Most of the time, Nip/Tuck is seen as a trashy guilty pleasure, full of sex and violence, with nothing else besides that. Being perfectly honest, that is kinda true. But Nip/Tuck also features dark, haunting episodes like this.
They say that those that are abused as children grow up to become similar people to those that abused them. In Christian's case, he has become an emotionally cold individual, using sex as an almost protection from having to become emotionally involved with somebody. He gets that instant rush of pleasure, but is then left with nothing else. Nobody really loves him, and he's too scared to get involved with a woman in anything more than a purely physical way. Father Michael Shannon, on the other hand, has become exactly like his abuser, right down to seeking out victims that remind him of himself at a young age.
Christian's closing breakdown is one of the most powerful moments we've seen on this show so far. As well as showing what a truly excellent actor Julian McMahon is, it adds so much to his character. While it had already been implied that he had an abusive past, Christian finally appeared to accept it, and realize that he can't go on suppressing his past anymore.
The episode's subplot was also amazing. When Matt first showed up at Cara's bedside, it was obviously in selfishness. The only reason he wanted to see the damage is because he caused it, and because he was terrified of what he had inflicted on her. But it's clear to see as the story goes on that he begins to bond with the comatose girl, realizing how ignored and sad her life was, and trying to understand her beliefs.
I was really shocked by the Christian Science displayed by Cara's mother. It may have been exaggerated for the purposes of entertainment, but I can't imagine how anybody could be so believing in religion that they'd allow their child to go through life looking deformed and hideous, as they believe it was God's will. It was almost terrifying. Thankfully medical well-being takes precedence over religion, since making an already abused, unpopular girl go through even more pain at the expense of her peers would be a terrible way to live.
By far the best episode of season one, and giving additional layers to the already complicated Christian Troy, Cara Fitzgerald is Nip/Tuck at its emotional best with a powerful script and excellent acting.
Director: Jamie Babbit
Writer: Ryan Murphy