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True Colors is the twentieth episode of the fifth season and the 96th overall episode of Private Practice.

Short Summary[edit | edit source]

Addison, Pete and the team treat an illegal immigrant facing deportation who self-induces her pregnancy so that her child will be a U.S. citizen. Cooper and Violet work with a young girl who has gender identity disorder - and with her parents - and Violet wants to continue therapy with Pete before they begin dating again.

Full Summary[edit | edit source]

Addison tells her therapist Henry laughs when she sneezes. He's developing a personality and she's responsible for the person he'll grow up to be, but some characteristics may already be in his DNA. Her therapist asks if she thinks nature trumps nurture.

Violet answers her door. It's Pete bringing by Lucas. Pete and Lucas are doing great. Pete asks if the nanny would stay late tonight so he and Violet can go to the dinner. Violet says no. They need to learn how to communicate again. Pete says they can do that while enjoying each other's company and laughing. He's even willing to go to the Thai restaurant she loves. She knows he hates that and offers to think about it. He kisses her on her cheek and leaves.

Addison is on the phone the with nanny company, as her regular nannies are unavailable and she needs one right away. They can't help her. Addison got paged to the ER and Violet has an early patient. Sam and Amelia come out onto Sam's deck. Amelia goes back inside for a shower. Sam decides to babysit Henry. Addison thanks him and rushes off. Sam tells Addison has a way to make people do things they don't really want to do. He takes Henry inside.

Cooper and Mason are watching cartoons. Cooper tells him to get ready for school, but Mason ignores him. Charlotte interferes and tells Mason to get dressed. He does listen to her and tells Cooper he sucks as he walks off. Charlotte would probably say something about it, if she were Mason's actual parent.

Addison and Pete are treating Reyna Reyes in the ER. Addison says she's not in labor. Reyna doesn't remember eating anything recently. Pete urges her for the truth. Reyna says she drank something that she was told would make the baby come. Pete knows the substance and explains it's folk medicine. Addison says it probably causes smooth muscle contractions. Pete says that large doses cause this. They'll need charcoal to absorb the toxins. She should feel better in a few hours. Addison wonders why she drank it. Reyna says they're deporting her, but she wants her baby to be born here and have a life.

Jake, Addison, and Pete are discussing Reyna. She figured the baby would have a better life as a US citizen, despite ending up in the system. Charlotte comes in. She just got off the phone with Immigration. Reyna never showed up for her deportation date, but they're putting her on a plane to El Salvador tomorrow. Addison says she won't be in labor by then. Pete suggests they induce. Addison's against it, as the baby has another month in the uterus and delivering him early means a difficult road ahead. Pete says he worked in El Salvador. There's no easy access to medical help. Charlotte finds that tragic, but there's nothing they can do about it here. Jake thinks it's Reyna's call to decide what's best for the baby.

Melody and her parents meet up with Cooper. Melody has been miserable all week and she seems to be getting worse. Melody doesn't need her parents to come. Cooper promises to come get them if they need them.

Jake asks Amelia how she's feeling. Tired and huge. Jake says her weight gain is on track. Everything seems normal. Amelia asks if there's anything she should be doing. Jake says she's doing everything already. Amelia asks about what will happen when she delivers. Jake says he might have to induce, then she'll sign consent forms, and the transplant team will take over. Amelia says everybody at the practice is afraid to talk to her. Jake says it might help if they know what the plan is, but Amelia can't handle talking to anybody but Jake.

Addison enters Sam's office and thanks him for this morning. She notices he seems a little pissed off and says he shouldn't have offered. She apologizes for the inconvenience. 

Cooper is examining Melody. Melody feels like her parents are a little too protective. Cooper says he can't find anything wrong with her, and reminds her she can tell him anything. Melody says her parents won't believe her. She says she's a boy.

Sam, Amelia, and Cooper are discussing Melody. She said she's always felt like a boy. Violet walks in and suggests it's gender identity disorder. Amelia says that can't be it, because her prefrontal cortex hasn't fully developed, so she might not understand how she's feeling. Maya wanted to be a fireman when she was 8, but she grew out of it, Sam says. Amelia guesses Melody will be too when the teenage hormones start to kick in, but Violet says it's more complicated. As long as her internal image doesn't match her external, serious problems can arise. The sooner they're the same, the better. For a start, Melody can start dressing like a boy. Sam says she'll open herself up to ridicule that way. Cooper concludes she's screwed either way. Violet says kids with true GID can start to hurt themselves, so Cooper suggests she talk to Melody and diagnose her. Sam doubts the parents will be open to it.

