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TV Recap/Review: Private Practice Season 5 Episode 22 (Gone, Baby, Gone)

27 Jun

I’ve been falling steadily out of love with Private Practice this season, but I have been sticking it out, and given that the finale didn’t so much tug on my heartstrings as yank them out of my chest, I decided to recap it. I may recap the rest of the season at a later date, but this is going up first as I was practically writing it in my head whilst watching.

Gone, Baby, Gone features love triangles, court cases, impassioned speeches, and a lot of tears. And at the centre of it all…

Amelia gives birth

This was the cause of most, if not all, of the tears. At first she is determined to stick it out alone, refusing even to let Jake touch her in her determination to stay strong. I shed my first tear of the night as she tells him to take the baby away before he could cry, before remembering that brainless babies can’t cry. “Take him before he squeaks,” she says, and I let out a squeak of my own.

Outside of her hospital room, the rest of the doctors argue about her plan to donate her baby’s organs. Jake and Addison are supportive, but Sam is vehemently against the idea  and Charlotte is struggling, saying that she has to let the lawyers decide because she sees it as murder.  Addison is tasked with talking Sam around, but he isn’t interested, drawing parallels between the situation and their failed relationship. It’s Amelia who manages to persuade him, telling him about all the children that she’ll be able to save. “What I’m asking you to do is unimaginable,” she says. “But it’s also everything those other mothers can ever imagine. I’m his mom and I’m asking you to do this. If I can get there, why can’t you?”

Charlotte has a revelation of her own as she sits with Addison, both of them afraid to go into Amelia’s room, and both of them reflecting on everything that’s happened this year. “This past year you and I both became mothers without ever giving birth.” Addison muses. “She’s going to give birth and not get to be a mother.” This reminds me why I love the rare moments that these two characters share, and Charlotte why she has to help her friend. She agrees to fight the lawyers over the organ donation issue, and ultimately ignores their decision, allowing Jake to harvest the organs. Something tells me the hospital could be facing a lawsuit next season…

As Amelia enters the final stage of labour, Addison finally plucks up the courage to enter the room. She ignores Amelia’s attempts to throw her out, and holds her as she gives birth. Amelia goes back on her previous decision, choosing to hold the baby. “He’s the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen.” She says. He squeaks. I sob.

But the tears aren’t over yet, as the baby goes into respiratory distress, and for a moment it seems like Amelia’s going to change her mind about the organ donation. But no, she decides to give my heartstrings a little more of a battering by letting him go, telling him his father’s waiting for him. She then speaks to Sheldon civilly for the first time all episode, and the pair reconcile. It’s almost a happy ending, right?

Elsewhere, another child was playing with my already fragile emotions…

Mason

Having seemed to have turned a corner in the last episode, Mason is sullen and silent again at the beginning of this one, due to a Mother’s Day event at school. Cooper catches Charlotte watching him sleep, and she tells him how much she loves him and how sad she is not to be able to take away his pain. “You take away my pain,” he tells her, and I remember why they’re my favourite couple on the show. Later, having spent the evening at the hospital, Mason is looking at the babies in the NICU with Charlotte whilst she tries to explain what happened to Amelia’s. It’s touching (and possibly a little weird) to begin with, but then he suggests that he start calling her “momma” and I dissolve once more. To think that I don’t often cry at television! I’m blaming my hormones!

There were a few storylines that didn’t make me cry though. They were…

Love and Prison

Pete spends most of the episode behind bars, whilst Violet grows increasingly frustrated at his refusal to act even a little contrite. Eventually, after a few choice words from Cooper about missing his son growing up, he  does apologise and iss granted bail, even expressing fears for the future. Unfortunately, it may be too little too late.

The Jake-Addison-Sam love triangle also comes to a head tonight, as she arrives home after some comfort sex with Jake to find Sam waiting to confess his love to her. Despite her attempts to get rid of him (Jake’s on his way with takeout), he’s determined to let her know that he’s now all in. He wants her, he wants Henry, and if the ring is anything to go by, he wants marriage. Henry just wants to chew on his toy monkey. Personally, I think that the kid’s got the right idea.

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TV Recap/Review: Private Practice Season 5 Episode 14 (Too Much)

15 Feb

“Lucas wanted to know if his truck could fly…and it couldn’t so I bought him a new one.”

