The thing I loved about earlier seasons of Nip/Tuck -and about TV dramas in general- is that, unlike sitcoms, each episode doesn't end with resolution to the conflicts. The characters are going through some shit, and whether or not I like those characters, I want to find out what happens to them. It's what keeps the audience interested and brings them back every week, and I think that my biggest problem with Season 4 was that a bunch of crazy shit was advertised in the previews, and then all of those potential conflicts would either turn out to be ridiculously ineffective or would be resolved by the end of the episode. I'm happy to see, therefore, that this season is returning to a non-resolution pattern. Well done, writers.

This episode marks the triumphant, eagle-mangled return of Dawn Budge. As much as I enjoy unresolved plot lines, I love Rosie O'Donnell a thousand times more. (I know that a lot of people don't like her because she's fat and a lesbian and has an annoying voice and whatever, but she also seems unpretentious and chatty and like she'd be a good person to get a beer and trash-talk mutual acquaintances with. Plus she had that talk show for a few years, which managed to never get preachy and which routinely distributed Koosh balls, which, when I was 10, seemed like the third-best swag I could possibly receive from someone who was in A League of Their Own. Okay, tangent fini.) While hang-gliding, Dawn was attacked by an eagle, which ate part of her lower lip. We get some pretty awesome flash-back footage of the incident, and then some spiritual analysis about how alive she felt after narrowly escaping death, which is tonight's Theme! for those of you keeping track at home. Additional data: She's going to go into outer space in a few weeks, she loves Dr. Aiden Stone, and she notices that Kate is getting fatter by the second. Also in order to fix her face, Christian and Sean will have to sew her lips together, so she won't be able to talk for two weeks.

Speaking of fat people (which is sort of the other theme of this episode), after some customary be-shirted lovemaking, Sean finds 18 bags of peanut M&Ms by Kate's bed. In Kate's defense, they're the size bags that you get from a vending machine, not, like, the size you get at Costco or something, so all in all she probably ate about 25 M&Ms, tops. Still, since Kate's weight issues are a bigger insecurity for Sean and his rep than they seem to be for her, he gives her a talking-to about how she needs to eat less marshmallow fluff and more products from delicious, convenient, reasonably-priced, product-placed Whole Foods. She agrees, even though marshmallow fluff goes way better on a pb&banana sandwich than free-range chicken eggs.

Before Dawn goes under for surgery, she makes Sean promise to take her to the set of H&S so she can meet Dr. Aiden Stone (I can't wait until they reveal the actor-character's real name). He refuses on the grounds that she is an embarrassment. Just before they start to cut her open, Christian gets a text message from an unknown number to meet him for some sweet, paid-for lovin' at noon. Then they cut up Dawn's face in what is probably the best surgery scene so far this season, if only because there was a pretty sweet shot of a triangular chunk cut out of Rosie O'Donnell's top lip. Sweet fx, FX.

At the hotel, Christian meets with a middle-aged lady who explains to him her fantasy of tranquilizing herself, being placed in a bathtub full of ice for 20 minutes, and then being literally fucked back to life. This is all related to her sister's death and mother's subsequent suicide, and Christian demands $8k for his troubles.

Also fairly demanding is Annie, who wants liposuction on her tush because Eden convinced her that she is fat. Sean is obviously appalled by this, and Annie says that Eden said that Sean would blame her. Well, yeah, pretty much everything having to do with any sort of fall from grace is going to be blamed on Eden. That was an apt character naming, right there.

Sean visits Julia, whose hair is looking better and better every day, to suggest that Annie get some real help and maybe stop hanging out with Eden so much. Julia is sort of meh about it, until her women's rights advocate mentor Olivia storms in, all outraged that Sean is smack-talking her precious offspring. She contests that maybe Sean's career of objectifying women and being all focused on appearances has perhaps had more of an influence over Annie's self-esteem issues than her two-month relationship with Eden, which would be a legitimate argument…

…if Eden weren't coaching Annie on how to develop an eating disorder at that very moment. So here's the story with these girls, according to this scene: Eden is a (real or pretend, I can't decide) fan of a site called Ana Mia or something, which glorifies anorexia and bulimia and even has a pretty neat little tool that lets you enter your height and weight, and it tells you how many pounds you have to lose before you can attain the perfect eating disorder ratio. Very useful, but renaming eating disorders to sound like names of your friends is sooo not hardcore. Eden apparently stays thin by doing coke, but she doesn't want to share with Annie, so she convinces Annie to be bulimic. Now, the reason Annie is suddenly concerned about her body is because she likes some boy at school, but he doesn't like her. My hypothesis is that he doesn't like Annie because her face looks a lot like Matt's, and not because of any extra weight on her 13-year-old ass. Don't boys like more cushion for the pushin' anyway? Anyway, Annie tries to throw up into a trash can, but she can't, and claims it "feels terrible," which… It does not. As everyone knows, you feel terrible right before you throw up, like when you have the flu or food poisoning or drank too much. Throwing up feels like wonderful relief. Annie is such a puss. Furthermore, what happened to diet and exercise to get in shape? I mean, yes, an eating disorder is easier than that (especially bulimia, because it doesn't require the will power of anorexia or dieting), and coke is even easier than an eating disorder, but come on. Take up horseback riding or something. Eden decides that if Annie sucks too much to throw up, they'll have to move on to "plan C" (which also involves sucking).

