Saturday, March 22, 2008

In Treatment, week 8 open thread

And here things get very interesting with various patients on "In Treatment." Same rules as always: I'll do my best to remember to bump this post up every weeknight at 10, and in turn you only comment on the episodes as they air on HBO (i.e., no talking about Sophie until Wednesday night at 10).

67 comments:

Alan Sepinwall said...

Rest in peace, Alex.

There was a feeling of dread hanging over last Tuesday's episode, and when Paul got the ominous phone call at the end of Friday's show, I figured something bad had happened to our local Naval aviator.

Several random thoughts:

-It's interesting how, even though the episode was about Alex's funeral, it essentially became another Laura session, in keeping with the Monday tradition. And I loved how, by finally flirting with Laura and opening up about his life (specifically, about his father's affair with a patient), Paul inadvertently found a way to throw cold water on Laura's fantasies.

-What are we to make of Paul's conversation with Alex's friend about Alex being full of surprises? Did Alex come out to the friend shortly before his death? Did things go beyond the talking stage?

-Odd to see Glynn Turman on an HBO show and not playing the mayor (or ex mayor) of Baltimore.

-For those who watch the previews, what did last week's preview for this episode show? When I talked with someone at HBO a couple of weeks ago, I was told that, after some wrestling with the idea to stop previewing a week in advance, they were going to attempt to promo this episode without giving away that it was about a funeral in general, and Alex's in particular.

-Also, since there's no episode next Monday (with Alex dead and Laura having quit therapy, the season's final week runs Wednesday through Friday), what did they preview after this episode? Tomorrow night's show? (If so, please don't say more than that.) Or just a note about there not being an episode next Monday?

BF said...

Last week's preview was pretty obvious that a funeral was in order, though I thought it was gonna be one of Laura's friends/family. (It was the shot of Paul & Laura talking about Paul's dad).

There was a "Next On" tonight, but it in no way matched the "Next On" that aired for Alex's last episode.

PS: Is that Kevin Spacey doing the "Previously On..."s?

Stacie said...

I wonder if we'll find out what happened to Alex...I still think he committed suicide.And, you're right Alan - you could see Laura's dismay as Paul opened up to her. At first she looked enamored with the attention, then she almost looked nauseated.

Alan Sepinwall said...

There was a "Next On" tonight, but it in no way matched the "Next On" that aired for Alex's last episode.

So was this Next On for tomorrow's episode?

And what did the Next On for Alex's last episode show? More footage of Alex in session?

This is what happens when I watch the series entirely on screeners.

mcconnell95060 said...

The "next on" voiceover is, I think, executive producer Mark Wahlberg.

mcconnell95060 said...

I meant "previously on." Tsk.

Stacie said...

Alan, I didn't see a 'next on' tonight. There was a montage of all of the patients (except for Alex), Paul, Kate, and Gina. Some of the scenes were old, some were unfamiliar. The voice over said something like, "next week - the three final climactic episodes of the groundbreaking series, In Treatment."

BF said...

Feel free to delete this as it's a spoiler (but since you asked...), last week's Alex preview showed Alex's dad in the middle of a session w/ Paul.

editrix said...

Previews: Last Monday showed Paul and Laura talking on the bench. Tuesday showed Paul talking to Alex's father, but of course we didn't know why. Now it's just "catch the final episodes" with a montage of scenes that don't really tell us anything.

Even though (or maybe because) I spend every moment of Laura's screen time staring at her overly toothy mouth, I didn't notice her being uncomfortable with Paul's personal talk. But it makes sense that, when she's no longer the sole focus of their conversations, her interest in him will go downhill fast. I think some of my hatred for this character and anger at Paul's response to her is that I too had a fantasy of having a personal relationship with my therapist. Because I didn't get what I wanted, it would really piss me off if Laura did. I think I'm experiencing counter-TV-transference.

So THAT's why Alex's father looked so familiar! Thanks for that, Alan.

I can't say I'm going to miss Alex, but I feel bad for the survivors, including his father.

Nicole said...

I was loving it when Laura was getting uncomfortable with Paul's description of his father and how selfish he was. You could definitely read into his words that Paul will make darn sure he doesn't act like his dad in that regard. Bye Laura! See ya never!

