Friday, February 29, 2008

In Treatment week five thread

So, remember what I said before I left for vacation about how you all would be caught up with "In Treatment" by the time I got back? Well, guess what show my now-addicted wife insisted we take with us on our trip to watch during the downtime? So I'm now early in week 7 (the last one I got in advance). That said, I think I remember enough of what happened in the previous episodes that I can safely weigh in with some comments without giving away where stories are going.

The one post for all five episodes idea worked fairly well last week -- at this point, I don't know anybody who's still watching the show who isn't watching all five -- so unless there are any convincing counter-arguments I'm going to do that again this time, and just bump up the posts each weeknight. As with last week, I'd ask people to honor the airing schedule, so let's only talk about Laura's session (and the ones before it) until after Alex's is done tomorrow, etc.

59 comments:

Stacie said...

I've noticed that each week Laura tells Paul some sort of sexually explicit tale from her past (or present). His failure to call her on that is just....icky.

dez said...

I had a feeling she'd slept with David. Still not feeling any sympathy for her. Seems like she only tells Paul whatever will best manipulate him at the time. Paul's failure to call Laura on any of her manipulations shows how badly his therapy skills have fallen--or that he loves her, eww.

punkys said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michaela said...

I was yelling at him the whole time not to kiss her. Thankfully he listened. People on TV don't usually listen.

Interesting twist on the usual TV structure where you wonder will-they-or-won't-they but, in a shocking twist, "will they" is actually ethically and morally wrong and you are rooting against it ever happening...I assume that's the intention, anyway.

Don't go there, man! Get therapy and patch things up with the wife!

Theresa said...

Ditto on the "don't kiss her!" yelling. That was driving me nuts.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to hope her and Paul get together. LOL Maybe their craziness will cancel each other out. Overall the show has gotten better each week. And this week's Alex episode is real good

Nicole said...

Why can't he see that this is just another game of manipulation like the Lolita story. Laura just wants to control him, there is no love there. She is more disturbed as every week goes by. She never actually intended to end the sessions, but was using that as a threat, just like she was when trying to make him jealous with Alex.

I can't believe that Paul actually thinks he loves her. He lusts for her and has confused it entirely. Gina needs to get him to drop Laura as a client now or he will lose his licence. If he does actually kiss her, I will have to stop watching the Laura sessions, because it's already turning my stomach. It's so typical for an old guy to actually think that a young woman "loves him" when in reality she is almost always using him.

dez said...

Don't go there, man! Get therapy and patch things up with the wife!

I'm not sure things are patchable with Kate, but I definitely echo the "Don't go there, man!" Paul needs to start listening to Gina. Or, at the very least, *really* listen to Laura (or listen to Alex's take on Laura, which I suspect shows us more of the real Laura than Laura does). And then run far, far away.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Bumping up for the Alex episode. And, damn, things are going south for Paul. Alex crosses a major line by investigating Paul, and as he's rattling off all these extremely personal details about Paul's family, the only thing that sets him off is when Alex mentions Laura. Oy.

Also, as soon as Alex started boasting about the Viagra, any doubt I had about him being gay but in denial vanished.

Kathy said...

I love Blair Underwood in this role. I don't think I've ever seen him play a villian before and not that he is playing an actual villian here, but he was pretty damn evil tonight. I think I'd pay some serious money to see Paul try and shrink Alex's dad (who sounds like the worst father in the history of the world). I don't know how Paul is going to get Alex to even begin to talk about his sexuality without Alex having a complete meltdown.

Laura's dad is clearly no prize either, either he was too wrapped up in himself to notice Laura's relationship with David or he sensed it was going on and did nothing. Neither is going to win him a World's Best Dad mug.

If Paul displayed even the slighest hint of reciprocity about Laura's feelings for him, Laura would totally panic. As much as she protests that in her case, it's not transference, it becomes clearer every session that it is transference. He's just blinded by his own counter-transference. It really is a big mess and I'm not seeing Gina make much headway in clearing it up.

