“Private Practice”, Season 5, Episodes 8 & 9: Review

Who We Are

The Seaside Wellness group stages an intervention for a defensive and volatile Amelia, who has resurfaced after disappearing on a 12-day drug binge with her boyfriend, Ryan. During the intervention, Amelia mercilessly attacks her friends one-by-one, and Addison, in particular, has trouble seeing her sister-in-law in her present condition.

The Breaking Point

Amelia makes the hard decision to enter a rehab facility, and finds strength in an 18 year-old girl, as they both go through the painful detox process. Meanwhile, Cooper’s strengthening bond with his son is tested by his allegiance to a patient in need, Pete and Violet’s marriage reaches a tipping point, and Addison collapses from her rigorous fertility treatments.

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This season episodes of Private Practice up to # 7 hinted that Amelia was on a serious downward spiral. Episode 8 opens with Amelia returning to work after a 12-day binge as though nothing happened. She seems unaware of her colleagues’ confused stares.  It turns out that Amelia has no clue that she’d been gone that long. Her co-workers are relieved and angry. After Amelia admits that she was doing “bad things,” and the group suspects that she’s still using drugs, an intervention is planned. However, the practice’s effort to get Amelia into rehab only results into her angrily lashing out at those expressing care and concert and her leaving with her boyfriend, Ryan. It is actually Ryan’s death after they get high one last time before getting clean that provided the rock bottom moment necessary for Amelia to agree to check into rehab. In episode 9, while Amelia is in rehab, Addison keeps trying to get pregnant, Violet considers leaving Pete, and Cooper struggles to balance his son with a patient.

I think that the portrayal of a drug addict in the middle of traumatic relapse and hitting rock bottom is honest and real. Amelia is not villainized, and Sam and Jake debate whether addiction can be called a diseases, and issues are explored, such as what causes addiction, how trauma can affect a person, and the emotional toll such an issue takes. As someone who has also gone through a similar thing, Charlotte can understand what Amelia is going through better than any other character on the show and, therefore, talk to her as a peer, so Charlotte can be a great resource for Amelia.

Jake gets some back story in “Who We Are” and I’m happy they made him a more three dimensional with his grief over the loss of his wife and his commitment to raising her daughter. Learning that his wife was an addict sheds some light on where his perspective on how addiction should be handled comes from and makes his argument with Sam more interesting. His conversation at his wife’s grave about how he feels he has finally found a family at the practice is touching. The doctors at the practice, despite all of their flaws, are a family and when they remember that, they are at their best.

Cooper has the patient of the week, a boy, Toby, suffering from Lupus who lives in a group home with forty other kids and, therefore, needing a lot of treatments but lacking a real support system. In “The Breaking Point,” Cooper is confronted with something he has never thought of before, that is how his job interferes with his daddy time. Cooper misses Mason’s first school play because he’s at the hospital with Toby, and Mason is pretty upset. It is a good thing for Cooper that he has a son who is more mature and understanding that anyone would give a kid credit for, and after Cooper has explained it to him that sometimes the really sick kids need him more than Mason because they may not have anyone else, Mason comes to the hospital and introduces a recovering Toby to Pokémon.

However, not every family is bound to survive. Pete and Violet are barely speaking to each other and they come together only for Lucas. Violet spends the hour obsessing over Addison’s IVF treatments to distract herself from the darkness of her marriage. Pete spends the hour complaining about Violet to Sam to distract himself from the darkness of his marriage. Pete admits to Sam that he isn’t sure if he wants to spend the rest of his life married to Violet, but he doesn’t know if he can leave. Luckily for him, Violet eventually understands that Pete is staying out of obligation, like he did with his first wife and makes the decision to leave him because he couldn’t do it. Hopefully, once they have separated, they can be better people for it and eventually even interact better.

Things also do not look good for Addison and Sam. She is determined to have a baby and decides to give IVF treatment another go, after the first treatment didn’t take. He wants her, but does not want to raise another child, and he is worried and frustrated when Addison collapses from a side effect of the IVF treatment. Addison can compartmentalize her relationship with her efforts to get pregnant, but she can’t do so for a baby, so her dream of becoming a mother will probably spell the end of them as a couple, if it comes true.

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