Every time I see Glynn Turman, I still think of him as Colonel Taylor on A Different World.

When Paul spoke with Alex's friend, I got the impression that the death happened while Alex was in the plane... and that it would be something newsworthy enough to be on the news, like a plane crash. A regular suicide, even of a soldier, would not likely be in the news.

Michael said...

IN the previews from last week's episode, they showed Paul and Laura sitting on the bench, both wearing black. I knew right then, even before I saw Alex's week 7 episode, that they were going to be at his funeral. There's no other reason for Paul and Laura to be outside, dressed in black - he's the only one they had in common. Even fast-forwarding through the preview, not hearing any of the dialog, I knew.

As for Alex's death, the friend (one of the gay couple) said "I just never thought it would end like this for him. I mean, I knew the risks, but I just never thought he'd get into trouble up there."

I noticed Paul playing with Laura's hair, but didn't notice that she got uncomfortable until you guys pointed it out. I rewatched the scene again.

When Paul said his father was a heart surgeon, it startled me. All the dialog so far had implied (to me, at least) that his father had been a psychologist too.

Michael said...

Oh, and at the end of Laura Week 8: quotes from the media, clips of past episodes. Now, the final three episodes, with clips we haven't seen yet. The Season Finale, starting next Wednesday at 9:30pm/8:30 Central.

I don't recognize the "next week" voice, but I'd swear the "previously" voice is Kevin Spacey.

By the way, Alan, thanks for getting me hooked on this. I wasn't sure I'd want to commit to the full time. I watched Week 1's shows after all five were done; then week 2's in a batch of 3 on Thursday and 2 on Saturday; then week 3 two at a time; and by week 4 I was watching them no more than a day after they aired. I didn't see any writeup on this before it started, so I wouldn't have seen it had I not been reading here.

Dark Tyler said...

I may be wrong on this one, but it's the first time (that I've noticed) that in the final credits there wasn't a "Based on an episode written by <...>" screen. Are we to understand that 'In Treatment' doesn't now exactly follow the original's storyline and/or structure?

fuzzydunlop said...

I've been killing myself trying to figure out who the "Previously on…" voice is too. At first it sounded like Ben from Lost, but that makes no sense so I just figured it was Rodrigo Garcia. Kevin Spacey would be interesting, too. The "Previously on..." before Monday's episode showed scenes from last week's session with Alex. I thought I was watching the wrong episode On Demand, then I realized...I wasn't.

It was almost too obvious that Mayor Royce would play Alex's dad. I also noticed that Daniel was played by Claire's guidance counselor from Six Feet Under. I love that HBO re-hires so many actors, so you get too see Lt. Marimow from The Wire as one of the Sons of Liberty in John Adams.

Meridith said...

Once I found out that Alex died while he was flying I figured that it was probably a suicide posing as an accident. It would be considered more manly in Alex's eyes to go with his boots on and it would guarantee all benefits for his wife and kids. It explains why he was so eager to get back in uniform. Also, his friend mentioned that everyone told him that they "had just seen him" which sounds like a man saying goodbye to people one last time.

dez said...

^I also think Alex did a suicide-by-plane. If I wasn't sure before that the call was about Alex, I was sure as soon as the "previouslies" started. Way to give it all away, HBO.

Still, I found it very sad. I also wonder if Paul will second-guess himself for not seeing it coming and doing more to help Alex? Or was handing Alex his cell number the only thing he could do at that point?

And, you're right Alan - you could see Laura's dismay as Paul opened up to her. At first she looked enamored with the attention, then she almost looked nauseated.

It's the same way she reacted when he first started opening up to her in therapy. Unless she can have total control (particularly sexual control), she's not at all comfortable with men, including Paul. My favorite part was her leaving before the grave service, admitting that she didn't belong there. Ya think, Laura?? Man, I hate her, that Vaughn-stealing biznatch (hee hee).

special k said...

Good episode, although it felt and was shorter than other epsiodes (21 minutes long according to Tivo).

Wow, is Paul good with kids. I think he should just be a child therapist. I really liked his scene with Alex's son.