Violet should think herself lucky that that’s the only parenting issue that she has to face in this week’s episode of Private Practice, although she does also have to contend with Pete attempting to veto her relationship with Scott.  Exasperated, she goes to Cooper to discuss the problems, who tells her to tell Pete that it’s just sex. She does, and he tells her it stills bothers him. I’m sure I’ve said this in reviews before (I’ve certainly shouted it at the television screen enough times) but it’s a bit late to start caring now!! I would choose Scott and his sexy bare chest over Pete and his anger issues any day of the week (sadly, neither of them are offering as of yet, but I remain hopeful). But even with all that, Pete and Violet’s issues are relatively minor compared to some of the other events in this episode, such as…

The Crack Baby

OK, it may not actually be a crack baby. It may be a heroin baby. Or a some-other-kind-of-drug baby. The point is, it’s a baby with a druggie for a mother, and a sister who wants to keep him away from his mother at all costs (unsurprisingly, given her childhood experiences). But then the real mother turns up, having apparently got clean by locking herself in a motel room for days, and suddenly it’s war. And not even between mother and daughter so much as between Cooper and Pete, who have each chosen their own mommy candidate to back. Addison has a more practical response, she’s calling Social Services. To make matters worse, the baby has a whole stack of medical problems (again unsurprisingly) and needs urgent treatment. It all ends happily though, as the mom decides to stick around and care for both of her children. The more cynical among you may ask how long it will last, but I’m just a sucker for a happy ending.

The Crazy Sister

Actually, Sam’s sister (Corrine) doesn’t exhibit much craziness in this episode, although Sam tells plenty of stories about her, but that’s probably due to the cocktail of drugs that she’s on. After speaking to her, Sheldon decides to wean her off them and make a proper diagnosis, and I spend the rest of the episode waiting for her to flip. It doesn’t happen (maybe she’s not as crazy as they thought), but she and Sam do share a moment at the end of the episode when she tells him that his house reminds her of a place where they used to go on holiday. All together now: awwwww!

To be honest though, I’m not especially invested in this storyline, particularly as it seems to be being used as an excuse to get Addison and Sam back together. This, as everyone at least ought to know, is a phenomenally bad idea, but it doesn’t stop them having very hot sex. Jake, with his spooky mind-reading skills, figures out that this has happened and gives Addison his disappointed face. Maybe he shouldn’t have rejected her last week…

The Clever Plan

Charlotte’s babysitting for a worried Mason while Erica rests after her first chemo session, and the kid has worked out that he’s being lied to. She tries to distract him with macaroni cheese but, despite containing both macaroni and cheese, it’s not good enough for him and he runs away, trying to get to the hospital to see his mom. This is enough to get them to take him to see her, but apparently still not enough to get them to tell him the truth (“Mommy’s gonna be just fine!” Erica promises, in possibly the biggest lie ever to escape her lips). But they may not have to if Amelia’s plan works, because she thinks she’s found a way to cure Erica. And of course, it involves what we’ve all been predicting, a trip to Seattle to see her brother. In other words, it’s time for another crossover!

TV Recap/Review: Private Practice Season 5 Episode 13 (The Time Has Come)

9 Feb

The sole patient

We seem to be averaging one patient per episode in Private Practice at the moment. However, our patient this week is unusual in that he is not there to bring out the doctors’ underlying issues. Rick is soldier who has recently returned from Afghanistan, where he was raped by his sergeant. After he attempts suicide, Sheldon spends most of the episode counselling him until he is ready to tell his partner, but when he does she reacts in the worst way possible, asking why he didn’t do anything to stop it. With Sam’s help , she comes back to support him, but the case is a reminder to us that rape is rape, regardless of whether it happens to a man or a woman. Well done, Private Practice, for making this episode about more than just the doctors.

The car crash

Actually, there are two more patients in this episode, but they’re Mason and Erica. After having a seizure at the wheel, Erica has landed the pair of them in hospital. Mason is terrified, Cooper is furious, and once again Charlotte finds herself playing peacemaker. She really has changed a lot this season, but I like the softer side to her. Anyway, she has a lot of peacemaking to do this episode as Amelia has some bad news: before Erica dies she could lose her sight and speech and become paralysed. (It’s at times like these that I have to suspend my disbelief; could they really not see this coming?) Cooper is upset and angry, but with Charlotte’s help he manages to convince Erica to fight. Cue miracle cure?

The break-up issues

At least we have a reason for the doctors seeing so few patients today; Addison and Jake are at a medical conference. Addison is in the wallowing stage of her break-up with Sam, eating everything she can get her hands on, and later drinking the hotel bar dry. Jake tries to snap her out of it, flattering her ego by calling her “the Meryl Streep of maternal-fetal medicine,” which she takes as an invitation, turning up at his door for sex. He rejects her, and a hilarious scene ensues in which she rolls around drunkenly on his bed asking why he doesn’t want to sleep with her. One of Jake’s heartfelt and perfectly-worded speeches (this guy is nothing if not a smooth talker) about her not being over Sam yet is met with the response: “But is it also just a little bit because you saw my vagina in a medical way?”

