Season 4 Episode 7

Burt Landau

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Oct 17, 2006 on FX
out of 10
User Rating
199 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Dawn Budge needs an ear transplant. Burt Landau suffered a stroke and asks Christian and Sean to fix his face.

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  • Give And Take *SPOILERS*

    It’s one of the first lessons we learn as children: the world is based on a system of give and take. You can’t just take all the time; you have to give something back every now and again. And it is this notion that informs ‘Burt Landau’, an episode all about giving and taking, which- thankfully- hits more than it misses. But some quite uneven characterisations slightly undermine the episode, most notably Sean.

    The episode begins with a pro-bono case, but as the boys operate, Liz collapses. She is examined and is told she needs a kidney transplant but she is ridiculously far down the donor list. Showing some altruism, Christian suggests that both he and Sean will get tested to see if they are a match and can give Liz one of theirs. Christian sadly is not, but Sean is. And that freaks him out. He initially lies to Liz and Christian about it but, when Matt is tested and is found to be a match, confesses all. But as Liz points out at the end, he is only a five out of six match for her- she finds a six out of six in a very unlikely form, and has the transplant anyway. Of this storyline, it is good that the writers have finally decided to have Matt behave like a decent human being for once. Roma Maffia plays all her scenes wonderfully- my heart really went out to her when she tearfully explained that she was banned from her father’s funeral- and has a brilliant and warm rapport in her scenes with Rosie O’Donnell, who returns as Dawn Budge.

    Sadly it is Sean’s characterisation that is all over the place here. He bordered on the whining and utterly selfish, which irritated me. I know it’s quite easy to say ‘yes, take my kidney and reduce my own life expectancy to help a friend’ and another thing to do it. But writer Brad Falchuk didn’t do Sean any favours by having him blatantly lie about being a match and then trying to justify it by saying he can’t be out of action, as Conor’s surgeries are coming up. Firstly, he doesn’t have to operate on Conor. (In fact, ethics aside, is it legal for a surgeon father to operate on his own children?) Secondly, knowing the stress of this situation, surely Liz would understand him wanting to not go through it. Yet when Matt offers his own, he tries to stop him. It just doesn’t ring true with the character that has been established and I’m just wondering if there’s a good reason behind it that will come apparent as the season progresses. As it is, it still sticks out as not usual Sean McNamara behaviour.

    Meanwhile, Christian has his hands full with the situation with Burt and Michelle. Fed up with acting as Burt’s surrogate, he snaps and says it’s over and Burt threatens to tear McNamara/Troy to pieces if he won’t continue. Michelle tries to calm Christian down, saying she will handle the situation. Later, Burt calls both Sean and Christian into a meeting, where Christian believes they’re due to get fired, but it is revealed that Burt has had a stroke and is paralyzed down one side of his face. He wants them to fix his face. When lab results discover that Burt had taken Viagra, Christian confronts Michelle, suggesting she deliberately gave it to her husband in order to kill him. Michelle is affronted by this and Burt admits that he took it himself and it was worth it. This seems to be the final nail in the coffin for Michelle and Christian. Drunk and despondent, Christian goes to see Kimber under the pretence of wanting to be ‘audited’ (a Scientology process) and charms his way into her pants. Silly, silly girl. The next morning, he’s quite clear: he doesn’t care about Kimber’s pseudo-religion and only said what she wanted to hear so she would sleep with him. Kimber is distraught and Christian just brushes it off, until Kimber slaps him hard across the face. And, boy, does he deserve it! Christian has always been an arrogant and self-serving but, here, he is particularly loathsome and undoes all his good work by being nice to Liz. But then why was Kimber so naïve as to think he had changed? So Kimber takes her revenge by sleeping with Matt (who had previously tried it on with her and she’d rebuffed him). And that is wrong on so many levels- she was nearly his stepmother!

    During Burt’s surgery, Burt goes in to cardiac arrest and there is a subtle moment, nicely played, which suggests that Christian might just let him die. But he doesn’t. He saves him. Toward the end, Christian tries to get Michelle to put Burt into a convalescent home but she says she will look after him. With any luck, this will be the end to Michelle and Christian- it’s getting much too samey now, despite a great performance by Sanaa Lathan as the conflicted Michelle. Larry Hagman gets precious little to do, but does it well. Kelly Carlson plays a blinder as Kimber; her reaction to Christian the morning after was impressively well done.

