Private Practice Season Finale Recap: Dell’s Death 3.23 “The End of a Beautiful Friendship”

Private Practice Exclusive: The Real Story Behind the Heartbreaking Death


Private Practice

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday’s Season 3 finale of Private Practice, including which series regular died.]

How do you make the cast of Private Practice cry? Write them a scene in which they learn that their longtime friend and co-worker has died. Kate Walsh needed a moment between takes to wipe her eyes after Addison and Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) were tasked with delivering the bad news: Dell (Chris Lowell), Oceanside Wellness Center’s midwife, had succumbed to his injuries sustained in a car accident while rushing Naomi’s pregnant daughter, Maya (Geffri Maya Hightower), to the hospital. Dell’s death was heroic, as he refused treatment while helping to save Maya himself.

Dell has grown quite a bit from the half-naked surf bum we saw in the pilot episode. His speech about “bad things” to his daughter in Thursday’s episode was particularly wrenching, as was the decision by executive producer Shonda Rhimes to cut Lowell from the Private Practice roster. “We adore Chris and he’s honestly one of the best actors I’ve known, but there wasn’t so much story for a midwife on the show,” Rhimes tells “Losing him from the show feels like a bit of a death because he is part of our family.” sat down with Lowell on his character’s death-day to get the real story on why Dell is dead.

Private Practice cast dishes on tragic season finale All cards on the table: Did you want to leave the show? Was it a contract thing? Or were you surprised when you found out?
Chris Lowell:
I’d say it was a very, very mutual separation and a totally positive one. Shonda and I had a conversation about how it was difficult to find a way to utilize Dell in each episode. Neither of us wanted to have these episodes where Dell is bringing files or whatever. We devised this formula where we’d do less episodes, but he would be featured more in those episodes, which is obviously something that I was happy to hear. Then it was a matter of figuring out how Dell should leave the show or if he should leave the show. I wanted Dell to go big and in a fun way, so Shonda was open to all sorts of ideas.

From the beginning, I knew I really wanted [Dell] to die because I’ve never been killed on a show before, so I wanted to experience that. At first, they were hesitant about it because they had [Dell’s former wife] Heather’s death planned, and they were having trouble finding a way to do it without it being so dark. The way they’ve done it is really poetic. It’s a really beautiful way to go out. I’m happy this is my last episode.

Exclusive: Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice‘s next crossover? A Shepherd reunion How did you feel when you found out the season finale would be the end for Dell?
I knew about two weeks prior how it was going to happen. All of us on the show knew this was going to be my last episode. I remember actually getting the script and it rocked my world. We had the table read and we got to my last monologue and I totally lost it. I was a complete mess, a waterfall. Everyone else was too. It was really emotional. These guys are my family. I love them. Dell has really grown a lot from being half-naked in the pilot to now.
[Laughs] It’s funny. We always forget about the pilot. It’s wild to think how far this character has come. I remember we all signed our contracts without reading the script because we had blind faith in Shonda. I remember getting the pilot and being like, “No, I can’t be that stupid surfer eye candy. This is not what I signed up for.” I was the butt of all my friends’ jokes.

When we started shooting the first season, I sat down with Shonda filled with this fire to say, “Please don’t make me half-naked again.” As soon as I sat down, she said, “You’re never going to have to do that again.” She also said, “I’ll make you a deal. I’ll make sure everyone else on the show has to be half-naked before you ever have to be again.” [Laughs] It’s a real compliment what she gave my character over the past three seasons. She’s given me some pretty heavy stuff and I’m just flattered to be given the challenge. Earlier in the season, you told me that Dell was going to get really dark this season, but he really didn’t. What happened?
For a long time, the thought was that Dell was going to go down the drug path and die from the drugs, or be put in rehab and that’s how he leaves [the show]. I think they may have been afraid of going perpetually darker.

Private Practice exclusive: Will Cooper and Charlotte’s engagement stick? He does go out on a high note because he saved Maya.
I remember finding out that Dell was driving Maya to the hospital and freaking out thinking it would be my fault. Then when I read it was a drunk driver and I was like, “OK, thank God.” I just didn’t want to go out a villain or a victim. I will always look back on this experience with the utmost gratitude. These people have taught me more than I ever thought I could learn. What’s next for you now?
I moved out of my apartment and I’ll be flying to New York. I’m going traveling for the summer and then moving to the Big Apple.

What did you think of Dell’s death? Will you miss Chris Lowell on the show?