As much as I dislike the character of Laura, and I don't really see why Paul would think he was in love with her vs. in lust, I was still kind of touched when he pushed her errant hair behind her ear. I just felt BAD for the guy. Despite his faults, I want him to be happy and I want him to be in a loving relationship. Not with Laura of course, but the longing is still there for him, and I just hope he finds some happiness.

Finally, I'm sure this has been mentioned before but I'm just now catching up on all the In Treatment episodes, but I love that Melanie Mayron is the director for a lot of these episodes. Her character Melissa on thirtysomething was one of my favorite characters on TV in the 80s/early early 90s.

Bix said...

Geez, another thirtysomething alum involved behind the scenes in TV? What is it about the actors on that show?

mcconnell95060 said...

I still think "previously on" is Exec Producer Mark Wahlberg.

The Markitect said...

I had asked on an earlier thread if the voiceover was by Kevin Spacey. I've gone back to relisten and see if it might be Mark Wahlberg, and I don't think it is. I'm still thinking Kevin Spacey. He is in HBO's next movie...

dez said...

Geez, another thirtysomething alum involved behind the scenes in TV? What is it about the actors on that show?

They're all multi-talented? :-) Even Polly Draper's kids have their own TV show.

Mrglass said...

I don't think In Treatment will get a second season...

"HBO said one of the key reasons it had a substandard month was that the low-rated nightly "In Treatment" half-hour series has thrown off the network's normal primetime schedule, forcing it to shift movies and other programming to one of its multiplex networks.

The damage done to HBO by the failure of "In Treatment" to catch on comes through in the year-to-year comparisons, which show HBO off in primetime by 36% in total viewers, and down by 40% in 18-49, compared to the numbers in February 2007.

The total-day falloffs are just as nerve-wracking: HBO is down by 36% in total viewers February to February and by 34% in A18-49."

Dark Tyler said...

Yowza. I guess that's another reason why I love HBO. Nobody else would have ever committed to such an experimental show. Too bad they lost viewers, but on the other hand I feel like a second season would end up being redundant anyway.

Alan Sepinwall said...

How great was Glynn Turman at echoing elements of Blair Underwood's performance?

Stacie said...

It was as if they were actually related....and his grief was heartbreaking.

editrix said...

I could swear I saw flashes of Alex in his face....

kc said...

Wow, Glynn Turman is good. His body language and inflections were all Alex. What a fine, controlled, intensely packed performance. His realizations covered in denials, excuses, his justifications, guilt right there... you saw all that Alex was, how he became, and why. Well written and performed. He should get an emmy nomination for that one.

MMS said...

The performance by Glynn Turman in tonight's episode may be one of the most powerful I have ever seen. A+ episode all around.

Theresa said...

Basically, ditto to everything said about tonight's episode. So powerful, such pain. Kudos.

dez said...

^Ditto from here as well. I was in tears throughout this ep. What a very powerful piece of television we got tonight. And no wave machine to distract (er, not that I saw, anyway).

I can't believe there's only a "week" to go. This show is like crack.

special k said...

"The performance by Glynn Turman in tonight's episode may be one of the most powerful I have ever seen. A+ episode all around."

I totally agree. I just sat there, stunned, tears streaming down my face, witnessing this father's grief. It wasn't until long afterwards that I had to remind myself that this was an ACTOR on a show who did not indeed lose his son.

Stunning stuff. Probably one of the most moving dispays of grief I've ever seen on TV or in film. It was just so raw, without being showy or "actorly"... hard to explain, but it blew me away.

jcpbmg said...

am I completely missing something here because up until Monday's episode I thought Paul's father was also a therapist.

I thought that was explicitly said by Gina at some point or did I just draw that conclusion on my own? Does anyone else remember hearing this?

Dark Tyler said...

That was one of the best performances I think I've ever seen on TV, coupled with what was killer material. How do you respond to a man that's asking you if he killed his own child? Just... shocking. Chilling. Amazing episode.

I just hope that Alex's death helps his father realize his mistakes, therefore letting his grandson grow up to be a more balanced person.

Deb said...

I have seen this show from the beginning and think it's fantastic. Then again, I am a psychoanalyst.