    The final story strand brings back Dawn Budge, who won a completely obscene amount of money on the lottery. She’s been ear-jacked; her ear has been sliced off with a cutthroat razor to obtain her beautiful and expensive earring. Sean and Christian debate certain options with her but the one that appeals to her most is to have a new ear grown for her. At the genetics lab, we get to meet a little bald mouse called Vincent- who has Dawn’s new ear growing out of his back (a take on a real-life case a year or two ago). He’s kind of cute in a weirdly hideous way. Dawn seems a little affected when she realises that Vincent will not survive the surgery but goes ahead anyway- and there is a wonderful and totally appropriate use of music during her surgery, Don McLean’s beautiful and poignant song ‘Vincent’. As she recovers, she meets Liz and the two women bond. Dawn comes to realise that the money hasn’t made her happy and she’s a little lonely. How she ends up getting tested is beyond me, but it turns out Dawn is a match for Liz and gives Liz a kidney. Rosie O’Donnell makes a very welcome return to the show, Dawn’s crass blend of airs and graces yet still being utterly redneck is nicely done but here the character is developed, more rounded (excuse the pun), and we get to see the sadness behind her situation.

    All in all, an interesting episode, not one of the better ones of the season to date but still had some intriguing ideas.moreless
  • The Kidneys Aren't All Right

    A pretty good episode which utilizes the majority of the cast extremely well. The only downside is that the Landau's are still dragging this season down.

    Sean's lying about the kidney test results was a little unnecessary. He shouldn't feel like he had to have given Liz one of his kidneys, especially when he has three kids. But, likewise, I didn't get why he was so against Matt donating one of his own for Liz. He's crazy dysfunctional this episode.

    I liked the blurring of storylines throughout the episode, even if the Landau arc still doesn't interest me. Matt's stupid decisions are once again revealed to be a result of his libido, while at the same time Christian accuses Michelle of attempting to kill Burt. As a result, Michelle gets mad, Christian manipulates Kimber into bed before dumping her, and Kimber hooks up with Matt in revenge. It's a big web of craziness, this show.

    Kelly Carlson was particularly great in this episode; her breakdown as Christian revealed his true colors was heartbreaking. Kimber should know better, but she's eternally naive, especially when it comes to the man she's obsessed with.

    Dawn Budge returned, with yet another hilarious but ridiculously well-performed storyline. I loved the snap-shot direction of her opening ear-tearing attack, while the scene between Dawn, Sean, the ear doctor and "Vincent" was hysterical, especially with that music playing over it. Dawn is a great character, whatever you think of Rosie herself, and she has a crapload of memorable lines here. Also loved her blossoming friendship with Liz.

    Universally well-acted and featuring some neat little subplots, this was typical Nip/Tuck greatness. Sure, some of it blew, but in general it was pretty fun.

    Director: Charles Haid

    Writer: Brad Falchuk

    Rating: Bmoreless
  • Kimber true colors show, once again!!!

    Okay, I knew in the beginning of the season that Kimber had not changed. This episode proved that. She is still in love with Christian, even after all they have been through, and even after all that he has done to her. She is supposed to be this new religious guru, and her faith falls apart at the very touch of Christian's hand. HA! I totally saw it coming. I also saw the fact that Christian was using her as inevitable. Kimber falls apart, and curls up in the fetal position when she realizes what she has allowed to happen, due to her weakness. Then the claws come out, and she sets her sights on the youngest Troy/McNamara. I am not a big fan of Matt, but the endless dysfunctional relationships are getting a little tiresome. The transvestite, the semi-Nazi, and now the predatory and bitter ex of (both) his fathers, come on, give the kid a break. He seems to really like Kimber, and she is using him to get back at Christian, that is even low for Kimber. She has just put on a mask to cover her miserable life portrait since last season, and in this episode, it is ripped of to reveal the demon within her. She says that Christian is a horrible person, but Christian hasn't slept with her kid yet, who has a puppy dog crush, (although I wouldn't put it past him if Kimber did have a kid). All I am trying to say is that people in glass houses (Kimber) shouldn't throw stones.moreless
  • Dawn: "I just bought one of his paintings; I got it hanging in the bathroom. Every time I take a dump now I feel artistic."

