Season 2 Episode 5

Joel Gideon

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jul 20, 2004 on FX

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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out of 10
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  • hmmm

    In this episode the acting seemed too forced and not at all comfortable. Every emotional moment just didn't feel real and it really took away from the flow of the story. The story also had too many events to cram the "live life" theme down our throats. I was very disappointed. I expect more out of this amazing show. So far as I catch up on the series, season two is not what season one was. Overall it's more disappointing.
  • Numb Written by Brad Falchuk Directed by Nelson McCormack

    In life they are a good few certainties. Love, sex, death, joy, sorrow, static and regret. In this episode, all of the above are featured in one way or another.

    A shocking car crash within the episode’s first five minutes for Sean is a turning point for the usually careful medic to take more risks in his life as well as the patient of the week, Joel Gideon, who’s adventures in Mount Everest inspire Sean. Taking a different slant from a similar PTSD from Season 4 SFU, Sean decides more risk taking is beneficial for him and this could’ve been a good thing if he wasn’t prepared to put others at risk too. From the poisonous blowfish in the seas-food bar to swimming with sharks, Sean dealt with his crash ordeal felt more like a mid-life crisis plot than a serious life-changer. There was some effective acting from Dylan Walsh but disappointingly enough, this thread was resolved a little briskly to overall work. Still though, there’s a brilliant father and son moments with Sean and Matt as the lads manage to cheat death without Julia’s knowledge, presumably because dealing with Julia would prove more difficult than sharks of course.

    With Sean’s shark tale stinking of meh, it’s a relief Christian’s was far more meatier as the fight for Wilbur took another spectacular twist when the POTW’s storyline saw Christian and Gina working onside to get Wilbur back from the Sutherlands and in any other TV series, Christian’s heartfelt declaration of love for the little boy would’ve clenched the deal but here as James and his embittered wife won the rights for custody and banned both Christian and Gina from seeing him. As unstable as Gina is, I’m not particularly sure if Cecily would be just as suitable. She was particularly furious with her husband and looked at Gina with the utmost contempt but her attack on Christian made me worry a bit. The lawyer who granted the Sutherlands custody was on the ball in her assessment but I’m not sure if I agree about Gina being a threat to Wilbur. She may be crazy but I’ve never thought crazy enough to be a serious danger, especially to her own son. What I did find weird about Gina was that after egging Christian on to fight for “their” son, she automatically gave up and surrendered. I really hope Wilbur does have a good life with James but I can’t see Cecily loving the child at all, especially with her behaviour in both meetings. Still though it was decent of James to allow Christian to have an hour with Wilbur before enforcing the “no contact” rule and changing the boy’s name to Gabriel.

    Christian took the loss rather hard and even lased out unfairly at Sean and Julia (a miscarriage does count, Christian!). But then Julia divulged the information we’ve been waiting to hear since “Montana/Sassy/Justice”. It may not shock everyone given his recent attitude and even an earlier conversation with Sean but Matt is in fact Christian’s son. Talk about subtlety Julia. I feel your pain, I really do but couldn’t you have waited for a better moment. Christian looked dumbstruck with this revelation and I suppose it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.

    Also in “Joel Gideon”

    Patient of the week: Joel Gideon’s (a pre Desperate Housewives Doug Savant) face was affected by severe frostbite from his failed attempts to climb Mount Everest.

    Matt: “Let’s face it Dad, not even Christian could get laid in a Volvo wagon”
    Sean: “You think I’m a pussy?”

    The special effects during Sean’s crash were a little too clichéd. I find excessive slow-motion a little naff at times.

    Sean: “B.O.D?”
    Brody: “Button of death. I named it myself”.

    The body used for the crash testing was Michael Weiss, a producer on the show and formerly Jarrod of The Pretender.

    Joel (to Sean/Christian): “Freezing to death isn’t a bad way to go. Your body just goes numb”.

    Mrs Sutherland (re Christian/Gina): “ What kind of man is this child going to grow up to be if he has one parent who sees commitment as something that ends when Martini wears off and another who sees herself as nothing more than a sexual recepticle”.

    Character bits: No Liz in this episode, Frisky the gerbil died again, Sean’s father left his mother when he was five and the Sutherlands now have four sons, including Wilbur/Gabriel.

    Julia: “Did you have an MRI after the accident because I think you have brain damage”
    Sean: “Not brain damage, awareness”.

    Chronology wise, it’s six months after “Escobar Gallardo”. I wish the writers would be a little more consistent in their time line.

    Matt: “You really are a pussy”
    Sean: “Call me what you want Matt. If it’s a choice between losing your respect or you, I’ll keep you”.

