Season 2 Episode 12

Julia McNamara

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Sep 07, 2004 on FX
out of 10
User Rating
231 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

After Julia's accident in the previous episode, Julia turns to Sean and Christian to fix her face. Sean resists at first, but eventually decides to do it after Christian lies to him and says the woman that was going to fix her face botched several jobs. Sean tells Julia that he keeps trying to forgive her and wants to try to love her again, but that it wouldn't happen right away. Julia has an adverse reaction to the anesthesia and dreams during her surgery. Ava shows up in her dream as a different form of life coach, and guides her through this surreal life. Julia is married to Christian, which seems happy on the outside, but is really falling apart on the inside. They run the Troy/Troy partnership firm. When Christian decides to leave the practice, Julia interviews another doctor - Sean, someone she knew from high school. Trying to catch up on old times, Sean invites Julia and Christian to dinner. They meet his wife, Megan O'Hara, and their son Matt, who is on the nerdy side and has a bug collection. Megan is three months pregnant with a girl they plan on calling Annie, named after his grandmother. Julia is upset after a visit to Liz, an OB/GYN in this world, who has two kids. Julia cannot have kids with Christian, who wanted to have a biological child since he was adopted. Kimber, Julia and Christian's three-way partner becomes pregnant, and Christian refuses to get rid of it. We are revisited by several characters, including Mrs. Grubman, Jude, and Julia's friend Suzanne. When Julia wakes up in recovery, Sean is there waiting for her. She has realized that things would never work out with Christian, and that Sean was always the one she loved.moreless

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  • Destinismo

    Todo el tiempo preguntándonos si ya está todo escrito, si el destino existe, si sólo interpretamos un libreto que fue escrito antes que el mundo fuera mundo. Y de qué hubiese sido de nuestras vidas si... Hubiese sido mejor seguramente, no? Porque tendría eso que siempre soñé...

    Mmm... lo dudo, al menos esto último: creo que existe una especie de compensación universal que te quita cuando te da y viceversa. En cuanto al destino... no sé... me parece que es todo demasiado loco como para creer que no hay algún desquiciado detrás de todo esto. Y no puedo dejar de imaginarme lo divertido que sería ser ese desquiciado.moreless
  • specatular

    i love this episode so much. everytime i can, i watch it.

    season 2 really was nip tucks best moment and this episode proves it. i loved how its mostly about julia and how she always wants what she cant have. i really love and hate that about her. i love ava in this episode, she rocks. i loove the ending where sean doesnt want her and christian leaves with kimber and she lies in the couch crying while 'Youre So Vain' is playing. just perfection. trully one of the best episode of the show, or at least one of the ones ill remember when i think of nip tuck. SPECATULARmoreless
  • It's a Wonderfully Disturbed Life

    Julia finally learns at the end of the episode that her problem isn't that she chose to be with Sean all those years ago, it's that she always wants what she doesn't have. In both realities, she finds herself desperate to be with the man she isn't with, and it took her near death experience to make her finally realize it.

    At the end of the episode, she realizes that as bad as her real life is, "what might have been" is ultimately much worse. From the outside looking in, she's perfect, even leaving Suzanne Epstein in awe. She has a perfect husband, perfect business, a stunning mansion home, and a doting mother working as her personal assistant. But beneath all that she's actually a complete mess. A sex-hungry, jealous, lonely coke fiend.

    It must leave her in a bad place though. She has seen that without her being in Sean's life, he became part of a flawless marriage, raised an academically perfect son, and got a job which pretty much made him a better person. So coming back to reality and realizing that she is pretty much responsible for making Sean's life such a mess must provoke so much guilt inside of her.

    Ava was perfectly cast as both the guide through Julia's alternate life, and as the Angel of Death. Ava herself is a huge enigma, who guides her clients into making the right decisions (like when she told Julia to throw Erica out of her home), but somebody who uses personal information to destroy people, or to get things her own way. You just never know where you are with her.

    Visually, the episode was stunning. The last moments of Julia's dreams are beautiful, and feature a perfect soundtrack from The Rolling Stones. All the important players in Julia's life, barefoot and dressed completely in white, look on as Julia hovers toward Ava, dressed in black, looking like a much hotter version of the Grim Reaper, whose luring her in. And it's only when Julia stops it and takes control of her life (just like Ava has always suggested she do) that the dreams end and her life is saved.

    The greatest episode of Nip/Tuck, Julia McNamara plays around with every regular formula on this show, producing a masterpiece hour which takes a TV standard in the "It's a Wonderful Life episode" and makes it as shocking and original as possible.

    Director: Michael M Robin

    Writers: Ryan Murphy, Hank Chilton

    Rating: A+moreless
  • Oh, Julia!