    Ah, Dawn. What an intellectual and sophisticated viewpoint you bring to this show. That was sarcasm of course.

    I think I'm starting to grow a little frustrated with Nip/Tuck. Our main characters are becoming so vapid and cruel that they're no longer fun to watch. I mean honestly, how much horrible **** are we supposed to see Christian dish out and still forgive him? Sean, too, having an affair with Monica even though he claims to love Julia. It feels like the writers never heard of the concept of character development, that our characters should be learning from past mistakes and begin changing. They're not changing; they're repeating the same mistakes, and it's starting to feel a little too reminiscent to the point of annoyance and aggravation.

    What's up with Christian's character? He's been all over the place lately, saying he loves Michelle and then going to Burt accusing Michelle of murder?! Then his actions with Kimber! I know Christian was just taking revenge at Kimber for hurting him last season, but the way he seduced Kimber and then sadistically hurt her was too much. I hope the writers begin to explain Christian’s actions.

    Liz finally got a solid storyline this episode, and I loved it. Her and Dawn were the highlights of the episode for me, and both of them had touching, character-defining moments. I was impressed with Liz for forgiving Sean so easily for lying to her; she's a better and stronger person then he is, although it did take some major cojones for Sean to confess to her in the end. Dawn once again provided hilarious one-liners while contributing to some deeply emotional scenes. Rosie does a great job making apparent Dawn's loneliness; the $20 million Dawn’s spent hasn't felt the gap she feels in her life and neither will the $180 she has left.

    Final Notes and Quotes

    - Does ear jacking really happen? I've never heard of it.

    - No crazy therapist this week. That was probably a good thing.

    - Does Kimber ever step out of the Sana? Not that I'm complaining. :)

    - I did like the exploration of Sean's fears and his struggle to tell Liz the truth.

    - Sean: (re: the operation) "It won't be cheap."

    Dawn: "Sweetie, I wipe my ass with hundred dollar bills."

    Final Rating: 2 out of 4 stars. Maybe a 2 1/2.

    - Tim Bronx

    Find this and many more reviews at: www.motionpicturereviews.commoreless
  • this show never loses its speed!

    You know; most of the shows get duller as they reach to their later seasons. Buffy the vampire slayer lost alot from its charm at the end of season 3 as they let the male lead Angel go.24 always kept it interesting and thrilling but never got as touching and shocking as that legendary first season of it and kinda repeated itself alot.Lost.. well it started from the point of "extremely cool"and reached to the point of "extremely boring" just in its second season...

    But in Nip/Tuck , they never run out of things to shock and entertain us.Sometimes a twisted sex scene,or a patient too out of ordinary,or some really unexpected twist,or just a rat with a mouse in its back ! they never run out of really interesting things to show us.And i am not really yearning for them,i'm so ok with watching their relationships,which is twisted enough as it is.The things they throw in just to entertain and amuse us are really,really great.

    Christian + kimber scene was really heartbreaking.i really didnt understand why christian did it,went and hurt her cos she has been hurt enough.whatever,i think kimber and christ are meant to be and will be together in the end.(after they run out of other girls and boys in the cast,i guess :))moreless
Meera Simhan

Meera Simhan

Dr. Meera Muthara

Guest Star

Stephen Spinella

Stephen Spinella

Dr. Capler

Guest Star

Maria Thayer

Maria Thayer

Transplant Consultant

Guest Star

Sanaa Lathan

Sanaa Lathan

Michelle Landau

Recurring Role

Larry Hagman

Larry Hagman

Burt Landau

Recurring Role

Linda Klein

Linda Klein

Nurse Linda

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Christian's suggestion on dealing with Burt involves 'a 12-gauge and a bunch of hams'. This refers to the Pilot episode when they get rid of Silvio Perez's body by weighting his body with hams and dumping him in the Everglades.

