Carver (Nip/Tuck)

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The Carver
Carverx.jpg
First appearance Naomi Gaines (episode 2.07)
Last appearance Quentin Costa (episode 3.15)
Created by Ryan Murphy
Portrayed by Bruno Campos
Information
Aliases Quentin Costa
Gender Male
Occupation Serial Rapist

The Carver is a fictional character on the television show Nip/Tuck. Introduced during the second season, he became the primary antagonist of the third season.

Background[edit]

The Carver is introduced in the episode "Naomi Gaines" as a masked serial rapist who disfigures, rapes, and/or kills his victims, though he has killed only one victim: Rhea Reynolds, a woman who faked being attacked by the Carver so she could get free plastic surgery. He becomes upset after Sean McNamara performs corrective plastic surgery on one of his victims. He attacks McNamara in his bathroom and cuts one side of his face. He then threatens to kill McNamara if he "fixes" any more of the Carver's "masterpieces." McNamara continues to do so, and in the second season cliffhanger, the Carver exacts revenge by attacking and raping Christian. Before raping his victims, and/or carving their cheeks down to the lip to resemble a smile, similar to the glasgow smile, the Carver tells his victims, "Beauty is a curse on the world," sometimes adding, "It keeps us from seeing who the real monsters are."

Motives[edit]

The Carver apparently believes that physical beauty is evil and feels compelled to destroy it. He has referred to beauty as a type of prison or cage that people are trapped in and believes it necessary to free such a craftsman's pride in his or her work. He also considers his resulting disfigurements "art" – a new kind of beauty to grace the world.

Victims of the carver[edit]

  • Two unknown victims prior to episode "Naomi Gaines"
  • Naomi Gaines (2.07 Naomi Gaines)
  • Mr Rourke (2.15 Sean McNamara)
  • Unknown female victim (2.15 Sean McNamara)
  • Sean McNamara (2.15 Sean McNamara)
  • Christian Troy (2.16 Joan Rivers)
  • Rhea Reynolds (3.04 Rhea Reynolds- attacked)
  • Kit McGraw (3.05 Granville Trapp)
  • Kimber Henry
  • Nine sorority girls (3.15 Quentin Costa)
  • Quentin Costa (3.15 Quentin Costa) performed by Kit McGraw
  • Gina Russo (3.15 Quentin Costa)

Hints and clues to the Carver's identity[edit]

  • Series creator Ryan Murphy had said that the Carver will be "somebody we know", and added that "It's always a horrible cheat when it's someone like a neighbor who you met once, and they're the killer."[1]
  • Murphy had said that the Carver could be a male or female.[2] In the penultimate episode of the third season, it is revealed that Quentin suffers from a 5-alpha reductase deficiency, a genetic disease that causes the afflicted to be born without a penis. This caused speculation of his being the Carver to lessen, until the last episode of the season, where it was revealed that the Carver had used a dildo to rape girls who had been having a slumber party, shifting suspicion back to him.
    • In the same interview Murphy referred to the Carver as "he" (although the word "he" is often used to identify a person whose gender is unknown): "It's an interesting character because what he's doing is really no different than what plastic surgeons are doing. They are both carving and butchering people."
  • When Christian is being held under suspicion of being the Carver, Kit says, "As a surgeon you'd know exactly where to cut without it being fatal," indicating that the Carver might be a surgeon, or at least very knowledgeable about medicine.
  • During the face transplant and beforehand, Quentin is very excited and sweaty, which is attributed to cocaine, which he is shown snorting beforehand, but is also possibly due in part to his excitement over cutting into a girl's face.
  • When Christian exposes Rhea as a fraud, we witness her surgery during which it is made apparent that she was not properly anesthetized. This seems to indicate that the Carver is punishing her and is thus someone involved in the surgery.
  • Costa was able to effortlessly disable and strike a soldiers throat, showing considerable strength and skill in close quarter combat.

Unmasking[edit]

The Carver unmasked; Quentin Costa and his co-conspirator/sister Kit McGraw

The third season's finale (Episode 3.15, "Quentin Costa") revealed the Carver to be Quentin Costa, with assistance from his sister, Kit McGraw.

Exegesis: Summary of Episode 3.15[edit]

Detective Kit McGraw brings Dr. Quentin Costa in for questioning, suspecting him to be the Carver; she subsequently finds that, due to a medical condition, Costa was born with no penis. Since all of the Carver's victims were raped, Costa is released.

The Carver attacks a group of nine sorority girls. During questioning, one victim recounts walking in on the Carver raping her sorority sister, and was able to see that the Carver did not have a real penis, but rather was wearing a strap-on dildo.

Kit and the police storm Costa's apartment only to find Costa tied to his bed, bearing the trademark cheek slashes of The Carver, and the message "I can't stop" written in blood on the wall behind him.