    "You can't always get what you want... but if you try sometimes you get what you need..."--The Rolling Stones

    OK, how awesome was this episode. Season 2 is really turning out to be really fun and at the same time going into many different unimagined twists and turns. First the Rose & Raven Rosenberg episode where Sean & Christian have a threesome, then Sean dating Kimber and then Julia going through a window in the previous episode. Talk about drama. "Julia McNamara" feeds my inner Nip/Tuck craving and watching 3 or 4 episodes a weekend on FX is awesome after an exhausting Saturday with family and/or friends. Obviously Julia wants Sean to do her reconstructive surgery since she is a wreck. Sean refers her to another doctor who did her breast implants. Christian knows that he does not want Julia in the hands of another surgeon so takes on another case and claims Julia's doctor performed the surgery. Sean immediately scoffs at this and agrees to take on Julia's surgeries. Perhaps the most important part of the episode revolves around Julia being escorted through a life she could've had with Christian if she had never married Sean. Viewers are also treated to being entertained by the fabulous Ava Moore who is Julia's "ghost of Christmas past" to speak. Julia meets up with people who made an impact greatly on her previous life such as Liz, who is an OB/GYN instead of an anethesiologist and has 2 grown up children. Her own mother, Erica who is a receptionist at the now Troy/Troy and Christian who is now her husband and business partner which Julia is also a plastic surgeon at. Other characters that make apearances in a less subtle way are Sean who is looking for work in the States and is married to Megan O'Hara McNamara and is the actual father of a nerdy Matt. At a dinner with Julia and Christian, Sean announces Megan is pregnant with another child and will be having a girl they plan to name Annie.

    Julia wants to desperately have children but learns that her biological clock is ticking and may not be able to hold a pregnancy. Julia then finds Christian having sex with Kimber who later turns out to be pregnant. Christian then falls in love with Kimber and leaves Julia prompting her to kill herself. Julia drops the pills and does something similar to her previous life. Meanwhile during surgery, Julia codes and is at the verge of death. Ava then quickly informs her she is the Angel of Death and shows her what the afterlife will be like which includes her walking in a white room with all people who she knew or loved waiting for her in white clothing. Julia slowly walks past them and follows Ava but then declares she's not ready. Julia awakes in surgery and is fine. It's too bad that Sean still harbors bad feelings about her even after she could've died. Its nice that he stays near her bed and helps her get back on her feet but they still have a long route to go before reconciliation. Other events in Julia McNamara...

    *Mrs. Grubman makes yet another appearance which is great since now Julia experiences her motives and addictions to surgery. Her friend Suzanne also wants some self improvement but dies on the operating table.

    *This episode had some great '70s music. Stand-out music involves: Carly Simon (one of my favorites) which include "Haven't Got Time for the Pain" and the hit "You're So Vain". Also "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones which fits perfectly with this episode. Plus "Our Lips Are Sealed" by The Go-Gos. *Much like in reality, Julia tries to connect with Sean in her other life but fails to bring back a spark and Sean leaves Julia for Megan, his wife. I really enjoyed seeing Megan again since she left the series so shockingly last year. I definiely wanted closure with her character.

    Ryan Murphy and new writer, Hank Chilton and director Michael M. Robin (who always directs such great episodes) have really outdone themselves with this fantastic episode. Everything from the plots, to the surgeries, to the music show why Nip/Tuck is such a great show to watch.moreless
  • Ava: \"Sometimes we have to be brought to our knees in order to get in touch with who we really are and what we want. We can\'t heal until we hit rock bottom. By the looks of things, Julia, you\'re there.\"moreless

    I\'ll start things off by saying that I usually don\'t like alternate reality episodes. They detract from the main plot and are usually cheesy and predictable. I loved this one though. It was the ultimate journey into Julia\'s psyche, and I had loads of fun watching it.

    Having Ava along as Julia\'s coach for her \"life dreamt of but not chosen\" made it even better, and the banter between the two was highly amusing (Ava: \"How interesting that even in the realm of possibility you lack common sense.\" Julia: \"Apparently you\'re a bit*h in every universe you inhabit.\"). Ava turning into the \"Angel of Death\" at the end was a nice twist, and also symbolized Ava\'s dark status in the McNamara\'s lives. The first time I saw this I seriously thought for a second that Julia might die, and while it would have been a creative way for the writers to write her out I\'m glad she\'s not out of the picture.

    The main focus of Julia’s alternate universe was what the outcome would have been if Julia had chosen Christian instead of Sean. The result isn’t very pretty. It looks like the lack of morally aware Sean in their lives has lead to both of them being vain jerks (well more of one in terms of Christian). They don\'t like charity, enjoy threesomes, and money is what they hold their standards by. One of the first of the many reappearing guest stars in this episode was Jude, who works for Julia and Christian and who Julia is sleeping with. Don\'t feel bad for Christian though because of course he\'s getting some on the side also with Kimber (looks like some things never change no matter what universe you’re in). Julia and Christian’s bonding activity outside their practice is snorting cocaine. Sounds like couple of the year, no?