    • When Dawn is having her initial consult with Sean and Christian, she mentions Dwight and Mallory, her husband and her daughter who were seen in the episode Dawn Budge.

    • As Sean and Christian do the surgery at the start of the episode, reference is made to the episode Blu Mondae, where Christian did pro-bono work on the title character after sleeping with her.

  • QUOTES (21)

    • (after Burt's surgery, Michelle is preparing to look after him)
      Christian: This is a list of the top in-patient rehab clinics in Miami. Do you and Burt a favour and go take a look at them.
      Michelle: I won't. I won't put him in a nursing home.
      Christian: Of course, you wouldn't want to do anything to piss him off enough to change his will.
      Michelle: You think I want it like this? You think I want to spend the rest of my youth holed up in this tomb? But he's still my husband. He needs me.
      Christian: But you don't love him. You love me. You wanted me to let him die on that table. I saw it in your eyes.
      Michelle: And I saw it in yours. But you saved him anyway. Now it's my turn.

    • (After being tested and found he is a match, Matt is willing to give Liz a kidney)
      Matt: Liz is family, Dad. She used to baby-sit me. She even let me have a swig of beer at one of her barbecues when I was fourteen.
      Liz: (to Matt)You are my hero. But I will not let you do this for me. (to Sean) The acorn didn't fall far from the tree, did it, Daddy?
      (Liz hugs Sean and Julia shows her out; Sean turns to Matt)
      Sean: Do you have any idea how life-altering a kidney donation can be?
      Matt: I've just recently been forced to come to the conclusion that I have spent my entire life taking. So, unless you can come up with a good reason why I shouldn't, I'm going through with it.

    • Christian: I said what I always say, whatever it takes to get me laid.
      Kimber: How can you be so cruel? Why don't you just go screw one of your whores if you needed to get laid?
      Christian: Whores only give you their body. I needed to feel like the most important man in the world. You're the only person who can do that for me. Don't worry, sweetheart. I'm sure there's some chapter in Dianetics that'll help you get through all this.

    • Christian: This shit really works for you, huh?
      Kimber: For once in my life, I feel like there's something I can give myself freely to and I can expect the same in return.
      Christian: I never gave to you anything?
      Kimber: You wanted to. But it always came with a price.

    • (Christian finds out that Burt had taken Viagra on the night he had a stroke and confronts Michelle, suggesting she gave it to him)
      Christian: I'm suggesting it's a little odd for a man to take a drug that every doctor he's seen over the last two years said could kill him.
      Michelle: How dare you! I am not a murderer!
      Christian: You're saying that through all of this, the surgeries, you and me, you never wished he was dead?
      Michelle: Wishing and actually doing something about it are two very different things. I thought you knew me.

    • Liz: How's the baby, Sean?
      Sean: Good. Bigger. Starting to smile.
      Liz: It's great when they start to give a little something back, huh?

    • Dr Kapler: (about the mouse who is growing Dawn's new ear on his back) We call him Vincent.
      Sean: After the nineteenth-century painter Vincent Van Gogh. He's infamous for cutting off his ear.
      Dawn Budge: Thanks, Sister Wendy. I just bought one of his paintings. I got it hanging in my bathroom. Every time I take a dump now, I feel artistic.

    • (Burt has had a stroke, leaving one side of his face paralyzed)
      Sean: I'm sorry, but if the clot is fully dissolved and he's already on anti-coagulants, what do you want us to do?
      Burt: You're my plastic surgeon. Fix my goddamn face.

    • Sean: Have you any idea what this 'come-to-Jesus' meeting with Burt is all about?
      Christian: Yeah, we're gonna get fired. He found out about Michelle and I and he said if we didn't screw in front of him, that he would tear the business apart. Turns out the old bird is a kinky bastard.
      Sean: Jesus, Christian. I should have known if anything was going to bring this place to its knees, it'd be your dick.

    • Nurse: Would you describe yourself as promiscuous, Doctor? Your blood tested high for an antibody that only appears in people with an unusually high number of sexual partners.
      Christian: So I can't give Liz a kidney because I've had too much sex? There's irony for you.