Addison feels guilty for obsessing over her nanny possibly working an hour late, while Reyna is trying to keep her guilty alive. Violet says she's having rich white lady guilt. Addison gets it, but it's hard. Violet understands. She has all the money to take care of Henry, but she can't help Reyna. She's not truly comfortable inducing. Immigration is coming in the next 24 hours. Violet says she could use Pete's strategy: do nothing until it blows up in your face. She says he wants to put down the baggage. Violet doesn't want to say no, but maybe she can use the dinner to convince Pete to go back to therapy.

Cooper asks Charlotte if she can pick up Mason after school. Sure she can. Cooper talks about Melody and how he couldn't imagine going through that as a parent. Charlotte wouldn't know. Cooper says he's apologized for saying she isn't Mason's mother, but Charlotte says he's only been talking to her like he has. She missed the actual apology. Cooper says his son only responds to her, so he's a little pissed off. Charlotte tells Cooper to grow up and get over it.

Addison tells Jake that she's worried about Amelia's pregnancy, but Jake says he's got it covered. He won't tell her how she's doing. She respects that, but she loves Amelia. Jake refuses to get in the middle of it and tells her to tell Amelia herself.

Pete is talking to Reyna, who says she's running out of town. Pete has helped set up a clinic near Reyna's village. Reyna says that clinic is just a building now, due to crime, poverty, and hurricanes. No one can do anything about it. She wouldn't have come here if she could make a life for her baby at home. Addison wants her to understand the risks. Reyna does, but she also needs Addison to understand the risks of not having the baby now.

Pete asks Sam if he's all right. Sam is trying not to be angry. He tells Pete about the incident with Henry. Pete says it's just like when they were together. Sam says Addison wanted that baby, so she should handle him on her own. Pete tells him to stop trying to be a bad guy, as it's not really him.

Pete finds Addison and talks about the clinic he set up. He left the area thinking it was okay. He talked to Reyna and she snuck over the border in Mexico and she lost her trial and her appeal, so she's out of options to fight the deportation. Addison suggests they sponsor her, but that's not how it works. Addison will feel responsible for a woman leaving her baby if she induces.

Cooper is talking to Michael and Pam. He's worried about her emotionally, so he brought Violet. Violet says they may have noticed some things about her. She tells them Melody feels like a boy. Michael says Melody loves make believe, but Violet says this might not be that. She brings up GID. Pam thinks it may be stage. Violet says they won't know until she's talked to Melody, but she needs their consent. Michael wonders if they can cure the GID, if it's that. Violet says it would be more about adjusting Melody to her reality. Cooper says they could use drugs to block puberty hormones. Pam says they can't stop her from growing up because of a ridiculous story, and throws them out.

Violet and Pete are at the Thai restaurant. He hates the food, and she wonders why they came here every other when they first got together. He says it was worth it to be with her. Violet wonders why he's doing it now. She thinks it's wooing.  They think about their history. Maybe they went too fast with everything. Violet is glad that they're having fun, but he should understand they still have work to do.

Pete and Violet are having sex. They missed this.

Cooper and Charlotte drop off Mason at school. Cooper tells him to tie his shoelaces, but he refuses to and tells Cooper to leave him alone. Charlotte says Mason is in pain and he's taking it out on Cooper. Cooper says he knows how to deal with children, but Charlotte says they were other people's children. This is his kid. She knows kids can be a pain in the ass, and it's the job of the parents to love them anyway. All he can do is give Mason some time and structure, and be patient, no matter how hard it is for Cooper.

Addison asks Amelia how it's going. Amelia sharply exhales, as if she's in pain, and Addison asks what's wrong. Amelia says she's fine and walks off.

Jake, Sam, and Pete talk about Pete's relationship with Violet. He says there's a time to talk and a time to not talk. They understand, but Sam thinks Violet's all about talking. Pete says sometimes. Sam says from his experiences that you can use sex to get back, but once you're there, you find the same problems you left behind the first time. Pete thinks he's just bitter because he had to watch Henry. Jake says he never goes back to the same well twice.

Addison finds Immigration outside Reyna's room. Charlotte tells her they told her they have their own medical facility. Charlotte reminds her she can't induce without a medical indication, per the hospital's rules, but Charlotte thinks that no matter what the lawyers or agents say, Addison is her doctor. Addison enters the room and tells Reyna she's going to break her water and give her drugs to induce labor. By the end of the day, her son will be born.