“Did I ask you for sex and then cry?” She asks the next morning upon waking up in his bed. But her antics the previous night aren’t up for discussion, and Jake is being the perfect gentlemen. He’s even ordered her a bacon cheeseburger and rescheduled her presentation. Seriously, the man is so perfect it’s almost annoying!

The hypocrisy

There are more Violet/Pete issues this episode, Pete not being especially happy to have walked in on Violet kissing Scott. I’m sure I used to like Pete, but I can’t remember why, because all he seems to have done this season is be a jerk. While Scott is being supportive (and sensible, suggesting that Violet might actually want to move out of the house where she’s suffered trauma after trauma), Pete wants to yell about Violet finding a new squeeze. Uh, excuse me? Do the words elevator sex mean anything to you? Still, perhaps we should be grateful to Pete for making a scene, as it meant that we got to see Scott shirtless. And that, in my opinion, can never be a bad thing.

There was also a surprise twist at the end of the episode as, while Addison tells her therapist that she “likes to know what’s coming”, we see Sam picking up her sister from the county jail. Shit is about to go down!

TV Recap/Review: Private Practice Season 5 Episode 12 (Losing Battles)

8 Feb

Let’s begin with a random scene which had very little to do with the overarching story lines, but which made me giggle: Sheldon and Sam setting up on-line dating profiles. With input from the rest of the doctors. In my opinion, this episode is worth watching for that alone, but there’s also…

The surrogates

It’s time for Plan B in Addison’s quest for a baby, surrogacy. But she isn’t making it easy for herself, and Jake is annoyed with her for being unwilling to consider the potential surrogates (“Have you been giving yourself hormone shots again?” He asks). You can hardly blame her though, when you see the candidates who he has lined up for her. The first is admittedly not too bad, albeit emotionally detached, but the second is insane. When asked what her favourite part of the last surrogacy was, she replies that she was given the placenta, and then a tree grew over the spot where she buried it in the garden!

There’s a surprise twist in the surrogacy story when Amelia offers to be Addison’s surrogate. She wants to do a completely selfless thing, she says (which makes me start thinking about whether doing something because you think it’s completely selfless makes it less selfless, but I’m possibly overcomplicating things). Addison tells her that she can’t be her surrogate, as she hasn’t yet figured out who she is, but I can’t help thinking that this isn’t the last we’ll hear of this idea. (However, this may just be another case of me overcomplicating.) This is, however, the last we’ll be hearing of the baby storyline for a little while, as Addison tells Jake that she wants a break from the baby search.

The woman from the airport

Remember the woman who Violet was talking to in the season premiere? No, neither did I, but luckily Violet did, because she turns up this week completely battered after what they assume is a beating from her husband, David. He soon arrives on the scene, by which time Joanna is unconscious, and Addison is legally bound to give him a say in her treatment. He wants her to have a hysterectomy (she was pregnant at the time of the attack), and when Addison manages to finish the surgery without taking this step, he starts an argument, saying he wants her moved to a different hospital. Before he can have that arranged though, the doctors sneak Joanna out of the hospital and into Violet’s house.

Pete isn’t happy with this plan (finally showing some concern for his wife, perhaps?) but Violet is more concerned about a conversation which she had with Joanna just after she woke up. Rather than reporting the attack, Joanna has decided that a more logical course of action would be to kill David. And Violet is right to be worried because later, when David breaks into the house, she does just that, stabbing him multiple times until he’s dead. Violet saves her yet again though by telling the police it was self defence, and then sidesteps Pete (who seems to have finally realised that he cares about her), instead running straight into Scott’s waiting arms.

The treatment plan

After Erica’s revelation last week, Cooper is desperately trying to get her to fight, or at the very least to sign custody forms so that Mason isn’t taken away from him. When Amelia tells her that all she can offer is radiation, Erica rejects it outright, but Cooper tries to convince her, saying that six months would give her one more birthday with Mason. Erica goes to see Amelia privately and asks what she would do in her position, and Amelia admits that she wouldn’t take the treatment. Later, Erica gives Cooper the custody papers, telling him that she has accepted her diagnosis and he should too. With the help of Charlotte’s astute observation that he feels guilty for being grateful that Erica got sick because it brought Mason to him, Cooper breaks down. Harrowing stuff, and they haven’t even thought about telling the kid yet!