Yay for tomorrow's episode, I love Sophie. But boo for Thursday, oh my god, I hate Jake and Amy. Does anyone find them likable? Interesting? I want to punch them both. But I feel obliged to watch their sessions in order to get the complete picture on Paul. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

I still think Alex is gay. The way he talks about his buddy Patrick has happpened way too much. The Viagra is just another way for Alex to brag

dez said...

Watching the struggle of wills between Alex and Paul was fascinating and painful. How did he find out Rosie is "fucking junkies"? Or was that an exaggeration to anger Paul further? Man, that whole thing was scary.

So maybe Paul and Kate are salvageable after all. She seems to have realized that she made a big mistake (and I liked that Paul was trying to figure out which flight was the one Kate would be coming home on). I wonder if he will spin it to Gina that Kate's beau dumped her, though?

In any case, Paul needs to get a grip. Stat!

Michaela said...

Ouch. Intense. The second Alex started rattling off data about Paul's life, Paul should have thrown him out of the house and the next session should have been about terminating therapy. Bigtime boundary violation, unacceptable, tell him he's been a bad boy, etc.

I am starting to wonder about the odd number of episodes reported to be in the season and how this will shake out in the end...I've completely avoided reading about Be'Tipul to avoid spoilers, however.

Anonymous said...

Alex violated the therapeutic relationship to a point that verges on the criminal. Unfortunately, it completely strains credulity that a) he would engage in such behavior; b) that Paul wouldn't have immediately shown him the door rather than waiting and hitting him; and c) that the "therapeutic" relationship would continue. I found the whole episode very unbelievable and distancing. I almost thought that somehow this was going to be revealed to be Paul's or Alex's fantasy about the session.

I hate Laura so much that I don't known if she really slept with David or if she was just manipulating paul by drawing him in with this tantalizing tidbit before she "leaves."

Dark Tyler said...

What the hell was that? I love the show in general, but I half-expected Alex to reveal himself as Sylar by the end of the episode.

Stacie said...

I guess this show is primarily about Paul's psychological unraveling...when it first started, it made me wish I was a better psychologist, because I saw Paul as a skilled clinician. However, now I'm feeling pretty good about my abilities!

Eric said...

I'm also finding hard to believe that Paul would allow Alex back in therapy after this week. I also suspect that Alex either has bugged Paul's office (the espresso machine?) or hired a private detective - how else would he have gotten those personal details with "a few phone calls?" Paul should probably slap a restraining order on him. And allowing him back in therapy points to Paul as being deeply narcissistic and misguided about his own capabilities and capacity for neutrality. And after last week's session with Gina, and his ability to hold back just a little bit with Laura, I was starting to have hope for him.

dez said...

Alex's need to be #1 drove him to "investigate" Paul once he figured out Laura's feelings for her therapist. Sadly, everything he said about Laura's feelings is true: she doesn't know Paul, she's just obsessed and once she gets Paul in bed, it's over. Now Alex can assert his superiority because he bagged Laura first and he knows more about Paul than Laura probably ever will. He's above them both, triumphant, covered in hot espresso. Whoopee.

Kathy said...

Given that a therapist in NY was recently hacked to death with a meat cleaver, I don't find the idea of a patient acting out against a therapist all that unbelievable. Alex is extremely unstable.

Every time Alex reveals something to Paul, it threatens his sense of being in control and on top of that, when he tries to re-assert control in the session (the payment issues, the coffeemaker), Paul calls him on it. That he would strike back is not implausible. And that he would strike back by revealing Paul's weaknesses is in keeping with Alex's issues - he hates that Paul knows so much about him and so he found out about Paul in order to level the playing field. I thought it was quite in keeping with his character.

I can't imagine a scenario in which Paul would be able to continue to treat Alex. Bringing Paul's family into it, especially his daughter, that has got to be a deal-breaker, that's scary stuff. Again though, I don't find that implausible, when your job is to deal with people with emotional problems, having patients get psycho on you every once in a while seems like it would be par for the course.

Alan Sepinwall said...