Glynn Turman's role as Alex's father was the most dramatic acting I have experienced as a television viewer in long time. Emmy nomination worthy.

Stacie said...

Neither Gina nor Paul ever said that Paul's father was a therapist - she only made reference to the fact that he got involved with one of his patients, and the parallels were easily drawn.

dez said...

Gotta give a little love to Gabriel Byrne in this ep, too. I can't imagine being Paul, knowing everything Alex told him about his father, being confronted by the man and *not* divulging all. Byrne's control as an actor is amazing.

Anonymous said...

You are so right, Dez. What that guy can do with the slightest eye-twitch is amazing.

The Markitect said...

The acting in this show has been top notch all season. I've thought that the actress who plays Sophie has done an especially fantastic job.

As for the second season talk, I've read and been told that it has already been green lit. I think there was an article about it in TV Guide or something. Wikipedia, if it can be trusted, say its already has the green light. My understanding with the original version is that the second season introduced new patients and that the American version will follow in the same way.

Reviewer X said...

Glynn Turman's role as Alex's father was the most dramatic acting I have experienced as a television viewer in long time. Emmy nomination worthy.

Indeed, during the scene I absolutely forgot he played Clarence Royce. That was outstanding work.

Tommy B said...

I echo everyone's comments on the performance Alex's father. I'm always a sucker for father son stuff and this had me weepy.

Totally off topic, have they ever actually said where Paul lives? I have seen every ep and originally I assumed California, but now I think its east coast. Just curious.

Theresa said...

Totally off topic, have they ever actually said where Paul lives? I have seen every ep and originally I assumed California, but now I think its east coast. Just curious.

They haven't said it explicitly, but I assume East Coast, too, because Sophie said something about her father coming to Boston and she might go visit him if he did that. At least, I think it was Boston...

Alan Sepinwall said...

It's a suburb of Washington, DC. There have been several hints in previous episodes, and tomorrow night's Jake/Amy episode pretty firmly establishes the location.

The Markitect said...

Alan, you're the TV insider--whats the word on In Treatment's potential renewal?

Vi said...

OMG! What can I say that has not already been said about Glynn Turman's performance???? It's a good thing it's all been said before me as I am speechless.

Off Topic Alan

May I ask why on God's Green Earth you are not reviewing The Riches? Honestly, I was shocked at it's absence here last night.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Re: The Riches, read the second item of this column for my explanation.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that the license on Sophie's mother's car was "Maryland". So, I'm assuming that's where Paul lives.
lisa

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

Guys, unless otherwise specifically requested by me -- and I don't anticipate asking again between now and the end of the season -- no talking about the previews.

dez said...

It was nice to see Sophie finally reach out to her mother (and her mother's delighted shock that she was doing so). I also liked that Paul didn't push her about her father, letting her dictate the pace of the therapy. Seems like he is getting his mojo back (okay, he always had a good rapport with the younger set, but you know what I mean).

KC said...

I like that in her recent episodes Sophie's turning back to acknowledge Paul in some way before shutting the door have become increasingly affectionate and endearing as her armor has been coming down.

They have mentioned the names of Virginia towns & nearby DC suburbs as the fictional location. That makes it all the more annoying to then see the obvious California landscaping and plant life, including the palm trees in the backround at the cemetary. If you're going to be that careless when using outside locations why not then just intimate that it's in near LA instead?

Piepiepie said...

Wow--two riveting nights in a row with incredible acting and writing. On several occasions I was in tears saying, "Oh, I love Sophie," especially at the end when she blew the kiss at Paul.

I continue to wonder, though: How can I like Paul so much when he is with Sophie and think he is the world's biggest a**hat when he is with Gina?

dez said...

I think last night's was the first ep where I fully liked Jake. Strange that it looks as though he married his father, too--don't most men marry their mothers? ;-)

I also dug the trick with the light going out and not coming back on. Jake, it's not a movie--it's HBO!

Bobman said...

I think last night's was the first ep where I fully liked Jake.

+1. It's the first time he seemed to be even a reasonable human being. Even the last few weeks when he was all weepy, it just seemed desperate and forced, whereas this week he just seemed human. Plus the fact that he obviously cares so much for his son makes him that much more sympathetic.

