Monday, June 7, 2010

In Treatment: Week Five (1.21 - 1.25)

I understand that "breakthroughs" are an important part of therapy. That moment where the patient suddenly hits a realization, or reveals something about themselves that suddenly casts all of their problems in a new life. In terms of In Treatment, this week was a real "breakthrough". We really do know these characters now, but all of these episodes managed to create new conflicts and expose previously unknown secrets about our protagonists. By far the best week this show has produced.

Laura - Monday 9:00am
Laura's revelation about her past was pretty devastating, and undoubtedly the source of her dysfunctional understanding of sex. The way she painted her childhood affair as if she were some kind of Lolita temptress was tragic, and she isn't aware that she was taken advantage of. At the same time, Paul's reaction once again felt like the reaction of a lover, as if he was personally wounded by the fact that Laura hadn't told him of this until now. Meanwhile, his complete lack of outrage or personal realization of his own behavior even after the near-death of one of Laura's patients due to her craziness was just another nail in his proverbial therapy coffin. And I was sure they were going to end up having sex at the end there.

Alex - Tuesday 10:00am
Like last week's Sophie episode, the drama here seemed a little contrived (Alex and his magic investigations into Paul's private life, really?), but the finale was undeniably explosive. I may be in the minority here, but I think Paul came off as the worst person here. Alex is damaged, yes, but Paul played straight into his hands, revealing his own feelings for Laura and his own personal crises through his physical violence. Paul, from the very start of their session, was antagonistic and unprofessional, and personally he deserved Alex's anger and obnoxiousness. How can they possibly go on from here? Meanwhile, Kate's home and has dumped her lover. That throws a spanner in the works for Paul, who clearly saw Kate's affair as an opportunity rather than something to be devastated over.

Sophie - Wednesday 4:00pm
I was surprised and satisfied that the show hasn't taken the easy route with Sophie. It would have been easy to make her a complete innocent, so the decision to expose how relentlessly cruel she is to her mother was pretty welcome. Her entire attitude is obnoxious, and my first-impression problems with her (her sarcasm, the threats of suicide) resurfaced here. She is of course damaged, but I'm finding it hard to care about her. Maybe it's the fact that she's intent on dragging other people into her misery that I just can't sympathize with her. Julia Campbell really sold it to me, though, as Sophie's mom. For an actor to just walk in to such a dense series and create an entirely sympathetic and moving character, that takes a lot of talent.

Jake and Amy - Thursday 5:00pm
This was a real breakthrough episode for Jake and Amy. Jake's breakdown at the end was heartbreaking. As much as they project so much hatred toward one another, their may still be a glimmer of hope in keeping their marriage alive. However, and especially with Jake's revelations at the end, I don't feel it from Amy just yet. I think the reason I find Jake and Amy's episodes so fascinating is that so far we've only been given "elements" of their histories which could all individually contribute to their problems: Amy's fictitious emotions and moments from their past, Jake's jealousy, now we have his post-sex "murder threat" and Lenny's weight. It's all slowly building under the surface, and I'm enjoying trying to work out these two.

Gina - Friday 7:00pm
Probably the best episode this show has done so far, Paul and Kate's couples session with Gina was stunning. Michelle Forbes, one of my personal favorite character actresses, blew my mind here, as Kate explained her own frustrations as the wife of a therapist. It was interesting and pretty sad to see Paul (maybe unconsciously) analyzing Kate throughout their session, trying to stop and pick apart reasons for her laughing or an analogy she put across. You can completely understand the state their marriage is in, and unsurprisingly it's because Paul has been pulling away. Kate's anger over Laura was entirely justified, and you could almost see the lightbulb going off in her head while she pieced together all of the evidence. Gina, too, as the silent observer was great, her knowing looks and glances to Paul conveying so much. Just a beautiful, beautiful episode with a stand-out performance from Michelle Forbes. A

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

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