Private Practice Review: "Playing God"

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The worlds of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice often run parallel, and not just when specific stories and characters cross over like Amelia did last night. Both deal with impossibly complex situations and their impact on the fragile psyches of even the most gifted surgeons.

Case in point: Sam coming face to face with the drunk driver who hurt Mia and killed Dell.

Acting not as a rational doctor but as a rightfully angry father and a friend, Sam chokes the heck out of him before he can even finish his apology (his reason for coming).

Not a Good Time

The man goes into cardiac arrest. Considering the circumstances, Sam is unmoved.

This incident not only showcased Taye Diggs' underrated acting chops, it served as a springboard for a flashback to Sam's first solo heart surgery way back in the day.

Harboring a secret, the patient, an ailing teacher, admits to Sam that he’s a pedophile moments before being wheeled into the OR. Well, that's some food for thought.

When complications arise, Sam doesn't exactly respond as aggressively as he might have. By omission or ambivalence, he admits he let the pedophile on his watch.

Back in the present, Sam sees something on the driver's scan, but doesn't seem to care. Will history repeat itself? Especially since the driver says he deserves to die?

After telling Addison about the pedophile case, Naomi decides she must talk to Sam. He tells him to have the surgery and informs Charlotte of the hidden aneurysm.

This was an intense, multifaceted plot, as it also revealed to us that in Naomi's mind, the day Sam let a patient die was the beginning of the end for their marriage.

Fortunately, he did the right thing this time around, an in an even more difficult situation, given his deep, personal ties to the patient and the patient's reckless actions.

Also, despite misgivings, Naomi comes clean to Addison about her relationship with Sam and says for them, this doesn't have to be the beginning of the end. Powerful.

Elsewhere, Amelia returns from Grey's Anatomy and asks for a job. She says that she's a catch as far as neurosurgeons go, and Naomi apparently shares that belief.

Charlotte has been seeing someone behind Coop's back ... a real estate agent. His loft is not cutting it for her. The decide to house hunt and conflict predictably ensues.

The long and short of it is that Charlotte wants to start fresh in a new place without any of the bad memories. Cooper attaches good memories to his old place, though.

Cooper? The optimist? Who would have guessed.

Finally, we have Gibby, an old war buddy of Pete who runs a medical clinic out of his house and disturbingly, also performs surgery in a back room. God complex much?

Pete believes he’s just helping people who are out of options, but that is a very fine line. When a girl is shot, Pete knows he has to do the right thing and sell out Gibby.

Still, this is a complicated situation, and Pete does understand Gibby's desire to help those in need. So he and Violet agree to find a way for Pete to do some ER shifts.

What did you think of this episode of Private Practice? Comment below!


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (19 Votes)

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


This was a really good episode, and I loved that we got to see actual relationship scenes with Violet and Pete, from them strongly disagreeing on an issue to finding a working compromise and hugging it out :)


This show really rocks! Finally, we get to know why Naomi's & Sam's marriage tanked! Secrets can ruin a marriage....I know this first hand. This show has matured and developed into a better show than GA. I truly enjoyed this episode on so many levels....Pete's storyline, Charlotte's admission to her feeling insecure about the apartment, Naomi admitting her feelings abouth Addie & Sam's relationship...Sam's storyline & flashbacks and of course, Sheldon just being Sheldon! I like Amelia in the mix as well. I don't know what is missing on GA but PP has the winning storylines and character mix that keeps me watching every week. Am I the only one who feels that GA is almost over and PP is the true winner of the two shows?


@CShea Addie isn't a slut, she fell in love. Sam was the one pushing her last season, she refused to hurt her bff but after what happened to Dell and after that Sheldon told her to, she chose to be happy and be with the man who is crazyin love with her. They've been friends since forever, it's not like she met him after he married Naomi. It's a complicated situation but they all can get passed it.
This is what I tell myself to accept them but I really don't like them, they barely have chemistry together.
I agree with you though, Naomi and Sam have a strong chemistry, them together makes sense, Addie and Sam seem forced, it's not natural. I loved this episode, when there's a lot of Addie it's so much better. I loved all the storylines, as always James Remar was amazing.
Addie's hair was cute, she was a doll back then, still is but you know what I mean!
Naomi's rant to her was adorable. I wanted to slap her when she called Addie selfish and a cheater, she's like that herself but yeah, glad to see she's trying to accept them as a couple. She knows it has nothing to do with her, it's weird for her, she needs time to process the whole thing maybe that's why she's going I don't know where.


Loved the flashbacks. LOL yes addie-fringe looked cute =P Back hwen they were residents...Seriously, the history of this group of friends is of the most interest to me right now, haha.


And for Sam to kill or let the pedophile die under his knife would have been a tough decision for him to make, he was a young father then, and the man confessed to Sam how much he like touching the children. The moral dilemma for Sam is should he have reported the man to police, and have him be punished in a court of law, but like the title of the show "Playing God", in the flashback memories Sam did indeed play God by killing this man, and Sam's moral dilemma was to give up being a cardiothoracic surgeon, and keep a secret of what he did for 12 years.


CShea, that's a total lie. I agree with MJ_McBelle. Naomi went out with Duncan AND Bryce. They were Sam's friends. Naomi also went out with Archer, Addison's brother. Seriously! She hates it when something happens to her. Come on! I hate Naomi. She's unbelievably annoying!


I can't believe how Noami went off at Addison. Noami should remember Sam and Addison aren't married to anyone so they are not cheating. Sam and Noami are divorced, she shouldn't have any hurt feelings just because her ex-husband and her best friend discover that they actually love each other, Addison and Sam shouldn't have to be sorry or be guarded around Noami, if Noami has a problem with it she should go speak with Violet or Sheldon. And the only reason Noami would have to carry on like she did, is she has high hopes of her and Sam getting back together why else would you carry on like a jealous bitch.


I understand why Naomi is upset and I'm glad she was honest to Addison about her feelings. But some of the things she said, I would have liked to see Addison throw back at her. Sam and Naomi got their closure which was nice. They do have chemistry, but their personalities don't match at all. That's part of why their marriage didn't work. I don't know how I feel about Sam 'killing' his patient back then. I wish there would have been more consequences for him.
I loved the flashbacks though. Addie looked cute. lol It was nice how Addison was there for Sam, but I hope we'll get to see them as a happy couple in the next episode.

Tam williams

I enjoy your site immensely, but just wish to nitpick a little here.
It's a medical program, so as such, can you be a little more accurate.
The man was not in cardiac arrest, he had chest pain.
When medical shows inaccurately portray patients making miraculous recoveries from cardiac arrests they just fuel the public's misconception about survival rates.
There was a study done not too long in Australia which highlighted that on screen, ninety percent of patients survive arrests, whereas the reality is something akin to ten percent or less. Try convincing the relative of a patient who is clinically dead (but still undergoing CPR)to let their loved one go, after they've just seen the miraculous recovery on television.
Anyway, enough of my rant....


I totally disagree - Addison deserves it. I mean, I love addie as much as the next viewer, but she's a total slut. Naomi is her best friend. Sam was Naomi's husband. And they didn't end everything with the divorce - they work together, they've had feelings for each other on and off for years. It was wrong for Addie to start dating Sam, and she knows it, and that is why she didn't tell Naomi. And honestly, when I see Naomi and Sam together - like when Naomi comforted him tonight... that's much more real to me than what's between Sam and Addison. I think ultimately Sam and Naomi should be together - their chemistry is much stronger.

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