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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Private Practice stages The Intervention

     In an event dubbed by ABC Private Practice: The Intervention, two episodes, "Who We Are" and "The Breaking Point," air back to back. The major focus of the first hour is the characters staging an intervention for Amelia (Caterina Scorsone), who shows up engaged and high after being missing for twelve days. The practice gets together and tries to get her into rehab, but she only goes after her fiance dies of an overdose. In the second hour, Amelia spends about six weeks in rehab, while Addison (Kate Walsh) keeps trying to get pregnant, Violet (Amy Brenneman) considers leaving Pete (Tim Daly), and Cooper (Paul Adelstein) struggles to balance his son, Mason (Griffin Gluck, United States of Tara), with a patient.

     What Private Practice lacks in intriguing cases of the week, it makes up for when it comes to big, dramatic events. Amelia's arc is annoyingly slow ramping up, but in "Who We Are," it really comes to a head splendidly. The series handles the confrontation of an addict and hitting rock bottom with realism and grace. Amelia is not villainized, and Sam (Taye Diggs) and Jake (Benjamin Bratt), both medical professionals, debate whether addiction can be called a diseases. Many issues are explored, such as what causes addiction, how trauma can affect a person, and the emotional toll such an issue takes. Even Amelia's relationship, though very brief, feels authentic and solid. All in all, this aspect of the show comes through wonderfully in a way Private Practice only manages to do a few times per season.

     Jake gets some back story in "Who We Are" as well. Viewers learn that he is a widower of an addict, and that he raises her daughter, whom is not biologically Jake's. It proves he is a good man who has been through a lot, and come out the other side stronger than ever. His conversation at his wife's grave, revealing how he feels he has finally found a family at the practice, is moving, as well as revealing. The doctors at the practice, despite all of their flaws, are a family. When they remember that, they are at their best.

     Cooper has a real family to think of, now that Erica (A.J. Langer, Eyes) with his son. Charlotte (KaDee Strickland) adjusts far better than she would have before all of the things she has gone through with Cooper, and Cooper is every bit the great dad anyone would expect, having witnessed his bedside manner with his kid patients. It's an adjustment, to be sure, but the biggest obstacle for Cooper will be how his job interferes with his daddy time, something he doesn't really think about until "The Breaking Point." It is likely he will manage, though. It's a good thing he has a mature, understanding son.

     Unfortunately, not every family is destined to survive. Pete and Violet come together in a time of great turmoil, and are really only cemented as a couple around the time that she gets pregnant with his son. Pete sticks with Violet through all of her personal demons, but now that she is better, he is growing resentful of her. At first, she brushes it off as a coping stage after his heart attack. But the more time passes, it becomes obvious that if there was love between them, it is gone now. It's a brave and difficult thing for Violet to leave Pete, who would not end the marriage on his own, no matter how much he'd like to. But perhaps, after separating, they can be better people for it.

     Things also do not look good for Addison and Sam. She is determined to have a baby, something that frustrates him as it threatens her health. He wants her, but does not want to raise another child. When she gets hers, which may be soon, it will probably spell the end of them as a couple. Addison can compartmentalize her relationship with her efforts to get pregnant, but she can't do so for a baby. It is not revealed whether Addison ends "The Breaking Point" with child or not, but given the circumstances and the look on her face, it seems likely.

     Private Practice is enjoying a high point right now. Too bad, then, it's off until early 2012.

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