Season 3 Episode 8

Tommy Bolton

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 08, 2005 on FX
out of 10
User Rating
242 votes

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Episode Summary

Sean has feelings for Nikki Moretti. Quentin goes after Julia and she welcomes his attention. Christian has a down-syndrome patient who wants to look like the rest of his family. Christian meets with his birth mother again.

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  • Missing Family

    Christian: vuelve a encontrarse con su madre dispuesto a formar parte de su vida, regalándole una cirugía. Ella acepta a regañadientes para terminar luego diciéndole a su hijo mayor que ya tiene a su familia y Christian, a pesar de ser su hijo, es parte del pasado horrendo pasado.

    Quentin: decidido a hacer negocios con Julia va a donde ella y la invita a cenar (¡¡¡eso no es bailar tango por dios!!!). Puede ser que Costa sea tan creepy?

    Sen: definitivamente desbarrancó. No sabe que hacer con su vida y en esa debacle invita a los testigos a su casa a pasar una semana así no se siente tan solito. Deprimente.moreless
  • The Son Also Rises

    Christian's attempts to connect with his mother were so sad. You could see that Christian was trying his hardest in every way to be a perfect son and create a trusting relationship with her, even if he sometimes went a little too far (like offering Gail plastic surgery -- not a good idea!). As much as it hurt him in the end, it was understandable that Gail wouldn't want him in her life. Piecing together your life after such a terrifying attack, only to have a remnant of said attack come back unexpectedly when you'd moved on would be so difficult to go through.

    Kimber's scene with Gail was also really poignant. She also wants a mother figure in her life, and completely turned up at the wrong moment. I really loved the quick moment where everything went silent after her speech and she clicked her heel back on the ground. Kinda like coming back down to reality after having such extreme expectations of what was going to happen. Just a perfect little moment in a storyline filled with sadness.

    Strangely, Matt actually made a point this episode. While he still acted like a complete tool in his scene with Julia and Quentin, his reaction to Sean, Nicole and Austin was priceless. Sean is clearly making his houseguests be his new family, and Matt was right in saying that Sean failed the first time round, so just picked up a new dysfunctional family to be part of.

    Julia and Quentin's relationship felt a little forced, and their tango scene was like something out of a bad '80s movie. Elsewhere, I really liked the Tommy Bolton story, which was really sweet. I keep seeing how Christian and Quentin are becoming like Sean and Christian, except with Christian now being the headstrong, responsible one, and Quentin the irresponsible player. It's an intriguing twist on the show's dynamic.

    An excellent episode featuring several emotionally-charged and beautifully-written storylines. While there are still stories that ring false and feature lazy scriptwriting, the old-style Nip/Tuck genius is still there.

    Director: Guy Ferland

    Writer: Brad Falchuk

    Rating: B+moreless
  • Sean: “That’s what families are for, breaking our hearts” Nicole: “And putting them back together again”.

    After a not so ideal family reunion, it was only natural for Christian to try once again to establish a relationship with his mother.

    I really do like Gail, and I was disappointed that things couldn’t work between her and Christian. I completely understand her paradox, she wants to reconnect with her son, but it’s hard to do that when every time she looks at him he is “a living reminder” of the pain she felt. Christian did jump into the situation a little too fast also, but you can’t help feel sorry for him. He looked liked a small, jubilant child during all of his conversations with Gail, and it’s just horrible to see him get his hopes up to only get them crushed.

    I’m not sure how I feel about Quentin and Julia in a relationship. They obviously have chemistry, showed by their fiery tango, and I did like Quentin defending Julia to Matt’s disrespectful behavior. Quentin’s always just rubbed me the wrong way a little bit, and I feel like there’s a different side of him he’s not showing.

    Speaking of hidden selves, an interesting side of Nicole was revealed as we found out that she committed premeditated murder on her husband. It adds a new, intriguing, layer of depth to the character, knowing that she was able to shoot her husband straight in the head. Sean has become extremely attached to Nicole (sharing a bed? Come on now), and I wonder if this will change his actions towards her.

    Final Notes and Quotes

    - No Liz or Gina today despite heavy mention.

    - Character Tidbits: Christian’s mother is a midwife.

    - Matt was just trying to stir up trouble by telling Sean about Quentin’s sleepover at Julia’s.

    - Outstanding Performance of the Week: Julia McMahon did an excellent job, as well as the actress who played his mother; they had great chemistry.

    - Christian: “You can get through anything if you want to."

    Gale: “Not if you have a living reminder of your pain coming over for dinner every night."

    Final Rating: Much better then the last couple of episodes. 3 out of 4 stars.

