Nips and Tucks
Louis Jourdan operates on some girl's face. His girlfriend, Barbara, calls him from a phone booth, advising him to "lose" the case file on a former patient. Then she pushes button in a large control panel in her purse, and a car blows up across the street.
To the office! The Angels are passing around an 8x10 of the victim, a wanted convict. Charlie explains that he completely altered his appearance courtesy of renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Redmont (Louis Jourdan), and warns that someone named Brad Collins - who he suspects is really an affiliated crook named Bill Maddox - is also about to check into Dr. Redmont's clinic for a change of face. Got it? No? Too bad.
Dr. Redmont and Barbara sip champagne and discuss a broad overview of their relationship history for our benefit; it turns out she's a former patient and he has a Pygmalion complex over her. She sells him a long, unlistenable-to story about how bad guy Collins/Maddox will "come after her" if Redmont doesn't agree to change his face.
Armed with fake credentials, Tiffany talks to head nurse Elena at the clinic and cons her way into a job as an RN, ultimately getting hired based on the fact that she bothered to look up the names of surgeries to lie about having assisted with. Elena immediately puts Tiffany in a room with their most fragile, depressed patient, a girl named Julie whose entire head is bandaged except for one eye hole.
Meanwhile, Bosley is being examined by Dr. Redmont and Kris, who's playing his cold socialite wife; she repeatedly insults his appearance and insists that he needs surgery.
Barbara and Collins/Maddox emerge from an airport terminal together, and he gives her money for killing the guy at the beginning (in case it wasn't already obvious they're in cahoots).
On the grounds of his surgery ranch, Collins/Maddox tells Dr. Redmont he wants his face changed, presenting him with a bundle of cash if "yes", and a weight machine to break his hands with if "no". Redmont agrees.
Tiffany befriends Julie by telling her the story of a little girl whose face got smashed, and then got surgery and turned out okay. She then complains to Redmont that some man stopped her when she tried to enter Collins/Maddox's room, and he explains it away as a paranoid celebrity case. She can't even get a look at the guy to confirm it's Maddox.
Kelly, posing as some ambiguous bank person, sits down with Mrs. Redmont for a chat about his affair and imminent divorce. The wife knows, and seems perfectly accepting, and her attitude doesn't change at all when Kelly confesses her real identity for no reason. Conveniently, the wife just happens to have a magazine with a photo spread of Barbara within arm's length.
Whisking the magazine away for evidence, Kelly convenes with the others in Bosley's hospital room, where Tiffany's attempting to serve her cranky patient a meager dinner of peas and orange jello. Passing the magazine around, Kelly identifies Barbara as a "homecoming queen turned explosive expert for the underground."
Barbara has a chat with Nurse Elena in her private office, where she's sitting studying an 8x10 of Collins/Maddox. "I know this face, but the name's wrong...Maddox... Bill Maddox!" She knows too much. Barbara nips this problem in the bud by clubbing Elena over the head and stuffing her body in a closet.
When Tiff gets off work, the girls gather at the office to call Charlie (because there aren't phones anywhere else on Earth) where he instructs them to continue blindly following his hunch. He tells Kelly and Kris to get an ambulance so that they can nab Collins/Maddox on his way to surgery the next day.
Bosley: "How do I look?" Tiffany: "Uh... Dr. Kildare you're not."
20 minutes before surgery, Tiff stumbles on Elena's body in the closet, which explains why she's not prepping for surgery. She loudly theorizes that Elena was killed because she recognized Maddox. While discussing this, both she and Redmont fail to notice Barbara entering the room with a gun. Barbara reasons that Tiffany seems bright, and so is qualified to take Elena's place as the anesthesiologist.
Scrubbing for surgery, Tiffany suggests to Redmont that she bleed the lines, letting ether and oxygen into the air, which would make everything go boom if someone were to fire a gun in the operating room. They literally say these words at plain volume within feet of a listening henchman, who does not object.
Kelly and Kris roll up in an ambulance, only to have Bosley explain that the whole ambulance thing didn't pan out, and Maddox is already in surgery. In a laughable Plan B, they put Kelly on a gurney and attempt to wheel her into surgery, where they're immediately stopped by a henchguard. Kelly sits up with a gun, says "Freeze," and tells Kris to tie the guy up with surgical gauze.
Meanwhile in the operating room, Tiff and Redmont refuse to operate, explaining to Barbara (the explosives expert) about the ether. Stuck, Barbara drops the gun and holds Tiff at scalpelpoint instead, ordering Redmont to go ahead with the surgery. Luckily, the rest of the gang bursts in with a gurney, knocking down another henchman and allowing Tiff to get the drop on Barbara while Kelly and Kris pose in the doorway.
After a commercial break, it's finally time to take Julie's gauze off to reveal - GASP - not only has Redmont given her a flawless face, but full makeup and freshly styled hair as well!
• In the opening surgery scene, are all the overhead lights off? And why does Redmont casually warn his nurse/anesthesiologist to be careful around the ether and oxygen, like it's an interesting trivia tidbit they didn't know? What awkward foreshadowing.
• Nurse Elena's severe makeup makes her look like something out of The Wiz.
