The day in labor comes with relationship conflict, adoption concerns, works in progress and the beginnings of a fairytale ending…
The last penultimate installment of Private Practice ever begins to wrap-up our last, stellar season, and it’s time for a release of emotions, most of which happen to be happy ones. This wasn’t a character-centric installment that focused only on one singular individual. Nope. This one is shared by everyone at the Practice. The doctors of Saint Ambrose Hospital are finally attempting to get their lives together as the series finale rears its head. The installment, while dramatic in some spots is mostly spent establishing our characters’ new happiness, which results in a hopeful, fun and occasionally joyous penultimate episode. This is when you know a Shonda Rhimes series is heading for its final goodbye; when everyone is happy and things aren’t turning out for the worst, for once. It’s almost like a fairytale.
As Charlotte lies in labor, aggravated and in a world of pain only a woman is burdened to experience, her friends attempt to figure out their own journeys in life. Addison is on track to finalizing Henry’s adoption. Sam and Stephanie are back on track. Cooper and Mason acquire a home for their new incoming additions to the family. Amelia ponders the possibility of children, with James. Sheldon attempts to really connect with his friends. And Violet attempts to make room for some happiness and maybe a new romance in her life. It’s all a continued trial for each of these complex Practice characters to travel on, even when the final hour transpires.
Addison has spent all of last season and this season becoming a mother, understanding the sacrifices of what it means to be a parent, a lover and an entirely new person. This series has followed Addison Montgomery on her journey to make a new life for herself, escaping the woman who betrayed Derek Shepherd and became a renowned cheater. It’s funny how her move to L.A. changed her so much. Addison may be a mother now, but there are other things hindering her from a simple happy ending. Her partner, Jake’s past comes into play, interrupting Addison’s adoption of Henry. There are a few moments when I thought that it could be a possibility for Addison and Jake to separate for a while just to get Addison what she’s been looking for over the past six seasons. Jake is admirable in the entire situation, making a strong effort to make things right, after a misunderstanding.
Adoptions go wrong all the time and this could have ended up being a complete horror story for Addison if she didn’t have Jake there to fix what seemed to be an unfixable situation. Jake is able to convince the judge, who happens to be a father of four daughters, to legalize the adoption. It’s not like Shonda Rhimes would be so cruel to end the series and have Addison without Henry or Jake, so there is virtually no real threat here, which in some cases made the storyline a bit of a waste to discover other facets of Addison, Jake, and Henry’s dynamic. Or at least that’s how I felt about it. While it was trivial, it was satisfying to see the final scene in which Addison is surprised to have something work out in her benefit for once.
It’s odd that we have barely addressed Violet’s loneliness and emotional despair all season, when she has in fact been suffering in silence. Which is totally like her. Violet’s love life is very stagnant and all season she has sort of felt like kind of a minor character shuffling through random cases and helping her friends out. It’s even more odd considering that Violet started the season off with a bang, considering Pete’s death and all. Well, in this installment we get to see how Violet has really been doing and it’s not well at all. Violet’s life has just been totally put on pause sense Pete died, and I don’t think it happened purposely; however, Violet has fallen into a dull patch. Violet’s talk with Sam reveals that she had forgotten about Pete when she was hit on in a bookstore by a handsome man who adores her and her book. Violet is shattered by this thought because she feels as though her life is mostly over now. She’s been through so much over the past six seasons, almost more than one can bare, and she’s just…living now. Nothing special going on in her life. Violet is just waiting, and Sam informs her, and himself that they are both works in progress.
Both Violet and Sam are in the same boat here. Neither of them are really aware of what the next step in they’re lives are. While their friends seem to have their lives in check, these two unlikely people feel like they might be at the end of their rope. So as Sam dispenses this truth to Violet, it also serves himself as well. While Sam might be with Stephanie, his personal direction is still unclear to him. I hope Sam can get some sort of clarity of where he’s going in life in the series finale. As for Violet, the thing has decided to focus on is her new book. Yes, Violet is writing a new memoir. It’s actually much deserved and maybe when she’s done with it, Violet will be ready to hop back into the dating world again. Her life is far from over, even after all the drama she’s endured these past six seasons. It’s been no fairytale and her happy ending may not be what she had in mind, but that doesn’t mean she can’t keep going and push forward to have a good life. As my favorite character and the one I connect with most out of the entire cast, I’d love a good ending for Violet.
Elsewhere, Sheldon is forced to connect with his friends more, given the uncertainty of his and Miranda’s relationship. Miranda’s time is growing shorter due to her cancer, and there is no telling how much longer she and Sheldon will be happy together. Miranda is adamant on pushing a closed and stoic Sheldon to open up to those who love him. Sheldon has spent so much of these series being the wise old owl of the group and helping others with their problems that he never really lets anyone help with his issues. And now that he’s going through treatment for his prostate cancer and the possibilities of him losing Miranda become greater with every passing day, Sheldon takes a step into connecting with a friend, namely Sam, who is the one that helped him through the treatment of Sheldon's prostate cancer this whole season. It’s nice to see Sheldon being a bit more optimistic in general about life and his treatment. Even if Miranda does perish, which would be awful, I would love for Sheldon to have some semblance of a happy ending.
Amelia’s past has been rough as well. An addiction, a dead lover, giving birth to a “unicorn baby” and rebuilding broken friendships have made her such a strong woman, just as much as the other women at the practice. The Shepherd sister is no cookie! She’s tough, yet still vulnerable, which is most evident when her new love asks an imperative question that she is very apprehensive on answering: Does Amelia want to have kids? After her history, it’s easy to understand Amelia being terrified of the possibilities of having a baby, when her last pregnancy was an emotional war that rattled her mind, body and soul. What if she only produces brainless babies? Amelia can’t go through that again. But after witnessing the miraculous birth of Charlotte’s remaining two baby girls, Amelia is reminded of the miracle that is bringing another life into the world. It’s tough as hell, but it’s a battle that is worth it in the end. And as long as she has her new love, James by her side, Amelia should be able to do it. Even with all the drama that comes with Charlotte’s birth, when Addison has to reposition the final baby to get it out safely (that just sounds painful), Amelia and James will have a future with children in it as well.
Cooper is feeling the pressure of becoming a dad and acquiring a perfect domestic home to house his growing family in. With Mason’s help, Cooper tries to win over a house owner in order to finalize the home sale. Even up against a seemingly perfect little couple that is all about having the house to themselves as well. Ultimately what wins Cooper and is family the house is the fact that he has incoming baby girls on the way. Of course this is all happening as Charlotte is finally giving birth to her last two baby girls. Cooper and Mason make it to the hospital just in time and they name the babies, Caroline and Rachel, to accompany their sister, Georgia. The big happy family. Even through all of Charlotte’s griping and moaning, she will undoubtedly be an amazing mother. And Cooper, a great father. This particular couple developed over the seasons in many fun little ways, but most of all they have become a family through some of the most unintentional of ways. The birth of Charlotte’s babies only sets up their fairytale ending!
With that, we are left with one final episode that marks the end of an era. Private Practice has been a fun, complex, emotional, and dramatic ride. A ride that has finally come to its final full release of everything, for its storylines and its characters, and Shonda Rhimes should be proud. The series started off as a show about cheaters, who also happened to be medical professionals. And now they’ve all grown to be astute, complex adults and professionals, who are still undoubtedly flawed, but have made choices to keep looking for their fairytale ending. “Full Release” gets 4 out of 5 stars! Do not miss the series finale, premiering next Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. for those in the Tennessee Valley.
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© Patrick Broadnax 2013