    Christian’s instructions for Wilbur were very cute. In a butch kind of way that is.

    Christian: “What?”
    Julia: “You already have a son. With me”.

    Standout music: Sarah McLachlan’s “Answer”. It’s from a really terrific album.

    A solid episode but big reveals aside, something felt off about “Joel Gideon”. While it’s a nice study of fear and the after effects, I felt the story lacked depth and Sean’s plight wasn’t fully explored. Was it me?
  • Joel: "I decided I wanted my kids to grow up with the memory of a father who had lived his life, rather then a shell of a man who had surrendered to fear."

    After a car crash Sean starts to realize his life could end at any moment, so he decides he's going to live out the rest of his life without yielding to fear. While a fun plot, it felt rather reminiscent of last season when Sean went out to show that he's not a "prude".

    I was all for Sean spicing up his life a little, but Julia did have a valid point. It is one thing to endanger your own life, but to encourage your children to do the same is another. From eating blowfish to shark diving, Sean's ordeal never felt like a life changing choice. They were always drastic decisions Sean made, just to prove himself, without ever thinking them through. I was glad he came out of it learning a lesson, and we also got some really good father son bonding between Matt and Sean as Matt, showing a more sympathetic side, told Sean that he didn't have to prove himself to him.

    I found it very Christian-like the way how he tried to just erase all evidence of Wilbur to help ease his pain. I can understand why he was wary to fight for Wilbur, as he only got his hopes up to have them crushed. I'm sure Wilbur will have a good life with James, although I'm not sure about Cecil's love for the child (she appeared very aggressive and mad during the custody hearing). Christian's declaration of love for Wilbur during the hearing was so genuinely touching though, that it was sad to see the two of them separated. Julia McMahon did another fantastic job today, and the void he felt over loosing Wilbuer was very apparent.

    We get a really good father/son episode between Sean and Matt, only to find out Matt's not his son! Both Julian McMahon and Joely Richardson deserve gold acting stars for that final scene when Julia confessed to Christian. I'm really curious to see how this revelation plays out for the rest of the season.

    Final Notes and Quotes

    - The car crash made me jump out of my seat. Good film editing.

    - I had no idea car companies used cadavers to test out cars. I thought crash dummies were still being used, although cadavers do make more sense.

    - Joel: "I'd take a numb nose over a numb soul any day."

    - When Christian said to Julia "try having matt ripped from your arms and see how you feel", all I could think of was how Sean's going to feel when he finds out the truth.

    - Sean: "Getting rid of the evidence doesn't mean you can eradicate memories Christian."

    - I found it interesting how the custody battle flip-flopped so many times. First it was Gina and James vs. Christian, then Christian and James vs. Gina, then Gina and Christian teamed up vs. James.

    - I liked the BOD – button of death.

    Final Rating: Despite some good emotional scenes in this episode, the car crash and how it affected Sean just didn't do it for me. 2 out of 4 stars.

    - Tim Bronx
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  • Better episoide


    I really enjoyed this episoide, in fact this is the first episoide this season i enjoyed mainly because there was no nudity whatsoever in this episoide. Sean accident made him a little more confident, eating blow-fish i could never do that. When did they start using human corspe for a crash-test dummy?, i always wonder what they used to see how human body would react. i wouldn't mind being one after i passed away. it's not like i would feel it.

    Christian giving-up then actually fighting for custody, hand-up who knew Wilbert biological father would get costody, it was very predictable. Still they finally ended us wondering what test-results are of Mat so Christian is Matt biological Father. What will Christian do now he knows, Sean his partner so it going cause a difficult situation.

    Who reconised the patient, that was Lyneete husband in Desperate Housewives, that was actually first plastic surgury i didn't have to look away.
  • An exploration of fear, and a major revelation. Episode summary in review.

    How do we deal with fear? Do we surrender, try to live lives with little risk and sacrifice? Do we go out of our way in the quest of adventure? Our time here is limited, and fear plays a big part in it. If we allow fear to control our lives, our lives become depressing and unfulfilling. If we try to overcome fear entirely, we end up placing ourselves in unnecessary danger. This Nip/Tuck seeks to explore fear in its many facets.

    On a normal day, Sean calls Julia to ask what she wants for dinner. At home, she's studying the adrenal gland. Thankfully, they decided not to forget completely that Julia was going back to school in the first season. Before they can choose what to pick up, another driver strikes Sean head on. The staging of this crash is refreshing given the predisposition some filmmakers have to recreate The Matrix for shots like these. We see his crash in fast motion with breaks in slow motion, which really help show what it must feel like to be in an accident like this one.

