“Private Practice”, Season 5, Episodes 20 & 21: Review

True Colors

An illegal immigrant facing deportation tries to induce her pregnancy by herself so her child will be a U.S. citizen; Violet and Cooper work with a child who has gender identity disorder; Violet wants to keep going to therapy with Pete.

Drifting Back

When a patient’s partner and father are heatedly divided on his health care, Pete makes a decision that impacts everyone, including himself; meanwhile, Jake offers strength and experience to Amelia when he suspects she’s being tempted to substance abuse, Sheldon and Violet treat a family concerned about the father’s new sexual appetite, and as baby Henry draws Addison and Sam closer, they struggle to define their relationship.


True Colors was emotionally anticlimactic after all the Addison, Amelia, and Erica drama of previous episodes. However, without the emotional rollercoaster passing around between all of the doctors, two different medical cases were shown in True Colors, unlike several episodes that came before this one and though I like to see what is going on in the doctors’ personal lives and that they are depicted as people not just professionals taking care of someone else’s health, medical cases have me question my perspective on a variety of issues.

The two medical cases involve a 10-year-old girl, Melody, who has a gender identity disorder, and an illegal immigrant, Reina Reyes, facing deportation wanting to induce her pregnancy. The perspectives offered are interesting and they prove that the line between right and wrong can be blurred. Doctors surely have to make tough calls sometimes, having to choose between what is medically and legally required/advisable and their patients’ and their families’ wishes (the latter do not necessarily match).

I think Cooper and Violet did the right thing by talking Melody without the parents’ permission. After all, she skipped school and came to them desperately crying out for help. By the way, though I love how Cooper cares for his patients and advocates for them, Violet was right that his insistence on Melody get help was a case of him transferring his own unsolvable problems with Mason.

Cooper spends most of his time at odds with Charlotte (whom I increasingly like). Charlotte is still upset with Cooper about his refusal to give her true parental status, though she is clearly the one making a positive difference in Mason’s life and helping him through a rough period and while Cooper whines about his son’s lack of communication (Mason is talking now, but not listening to his father) Charlotte is able to take control of the situation, getting him to obey. Luckily, Charlotte and Cooper eventually make up like they always do as they let the dust settle and Cooper finally apologized.

As for Reina Reyes’ case, I’m glad that it is Charlotte who decides what is the best and the right thing to do. Still, Reina trying to take off with her baby was something I saw coming throughout the episode: in spite of her saying othorewise, she wasn’t ready to leave her baby behind, while she was sent back to her country. I only wonder  she got out of her room and even the hospital  with the two immigration agents nearby.

As for the doctors’ personal stories, I truly felt for Amelia as she felt her baby kicking inside of her and later decided to sign the donation papers before she changes her mind. Jake is doing a  great job supporting her, but now that she’s out the lashing out stage, I hope Amelia finds the strength to confide in her other colleagues, that are also friends who truly care for her.

Elsewhere it looks like the show is trying to force Addison and Sam together yet again and a change in Sam by having him come to like Henry. I think it is the wrong time for the former – Addison has just gotten Henry and she needs to just be his mother right now – and not an organic or consistent character change at this time the latter.

Sheldon is back from a vacation with his ex-wife in Drifting Back. Though they were caught by Sheldon’s fun stories, I wonder why nobody told him about Amelia’s brainless baby until she walks through the door, so that he wasn’t caught off guard. Sheldon’s response to his seeing Amelia and to the news about Amelia’s baby brings back angry, hurt, lashing out Amelia. Thankfully, Jake was there all along to help her and prevent her from straying and slipping away back to using. I really appreciated the way he was able to reach out and relate to Amelia by sharing more on his background story.

Meanwhile, Drifting Back focuses on two different medical cases. In the first, Sheldon and Violet worked together with Rich and his wife Laurie, who are in for counseling because he can’t control his sexual urges. When he admits he is attracted to their teen daughter, Whitney, Laurie orders him out of the house, Rich suffers a seizure. Amelia diagnoses him with brain scarring that may be disrupting his impulse control and proceeds to save the day by removing the lesion on Rich’s brain. Anyway, though I think you aren’t supposed to hate hate Rich because it wasn’t his fault that he was attracted to his daughter and you could tell this fact was killing him, I find it realistic that Whitney isn’t able to forgive her father right away, while Laurie coming back so quickly is surprising.

The second medical case involves Troy, who is suffering from cardiomyopathy and is terminal. His partner, Roger, wants to respect his wishes, and refuses a ventilator, but Troy’s estranged father, Carl, arrives and asserts his legal rights as next of kin and demands additional treatment. Pete is caught between Roger and Carl over the course of life saving treatment. While both Sam and Charlotte were able to separate their feelings from the law, Pete refused to honor the patient’s father’s wishes and helped end the patient’s life. Of course, it was heartbreaking to watch Roger agonize over the fact Troy’s wishes weren’t being honored, but no matter how morally right it felt, Pete must have realized there would be some serious consequences to basically killing someone without legal consent and, in fact, Pete is arrested at the end of the episode.

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