Season 3 Episode 7

Ben White

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 01, 2005 on FX
out of 10
User Rating
255 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Seeking fulfillment in his life, Sean becomes a surgeon for the Witness Protection Programme. A man suffering from Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) threatens Christian's life in order to force him to amputate his perfectly healthy leg. Julia, Gina, and Liz develop a new skincare product that uses semen as the main ingredient. They keep the main ingredient a secret though. Joan Rivers is the first to test the product and loves it so much she decides to endorse it.moreless

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  • Big Big disappointment.

    Honestly, I don't know what's going on lately with this show. For the last two seasons it has been great, one of the greatest, I might say. All right, first season was knocking, second one was a bit weaker, but still with lots of interesting moments. But so far, third doesn't make any sense. I've been enduring it, hoping it would be increasingly interesting, but it doesn't. And this episode was simply a waste of time.

    Always from my point of view, of course, probably the problem is mine, but here is the thing:

    1) I couldn't care less for Julia's & Co. SPA, is an argumental line that has no interest at all, for me.

    2) Christian and Sean following different paths? No matter what Kim says, I don't buy that. That wasn't what the show is about. Remember that siamese siblings episode.

    3) It's me or Sean is becoming more and more an insensitive bastard as time goes by?

    Please, go back to the old good schemes. We want McNamara/Troy back, and we want it soon. Otherwise, I have more interesting things to do.

    Love xxmoreless
  • Lose something to win something

    Otra vez pongo nueve porque banco a esta serie y le doy otra oportunidad. Sean se recontra harta de su clínica (parece que el actor está bastante cansado de su personaje) y se va al FBI para hacer de su trabajo algo un poco más humano. Julia sigue con su negocio que (qué raro) funciona de mil maravillas y Christian decide ayudar (operándolo) a un hombre que siente que una de sus piernas está de más. Cosa rara, yo siento que me sobra gran parte de lo que debería ser mi vida.

    Serán las series que se están tornando aburridas o seré yo?moreless
  • J*zz Show

    Christian and Kimber are one of those few TV couples I consider myself a huge shipper for, so I unsurprisingly loved their scenes together in this episode. The dialogue for Kimber was truly beautiful, especially her scene discussing Sean's departure and comparing him to an unneeded appendix (... long story). Christian's proposal was also great, and a marked improvement on his season premiere attempt.

    The Ben White story was very intriguing. I'd never heard of this "condition" before, but it sounded pretty legit. Like he said, if Christian would have no problem operating on a transsexual client, why not operate on him? There are obviously differences, but the basic idea (removing an individual's body part that wasn't supposed to be there) is undeniably similar.

    The "semen face cream" subplot was undoubtedly the worst story of the episode. Plain embarrassing and featuring some god-awful dialogue, even Joan Rivers couldn't save it. As if the whole idea wasn't stupid enough anyway, no investor would want to back a product without knowing all the ingredients first, let alone put it on the market. And if Betty Rubble of Chicago, Illinois found out she'd been rubbing strange men's semen into her face for the past x-amount of years, the lawsuit Julia and Co. would face would be insane...

    Some great character moments and an interesting surgery case end up spoiled by a terrible subplot and the sleep-inducing Anne Heche story. Still, it was at least better than Frankenlaura...

    Director: Jeremy Podeswa

    Writers: Lyn Greene, Richard Levine

    Rating: B-moreless
  • Julia: “All these years I really believed I couldn’t do something without you” Sean: “Maybe we both needed it to be that way”.

    De La Mer is having a hard job gathering clientele, so who better to help them out with business than Joan Rivers; who, I have to say, was just fantastically whimsical and comedic as her last guest star stint. (Joan: “Don’t think of me as a celebrity. Think of me as a familiar face that changes every couple of weeks.) I found our spa trio’s use of semen as an anti-aging product, while very outlandish, amusing, and Julia and Liz\'s shocked faces when they were first presented with the idea, as well when Joan tried out the cream, were priceless.

    I thought Sean taking on a job with the FBI was fitting. He’s finally getting to help people and he is finally feeling more self-worth. He and Julia both received a moral boost today, and I’m happy that their period apart is helping them grown more as individuals.

    The only problem with Sean’s new line of work is the “no emotional attachment” rule, which I predict Sean will have a hard time following. Sean’s shown in the past that he puts a large emotional investment in his cases, and Nicole (played nicely by Anne Heche) and her son Austin’s case appeared to be pulling at his heartstrings. Was I right in also sensing a romantic attraction between Sean and Nicole?

