Nip/Tuck delivered early Christmas gifts this year, both figuratively and literally. The usually sordid plastic surgery doc-opera revealed a more spiritual side in last night’s episode–while still managing to keep the “ick” factor high.

Mrs. Kringle–one half of a Santa-and-Mrs.-Claus team–comes into the doctors’ office to get a little liposuction before the big mall season. The Kringles, who changed their names legally, feel that a fat Santa and Mrs. Claus are sending the wrong health message to America’s children. So they have lost a combined 200 pounds, though now Mrs. Kringle is looking to surgery to shed those last, impossible 15 pounds. But while performing the lipo, Drs. Troy and McNamara run across an anomaly and discover that Mrs. Kringle is carrying a lithokelyphos–a petrified fetus–in her abdomen. After its removal, she asks to see her child and is handed a swaddling blanket that surrounds the specimen jar it’s floating in. It’s an absolutely heartbreaking scene, mirroring, in a sad, round-about way, the Virgin Birth. The Kringles, it turns out, had been told that they would never be able to have kids, leading them to embrace the Claus personas as a way to celebrate the holidays with children.

But there’s a lump of coal in this stocking. As it turns out, Mr. Kringle is the one with the procreation problem, weak sperm; Mrs. Kringle, who was fertile all along, had a one-time fling with Mr. Kringle’s 18-year old assistant some 15 years ago. Mrs. Kringle doesn’t like being jolly all year round, and longs to be a normal, middle-aged, sometimes-grumpy wife, with a man who pays attention to her and not just to all the children who adore him. She and Mr. Kringle end up parting ways, but Mr. K finds himself a 20-something elf who shares his Christmas spirit, whom he rewards with some double-D implants to stuff her stockings, so to speak.

In a different storyline, Julia, ex-wife of Dr. Sean McNamara and owner of the De La Mar spa, finds out she’s pregnant with her ex-husband’s baby, and schedules an abortion for Christmas Eve. Sean drives her to the clinic, yet they decide to keep the baby–mirroring the “birth” theme established with the Kringles.

The show keeps the Yuletide ‘tude going with its third storyline, which focuses on Matt, the somewhat-estranged son of Julia and Sean (though regular viewers know he’s actually Christian Troy’s kid). Matt’s white-supremacist girlfriend is disgusted by an African-American crèche displayed at their high school, in which all the figures are dark skinned. She feels they need to “defend” the story of the birth of Jesus. She and Matt–who feels the whole Christmas story is a made-up fairy tale but begrudgingly helps her anyway–kidnap the figurines, paint them white, and return them to the school. The show ends poignantly, with a heavy rain washing the white paint off the members of the nativity.

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