Monday, February 18, 2008

In Treatment, week four open thread

You're almost caught up to where I am with "In Treatment" -- I watched two or three of this week's episodes a while back -- so by the time I get done with my vacation, you may actually be ahead of me.

Only one post this week for all five episodes. I would ask that you respect the broadcast schedule, no matter how you're seeing the episodes -- i.e., don't talk about Alex until Tuesday night after 10, no talking about Sophie till Wednesday, etc. Please play nice with one another, okay?

30 comments:

Theresa said...

The first half of this episode was really uncomfortable for me---so tense! By the end of it, though, it was nice to see them be nicer to each other, even if Laura was definitely in control. I'm curious to see Alex's take on his situation with Laura.

Nicole said...

If Laura wasn't young and good-looking, would Paul really be interested in a control freak like her? I can't think that even if he actually had a relationship with her that it would be something long term. He is letting her take over the sessions because he hasn't admitted that he is jealous of her and Alex, but really, beyond the physical, there isn't much substance in Laura.

I still don't like Laura and although Alex is a prick too, he doesn't annoy me as much as she does. And I'm probably more annoyed because I see how Paul is being a typical older guy with mid-life crisis when with her.

Michaela said...

Laura's sessions are so frustrating -- I kept wanting to say there *is* no intimacy because therapy is directional, the patient shares with the therapist but the therapist doesn't share with the patient -- and then he went ahead and shared an intimate anecdote with her, and, ugh.

I don't get it. Are we supposed to sense frustrated longing from him? Because I don't really buy that he's interested in her at all.

Anonymous said...

I hate Laura, I hate her more each week. I feel like she is lying about everything. Perhaps that is because she is such a terrible actress. Alex is so in the closet, Sophie is my favorite and the sickest of them all. The couple just need a divorce. Gabriel is giving an emmy worthy performance in this series. I hope people are at least watching it on demand. I believe it is better when you watch 5 sessions in a row while you are drinking heavily.

Bobman said...

I think Laura is a pretty good actress, she's very convincing in this role even if her character isn't very likable.

Poor Paul sure let himself be thrown around in this episode though. By the end she had him in the palm of her hand, to the point that when she was leaving I was convinced they were going to kiss. Especially when she came back to "pay" him, that seemed like the cliche "throw open the door and jump into his arms" moment. Kudos to the show for framing it but not using it.

Todd said...

Any other on-demanders not have this week's Sophie episode on their menu? Mine goes right from Alex to Jake/Amy. Annoying...

Anonymous said...

Everyone but Sophie is annoying, but Laura is the worst, and it makes me really irritated with Paul for his "attraction" to her. She's one of those people whose physical attractiveness recedes as you get to know her. Just a narcissist who wants everyone to love her and then dump them and create havoc in her wake. Understandable to find her attractive if you don't know this about her, but Paul does. It feels really artificial and constructed to me.

Bobman said...

anonymous, keep in mind that Paul isn't perfect, and is going through a hell of a rejection from his wife. An attractive woman tells him she wants him, I'm not surprised that he's tempted by the offer, whether you find her personality abhorrent or not.

I agree a lot of the characters are annoying in this series but I think that's kind of the point. They're intriguing BECAUSE they're so narcissistic and self-absorbed, and you can see why Paul is so frustrated with them.

Eric said...

Paul had a chance tonight - a moment where he could have saved Laura's therapy, and himself and he missed it.

When Laura talked about their "intimacy" he needed to come back with the fact that that intimacy is only possible because of the safety created by the boundaries of the theraputic relationship, that his job is to maintain those boundaries, and that if her therapy is going to continue, she needs to at least acknowledge them. She can feel however she wants about them, and that's fine material for the sessions, but she has to know that they're not going to be breached.

But of course Paul is so far gone into his personal drama that he couldn't come within miles of that kind of answer, and instead hopped right over the boundaries himself, and joined her on the other side.