And I love that he's secretly really intelligent and literate, and hides it with the construction worker type attitude and style.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't think it's a coincidence that you both finally found Alex likable in the same episode where we finally found out his background. He's been posing up until now, which no doubt contributes to the hostility he always seems to carry around.

This is also the episode where it finally made sense why they cast Josh Charles. He's been just fine in the part, but Jake seems so far outside the norm of the characters he usually plays, and now we find out that he really isn't.

rukrusher said...

So to be clear, everyone of the patients has daddy issues now.

Bobman said...

So to be clear, everyone of the patients has daddy issues now.

I don't know jack about psychology, but I would assume most people's psychoses are based on childhood experiences, and most childhood experiences are shaped by the parents. Since the mother is naturally more nurturing I think it's pretty damned common for someone needing therapy to have "daddy issues." There's a reason it comes up so much.

Although, HBO is balanced; the entire Sopranos series was mostly based on Mommy issues.

That First Andrew said...

All of the patients have Daddy Issues becasue Paul has Daddy Issues. The show is not a slice of life about a therapist and his wide array of fascinating patients. It is not meant to be a documentary. All of Paul's patients are meant to be a reflection of something in him. They all have Daddy Issues. He has Daddy issues.

I found it interesting just how open Jake seemed to Paul's ideas and insights. I have gotten so used to Sophie and Alex accusing him of ulterior motives, or of coming up with a pet theory and not letting go of it (and Paul doing the same to Gina) that is was strange to see Josh Charles genuinely considering and even embracing the notion that his turning up at home was about his father, and that he downplays his intellect, and rebels by actively not trying to be an academic like his father. The show has conditioned me to expect patients to be hostile.

When Jake was describing his mother, I thought "He sure didn't go for that whole Oedipal thing..." and then the realization that, in fact, he married his father, was a little mind blowing for me.

This might be the best week Paul has ever had in terms of success as a therapist. Not by coincidence, it has been the best week to be a viewer, as well. Anxious to see what happens with Gina tonight now that it will be one on one.

dez said...

I don't think it's a coincidence that you both finally found Alex likable in the same episode where we finally found out his background.

So it's not just Omar L. and Marlo that give you trouble ;-)

And I love that he's secretly really intelligent and literate, and hides it with the construction worker type attitude and style.

I'm not sure if Amy would like him more if he let that side show, or if she would consider further evidence of his weakness (especially since women are traditionally shown to be the ones who will hide their intelligence when seeking a mate). For his own sake, I hope that he drops the charade and shows his son that you can be intelligent and not be a smug jerk about it, like his father.

dez said...

WOW. Gina really let Paul have it tonight. He looked like a chastened child. Dianne Wiest was just incredible tonight.

At first, I was totally on Paul's side; I figured he felt some responsibility (however misplaced) for Alex's death, and that it might make him question his usefulness as a therapist. But by the time he started attacking Gina and she finally cracked, my sympathies had shifted. He was a self-involved jerk and she rightfully put him in his place. I'm glad she set him straight about Charlie and David (and that we finally found out what really happened), and I hope he apologizes to her next week. AND that he examines his attitudes and theories about his own life and his practice because he needs to dig a little deeper.

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog and wanted to talk about this show as none of my friends watch it. I am so addicted to it and bummed that it's coming to an end.

I thought the episode with Sophie was mind blowing. Am I the only one who thinks this is leading up to her acknowledging that she WAS molested by her father? Paul keeps pushing her towards something and it seems to fit based on her recent sexual behavior. A young girl doesn't normally sleep with her coach/father figure. I can't wait to see the next episode!

I too saw Laura's reaction when Paul was telling her about his father. I was thinking that maybe Laura was horrified to realize that Paul's attraction to her was a result of his own psychological issues with his father. She is such the therapy queen, so she would immediately make the connection...father leaves mother for a young patient and now he is grappling with his attraction to her. Maybe it made her feel that his attraction to her isn't real? Just a thought. You know those two together would never work...she would chew him up and spit him out.

I hope the final episodes don't leave us hanging. It would be awful if they did that and then the show isn't picked up for a second season!

Anyway, it was nice to read all of your comments. It's comforting to know that I'm not the only person who is addicted to this show!

