Light It Up
By Nancy Kiu, Director of Medical Research
Welcome to the 100th episode of Private Practice! 100 episodes is a big deal in the television world, and every single person on this show feels extremely lucky to get to work with some of the best cast and crew in this business. We are all so grateful for all the love and support (and viewership!) from our fans. So what better way to celebrate our 100th episode than with a celebratory wake?
Wait, a what? Yeah, that's right, in this episode Pete wanted a celebratory wake, in the spirit of a Balinese funeral. Don't forget, Pete spent time in China learning Eastern medicine. Even though Violet remembers him as a man with deep-seated anger issues, others at the wake remember him as a kind, gentle, and spiritual man. And in Balinese belief, a cremation ceremony is one of the most celebrated things. It is an occasion for happiness and not mourning, representing one of their sacred ideas that by burning the body, the soul is liberated and freed for reincarnation into its the next life.
Pete hoped that this celebration would bring peace and closure to those around him and help them begin their lives without him in it. But, as it turns out, celebrating is the last thing that would bring Violet peace. Violet, who just watched her husband's body get cremated, and who now has to throw a party in Pete's honor when she's barely holding it together, because how can she properly celebrate Pete's life when she hasn't even had time to mourn his death yet?
And even in death, Pete lives on. His presence hovers over everyone present at the wake, who all have memories and stories to tell of Pete, and while all our characters try to celebrate the life he lived, his wake causes them to re-examine where they are in their own lives as well.
In the face of something as monumental as death, should you just let go of the past and try to move forward? Sam and Addison made peace with the fact that their love story is over, but what about their friendship? They have known each other for years, still care deeply about each other as friends, and there is lingering love and affection between them after everything that has happened. But they still can't be friends, because they have to give each other time to mourn the passing of their relationship. So it's coffee talk until then. Or, at least, until the bombshell drops that Mark Sloan is dead. MARK SLOAN!! Addison's (second!) former lover to be mourned this episode, and their friend, classmate, colleague. As Addison tells Sam, people are dying. Everyone they know is dead. So, things will have to be alright, eventually, some day, because there's no more time to waste.
Charlotte still hasn't come to terms with the fact that she's pregnant. She's no longer fighting it, but she still isn't quite ready to accept it yet. But faced with how fleeting life can be, she realizes she's ready to do this, but only if she has Cooper by her side.
Amelia and Jake are the only people who seem content with where they are, because Pete's death helps them realize how far they have individually come. They've made it out to the other side. By putting to rest her old life, Amelia has freed herself to live a new one, one where Addison deems her fit to watch over Henry should anything ever happen to Addison. And Jake, he's put to rest his old life, and is now grateful to be happy and in love. With time, love, and support, it can happen.
But what happens when you take a look at your life, and realize that you don't have any love or support? Sheldon's patient Nick feels alone and like he has nothing to look forward to. Do pedophiles deserve to live? Nick feels he doesn't. But should Nick be judged if he's aware of his faults, wants help for them, and has never acted on his desires for young girls before? Or he is just a ticking time bomb? Nick cannot be cured, but there are ways to help control his impulses. Yet Nick is so consumed with guilt and self-hatred that just when Sheldon offers him a glimpse of hope, he collapses from having taken pills earlier. Nick was so alone that he wanted to end his suffering, but he didn't want to die alone and with no one to mourn him. The irony is that, by unburdening his deepest secret and trying to end his life, Nick may have found a new beginning - even if Sheldon isn't really sure his is a life worth saving.
But as Sheldon learned from his Buddhist studies, suffering is a great teacher, because you never know what you might become when you work through it. And so, at episode's end, with her best friend Cooper by her side, Violet finally takes her first step out of mourning when she scatters Pete's ashes into the ocean. She frees his soul for his next journey, and in the process, finally starts to unburden hers as well. And hopefully, as Sheldon tells her, she'll be alright.
In order to begin anew, you must say goodbye to the old.