    Sean's taken to a hospital, where Christian takes care of him. Like last week, they still don't care for younger doctors, dismissing the younger hospital doctor. A cop comes into the recovery room to tell Sean that he'll need to fill out some forms regarding the accident. He also informs Sean that despite appearing fine after the crash, the other driver died in surgery. Sean denies being in shock, but since he isn't aware that he's missing a shoe, he is.

    In true character, Gina storms into Christian's apartment demanding to know where Wilbur is. Christian informs her that James, Wilbur's real father, has taken him. Ironically, her plan to keep Wilbur away from him is going to keep Wilbur away from her as well. Although he loves Wilbur, he tries to forget it by getting rid of his toys and not fighting James' claim. Gina yells at him for not having the courage to fight for his son.

    Then we cut to Matt (hint, hint). In a moment that screams "inappropriate", he plays a car racing game while Sean sits next to him. Sean shuts off the TV, but doesn't call him out. He's looking through a magazine to find a new car. Sean's search is facilitated when the car manufacturer responds to his grateful e-mail, where he praised them for their safety features. Since he is a doctor, they want him to conduct analysis on the damage crash test subjects receive. These subjects are donated corpses, since they're more accurate than dummies. Sean goes along, but panics when one of the test cars crashes.

    Christian stops over to take Sean home. Sean sees that Christian has Wilbur's toys in the backseat. Christian explains that he's getting rid of them and that trying to be a father to Wilbur was the biggest mistake of his life. We know Christian's lying to protect himself from the pain. If he was so determined to get Wilbur out of his life, the toys wouldn't have been sitting in the backseat when he picked up Sean.

    Their patient this week knows a lot about fear. He wanted his kids to remember him as someone who sought adventure out of life. So, he took up mountain climbing. On an expedition up Mt. Everest, he suffered frostbite, which took some of his fingers and a part of his face. Despite all the pain this has caused him, he's still determined to go back and take the summit. He'd rather have "a numb nose over a numb soul". His refusal to "surrender to fear" inspires Sean and Christian to take risks. Sean calls about the car company's offer and Christian gets Gina to prepare for the custody hearing.

    The subject of the latest crash was a friend of one of the people working there. Like Sean, the body never took many risks in his life. His friend Brody tells Sean that he too has decided to try something that would scare him because of this. Brody's been swimming with sharks. After the car has been crashed, Sean looks over the body's injuries and he's taken aback by the fact that the body shares similar injuries to him.

    Gina, Christian, James and his wife meet with a judge regarding Wilbur. They've decided to do arbitrarily, which is cheaper, both for them and for the budget of the episode. The judge has a difficult choice. Wilbur's biological parents both have significant flaws. James' wife clearly resents him for cheating on her and this resentment would likely be passed on to Wilbur. Also, they are much older. They have children in their thirties. On the other hand, Gina and Christian have problems with sex.

    One thing that didn't seem right was why Christian didn't say that Gina told him initially that he was Wilbur's father. It would help make sense of the incident and why he's there, although the heartfelt speech accomplished that. You'd have to be a fool not to tell that this kid means more to Christian than anything in his life.

    The McNamaras have chicken delivered. Sean doesn't want any, but Julia mentions that Sean is very picky with his food. Going with his new philosophy, he takes his family to a Japanese restaurant. Julia can't order safe bets. Sean decides to get fugu, a dish made from a poisonous fish. If prepared properly, it's tasty since there is a part of the fish that isn't poisonous. Julia can't stand it, especially when he offered Matt some. This was too far. They leave and Sean's faced with the fugu. He stares at it, then eats it with relish.

    The next day they operate on Joel's face, slashing the dead tissue off his face and replacing it with skin they grafted. Sean tells Christian about his plans to swim with the sharks. Christian doesn't like it, and offers an interesting perspective on fear. Christian may not be fearful, but he has respect for fear. In addition to adding a great Christianism "slipindicktomy", he tells Sean that fear can help you avoid making a bad decision.

    It came down to Gina. Despite their other flaws, it was Gina's self destructive addiction that made the judge decide that Wilbur would be best with James and his wife. Even worse, since they live in Arizona, they receive full custody of Wilbur. Christian and Gina won't be able to see Wilbur until he turns eighteen. This fact twists the knife in Christian's heart further.

    As Christian loses his son, Annie loses her pet. Frisky (really a replacement of the original Frisky) has cancer, but Sean tells her that the gerbil is pregnant. It doesn't seem fair to him to have Annie face death so young. However, Frisky dies shortly afterward. At Frisky's funeral, Julia eulogizes that we lose things so we can appreciate what we have. It is true, as much as it hurts to say goodbye.

