“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.


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.

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