So when Laura compared Alex to a fighter pilot, did it sound to anyone else like she doesn't know that he's a pilot? I wonder if he's telling her a very different story than he's telling Paul. So much of his story from the first episode is so incredible, I'm beginning to suspect that he's a pathological liar and we haven't started to scratch the surface of why he's really there yet.

And I really need to stop watching the "Next Week" clips. I find they're giving away too much and I watch the rest of the week colored by the knowledge of what's going to happen.

Carlos said...

there *is* no intimacy because therapy is directional,

This is exactly right! The proper response to her, "I love you," is "You don't even know me." It's all projection.

I found this Laura episode incredibly frustrating b/c Paul has just completely lost his ability to be a professional. Her behavior was horrid, and it was almost unwatchable to see him fail to stand up to her.

dez said...

And I really need to stop watching the "Next Week" clips. I find they're giving away too much and I watch the rest of the week colored by the knowledge of what's going to happen.

LOL, you and me both! That's why I wish the previews were of the next episode (which would be Alex, in this case) vs. next week's. I'll just have to be turn the show off as soon as the credits roll (even though I like the music as a part of "winding down" from the ep).

I watched last night's show with my pal, Niffer. She doesn't have HBO and had never seen the show, so I caught her up on the key elements. She couldn't believe how horrid Laura was, heh. We both said, "NOOO!" when Paul started opening up about his private life to her.

Laura is a wreck and Paul should be cutting her off at the knees when she starts in on him. Except he's a wreck, too.

I did notice that Alex gave a rather glowing review to his encounter with Laura in his session last week, yet Laura writes it off as no big deal (and only gave all the intimate details as a way to make Paul jealous and upset--which worked, dammit!). Laura also casts off men rather quickly, and if she was honest in what she relayed regarding Andrew's reaction to her dumping him, it seems Andrew was more on to her "true nature" than she's previously let on. Like Paul, she likes to cast herself as a victim when in reality, she is the victimizer (well, I wouldn't go that far necessarily about Paul, but her...no problem!).

@Eric, I also thought Laura didn't know Alex was a pilot--she is pretty perceptive (manipulative people tend to be)--OTOH, maybe she was just messing with Paul's head a little more to make herself seem smarter to him that she is. It's hard to tell with her sometimes, which I'm not sure is due to the character or the actress' acting choices.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Two thoughts on Alex, based on last night's episode and previous ones:

1)I also wonder how much of what he tells Paul is true. Part of that comes from the whole timeline problem of him going to Iraq and back and then leaving his wife in the space of the week between his first two sessions, but his stories are often so amazing that my BS detector starts going off.

2)I think, especially after watching last night's episode, that Alex is gay and in deep denial about that.

Dan Jardine said...

I don't think there's any doubt that Alex is in the closet. He always makes a point, when talking about his dr. friend, to point out that the man is his "gay friend" as if the man's sexual orientation defines him. Clearly he's got serious issues around his own sexuality.

Very good ep. last night-again, Byrne doing sooo much with so very little. He is the template for subtlety and nuance in performance. He looks to be on the edge of devastation by the end of the episode.

dez said...

I must have missed this in Laura's session: Didn't she say they had sex the same day she met him? But Alex said the first time was Saturday? I'm confused.

I forget who mentioned it first on the blog, but I agree with that person and everyone else who says Alex is in the closet and in denial about it. Interesting that he excused his poor lovemaking by continually mentioning his wife, too.

Paul was very aggressive with Alex last night in the beginning of the therapy. His objectivity has been shattered and he's more protective of Laura than of the patient in front of him, which is not good for Alex's mental health. It's almost a good thing Alex is so narcissistic and in denial because he's not picking up on Paul's feelings of jealousy--yet. The bad thing is that Paul's not picking up on Alex's deeper problem. Paul needs to take a break from his job and fix his own probs before he can help any of his patients, I think.

rukrusher said...

