Season 2 Episode 12

Julia McNamara

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Sep 07, 2004 on FX

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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out of 10
231 votes
  • 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.
  • 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. SPECATULAR
  • 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+
  • 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.
  • 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.\"

    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
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  • Through The Looking Glass Written by Ryan Murphy And Hank Chilton Directed by Michael M. Robin

    Alternate reality episodes are hardly new territory are they? Every sci-fi/fantasy programming usually tend to do more than one in their running and every mainstream programming has indulged in the “what if?” scenario. Six Feet Under pulled a kick ass “what if” with Nate at the start of their third season and The Sopranos tested out some of Tony’s worst fears in “The Test Dream” episode, so after 24 episodes of reality, it’s Nip/Tuck’s turn to test these murky waters and suffice to say, the results are nothing short of brilliant.

    After having her face smashed to bits at the end of “Natasha Charles”, Julia’s consult with Sean is met with the usual bout of suspicion and disappointment from the latter who refuses to do Julia’s facial reconstruction until Christian pulls a trick of his own and Sean schedules her on the books. To say Sean is anywhere near forgiving Julia is only wishful thinking. While he’s far more civilised with her than he has been just of late, Sean easily admits his difficulty in feeling the same way for her that he used to.

    The next day Julia is under twilight and counting back from ten and wakes up in the surgery with a new guide – Ava. Obviously peeved at Julia for being fired, the Mistress Of Manipulation And Mind Games is Julia’s coach for the life she hasn’t lived, the life Julia not so secretly craves. In her new reality she’s a successful plastic surgeon at Troy/Troy, which only means that her and Christian are married and to the world outside, they look like the most iconic couple you could ever hope to meet. They both have a hatred for charity, enjoy their fair share of sex outside the marriage as well as a penchant for sampling their own merchandise. Yep, there are one of those superficial husband and wife combos with a major sense of asshole syndrome. Unsurprisingly enough their bits on the side are both Jude and Kimber, who are ever bit as annoying (Jude) and weak willed (Kimber) as they usually are in the real world. When Julia loses a patient in surgery and Christian can’t be bothered to help out, it doesn’t take a genius to deduce who would be the ideal candidate to pick up the slack – Sean.

    Cleverly keeping him away from proceedings for the first ten minutes of Julia’s fantasy life, Sean’s appearance feels like a highlight. Not much different from how we usually see him, Sean is happy to be reunited with his old friends even after Christian insensitively rubbishes his Doctors Without Borders work. It’s from this point on that things really heat up and Julia’s lush little life begins to unravel as we have a reverse effect to the established Sean/Julia/Christian triangle that even gets more interesting when we meet Sean’s family. Making this fiasco a lot more interesting Sean is married to Megan (welcome back), who’s expecting their second child, a girl which they plan to call after Sean’s grandmother, Annie while their oldest son Matt has won an early scholarship into Yale. Seeing Matt as a geek is a truly priceless moment and the interactions between all at this particular meal are a treat. Ava made a great point too about how Megan’s contentment with Sean has made him a much happier person, while Julia no matter how much she loves Sean has never been satisfied.

    Se could deny it but it’s always been painfully pointed about how denied Julia has felt from not having a career of her own. It’s as if financial dependency, getting married and having kids has taken away her own emotional independence and ability to take responsibility for her own actions. Sean pointed that out in the beginning of the episode and it’s when in Julia’s fantasy he rejects her advances after a surgery that we see a far more damaged and nihilistic version of Julia. Did anyone else want to slap her smug face when she callously told Sean she’d rather see him starve than help him out? Never has the real Julia said anything so vicious and inhuman, it’s almost karmic in a rather twisted way that despite her career successes, her life is no better in this reality. If you were expecting her and Christian to positively sizzle as a couple, you’ll be in for a letdown as the chemistry between them in all their scenes is lukewarm at best. Christian, tired of playing second fiddle to his heartless wife casts her aside upon learning Kimber is pregnant and that Julia cannot have children. You probably won’t be surprised to see Jules go through that patio door again but it still delivers.

    Although not as much as Ava turning off Julia’s life support machine and kissing (was that for shock value? Hidden sexual issues for Julia?). Julia flashes to all the important people in her life while fighting to stay away from Angel Of Death Ava, before in real life, her surgery has gone without a hitch. While the episode consistently delivered, shocked, amazed and surprised, it’s really the last scene between Julia and Sean in recovery that is ultimately the best thing. Julia tells Sean that all along, he’s been the one and not Christian. It wasn’t just the fact a marriage to Christian could’ve brought out the worst in her as a person but ultimately it’s because Sean is the one she will always want by her side. That minute is so sweet and poignant, I had to re-watch it a couple of times.

    Also in “Julia McNamara”

    Filler Patient: A lip necrosis reconstruction, which Christian lied about Dr Copley botching up in order to get Sean to operate on Julia.

    Sean: “How long have you had a drug problem?”
    Julia: “I don’t have a drug problem”.

    Christian (to Sean): “Reputations don’t mean shit. If every girl I met based her decision to sleep with me on my rep, then they would be scared of me”.

    Judging by the way Ava was talking about Matt and how Matt was with Julia, I’ll guess it was him who found her unconscious.

