“Private Practice”, Season 5, Episodes 8 & 9: Review

Who We Are

The Seaside Wellness group stages an intervention for a defensive and volatile Amelia, who has resurfaced after disappearing on a 12-day drug binge with her boyfriend, Ryan. During the intervention, Amelia mercilessly attacks her friends one-by-one, and Addison, in particular, has trouble seeing her sister-in-law in her present condition.

The Breaking Point

Amelia makes the hard decision to enter a rehab facility, and finds strength in an 18 year-old girl, as they both go through the painful detox process. Meanwhile, Cooper’s strengthening bond with his son is tested by his allegiance to a patient in need, Pete and Violet’s marriage reaches a tipping point, and Addison collapses from her rigorous fertility treatments.

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This season episodes of Private Practice up to # 7 hinted that Amelia was on a serious downward spiral. Episode 8 opens with Amelia returning to work after a 12-day binge as though nothing happened. She seems unaware of her colleagues’ confused stares.  It turns out that Amelia has no clue that she’d been gone that long. Her co-workers are relieved and angry. After Amelia admits that she was doing “bad things,” and the group suspects that she’s still using drugs, an intervention is planned. However, the practice’s effort to get Amelia into rehab only results into her angrily lashing out at those expressing care and concert and her leaving with her boyfriend, Ryan. It is actually Ryan’s death after they get high one last time before getting clean that provided the rock bottom moment necessary for Amelia to agree to check into rehab. In episode 9, while Amelia is in rehab, Addison keeps trying to get pregnant, Violet considers leaving Pete, and Cooper struggles to balance his son with a patient.

I think that the portrayal of a drug addict in the middle of traumatic relapse and hitting rock bottom is honest and real. Amelia is not villainized, and Sam and Jake debate whether addiction can be called a diseases, and issues are explored, such as what causes addiction, how trauma can affect a person, and the emotional toll such an issue takes. As someone who has also gone through a similar thing, Charlotte can understand what Amelia is going through better than any other character on the show and, therefore, talk to her as a peer, so Charlotte can be a great resource for Amelia.

Jake gets some back story in “Who We Are” and I’m happy they made him a more three dimensional with his grief over the loss of his wife and his commitment to raising her daughter. Learning that his wife was an addict sheds some light on where his perspective on how addiction should be handled comes from and makes his argument with Sam more interesting. His conversation at his wife’s grave about how he feels he has finally found a family at the practice is touching. The doctors at the practice, despite all of their flaws, are a family and when they remember that, they are at their best.

Cooper has the patient of the week, a boy, Toby, suffering from Lupus who lives in a group home with forty other kids and, therefore, needing a lot of treatments but lacking a real support system. In “The Breaking Point,” Cooper is confronted with something he has never thought of before, that is how his job interferes with his daddy time. Cooper misses Mason’s first school play because he’s at the hospital with Toby, and Mason is pretty upset. It is a good thing for Cooper that he has a son who is more mature and understanding that anyone would give a kid credit for, and after Cooper has explained it to him that sometimes the really sick kids need him more than Mason because they may not have anyone else, Mason comes to the hospital and introduces a recovering Toby to Pokémon.

However, not every family is bound to survive. Pete and Violet are barely speaking to each other and they come together only for Lucas. Violet spends the hour obsessing over Addison’s IVF treatments to distract herself from the darkness of her marriage. Pete spends the hour complaining about Violet to Sam to distract himself from the darkness of his marriage. Pete admits to Sam that he isn’t sure if he wants to spend the rest of his life married to Violet, but he doesn’t know if he can leave. Luckily for him, Violet eventually understands that Pete is staying out of obligation, like he did with his first wife and makes the decision to leave him because he couldn’t do it. Hopefully, once they have separated, they can be better people for it and eventually even interact better.

Things also do not look good for Addison and Sam. She is determined to have a baby and decides to give IVF treatment another go, after the first treatment didn’t take. He wants her, but does not want to raise another child, and he is worried and frustrated when Addison collapses from a side effect of the IVF treatment. Addison can compartmentalize her relationship with her efforts to get pregnant, but she can’t do so for a baby, so her dream of becoming a mother will probably spell the end of them as a couple, if it comes true.