Mar

dez said...

I thought the episode with Sophie was mind blowing. Am I the only one who thinks this is leading up to her acknowledging that she WAS molested by her father?

I don't think that she was. I think her feelings have to do with her father making her his accomplice in his infidelities, plus exposing her to sexuality (the naked models, etc.) without boundaries. I still think Cy is a predator who took advantage of Sophie's need for a father figure and perverted it, then made her feel it was her fault, which it wasn't.

Anonymous said...

The Gina episode was excellent. I sat on the couch staring into space for about ten minutes after it was over, I was so affected by Dianne Wiest's performance. That episode is a perfect example of the payoff you can get from a lengthy serial show like this. I initially didn't think I'd be able to watch this show because I didn't think I could commit to watching so many episodes, but now I don't regret a second of it.

Anonymous said...

More mad props for Glynn Thurman's performance. He had a lovely Clarence Royce moment at the end when he laughed and said "I guess we'll never know."

Am I the only one watching this show selectively?
I think the Sophie episodes are amazing, Laura's like watching a car wreck, but I have not been able to sit through a whole Jake and Amy and now ignore them entirely. Same with the Gina/Kate/Pauls. (Although I do love Michelle Forbes from Homicide, and Mae Whitman, who also played Andre Braugher's daughter in F/X's amazing Thief)

I did watch Gina this week wanting to see where they went apres Alex.

Unlike the Wire where you can miss five minutes and be totally confused, you can sample In Treatment like a tapas bar, and coupled with the multi platform availability, makes it not seem like much of a chore.

kristinj said...

I think That First Andrew had it right when he said this was Paul's best week as a therapist. I appreciated getting to see that.

11:39, I watch every patient, but I watch them in my own order On Demand. Although now I've seen every episode, I’d generally waited until I had some extra time on my hands before I got to the earlier Laura and Alex sessions.

As everyone has said, this week was superb, and finally brought me on board with In Treatment being good television (as opposed to me being particularly intrigued by the therapy process and the good acting). Although the Sophie and Alex's Dad sessions were amazing, it was really the Jake session that made me come to that conclusion. After sticking through the painful early Jake/Amy sessions, where I dreaded watching two heinous people act horribly to one another, once Paul got to have one on one time with each person and we got to know them a bit, I slowly began to like them more.

I thought Jake's session this week was a really quiet and beautiful episode, one of the handful I'd watch again. It finally hit home how terrifying and exhausting it must be to love someone and yet bring out the absolute worst in them (as we saw last week, where Amy regressed to saying everything Jake did was annoying, and then confessed). And the way In Treatment explored that in both couples really brought the show alive to me. I'll miss it after next week.

Bobman said...

Skipping episodes has been discussed in previous weeks. Most people would agree that to completely understand Paul (who the show is really about) and what he's going through you have to watch all of the patients, not just the most entertaining ones. I think this week we've really seen the payoff for keeping up with the whole slate; if you didn't know the whole story you really missed out on a LOT.

I'll admit that some of the slower episodes were more background TV as I did some work but I'm glad I at least saw them all.

dez said...

^If I hadn't watched all the eps, I would have thought, based on last night's show, that Alex was Paul's favorite patient. That was quite a romanticized portrait Paul painted of him. Of course, that could also have been a defensive mechanism Paul used to alleviate any guilt he may have felt over Alex's death; still, you'd think they'd never had been at odds.

I wonder if Paul will keep the coffee machine Alex gave him? Or if he will really go after Laura (blech), now that Gina's given him "permission"?

editrix said...

On a pedantic note: Jake was wrong when he "corrected" himself by changing "different from" to "different than." This must be an error on the part of the writer, because why else have him make a mistake like that, when the point of the episode is to show he's smarter than he lets on?

I LOVED Gina's beatdown of Paul. It's about time she let him have it. The way she did it was completely in character, but it would have been fun if she'd thrown tea in his face and pushed him up against the wall. He had the grace to look abashed and to leave quietly when she told him to... but will he be able to come back and face her again?

If only Laura could be a fly on the wall during his sessions with Gina. She'd lose interest in him fast. I think she will anyway, and I hope we get to see it.