    Christian thought he could cut himself off from Wilbur to avoid the pain their separation would cause, but he can't. The McNamaras find him crying in their living room. He tells them about the court's decision. Sean tries to consult him, but Christian can't suppress his sadness. Though Sean reminds him that he lost a child when Julia miscarried and his father when he was young, Christian tells him that it hasn't affect him as much considering what he is planning to do. He alerts Julia to his plans to go shark diving, which only makes her even madder.

    Despite her problems, he sneaks out with Matt to go diving. Things are fine until Matt stands about to jump into the water. Sean sees his son as a six-year-old. This epiphany convinces him not to dive. There is a difference between spicing up his life and doing something that could get him killed. Matt gets mad at his dad and calls him a word similar to a coward. Just then, Sean's friend from the crash site has an embolism. He convulses furiously, but Sean takes control of the situation, saving his life.

    With little time left, Christian offers Wilbur some advice, starting lighthearted but quickly becoming somber as he encourages his son to be strong. James arrives to pick up his son. He gave him an extra hour to be with him before they left. James credits Christian for saving his life. However, he still plans to uphold the no contact section of the ruling. It does feel unfair for Christian not to be able to have contact either, but that's what makes James' choice even more sad.

    Sean realizes that smaller steps are much better and safer. He writes his own obituary to motivate the changes he wants in his life. Matt tells him that he doesn't think of his dad the way he did earlier that day. The way he saved the man on the boat impressed him to the point where Matt doesn't need his father to prove himself. Of course, this nice place in their relationship is doomed because it is too agreeable.

    Julia stays at Christian's house to comfort him about losing Wilbur, but Christian is still beyond consoling. She then tells him that he is Matt's father. Since getting the paternity results back, she has been reluctant to find out, then reluctant to reveal to anyone else. In this moment of weakness, she tells because she thinks it will help her friend. Of course, this opens many doors for the problems that will make up the rest of the season.

    This is a good episode, even if some people thought scenes like Sean scarfing down the fugu cheesy. It finally resolved the question of who Matt's true father was, but it clearly is only the beginning. Fear works well with the recurring themes of aging, life and the mid-life crises the two doctors find themselves in. The season is starting to move in this episode, and it'll be a great ride.
  • Some development, bonding, truths, shocks, and plot turnarounds, all in a one hour episode. Niiiccce!

    From the opening scene, I knew this episode was going to be good. Sean crashing was brilliant, and grabbed your attention from the start Appearing at the start of the episode was also a good idea, and set up the story for the whole episode, along with some slight detours.

    Along with the crash at the beginning, Joel Gideon also did an excellent job in providing and building a story for the episode. His tales of how he "lives for the extreme" et al while having a busted nose was a great scene, as was the shots of Sean and Christian listening.

    I liked the constant changing of feelings between Matt and Sean aswell. Their relationship has always been rocky from the first episode last season, but it was good to see them bonding and on the same team near the end of the episode. Something which wouldnt have been achieved if Brody hadn't been attacked, so i'm strangely thankful of his near-death.

    This episode also built on another ongoing storyline: Matt's true father. We've been fed snippets and clues for ages now, but it was good to finally get some confirmation this episode and clean up the question and story completely, as well as creating further plots and queries.
  • Risk Management

    Ever since the end of season one, we always knew the beautiful relationship between Christian and Wilber would end in sadness. Joel Gideon sees the end of the road for their father/son dynamic, and it's an undeniably weepy closer.

    You have to feel bad for Christian. In just one day, he loses a child he sees as his son, and then learns that he already has a son: Matt. The resolution to the Wilber custody battle was moving, but hardly surprising. Gina, as much as she protests that she's a changed woman, is still an unfit mother with aggressive tendencies, and Christian, like James Sutherland's wife pointed out, has no blood connection to Wilber or a relationship connection to Gina either. So what exactly is he? It was a question left unanswered in the episode, but one that was pretty heartbreaking.

    Meanwhile, Sean got some kind of risk addiction following a car accident. While it didn't exactly produce anything memorable, the story at least allowed Sean to loosen up a little, and realize that just because he isn't as outrageous and dangerous as Christian doesn't make him less of a person. I found the car smash-up scenes really creepy, especially when they used cadavers to test the safety of their vehicles. Does that actually happen in real life?

    One of the more forgettable episodes from season two, Joel Gideon brought a close to the Wilber storyline (for now, anyway...) in a heartbreaking way, and Julian McMahon put in a powerful, depressing performance. But outside of that storyline, the rest was pretty average.