Benjamin Bratt at the 2011 American Music Awards

Yesterday (Sunday, November 20), Benjamin Bratt attended the 2011 American Music Awards. Photos are at

Getty Images > Benjamin Bratt > CA: 2011 American Music Awards – Arrivals

Getty Images > Benjamin Bratt > CA: 2011 American Music Awards – Arrivals 2

Getty Images > Benjamin Bratt > CA: 2011 American Music Awards – Red Carpet

Getty Images > Benjamin Bratt > CA: 2011 American Music Awards – Red Carpet 2

Getty Images > Benjamin Bratt > CA: 2011 American Music Awards – Red Carpet 3

Getty Images > Benjamin Bratt > CA: 2011 American Music Awards – Show

Getty Images > Benjamin Bratt > CA: 2011 American Music Awards – Roaming Show

Benjamin Bratt Presenting at the 29th Annual American Music Awards

Benjamin Bratt is among the presenters scheduled to appear at the 2011 American Music Awards, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The 2011 American Music Awards will air live on ABC from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, on Sunday, November 20, at 8/7 c.

The Hollywood Reporter: 2011 American Music Awards

“Private Practice”, Season 5, Episode 7: Review

Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough

Amelia’s drug addiction accelerates as she begins writing herself prescriptions; Jake and Addison face an impossible choice; Violet returns to work.

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Amelia’s addiction is spiralling out of control. She’s smoking, shooting up, waking up hungover and naked in a hotel room full of strange men. Charlotte tells the practice that she believes Amelia is using again, and most react that there isn’t much she can do unless she wants help. A very worried Sheldon frantically calls police friends and the morgue trying to locate her. I only wish that she knew how concerned he was, but I doubt that would even matter, as she is just not herself right now and is bitter with everyone who dares ask if she’s OK and offer their help, help she desperately needs.

Elsewhere, there are two patients whose storylines are intertwined. Shannon – Jake’s patient – is brain dead following a car accident and 16-week pregnant. Leanne – Sam’s patient – is the mother of two and needs a heart transplant. Sam and Jake fought over donating a patient’s organs and saving the patient’s healthy unborn baby’s life. I don’t think this was a question where there could be a wrong or right answer and I’m not suprised when the doctors bring their personal baggage to work and the line between personal feelings and patient care becomes blurred. Considered that the best they could hope for was a premature birth, possibly entailing a lot of complications, and Shannon’s estranged husband, Doug, unaware that his wife was pregnant, I thought it was obvious the heart would eventually go to Leanne, but Jake only wanted to give Doug the opportunity to decide if Shannon should be kept alive in order to allow the fetus more time to become viable, so I was glad the doctors agreed to wait for the baby’s father to arrive and let him decide. I found it unethical of Sam to talk to Doug about organ donation before Jake could speak to him. In the end, after Jake has laid out the facts for him, Doug opts to let Shannon go and Leanne get her new heart.

Meanwhile, Cooper and Mason continued to bond and Charlotte made some headway with Erica and Mason. Remembering when she spat on a six year old in defense of her son made Erica realize that Charlotte – untactful as she was when she offered Erica money to stay away from Cooper’s life – did what she did to protect Cooper and she has to trust Copper didn’t marry a monster, if she wants the relationship between Cooper and Mason to keep growing. With the help of Wii Tennis, Charlotte scored some brownie points with Mason.

Violet returns to work (officially, as unofficially she has never left the practice), but the condition is that Sheldon has to oversee her patient appointments, and I liked how hard Violet works prove to Sheldon that she will do whatever it takes to get her license back. I also liked how Pete and Violet are now trying to stop bickering and mend their relationship.

“Private Practice” Season 5, Episodes 5 & 6: Review

Step One

Without Sam’s knowledge, Addison starts her in vitro fertilization treatments. Amelia is at odds over what to do when her friend Michelle wants help ending her life. Sam and Violet have their hands full with a patient won’t take his anti-psychotic meds.

If I Hadn’t Forgotten…

In her progress toward motherhood, Addison makes a decision on a sperm donor. Charlotte’s past comes back to haunt her while Amelia’s behavior continues towards recklessness. Cooper has to deal with parents who are giving their child drugs to control what they think is ADHD. Trust issues keep Pete from accepting Violet back into his life.

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Step One is an appropriate title for this season fifth episode of Private Practice. Addison is literally at step one of his fertily treatment in this episode, but the other characters take step of their own, too, and we are put through a whole series of emotions (sorrow, worry, anger, indignation, etc.).

