Saturday, March 08, 2008

In Treatment week six thread

Forgot to post this last night. Sorry. As we've been doing the last few weeks, just a single post to discuss all five episodes of "In Treatment" that I'll try to remember to bump up every night at 10 p.m. so we can discuss each epiode. As before, please respect the broadcast schedule: no discussing Alex's episode until after it airs Tuesday night, etc.

42 comments:

Alan Sepinwall said...

So what did people think of how Paul dealt with Laura here? For a good chunk of the episode I was cringing and calling him various curse words. But there came a point where I started to think that he was confronting Laura about the transference in the only way he could, and that if he hadn't owned up to his feelings and gotten that physically close, than she wouldn't have listened to his arguments that this relationship could never work.

Nicole said...

I was also yelling at Paul for the first bit because I didn't want him to sit anywhere near Laura. But then when she was physically recoiling from him I started to pick up that there was a reason for his more open behaviour. I don't know how professional he was behaving, but I was thinking of Gina's line in the last session that several lines had been blurred and that maybe he was trying the same approach.

I really hope that Paul putting it out there that he cares for Laura is the beginning of the end of that infatuation because it is more obvious than ever that Laura only likes it when she is in sexual control and she can't do that as much now.

Also, the final scene with Kate just looking at Laura said so much without saying a word... excellent.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, can I ask whethere there were previews for next Monday's episode or not? Please don't discuss the contents of them, but I've seen that episode and, without giving anything away, it's so off-format that I'm trying to think how they'd preview it.

Or have they finally wised up and started previewing the next night's episode instead of the next week's?

Bix said...

They previewed it as they normally do, and thus did spoil how it goes off-format.

Stacie said...

I think the fact that Paul's opening up to her led directly to her disclosure of details with David (which amounts to sexual abuse) helped him step back a little. Also, his own story about the teacher and his life long gratitude for her "giving me my future" seemed to suggest that he realized he needed to give Laura her future, too.

Michaela said...

That episode was cringeworthy for a long time, and then abruptly you sort of figured out what he was getting at...in a very roundabout fucked-up way, that is.

I still don't like Laura at all and have a hard time seeing how he has feelings for her, unless it's in a "someone needs me" kind of way that he's not getting from his wife.

torontomeridith said...

Just an FYI, but here in Canada, the Movie Network never shows previews for upcoming episodes, so I don't even know what the preview spoilers are.

kathy said...

Just FYI, there were no previews in the On Demand episodes, and there have been up until this week. I've watched Laura, Alex, and Sophie so far and no previews with any of them.

I think that Paul took the right approach with Laura. He didn't cross any boundaries and he brought this fantasy relationship she had built up in her head into the realm of reality and you could tell that shook her up. As it should have.

I think what he's trying to show her is that a man can both care about her and be attracted to her without moving into a sexual relationship with her. And also that, while Paul is attracted to her, he's able to restrain himself from acting on it. And that whatever bullshit she's come to believe about David not being able to 'help himself' in termr of getting sexual with her, is not accurate.

This show has more daddy issues than "Lost". Seems like Laura, Alex, and Sophie have real bad dads and given what messes Jake and Amy are, I'm guessing they have a bad parent or two between them. I'm guessing the show is going to open up to include Paul's relationship with his daughter, who seems to be 'troubled' is some way, based on what Sophie and Alex have had to say about her.

dez said...

I think that Paul took the right approach with Laura. He didn't cross any boundaries and he brought this fantasy relationship she had built up in her head into the realm of reality and you could tell that shook her up. As it should have.

I think he did cross boundaries--expressing his feelings for her (including discussing how often he thinks of her), sharing the couch with her, letting her stroke his hand, kissing her on the forehead and hugging her--but he also shook her up with his story about the high school teacher and stopping her from kissing him. That's what made his actions both cringeworthy and understandable, to me. It's also possibly the only way he was ever going to get through to her because as we've seen, Laura has a big problem listening to what Paul's telling her. Showing her what he means seems to work much better, albeit at the cost of more of Paul's professionalism, which continues to erode. I do think it shows hope that Paul will regain his work balance eventually, however.

