“Private Practice”, Season 5, Episodes 14 & 15, “Too Much” & “You Break My Heart”: Review

Too Much

Sam finds his estranged sister, Corinne, in jail, heavily medicated and near-catatonic, and brings her to Sheldon for help; Erica begins secret treatments for her cancer and refuses to let Cooper and Charlotte tell Mason; Cooper, Pete and Addison treat the baby of a drug addict; and things between Violet and Scott continue to heat up in the bedroom.

You Break My Heart

Cooper and Charlotte take Erica to Seattle Grace to meet with Derek, Lexie and Amelia regarding a very risky surgery; Scott tells Violet that he would like to take their relationship to the next level; and Addison finds herself caught in the middle of Sam and Jake’s fight about a patient. Meanwhile, Sheldon warns Sam to be cautious as he deals with the return of his sister, Corinne.


Too Much is an especially intense episode. There are some small moments, some tender moments, and one “are you kidding me with this?” moment as well as several storylines intertwining.

The medical case of the week focuses Eli, the baby of a recovering drug addict. A very sick Eli is brought into the hospital by his 19-year-old sister, Denise, because the baby’s mother, Melissa, is a drug addict who disappeared a week earlier. She had locked herself in a hotel room to get clean. She was a horrible mother to Denise, but wants a second chance with Eli. Denise and Cooper are both skeptical, but Pete wants to give her the benefit of the doubt. Pete reminds Cooper that Violet took off on Lucas, but she came back and is a great mother. Cooper comes around and convinces Denise to help and be there for her mother as she attempts to be a better mother to Eli. It is a touching story, depicted well by both a remorseful parent and unforgiving daughter.

Meanwhile, Sam’s sister, Corinne, is a near-catatonic state after being drugged up by various sedatives prescribed by prison doctors. Sheldon takes her off all meds in order to bring her back into a coherent state. Though I can understand this is the only way he can properly analyze her in order to propery diagnose and treat her, I think Sheldon is taking unnecessary risks detoxing Corinne, a woman with a psychiatric disorder who has been over medicated for years, not in a treatment facility, but in his office, especially since Sam remembers her being somewhat wild and almost burnt their house down because she thought the fire looked cool. Anyway, it was sweet at the end when Corinne seems to be coming out of her drug induced haze to share a nice memory of their childhood with Sam, bringing him to tears.

I was disappointed in Addison and Sam having comfort sex just when it seemed like the endless merry-go-round that is their relationship might finally be over. Jake is right when he warns Addison that it is not her job to watch after Sam even though he is hurting, unless they want to be back together (which doesn’t seem to be the case): Sam has other friends he can turn to for support and Addison is above all his ex not his friend.

Back at the hospital, Erica secretly start treatment for her cancer and doesn’t want Mason to know what is going on. Who can blame Mason for not caring about the comfort food Charlotte is offering him and running away as soon as she leaves him alone? He simply wishes to be with his mum and it is heartbreaking he tells Charlotte after she found him that he is afraid she and Cooper are hiding the fact his mother is already dead. I’m totally on Charlotte’s side when she tries to convince Erica again that she should tell Mason what is going on before it is too late.

There is plenty else going on in You Break My Heart, from Erica, Cooper and Charlotte’s visit to Seattle to a deeper insight into Sam and Corinne’s story to Addison and Jake’s conversation about their undeniable chemistry.

When Erica and Mason came on board, I expected them to to stir up trouble for Charlotte and Cooper and I also expected that Erica wouldn’t make it, and that Mason would be left under Charlotte and Cooper’s care, but that would have been too predictable. Well. Erica and Mason’s appearance was certainly a source of stress and required some adjusting to a new and unexpected situation on Charlotte and Cooper’s part, but they quickly became attached to them. I was obviously thrilled that Derek and Amelia Shepherd were successful in saving Erica’s life, though it was a bit of a letdown that they were able to do so in a 90-second-long surgery, when she had been told she was dying with no hope in sight, and it almost felt like tension from the previous episodes as well as the heartwrenching scenes with Erica breaking down to tell Mason the truth about her health, or Erica making Charlotte promise to be a mom to Mason in case she didn’t make it, or Charlotte showing and telling Mason exactly what was wrong with his mother had just been a lie. Anyway, I’m glad Cooper recognized how amazing Charlotte has been through all of this and Charlotte realizes how much she loves Mason.

Back in Los Angeles, Jake and Sam are at odds over a heart patient of Sam’s Jake did IVS for and had to ask for Addison to weigh in. In this case, I think Sam is right and before getting a patient pregnant you should do a full work-up and though I can understand this woman really wanted a baby, I wonder what she thought was going to happen when she stopped taking her anti-rejection drugs.

Meanwhile, we learn more about Sam and Corinne’s story.  However, I can understand why Sheldon is cautious about getting Sam’s sister excited about her new state of mental clarity and optimism considering she could hit a low at any moment, but I still think he could have been a little more encouraging, though I guess that what matters is that Sheldon is eventually able to help Corinne and diagnose her with a bipolar disorder. What doesn’t make much sense is that Sam could forgive and forget what Corinne’s 10-year absence had done to him and his mother until he found out she’d been living close by for years, and then her absence was just unforgivable. Her speech about her life being her battle and not his is powerful and you can see the hurt in her eyes.

Elsewhere, when Jake asked Addison if he was reading too much into their friendship, I was afraid Addison would say that their connection was just physical and deny the emotional connection, but the surprise is that it is the opposite. Now I am looking forward to what is next for Jake and Addison.

I didn’t expect Violet’s boy toy, Scott, to agree to continuing the casual relationship after he’d asked for something more. Somehow, it is as if this episode might be opening the way for Violet and Pete to mend differences and get back together, because this is was the first episode in a while that Pete was completely civil to her and there seemed to be some non-anger related tension when they crossed paths.

2 thoughts on ““Private Practice”, Season 5, Episodes 14 & 15, “Too Much” & “You Break My Heart”: Review”

  1. I didn’t even realize Ben was on tv regularly until Teresa mentioned it a couple times in email to me. *hangs head in shame* I’m really delighted to see him on tv again, even if it is on a show I’d never watched before. (I’ve also never watch Grey’s Anatomy.)

    I’m not sure which one it was, but I really liked the episode where Jake & Addison went to the conference. His talk to her when she tried to come on to him was very good, and rather humorous in its timing. Plus I love the reading glasses. :D

    1. Ah, I have to admit I only started watching Private Pratice regularly this season. Up until Ben was cast, Private Practice was not exactly one of those series that I did my best to not miss an episode. I’ve always liked it better than Grey’s Anatomy.

      The episode with Jake and Addison going to the conference is the one the aired on February 2, The Time Has Come, if I remember correctly. I liked their scenes, too: sweet and humorous is what I would call them as well.

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