Two patients show up at Oceanside Wellness in this episode, but neither of them are actually seeking care from the practice. One is Michelle, the friend of Amelia’s with Huntington’s Disease that we first met last season. After a trip to Italy, Michelle is starting to show symptoms of the degenerative disease and asks Amelia to help her end her life, as they agreed upon. In a sense, you can see her point – her mother also suffered from Hungtington’s Disease, so Michelle knows all too well what she can expect to happen to her -, but I think it is easier to accept to end someone’s life who’s writhing in a hospital bed and who seek a doctor’s help because they can’t get out of bed rather than a healthy looking young woman. Considered her level of mobility, you might wonder why Michelle doesn’t commit suicide, unless she hopes Amelia, as a doctor and a friend, can either make sure she dies painlessly and peacefully or give her very good reasons to keep on living. Amelia seeks advice from Pete (who had been through a similar experience) and Sheldon: they tell her there is nothing gentle, sweet, and no relief in death and remind her that it is illegal to end someone’s life in California, even if you were asked to, and ask her to take back the word she gave to Michelle. Amelia appears to hear Pete, but goes to Michelle with syringes that contain a drug cocktail that will kill her (I wonder whether Amelia was sure they wouldn’t find the deadly injected drugs and realize it wasn’t an overdose of pills in the autopsy of her friend). But when Michelle has a bad reaction to the first injection and asks Amelia to stop. Amelia calls 911 and accompanies her to the hospital, where Pete takes over care and saves Michelle’s life. Meanwhile Sheldon yells at Amelia for being self-destructive and involving him in her crime. The no drinking-no suicide pact Amelia and Michelle ultimately make is sweet, but Amelia coming home to find Michelle dead from an Oxycodone overdose came as no surprise.

The second patient is Wes, a schizophrenic and a former patient of Violet’s. Believing Violet had abandoned him, Wes went off his meds. He’s in the middle of a complete psychotic break, but his mother doesn’t want to force him to take the medications or commit him, out of fear of losing his trust and squashing his artistic tendencies, so she gives him money and pins her phone number to his jacket, and let him go his way. Mental illness is never easy to deal with. It’s not a happy ending to offer no concrete solution, no good option for his mom that would allow to treat Wes so that he could live a normal life without affecting his personality, but it did make it seem more realistic. Violet sees Wes’s suffering, regrets not being able to help him, and tells Pete she’s going to fight the medical board over her license suspension. Pete actually tells her that he likes how she cares for her patients.

Addison has begun her IVF treatment with hormone shots. The hormones make her very emotional. Jake advises her that she shouldn’t do this alone and should “bring Sam on her team”. She does tell Sam, who once again states that he doesn’t want to raise another child, but loves and supports her. However, I don’t know how much longer they will be together, as their relationship seems to be based more on the physical attraction than shared wants and needs.

Cooper attempts to bond with a skeptical Mason. Erica has made it clear that she doesn’t want to tell him Cooper is his father yet. It shouldn’t be a mystery why Mason is a little weirded out be hanging out with this doctor insisting he’s not dating his mom. But Mason is smarter than everyone thinks and flat out asks if Cooper is his dad. Erica and Cooper confirm it, and all Mason asks is for Coop’s word he won’t disappear.

If I Hadn’t Forgotten… was an eventful, powerful and entertaining episode.

The fantasy sperm ball draft board was utterly funny. It was interesting and amusing to hear Cooper, Sam, Sheldon and Addison weighing the donors’ statistics and expressing their points of views and reasoning for choosing their ‘picks,’ from geologist to classical musician, to an activist to a Greek. What I found very odd is Addison also listening to Sam’s advice on the sperm donor to pick, considered he won’t parent with her.

Cooper has the only patient of the week, a little boy named Ollie, and he makes a very good job in a difficult situation. His parents have diagnosed him as ADHD. Cooper and Sheldon want to run more diagnostic tests, but his parents are overly anxious for an ADHD diagnosis and medication prescription.  It turns out the parents were medicating Ollie with his older brother’s (who was diagnosed with ADHD) prescription in order secure a fake ADHD diagnosis so that he could benefit from the educational accommodations ADHD students are entitled to. After spending some time with Mason, who pouts over B+ grades, Cooper understands the pressure Ollie must be facing, so he confronts his parents and tells themhe’ll report them to the police for child abuse, if they continue to drug their son.

Amelia is a mess and near rock bottom. After waking up next to a stranger, arriving late at work, she ends up blowing off work to spend the day in bed with her new drug addicted friend. When Charlotte shows up at her door, rather than listen or talk, Amelia, feeling harassed, simply quits.

Amelia’s behaviour brings back memories Charlotte must not be very fond of. The flashbacks gave us insights into Charlotte’s past and drug history and we learn the when and why behind how Charlotte became hooked on painkillers, making it easy to understand why she’s so desperate to help Amelia and she won’t let go of her.

Meanwhile, the medical board agreed to revisit Violet’s case, so she is working with a lawyer to get her one-year suspension overturned. Pete’s sick of Violet analyzing him and blows up at her. I know Violet can be irritating and I can understand not wanting to be psychologically analyzed by your wife, but lashing out at her every time she tries to talk is frustrating. I was hoping Pete and Violet were on their way to solving their problems after he complimented her for how much she cared about her patients, but it seems not to be the case yet.