Private Practice Review: "War"

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That sound you hear is of it being ON.

Emotionally charged events that had been building all season long came to a head last night on Private Practice, as Pete and Violet waged a courtroom battle for custody of Lucas.

The title, "War," certainly seemed appropriate much of the time, as their colleagues were forced to testify, and endure their own lives being scrutinized on the stand.

Sometimes, Private Practice story lines seem trivial, but the myriad issues above and beneath the surface made this a compelling episode from beginning to end.

Some of the most stirring moments from the trial:

  • Amelia Shepherd and Naomi actually having Violet's back
  • Sheldon opining that Violet's PTSD is a chronic affliction
  • Charlotte dubiously proclaiming that Violet hates babies
  • Cooper of all people questioning her parental ability
  • An all-out character assassination on poor Dell
Pete Takes the Stand

Pete takes the stand in an effort to keep Lucas.

Perhaps our favorite scene/line of the night belonged to Addison: "I just want Lucas to be happy. So, if that means you tearing me apart and making me look like the most horrible person on Earth, then please go ahead and do it because Lucas is worth it to me."

Responding in such fashion as her own past was being exposed and lambasted under oath took courage. Also amazing? Sam confiding that he's in love with Addy.

The task of testifying takes a toll on him on a personal note. He admits that if he had said what he wanted to, he’d be attempting to take the baby away from Pete for the wrong reasons.

What a tangled web these doctors weave.

That's not the only such confession made that day, either. Violet admits to Sam that she’s still in love with Pete ... a revelation that it was he who leaked the details of Violet’s abortions. That's a decision likely to haunt him for years.

Another layer was added to the already strong episode courtesy of flashbacks to Violet’s time in NYC. She had a job interview to replace Ellen, a psychiatrist about to take maternity leave.

Ellen's pregnancy alone shook Violet up.

Later, we start to see Violet in a different light when Ellen helps her reveal the graphic details of her attack, including how she aided her assailant in removing Lucas so he would survive the mangled c-section. In Ellen's words, she chose her baby over herself.

Perhaps it was this inner revelation that helped her testimony hit home with Pete, even after the judge deems her unfit for custody. He allows Violet visitation rights after all.

A fitting resolution, albeit a little predictable. The way they arrived at the ending, via flashbacks and a lot of moving developments, made for a solid episode, we thought.

Whose testimony was the most moving? Did the judge make the right decision - and did Pete? What did you think of last night's Private Practice overall?

Vote and comment below!


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (16 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Can someone please tell me the name of the song that plays at the end of this episode? I loved it and I want to track it down!


@Cindy, but Pete was the one who had been taking care him like a dad would for the past month. She gave him to Pete because she knew she could trust him to take good care of him.


"I don't think Violet is an unfit mother, I believe that she is simply not ready" Completely agree!And while I believe that Pete went overboard, somehow I still feel for him. The way that Violet just dropped Lucas off to him, was completely unexpected...Yet Lucas really became a part of him and he, while not completely right in his actions, was just trying to protect the little boy. On a side note from the episode - GEEZ, I completley forgot that Violet dropped off Lucas before they knew who was his real father. Don't agree with Violet on that move at all...


just wondering. can someone tell me what the two sides were with all the people? Was it cooper, charlotte, naomi, amelia, dell, sam, and violet against addison and pete. then cooper said violet was an unfit mother, and charlotte just said weird stuff? am i correct?


Aren't Violet and Pete getting engaged? Paul Adelstein said there is something major that comes between him and Charlotte. And that Cooper may not live to work it out with her. There was a picture in a magazine spread, of Violet and Pete, and it was titled Engagement. Also, in another article it said that Violet and Pete come with an interesting/surprising way to fix their custody issue. I figured Violet would lose, because of the stuff in those magazines. Not to mention, when Pete looked like he was about to cry on the stand, when he said being loved by Violet is the greatest feeling in the world.


I loved Violet's wardrobe during the trial. Other than that...pretty OK episode. I think that the judge was accurate on his decision. Violet needs to slow down. I'm on the edge on Pete. Addie deserves better.


Absolutely AMAZING episode of Private Pratice!!!!


Pete's a total jerk - heck, I don't he deserves either Addie or Violet!


Okay, so I hated and loved the episode? Hated cause now the voice inside my head is screaming again and now I have to choose between Paddison and Addisam. - sigh- - Loved the episode because it showed a whole lot of emotion and it was an amazing episode. Though, I want the Violet/Pete/Addison/Sam/Lucas thing resolved! I don't think Violet is an unfit mother, I believe that she is simply not ready. The last scene with Sam looking through the window broke my Addisam heart. D: And, Pete was probably the BIGGEST jerk ever in this episode! Who uses abortion against the mother of your child?! Ugh. Loved Addison's speech of her wanting what's best for Lucas. :) Amazing amazing episode!


Before and during the episode I wanted nothing more than for Violet to win her case and to get to be a mother for Lucas, but the way the case went, I think it was for the best that the judge made the decision he made. It Violet got Lucas only because she went to court this would put a further strain on her and Pete's relationship. But the way things went, Pete was confronted with his anger and he got to hear Violet's side. And I think in the end that he will begin to let her in now, first in Lucas' life and then later on in his own as well. I think this line truly says everything, especially in how he was completely choked up when he said it: "I know what you're like when you love someone, I know what that feels like, and it's the best feeling in the world..."

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Private Practice Season 3 Episode 21 Quotes

You want to fight dirty? Let's fight dirty.


I do not believe Violet Turner is a fit mother.