 

 

 

TV Recap/Review: Private Practice Season 5 Episode 11 (The Standing Eight Count)

24 Jan

Image: Hulu

The boys’ night out

Sam is dealing with his break-up really well, apparently he’s been dreaming about running Addison over in his car. I would suggest therapy at this point, but the other guys suggest a boys’ night out instead. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose… There then follows what starts off as an almost exact replica of the scene which we had when Sam had just divorced Naomi and wanted a new girlfriend, but with an important difference. This time Pete and Sam actually manage to get the girl (Pete in rather spectacular style), while Cooper is the one left alone. Despite the fact that he has Charlotte (and if I had that to come home to then I certainly wouldn’t be complaining) he gets all depressed about this, having to be comforted by his wife – and can I just say that Charlotte talking about hussies is one of the sexiest things I’ve ever seen? Soon he’ll have something bigger to be depressed about, and that’s…

Erica’s mystery illness

Amelia is testing Mason on his spellings for an upcoming spelling bee (in one of the most amusing scenes of the episode, I love the fact that old Amelia is back!) when Erica comes to collect him. Amelia quickly notices that Erica has a tremor in her hand, and when she drops a glass the neurosurgeon senses are triggered. She wants to check Erica out, but she refuses, so Amelia convinces Charlotte to abuse her Chief of Staff privileges and access Erica’s medical records. What they discover makes Amelia happy but no-one else – it’s a rare and extremely aggressive tumour! This prompts Charlotte to go for a chat with Erica, because it worked out so well last time she tried to interfere… Surprisingly though, this time their talk has the desired effect and, after initially telling Charlotte that if Cooper finds out then she’ll take Mason away forever, she appears at the end of the episode to break the bad news. With a surgeon like Amelia around though, I’m not so sure that the prognosis is as bad as it looks. There’s nothing this show likes better than curing incurable illnesses, after all!

The girls’ dating woes

Addison is also dealing with her break-up, albeit in a slightly different way: rather than committing homicide in her sleep, she prefers not sleeping at all, and spending the hours of darkness watching documentaries about shin kicking (maybe I should try that next time insomnia strikes?). Violet is sympathetic, and suggests that she try sleeping sideways (which I immediately want to try and become depressed when I discover that my bed isn’t wide enough). Violet is having her own relationship drama too, when a hot paramedic called Scott asks her out. Her response (“That’s very sweet.”) proves why men aren’t queuing up to date her, but she comes to her senses when she realises that Pete is moving on, and accepts Scott’s offer. She later discovers that she’s cradle-snatching, as Scott turns out to be a lot younger than her, but given how well the date goes, she doesn’t seem to mind.

Sheldon does also appear this episode, treating a cop who killed someone in the line of duty, but, as often happens in Private Practice, the patient storyline is shafted somewhat in favour of the doctors’ personal dramas. However, my favourite part of this episode has to be Jake making a beautiful speech to Addison about how he isn’t going to leave her or let her down, and Addison almost falling asleep. I’ve getting tired of the therapy sessions though. Are they really necessary?

TV Recap/Review: The Borgias Season 1 Episode 1 (The Poisoned Chalice)

17 Jan

Image: The Guardian

Today I decided that I really had to do some work, so I sat down and watched four episodes of The Borgias. In my defence, I am actually studying Renaissance Europe for a History module at university, and besides, I was visiting a friend who had just purchased the box set, it seemed churlish to refuse.

The series opens in Rome in 1492, where the Pope is about to breathe his last. “You will fight like dogs over this corpse I leave.” He accuses the assembled cardinals, and of course he is right. The first half of the episode focuses on just that fight, as Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons) bribes what appears to be the majority of the College of Cardinals (and none too subtly either) in order to secure the papacy for himself. “They call it simony,” worries eldest son Cesare (François Arnaud), far more concerned over this than he is about the number of women who he has taken to his bed despite his supposedly chaste life as a bishop. Not that this life is what he wants, as he later tells his father through the medium of the confession box (an important tool in this show), he would much prefer to be a soldier. But, as so often in powerful families, his choices are not his own to make, and he is to serve the family as a cleric, while younger brother Juan (David Oakes) takes the role of the soldier, heading the papal army for his father.

And it’s not just Cesare who is suffering the consequences of his family’s rise to power, mother Vanozza (Joanne Whalley) must be cast aside so that Rodrigo can keep up a pretense of chastity, and sister Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) is concerned that they will make her marry now. Indeed this is all she can think about, talking about it even during Rodrigo’s coronation. And judging by the looks which she and Cesare keep giving each other, there could be a deeper meaning behind her unwillingness to marry. Do I spy an incest story line in the pipeline?