First, I can totally see Alex going there, because he's a control freak and he thinks this is his way of exercising control over Paul, and because he's afraid of where this therapy is taking him.

As I've seen additional episodes, I won't say anything else about this development.

Anonymous said...

To compare Alex with Tarloff, the man who killed the NYC therapist, is ridiculous. That man has schizophrenia--the most chronic, devastating and incapacitating psychiatric condition known to exist. He's also someone with a decades-long history of psychiatric commitments. Thus, while shocking, his actions are not necessarily inconsistent with his specific illness. Nothing does, or should, suggest that Alex suffers from a chronic illness of this nature such that his actions are explainable.

Kathy said...

To compare Alex with Tarloff, the man who killed the NYC therapist, is ridiculous.

You miss my point entirely.

Comments were made that it was not plausible for Alex to do what he did (snoop around on Paul and confront Paul with what he found out).

My point in mentioning the NY case was to say that it's not at all unbelivable for a patient to act out against a therapist, here's a very extreme case of it happening in real life.

No comparison was made or implied regarding Alex's issues and the issues of the person in the real life case.

In other words:
Lighten up, Francis.

Theresa said...

Man...the Sophie episodes are SO good! I find myself getting distracted during the other ones, but during the Sophie ones, I am glued to the TV. Such great performances. It was funny, it was tense, it was sad. It was great.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Theresa, I think part of what makes the Sophie episodes so unique is that they're the one time each week where we see Paul in full command of his profession. He doesn't let all his personal problems seep into the relationship the way he does with the others (including Gina), even when Sophie tries to bait him (say, by bringing up his daughter). When you see what a good shrink Paul is with her, it makes you realize how far he's fallen with everyone else.

Also, I thought this one was interesting for the way it showed Sophie in such an unflattering (albeit realistic) light. She was just awful to her mother, and to Paul, wasn't she?

Theresa said...

Definitely. He seemed so composed and in control compared with how he is the rest of the week---it's really refreshing. Plus, I feel like Sophie is actually really getting something out of her therapy with him and the others are pretty much wasting their money. Maybe he should treat teenagers exclusively. Also, I believe that he really does like Sophie and, despite his claim that he has to love all of his patients, I'm not sure I believe it about the rest of them. Sure, he "loves" Laura, but that's B.S. and I'm definitely not feeling his love for Alex, Jake, and Amy.

Michael said...

Wow, I haven't seen a teenager that awful to her parent since my ex left with her daughter (my almost-stepdaughter).

The way Paul is with Sophie is so at odds with how he is with everyone else. What does he love about Jake and Amy? I think that Sophie's dad sexually abused her as a child. That would explain how she says how much she loves him and how much he loves her (which he would have told her early and often), and the "daddy" issue she has with Cy.

(You know, I keep mentally seeing Powers Boothe as Cy Tolliver from "Deadwood" whenever Sophie mentions him.)

M.Chavez said...

I find it telling that Sophie is the Wednesday client, meaning it's the middle of the week where Paul gets 'a break' and doesn't have to deal with all the twisted shit that's going on in his own life and his more problematic patients. It would be more painful if Sophie was a Monday or Thursday patient, meaning he'd have un-interrupted drama for too long a stretch throughout the week. Of course, I realize these 4 patients (3 solo and a couple) aren't the *only* people he sees, and then there's his own therapy with Gina, but in terms of how the series is being threaded to us, I think Sophie's a mid-week patient for a reason.

I don't know how I feel about Alex being gay. It's almost too cliché a storyline... tough brusque soldier, domineering father (sub-text: he wouldn't tolerate a fag as his son), repressed mother, etc.

Are we allowed to talk about the previews? If so, I'd just like to say that I think next Monday's preview is a red herring.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Let's try to avoid talking about the previews, especially since HBO has irritatingly chosen to preview next week's episodes before the week is over, even though, as we've seen, what happens on Thursday may affect what happens the next Monday.

dez said...

A lot of teenagers with far fewer issues than Sophie has are awful to their parents. I think that's the provenance of being a hormonal teen.