I actually think the reason he has not returned to the Military is because he has been outed and that is why he was not let back on to the base.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Alex's stories are often incredible (in particular, the depiction of his father killing his grandfather seems to come almost directly from Rosemary's Baby) but i sincerely hope that he's not a pathological liar, because I feel like that would just cheapen his story. The gay thing is interesting, but I kind of feel like that would be too pat of an answer to Alex. To a certain extent, I like how we've seen a lot of balls thrown up in the air for each character, but I think at this point there's enough to the storyline that it'd be disappointing to continue to add extra elements without really getting a chance to delve into the existing ones

Eric said...

The "Alex is gay" sign has been flashing for me since his first session, but I kind of hope it's not true, because it's a bit trite and predictable.

On the "Alex is a pathological liar" front, he was very concerned with whether his story and Laura's "matched up." (And they did, factually.) Does that indicate that he's used to making sure that his story matches up with someone elses? And often it doesn't? (Or, like Paul accused Gina, am I twisting the evidence to fit my "pet theories?")

Theresa said...

Just saw the Sophie episode, and my initial reaction is this: what kind of dumb therapist keeps ANY sort of medicine in the bathroom his patients use, especially prescription stuff? Grr.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Keep in mind that Paul's been sleeping in his office for a few weeks, and is no doubt using that bathroom as his primary bathroom. Doesn't excuse such sloppiness, but at least I understood why they were there.

dez said...

^Paul's not thinking so clearly lately, either.

This is the first ep where Paul lost his professional composure with Sophie. He was acting more like her father--calling the boy who insulted her a prick, trying to comfort her, etc.--than her therapist. It's hard to blame him, either. Normally when I want to reach through the TV screen, it's to slap a character like Laura, but in this case, I wanted to reach through and give Sophie a hug. That boy was cruel and I probably would have reacted to the story the same way Paul did.

Interesting that they didn't give a preview of next week's episode. Either they've been reading some of the comments about the nature of the previews, or they got smart and decided not to give away what happens to Sophie after she collapsed. I hope Paul talks about Sophie with Gina because I don't think I can wait a week to see how she's doing.

Carrie said...

For me, the Sophie sessions are by far the most engrossing ones of the week. Although this one went a bit over the top at the end with the suicide attempt, the 20 minutes prior were absolutely riveting. Mia Wasikowska is really, really great in this role and her acting chemistry with Byrne is fantastic. Sophie is by far one of the most interesting and realistic teens I've seen in a TV show or movie in a while.

One thing I thought was interesting was the difference in her appearance and demeanor now that she has her cast off. I think what she looked like when she was handicapped was sort of the "real" Sophie, but she pretties herself up and wears ridiculous shoes she doesn't like to hide who she really is inside (I think she referred to as such when she said during the accident she thought she had killed "that girl.")

It was fascinating to see her attitude totally change from the (manufactured) euphoria at the beginning of the session to the confession she actually did try to take her life during the accident at the end, and then the desperate suicide attempt once she realized she couldn't hide behind her casts anymore.

Something more serious than her relationship with her coach happened to this girl. I hope her insensitive sexual partner's remark about she "fucks like she's been sexually abused" isn't hinting at what's really going on here.

dez said...

^I wouldn't be surprised to find out that her dad abused her, and that she blames her mom for not protecting her.

I also agree with you that Sophie's sessions are the most engrossing. They're also the ones where Paul acts the most like a therapist in control vs. a guy who's cracking up, although that changed a bit in the last session (and I suspect will continue to change if he keeps seeing Sophie as a surrogate for his own daughter, Rosie).

Michael said...

I just watched Laura, Alex, and Sophie back to back.

The two sides to the Laura/Alex get-together were fascinating, Laura's clearly using Alex to get back at Paul - remember how she kissed and hugged him when he came to pick her up, then the next day Alex mentioned how she changed once she got in the car. It was all for show so Paul could see.

