Season 2 Episode 8

Agatha Ripp

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Aug 10, 2004 on FX
out of 10
User Rating
222 votes

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Episode Summary

A patient named Agatha Ripp comes in to McNamara/Troy. She reveals to Sean & Christian that she had a stigmata, but she says that it was a lie she said to the church so they would accept her, and that she really cut herself. People of the town turn to Agatha for blessing and renewed faith, despite claiming to be a fraud. When a "stigmata" appears on her legs, the doctors do a blood test to learn that it is not her blood.

Meanwhile, Julia is experiencing shingles, which Sean attributes to guilt or pressure, and associates it with the Matt-Ava relationship. She breaks the news to Sean that the reason she is under so much stress - he is not Matt's biological father. Sean goes insane and aggressively hurts Julia. He rampages into the office where he beats Christian to the ground. He turns to the church, where he meets Agatha. She reveals everything was fake, and that a sister from the church snuck in and punctured her, and left her own blood so the church would not cut her program.

Meanwhile, Liz reveals she is pregnant, but shuts Christian out, who wants to care for the baby. She experiences bruising and spotting, causing her to worry about 'the unknown'. Despite being impacted by Agatha, Liz has an abortion without telling Christian, who is upset that she got rid of the baby because she felt it would be handicapped.moreless

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  • good episode but.

    really good episode, I am glad that the "stimata" where exposed as a fraud (because thats what miracles usually are, fraud or lack of education). I wish the abscene of religious believe of the Doctors had been portrait in a more positive way (instead of the constant "uhh, absence of believe is a bad thing"). It's ok not to believe, your life is just as fulfilled.
  • Faith

    El segundo de la trilogía imperdible. Capítulo de los clásicos. Describe el papel de la iglesia (con minúscula) en este mundo. De como ésta se aprovecha de las mentes débiles infundiéndoles falsos ídolos y miedo eterno. De como destruye personas (los stigmata) para sólo sacar provecho y seguir subsistiendo en base, repito, a mentiras. De la mentira que es el confesarse frente a un humano y de lo absurdo que es juzgar de igual a igual un humano a otro.

    Sean se entera de su fatal e infernal destino y desata sus fieras. Nada será igual. El fin de la iglesia, el fin de la familia.moreless
  • Faith Off

    Some of the best Nip/Tuck episodes feature a McNamara/Troy patient whose crisis parallels everybody else's personal crises. This episode is one of the more obvious examples of this, with a central storyline that is mirrored in the actions every member of the main cast commits.

    The Agatha Ripp storyline kept you guessing right until the end. It's unfortunate to say it, but these types of cover-ups and deception happen every day in various religions, with people like Sister Rita-Claire using disturbed and abandoned people like Agatha to reap their own rewards. Sarah Paulson was a great guest star, and genuinely convinced the audience of her character's stigmata, even if it turned out in the end that it was lies all along.

    Faith and believe also bled into everybody else's subplots. I loved how Liz's doctor summed up motherhood and pregnancy as "trusting in the unknowable", which struck parallels with religion as a whole. It takes a strong (or a weak, some may say) person to trust in something that hasn't actually been proved, and I thought Ryan Murphy put that message across in a great way.

    A lot of weight was put on the Bible passage about "false prophets" and how people you trust could be revealed to be nothing but "ferocious wolves", which ended up affecting Sean in a greater way than he originally thought possible. Julia was plagued by something visually similar to stigmata, when her own guilt over Matt's paternity caused wounds and bruising to appear across her stomach. Eventually confessing to Sean that Christian is Matt's father, Sean discovered the passage came true in some ways, with his best friend becoming that "ferocious wolf" of the verse.

    An excellently written episode and one that manages to not patronize the audience, which is something that could easily have occurred in the hands of a lesser writer.

    Director: Michael M Robin

    Writer: Ryan Murphy

    Rating: Amoreless
  • Sister Rita Claire: "The pain of the flesh doesn't compare to the pain of the soul Dr. Troy."

    We got an outstanding, thought provoking patient storyline today that related very well to a crisis of faith and lies going on in our characters lives.

    As Sean was discussing how he puts all his faith into his practice and family I could feel myself cringing, as I knew finding out the truth about Matt would obliterate his faith in both items. I never predicted such a heart pounding scene though when Julia finally confessed to Sean. While Sean tried to deny it at first, he didn't even have to ask for proof because deep down inside he knew who Matt acted like. He knew who he looked like. The scene was extremely emotional, and Sean choking Julia was more shocking then any twisted surgery or storyline this show has produced. Excellent job.

    Liz finally got to experience the joy of parenthood, only to find out her child had Down syndrome. Liz also had a crisis of faith in this episode, as she begged in tears for Agatha Ripp to help heal her baby as she needed to believe in something. Roma Maffia did a fantastic job today, and only proved that she is constantly being underused on this show.

    The Agatha Ripp storyline was certainly a unique piece of work from Ryan Murphy (this episode was written by him). First Agatha comes in to the practice saying her case of stigmata was faked, only for the next day to tell the doctors that it's real and from Christ. I was surprised when it turned out to be Sister Rita Claire who was generating the stigmata, as she was very helpful to the doctors and the only member of the church cynical of Agatha's condition (although that could have been a give away). Sean, after everything he believed in crumbles, even turned his faith to religion. Only to be told by Agatha that her stigmata was never real, and faked to gather attendance in the church so it could stay open. Sean is going through a troublesome, crucial moment in his life right now, and I just hope he doesn’t spiral out of control.

    Final Notes and Quotes

    - Practically the whole cast deserves awards for today's episode, but especially Roma Maffia, Dylan Walsh, Joely Richardson, and Julian McMahon.

