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Throwback Thursday - Private Practice - Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King - "Please Do not Help Me"


Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Each week a member of SpoilerTV will take time out to write about an episode of TV that has previously aired that they feel had an impact on them. Stop me if you've heard this before, but man is it really hard to choose an episode to do! There are so many you want to do, and even some that you want to do that others may want to do and it can be hard to narrow it down to one. I didn't really decide until about three days before it was my turn to go because I wanted the answer to come to me rather than seek it out. As I was watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy on vacation last week, it was the season six finale with the shooting, I got a little teared up and I was swearing in my head at Shonda because she always does this to me and how I'm still not over what she did to Charlotte on Private Practice. It was then I knew, I had to talk about the season 4 episode that really was an emotional roller coaster for me, Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?

I loved Private Practice. We just turned it on one day via Netflix and found oursleves so engaged with the peeps at Oceanside Wellness. We had never watched Grey's Anatomy(Because my Husband thinks Ellen Pompeo is the worst actress, and still makes fun of her "Pick Me, Choose ME, Love Me" line delivery)but we were in love with Addison Montgomery. Slowly, I found myself caring about all the characters (R.I.P Dell)and even though my Husband eventually stopped watching after a bit of a quality decline, I hung in there because I needed to know everyone would be alright, especially Charlotte. I love Charlotte King. I love everything about her and she was my favorite character by the time the show ended because of just how amazing KaDee Stickland embodied the character, so there was never a harder moment for me as a fan than sitting through this episode.

Let me say this. KaDee Stickland was robbed. of. all. the. awards. Picking up where the previous episode "All in the Family" left off, this one starts just moments after Charlotte is attacked, and we see Charlotte get up off the floor of her office after being raped and she walks herself to a supply closet to patch herself up not calling out to a single soul she passes in the hallway. Luckily, Pete is working the hospital that night and notices Charlotte and finds her in the closet and promptly picks her up and carts her off to a room. I think what's so powerful about this opening is that we immediately see Charlotte trying not be vulnerable, because that's just not who she is. Charlotte doesn't want to be a victim and she doesn't want to admit she was raped so she's going to take care of herself and not be a burden on others because that is how she was raised. She calls Addison once Pete leaves the room to get Charlotte help, but even when she's alone with Addison she doesn't want to admit what has happened. Charlotte's story is she was robbed and that was it, the man who attacked her was after her purse which he got after beating her up badly but nothing more happened. I can't fathom the emotions someone would have in a situation like this, but I think KaDee Strickland was just simply brilliant at putting herself in this headspace.

What I think really worked for this episode was how the episode was really all about the emotional aspect of what happens after an attack, and how each person in Charlotte's life reacts differently and Charlotte still continues to react as you would expect her to, strong-willed and resistant to take help. There's not a moment that strikes a cord more than when Charlotte, who is the Chief of Staff, frantically tells Cooper she needs to draft a memo about the attack so the staff won't feel unsafe and Cooper refers to Charlotte as a victim. Charlotte's anger in the moment gives me chills, she throws a cup at Cooper and tells him to never call her that. I think had this been any other character to go through this situation, it probably wouldn't have been as good. There's something about Charlotte's need to be in control of this situation and to not be looked on as a victim, things that are already facets of her personality, that grant this episode the sense of reality that is needed when handling a topic like rape.

I like how well this episode was put together, from a technical standpoint the camerawork was really good at highlighting things within the frame you needed to see to evoke emotion, for example the scenes from the attack with extreme close ups helped fuel the elements of horror about the attack. Form a storytelling standpoint, each character was given something to do. Violet was brought back memories of her own attack, Sam was relieved it wasn't Addison(Much to Addison's dismay that he said that), Cooper had to see the woman he loves in a way he never imagined, while Addison is struggling to keep the truth about Charlotte's attack to herself at Charlotte's request. Meanwhile, Sheldon is on the other side of town working at the police station, interrogating a young man with mental illness who is covered in blood that isn't his. Unbeknownst to Sheldon, it's Charlotte's blood as this is her attacker the police have found wondering the streets. Sheldon gets the information out of him that he's attacked someone and they run his DNA through the system, but thanks to Charlotte's decision not to do a rape kit, the police find nothing. (I was so gutted, and still am to this day, Damn you Charlotte and your pride!)I have to hand to Nicholas Brendon for really playing this role. I had never seen him play a role of this caliber and I think he really sold it.