Amelia tells Jake her baby kicked, like a normal baby. Amelia calms down and realizes she knows what's going on. It just felt so real. Jake says it is real. Amelia has been focusing so hard on the end goal that she hasn't stopped to think about what it would be like when the baby started moving. She puts Jake's hand on her belly. He feels it, too. That's her son. 

Melody has shown up at the practice. She came here by bus. Cooper wants to wait a moment before calling the parents so Violet can talk to Melody. Violet says talking to Melody behind the parents' back may do more damage. Violet tells Cooper that Melody is not Mason. Cooper is pushing so hard to save Melody because he can't help his grieving son. He shouldn't have brought up the hormone blockers to the terrified parents right away. Cooper says the parents have turned their backs on their daughter, and Melody's going to continue to withdraw. They have to do something.

Melody is talking with Cooper and Violet. Her parents were arguing over the pills last night. Melody asks if she'll become a boy if she takes the pills. Cooper explains they only stop her from becoming a woman. Melody knows who she is. She is not confused. She has to be a girl during the day, but at night, she dreams about being a boy. When she wakes up, for a second, she is still a boy, until her mom comes in and lies out clothes for her. She refuses to wear them, they fight, and she loses TV time. Her mother doesn't understand how it makes her feel. She hates to be a girl. It's like she's pretending all the time, but no one will let her stop. Violet says it's okay to cry, and Melody lets go. Charlotte and Mason enter the office. Mason asks Melody what's wrong with her. Melody says nothing and asks what's wrong him. Mason says his mother died. Melody says nobody believes she's a boy. Mason offers to come play.

Addison is on her way to deliver Reyna's baby. Violet tells her she and Pete did a bad thing. They had sex. Maybe it's a start to fix things Pete's way. She can act from how she feels instead of what she thinks. It's easier to tell other people what to do with their lives.

Addison delivers Reyna's baby and Pete comforts Reyna. The baby is healthy. Reyna wants to hold him for as long as she can. Charlotte comes in to check, and she "knows" Addison doesn't feel like it's okay to move Reyna yet. Charlotte will let the agents from Immigration now. Reyna thanks them. Pete asks if she's sure she wants to leave her baby here. Reyna has no one at home. She loves her baby, but there's no looking back for her.

Cooper watches Mason play with Melody. Violet joins him and he confesses he hasn't told Melody yet that he called her parents, as he didn't want to risk her running away again. The parents arrive and Cooper goes to inform them that Melody is fine. Pam says she and Melody are going to have a talk. Violet says she can't berate her daughter into changing her mind. The only thing she can do is support her. Violet knows it sounds crazy to her, but she believes Melody is not confused. Michael wants to help his daughter, but Pam doesn't want to hear this.

Cooper takes them to Melody. Melody doesn't want to go home, but Pam doesn't care what she wants. Mason tells her not to yell. Pam drags Melody out of the room. Cooper reminds her that her job is to help and love Melody no matter what. She has to try to understand Melody. Pam lets go of Melody and says this is her little girl. Melody hugs her and tells her not to cry. Violet says they don't have to do this by themselves. They can help them understand what's going on and with the transition. Mason smiles at Cooper.

Pete has an amazing idea. They can do a road trip with Lucas. Violet says the having fun thing is seductive and she's loved it, but it's not enough going forward. It's not gonna fix whatever's fundamentally wrong with their relationship. They don't know what happened. They have to go back and figure that out. They need to do the work.

Addison is talking to Reyna. She's not sure leaving her baby behind is the right thing, because she does want to raise him. Even though she admires Reyna's willingness to sacrifice, there has to be another way. She could go back and re-apply after a few years. Pete suggests he go with Reyna. He can help them get settled. Reyna says he has a family and a life here. Pete says there's no other way.

Pete shows up at Violet's house. He says he's gonna leave for a while. He tells her about going to El Salvador. He wants to fix the clinic. Violet says he has their marriage to fix right here. He can't just run away. She begs him not to do this.

Addison reminds Amelia they're family and says she thinks Amelia is amazing. She's stronger than she could ever be and she doesn't know how Amelia can go through this. She's here for Amelia for whatever she needs, even if it's just a person to hate. A nurse comes over and says they need her right away.

Addison and Pete follow the nurse to Reyna's room. They are gone. Addison says it's Reyna's choice to leave.

Cooper and Mason are watching TV. Cooper has his arm around his son. Charlotte comes home and greets them. Cooper and Mason urge her to join them. Cooper quietly tells her he really is sorry. She knows.

