April 26, 2012 – “Private Practice” returned on Tuesday, April 24th on the heels of last week’s immensely sad episode, “It Was Inevitable” with possibly an even heavier episode “And Then There Was One.” While Addison (Kate Walsh) finally begins to live her dream of being a mother, Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) gets unimaginably devastating news about the unborn baby in her womb: he has no brain.
Plus, Mason (Griffin Gluck) shuts down and refuses to speak—to anyone, anywhere. Cooper (Paul Adelstein) is beside himself and tries desperately to figure out how to help Mason with his grief. He gets so frustrated, in fact, that he lashes out at the one person he loves the most, who is trying to help both of them: Charlotte (KaDee Strickland).
Scorsone, Walsh and Strickland deliver some heart-wrenching scenes between them in the face of Amelia’s tragedy. And Strickland, Adelstein and Gluck continue to brilliantly tell the very riveting story of a family enduring the worst kind of tragedy.
By the end of the episode, these storylines leave some really big questions: Will Amelia ever heal enough and find some sort of peace to make amends with Addison? And, will Cooper’s frustration and insensitivity toward Charlotte damage their marriage and the new family they are trying to form with Mason?
In last week’s episode, Addison finally helped Amelia embrace the idea of becoming a mom. This week’s episode begins with Addison doing an ultrasound for Amelia. They see that the baby is a boy and as Addison travels up with the wand to see more of the baby, she freezes, with a terrified look on her face. She shuts the computer screen down and Amelia pleads with Addy to tell her what’s wrong.
This scene cuts to title credits that say, “Five weeks later” and a very numb and despondent Amelia blanches when a patient asks her when she is due. Then Addison comes in grinning from ear to ear with baby Henry. Amelia barely meets her eyes and hurries to her office.
Amelia skillfully blocks all attempts at communication from the Seaside staff. Charlotte finally draws her out and gets her to admit how devastated she is. Jake also convinces her that she has a future, even if her baby doesn’t and she needs to take care of herself.
However, the one person Amelia refuses to warm up to is Addison. In fact, in a very intense scene between the two women, we learn that Amelia’s baby has no brain.
According to an article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this condition is called anencephaly and it occurs in about 1 out of every 10,000 births. Causes are largely unknown, but could include environmental toxins or low intake of folic acid during pregnancy.
Amelia tells Addison she would call it a sick joke from God, but, there is no God if He allows something like this to happen. With utter fury, Amelia tells Addy that she hates her and she literally can’t stand to see her walking around with Henry on her hip, living out her dream of being a mom.
She also tells Addison that she doesn’t even know if she’ll survive the situation, but she definitely can’t do it with her around. She orders Addison to leave and basically bow out of her life.
Addison is visibly crushed, but does as she is told.
Caterina Scorsone does an incredible job portraying Amelia’s rage and tortured despair. It’s heartbreaking to watch Amelia lash out at Addison, who obviously loves her very much but has no choice but to endure her verbal assaults.
Addison turns to her own baby, Henry, for comfort and to Violet (Amy Brenneman). Violet seems to think that Amelia will eventually come around, that she is grieving and needs space to deal with it.
Amelia finally asks Jake to help her stay as healthy as possible, so that she can donate her baby’s organs when he comes to term. This way, his life will count for something and she tells Jake she wants to help as many babies as possible.
Jake assures Amelia that her baby’s condition has nothing to do with the drugs she took when she conceived. She seems to digest this, but does she take it to heart? Will she ever forgive herself and will she ever stop hating Addison for becoming a mom and living a joyful life with baby Henry?
This episode marks Scorsone’s strongest and most riveting performance since Amelia’s intervention. Her portrayal of Amelia’s guilt, fear and despair is so real and intense. One can’t help but wonder if Amelia can survive such a terrible tragedy.
Amelia has an unquestionably long road ahead. She calls Sheldon (Brian Benben), who is on vacation with his ex-wife. She leaves him a message and tells him she wishes he was there. What will Sheldon’s reaction be when he hears the news? Will the tragedy bring them closer together?
Only time will tell…
Charlotte and Cooper face more hurdles as Mason shuts down while grieving his mother’s death. He refuses to speak, doesn’t want to sleep in his own bed and wets Charlotte and Cooper’s bed.
Violet reassures Cooper that Mason still needs time, but, that it’s not wrong to make him sleep in his own bed and try to stipulate that he communicates the things that he needs.
Charlotte, however, is the one who finally reaches Mason. She tells him that she’s always tried to be the one in his life to “tell him the whole truth.” She also tells him her own daddy died when she was an adult and it nearly wrecked her. So, she can’t imagine being as young as he is and losing his mom. But, she tells him that he simply has to start talking.
In a very heartbreaking moment, Mason admits that he’s starting to forget things about his mom and it scares him. Plus, he feels like everyone wants everything to be normal, but it’s not normal. He doesn’t feel normal.
Once again, Strickland and Gluck create a very powerful and real moment between Charlotte and Mason in this scene. Charlotte, here, is a very compassionate woman struggling to become a mother figure to this young boy for the rest of his life. Mason is trying to figure out how he’s supposed to go on without the most important person in his life, his mother. It is devastating to watch.
Charlotte tells Cooper that she’s made progress, Mason has talked. However, instead of being happy, Cooper is angry at her and accuses her of pushing him too hard. He even goes as far as to lash out and tell Charlotte “You’re not his mom.”
Charlotte flinches at the ice behind his words. Has Cooper gone too far this time? Will he regret what he said? And more importantly, can Charlotte forgive him for lashing out when she was only trying to help a grieving little boy?
This couple has survived so many terrible things. Will the stress of Mason’s grief and Cooper’s refusal to see Charlotte as a mother figure cause irreparable damage? People often say rash things that they don’t mean when they are in the throes of grief. Hopefully, both of them will realize he didn’t really mean it.
Overall, “And Then There Was One” is moving, and sad. Amelia’s situation seems too much for any person to bear and Mason’s grief is heartbreaking. With only a handful of episodes until the season finale, the fates of many of our beloved PP characters hang in the balance.
It is a joy, though, to see Addison finally become a mother. Will her love life also fall into place before the season is done? Does Sam truly love her or is he falling back into what is familiar? Does Jake stand any chance at all?
And finally, will Violet and Pete reconcile? Or, will Violet drive Pete away by pushing too hard for them “do the work” to get to the root of what pulled them apart to begin with?
So many questions, so little time…
“Private Practice” airs on Tuesdays at 10 PM EST on ABC.