    Final Notes and Quotes

    - Christian’s proposal to Kimber was sweet, and I really am rooting for their relationship to work out.

    - Gina: “Look on the bright side, the tabloid will go nuts: ‘Spa Trio Gives **** to Joans’. We’ll be famous! Well, she’ll be famous; we’ll be stoned out on the streets.\"

    Liz: “That’s the bright side?”

    I really am enjoying Jessalyn Gilig’s addition as a series regular. She has developed quite a comedic flare.

    - Outstanding Performance of the Week: While I had a hard time relating to our patient of the week’s Body Integrity Disorder, I still thought John Billingsley did a great job with the role. It would have been very easy to overplay it.

    Final Rating: Better then last week’s but still…. 2 out of 4 stars.

    - Tim Bronx

    Find this and many other reviews at: www.motionpicturereviews.commoreless
  • Lost And Found

    From the ridiculous to the sublime. In my opinion, Ben White goes a long way to redeem the season after the utter train-wreck of an episode that was Frankenlaura. The theme of this episode is lost and found; many characters are losing things (or want to, in the patient-of-the-week's case) but are often finding themselves whole in the process, a point that is unfortunately hammered home repeatedly towards the end of the episode. The writers obviously didn't trust us enough to pick it up even though it's pretty apparent. This is a problem as there are portions of the script that really work and are really strong, but others aren't. This episode has also had its fair share of detractors again claiming that the storylines are too extreme and disgusting. But hey, compared to a corpse bride made by a man who wants to bang his sister, a guy wanting to lose a leg and semen facemasks barely make it on the radar.

    We have another great guest cast member as the patient of the week. John Billingsley brings a quiet and assured performance as Ben White, a man suffering from Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) who wants to have a healthy leg removed, as it doesn't feel right for him to have it. In an interesting change of positions, it is now Christian who refuses to do the procedure. Well, someone's got to step up and fill the position left by Sean and Liz. Without a voice of reason and some morals, the place would really slide. Quentin's all for doing the procedure, showing shades of Christian's earlier character. Christian is interestingly conflicted, going to see Ben at his house and finding out that Ben has a contingency plan involving a trunk of dry ice; Ben is determined to lose his leg 'one way or another'. Christian phones Sean and gets short shrift from him. Eventually, Christian decides that McNamara/Troy will not amputate Ben's leg. The scene between Christian and Ben, which ends with Ben shooting himself in the leg, is one of the many wonderful scenes throughout and I can't help but feel moved by Ben's plight (in part due to the script by Lyn Greene & Richard Levine, and John Billingsley's moving performance). But eventually, Ben loses his leg and becomes whole. After dealing with this, Christian goes home to Kimber and asks her to marry him. Christian feels like a part is missing since Sean left the practice, but realises Kimber is the one to complete him. And I have to admit it, I did have tears in my eyes during the proposal - both Julian McMahon and Kelly Carlson are excellent in that scene, and throughout the episode. The two of them together when Kimber likens Sean to an appendix also ranks as one of my favourites of the series.

    Speaking of Sean, he's off helping the Witness Protection Program. As you do when you're not sure where to go next. He is interviewed by Dr Sagamore (the excellent Bob Gunton, giving a similar no-nonsense performance as he did on Desperate Housewives) and is accepted to the scheme. His first consult is Nicole Morretti and her teenage son, Austin, who have entered the programme after her husband was gunned down. Whilst Nikki is fully aware of what's happening, they haven't told Austin about the plastic surgery. Sean lets the cat out of the bag and Austin flips out and runs away. Sean confronts Dr Sagamore who explains the situation as no-nonsense as possible; lives are at stake and sometimes it's better the kids don't know until afterwards. Austin agrees to the surgery as long as Sean does it. Already, the plans are being laid for a relationship to occur despite the fact it shouldn't. And on that subject... arguably, this is the strand of the episode that doesn't work so well. The whole Nikki subplot seems very misguided and sadly miscast- Anne Heche is just plain wrong for the part. Tanner Richie is a little better as Austin, but they both suffer from rather simplistic scripts that sound too earnest or sappy. The surgery is done and Sean delivers the motto of the episode, written in such a way that it could be a tagline for an inspirational made-for-TV drama: 'Sometimes you have to lose who you were to find out who you are'. It's a noble sentiment but please... the audience are not idiots. We do not need sledgehammering over the head with something so obvious, delivered with such saccharine that you need an insulin shot afterwards! The final scene, where Sean phones Julia, has much the same effect. Whilst the closure is great, a little less sentiment would have been nice.

