“Private Practice” Season 5, Episodes 3 & 4: Review

Deal With It

Addison and Jake work with a patient who wants to have a baby even though she doesn’t have a uterus; Amelia, back in AA and seemingly back on track, treats a Parkinson’s Disease patient who habitually cheats on her husband; Violet, struggling to be a stay-at-home mom, attends a mommy group and finds it’s not for her; and Cooper receives the surprise of his life.

Remember Me

A woman from Cooper’s past visits the practice; a pregnant woman experiences severe memory loss after a car accident; Violet and Sheldon argue.

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The theme of trust defined Private Practice episode “Deal With It”.

Addison gets the sympathetic patient of the evening, a woman, Nina, a young woman, desperate to have a baby, but was born without a uterus. Nina enlists Jake’s help to transplant her grandmother’s uterus into her. The idea is gross and Addison is skeptical because of the risky nature of the procedure, but Nina’s genuine desire to have a baby and connect with her recently deceased mother is sweet and sways Addison. Unfortunately, Nina hemorrhages in surgery and the transplant fails. Initially Jake’s ego seems to hamper his acceptance of the failure, but later the caring doctor prevails and he talks to Nina and convinces her she’ll be a mother another way. Considering how quickly he persuaded her of this and how caring he proved to be with his heartfelt speech, I wonder if he couldn’t have set aside his ego earlier (performing surgery that has seldom been tried before must be an enticing challenge for a doctor) and tried harder to sway her before agreeing to perform the dangerous operation she asked for.

Amelia and Sam get the moral dilemma patients of the episode, Will and Laura. Laura has Parkinson’s and has doubled up on her Parkinson’s medications to control her tremors, but is experiencing a side effect of lowered inhibitions and impulse control, resulting in her cheating on Will and giving him gonorrhea. Will is understandably furious, but Amelia appeases him with the idea of a brain surgery that will control the tremors and alleviate the side effects. However, Laura secretly returns to Amelia and admits she doesn’t want the procedure and wants to stay on her medications, because her husband isn’t the greatest lover and she’s enjoying life and then resists Sam’s effort to get her to reconsider. Amelia and Sam seem bothered by covering up the continuing infidelity, though Amelia sees it as a parallel to her drinking issues – she keeps trying to stop, but she really finds it hard to -, while Sam uses it as a clarification reason to be honest with Addison and try to be open to listening about her IVF appointments.

Addison and Violet get the most honest moment in the episode, when they admit they’re not really friends. I liked it because every other character is just expected to become best friends because they work together, but that just doesn’t always happen.

Charlotte and Cooper have no patients of their own and are still having issues. I can’t blame Charlotte for still being angry at Cooper for violating her trust and Cooper isn’t doing a great job at apoligizing, coming across as insincere. Luckily, they make up by the end of the episode, but another issue is just around the corner. An old fling, Erica, comes to see Cooper the next day at work with her son, Mason, allegedly Cooper’s son. I couldn’t help but think “Poor Charlotte!”: loveable as he his, Cooper doesn’t seem to be able to hurt her.

Pete and Violet are still fighting. Pete is angry over Violet leaving and the heart attack, but Sheldon undestands he has deeper abandonment issues from his childhood. Violet is lonely and is at odds over being a stay-at-home mom. Violet finally admits she’s afraid Pet thinks she a bad mom and Pete admits he’s afraid of dying before he’s done raising Lucas. They lay in bed beside each other, but remain miles apart.

Memory is a funny thing. It can invite us to recall good times and bad times, or elude as altogether.

The patients of the week for Remember Me are a married couple, Jody and Zach.When they were having fertility problems, they were Violet’s patients, but Jody is pregnant and seeing Addison and Zach is having therapy sessions with Sheldon now. When she was one month pregnant, Jody had a car accident and suffered a brain injury that left her memory resetting every few minutes, so while she remembers everything from before her car accident, in the present day she forgets things as soon as you tell her, including the fact she’s pregnant, very pregnant. Zach tells Sheldon that as soon as Jody gives birth, he’s planning to take the baby and leave her; he even so much as admits that caring for Jody is like caring for another child. However, Addison and Violetact like he’s abandoning Jody and admonish him into staying. I can see where they come from (Addison is afraid Sam will eventually leave her and Violet is guilty over leaving Lucas and Pete), but it’s not them who have to live with with someone who will never know their child for more than a few fleeting moments, so I felt their indignation inappropriate and liked it when Sheldon stood up to Violed and told her not to confuse her won convictions with what patients need. There seems to be a happy ending,  when Zach eventually decides to stay with her “until he can’t” after the baby was born, but will there ever be a happy ending for a mother who can’t recognize her own child?

Meanwhile, Cooper is thrilled with the prospect of having a son and takes time to get to know him. As expected Charlotte does not handle the news very well and offers Erica $ 20,000 to go away, without considering the idea that Cooper could find out what she did because of either Erica telling him she had tried to pay her off (as it actually happened) or Cooper tracking Mason down, if Erica had accepted Charlotte’s offer. So Cooper (who really wants to believe Mason is his son) understandably goes off on Charlotte and reminds her that he put his desire to be a dad on hold because he loves her. Charlotte seems to see his point and got the paternity test and told him he is really Mason’s father. Though her waiting eight years before cluing in Cooper makes you suspicious that she had reasons to show up at his door other than Mason asking about his father (which I guess is why everybody was advising caution to Cooper), I’m happy Cooper gets to be a dad.

Pete and Violet’s relationship is frustrating, with Pete being a jerk and Violet being obnoxious. The bigger Violet issue in Remember Me is that she can’t let Sheldon do his job with her former patients, while Pete’s anger towars Violet worsens, getting him increasingly near to a breaking point. In this situation, I’m on Sheldon’s side, who’s trying to help them both while getting stepped on. I felt for him as he quickly he goes from understandably angry (and sniding) at Violet questioning his abilities at a therapist to genuinely concerned about her mental state in the face of Pete’s rage. I think Sheldon is right in addressing Pete’s rage towards Violet as possibly breaking the happy home he wants to provide for Lucas, saying the words that can really prompt Pete to address his anger issues. Pete is lucky to have Sheldon as a friend and needs a therapist not so tightly intertwined in his personal life.

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