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'Nip/Tuck' ends softly, surprisingly and lovingly

“I wanted this to last forever. You know that.”

Have there been more gut-wrenching lines expressed between heterosexual men on TV before?

When Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) told Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) in Wednesday night's series finale that he was dissolving their partnership so that Sean could move on and practice the kind of medicine he’d always dreamed of, “Nip/Tuck” slapped me in the face. Not in its usual shocking way, with a gruesome surgery or another orgy, but with a tenderness and sentiment that I had really missed.

FX’s sexy plastic surgery drama rocked my world from the start. I couldn’t get enough of the gorgeous cast, hyper-real situations, intrigue, off-beat surgeries, outstanding soundtrack, and the fresh prism through which it examined our culture. Loyal to the end, I stuck with it, even when in later seasons the insanity outweighed the sanity, and Sean and Christian, as doctors and as men, no longer moved me.

But as the end neared, “Nip/Tuck” returned to its center -- the doomed love story between Sean and Christian, two best friends and business partners who fought constantly, betrayed each other countless times (sleeping with each other’s wives was just the half of it) and broke up several times. Remember when they fixed their broken hearts/bruised egos with a three-way -- and it turned out to be one of the most beautiful episodes of the series? Juxtaposed with a scene in the operating room in which Sean and Christian surgically separated conjoined twins, the provocative turn served to bring home the point that they really did need each other.

This season, in one of the series’ most well-written and best-performed episodes, the two doctors wound up on a therapist’s couch, trying to figure out if their relationship could be saved. Although they both pretended that it could, Christian proved the stronger, finally accepting that the person he loved most in the world would die spiritually if he didn’t let him go.

Their goodbye at the airport was a heart-breaker, with Art Garfunkel’s “AII I Know” playing in the background. The first time creator Ryan Murphy introduced that melancholic song -- “I bruise you / You bruise me / We both bruise too easily / Too easily to let it show / I love you, and that’s all I know” -- was at the end of the second season when the menacing Carver stabbed Christian.

Used again, during their real goodbye, the song's lyrics became sadder and more potent, McNamara/Troy closed once and for all, and the message loud and clear: Most people never change. They simply can’t.

“The point that Ryan was making all along was as poignant as ever,” FX President and General Manager John Landgraf told me in an interview. “If you want to change, it starts from the inside out, not outside in. Very few people do it and this obsession that we have in our culture with being beautiful, young, thin and famous has nothing to do with what people need to be happy in their lives.”

Murphy says he’d always intended for the series “to begin with a bang and go out with a whisper” and the last few episodes definitely paved the wave for that. The fan sites have been buzzing with predictions of murder and mayhem and the operatic flourishes the series was known for, but Murphy, who wrote the finale, took the opposite approach. And the result was very touching.

As Christian walked away from Sean, and both men held in their emotions, I couldn’t help but recall the excruciating fight scene between them in the second season when Sean learned that Christian had slept with Julia (Joely Richardson) in college. “I loved you the most!” Sean said then in pure agony.

But with his final act of kindness, when he let Sean leave so that he could finally be true to himself, Christian proved that though he won’t change (there he was in the last scene at the bar with the pretty blond again) -- it was he who had loved the most.

Love won on “Nip/Tuck.” Who would have thought?

-- Maria Elena Fernandez (follow me on Twitter @writerchica)

Photo: "Nip/Tuck" cast in a dinner scene from the series finale. Credit: FX


'Nip/Tuck,' which changed cable, goes out on an understated note

Comments () | Archives (5)

The only thing that could have made this better was for the girl at the end to have been Kimber. After all we know that in the end of Nip/Tuck world the two of them belonged together, even though Christin was a jerk.

First of all, I apologize for my bad english...
I just wanted to say that I totally agree with the person who wrote this article... Her thoughts expressed 100% how I feel about this (a bit sad) final episode. I've read many other reviews/articles, but this is the ONLY one I agree with 100%, expecially because it seems to me that its author doesn't want to "judge", nor "criticize": she's been very "sensitive" and she wrote things which are a pleasure to read. I'm not a fan of nip/tuck, but I've watched it for a month, and just in that brief period I couldn't help but become "attached" to that shoe and loving it. After such a bittersweet-sad ending (and "fast" ending, to me, because I've known N/T since only 1 month ago), reviews & articles like this one are real happiness to read. Thanks

Bravo on a wonderful series finale! It was touching and bittersweet on so many different levels. It would have been nice, though if Sean had to take off his shoes, jacket, etc. like the rest of us at LAX security when he went to board his flight! As for the last scene with Christian at the bar, I thought for a moment that the blonde woman was the ghost of Kimber, stopping by for one last drink together to tell him he'd done well to let his partner go off in search of a better life. But with Matt surrendering any sense of personal dignity in his airport scene, it reminded all of us that this fictional family, though tied together by blood and by lust, is just as screwed up as the rest of us in real life. Again, Bravo for a wonderfully crafted farewell.

I am stunned! I cried when the two walked away from each other, hiding their emotions and that song, my gosh! Truly heartbreaking. Ever since the finale of Season 2 where the song was first used, it became my favorite episode and ending and scene. Now the finale of the series surpasses it in every way. An amazing way to end Nip/Tuck.

I do have to agree though, that if Kimber at least showed up in the end, it would've been nice and still have that final scene at the bar, but nevertheless it was all beautiful.

The end of Nip/Tuck marks the end of an era!

it blowed!!! what are you peaople talking about? im sure that the original writter of this tv show died bc the ending was so completely dumb i almost smashed my tv... i really hope they never try for a season 7 because i will protest it as BAD tv


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