Is it possible to have the life you want without there being any consequences? Is it even possible? That's part of the premise behind the sixth and final season of ABC's "Private Practice," which followed a few doctors with complicated personal lives. Some of the episodes delivered touching moments, while the last few tended to put too much focus on certain characters and made the episode timeline a little erratic.
"Private Practice" followed the complicated professional and personal lives of the Seaside Health and Wellness's diverse staff of doctors. The practice was run by the usually unflappable Dr. Addison Forbes Montgomery (Kate Walsh) who performed countless complicated surgeries, but she had a hard time making a decision in her personal life. She was caught between her on/off again boyfriend Dr. Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs) and her new suitor Dr. Jake Reilly (Benjamin Bratt). Addison has decided to make a final choice after she adopted her son Henry and has to leave behind the drama she dealt with before. Unfortunately, Addison wasn't the only one was dealing with some major problems. Married couple Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland) and Cooper Freedman (Paul Adelstein) are expecting triplets and the pregnancy is having some major complications. Recent widow Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman) was dealing with the loss of her husband Pete and her fellow psychiatrist friend Sheldon (Brian Benben) is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. Neurosurgeon Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) is learning to move on after two major personal losses. Will everyone be able to get the happy ending they deserve or will they end up losing everything?
In terms of questions, the show has posed some serious ones as it headed towards its final three episodes. Sadly, the last few episodes tended to focus on the particular viewpoint of a certain character (Addison, Jake, Cooper, Sheldon and Charlotte) and left little room for a clear narrative for the rest of the cast. The show's last episode paid too much emphasis on some bizarre ballroom dancing fantasies while Strickland's Charlotte spent most of the episode on bedrest. The episode should've paid more attention to the dilemma that Charlotte dealt with as she was sidelined while one of her babies came too early and was in danger of dying constantly. It's a shame that the episode took too many detours because Strickland's performance as the complicated Charlotte allowed her to explore a wide array of emotions and was willing to go to some very dark places. Adelstein also deserved some credit as he tried to play a supportive husband, even when he was pushed to the breaking point. Let's hope that the final three episodes will help to unite the cast together and allow them to go off into the sunset in a respectable fashion.
As for the show's standout players, Walsh and Benben were leading the pack in their unique ways. Walsh was finally allowed to have her character grow up and make decisions that weren't designed to wreck her life. The show was smart to capitalize on Walsh's chemistry with Bratt, because it allowed both characters to be the best versions of themselves even when they were fighting. Their relationship also paved the way for Walsh to make the right type of series ending exit. The criminally underused Benben still delivered some powerful material even after he had been sidelined for way too long. Sheldon's cancer storyline gave him some strong scenes as he tried to deal with his illness and a potential love interest. The show's only mistake was that they paid too much attention to his obsession with his possible pedophile patient and they took too long in wrapping up the mystery behind a little girl's disappearance. Both of those stories should've been resolved weeks before they concluded. Brenneman and Diggs also deserved honorable mentions as their characters went through some major transitions. It's hard to say how "Private Practice" will end, but it should be a memorable one nonetheless.
"Private Practice" premiered on September 25th and airs Tuesdays at 10:00 PM on ABC. The series finale is scheduled to air on January 22nd.
Verdict: The show is gearing towards a final conclusion that will likely make some happy and leave others wanting more.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)