    - Tim Bronx

    Find this and many other reviews at: www.motionpicturereviews.commoreless
  • The Ties That Bind

    On to Tommy Bolton, which is a problematic episode for a number of reasons. Not least because I feel I must be a hard-assed cynic because, rather than being moved by it, I feel annoyed by the blatant sentimentality on display. Nip/Tuck's not about sentiment, dammit! The main theme of this episode is 'family: the ties that bind' and familial bonds in various ways are constructed, replaced and destroyed throughout the episode.

    The patient-of-the-week is a man with Downs Syndrome who wants surgery to make him look like the rest of his family (who are non-Downs). Christian- noticing the strong family bond that the Boltons have and that he lacks- sympathises with Tommy's predicament but receives short shrift from Quentin who refuses to give any kind of discount to the family. I personally don't see any need for Quentin to be quite so much of a jackass in this scene, but clearly writer Brad Falchuk does. Quentin suggests getting involved with De La Mer, but Christian refuses, dismissing Liz, Gina and Julia as 'a dyke, a whore and a housewife' (a wicked moment of wit in a fairly underwritten episode). Quentin goes ahead and invites Julia to dinner (whilst appearing to be under the influence of an illegal narcotic- a fairly random thing to just throw in), they dance a rather sexy tango and Quentin ends up staying the night- but nothing happens. A deal is sealed where McNamara/Troy will provide patients and Quentin and Julia decide to date, despite Julia's reservations regarding Sean and the business.

    Sean meanwhile is too busy with his surrogate family. After Austin and Nikki's surgeries, Sean is asked to leave the room whilst Dr Sagamore tells them where they'll be living. Austin freaks out, runs off and goes missing, causing Nikki to panic. Sean admits to giving him his address. They go there to find Austin there (quite how he traveled two hours is a mystery never fully explained). Nikki and Sean have a beer and discover Austin has fallen asleep. Rather than taking them back to the compound, Sean offers to put them up for the week whilst they finish healing and before their new safe-house is ready. Nikki agrees, but freaks out herself after Sean gets a hang-up phonecall. She disappears for a few hours but returns to the house. She and Sean share a bed so they can be 'not alone' and accommodate Austin too. What a happy 'family'. But in a rip-off of Basic Instinct, the camera pans beneath the bed to reveal... Nikki's bought a gun. Oh dear. The scene where the three of them are baking cookies and Matt turns up (three episodes off haven't changed him- he's still a snide pain-in-the-arse, first giving some cheek to Julia and Quentin then insulting Sean) is vaguely amusing. But perhaps the best scene involving this rather weak storyline comes at the end of the episode: interrupting the idyll, Dr Sagamore has tracked Sean down and he's got some news for our lovelorn plastic surgeon- Nikki Morretti is a murderer. The Mafia didn't gun down her husband; she did. Now doesn't that put the cat amongst the pigeons? Some further good work by Bob Gunton really can't help to save a rather flabby storyline. It was in this episode that I began to suspect Anne Heche was only cast as Nikki due to her passing physical similarity to Joely Richardson.

    Back to the patient-of-the-week and his parallels to Christian. After the initial consult with Tommy and his parents, Christian decides to contact his birth mother Gail and see if they can be a part of each other's lives. Gail seems to be willing to do this at first, even accepting an offer of surgery from Christian to smooth out the lines. When in the consult, Gail reveals she has two more kids- a boy and girl- and it is made clear they know nothing about what happened to her when she was a teenager. During the consult, Kimber turns up all full of excitement (as new brides-to-be are wont to do) and is really friendly to Gail, which seems to make her quite uncomfortable. Christian also meets his half-brother Max who is attempting to get in to the University of Miami, which Christian says he can fix as an alumnus of the school and proceeds to do so. Max, over the moon, invites Christian to his graduation party on the weekend. The next time Christian is at the surgery, Tommy and his brother and sister come to visit. They want to help out with the cost towards Tommy's surgery. It is at this time that Christian notices a genetic similarity between the members of the family- a pronounced bump on their nose. He suggests giving Tommy a 'Bolton bump' as they call it, which is good enough for him. Another good use of music as Tommy's surgery happens- 'It's A Family Affair' (Sly & the Family Stone)- which is interspersed with shots of Christian putting together a family album. Tommy is really happy with his new bump, happy that he looks like his dad. But just as Christian thinks he's getting close to his new family, Gail shuts him out. She has decided it's too painful to do, that she can't be Christian's mother, that a living reminder of her torment coming to dinner on a Friday night would be too much. She closes the door on him and Christian is left on the outside looking in at another happy family. He leaves the photo album behind and walks off. By far, it is Christian's story which is the strongest in the episode. There is particularly good work by Julian McMahon exploring Christian's sensitive side, and another knockout performance by Kathy Baker as Gail. In the final scene, where she explains why she's shutting him out, her performance is really affecting.