• When Tiffany explains that she was a nurse's aide in high school, she adds that she "hasn't so much as given a back rub in 3 years." Surely this is not meant to sound like she was in high school 3 years ago? Hey, did they ever specifically say she graduated from Whitley College...?
• Why does Redmont tell Barbara the whole story of her surgery, and why and how he fell in love with her, as if this is the first time they've discussed it? She's lighting up like it's brand new information. "You mean my surgery was a success??"
• Why does Kelly correct Charlie's term "hitwoman" to "hitperson"?
• Why did Redmont's wife just happen to have the Barbara Brown magazine right there? And without the pages slashed, or X's drawn through her face? Odd.
• Why did Barbara hide Elena's body, but leave the dropped 8x10 of Maddox right there on the floor? Sloppy work, hitperson.
• Right after Tiffany picks up the Maddox picture, Redmont calls her from the other room - why does she quickly open the closet door like she was going to hide in there?
• Could Bosley's attempt to get Maddox on the gurney have been any more eyebrow-raising for the bad guys? Could he and Redmont stare at each other any longer?
• In that same scene, the cart which Tiffany had been pushing is absent from her closer shots - instead she's pantomiming holding the cart. Unfortunately it's a bit too visible, and it looks like she's making little Superman fists.
• Tiffany and Redmont discuss their plan to fill the operating room with ether and oxygen, which will cause an explosion if Barbara fires her gun. They say these words out loud in plain English, mere feet away from a henchman who has nothing else to do but listen. The only thing stupider than Tiff and Redmont's obviousness is that guy's failure to get it. Was he deaf?
• Why did Kris, Kelly and Bosley bother with the whole gimmick about putting Kelly on a gurney and pretending she was a patient? They could have saved a lot of time by just walking up to the henchman with a gun.
• Speaking of guns, why does only Kelly have one at the end?
• Hope it's not possible for metal hitting metal to make a spark - like, say, a gurney forcibly hitting the push plates on the operating room doors. Actually, Kelly could have shot Barbara and killed everybody - she didn't know about the ether situation.
• If Barbara had cut up Tiffany's face, wouldn't that just be more business for Dr. Redmont? It's kind of like threatening to smash up your mechanic's car.
• Dr. Redmont simply watched with approval when Bosley burst into the operating room and administered anesthesia to Bill Maddox. Is that something a renowned surgeon would really let a layperson do? At this point, he still thinks Bosley is just a weirdo patient who's somehow gotten into scrubs and is acting like he works there. Same for "Mrs. Bosley" who has also randomly entered the room, out of character, and dressed like an ambulance driver. There's really nothing Redmont wants to ask?
BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN
SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS
SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS
DAYS TO SOLVE CASE
Bosley bowls over a random henchman when he bursts into the operating room with a gurney. Tiffany pulls the old Angel Elbow on Barbara and wrestles her into submission by pulling her hair. She winces and groans almost as bad as Grinelda from Angels in the Backfield, even though Tiffany isn't really doing anything very painful (that we can see, anyway). Kelly and Kris pose in the doorway making "Oh Tiffany, that's precious!" faces instead of helping.
For a show so often criticized for its jiggle, this episode has everyone covered up from head to toe. Barbara and Kris wear furs multiple times, and a year after Sabrina is gone, Kris, Kelly, and even doomed anesthesiologist soul sister Elena sorta wear turtlenecks. Did Sears renew their relationship with the show after this episode?
Something subtly irritating is that Kelly and Kris' matching ambulance uniforms are not quite identical, as Kris' sweater has a cowl neck while Kelly's is sort of a mock turtleneck. Maybe only the jackets were the uniform, and they had to dig around in their closets for shirts that sorta matched. Thankfully no one at the clinic was observant enough to notice if they didn't look exactly right. Or vaguely in the ballpark. Or even in the right sport. Did 1980 EMT uniforms usually incorporate turtleneck sweaters and wedges..?
Wardrobe Repeat Kelly wears the same coat from Angel's Child.
Nips and Tucks
EEK, HIS WIFE IS A FEMBOT
Corrinne Camacho plays Dr. Redmont's long-suffering separated from wife Angela, whom Kelly tries to comfort/plug for info. Corrinne Camacho also played Fembot #2 Lynda in the classic crossover episodes Kill Oscar on the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman in 1976. Dr. Redmont apparently traded in one cold deadly killing machine with a plastic face for another (assassin Barbara). Well, at least he has a type.
GOOD HAIR DAYS
For the third and final time Tiffany gets an episode dedicated almost entirely to her, and the dynamic of her hair and usefulness are once again in full effect. With straight long hair Tiffany is able to handle herself undercover and in a physical confrontation (see Angel On Campus and Of Ghosts and Angels), but when Tiffany has poofy frizzy hair she tends to fail at both (see Angel Hunt, Angels at the Altar). This week, it's smooth sailing all around for the calm, cool and collected Miss Welles.
SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS
Tiff gets twice as much time Kelly and Kris - but at 20 minutes compared to their 10, that's still not a whole lot of attention. Over a third of the hour is devoted to Dr. Redmont and various bad guys, making Nips and Tucks one of the series' emptier episodes in terms of presence of the main cast.
- HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 64%
Why does Dr. Redmont act like Tiffany's story about her cousin was so profound and touching? Here's the entire story, because it's that short: "I knew a girl once. She was happy, outgoing. She was a beautiful girl. Until one night on the way to a a school dance, her face went through a windshield. It was two years of plastic surgery and therapy before she got her face back. And you know who she had to thank for it? A doctor, one very much like Dr. Redmont." Wow, be careful not to flesh out that idea at all, or viewers might infer something about Tiffany's background/family! We're not even sure if this is a real cousin or a pretend cousin. Julie seems encouraged, even though the story seemed to emphasize the difficult recovery more than the happy outcome. How does Dr. Redmont really intend to "use" that? This is reminiscent of that incredibly weak, tweet-sized fairy tale Kelly tells Skip in To Kill an Angel.
ALL SETUP, NO PAYOFF
After the whole subplot of Dr. Redmont's affair/divorce, and Kelly playing counselor to the abandoned Mrs. Redmont, and Bosley giving the Doc a subliminal nudge about missing his first wife, it's amazing when the episode ends without any suggestion that they might reconcile. An earlier draft of the script did put them back together at the end, but it was cut, leaving that subplot wholly unsatisfying. Not that we were riveted to the topic of the supporting characters' marriage, but it makes Kelly's scene with the wife sort of a purposeless loose end. Julie's (Rogers) marriage counseling in Island Angels will later put Kelly's efforts to shame.
The bad guys' method of intimidating/blackmailing Dr. Redmont into helping them left a lot to be desired. A big deal was made about Redmont's surgical skills, which is why he was the only one that could change the face of the wanted mob guy. Yet how do the bad guys threatren the Doctor into helping them? They say if he doesn't they will A) break his fingers or B) shoot him. Well, a broken handed dead plastic surgeon won't do the bad guys any good. Wouldnt it have been more effective to threaten a loved one, maybe? Like his wife, who they actually bothered to introduce and make sympathetic?
Again, Kelly is just really not into the whole "cover" thing anymore. Clocking in at exactly one minute, this is the fastest an Angel has ever confessed their identity (and under absolutely no duress). Her schtick is being the kind/sympathetic Angel, (sometimes), we get that, but there is a point where she could become so sympathetic that it interferes with her ability to perform certain aspects of her job. The others need to maybe put Kelly on paperwork duty from now on, instead of anything requiring the mildest deception.
This is a rare episode which has no actors recycled from other episodes.
Don Chaffey also directed Mother Angel, Terror on Skis, Angels on the Street, Angels on Skates, Angels on Campus, Harrigan's Angel, Island Angels, He Married an Angel, and Mr. Galaxy.
B.W. Sandefur also wrote Caged Angel, Cruising Angels, One Love... Two Angels, Waikiki Angels, Moonshinin' Angels, and Attack Angels.
Anna's Rating: If this episode serves no other purpose, and it doesn't, it's a boon to the character of Tiffany Welles. We got to see her being smart, competent, compassionate, funny, and even a Shelley Hack version of sorta tough (if only she'd stop turning into a 40's gangster to deliver those lines). It's one that really makes you sad that Tiff had to go back East. I'm glad they (the writers) allowed her to genuinely be good at nursing instead of blundering around for comedic effect. This should be her real career. I'm not sure why, but something about Tiffany's delivery of her cousin story always gives me an inkling that she's talking about herself. That would have been more interesting, wouldn't it? Her face is too flawless, but then so are the other patients', so why not. I loved the Kris and Bosley routine, although it makes me wish that, just once, there was a cover where he got to be mean to her instead.
Those bits aside, it's pretty lame. The only thing worse than a boring episode is a complicated boring episode. The opening office briefing grinds everything to a halt, throwing us a barrage of names and aliases when we don't even know or care what's going on yet. My brain makes the announcement, "I'm already lost - you can stay and look at the pictures if you want, but I'm out."
Louis Jourdan and Tab Hunter are some of Charlie's Angels bigger guest stars, but that doesn't help. Good episodes (according to me) are the ones about the Angels and how they investigate a case. I'd call this a poster child for the Season 4 trend of trying to focus on the actual case itself, giving the client/victim/bad guy a large share of attention, as if we're equally interested. Nobody fought over who got to play Dr. Redmont on the playground the next morning. This episode feels like when you go to the zoo and all the animals are asleep way, way at the back of the enclosure, and to compensate, the guide is trying to impress you about what kinds of imported native flora are in there. But flora is boring, and you just want to poke the leopard/Jaclyn Smith with a stick and hope they'll wake up and do something cool. But it's not their fault. It's just not one of those scripts where stuff happens.
I think it could have been improved by including the very scenes that were glossed over. Kelly and Kris "got" an ambulance. How? I'd put that in there. Target: Angels taxi theft rehash - boom, best scene of the episode. Mrs. Redmont could get angry and throw Kelly out, as she suggested. Kris trying to tie that guy up with gauze. Even Bosley sneaking around the clinic in his snowsuit - the bar isn't high.
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