    Just as I had begun wondering when Sean would make an appearance, suddenly he pops in with a huge smile on his face. It was refreshing to see him so cheerful and content with the life that he shares with, wait for it, Megan O\'Hara (I guess this took place before she died of cancer). Putting a nice little twist on the Sean/Julia/Christian love triangle Julia begins to lust for Sean, who in this universe is the unattainable one. This episode confirmed that it really isn\'t a true love for Christian that makes Julia lust after him, it\'s that Julia is never satisfied with her life. Sean, who is enjoying his life and marriage with Megan very much, denies Julia when she eventually propositions him, throwing her back into the downward spiral that occurred in her real life.

    I always said that Sean and Julia would never last until she cleared all those \"what ifs\" she has in her mind, and this episode did a pretty good job of doing that. Even with a successful career and marriage to Christian Julia still isn\'t happy with her life and ends up smashing through a glass door anyway. Ava was right. It’s not the circumstances that have to change it’s Julia.

    One of the most rewarding scenes of the episode was Julia waking up, realizing, and telling Sean that he’s the one she’s truly loved all along. All I can say is that it\'s about time Julia. Winning him back won\'t be easy though.

    Final Notes and Quotes

    - I loved seeing almost all the character\'s we\'ve come to know in the past two seasons making a return, including Mrs. Grubman, Suzanne Epstein, Kimber, Erica, Jude, and Megan O\'Hara. They did an excellent job with continuity, and it was perfectly believable all the paths the character\'s lives had taken (except maybe for Erica, I can\'t imagine her working for Julia).

    - Ava: \"I might have something to offer you, something you want back.\"

    Julia: \"Like, my son?\"

    Ava: \"Yourself. I\'m here to help you find it again.\"

    - Liz was a fertilization expert in Julia\'s alternate reality (probably a result of Julia hiring Jude for the practice instead), and she had two children. The children thing doesn\'t make sense, as Liz said in the beginning of the season that she never had wanted to have children early; she wanted to wait until her father died.

    - John Hensley appeared to be having fun as a nerdy version of Matt who grew up without Christian\'s genes or bad influence.

    - Ava: \"Sweetheart, it\'s you that has to change, not your circumstances.\"

    - Sean: \"Despite her wonderful qualities, Julia was never satisfied. And I don\'t think she ever will be.\"

    - Outstanding Performance of the Week: Joely Richardson of course.

    - All the past references made this episode a special treat for the fans that have been with the show from the beginning.

    Final Rating: What an amazing hour. 4 out of 4 stars.

    - Tim Bronx

    Find this and many other reviews at: www.motionpicturereviews.commoreless
Kelly Carlson

Kelly Carlson

Kimber Henry

Recurring Role

Kelsey Lynn Batelaan

Kelsey Lynn Batelaan

Annie McNamara

Recurring Role

Famke Janssen

Famke Janssen

Ava Moore

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • When Christian and Julia are doing coke by the pool in her fantasy life, he has three lines on the tray then snorts one, but after Julia "does a line" there are still 2 lines left.

    • The chess set used during Julias dream sequence is identical with the used in the film X-men, also staring Famke Janssen.

    • Sean reveals that Annie was named after his grandmother.

    • Featured Music:

      "Our Lips Are Sealed" by The Go Go's (during patient's lip necrosis re-constructive surgery)
      "Searchin" by Alex Cortiz (Ava greets Julia as she wakes into her 'alternative' life)
      "Bright Nights" by Koop (Christian & Julia having dinner)
      "Promises, Promises" by Naked Eyes (Christian/Julia/Kimber at Troy's indoor pool)
      "Haven't Got Time For The Pain" by Carly Simon (Mrs. Grubman's face-lift surgery)
      "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon (Julia & Christian at home/Julia reveals she can't have children/Christian reveals Kimber is pregnant with his child)
      "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (choral-intro mix) by Rolling Stones (Ava reveals she's 'Angel of Death'/Julia 'flat lines'/dies in dream sequence)

    • Matt has two completely different biological parents in the dream sequence, yet his basic physical appearance is the same.

    • Goof: When Dr. Troy is in the swimming pool and arranges three lines of coke on the tray, he snorts one then Julia snorts one and when the tray is pulled down there are still two lines there.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Ava: You've fallen on hard times, so I'd like to offer my services, as a life coach. Free of charges.
      Julia: Maybe you should try coaching someone whose child you haven't molested.

    • Sean: ...Actually I worked for Médecins Sans Frontières.
      Christian: What?
      Sean: Doctors without borders?
      Christian: Oh yeah, yeah...I read about that in Time magazine. You fix some guy's cleft after walking into landmines. That kind of shit.

    • Julia: (to Ava) Apparently, you're a bitch in every universe you inhabit.

  • NOTES (3)