Rodrigo (or Pope Alexander Sextus as he is now known) has bigger problems though. Cardinals Orsini and Della Rovere are unhappy that a Spaniard has been appointed Pope and are going out of their way to make things difficult for him. But it’s when Orsini invites Rodrigo to a banquet that we know he’s in trouble. Seriously, had I lived in those times I would never have attended a banquet: the risk of poisoning is just too great. Luckily, Cesare has a plan: attend anyway, but bring a monkey. This monkey swiftly meets its maker when Cesare creeps down to the kitchen to confront an assassin who is preparing to poison his father’s wine. Money and loyalties swiftly change hands, and it’s Orsini not Rodrigo who becomes the first character in the series to die by assassination. Something tells me that he won’t be the last though….

TV Recap/Review: Private Practice Season 5 Episode 10 (Are You My Mother?)

8 Jan

Image: hulu.com

 

“You know what I do to alleviate frustration?”

“Frusturbation?”

“What are you, twelve?”

“Yes…”

This little gem of an exchange, between Charlotte and Cooper (because who else could coin the term “frusturbation”?), was undoubtedly the highlight of the latest episode of Private Practice, for me at least. It certainly provided some light relief, as the rest of the episode was chock-full of angst. There were…

 

Baby Issues

After weeks of being shockingly optimistic about the whole baby situation, Addison finally cracks this week. Although we’re never officially told, her pregnancy test in the last episode before the hiatus was obviously negative, as this week she’s moving back into her house (where Amelia has moved to I do not know) in an attempt to woo Social Services into letting her adopt. Despite the presence of men’s shoes under the bed, she impresses them enough to be meeting with a birth mother later in the episode, when she promptly develops verbal diarrhoea and spills all about her earlier abortion. “Way to win over a birth mother,” sigh hundreds of viewers, but it actually seems to have a positive effect, and soon after she’s delivering the baby as Melanie goes into early labour. It’s love the minute she claps eyes on the newborn, but sadly it’s not meant to be as Melanie decides to give the baby to a family from her church, where she’ll have not just a mom, but also a dad and a brother. All of this, plus her break-up from Sam (“Finally!” I cheer, doing a miniature victory dance at the end of my least favourite couple in television history), leaves her understandably bitter, and when her therapist tells her that she needs to deal with the disappointment, she responds petulantly “Don’t want to!”

Also having baby issues are a polyamorous triad (otherwise known as a threesome) who are visiting Jake in an attempt to get pregnant. The plan is that one mom will provide the egg, one will carry the baby, and the dad will provide the sperm, and there’s only one problem: one of the women is infertile and incapable of carrying a baby. As with all the patients who appear on Private Practice though, they’re really there for only one reason, to help one of the doctors come to a realisation about their own life. In this case it’s Violet, who realises that rules are important, and decides to ban Pete from the house when it’s her night with Lucas (although, to be fair, he did start it).

Bigger Child Issues

For the first time ever, Cooper is faced with having to play Bad Cope, after he catches Mason stealing from the toy store. This stresses him out for the best part of the episode (perhaps he should practice the frusturbation which he preaches) until he gets some sage advice from Sam (who’d have thought it?), and realises that parenting isn’t just about fun and games. This leads to a very sweet moment, when he tells Mason that he isn’t allowed out of his room for the rest of the week and, after his initial anger, Mason is just upset that he won’t be seeing his daddy at the weekend. All together now: awwwwwwwwwww!

Relationship Issues

As well as Addison and Sam (who have the least memorable break up ever, having finally realised that their relationship is in fact over) and Violet and Pete, we also have Amelia and Sheldon attempting to overcome the events of the intervention. Or rather, we have Amelia attempting to build bridges, and Sheldon staying as far away from her as possible, which, as you can imagine, does wonders for her fragile confidence. Luckily though, we have Charlotte floating around (and while I never thought that I would use that word to describe her, she really does seem like a benevolent force in this episode) doing her best to repair the relationship for them, or at least keeping any more damage from being done. She takes Sheldon to the shooting range to release his tension (which is where the frusturbation comment comes in), and seems to appear whenever Amelia’s feeling down, even managing to get her back into surgery. I have to say, I do love the relationship which those two have (not least because my inner femslasher is cheering them on), and I hope we get to see more of it as Amelia continues her journey of recovery.

I have no idea what the next episode holds in store for us (and the promo is spectacularly unhelpful in that respect), but I’m very happy about the return of my current favourite show!