Private Practice, Season 5, Episodes 1 & 2: Review

God Laughs

Sam, Cooper, Charlotte and Amelia team up to save the life of their friend Pete after he suffers a heart attack, while Violet, who was in the middle of leaving Pete and LA, is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, Addison’s desire to have a baby leads her to see Jake Reilly, her recent mystery man, in a most surprising place, and Sheldon tries to help Amelia in her battle with alcohol.

Breaking The Rules

The Oceanside Wellness doctors interview potential replacements for Naomi, including Jake Reilly, and no one understands Addison’s resistance to hiring him; Cooper breaks the law and crosses his wife, Charlotte, in an effort to get cord blood for a young, sick patient; and Pete directs his post-heart attack frustrations towards Violet.


Private Practice season 5 picked up right where season 4 left off, with Pete suffering a heart attack and Violet in the airport waiting out a flight delay. God Laughs finds Addison talking to a therapist about her life and finally making an appointment with a fertility specialist, who turns out to be Jake Reilly, the charming mystery man she had flirted with. However, the real action involves Pete’s heart attack, Violet’s encounter with an abused wife and her decision to return to Pete, and Amelia’s fall off the wagon into booze.

Stuck at the airport, phone battery dead, Violet overhears an argument between a husband and wife.  As the husband leaves to get coffee, Violet strikes up a conversation with draws the wife, Joanna, who confesses that her husband hit her during an argument, but he’s never done it before (it’s curious how it seems to be easier to tell a complete stranger about one’s troubles rather than a friend or a relative). Violet tells Joanna that even a single abusive incident is not okay and advises her to seek help and safety. She also stresses how important it is for her to talk to someone and not keep the incident to herself, but Joanna struggles with her husband’s plea to not throw away years of marriage over one incident. However, there are also things in the conversation that remind Violet that she has it good with Pete, and she shouldn’t leave him.

Meanwhile, Cooper stops by Pete’s house after he didn’t show up for his shift at the hospital only to find him sweaty and unconscious and gets him to the hospital in what appears to be the nick of time.  Sam and the rest of the team work to save Pete’s life.  His heart is in trouble and neurological problems ensue. A reluctant Charlotte has no choice but to let Amelia (whom we had seen drunk and dancing on a table in bar earlier in the episode) perform brain surgery while Sam does a quadruple bypass.

Luckily, Pete pulls through and Violet makes it to his side.  She tries to apologize for their fight and the way she left. He is in a state of post-surgery/recovery euphoria and tells her that everything is okay, but how willing is he going to be to forgive and forget once the loopiness wears off? Even Cooper tells her he’s angry with her for trying to run away from her husband and her problems.

In the waiting room, Addison shows her motherly instincts by cradling and feeding Lucas (proving she will make for a loving mother, if she ever gets to have the baby she so much desires, I guess). I found the conversation she had with Sheldon about what the consequences of seeing his father falling victim of a heart attack will be and what Pete’s possible death would mean for Lucas was surreal, or perhaps expressing their worries for the kid hides their bigger worries for their friend in surgery…

A final word on the title of the episode, God Laughs, which sounds like an excellent one, because it does looks like every time plans are made, reality (or God, chance, fate) will step in to mess with them, reminding us that life is messy.

The second episode of Private Practice starts with Addison back in the faceless shrinks office, setting what seems like an opening theme for this season. However, Private Practice returned with its second episode of the season suggesting that it isn’t always easy telling right from wrong and some of the Oceanside Wellness doctors were caught “Breaking the Rules” to help their patients

Carrie is a young leukemia patient of Cooper’s whose only remaining hope is a cord blood donor. As there is no match in the public record, Cooper sneaks into Charlotte’s office and hacks into her computer to find a private donor. Cooper visits a family to plead his case, but having lost one of their two children, the family isn’t interested in letting go of something that maybe could one day be there to help her other child. Cooper goes ahead with the transfusion, including forging the consent form. That’s just it, though. In the first episode, Amelia cut into Pete’s head when she clearly had a couple of drinks prior to the surgery. Both Cooper and Amelia were lucky and their patients survived, but I can see why Charlotte was livid and said she won’t let Amelia into an operating room unless she is sober or cover for Cooper again. I want to root for doctors saving lives, but Charlotte’s right: doctors can’t break rule after rule (and rules are there for a reason, often a good one) without consequence.

Meanwhile, Pete comes back to work early, obviously going stir crazy at home. But Violet doesn’t notice any of this, and is in hover/nurse mode over him. He shows sign of strain with the other doctors, but eventually snaps at Violet. Sheldon (who also stepped up and talked to Charlotte about her relationship with Amelia) tells her that he needs a therapist and it can’t be her. Violet tells the same to Pete, adding that she won’t be his punching bag (really Violet? After running from all her problems, it feels like she is really so self-absorbed as to not see anything being her fault).

The group as a whole is interviewing doctors to take Naomi’s place. It’s also the first time they’re realizing that Addison is technically the boss. I see that causing more problems down the line. Of course, Addison’s almost –Fiji-man, Jake Riley comes in to apply. All of the others like him for the job (no wonder about this, after a hilarious string of interviews with less than pleasant and a little stereotypical candidates – the aging doc, the doctor only concerned about perks), but Addison is reluctant to let him join the practice because of their near fling. He calls her out that it’s really about her relationship with her now cohabitant Sam, and she finally relents to hire him. And keep “them” a secret from Sam. Hmmm, considered the obviouse chemistry between Jake and Addison and the strain that Addison wanting a baby (though a baby is the only thing Addison has been wanting forever) and Sam not wanting another child, I see some problems ahead for the Addison-Sam couple.


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