    Director: Nelson McCormick
    Writer: Brad Falchuk
    Rating: B
  • Los sabores del alma

    Hay veces en que la vida se vuelve un tanto aburrida, monótona, rutinaria (a mi me suele ocurrir bastante seguido) y, generalmente, uno no hace mucho por revertir esa situación. Pero cuando uno se decide a hacer algo por uno mismo... it usually goes wrong. Hay mucho que perder, hay riesgos que uno piensa en correr, hay mucho miedo hacia lo nuevo. Y sí, así es la vida, aburrida. Aparte: el show se está volviendo apático, repetitivo, sin sorpresas significativas. Ya me está costando un poco verlo. Y esos pequeños detalles como que Matt tenga 16 años y el actor que lo encarna más de 25...
  • A time of fear. A time to reveal. A time of Tom Scavo with frostbite.

    It started with a bang. Well, not an actual bang but 20 seconds into the episode, Sean is in a car crash. Christian takes it upon himself to "heal" him and the doctor doesn't really take kindly to his comment about pubic hair. Although, not a lot of people would.

    Sean somehow gets roped in to help out a car company with dead body related mishaps. Nice. First time around, he declines the offer.

    Season 2 Client Count: 9. I can't believe we're at 9 but we are.

    Look who's just walked into the building. It's Tom Scavo. With a beard. And a black nose. And claws. Yes, a resident of Wisteria Lane has turned up for some surgery under the alias of Joel Gideon. He has frostbite on his hands and nose and looks pretty sickening at first glance. He climbed Mount Everest and he has a pretty large family. So, that's his big secret. Lynette is not going to be very happy with that. What Joel says to Sean and Christian in a consult about fear inspires them both to take on what fears them: Sean goes back to the car morgue and Christian is led to creepy Gina. They're gonna get their bitch on (but not in a creepy, sexual way)!

    In case you were wondering, while I write this my sister is screaming at me for not playing tennis with her and I recover from my disgusting Friday night dinner consisting of cold turkey with dodgy gravy and Smash.

    But back to N/T, Sean decides to go diving with sharks, something Julia is less than pleased about. The fact that Sean orders blowfish at the restaurant doesn't solve anything and Julia leaves with Annie. Sean invites (ie: forces) Matt into diving with him.

    Sean later gets a serious reality check when his partner in death is seriously injured by a shark. Our joint favourite plastic surgeon comes to his senses and goes home. The moral of the story: never eat blowfish.

    Over in the world of Christian Troy, he and Gina are fighting for little Wilbur. James Sutherland's idiot of a wife won't let anyone get a word in. Which is probably why neither Gina or Christian got Wilbur, a.k.a. Gabriel.

    The Sutherlands have ruined Christian's life. At the end, it's up to Julia to comfort Christian. How does she do that? Well, she only goes and tells an emotionally fragile Christian that Matt is his. Well done, Julia. When someone is mourning over their lost son, they probably don't want to know you've been lying to them for 16 years.

    I don't usually comment on the music this show uses but can I just say what a beautiful piece of music "I'll Find a Way" by Rachel Yamagata is. It was so fitting as well. That song is a classic.

    Until next week, I'll leave you with thoughts of Lynette smacking Tom round the head with a hockey stick in the season premiere of Desperate Housewives ... probably.
  • A real gem.

    This episode was great because it was packed with emotion and had a finely-written plot. The whole storyline of Christian and his son got resolved (at least it looked like it) - He lost him, sadly. The scenes at the legal counseller's office and the moments before he was forced to hand over the baby to the biological father were heart-wrenching. Julia's declamation that Christian indeed had another child, Matt, wasn't all too shocking but now it's finally confirmed.

    Loved the whole life/risk/responsability theme here. Sean's escapades were something I expected some time ago and all of those issues were rather nicely resolved in this episode.

    All in all, a very moving addition to a show that is steadily going uphill.
  • Adventurous yet heartwrenching.

    It's been a while since i've seen this episode, so i'll try my best and remember. Joel Gideon inspires the guys to do the things they need to do. Sean becoming a freaken daredevil after almost having a fatal car accident, and Christian fighting for custody to have Wilbur. The outcomes are different as well. Sean realizes you don't have to do stupid things to conquer your fears, and for Christian, well, he lost Wilbur and realizes nothing will be the same without the little guy. The scene between him and Julia was heartwrenching, that you have to feel for Christian. Julian Mcmahon is very convincing here, because it some ways, there are parents out there, who were probably in Christian's shoes. It was a great episode, until Julia, who was being Julia revealed the secret to Christian in his most vulnarable state. She should have kept her mouth shut, and maybe things would have turned out differently. However, that is not the case, as seen in the future episodes.