I'm beginning to rethink my belief that Sophie's dad abused her. His absenteeism (it sounds like he puts everything before his daughter--career, new wife, etc.) could be enough of a trigger for her to seek out father figures elsewhere, which would give a jerk like Cy the perfect opportunity to take advantage of her, all while making her think she was the one who came on to him. She's so desperate for that affection that she would believe anything Cy tells her, as long as he gives her "love."

Paul saw that need and filled it with real fatherly affection (and I do think he looks at Sophie's treatment as a way to correct the mistakes he's made with his own daughter), but also fatherly discipline (telling her that her treatment of her mother was awful, making the deal with her, etc.). Maybe he is blurring the line between his therapy and his life again (issues with Rosie), but it did seem very effective.

I also see why Sophie blames her mother for her father's absence. Better to lay it at her mother's manicured feet than to admit that her father places everything else in his life above his daughter's needs.

Bobman said...

I don't know how I feel about Alex being gay. It's almost too cliché a storyline... tough brusque soldier, domineering father (sub-text: he wouldn't tolerate a fag as his son), repressed mother, etc.

I agree it would be cliche, but there's also a reason things become cliche in the first place.

Nicole said...

I don't know if I buy that Paul "loves" everyone of his patients... I thought he was saying that to make Sophie feel better (well and we know that he probably "loves" Laura) it also doesn't seem very professional.

Unless he really means that he cares about all his patients, which is different from love, and different from lust.

If it wasn't for the Sophie episodes I would have no reason to believe that Paul is any good as a therapist.

Dark Tyler said...

I have to say that Paul has also done a very good job on Alex so far. So good, in fact, that the sleeping Sylar has awaken inside the closeted control freak.

Alan Sepinwall said...

He's very good at times with Alex, yes, but he also lets Alex push his buttons -- which was true even before Alex and Laura's brief affair.

Michaela said...

Agreed, Sophie's sessions are the only ones that resemble "therapy" to me. Everyone else he just lets pester him instead of him making the patient focus on their own issues. If I stood up in the middle of a session to go make coffee or go to the bathroom or walk around the office you better believe my therapist would call me on it instantly, and it drives me crazy that he NEVER DOES.

Sophie's mom looked a lot like an older Laura. Just me then?

Anonymous said...

I think Sophie's reference to the photo shoot before she passed out in last week's episode, and her statement that her father "doesn't have to say he loves me, I just feel his love," are certainly pointing in the direction of her father having sexually abused her.

MMS said...

WOW! Hadn't thought about Alex bugging Paul's office via the coffee machine! Good thinking Eric. I just can't imagine that Alex could really get that kind of personal information by asking around. No one close enough to Kate to know would tell a stranger, like Alex, right? Alex's "bomb" on Paul was very precise and deadly, just like the one in Bahgdad?

josh said...

anyone else think that paul's session with alex was a turning point for the whole series. in the aftermath of his snapping at alex's provocations, he seems to have reflected upon his descent into personal and professional self-destruction. this was the first jake/amy session where he seemed focused on identifying and solving the problems of their relationship instead of watching the train wreck before him.

Theresa said...

I agree. Both with Sophie last night and with Jake and Amy tonight he seems to really be focusing on addressing their problems. Hearing him say that boundaries must not be crossed because then it's just chaos and not effective therapy was quite the revelation (and reflecting upon exactly what went wrong in his session with Alex). Now if he can only live up to his words, it'll be a miracle. Maybe it's a wake-up call. One can only hope...

dez said...

So is that story of the couple with marital probs who ultimatley stay together Paul's wish for what will happen with he & Kate, just a story to get Jake & Amy to open up, or both? Jake's a jerk, but the way he cried and begged Amy to stay with him teared me up a bit.

That First Andrew said...

I couldn't help but think when Jake said "I don't want you to leave me," he wasn't saying that he wanted her, but that he didn't want to be left. It wasn't about Amy, or even the two of them together. It was about HIM. I don't want you to leave ME.