    • (Matt makes a pass at Kimber in the sauna and she turns him down)
      Matt: Look, Kimber, I'm sorry, but I like you. I guess you have that effect on the men in my family.
      Kimber: And you thought that because I had relationships with your dads that I was just going to screw you too? I thought you were different than they were, Matt.
      Matt: Yeah, I am! I'm spiritual. I just spent the last month picking up shit in front of church buildings, for Christ's sake!
      Kimber: Did you do that for your growth, or to impress me? (When he doesn't answer, Kimber goes to the sauna door and opens it) OK, get out. I don't feel safe with you here anymore. Go.

    • Dawn Budge: I was ear-jacked.
      Sean: Carjacked?
      Dawn Budge: Ear-jacked! (she rips a bandage from the side of her face to show that her ear has been removed) Jesus! I got one ear, I can hear better than you!

    • Christian: How can you be with a man who treats you that way? Why do you stay, for the money?
      Michelle: What am I supposed to do? I lose everything if I leave. I won't go back to that hole I was in before I met Burt.
      Christian: What hole, hooking? Doesn't seem like you ever stopped.

    • Nephrologist: Do you have any family that might be willing to volunteer as a donor?
      Liz: My only living relative is my mother and, when my father died last year, she banned me from the funeral. As far as she's concerned, my being gay is what killed him so I don't think that she's going to be offering up a kidney any time soon.

    • (as Sean does pro-bono work on a patient)
      Christian: Free surgeries are like sex without an orgasm.
      Sean: Unless, of course, the patient's name is Blu Mondae, in which case the free surgery follows an orgasm.

    • Dawn:I Wipe my ass with $100 bills!

    • Dawn: A perfect 6 out of 6, just like my Power Ball ticket. I guess lightening really can strike twice.
      Christian: Especially when it has such a large target.
      Dawn: That target didn't seem to bother you when you were pinning me to your apartment floor sweet cheeks.

    • Dawn: You think I can come by every now and then and visit my kidney? You know, a coffee or something?
      Liz: I don't think I can say no.
      Dawn: How's next Thursday?
      Liz: Ok.
      Christian: Looks like you got a friend for life there Lizzy. You sure it's worth it?
      (Liz looks at Sean)
      Sean: How we doing?
      Liz: Scared.
      Christian: Relax, you're among friends.
      (Liz looks at Dawn)
      Liz: Thank you.
      Dawn: My privilege.

    • (Sean walks into the room with Liz)
      Liz: Hey Sean.
      Sean: We need to talk.
      Liz: About Matt? I know, he's adamant about giving me his kidney. I'm afraid he's going to leave it on my doorstep in a gift wrapped cooler.
      Sean: You don't need Matt's Kidney, because I'm going to give you mine.
      Liz: That is very sweet Sean, but I think that we're both going to feel a little silly when my body rejects it.
      Sean: It won't. I'm a 5 of 6 match for you. I lied about my test results. I'm sorry Liz, I was scared. The surgery, the recovery, I just…
      Liz: Didn't want to end up like me…..Why the change of heart? I would never have known that you lied.
      Sean: I made a list of the people I thought would give me a kidney, it was pretty short. Then I made a list of people I'd give one to, It was even shorter….I always thought of myself as a good friend, someone that you can count on. It wasn't until all this happened that I realized, I was full of shit. What I'm saying Liz…I love you, I don't want to loose you. You're going to take my kidney; I scheduled the operation for tomorrow. Shit, scary huh?
      Liz: I have never asked you to do this for me Sean.
      Sean: You shouldn't of had to.
      Liz: The truth is, I can't. Frankly your kidneys not hot enough. You're only 5 of 6. I have found a better match.
      Sean: A better match? Who?