Addison comes home. She hopes she didn't miss bath time. The nanny doesn't reply. They're not upstairs. Addison goes out onto her deck and finds Sam softly singing with Henry in his arms. Sam gives her back her son. Sam says the nanny cut out early. Sam tells her she needs to find better childcare. Addison thanks Sam.

Amelia asks Jake if he has those consent forms. She wants to sign them now. He gives her the forms. Jake says she can change her mind. She can also just hold him and forget the rest. She can wait until he's born to decide. Amelia says she can't wait. Once he's born, she won't be strong enough. Amelia signs the forms and starts crying. Jake comforts her.

Addison tells her therapist she's a scientist, so she knows about all the kinds of genes. She knows nurture beats nature, because Henry looks at her with love. She's her mother and he knows that. No protein code told him to think that. She smiles.

Cast[edit | edit source]


Main Cast[edit | edit source]

Guest Stars[edit | edit source]

Co-Starring[edit | edit source]

Uncredited[edit | edit source]

Medical Notes[edit | edit source]

Addison Forbes Montgomery[edit | edit source]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Doctors:
    • Therapist
  • Treatment:
    • Talk therapy

Addison talked to her therapist about Henry's developing personality. She thinks about which ones are already set and which ones she can affect. She later told him she knows nurtures beats nature because Henry looks at her with love and no gene in his brain could tell him that.

Reyna Reyes[edit | edit source]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Pregnancy
    • Toxicity
  • Treatment:
    • Charcoal
    • Vaginal delivery

Reyna, 26, came into the ER 35 weeks pregnant complaining of nausea and vomiting. Addison told her she wasn't in labor and asked her if she'd eaten anything. She said she had been told that if she drank something, the baby would come. It was a folk remedy, but it had poisoned her. They have her charcoal to absorb it. She said she needed the baby to be born in the US so he could stay there when she was deported. Addison was initially reluctant to do it given the difficulties the baby could face, but she eventually agreed and broke Reyna's water. Reyna's baby was born and was healthy.

Melody[edit | edit source]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Gender identity disorder
  • Treatment:

Melody, 10, came in the practice after experiencing severe symptoms over a whole week. Cooper examined Melody and said Melody seemed healthy. Melody told Cooper that she's a boy and her parents won't listen. Cooper asked Violet to help him talk to Melody's parents. Violet explained Gender Identity Disorder to them and asked them for permission to speak to Melody. Melody's mom refused, but Melody came to the practice alone. Melody insisted that she wasn't confused. In her dreams, she's a boy. But then she wakes up and is forced to live as a girl. Violet talked to the parents again and tried to convince Melody's mom that they need to help Melody.

Amelia Shepherd[edit | edit source]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Pregnancy
  • Treatment:
    • Prenatal care

Amelia was on track in her third trimester. She asked if there was anything she could do to achieve optimum birth weight in order to donate her baby's organs, but he said she's already doing it. Her baby started moving inside her.

Music[edit | edit source]

Song Performer Scene
"Already Gone" Jennifer O'Connor
  • Addison talks about Henry's developing personality and how much of it comes from his genes.
  • Pete brings Lucas to Violet and asks her to dinner.
  • She is reluctant to go, but agree to think about it. He even agrees to get Thai food, which he hates and she loves.
"Phinedroids and Ferbots" Phinedroids and Ferbots
  • Mason watches TV and Cooper tells him it's time to get ready for school.
  • Charlotte comes in and tells him to get dressed and he complies.
"All the Young" Melogrand
  • Melody's parents kick Cooper and Violet out.
  • Violet and Pete eat dinner together.
  • They go home and have sex.
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" Taye Diggs
  • Sam sings to Henry and rocks him.
"I Will Follow Love All the Way Home" Tyler Lyle
  • Addison holds Henry as Sam goes home.
  • Amelia asks Jake if she can sign the consent forms right away instead of waiting.
  • Amelia signs the papers and Jake holds her while she cries.
  • Addison says as a scientist, she knows about genes, but she believes nurture beats nature because Henry knows she's his mom and no gene told him that.
"Already Gone" - Jennifer O'Connor
"Phinedroids and Ferbots" - Phinedroids and Ferbots
"All the Young" - Melogrand
"I Will Follow Love All the Way Home" - Tyler Lyle

Notes and Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • This episode scored 7.38 million viewers.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Episode Stills[edit | edit source]


Behind the Scenes[edit | edit source]


Quotes[edit | edit source]

Charlotte: There's only one child in our family, Cooper. So, grow up and get over it.

Addison: I know nurture beats nature because Henry looks at me with love. I'm his mom and he knows it.

See Also[edit | edit source]

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.

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