Private Practice picked up right where last week's episode terrifyingly left off, and the immediate aftermath of what Charlotte endured was extremely difficult to digest.
The aptly-titled "Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?" did not focus on her long road back from this tragic assault (we're sure that will be shown down the line).
Instead, it focused on the hours that followed, and the characters' different reactions to the events. It was almost like Law & Order: SVU, with events unfolding in real time.
KaDee Strickland was terrific as Charlotte in this powerful episode.
There was both a criminal aspect to the episode, as well as a medical one, but mostly it was about emotion. How the victim responds. How her fiancee, friends and doctors respond.
You might criticize Shonda Rhimes for pushing the envelope with such dramatic story lines, but it was compelling TV, thanks primarily to terrific performances by the entire cast.
We begin just minutes after Charlotte's rape, hearing her gasping breaths. She staggers into a supply room and when Pete finds her, we finally see her face. It's a stunning image.Pete tends to her injuries, of which there are many. When he steps away, she makes a phone call that you knew would be to Addison. She's going to be her lifeline of sorts here.
It was typical of Pete to protect her, but only Addison can get through to her. Charlotte won't admit she's been raped, she's too strong. She doesn't even want Addison to say it.
Meanwhile, Sheldon is called down to the police station and asked evaluate Lee, a disturbed man who was brought in with blood on his clothes. You know where this is going.
The rest of the doctors are at a bar celebrating Cooper’s engagement. That party comes to the worst possible end when Violet comes by to deliver the news about Charlotte.
Cooper's an emotional guy anyway, but the weight of what happened and his alcohol consumption were a bad combination in this case, and he puts his fast through a wall.
Sheldon interviews a suspect as the police look on.
Typically for these two, Charlotte is somehow the one to comfort Cooper when he sees her. He loves her so much, he can't even bring himself to grasp that someone could do this.
Pete continues to treat his battered colleague and Addison makes little progress in getting her to admit the sexual assault took place. She's thrown up a wall. More like a fortress.
Probably the most intriguing part of the episode was the fact that Sheldon is oblivious to all that’s happened to Charlotte as he interviews Lee, the blood-covered criminal suspect.
Sheldon gets Lee to admit that he attacked and raped a woman, but he attacks Sheldon before he can get a name, and the cops are forced to pry him away. The interview is over.
Sheldon still has no idea that the woman Lee attacked was Charlotte.
Unless the victim comes forward, there will be nothing to charge him with and legally he will have to be set free. It's painful to watch, knowing Charlotte isn't about to come clean.
One thing she was able to do was show her face. Charlotte breaks down and insists she and Cooper go home. With the attack happening at the hospital itself, we can understand.
The stares from everyone as she walks down the hall hurt, but were unavoidable. KaDee was so good, and the pacing of the episode so perfect, it felt like we were there with her.
What will happen next? How will Cooper come to grips with what happened, and how will their relationship be affected going forward? Will the attacker be brought to justice?
Next week, appropriately, is called "What Happens Next." Tell us what you think will, and what you thought of last night's Private Practice, by commenting below.
Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.
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