We’ve spent intimate time with all the characters on “Private Practice” and now finally, as our journey begins to come to an end, we spend time with Amelia.
I don’t think I realized how much I loved the character of Amelia until we practically went the entire season without seeing her. The first few episodes of the season focused primarily on the loss of Pete, and therefore we didn’t get to see Amelia mourn the loss of her baby that much. She had such a traumatic time last season–relapsing on drugs, falling in love for the first time, losing her fiance, getting sober, and then getting pregnant and giving birth to a baby without a brain. Anyone would need some time to herself, and it seems like Amelia took that time.
At the beginning of the episode we find out that Amelia is 407 days sober. She is living in an apartment by herself, and while she claims to her group that this is a good chance for her to use the kitchen and work out, it turns out that it’s really just like the rest of us who live alone–she has stale milk in her fridge and she sits on the couch eating ice-cream while she watches work-out videos in her sweat pants.
But eventually someone as young and smart and attractive as Amelia is has to move on. The gorgeous and strong-willed Dr. James Patterson has been pursuing her since he arrived in episode 3, and after the television tells her to–or at least reminds her–she finally gives in and goes out on a date with him. Their chemistry is undeniable, and most of the episode is spent watching them work on a case together and fall in love.
It was fun to watch Amelia squirm during the first couple of dates when James didn’t kiss her, and every girl could relate as she dished with Violet and Addison about the fact that she would rather be in her sweat pants than going through all the pre-date-getting-ready pain. It was romantic and heart-warming when they finally did kiss and you could see how natural it felt for both of them. It was gut-wrenching to watch Amelia struggle through their first attempt at intimacy, as she had flashbacks to her last time in bed with a man–the night that Ryan died. And then I teared up along with her when James stayed patient and understanding as she overcame her demons, and they were finally able to connect as a couple.
This season has been a bit sparse on the sexy scenes, but Amelia and James certainly did make up for lost time in this episode. Once Amelia overcame her hang-ups they spent the majority of the episode in bed getting to know the good and the bad. Amelia’s bad was her craziness, her past, her inability to believe that she was really worthy of finding love again. James was nearly perfect, except for one thing–he’s a republican!
Occasionally the two doctors did go to work, and when they did they worked on a case together in the ER with a patient named Kaye, a woman in her thirties who was only now following her dream of becoming an actress in Hollywood. She had moved to the city after her mother passed away and she realized how short life was, but during one of her first auditions she had a seizure. It turned out she had a lesion in her brain, and once they figured out the problem they gave her medication and she was fine. But after a few check-ups and happiness and bliss she had more seizures and Amelia and James couldn’t figure out what the problem was.
Like in all Shonda Rhimes shows, Kaye’s sickness nicely mirrored the relationship between James and Amelia. Amelia loses her cool one night after she goes to dinner with James and his parents. During the dinner Mrs. Patterson asked a lot of questions about their future–how they would raise kids, what the gender roles would look like–and instead of letting Amelia answer James got nervous and took control of the situation and told his mother they weren’t going to talk about it. This struck a nerve with Amelia–who was looking for something to freak out about in the too-perfect relationship–and she walked out screaming one night.
As Amelia was struggling with her relationship and growth she reached out to the other doctors at the practice, and that gave us some wonderful moments that reminded us how far everyone has come. The married and super-pregnant Charlotte gave her condoms, and then later provided her with sobriety support and stability when she freaked out. Violet wondered aloud if she would ever find anyone herself, or if she would spend the rest of her life in her sweats alone on the couch. And Sheldon finally came clean about his cancer and relationship reminded her that that the only thing that mattered was finding someone to hold hands with you when you’re sick. It was nice to see her reach out to others, and that alone showed how much the closed-off Amelia has grown.
Caterina Scorsone plays Amelia with such a refreshing combination of vulnerability and strength that we live every beat with her. You always felt like being with James was the right thing for her to do, but at the same time you always felt like her heart and sobriety and sanity were hanging in the balance.
Of course, in the end things worked out. James told Amelia that he was in love with her and Amelia returned the sentiment, but not before realizing that Kaye’s problem must be coming from a tumor in her heart, and thus saving a life in the process.
It’s so wonderful to see a character like Amelia finally find a sense of stability and happiness, and I was surprised and touched by how much I enjoyed seeing her fall in love with James. It was a wonderful way to end the series of individually focused episodes, as it was one of the strongest and most fulfilling beats of the season so far–right up their with Sheldon’s arc.
It’s hard to believe, but there are only two episodes of “Private Practice” remaining, and luckily all of our beloved characters are coming together for the ending. I’m going to keep my tissues handy.