    • Dawn is looking in the mirror at her ear
      Liz: Looks good. What happened?
      Dawn: Ear jacked. You?
      Liz: Someone stole my kidney.
      (Looking at the dialysis machine)
      Dawn: I didn't know they did real medical stuff in here too.
      Liz: They don't. Sean and Christian set that up for me so I could work a couple hours a day.
      Dawn: Wow! That is really nice of them to do that for you. I mean come on, you think about it, the last thing some socialite wants to see after her eye job, somebody having a blood scrubbing right? (pause) How'd yah do it? You know, get them to care about you so much.
      Liz: I'm sure you have people in your life that would do the same for you.
      Dawn: Yeah, I got plenty of people, most of them showed up right when the money did. (Dawn looks out the door)
      Liz: You expecting someone?
      Dawn: Not really. I thought maybe my ex and my daughter might stop by, but their back in Pensacola now, so….
      Liz: Maybe they don't know what happened to you.
      Dawn: Bullshit, I did an exclusive two parter on Mantel, they never ever miss an episode. (pause) You know how much money I've spent since I won that Power Ball? $20 million. Yeah, I got a huge house, I got more ice than a Eskimo, I got a race horse I never even seen and you know what, I'd give twice that right now to have somebody walk through that door and just hold my hand. I use to raise ferrets you know, before the money. There was this one, knickers, cutest thing I ever saw in my life. She got her little paw caught in the trailer door; I hawked my entire Franklin mint collection on e-bay just to pay her vet bills. You know I nursed her, she got better, I loved her you know. I could tell she loved me too. And look at me now. You know how I got this ear? I killed a mouse for it. Vincent. Cute little gut too. He grew the ear on his back you know, and I let him sacrifice himself just so I could look good in my Jill St Johns.
      Liz: I'm sure Vincent understood.
      Dawn: The point is, I gave more when I had nothin'. Like I traded my soul for all that money you know. Then I look at you I mean, the victim of a horrible crime, and what gets you through? The hope that maybe, for a couple of hours a day, you get to be a doctor. You're a hero. You are and I'm a big fat zero. God, what happened to me?
      Liz: (holding out her had to Dawn)Too bad they can't grow a kidney on the back of a mouse, huh?

    • Dawn: (talking about a mouse) Isn't he adorable? I always had a thing for baldies. (giggling) Look, look at him, oh gosh. Oh, to think what this little guy is going to go through just so I can wear a pair of sunglasses again.
      Lab Doctor: We like to think that we are creating life of the noblest form, dedicated solely to making others well.
      Dawn: (Looking back at Sean) Just like you doc.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Czech Republic: January 14, 2009 on TV Nova

    • This is one of only two episodes this season in which all six actors named in the opening credits appear in the episode. The other is Blu Mondae.

    • Rosie O'Donnell (Dawn) and Sanaa Lathan (Michelle) were credited as "Special Guest Stars". At the same time, Lathan received the "And" credit.

    • Larry Hagman receives the 'special appearance by' credit.

    • Music featured in the episode:
      "Best friend" by Voom Voom (Sean and Christian talk with each other during a surgery)
      "Zentrifuge" by Einsturzende Neubauten (Dawn talks with Christian and Sean about her ear-accident)
      "Bittersweet faith" by Bitter:Sweet (Kimberly kicks Matt out of the sauna)
      "Babu amgelo" by Ekvat (Dawn goes to the lab where her ear is being created; later in the episode, Liz and Dawn get ready for their surgeries)
      "Under my thumb" by The Rolling Stones (Michelle and Christian interrupt their relationship; Christian goes to Kimber's house and seduces her)
      "Vincent" by Don McClean (Sean and Christian operate Dawn)
      "Stop singing" by The Original Shanghai Divas (Christian repairs Burt's stroke damage)


    • Dawn mentions selling 'her entire Franklin Mint collection on eBay'.

      Franklin Mint is a company that markets theme-based 'collectibles' (coins, figurines, chess sets etc.)- some of which can be quite valuable. eBay is the well-known Internet auction site.

    • When Sean tells Dawn about Vincent Van Gogh, she sarcastically calls him 'Sister Wendy'.

      Sister Wendy Beckett, a Roman Catholic nun, became an unusual celebrity in the 1990s as the host of several art history documentaries for the BBC.

    • Christian mentions Dianetics when he's with Kimber.

      Dianetics is a book by L. Ron Hubbard (the founder of Scientology) which lay out several self-improvement techniques to remove memory traces from the 'reactive mind' and thus bring therapeutic benefits.