    The third strand of the episode provides much of the light relief in the episode. Julia, Liz and Gina are struggling with De La Mer. They appear to only have one patient recovering at the spa, Gretchen Carr (a very game performance by Gigi Rice, I might add). Ms Carr looks good for her age, which she puts down to putting her sons' semen on her face at night. I cannot begin to tell you how wrong this is. It's incredibly sick and disgusting, yet hilariously funny at the same time. Hey, who says I have to be highbrow all the time? After a discussion about the medical properties of semen, the girls decide to concoct a signature product for the spa: a facemask that has semen as its active ingredient. As they package it up, Joan Rivers comes to stay at the spa. That is the Joan Rivers, eagerly playing herself for the second time in the series. Her scenes with the girls are great and a nice lift to contrast with the angst going on around. Joan tries the facemask and is so pleased with its effects that she is cancelling her surgery. She offers the girls a 50/50 deal but wants to know what is in the mask. Julia plays an absolute blinder in the negotiation, avoids mentioning sperm at all, and seals the deal. After Joan's glowing endorsement on an infomercial, De La Mer skyrockets. The scenes of Julia, Liz and Gina together work really well- Joely, Roma and Jessalyn really have a good chemistry together. Sadly, this is the last time we see it as inexplicably Jessalyn Gilsig all but disappears from the season after this episode (she appears twice more, but her performance in Quentin Costa is very much blink-and-you'll-miss-it).

    All in all, I find Ben White to certainly be the strongest episode of this block of five. A script that is mostly good, guest performances that are mostly good and some good work from the series regulars makes this a solid example of what Nip/Tuck can do. The only thing that really detracts from it for me is that we know the series is capable of so much better.moreless
Thomas Calabro

Thomas Calabro

Dr. Abrams

Guest Star

Bob Gunton

Bob Gunton

Dr. Sagamore

Guest Star

Mya Michaels

Mya Michaels


Guest Star

Linda Klein

Linda Klein

Nurse Linda

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • In the opening scene, the patient Ben White takes off his right trouser leg to show the doctors his right leg. In the next shot, he puts on his pair of trousers by just one move and sits down. Actually, he will have to refill his right leg to the trouser leg and put on his trousers afterwards. A simple move is just impossible.

    • The Witness Protection Program is not under jurisdiction of the F.B.I. It's a part of the U.S. Marshals. And it's actually the Witness Security Program.
      Members can only join under extreme circumstances in cases in which their life is in serious danger.
      Though physical alterations such as plastic surgery are done, they are very rare. Most witnesses simply change their name, either their last or both first and last. It depends on the case.

  • QUOTES (20)

    • Joan Rivers: Don't think of me as a celebrity. Think of me as a familiar face that changes every couple years.

    • (Christian has just asked Kimber to marry him)
      Christian: Today I took off a man's leg so he could feel whole.
      Kimber: What has that got to do with it?
      Christian: I guess you just have to do whatever it is that makes you feel complete, no matter how crazy it is. All I know is that without you, something's missing. Us. You and me. Til death do us part. I love you. Say yes, Kimber. (produces the ring) Marry me.
      Kimber: Yes.

    • Julia: All these years I really believed I couldn't do anything without you. I kept looking to you for my self-esteem, hoping you'd complete me.
      Sean: Maybe we both just set it up that way. Maybe I needed to be depended on. Needed.
      Julia: I guess we're both better off. I never in a million years would have guessed that in losing my marriage, I'd be finding me.

    • Christian: (seeing Ben White's awards) The American Architecture Award. Impressive.
      Ben White: I got it for an atrium house I designed in 2001. I utilised the power of negative space. The beauty of what's missing.

    • (after surgery on Nikki and Austin)
      Sean: It's like we've given them a new life. A chance to start over.
      Dr Sagamore: Too bad they had to lose everything to get it. Their pasts, their identities.
      Sean: Maybe sometimes you have to lose who you were to find out who you are.

    • Ben White: (pointing a gun at Christian) I am so sick of you doctors who think you know all the goddamn answers. Have you ever been desperate, Dr. Troy? Hm?
      Christian: Yes, I have.
      Ben White: You condescending asshole. You and your perfect body. Couldn't possibly understand what it is like to feel incomplete, that God made a mistake, that help is possible but NO-ONE WILL GIVE IT TO YOU! (shoots himself in the leg)

    • Joan Rivers: Ladies. Time is money. And at my age, inflation is a bitch.