I'm not going to recap the whole episode, but there are several moments I feel need to be pointed out because from top to bottom this was a great episode and if I listed what was great about it, I'd basically be giving you a play-by-play of the entire episode.
Standout Moments
-The editing choices and performance as Charlotte gets examined. (Nails Clipped, wounds swabbed, pictures taken, clothes wrapped up and taken away)

-Since Charlotte is a recovering addict, she can't have any kind of drugs to ease her pain, so when it came time to get stitches, she took it like a champ..it was excruciating to her her muffle her screams as Amelia is stitching her back together. Then she sends Cooper away because she knows that he can't take seeing her in pain. Charlotte is a real OG, don;t forget it.

-When Cooper first sees Charlotte, he just lays his head across her legs and in sticking true to their relationship, she is the one comforting him after the attack. Charlotte is so strong you guys, she's a class act.

-Cooper sees Charlotte's office in disarray and has a breakdown in her office as Violet looks on, then steps inside and closes the door. Poor Coop. I just can't even imagine how gutted he must feel, as he was out drinking, his woman was attacked.

-Addison taking off her gloves and holding Charlotte's hand before she gives her a pelvic exam because Charlotte is shaking and clearly upset.Charlotte's response about she doesn't want her down there one-handed was another example of unwilling to be vulnerable Charlotte is. This is quickly followed by a discussion between them where Charlotte refuses the Rape kit. I just wanted to hug Charlotte, to which she'd probably have some smart ass remark to say.

- This quote from Charlotte to Addison about not needing her help and not wanting to come clean about the rape: "You ever been violated? Anybody rape you lately? Let me tell you what its like. You know those made for TV movies where some woman's crouched down naked in a shower holding her knees and sobbing because when she closes her eyes she can still feel the guys hands on her? How when they show the attack the woman's eyes go all blank and still and she goes to some other place in her mind just to deal with the horror of what's happening to her while some Lillith Fair song plays. It is nothing like that. He's sturdy and sweaty and he licks your face and wipes himself off in your hair and when you try to scream he punches you so hard you see God. And then he goes at you again reaping stuff you didn't even know you had because he enjoyed it so much the first time. I know you're trying to help but if helping me means that everyone is gonna be looking at me the way you're looking at me now please do not help me." Somebody please stop these feels.

-When Charlotte calls the nurses "nosy bitches" after Pete closes the blinds in her room, I chuckled, because Charlotte is still Charlotte.

-The final scene of Charlotte walking out the hospital as the staff looks on and she barks at them to go back to work plays interspersed with scenes from her attack. I was in freaking tears. I couldn't handle it anymore, the feels got to me.
Final Thoughts: This is probably one of the best episodes in any Shondaland show. This episode really hit me hard, and when I was watching it again and my husband walked in and stopped what he was doing and couldn't look away. It is so good because of the fact that it makes you stop and take notice. Shondaland shows can get a little preachy and I appreciate the fact that this episode didn't. I think it handled the reality of the situation and how a victim feels without being over the top or dramatic. KaDee gave a performance that just sticks with you and really brings home (IMO) what it feels like to want to stand strong and not be a victim. It's her performance and her reactions as Charlotte to everyone around her in the wake of the attack that really make the episode an emotional gut punch and the fact she wasn't even nominated for an Emmy is just criminal. I'll say it again. KaDee Strickland was ROBBED. Of. All. The. Awards. Private Practice had it's moments and has really faded into oblivion, but when this episode aired I think we all were talking about what happened to Charlotte King, or a least I was..to anyone that would listen.

What do you think? Was KaDee snubbed? Did you like the way the show handled such a topic? If you've never seen it, are you interested in checking it out? Do you miss Private Practice? Sound off below and let us know! Happy TBT!
About the Author - Winston Mize
Winston is a 25 year old goofball, born in the north, and currently living in the south. He loves TV.... for some it's coffee, for him it's TV talk that gets his day going. He wants to be a screenwriter, and watches some of everything. You name it, he's probably checked it out. And he would like you to know that it is okay for a 25 year old to play with action figures... well, he does anyway. He's semi-active on twitter (so do him a favor and help him get 500 followers) and has quite a lot of nothing to say. Get to know him and learn he is just randomness personified. You can check him out with previews/reviews of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, iZombie, Legends of Tomorrow, Cloak and Dagger, Doubt, Frequency and Riverdale.
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