‘Private Practice’: Dell’s death knell

dell-dies-private-practice.jpgYou know how this show has been sort of all over the place this season? And yet it’s gone nowhere? Well, that continues right up until the end of the season. The episode picks up right where the last one ended, with Maya in the hospital and Sam operating on the guy who hit her and Dell’s car. Little Shephard is called in when it looks like Maya has a broken back (she does), Charlotte’s called in from her date with Sheldon. Basically, the gang’s all here. They have to operate on Maya and the baby, but can’t remove the baby without paralyzing Maya so it’s a complicated procedure involving Addison and Little Shephard (and Fife, who offers up the brilliant suggestion to use hypothermia). While this all happens, Dink shows up, Naomi apologizes to Addison, Sheldon acts insecure, Cooper proposes and Charlotte accepts, Violet shows everyone pictures of Pete and Lucas, and Dell feels bad for what happened but everyone mostly ignores him. In the end, Dell ends up passed out in the waiting area, and Little Shephard has to rush from surgery on Maya to try to save his life. She doesn’t. Addison saves Maya and the baby though, so there’s good news and bad. Mostly bad, though, because Little Shephard has to tell Addison (tears), then they have to tell everyone else (tears) and Pete tells Betsey (TEARS). She’s going to live with her aunt in Portland (read: gone from this show forever). Then Addison offers Violet to Pete on a silver platter, saying they’ll always be friends but he loves Violet. Read the full recap at TWOP.

Supernatural Season Finale Recap: 5.22 Swan Song

‘Supernatural’: And an Impala Shall Save Them



Tonight’s “Supernatural,” called “Swan Song,” could have been the series finale — indeed, with a bit of tweaking at the end, it would have made a fine one — but it’s not.

In the course of the episode, Castiel asks perhaps the hardest question one can pose to a soldier, “Which would you rather have, peace or freedom?”

Obviously, after victory, comes a welcome peace in the sense of a cessation of hostilities, but there’s also the peace of the morning-after battlefield, strewn with silent corpses, the stillness broken by the cry of crows, and the peace of the grave, broken by the rustle of dry leaves.

Freedom, on the other hand, is often hard and frequently messy. Freedom requires decisions, many of which don’t leave you feeling the least bit peaceful. But without freedom, humans would be little more than puppets, slaves or domesticated livestock.

And freedom is not free.

That’s the situation Sam and Dean find themselves facing, as their alternatives come down to allowing the Apocalypse to engulf the Earth in flames and blood or the brothers making ultimate sacrifices to prevent it.

They’re free to choose, but neither choice seems to offer even a smidgen of peace or happiness.

The episodes begins with the story of the 1967 Impala herself, as told by the Prophet Chuck, who’s penning the final chapter in the “Supernatural” story.

She’s a classic muscle car, birthed on the GM assembly line in Janesville, Wisc. — itself already a casualty of economic upheaval and the lingering death of the great American road.

It’s no accident that “Supernatural” is a road show, with the Winchesters traveling the highways and byways of the land. It’s also no accident that Lucifer finally takes possession of Sam in Detroit, the tattered and bruised heart of that dream, where phrases like “apocalypse” and “end of the world” don’t always feel like mere metaphors.

(Speaking of metaphors, this episode is loaded with “Star Wars” references, from Dean calling Bobby “Yoda” to Dean saying “I got a bad feeling about this” to Lucifer calling Sam “Young Skywalker.” Meesa happy.)

Fortified with demon blood and a desperate plan, Sam, Dean, Bobby and Castiel head to Motor City. Along the way, Sam forces Dean to promise that, after Sam is in the pit, he finds Lisa and tries to live a normal, apple-pie life with her. We don’t hear his answer, but it’s assumed he agrees.

In Detroit, there are a lot of sad good-byes, then the boys try to execute Sam’s plan of leaping Lucifer into the abyss. Since Lucifer is hip to the scheme involving the Horsemen’s rings, it fails spectacularly, and Sam is left in the bodily backseat with Lucifer at the wheel.

(BTW, this is likely our last look at Lucifer’s rapidly decaying vessel, played by Mark Pellegrino, who also plays the mystical island guardian Jacob on “Lost.” He’s got to wonder what it is about his face that makes casting directors either see the Devil or a vaguely godlike figure — both of which have big sibling-rivalry issues.)