Can't believe I never figured out that Amy grew up fat.

Theresa said...

Can't believe I never figured out that Amy grew up fat.

How interesting that we should find that out in the first episode where Amy shows up coming straight from a run. That, paired with her smoking, leads me to believe that perhaps the pounds didn't "melt away" as easily as she would have us believe. When she said that, I really thought Jake was going to say she had an eating disorder then or something.

torontomeridith said...

Her weight issues may have also been a factor in her not wanting to have the baby.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember which episode it was, but one of the sessions this week was the first time I've ever seen a character in anything misuse the word "infer" (when they mean "imply") without being called out on it. I'm not sure if this is good writing (people misuse it all the time, and whenever somebody writes a call-out like that, it always seems like the writer showing off what they know) or sloppy writing, but I thought it was interesting.

dez said...

There's a good article about real-life psychs' reactions to the show in today's L.A. Times (no spoilers): http://tinyurl.com/ypqrss

Nicole said...

The moment Amy said that her baby fat "melted" away, I knew she was lying, because girls gain weight over puberty and don't lose it unless they are in intense sports training or make an effort at dieting. Unlike guys who seem to eat all they want and then a growth spurt removes the pudginess, the opposite almost seems to happen for most women.

Clearly the excessive junk food is some kind of over compensation for something, probably for not actually liking her kid, and her self-loathing.

Anyway, I was glad that Paul eventually stood up to them because both Jake and Amy were especially obnoxious this week.

Paul will have a lot to talk about with Gina tonight.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And now the Gina sessions get more complicated -- and less -- with the arrival of Kate. On the one hand, Paul certainly needs to work on his marriage. On the other, Kate's presence significantly limits his ability to talk about the other patients, which was one of the best parts of these episodes.

Michaela said...

I honestly thought this was one of the best episodes yet, though. It was a little eyebrow-raising that Kate was there (I initially assumed he brought her in so he wouldn't have to talk to Gina about last week's admission) but then it went on from there, and eventually found its way back onto the admission, and...yeah.

That was the most like an actual therapy session I've seen this show be, too. And Kate was dead-on when she said Paul was being textbooky when he was saying things about how her affair hurt his feelings. Ouch.

drake leLane said...

Finally caught up again. Whew!

I found myself oddly giggling at the 'Amy used to be fat' revelation, instantly thinking back to 30 Rock and what Jack said when he found out C.C. had serious cosmetic surgery. "You know, I thought you made love like an ugly girl. So... present. So grateful."

Nicole said...

I was surprised to see Kate there, and she certainly brings another dynamic to the session. At least in bringing her and admitting the "love" for Laura, Paul appears to want to fix the relationship with Kate.

It may change the revelations to Gina, but anything that adds more screen time for Michelle Forbes is fine by me.

Dark Tyler said...

I thought Kate was a bit too unreasonable in regards to the Laura situation. Paul agreed to go couples therapy knowing that the Laura thing was bound to be revealed, and when it eventually was he did not deny any of its aspects. He was uncharacteristically straightforward about the whole thing, plus he hasn't actually done anything with Laura. So he went clean about it and is trying to do something to fix it. I just don't see how Kate can take the moral high ground in this case.

It's not that I like Paul that much, but that final moment in Monday's episode where he resisted Laura's ultimate attempt to get him... I dunno, you gotta respect that.

Anonymous said...

I think Kate is somewhat justified in her anger. She and Paul both knew her relationship with the "insurance salesman" was just an escape, and would never be anything more than physical. The fact that she had a miserable time in Italy proved it to her.

Paul on the other hand, has an emotional affair with Laura. He has feelings for her that, even though he hasn't acted on them, have clearly taken him away from their marriage long before Kate started her affair.

Now Kate has ended her relationship, and it is possible for her to try to come back to the marriage and fix what is broken, but Paul can't because he is still in this relationship, albeit only emotionally, with Laura.

I find it interesting that Kate knew precisely when he started treating Laura. It wasn't a gradual thing that developed over time.

Diana said...