    Julia: “Apparently you’re a bitch in every universe you inhabit”
    Ava: “I’m a bitch to you Julia because you need the cold, hard slap of truth”.

    As much as I enjoyed Liz as a fertilzation expert and Erica as a secretary for Troy/Troy, is it really believable that their paths would change because of Julia’s?

    Julia (to Sean): “You look great”
    Christian: “I look great too”.

    Ava (re Sean/Megan): “They seem perfect together. And doesn’t Sean seem happy? Having a wife who isn’t constantly thinking the grass is greener on the other side. It makes a difference in a man’s disposition”.

    Alternate patients: Suzanne Epstein wanted breast implants but died during surgery, Mrs Grubman wanted a facelift and Gina (who didn’t appear on-screen) wanted vaginal rejuvination surgery.

    Mrs Grubman: “You’re probably shocked when you read that”
    Sean: “After seeing the amount -”

    As much as the heavenly sequences looked great, I felt they were a little clichéd. Also why wasn’t Annie there?

    Sean: “You’re gonna be okay”
    Julia: “It’s you, all long it’s been you”.

    Standout music: “Promises, Promises” by Naked Eyes, “Haven’t Got Time For The Pain” and “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones.

    “Julia McNamara” is a credit. Co-written with new staff writer, Hank Chilton, this episode addresses some deep seated issues with Julia, while deftly throwing in as many references to the “Pilot” as possible. The references, along with the many return actually serve a purpose so it’s not all window dressing on display. An amzing hour and easily the best episode of the entire series, let alone Season Two.

  • Julia sees her life if she had never married Sean. Interesting episode with good use of music along with great dialogue.

    This is a very interesting episode in which Julia dreams of what her life would have been like if she had never married Sean. She starts dreaming when she is put out during her surgery. She sees that she would have married Christian and went into business as a partner with him. She would be snorting coke and having threesomes. It was just bizarre because Ava was guiding Julia through what her life could have been. It was also good because they used Carly Simons' song "You're so Vain" during the episode with Julia having a breakdown when she finds out that Christian is having a child with Kimber. This is an off the wall episode for an off the wall show so that is saying something.
  • For better or for worse?

    I regret missing the last 4 episodes of Nip/Tuck, but I blame it all on Channel 4, who have been treating this show terribly. And the fact that I almost threw up at [b]Agatha Ripp[/b].

    That didn't stop me from loving every minute of this episode. I'm so glad about the return of Kimber, even if it is through flashbacks.

    This episode gave yet another reason to hate the Emmy voters for not nominating Joely Richardson. In this episode, Joely is absolutely magnificent. She bounces off all of her co-stars brilliantly and the emotion that she shows. Everything about her acting is superb. She's also good at comedy, as I saw earlier in the week when I saw a film with her and Hugh Laurie.

    But if there was one thing more magnificent thsn Julia tonight, it was of course Ava. Her role in this episode really shone through (similarly to her cleavage) and her line about being the Angel of Death was really chilling.
  • The desires of Julia McNamara through hallucination. Dream sequence? oh yeah!

    Lets keep this short shall we?

    After the previous episode and Julia falling through the glass window, Mrs McNamara comes to the surgery to get her scars and cuts removed. She goes under the anasthetic, and the rest of the episode is interestingly, devoted to her dreams, desires, and true goals in life.

    The sequence is hosted by Ava, and is basically Julia guide throughout the visions. Being entirely a dream, the scenes involved completely turn the show on it's head.

    Julia is a surgeon along with Christian. Sean is married to Hegan O Hara and has a son Matt. Erica is the receptionist at Troy/Troy. Liz has a profession as a fertilization expert. Jude re-appears, as does Mrs Grubman. Matt is a geek. And throughout the dream, Joely Richardson looks HOT.

    In a nutshell, this is THE episode of Nip/Tuck. It's not conventional, and it doesnt carry any of the season's story forward. But it's refreshing, it's a brilliant idea for an episode, and it's so satisfyingly fun to watch. To put simply, it's an episode "for the fans only". As a result, I was of course hooked the entire episode.
  • This was best episoide of NIP/TUCK so far this season, i loved how it was well-written and the fact we had all chacter in Juila dream including Megan who died last season, it was great seeing her and Sean being happy.

    This was a brillant episoide of Nip/Tuck, i thought it well writen and it was brillant to see what Julia life would of been if she choose Christian, most of time when i watch Nip/Tuck i'm waiting for shocking bit but once the dream sequence started i actually was enjoy the episoide, at least now we kinda see what people dream about, Eva as a guide well Angel of Death seem amusing. i liked how they used all past chacter like megan in the episoide really made it even more enjoyable. i was so happy to Sean finally have the wife he deserves.

    unfounatly Julia still makes the same mistake. If that wasn't strange enough lesibian kiss with Eva, that really put it over the top, so i'm trying to figure it out, ok, so she was going to die, why did i get my hopes up that she would die?, i should of know they wouldn't of killed her off, but for a brief minute i was loving death dream-sequence. everyone waving bye-bye while she floating by.

    i know this might sound like a stupid question but cuts on Julia face look superifical so why doesn't she wait for them to heal? , her face only had cuts in them, i know it would of taken a month to heal, it's not like Julia has a job or anything, she has place.