Sam/Lucifer vanishes, only to show up in a room with a mirror, having a conversation with themselves, in which Lucifer tries to convince Sam that he’s always been bad to the bone, and that Lucifer is his true family. To put a finer point on it, he allows Sam the opportunity to take bloody revenge on some folks from his past — and Sam takes it.

Then we get another bit with the Prophet Chuck that shows the boys on the road, living in the Impala, enjoying the freedom of the highway and each other’s company. Then Dean calls and brings him up to speed, which he already is, as he’s, like, a prophet.

Chuck also knows the location of the final battlefield — an old cemetery outside the boys’ hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, the burg where young John Winchester first purchased the Impala in a used-car lot (after she was owned by a man who distributed Bibles), on impulse and the advice of his own son, Dean (nice little flashback nod, there).

Speaking of Dean, he just can’t walk away, and he figures if Sam has to go, he won’t let him go alone.

Michael (using Adam as a vessel) and Lucifer meet, and there’s a lot of blah-blah about destiny and daddy issues and brother issues and orders and whatnot, before the roar of a big V-8 interrupts them, and Dean rolls onto the scene, blasting rock ‘n’ roll from the cassette player.

Also on hand are Castiel and Bobby. Castiel lobs a Molotov cocktail full of holy fire at Michael, temporarily flaming him out of existence. That pisses off Lucifer, who doesn’t care to have his parade rained on, and he blasts Castiel to bloody bits, spattering poor Bobby.

Then Lucifer turns on Dean and tosses him into the Impala’s windshield — ouch! — so Bobby pops a couple of rounds into him, which gets him his neck snapped for his troubles.

Lucifer commences beating the bejesus out of Dean, but then a bit of light glints off the Impala. Sam sees, tucked away in an ashtray, a little green toy soldier (and, I ask, why couldn’t it have been a “Star Wars” action figure?) and that sets off a flood of childhood memories and a trip through Sam’s various haircuts on the show (man, I do not miss those bangs).

Suddenly Sam is back in the driver’s seat, and he keeps the wheel long enough to get the rings from Dean and open up the gaping maw once again. Ticked that he’s going to miss his chance for the big fight, Michael grabs him, but Sam leaps anyway, taking them both into the pit.

Dean’s left, his nose broken, his eye swollen shut and his mouth full of blood, mourning over what used to be a big hole in the ground. But then Cas reappears, back in full possession of his angelic powers, which allows him to heal Dean at a touch. Dean asks, “Cas, are you God?” Cas takes the compliment, then just gives the Almighty the credit for his resurrection.

And for good measure, he brings Bobby back from the dead as well (one assumes, or at least hopes, with his soul restored to him).

We go back to Prophet Chuck, who rhapsodizes about the difficulty of writing endings, and how fans are never left happy (bet the “Lost” guys wish they had a way to insert a similar speech into their finale).

We’re back in the car with Dean and Cas, who plans to head back to Heaven and set things right. Dean is mighty angry at the Almighty about how things worked out, but Cas reminds him that he got what he asked for, “No paradise, no hell, just more of the same.” Then he asks the peace vs. freedom question and disappears.

With Chuck’s voiceover, Dean says farewell to Bobby “for a very long time.” Bobby will continue his life as a hunter, but Dean has a promise to fulfill, even though all he wants is either death or Sam returned to him.

He knocks on Lisa’s door and is told that it’s never too late to accept an invitation for a beer. She gathers him into her arms, which is probably the best medicine for poor, broken Dean at this point.

Chuck opines that this was all a test for the boys, and they did all right, that they “chose family.”

Then he says, “No doubt, endings are hard, but then again, nothing ever really ends,” and then fades away.

At the end, Dean is at the dinner table with Lisa and her (and probably his) son, affirming life and love and family.

But, outside, a streetlight fizzles out, and there’s Sam … or Lucifer … or Samifer … or I don’t know, and he doesn’t look happy.

Bravo, Kripke & Co — sad, poignant, tragic, faintly hopeful and suitably vague and menacing at the end. It’s an elegant end to an incredibly ambitious and ultimately successful storyline, which, to me, ranks “Supernatural” among the very best of its genre, big screen or small. Anyone who just dismissed this as a little CW show has missed a helluva ride.

And it ain’t over yet.

See you next fall …

The Vampire Diaries Season Finale Recap: 1.22 Founder’s Day

‘Vampire Diaries’: Death, love and betrayal surface on Founder’s Day



To soften the blow of not having new episodes of “Vampire Diaries” on our television sets until the fall, here are 10 highlights and/or observations from the jam-packed season finale (in no particular order).

1. Elena finds out her father’s identity. When Stefan implies that John (guest star David Anders) is Elena’s father before the parade begins, Elena’s reaction is a pretty realistic. How would you act when the guy you tolerated for many years turned out to be your biological father?

2. Elena and Jeremy’s relationship hits a major snag. It’s heartbreaking to see brother and sister at an impasse, but Elena had to know that Jeremy would somehow find out the truth about Vicki and Damon’s “brainwashing.” Damon defends Elena, but it doesn’t really do any good. It’s the idea that Jeremy had no choice in the matter, that he it was decided how he should be feeling in the aftermath. That’s not exactly healthy.

3. Damon takes the high road. At the Founders Day parade, Damon takes the high road and thanks Bonnie for saving him from the device, which could have killed him. It was a simple gesture on his part, but it was beautifully played and makes the upcoming revelation that much more heartwrenching. It was also one of the rare moments during the series where Damon didn’t have any type of agenda. When we see John briefing the mayor on his plan to use the complete device in order to kill off all the tomb vampires (meanwhile we see the vamps concocting their own plan of attack to kill all the founding families), Bonnie’s betrayal has devastating consequences.

4. Damon’s feelings for Elena turns up. Stefan’s jealousy act is understandable, but does Elena really not see what’s going on here? She keeps saying that she cares for them both, but loves only Stefan, yet is constantly drawn to Damon. But does she feel the same way?

5. After the fireworks begin … It’s no wonder the vamps chose to attack the founding families when the night sky was being lit up like a Christmas tree, but when John turns on the device, it knocks out all the vampires within its radius. With the vampires (including Damon, Stefan and Anna) feeling the wrath of the device, Tyler is affected by the noise as well, but in a different capacity. His aggressive reaction gets the best of him and Tyler crashes the car (with Matt and Caroline in it). While this is happening, John and his crew round up the vampires and throw them in the basement. Anna grabs hold of John before he douses the room with gasoline, but instead of sparing her life, John stakes her while Damon is forced to watch. Then the room goes up in flames.

6. Stefan, Alaric and Elena figure out Bonnie’s betrayal. But she redeems herself when she saves Damon from the flames. Later, she unofficially crowns herself as the keeper of the town, when she warns Stefan (and Damon) that they’ll pay if any of them hurts an innocent being.

7. Tyler’s identity comes to fruition, sort of. Damon sees Mayor Lockwood locked up in the room with the rest of the vampires, but he’s not a vamp so … what’s going on?

8. Blood is thicker than water. It takes Stefan a while to realize that he really can’t live without Damon, but when his older brother is caught in a life or death situation, Stefan drops everything to save him.

9. Damon and Jeremy suffer together. It’s a great scene between the two in Jeremy’s bedroom, after Damon sees Anna die right before his very eyes. He took Jeremy’s chance to grieve once before and now Damon’s giving him a choice. He’s grown the most since the start of the season; when Jeremy asks about whether vampires can truly switch their humanity off and on like a switch, Damon tells him the truth. Life, for him, was easier when he didn’t feel bad about the things he did, but unfortunately, he’s in too deep in Mystic Falls. After Damon leaves, Jeremy takes it upon himself (and lots of pills) to resolve his depression.

10. Damon and Elena’s kiss. It was a long time coming. It was tense and bittersweet, but wait, is it really Elena? (If it ain’t, poor Damon. It’s a neverending cycle! And it’s almost not fair for Team Damon.)

Bonus: Katherine’s back. After Jenna abruptly ends Damon and Elena’s makeout session, Elena makes her way into the kitchen and sees John. She grabs one of the knives and sees the ring on his finger. Suddenly, she slams the knife down on John’s fingers, rendering him useless and her demeanor begins to change. Holy crap, it’s NOT Elena! We see further proof of this when the real Elena unlocks the front door and telling Stefan that someone took her stuff (cough) from the parade. Elena hears some noise coming from the kitchen and she makes her way toward it (aka the danger zone).

What the heck just happened?! The kiss between Damon and Elena was really between Damon and Katherine? If that’s so, that’s going to screw Damon up for another century or so. When did Katherine slip in as Elena? Katherine and Elena presumably come face to face? So many questions to ponder and four months to do it. It’s going to be a long summer …

RIP Anna and Mayor Lockwood.

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