Guess I should have kept the Kleenex handy for this week as well. You know what, I am just going to hit my Wegmans and load up for the rest of season just to be safe! This week deals with the aftermath of the aftermath…everyone getting back to their lives and jobs after Charlotte’s attack. There were also 2 cases this week so let’s get them out-of-the-way and then we will jump into Charlotte’s storyline.
The first case was about a young girl named Elisa who was battling lymphoma. She has gone through many bouts of treatment. including chemo, and it looks like she will have to go through Chemo once again. Her father Diego, would rather not put her through that again so he suggests taking her to the Shaman for treatment. Cooper is dead against this and Pete tells him to let Diego take Elisa and see what happens. While with the Shaman, Elisa has some setbacks and they can’t find a heartbeat. Diego is begging for the them to let the Shaman finish her ritual and Cooper and Pete call 911 to get her back to the hospital. Diego is furious about this and wants his daughter released. Cooper decides he is going to get a judge to rule that Elisa has the chemo. Pete tells him that due to religious practices being the reason for Diego’s decision, Coop probably won’t win. He disagrees and moves forward. Pete goes to Elisa and asks her what she wants. She says she doesn’t want chemo but never mentions that she wants the Shaman’s treatment either. When the judge is there, Pete supports Diego’s request for treatment via the Shaman and Cooper stresses how important the chemo is to her health. Finally Elisa speaks up and says that she doesn’t believe the Shaman can cure her but that the reason she doesn’t want the chemo is because it is bankrupting her family and she doesn’t want her father and siblings to suffer because of her treatment. What an amazing kid!!! Naturally the judge orders the chemo and Charlotte also agrees to allow the Shaman to come in and perform her ritual in the hospital for extra measure!
I think due to Charlotte’s situation, you may have Cooper wanting to over involve himself in his patients’ care. I know he was always very involved before and wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to his patients, but I think it’s different now. He can’t help Charlotte. He can’t make her better. So he is going to run through walls to make all the other people in that hospital better if it kills him. At least with these other patients, he is helping them. He is curing them. Which is something he currently cannot do for the love of his life. It’s only one week, but I think this could be a sign of how we are going to see Cooper react.
The second case involved a husband and wife, Rachel and Jimmy Berlutti!!! They have a very loving marriage of 20+ years and Rachel has been struggling with cancer over the years. Lately she has been having fits of rage and beating on Jimmy Berlutti. Sheldon wants this reported and Jimmy Berlutti doesn’t want that. He says he can take care of his wife. He loves her and he can handle anything. Rachel goes to see Addison to get checked out and it turns out she has a tumor on her ovary that is spilling high levels of testosterone into her system…which explains the rage outbursts. Addison wants to perform surgery to check the extent of the tumor and Rachel agrees. After surgery, it’s revealed to Rachel and Jimmy Berlutti that the tumor was more advanced than they thought and while they removed some of it, they couldn’t get it all and that she is terminal. This also means the rage episodes will continue and they suggest hospice care for the remainder of her life so she can be with people who have the expertise to manage it. It’s a heartbreaking scene between them because he wants to spend her last moment together and he promises her he can manage her episodes. She tearfully tells him she doesn’t want that for him or to hurt him anymore and that she wants the hospice care. Rachel tells him he can visit her everyday and tell the staff how to properly care of her. It was really moving and it’s always good to see Michael Badaluco back on TV!!!
While everyone else is getting back to work, so is Charlotte. She goes into her office at St Ambrose and she flashes to the rape in her head. She immediately leaves and heads over to Oceanside. The crew is in the kitchen and Cooper asks everyone to please act normal around Charlotte. When Charlotte comes in she tells everyone to look now and move on with it. One by one, people are going up to her to check on her. Addison wants to get her coffee and let her know that she is there for Charlotte. Charlotte reminds her that they are not friends and that the only thing she wants from her is to keep her mouth shut. Amelia brings doughnuts (smart girl) and offers to take Charlotte to a meeting if she starts to have the urge to take pills again. “I wrestled my 2 older brothers growing up. My pain threshold is very high.” Pete comes to see her to check her injuries and she reluctantly agrees. You can see in her face that with every touch of Pete against her skin, she is cringing in pain. I’m sure physically but it’s more emotional trauma than physical. Finally, Sheldon sees her in the coffee-room and treats her the most normal of everyone. Charlotte notices this and thanks Sheldon for leaving her alone. “I’d do nothing for you anytime. You know that right?” Sheldon tells her. “Yes I do.” Great scene.