I think what Paul is starting to see in Sophie is Laura (with all her self hatred and daddy issues) in the making... Perhaps this will offer him some perspective in treating both those patients.

Jake is turning into a suicide risk himself at the moment. I was truly afraid for him at the end when he broke down.

Dark Tyler said...

Laura definitely means something to Paul, but on the other hand, is he guilty for having the hots for her? The choice lies in whether he acted on his feelings or not, and he didn't. I mean, this whole thing is not ideal, but he resisted and that's gotta count for something!

That First Andrew said...

BUt he let it affect their marriage just as much as Kate ever did. Whether or not paul acted on his feelings, he let Laura come between him and his wife.

He may not have acted on Laura, but his inaction towards her still created a rift.

Eric said...

Is anyone else surprised at how affecting Michelle Forbes is? Her sci-fi characters (Ensign Ro, Admiral Cain, whatshername from the Global Frequency Pilot) that I've seen have been really tightly wound, and I've interpreted that as woodenness in the actress (although I'm always happy to see her pop up in something.) But she's been emotionally affecting here in a way I haven't seen before and wouldn't have considered her to be capable of.

dsilver415 said...

Just watched Alex, Week 5. I thought it was amazing. And I think it was totally with-in Alex's character to do the things he did. (And agree that as therapy gets closer to his own truths (very likely his own homosexuality) Alex pushes harder and harder against Paul to compensate for his own vulnerability.

I have known several Alex's who are just ultra competative in everyting, and find it beleivable that this is how Alex might react.

In week 4 with Gina, Paul acknowledges that he chose to see her because it had to be her: He could outsmart anyone else and never have to confront his reality about loving Laura. I think it is the same with Alex. He chose Paul because he wold have bullied anyone else entirely.

The thing that really shook me though, was Alex's casual reference, before his full recital of things he knows about Paul, to a 3rd grade girl being raped by her father. I only have 2 theories on this:
1. As Alan and others have mentioned, he might have bugged the room and be twisting something he heard there. I say twisting because though there were similar stories spoken, none of the victims were close to being a 3rd grader. Alex may have just been using it for effect.

2. That this was, and I hope I am completely off base here, a horrible prelude to the littany of things he now knows about Paul.

So why would I even bring it up? Knowing Paul's current relationship with his own family, especially with his daughter, I think it is at least remotely possible. His daughter sure does seem kind of lost now.

And I wouldn't put it past Alex to have tracked her down and talked to her, either.

Please shoot this theory down and convince me it was nothing.

Stacie said...

I don't even remember hearing anything about a 3rd grader, Dsilver415! Anyone else?

dsilver415 said...

Thanks, Stacie.

I could definitely be wrong, as I haven't had a chance to watch it again. But if it happened, it was before the outburst by Alex, and I remember it catching Paul off gurad, with him actually looking kind of taken aback and asking Alex why he chose that refernce.

I'll rewatch it tonight...

erin said...

I thought Josh Charles was really affecting this week as Jake. I do believe he loves her (although that doesn't mitigate that he's a slacker insecure guy who just attacks people), but you realize when he says awful things, he just wants her to love him. But as he cried, I kept thinking "He now looks vulnerable and weak, and she's going to turn into an ice queen. She doesn't love him." You know Amy hates weakness, and needs a strong man to match her. She doesn't want to see him cry. She just looked...done. Embeth Davditz does frosty so well.

I swear to God--Sophie talking to her mother that way? It's hard for me to relate, one-- because I
love my parents, and two--because I was never that neurotic and hormonal as a teen. I know that I'm unusual, but when i see teens acting like Sophie (and talking to her mother that way!) I just want to slap her. I was annoyed when Paul laughed the first time her mother left. She needed a good lecture! Hence the reason I'm not a therapist...

Random note: I like how the blue of the opening credits matches the ship in Paul's office that see-saws back and forth with blue water and sand in the background. Nice touch of symmetry.

This show is one of the more addicting ones I've seen in ages. I HAVE to stop watching because i have things to do tomorrow. But man, it's difficult!