Meanwhile, back at the office, Dawn budge gets anally fingered by a guy who is taking a stool sample to make sure she didn't get bird flu from the eagle. Needless to say, with her lips sewn together, Dawn looks just like that guy in Hocus Pocus who was poised and had his lips sewn shut by the Bette Midler witch.

A nun comes in and asks Christian for a breast reduction. Her boobs are pretty huge, and Christian obviously tries to seduce her a little bit. She tells him her sob story about how she used to be a heroin addict, and was saved by God, and is so in love with Him that now all she wants to do is devote her life to Him because everything else seems desaturated in comparison. Oh, rebirth.

Annie gets expelled from the boarding school for sucking off the kid she likes in a barn, so Sean accosts Eden about her influence on his ugly daughter, and Eden is all, "Are you mad at me for corrupting Annie, or for making you want me so bad?" And he's like, "Valid point. Please ignore my boner." Also Eden sent Annie a text message that said "Keep the faith, sis," just in case anyone forgot that faith is an important part of this episode.

When it is discovered by Sean and Christian (via Liz) that the guy who took the stool sample from Dawn is a serial… stool sample thief (?) who has hit another clinic in the area (who in turn had to pay huge settlements to their patients), Sean takes Dawn to the H&S set to appease her. While she's there, a light falls on her and she gets knocked unconscious. When she comes to, at her second rebirth in the past week, Freddy Prune is kneeling over her, and she falls in luv.

While Christian is prepping the nun for surgery, she gives him a St. Christopher necklace and tells him to try praying. He tells her his sob story about how he lost his faith when she used to pray not to get sodomized by his foster father every night, but still got sodomized anyway. The nun is like, "Just keep the necklace."

Turns out Dawn and Freddy are, in fact, in luv, and they come into the office for a consult for an ass lift for Freddy. The story is that they bone like rabbits, even though Sean and Christian (and everyone else in the world) had been under the impression that Freddy was a homosexual who was in love with Dr. Aiden Stone. I guess he and Dawn have that in common, anyway.

While this consult is going on, Sean gets a text message from Eden (signed "-Eden") that says "my throat wants ur dick." Classy. As. Fuck. I think the real difference between me and Eden is that I subscribe to the school that considers suction and tongue manipulation to be more important parts of a beej than how far down my throat I can lodge a penis. Then again, I'm bulimic, so I throw up really easily. Maybe I should switch to coke and deep throating.

A moment later, Christian also gets a text message. His is from the lady who likes to freeze herself, and it says (I'm paraphrasing), "I'm in a bath tub full of ice. Get here before I die." No pressure, though.

He hurries to the hotel, where he finds her in a tub full of ice, just like she promised. She has no pulse, he's freaking out, calls 911. They say they'll be there in 5-10 mins, and he starts praying with the St. Christopher necklace from the nun. Ice Tub is still unresponsive and seems to be mostly dead. When he hears the sirens, he resigns her to their care, and drops the necklace on her chest. As soon as he does this, she gasps and opens her eyes, and Christian is like, "The Lord doth work in mysterious ways." I think he's crying.

Post-surgery, Freddy seems a little annoyed with Dawn and her incessant jabber (her stitches have been removed), and Christian pulls her aside to try to convince her that Freddy is gay and just in it for her sweet, sweet moolah. Dawn gets all nun-like on his ass and tells him that when you really fall in love with someone, you want to give yourself to them completely. Does he know that feeling? I dunno. I wonder how he feels about his black adopted son whom we never see anymore.

Just to make sure that everyone definitely knows that Freddy is gay, the stool sample ass fingerer shows up, and he really, really enjoys it.

Sean has a conversation with his imaginary future self in which Future Sean is scraggly and had sex with Eden and lost everything because she said he raped her. He considers castrating himself. Instead he asks Kate to marry him. Same diff.
Christian goes to the nun's church to bring her a new St. Christopher necklace (22k gold, bling bling!) and to apologize for maybe not believing in God so much before. She's sort of awkward. She reminds me a lot of the girl from Saw who takes over for Jigsaw, but imdb is useless to me right now. Also, wouldn't it suck to get typecast as a recovered heroin addict? That would be weird.

Like I said, good episode. I'm interested to see how the Dawn/Freddy relationship will serve as a foil to or reflection of relationships between more primary characters. I could give a shit about the Annie/Eden thing, but I'm actually more amenable to Sean's relationship with Eden now, since I had sort of forgotten that Sean (and Christian) has a huge virgin/whore complex, and that he has a history of being extremely sexually attracted to semi-dangerous, slutty women, while the women he actually cares about tend to be boring and sort of homely (ex: breast cancer patient, Julia, Kate). I'm especially looking forward to it because, unlike Monica last season, I don't think Eden will be dispensed with as conveniently as being suddenly hit by a bus. Also, during all of the Christian scenes with Ice Tub and the nun, there was this really beautiful, simple, sort of mournful piano arpeggio soundtrack, which I thought was a nice way to remind us that Christian is actually a human person who can be sad and in need of guidance sometimes. It was especially good that they used the same music with those two characters, since the idea of using sex to bring someone back to life vs giving up sex to move on with one's life pretty succinctly describes what Christian's been doing with all his womanizing these past couple of decades.



Next week: S&M! Eden with straight hair! Kimber still looking like a reanimated corpse! Happy Thanksgiving!