Behind the scenes Addison is really struggling with what has happened to Charlotte. She wants to talk about it but she can’t. Then we realize there is more to what is bothering her. She confides in Sam that she was treating a rape victim and the victim did not want a rape kit performed because she didn’t want anyone to know. Unbeknownst to the victim, Addison performed the rape kit anyway, in case she changed her mind later and wanted to press charges. By law, Addison is supposed to report the rape to the police. Sam reminds her of this and wonders why she didn’t call the police. It then dawns on him that it was because the victim was Charlotte. Now, I think Addison did the right thing by performing the rape kit. I think there is nothing wrong with having it performed and if the victim doesn’t change their mind, you discard the evidence. If they do change, you have it. But what bugs me is her telling Sam. What about doctor/patient confidentiality? I can’t BELIEVE she told Sam this. And I don’t care that she never said it was Charlotte. Sam isn’t stupid so of course he would figure it out. She had no right to do that. I understand this is hard on her and she wants to help Charlotte, but this isn’t her call and it’s not about her feelings. Charlotte asked her to keep quiet and she should, to Sam. To the police, I’m not so sure. As a doctor Charlotte should know she is putting Addison in a bad spot by asking her to do something illegal, but I don’t care. I am certainly not going to blame Charlotte! And I can see where Addison would struggle to tell the police so she can help put the bastard behind bars. But she had NO RIGHT to talk to Sam about this. Because look at what happened…Sam goes to Violet, Violet goes to Sheldon, Violet also talks to Pete, Sheldon talks to the police, and then Violet talks to Charlotte. So it went from 2 people knowing to at least 5 more people knowing. Let’s look at each scenario:
- Sam to Violet: never tells Violet what is going on and what happened but he stresses to Violet in a very strange way that she NEEDS to talk to Charlotte. Violet, at first, is extremely confused and she just wants to leave Charlotte alone because that is what Charlotte wants. But Sam keeps pushing her to talk to Charlotte. Violet is also a smart woman and has her opinions as to why Sam is pushing this so hard.
- Violet to Sheldon: Violet talks to her fellow colleague about what happened and tells him she wishes he was there so they can compare notes. They begin a very cryptic conversation but then Sheldon mentions that he was with a felon who is accused of raping someone and Violet’s face completely changes. Sheldon, also a very smart man…who is really growing on me as a character by they way…sees the reaction Violet has to his telling her this news asks Violet if she thinks Charlotte was raped.
- Violet to Pete: they have a very normal husband/wife discussion and Violet starts to tell Pete about what happened to her in college. She also asks him why he never asked her about it. He tells her that he knew she would talk when she was ready. Violet asks him if he thinks Charlotte was raped. He tells her he can’t discuss a patient and she agrees but she is just asking his opinion. Now in fairness, Pete already had these thoughts back from the initial exam of Charlotte. You could see it in his face. But he tells Violet that yes, he thinks she was raped.
- Sheldon to the police: After his conversation with Violet, Sheldon goes back to his detective friend and tells him he thinks he knows who asshole bastard raped. Oh boy. Shouldn’t he be talking to Charlotte about this first?
- Violet to Charlotte (KLEENEX MOMENT): Violet enters Charlotte’s office at St Ambrose, who by the way just started to feel a tinge of comfort in there after not being able to go in before. There are no niceties and Violet begins to tell Charlotte about what happened to her in college. Violet was raped by a man who came in through an open window and beat her head until her hair was caked with blood. She thought if she stayed quiet about it, then it would be like it never happened. “Because things like that, they don’t happen to people like me. Or to people like you. So I just wanted you to know that I get it. I get it Charlotte. And I’m here for you.” Then she leaves. And Charlotte loses control.
Violet had gotten on my nerves a lot this season, but this one scene completely reminded me of why I liked her so much in the first place. Violet can very calmly, respectfully, and compassionately let you know that she understands exactly what you are going through and be there for you the way other people can’t. She can talk you through something and get you to a level of clarity you couldn’t see before. In this instance, she handled it perfectly. She explained to Charlotte what she went through, how she can understand her and her decision-making yet not judge her, and leave the door open for her to talk to her. Then she leaves her alone. It was perfectly written and excellently executed by Amy Brenneman!! When Violet leaves, Charlotte loses control and trashes her office. I think this is a result of many bottled up feelings: anger for what happened to her, anger for not being able to talk about it, anger that what happened to her got out now people know, anger that she is in fact a victim, anger that this happens to women too much.
The domino effect of this information coming to light is Sheldon going to the police, Addison calling police reporting the rape kit information she has, and Charlotte starting to take the small steps of asking for help by going to Amelia and asking her to go to a NA meeting with her. Amelia drops everything and leaves with her immediately.
Doesn’t it seem like everyone knows right now except for one person….Cooper. I really hope that Charlotte is the one to tell him. Because if he finds out some other way, that won’t be a pretty sight. This group of people, while their intentions most of the time are good, have a tendency to not respect other people’s wishes and do what they think is best. I know they all have her back and I know they all want that person punished and castrated for what he did to her. So do I. But this is Charlotte’s decision, not theirs!!! It will make her feel more like a victim and out of control if everyone is making decisions for her. Like I said I know their intentions are good. But if they really want to help her and help her get her power back, let her decide how to move and when she will move forward. You can guide her and direct her on the path of turning the asshole in. But they need to let her do it her way. Otherwise, they will hurt her recovery more than help.
I want to give props to the PP writing team for really being so genuine and careful with this story. Rape storylines are very challenging and you want to tell it with respect as well as power. The writers of PP are doing just. And I think it goes without saying that the acting of the entire cast but especially KaDee Strickland, Paul Adelstein, Kate Walsh, and Amy Brenneman have been remarkable. I really want to hear what you think about the cast, the writers, and the storyline.