Finally the new Kate Walsh spin-off from Shonda Rhimes is here. And, unlike that crazy pilot-within-another-show that aired on Grey’s Anatomy back in May, this time it’s strictly Addison Montgomery’s new digs at the Oceanside Wellness Group in LA. Well, save for the opening scene back at Seattle Grace, where Chief Webber demands to know why Addison’s resignation is on his desk. She tells him that she got a job offer from her longtime friend Naomi (Audra McDonald), and since she didn’t get promoted to Chief last spring, this is the perfect way for her to make a big change in her life — which is just what she needs.
If you missed the pilot, we got a brief recap of her new cohorts. There are her best friends from medical school: Naomi, a fertility specialist, and her ex-husband, Sam, an internist. Add in Cooper the pediatrician, Violet the psychiatrist and Pete, an alternative medicine specialist. Oh yes, and Dell (Chris Lowell), the young receptionist/surfer/aspiring midwife. Is it me, or did he seem way cuter before? Anyway, Chief swears Addison will be back in a month, but she is sticking with her decision. He asks her (among other things) if she plans to go dance around in her underwear, and she tells him no—actually, she’s going to dance around naked, and (fast forward to LA) that’s just what she does…
… until she locks eyes with Sam (the delicious Taye Diggs) in the house next door. They end up out on the beachfront in their bathrobes playing a flustered round of “What are you doing here?” and Addison realizes that Naomi didn’t tell him she hired her. They both head into work—to talk to Naomi—and Sam beats her to it. At this point we meet odd couple Leslie and Ken Wilson, who are in the co-op for sperm collection.
Violet (Amy Brenneman) greets Addison and then proceeds to psychoanalyze the Naomi/Sam drama going on through the office window. When she asks what set the two off, Addison tells her that Naomi didn’t tell Sam she hired her. Apparently she didn’t tell Violet either. Before she can close her mouth, enter Cooper (Paul Adelstein) and Pete (Tim Daly), and repeat. It’s a surprise to everyone.
The gang, sans Naomi, tries to sort out the situation in the break room. Here we find out that though Naomi owns 55 percent of the practice, hiring decisions are supposed to be put to a group vote. Pete confesses that he kissed Addison, and wonders if she is the type of girl that kisses someone and then uproots her whole life. Sure, because tons of women do that… right? Wrong.
Meanwhile, Addison finally has a minute with Naomi, who claims everyone will get over her decision in time. She gives her the tour, which includes a few surprises for Dr. Montgomery. Her exam room is now a birthing suite, her staff is nonexistent, and her patients—well, it’s more like patient.
Will the real Mrs. Wilson please stand up?
Cue the moaning Mr. Wilson down the hall. In the midst of his planned “donation” he went down with a stroke. He’s pronounced dead, and Leslie goes into hysterics over still wanting to collect his sperm. Sam tries to thaw the ice queen: Dr. Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland), the Chief of Staff at the nearby hospital where Mr. Wilson was taken. Sam even threatens to send Naomi after her, but she can’t make any headway either. And then the real Mrs. Wilson arrives… She tells Naomi her sob story about her aging husband leaving her for young Leslie and announces that she too wants Ken’s sperm.
Sam and Naomi start talking about Ken and his wife’s drama, and somehow it escalates into a conversation about their own failed marriage – a conversation they apparently haven’t had yet. Sam says he’s sorry for hurting her, but he wishes she would have fought for them. I find these two painful to watch. Namely because there is just so much unresolved bitterness between them that keeps festering, and somehow I feel like if they ever really tried to talk they could get back together. Naomi tries to council the wife, and eventually she tells her she needs to let go.
Dr. Montgomery’s first patient
Pete offers to help Addison with pregnant teen (Lucy) and her angry dad. There was a nice moment as they prepped Lucy for her holistic birth and Addison gave her a pep talk about everyone screwing up sometimes (and really, who would know better than she who slept with her husband’s best friend), and told her she had a “free pass” as long as she was in that room.
Dell steps in to help and Lucy goes into heart failure. Lucy’s dad finally looks concerned and we find out that Lucy’s mom died giving birth to her. With a 10 to 20 minute ambulance wait, Addison has to decide whom to save. Frazzled by her new non-hospital surroundings, she takes a moment to regroup, tells Pete to stop “Addison-ing” her, and starts the C-section. The delivery is successful, and after a brief scare, Lucy pulls though too. They head off to the hospital, and Addison tries to clear things up with Pete regarding their kiss.
Piecing it all together
Elsewhere, Violet got paged to a local store to help Jenny, a patient of hers who has been down on her hands and knees counting floor tiles for the last hour. Her brother Paul has no idea what’s wrong with her, and gives Violet some line about Jenny obstructing customer flow in his store. Whoa, way to get your priorities straight. Violet gets knocked backward and smacks her head on the floor. While wandering around the store with an ice pack, she runs into Cooper, who came to help. She feels like she’s missing something and asks Paul to see the security cameras.
After watching an ad playing on a display TV Violet asks her if she has a son, and Paul confirms that she did and he died. Finally this guy seems human and clears the area for her. Cooper somehow mysteriously has Jenny’s son Will’s file. He runs through the back-story and we find out that Jenny had to make a decision to stop treatment and take Will off life support once he went into a coma because of his aggressive (and incurable) brain cancer. At this point all three are pretty choked up, and Jenny finally cracks.
Time to regroup
At the end of the day, Addison is on the floor with Naomi demolishing some dessert—like girlfriends do. She wants to know why Naomi kept her a secret. Naomi says it’s because things are falling apart and she needs her to be “her someone.” Everyone shows up, still demanding an apology and a vote. Addison stands up and gives her “my day sucked” speech and then goes on to say she saved the day with her one patient, and she refuses to leave (before storming out of the room full of speechless faces.) Naomi says that is why she didn’t tell them about Addison.
So, what do you think? CanKate Walsh
carry off her own show? Which doc is hotter: Sam or Pete? Will Addison be happy at Oceanside, and will she find a better love match with Pete? Will this so-called adult version ofGrey’s
last? It definitely has a different vibe. I think the jury is still out, but you can bet I’ll be tuning in next week to fill you in on all the drama.