Season 2 Episode 8

Agatha Ripp

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Aug 10, 2004 on FX

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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  • 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.

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