(I'll admit it's kinda hot to hear an attractive actress talk about her sexual activities - a handjob in the bathroom, a blowjob with Alex, how she got off by rubbing on his leg, etc.)

Alex is closeted, that was clear to me in his first appearance. He also made a reference to some "faggy" doctors. I don't think he's a liar though.

Sophie shocked me by how she appeared - looking all grown up (or like a teenager's version of all grown up). And this must be summer or something, how could she have gone to an all-night party during the school week? A couple of times she mentioned getting away to to "her" - maybe a voice in her head? I'm thinking she's going to end up having been abused by her dad too.

On to Jake and Amy...

Stacie said...

Can I just say I loathe Jake and Amy?

Carrie said...

I seriously cannot figure Amy out. What is up with telling elaborate stories to your therapist when its not necessary? Is everything just a game to her? That must be incredibly frustrating for Paul.

Despite the fact that both Jake and Amy are highly unlikable, I still like their episodes. This show is just getting more and more addictive by the day.

dez said...

One thing I noticed about Jake and Amy is how much farther apart from each other they sit each week. Soon, Amy will be sitting on the patio and Jake on top of the bookcases.

I bet Paul sees how they behave toward each other and thinks of how he withdrew from Kate and his own family. I wonder if he is figuring out how to save his marriage before it gets to Jake & Amy levels of hatred and disappointment? Or is it too late for Paul & Kate?

Kyle Wasko said...

I know this has been mentioned before, but: anyone else finding Paul's revisionism with Gina interesting (replacing "prick" with "idiot" this week)? For me, this is the most compelling reason to tune into all five episodes every week.

Continuing to love the show...although I'm a bit troubled that the less I think of Paul, the more I think of the program (I was rather hoping it'd be the reverse.)

dez said...

Paul acts with Gina the way his patients act with him; he just doesn't see it (and Gina can't quite call him on it since she doesn't have as much info as we do).

The ending of the last Paul & Gina ep was stunning. Gina tells Paul he can tell her anything and she will never abandon him, then he drops the bombshell about his love for Laura and you can see all the wind just go out of her. Amazing acting from Dianne Wiest in that scene. Gina's probably wishing she put a caveat on her "I will never abandon" you speech about now.

MMS said...

It's becoming clear to me that all the episodes are really about Paul, his melt down and his struggle to remain a good therapist. The other 4 sessions are there so we can see Paul in other settings, which inform his sessions with Gina. I find the show addictive, powerful and mentally stimulating. Don't feel like that about too many TV shows. Bravo HBO. Hope it finds an audience.

erin said...

First-time poster to this show--it is completely addictive, and I'm so glad I started watching it. But it's a commitment!! Byrne deserves every award he gets.

I think the acting on here is uniformly wonderful, but I must say, I think my favorite patient is Alex and the way Underwood portrays him. The first week, you see everything you need to know about him--control freak, huge ego, insecure, homophobia issues (despite his gay best friend), etc--he was clearly defined. And I haven't been disappointed in the following weeks. He's just...so interesting to me, and I like that Laura gives another perspective of him as well. It's like they're calling bullshit on each other, so you see all sides.

That being said...I do have issues with the Alex/Laura relationship as it's written...if their Saturday date was so terrible to Alex, why oh why would he ever go out with her again? Why would he pick her up and twirl her around after her session in the Laura episode? They looked like a couple, but his recollection of their date makes him sound like she disgusts him. So that just didn't hang together for me. But I did like his interpretation of Laura's craziness, and how she cried after sex. How can Paul still think she's a viable candidate, even with his failing marriage? It boggles the mind. And I like how George plays her--she's obnoxious, but that's intentional. George is much more interesting here than she is on Grey's.

All in all--fascinating show. But man, people can make each other absolutely miserable, can't they? Can't quite figure out how Jake and Amy have stayed together so long...talk about mutual detest!