Nip and Tuck
Dec. 6, 1997
Nip and Tuck
IN BEVERLY HILLS Jarod, as plastic surgeon Dr. Jarod Clay takes up a position at the local branch of the Surgicare Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in order to find out who disfigured a young girl, the violet- eyed Tricia Holmes, when she was brought to the clinic after a car accident. She had suffered facial lacerations in the accident and had been sent to the clinic for pro bono (free) care to repair the injuries, but came out with massive scarring and nerve damage that left the right side of her face warped and paralyzed.
At first Jarod believes the culprit is his bombastic, womanizing co-worker, Dr. Wade Eubanks, and tricks Eubanks into going to Tricia's home to confront him with a view of the damage done to Tricia's face. Eubanks is appalled by the damage he sees, but insists that even though he's a jerk he gives his patients 100% of his talent when he works on them. When he'd left Tricia after surgery, he says, she was calm, well-taken care of and ready to heal without scarring. The lacerations on her face caused by the accident, he says, were not severe enough to have resulted in such devastating damage. "Well, if you didn't do this to her... then who did?" Jarod wonders.
After Jarod approaches another plastic surgeon, Dr. Hoffman, who had been given a hasty promotion to the head of Surgicare's Santa Barbara branch shortly after Tricia's surgery, he discovers, through Hoffman, that the damage to Tricia's face had been done by Dr. Christine Brant, the chief of staff at the Beverly Hills branch of Surgicare. Hoffman explained that the clinic made most of its money off of wealthy and well-connected movie stars and super models, and only did the pro bono work on "county cases" (like Tricia's) because the law demanded it. On the same day Tricia came in for surgery, Hoffman tells Jarod, an actress named Monique Gibbons was being worked on by Dr. Brant. Gibbons wanted a chin implant, but when her surgery started, Dr. Brant discovered that the transplant material intended for the procedure had been damaged and was unusable. In order to keep Gibbons happy and to get the money the clinic needed (and Dr. Brant wanted), Dr. Brant went to Tricia (after Dr. Eubanks had finished with her), re-opened her face and harvested bone material from her jaw. In her haste, Dr. Brant severed the "7th cranial nerve" in Tricia's face, and left her disfigured. Hoffman admits that he had been given his promotion by Dr. Brant to keep him quiet, but had been so overwhelmed by guilt, that he'd sent Tricia anonymous gifts through the mail whenever he could. "I've felt trapped ever since," Hoffman complains. Unsympathetic, Jarod tells Hoffman to consider how Tricia felt: trapped by her own insecurities, behind a face that didn't work anymore.
MEANWHILE, AT THE CENTRE, Broots complains to Miss Parker and Sydney that he feels as though he's being followed everywhere. When he took his daughter, Debbie, to the zoo and to the ice cream parlor, he said, he felt that someone was watching them, stalking them. Coming home from The Centre one night, Broots is attacked on his front lawn. Someone shoots at him several times from surrounding bushes, but he's left uninjured, in part because Angelo -- who escaped from The Centre with a high-level access key -- is there to shove him out of the way when the bullets start flying. Miss Parker is, at first, indifferent to Broots' concerns... until she discovers that she, too, is being stalked and photographed by someone.
Angelo, we also learn in this episode, is not so much a "human sponge" as he is an "empath". Touching materials that had been handled by other people; he can feel who the people were, what they were feeling when they handled the materials, and even experience some of the feelings of the people for whom the materials were intended. All of this information is, of course, somewhat trapped behind Angelo's inability to verbally express himself with ease.
When he's given some sculptures created by Jarod, he feels "sadness... hurt... shame...” the same things Jarod, with his pretender skills, assumed Tricia Holmes was feeling about her disfigurement. (She'd been so traumatized by the way her face had been left after the surgery that she hadn't come out of her house or gone to school for months.) In another instance, when Angelo's later given bullets from the gun that was used to attack Broots, he is able to determine that they weren't intended to "kill" Broots (just to frighten him), and had been fired by Brigitte.
When Miss Parker finds out that Brigitte is trying to confuse and cull Broots from the Parker-Green team, she confronts Brigitte, and the two of them have a subdued, hands-off cat-fight in The Centre.
Miss Parker: "Get something straight. Broots may be an idiot, but he's MY idiot. The only one who terrorizes him is ME. You pull a gun on me, no big deal, because I know you don't have the ROCKS to pull the trigger. But the next time you mess with one of my team, I'll put a bullet right in your blonde bonnet."
Brigitte: "They told me you weren't a bitch."
Miss Parker: "They were being kind."
BACK AT SURGICARE, Jarod contrives a scheme to "get" Dr. Brant for the damage she did to Tricia Holmes. He fills her lipstick with anesthetic and then treats her to some high-potency champagne. Under the influence of both depressants, Dr. Brant gets woozy and disoriented and Jarod offers to drive her home. With Dr. Brant on the verge of unconsciousness, Jarod fakes a high-speed accident with the car they're in. When Dr. Brant comes to, she's in an operating room at Surgicare, and Jarod tells her she's been injured in a car crash. He promises, however, to "fix" her.
After restraining Dr. Brant to the operating table, Jarod confronts her with the evidence he's found in the Tricia Holmes case, and forces her to admit to her crime. Dr. Brant confesses and pleads with Jarod to let her go, but he refuses. There's a super-model in the next room, he tells her, who's had a bad reaction to a chemical peel and now needs skin grafts. He tells Dr. Brant that SHE'S going to be his donor. Holding a mechanical skin peeler over her face with one hand, Jarod uses his other hand to administer to her a dose of anesthetizing gas. Dr. Brant, believing that he's going to cut her skin off, screams until the gas overcomes her.
When she awakens again, Jarod is still with her, and tells her that he's done the best he could, harvesting skin grafts from her face, "considering I'm NOT a plastic surgeon. Hah!" He shows her an image of herself in a mirror: disfigured, bloodied, and scarred. She doesn't know it, but it's all a fake. The disfigurement was "manufactured" by Jarod with the use of clay-dough and catsup. He leaves her on the operating table and walks away. Newspapers later attest to the fact that she was indicted for malpractice.
Later, with some help from Jarod and through her own personal strength, Tricia Holmes -- whose damaged face is beyond being repaired -- gathers up the courage to leave her house. She walks down to the curb outside of her home where the local school bus is waiting, and is immediately greeted by schoolmates and friends who embrace her. The sight pleases Jarod, who had told Tricia previously: "When I got out, I realized what I was missing. Fresh air... trees... sunlight... Life's a gift. Nothing is worth missing out on it... I know what it's like to be on the outside, and I know that I'm stronger because of it... I know that life is a WEIRD journey, but to live it, you have to be out THERE."
BACK AT THE CENTRE, Miss Parker receives a packet of photographs of herself from the stalker. To test Angelo's skills, Sydney hands him one of the photographs, hoping that Angelo will be able to tell them who the photographer is. Angelo is so overwhelmed by feelings of rage, fear, and distress he can hardly speak. The only words he can get out are, "Angry... confused... angry..." In a huff, Miss Parker leaves, and eventually Sydney and Broots leave Angelo as well. When he's alone, and slightly more calm, Angelo clings to the photograph and starts to speak:
"...I decide who lives or dies... I decide who lives or dies..."
It is the same mantra repeated over and over again by Jarod's brother Kyle, the brother everyone thought had been killed by the FBI in a burning van. The scene switches to a make-shift dark room in a warehouse setting. We see, from above, a man standing over a table littered with photographs of Broots and Miss Parker. A close-up of the man's hand shows us the same acid-scarring that had been on Kyle's hand... but we never see the man's face.