Private Practice returned this week and it was all about Sam.
A new girlfriend is not the only new venture Sam is exploring this season. In this week’s episode, we learned that Sam was filming a reality television pilot. He hoped that allowing a camera crew to follow him around during his work day would dispel myths about medical issues and help people lead healthier lives. You know what they say about the road to hell and those good intentions, right? Along with Sam’s new project, we got a new addition to Private Practice this week as Alfred Woodard guest starred as the doctor’s mother. As a connoisseur of reality television, I know firsthand that watching a control freak adjust to losing control of his well-laid plans has the potential for ratings gold. I’m sure, however, Sam would not see this as an upside. Oh well.
Sam’s mom, Dee, came to town needing a favor – help my sick boss. Raymond had blood clots in his lungs that made it difficult to breathe. Without surgery, heart failure was imminent. That in and of itself was a daunting challenge but things became more complicated as it was revealed – on camera – that Dee and Raymond had a thing going on. Did I mention Raymond’s wife was there? Indeed, she was. Always self righteous, despite his many shortcomings, Sam was not well handled by his mother’s worldly ways.
To save face, Sam decides to have a barbeque with Raymond, his wife and Dee. Scripted television rule number 1080 – you yell at a sick person and they will absolutely pass out or die. Scripted television rule number 1081 – questionable parental dating habits + disapproving son + urgent health crisis that can only be solved by a blood transfusion or organ transplant = Maury Povich-certified who’s the daddy shocker.
Sam was floored to learn that Raymond was his father as well as his sister, Corrine. Not only did Raymond buy Sam his first stethoscope, he paid for his first year at Georgetown. Raymond was more than an ATM. He secretly watched his children grow up, even attending a play Sam was in as a fourth grader. Of course, Sam was a donor match for Raymond’s urgently-needed liver but he turned it down and decided to go home. I’m sure there is more to come for these two before the series finale.
The documentary format was definitely a change from the normal Private Practice episode. It was also a very Sam-centered episode and as such, it took a bit of an adjustment getting used to having the other characters pushed to the periphery. The focus on Sam, however, did not completely deprive us of a few quality moments with the other doctors. Through the use of reality show interview questioning, we learned that Cooper is a nervous wreck over the prospect of raising triplets, we learned of Violet’s determination to find Sarah Nelson, Jake’s commitment to quality care and Amelia’s respect for the lives Sam has saved. Oh, Sheldon. Note cards? Really?
We learned more about Sam this week than we have over 6 seasons. I’m not the biggest fan of Sam but I thought the writers gave him a human side this week, which was nice to watch. Not the most exciting episode and truthfully, I’m ready for the Cooplets. Bring ‘em on! What did you think of this week’s Private Practice? Sound off below!