again, this week, that complaint needs to take a backseat as it seems that those parallels are going to be necessary to the narrative in these final episodes. Rupert Kenny (Huff's Andy Comeau) and Willow Banks' (Chuck's Mini Anden) individual stories brought about one of the best character studies we've seen yet in Sean and Christian.
When it comes to Sean, the fact that he's taken a backseat to Christian's controlling ways is no secret. Just like Rupert waking from his 20-year coma, Sean has in many ways slept through his own life. It only makes sense that in an effort to reclaim it, he'd start acting out like the one person he's watched succeed all these years -- Christian.
It was telling that Sean proclaimed to his partner that he was done being his conscience. Not just because he's fed up with Christian's lax behaviors, but more so because Sean no longer has the higher ground to stand on. He's sleeping with his best friend's wife. But as he said, he doesn't feel guilty, because hey -- Christian did it to him with Julia all those years ago. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" feels too simplistic, but it fits.
While Sean has embarked on this transformation to the dark side so to speak, Christian has in turn devolved into this lazy version of himself. In some ways, the two have almost switched roles. That isn't to say that Sean ever let himself go, but Christian has embraced Sean's tendencies to make poor choices, especially when it comes to crazy women. Willow Banks was right in telling Christian that they had a lot in common when it came to the self-loathing, self-destructive behavior, and being successful because of their looks. I'm not positive, but I don't think anyone has ever been so blunt with Christian on that topic.
Last week we saw a young Christian seek out Sean in college because, whether he'd admit it or not, his good looks would only get him so far. Sean was his meal ticket because of his skills. Sean still has those golden hands but now he's inherited Christian's bad boy attitude, as well.
It doesn't leave much room for Christian, and that final shot as Dr. Troy pumped up the miles-per-hour on the treadmill almost seemed to be a quiet proclamation: I can be just as good as you. There's more to me than just looks. All roads still point to a final showdown between Sean and Christian as the series culminates, and after the events in "Willow Banks," it's even more likely. Prepare yourselves -- this is not going to end well.
[Watch clips and full episodes of Nip/Tuck over at SlashControl.]