Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In Treatment, week three: Laura

And I hope this episode of "In Treatment," like last week's Jake & Amy installment, has finally shown people why it's kind of essential to watch all five episodes each week. Try to imagine watching tonight's Alex episode without having seen last night's Laura show, right? Fire away with your thoughts in the comments.

11 comments:

Nicole said...

I agree that the last part is important to have watched, the problem is that I find her so irritating in the session itself. I don't know if the actress or the character that annoys me either.
(Her character in Alias with the fake British accent still annoys me to this day, so I may have some baggage here)

It seems to me as though Paul has taken a bit more control over this session, especially at the end. The excuse about her being late was weak and he was kind of a jerk, but I felt as though I could see him taking the reins and working to push her out as a client.

KC said...

Funny, I was in the process of writing the exact same thing... I am beginning to find Laura's sessions a real bore. She is becoming the most annoying of an increasingly grating bunch which almost has me wishing for the characters in "Tell Me You Love Me".

I am not sure whether its the double-dose reflection of manipulative Paul that makes her sessions feel grating, or that I just find the two characters sparing too much. Honestly, I don't even feel any chemistry between them, they just seem to dislike each other.

Anyway, the other interweaved characters and Paul's own crumbling relationship make for an interesting watch and I believe all the other actors are excellent. I guess I will hang on for awhile and see how it plays out.

Bobman said...

I really loved how Laura completely nailed Paul on the "what would you do if your therapist kept leading you towards some conclusion that you didn't agree with" or something like that. That's exactly the problem Paul has had with Gina, and it was great that Laura brought it up so maybe he could see it.

dez said...

Except the reason Laura doesn't agree with Paul is that she doesn't want to. She doesn't want to look at herself and see what she really is: an annoying, immature brat who takes no responsibility for actions (at least Paul's not quite that bad--yet!). He should hand her the card of a colleague and send her on her merry, self-destructive way.

ITA with Nicole about Laura being irritating and I'm not sure if it's the actress or the character or both (I don't remember her from Alias, which may be a good thing). But her sessions are painful for me to watch because I want to reach through the TV and slap some sense into her (and occasionally Paul, for that matter).

One thing I wish is that they wouldn't promo next week's ep for each character, and instead promo the next night's ep. It gives way too much away to know what Paul will be saying to Gina in their next session before I've had a chance to see the other four sessions that come before it. Yes, I should quit watching previews, but still, it seems like a dumb way for HBO to promote the show.

Carlos said...

The fundamental flaw of the Laura episodes is the completely unbelievable interactions b/t the two of them.

Laura is a doctor. That means that not only has she had at least one psych class, but she's also had at least one actual psych rotation. Even if she weren't a little versed in the basics of psych, any therapist worth his salt would do exactly what Robertson Davies has his shrinks do: Address her claims of "love" head on. Point out to her that she couldn't possibly "love" Paul b/c she doesn't even know the slightest thing about him. Explain why this is a perfectly normal, but temporary, phase of therapy, and explain what the path forward looks like.

It's simply unbelievable that three sessions later, they still haven't had this conversation. Unless of course this series is about a completely incompetent (or downright evil) therapist and the malpractice he inflicts on his patients.

I can stand stoopid TV stories when that's kinda the point of the show (e.g., 90210 is a great example), but stoopid stories packaged in what is supposed to be a sophisticated, adult TV series is just beyond aggravating.

That said, I still enjoy the other episodes. Too bad Laura is so central to the story.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Carlos, I'm with you on the Laura episodes being the weakest of the bunch, but I don't think Paul's refusal to confront the attraction head-on is a sign of evil. Incompetence, maybe. The point of the series is that he's falling apart, personally and professionally, and while we sometimes get glimpses of Paul at the top of his game (mainly in the Sophie episodes), he's been going through the motions as a shrink nearly as long as he has as a husband and father. He's attracted to Laura, plus he knows his own marriage is falling apart, and so he doesn't have the nerve to nip the erotic transference thing in the bud.

But at the same time, he's aware enough that this is a problem that he went back to seeing Gina after years with no supervision. It's sort of like his patients: none of them seem to want to admit their real problems, but they're just aware enough that these problems exist that they're in Paul's office every week.

Theresa said...

(Her character in Alias with the fake British accent still annoys me to this day, so I may have some baggage here)

I personally find her fake American more irritating than the fake British one, but I still like Melissa George as an actress in general.

Anonymous said...

Last Week's Thursday show was the turning point for me. I enjoy the show and the Blair Underwood show on tonight is real good

Kathy said...

Laura's storyline is the one I find least interesting as well.

I love Blair Underwood/Alex, and have to say, I didn't realize what a great actor he is until seeing him in the show. I think Paul is very good with him, and maybe that's why I enjoy his storyline more, I can see Paul's skills and abilities more with Alex. And I'm fasicnated by Alex as a character, his life is so interesting and complex. I don't really give a hoot about Laura and her love life angst and her boring fiancee. If we learn more about her, I might start to find her interesting, but right now, she's pretty one-dimensional - the only thing of interest we know about her is that she's "in love" with Paul. And that's not all that interesting.

I also really like the Sophie episodes, she's so damaged and fragile and watching Paul navigate around that to try and get through to her without terrifying her, that's pretty affecting.

Don't care about the couple, I find them both unlikable.

This episode did nothing for me in terms of making me interested in Laura, the only thing of interest - her meeting Alex - is intriguing only in terms of how Alex experiences it.

Eurydice said...

Does anyone else feel that the character of Paul is rather unreflective? He lies to Gina in week 2, and, I expect, will tell her that he tried to hand-off Laura when he was really just confusing her. Where is his work with himself?

Anonymous said...

Alan, are you the guy who wrote those amazing reviews of NYPD Blue episodes? My DH and I really relished those, thank you for them. I have a question in response to a comment here. How, exactly, might a therapist nip an erotic transference in the bud? What would one on his game do?