Once again exonerated from the suspect pool, Costa asks Christian and Sean to repair his face. After initially refusing, Christian and Sean agree to perform the surgery. During this conversation, Costa explains away some potential plot holes from earlier in the season. Specifically:

  • When Sean witnessed Costa receiving oral sex at a college party, Costa explains how he paid the girl $100 to pretend to perform fellatio on him.
  • When Costa was beginning to have 4-way sex with Christian, Kit and Kimber, he intentionally grabbed Christian's buttocks so he could end the session early and thus retain his secret.

During Costa's operation, Kit arrives with a S.W.A.T. team and arrests Liz Cruz, McNamara/Troy's anesthesiologist, as the next prime suspect. During the interrogation, Kit explains the evidence against Liz:

  • A search warrant of Liz's house led to the discovery of a strap-on dildo.
  • A receipt for an order of the same drugs the Carver uses on his victims was found at McNamara/Troy with Liz's signature on it.
  • Liz has been visiting numerous area sperm banks and therefore could have obtained Christian's sperm and planted evidence that led to Christian's arrest as a suspect earlier in the season (it is known by the viewers that Liz received a sample directly from Christian in Season 2, but not mentioned by Kit). Liz attests her innocence during questioning.

Sean checks up on Quentin in recovery. Gina, carved but not dead, is the body in Quentin's bed — seen only by the audience. The Carver suddenly appears behind Sean, injects him with the paralyzing agent and unmasks — revealing himself to be none other than Quentin Costa.

Sean awakens to find both Christian and himself tied to separate operating tables. Costa cuts off Sean's pinky finger and attempts to force Christian to cut off his own hand. Just before Christian is about to do it, Kit arrives and shoots Costa in the back. Kit tells paramedics to make sure the autopsy on Costa's body is not started without her.

At police headquarters, Kit explains to Christian and Sean that Gina (who was at the office to drop off a Christmas gift for Christian) called 9-1-1, which is why Kit showed up. Kit then explains Quentin's life story.

Costa was born with 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, a debilitating disease that left him with no penis. He also had a sister, Violet, who suffered severe facial disfigurement. Apparently both medical anomalies were a result of incest. After their parents abandoned them, the two lived in a convent in Maine. Quentin worked his whole life to become a plastic surgeon so he could fix his sister's face, but she died at the age of 29 during her final operation.

Kit leaves Miami after closing the case. While talking to Gina, Sean and Christian discover that Gina never called 911, as she was completely paralyzed after being attacked by the Carver.

In the morgue, we see a body laid out covered by a sheet. A hand removes the sheet to reveal Quentin Costa, who opens his eyes and sits up, revealing a bullet-proof vest beneath his black suit. "What took so long?" asks Costa.

Christian and Sean take a Red-eye flight to Maine to visit the convent where Costa was raised. When they mention Violet's death, the Mother Superior is confused, explaining that Quentin's sister's name isn't Violet, it is Katherine; but Quentin always called her Kit. The Mother Superior then shows Sean and Christian a Christmas card that the pair sent her three years before, which includes a photo of Quentin and Kit.

The Carver storyline ends with Quentin and Kit relaxing at a luxury hotel in Málaga. Although Kit wants to take a brief vacation, Quentin is spurred on by the sight of a woman with breast implants. The scene ends with a shot of the woman lying in a deck chair with Quentin and Kit's shadows hovering over her.

Correct guesses and a premature reveal[edit]

Prior to the finale, a few fans were able to correctly guess the identity of the Carver through the use of sound-editing programs. As a promotion for the show, FX set up a profile for the Carver on myspace.com, which included videos of the Carver espousing his philosophy. Within days, various tech-savvy audiophiles took the audio from these videos, filtered out the distortion from the Carver's voice synthesizer, and were able to reveal that at the very least, Campos was voicing The Carver.[1]

The Carver's identity was also leaked prematurely by none other than FX Networks. One day before the finale episode aired, the press section of the FX Networks website published three pictures which revealed the identity of the Carver. While the pictures were removed from the site later that evening, they had already been re-published on various fan-based message boards.

Behind the scenes[edit]

  • The Carver's outfit is made by Prada. His top is a black zip-up sweater from the Winter 2004 collection.
  • Three knives were used for filming: A sharp, shiny one used for scenes in which the Carver is just brandishing the knife; a dull one for when the Carver "slashes"; and a dull one with a built in blood tube to create a bleeding effect when the knife is pressed against skin (this prop was used in the Season 2 episode in which Sean is carved).
  • There was only one Carver mask, custom molded from porcelain and resin. Because it was so fragile, a props manager was in charge of making sure it was handled properly every time it was on the set.[2]
  • Bruno Campos wore brown contact lenses when playing the Carver to keep his blue eyes from being seen in the mask.
  • Joely Richardson lost a $100 bet to Campos over the Carver's identity. Apparently, she couldn't believe it would be him. He claims to have framed the check.

Real-life similarities[edit]

  • The Carver's modus operandi is somewhat similar to the urban legend of the Smiley Gang, a group of six men who offered their victims the choice of being raped or having an "eternal smile" cut into their faces. This hoax, predominantly spread by email, spread fear among teens and their parents in both Holland and Belgium in late 2003.[3] The key difference is that the Carver offered his victims no choice; he both cut and raped them.

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

See also[edit]