    - Christian didn't even have to ask what it was about when Sean punched him. He knew what would turn his friend against him like that. I question how their friendship is going to recover from this.

    - Liz: "I'm getting my kid baptised."

    Christian: "Over my dead body."

    Liz: "Easily arranged."

    - Our final quote today comes from Agatha Ripp:

    (to Sean) "Don't you get it? There is nothing to believe in anymore."

    Final Rating: Despite the absence of Matt and Ava, this was a series classic. 4 out of 4 stars.

    - Tim Bronx

    Find this and many other reviews at:

  • Testament Written by Ryan Murphy Directed by Michael M. Robin


    Christian: “But they’re creating pain”

    Sister Rita Claire: “The pain of the flesh doesn’t compare to the pain of the soul, Dr Troy”.

    Well if you ask me, they often both go hand in hand. One is no less painful than the other, even if the latter can cause the most devastating of damage and damage is what we overall got in this hour.

    Our main patient of the week is a former drug addled, prostitute named Agatha Ripp who seeks the surgeon’s help in removing her stigmata, given the attention it has generated from religious parishioners. The surgeon’s, mainly Sean are cynical of and resolve to prove that Agatha is inflicting these wounds on herself (the first scene we meet her she says she’s responsible, then twenty minutes into the episode she claims it’s Christ) and Sean’s quest to find her weapon is rather strange. I’m not down on his lack of religious beliefs because they are fairly similar to my own but I did find it slightly out of character for him to constantly dismiss the possibility.

    Like a lot of non-religious people, Sean tends to put his faith in the tangible, namely his family and practise and sadly for him, Father McNally’s prophetic words came all too true when a guilt stricken Julia finally confessed to Matt’s real parentage. Shockingly played out by Dylan Walsh and Joely Richarson. Sean’s world falls apart within seconds and the scene where he almost chokes Julia as a violent response is shocking to say the least. In TV land, it’s always the quiet ones who lose it that really provide the chills and this is no exception and we didn’t have to wait long for Sean to pummel the hell out of Christian either. As viewers, we all knew it was coming and I for one am glad we didn’t have to wait long but that still doesn’t take away the shock factor from proceedings.

    This episode was so loaded with goodies but this ultimately was my favourite, although I hated seeing Sean’s faith in the two people he loves and trusts in the whole world obliterated like that and just when you thought it could get much worse for Sean, Agatha effectively tells him not to bother finding God because herself and Sister Rita Claire orchestrated the entire stigmata in order to stop the church from closing down. Although I probably should’ve seen this one coming, I honestly didn’t. Could this hour be any nastier?

    Yes, actually it can and it did. Remember the whole Liz and Christian baby plot from two episodes ago? Well if you were dreading this was initially go the same way as the Gina arc earlier on, then you’d be wrong. Liz was allowed to be happy for being pregnant for five minutes before a series of bad events happened. Her spotting which Christian told her was normal led to a sonogram that stated her baby could have downs . Then a healing of sorts from Agatha, which stopped her bleeding then lead to an abortion in a particularly upsetting sequence. To me, abortion is always a grey area topic. It’s neither something I condemn or really condone mainly because I believe it’s never an option that is entered into lightly.

    I’m not really sure if I agree with Liz having an abortion though, especially given her reasons did stem from vanity and social acceptance. But this episode did confirm what I already knew and that is that Roma Maffia is an exceptional actress and it’s been high time that she got a chance to prove that. Julian McMahon also deserves applause for Christian’s heartbreak at losing yet another child as well as his best friend within a space of an hour. He knew what exactly was going through Sean’s head when his face was being used as a punching bag. How the hell will he be able to talk himself out of this one?

    Also in “Agatha Ripp”

    Connected POTW: A six-month baby had his tail removed.

    Christian: “Miss Ripp, this is a cosmetics office, not a confession booth”

    Agatha: “Don’t be rude to me”.

    Liz: “I’m getting my kid baptised”

    Christian: “Over my dead body”

    Liz: “Easily arranged”.

    Character bits: Agatha’s been arrested seven times, has had five abortions, three near overdoses and her daughter taken away from her. That was actually a lot to take in.

    Christian: “You’re gonna be okay. You just need to relax. One day we’ll look back at this and laugh”

    Liz: “Yeah. You examining my panty-liner. That’s hilarious”.

    No Matt or Ava in this episode. I assume the two of them are still seeing one another.

    I’m thinking after how Sister Rita Claire snuck into their offices and tampered with Agatha’s blood, Sean and Christian should really look into getting better security. Assuming they’re still on speaking terms that is.

    Liz: “I don’t do the unknowable well, Cynthia”

    Cynthia: “But that’s what being a mother is all about. You spend your life resting in the unknowable”.

    No chronology from last week except from a brief mention of Naomi Gaines.

    Sean (to Julia): “You’re weak, you’ve always been weak and I gave you my whole life to make you strong and I want you out. Get out!”

    Sean: “Please I need to believe in something”

    Agatha: “No, don’t you get it? There’s nothing to believe in anymore”.

    Standout music: Choral music by James S. Levine

    Holy crap. If you all thought Season two had started a little slow, then “Agatha Ripp” has well and truly cranked proceedings to alarming new heights. This was certainly an unforgettable hour and is possibly one of Ryan Murphy’s finest scripts to date.

Yeniffer Behrens

Yeniffer Behrens

Mrs. Tejera

Guest Star

Fionnula Flanagan

Fionnula Flanagan


Guest Star

Cynthia Martells

Cynthia Martells

Dr. Cynthia Adams

Guest Star

Linda Klein

Linda Klein

Nurse Linda

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions