Sunday, May 9, 2010

In Treatment: Week Two (1.6 - 1.10)

One of the most successful things about week two was the turnaround in sympathy towards the characters. Kate, somebody we barely know, suddenly became one of the most emotional characters on the show. Elsewhere, both Paul and Laura revealed sides to themselves which were neither expected nor particularly likable. This show keeps surprising me.

Laura - Monday 9:00am

The intimacy between Paul and Laura was extremely uncomfortable to watch. It felt like Laura's engagement in the week since her last session has only made her more frank and sexual, shamelessly flirting with Paul and creating a power play between them. Paul, probably as a result of having his feelings raised to the surface due to his meeting with Gina, appeared both flustered and panicked and Laura, a sexual predator if I ever saw one, pounced on it. The dialogue between them both during the moment with the bathroom was all she needed in knowing exactly how Paul felt about her. The fact that Paul didn't even tell her to stop with the come-ons is just going to make her even more unprofessional in their future sessions. Like he was inviting the attention. It was surprising to see such a sharp turnaround in Laura's character. I actually felt sympathy for her last week, but her manipulative and flirtatious demeanor here really changed my opinion of her. Run away from her, Paul! Run for your life!

Alex - Tuesday 10:00am
The big revelation about Alex, that he forces his own screw-ups onto others to take the heat off himself, wasn't particularly surprising, but it did feel like the truth was hitting him like a ton of bricks. Even more than Sophie, I feel like Alex is the most self-destructive patient on the show. His life appears to already be a series of errors and mistakes, yet he is going out of his way to further the pain and isolation by ending his marriage, too. The fact that he calmly revealed his impending separation with no real emotional weight showed a lot of insight into how his mind works. Everything is calculated, nobody else is particularly important, and the perception of strength and machismo trumps all. He's a mess, and the cracks are starting to show.

Sophie - Wednesday 4:00pm
Now, I don't like Sophie. She's written in that stereotypical "teenager on a TV show" way where she is completely unfiltered, lacking a sensitivity chip and generally a huge pain in the ass. She's obnoxious, rude and cruel to others (calling Paul an "old fart"; her description of his daughter etc.) so I really don't like her as a person. However, she is fascinating. All signs are pointing to a sexual relationship with Sy, and her discussion of her "place" in his household and her disappointment with the return of his wife was heartbreaking to listen to, as she clearly had no idea of the depravity she was implying. Of course, nothing may have even happened, but there are clearly bad vibes between the two of them, and the shot of Sy picking her up at the end gave me chills. Equally illuminating was Sophie asking Paul to help her take her clothes off, testing him to see if he would take advantage the way Sy possibly has. Or is doing. Her scene with Kate was also pretty devastating. She tells Paul that she's homeless, not literally I'm assuming, but she clearly doesn't feel like she has a family or any kind of parental figure. Her embracing Kate was unexpected, raw, and said so much without any dialogue. I'm hoping that Sophie's attitude is merely a defense mechanism, since I'm finding her actual storyline one of the most intriguing.

Jake and Amy - Thursday 5:00pm
So this didn't turn out the way I thought it would. Surprisingly, Jake and Amy (who appear to have made up, even if the whole thing screams "major denial") rushed to the hospital ten minutes in, Amy having started bleeding from her womb. The rest of the episode featured a shocking deconstruction of Paul's marriage, full of hurt and regret. The interesting thing here is that we've only ever seen thirty minutes of Paul at his most unguarded (his session with Gina last week), and barely any time with Kate herself, so our participation in this episode as an audience really hinges on the performances. Without a doubt, Michelle Forbes totally convinced as a woman who has been ignored and mistreated by her husband so much that she falls into the arms of another man. I also loved that Paul had to go straight into another session right after the fight with his wife, that patient completely unaware of what had just happened, and Paul having to cover up his devastation to save face.

Gina - Friday 7:00pm
Paul bugged here. He was almost a petulant child, twisting events that we've seen this week to make him look like a better person, such as telling Gina that Kate burst into his office looking for a fight the previous day, when we're fully aware that wasn't the case. Gina got some character development, involving an affair with a patient who recently died, which hints at why she's so interested in Paul's relationship with Laura. But we're still not getting the whole story here, since there's so much tension and history between the two of them. I'm really intrigued by it all. B+

Laura Teleplay Amy Lippman Director Rodrigo Garcia
Alex Teleplay Bryan Goluboff Director Rodrigo Garcia
Sophie Teleplay Sarah Treem Director Rodrigo Garcia
Jake and Amy Teleplay William Merritt Johnson Director Rodrigo Garcia
Gina Teleplay Davey Holmes Director Rodrigo Garcia

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