    As an episode, Tommy Bolton is not a bad one. It's just not a good one. Unfortunately, the sum of its parts doesn't add up to a whole, despite some very good performances with a fairly bland script. A few moments really shine- the final scene between Christian and Gail, Quentin and Julia's tango and Sean's final showdown with Sagamore- but generally it's quite a standard offering. At this point, I was hoping for something extreme to rescue the series from descending into mediocrity.

  • Family is the most precious we have to preserve!

    "Tommy Bolton" is an episode about keeping a union together. That union is supposed to give us confidence, love and affection. Those are families that we cannot get on with our lives without feeling the necessity of their existence.

    Nikki and her son, Austin are fugees from their cursed past and they found the real closeness in Sean's life. Sean, in search for his life, caught in the magic of "being a family" again. Christian is in search for his family, too and he wanted a slow and family life with his birth mother and getting married with Kimber is supposed to give him a family.

    Tommy's story had struck me the most. Having a Down Syndrome is a scratch in your genes and had such effects physically and psychologically. These people are retarded from daily life on basis and they should not be avoided from it and must not be neglected. His family's attention for him is a precious gift for him and this is reflected so well.moreless
Kathy Baker

Kathy Baker

Gail Pollack

Guest Star

Jessica Anne Bogart

Jessica Anne Bogart

Tom's Aunt

Guest Star

Jordi Caballero

Jordi Caballero

Quentin Dance DBL

Guest Star

Linda Klein

Linda Klein

Nurse Linda

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Music:
      "Whatever Lola Wants" {Gotan Project Remix} by Sarah Vaughn (Quentin visits Julia at De La Mer)
      "Por Una Cabeza" by The Tango Project (Julia/Quentin at dinner, talk about business, they dance)
      "Family Affair" by Sly & The Family Stone (Tommy Bolton's rhinoplasty surgery, Christian putting together photo album)

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Christian makes a subtle play on words in referring to Julia's business, De La Mer, as 'De La Merde'. The former is French for 'of the sea', while the latter replaces 'sea' with 'sh*t'.

    • Sean: Who cares where she spends her last few days before she's sent off into the abyss?
      Dr Sagamore: You should! And if you'd bothered to look further than where your dick reaches, you'd see that the woman you so casually invited into your home is not what she seems.

    • Sean: Your bedside manner leaves something to be desired.
      Dr Sagamore: You've never been in combat, Dr. McNamara. Following protocol saves many more lives than being sensitive.

    • Tommy Bolton: I got Down Syndrome. Its not my fault. I was born this way. I did not choose this. And what I want is to look like (takes out a family picture) the people that I love. What's wrong with that?
      Christian: Nothing. (looks at picture) I can see why you want to. You have a very nice-looking family. You're lucky.
      Tommy Bolton: Why? Your family is ugly, Dr Troy?

    • Quentin: This business needs to be a bullet train, not the Little Engine That Could.

    • Christian: De La Mere is a glorified massage parlour. And once everyone find out its proprietors are a dyke, a whore and a housewife, those three 'businesswomen' will be stuck giving rub and tugs just to keep their client list up.

    • Gail: (to Christian) My kids don't know about you. There are some places inside you where children don't ever need to go.

    • Nikki: (in bed) Do you wanna stay? No strings. Just not alone.
      Sean: Not alone sounds great right now. (gets into bed next to her)

    • Dr Sagamore: Mrs Morretti's husband wasn't killed because he was talking to us. She killed him because he found out she was. We'd invested enough in her to give her immunity but this is not the victim of unfortunate marital circumstance.This is a woman who bought a gun, got her husband drunk on cheap chianti and blew his head off.

    • Christian: I grew up in foster homes with nothing. Now I have a life. I have a fiancee, friends, a business. You can get through anything if you want to.
      Gail: Not if you have a living reminder of your pain coming over for dinner every Friday night. I have worked hard to build walls around my family so that none of that ugliness that your father did to me would ever get in and stain us.
      Christian: Is that what I am to you? A stain?
      Gail: No. You're my son. But I can't be your mother.

    • Matt: (to Quentin) Look, just because you worked on my face doesn't mean you can tell me what to do. Comprende ese?

    • Sean: That's what families are for -- breaking our hearts.
      Nikki: And putting them back together.

  • NOTES (4)