    • Gina: (thinking Joan Rivers is going to sue about the semen face-mask) Look on the bright side. The tabloids will go nuts. 'Spa Trio Gives Jizz To Joan'. We'll be famous. Well, she'll be famous, we'll be stoned in the streets.

    • Christian: (about Sean) He was my mirror, you know? I'd look at him and see who I was.
      Kimber: Baby, you can't depend on mirrors. They can make you look fat or old or too thin. And Sean's made you look small. Way smaller than you are.
      Christian: I feel like a part of me has gone.
      Kimber: Maybe it's a part you don't need any more. Like an appendix. You only know it's there when it hurts and once it's gone, you realise you never really needed it to begin with. You just got used to the pain. I'm glad Sean's gone. If you need a mirror to tell you who you are, you look at me. I know who you are. How big and strong and good you are. (kisses him) Let him go, baby. Just let him go.

    • Christian: There's this new client who's offering a shitload of money for us to do this unorthodox procedure
      Sean: Just what you always wanted, right. No ethical restraints and a shitload of money.
      Christian: You left out sexual depravity and devil worship.

    • Julia: I'm a huge fan.
      Joan Rivers: Thank you. But don't think of me as a celebrity. Think of me as a familiar face that changes every couple of weeks.

    • Christian: I took an oath as a physician. 'First do no harm.'
      Ben White: The Hypocritical Oath. The medical profession's unwillingness to help me and others like me stop the pain is what's really harmful.

    • Julia: Semen's an anti-depressant. It has mood-altering hormones in it. I read about it.
      Liz: Didn't do a thing for me.

    • Gina: What do you do about supply now that your husband's not around?
      Gretchen Carr: Oh, that's not a problem. I get all I need from my sons.
      Julia: Your sons? You put your sons' semen on your face?
      Gretchen Carr: It's not like I stand over them and watch! I give 'em these little amber bottles. They fill 'em up and put 'em on my night-table. (off the girls' looks) Well, it's the least they can do. It's not like I'm asking them to unload the dishwasher.

    • (on why Gretchen Carr looks so young)
      Liz: It's all a matter of diet. Vegetables, eight glasses of water a day..
      Gretchen Carr: I put semen on my face every night before I go to bed.
      Gina: And I was worried about saying shit.

    • (during Sean's interview to help the Witness Protection Progam)
      Dr Sagamore: Six figures isn't doing it for you anymore?
      Sean: I want to be of service. I left my practice, my wife, my son and daughter. I always thought I'd die without them but I didn't. I'm alive. Alive with nothing to live for.
      Dr Sagamore: Could you speak up? It's hard to hear through all those violins.

    • Joan Rivers: (still fascinated by the mystery ingredient of the semen-based face cream) Whatever it is, my girlfriend Heidi Abramowitz used to wear this all the time.

    • Joan Rivers: (sniffing the semen-based face cream) Smells like... like a Saturday night at the drive-in.

    • Gina: (amazed by the medical propertes of semen) That's unbelievable! My entire life I thought there was a psychological reason why I'm a sex addict - turns out I was just jonesin' for jizz.

    • Gina: No-one here could accuse me of being a prude, right?
      Liz: No-one anywhere.

  • NOTES (6)

    • International Air Dates:
      Czech Republic: September 17, 2008 on TV Nova

    • Liz Kay and Ellen Brill were nominated for the 2006 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series" for this episode.

    • Music featured in the episode:
      Instrumental (Julia on the phone at De La Mer tries to get the business started)
      Instrumental (Julia, Liz and Gina discuss about facial sperm treatment potential)
      Instrumental (Christian visits Ben and discusses with him about his leg - removal surgery)
      Instrumental (Christian and Sean talk about Sean)
      Instrumental (Sean and Dr. Sagamore perform surgery on Nicole and Austin)
      "Lover's spit" by Broken Social Scene feat. Feist (Christian asks Kimber to marry him)

    • Bob Gunton receives the 'and' credit

    • Both Joan Rivers and Anne Heche are credited as Special Guest Stars. Anne Heche is credited as a Special Guest Star for her three episode arc.

    • Although listed in the opening credits, John Hensley does not appear in this episode.