Kate's sizing Laura up was a fantastic touch. Laura seemed more puzzled than anything. But the best part of the ep was seeing Mae Whitman in the beginning (whom I recognized more from "Thief" than "Arrested Development," strangely enough).

drake leLane said...

my DVR didn't catch the previews, thank God. I try to avoid them, but my wife demands seeing them.

Boundaries have seemingly been crossed with every patient that we see, including with him and Gina, so Paul might be thinking, at this point, what do I have to lose?

It appears Paul is still putting his patients ahead of his family, though... not able to see that even though this new method might work with Laura, it could finish off his marriage real quick.

Anonymous said...

I think the comments have been very kind to Paul. This is not helping Laura. It allows him the pleasure and titillation expressing his feelings for her without following through, which he really may not want to do out of guilt, fear, etc. Thus he keeps her hooked into him which is ego-gratifying, without having to risk much. Then he withholds under the false pretense of not exploiting her like other men have. He's simply trying to have a platonic affair.

By the way, I still hate Laura. And I loved Kate's face reflecting --accurately --exactly who and what Laura is.

Dan Jardine said...

Funny how everyone hates Laura and loves Sophie, yet Sophie is only a decade or so removed from becoming who you all hate. A young, ambitious, bright, talented girl who fell under the Svengali-like sway of an older man who sexually used her, and discarded her? Hmmmm....

Btw, I can't say I "like" Laura, but I certainly "get" her and feel for her. That said, I'm glad I'm not a friend of hers. She'd be exhausting.

Theresa said...

I cursed at the TV, and when I began to see what he was doing, I was still cursing at the TV. I'm on the fence about how he handled it, but mostly pretty frustrated.

The Alex episode was surprisingly low key regarding Paul's violent outburst and surprisingly emotional regarding other aspects of Alex's life, but I'm pretty much over Alex. More Sophie! Speaking of which,

Funny how everyone hates Laura and loves Sophie, yet Sophie is only a decade or so removed from becoming who you all hate.

Yes, but the key is that she is a decade or so removed. Plus, a large amount of my frustration with Laura is the way Paul behaves with her which is what I like so much about Sophie's episodes. He's a terrible therapist with Laura and an excellent one with Sophie, and each responds accordingly.

dez said...

This was the first Alex ep where I felt for the guy and even teared up a little at the end. Even Paul seemed to feel for him; he was certainly a better therapist for Alex in this session than the previous ones.

Also not entirely sure that Alex is gay. He seems more attracted to the perceived "freedom" his gay friends have, especially what he said about how they can express themselves freely, which was beaten out of him by his father. It doesn't help that Alex's identity is in flux. Poor guy doesn't know who he is, let alone which gender he prefers.

Theresa said...

Also not entirely sure that Alex is gay. He seems more attracted to the perceived "freedom" his gay friends have, especially what he said about how they can express themselves freely, which was beaten out of him by his father.

Totally agree. I believed him when he said he wasn't attracted to men, and I'm pretty sure that's a key part of being a homosexual male.

Michael said...

@Dan:
Funny how everyone hates Laura and loves Sophie, yet Sophie is only a decade or so removed from becoming who you all hate.

Holy crap! This is so obvious (six weeks into it) that I can't believe I didn't catch it.

@Theresa
I believed him when he said he wasn't attracted to men, and I'm pretty sure that's a key part of being a homosexual male.

True, but I see it all as very strong denial, to Paul and especially to himself (which was how he was raised).

Speaking of missing the obvious, it hit me all of a sudden last week that the blue and white ribbon thing in the opening credits is Paul's wave machine thing that he keeps on one of his bookshelves (usually visible over the patient's right shoulder). Did anyone else miss it this long, or am I just oblivious?

rukrusher said...

Did anyone else miss it this long, or am I just oblivious?

I noticed it about two weeks in and thought well that was so obvious everyone must already know that. Glad I was not the only one that did not get it right away. It also is very distracting when it is in shot. The clock yesterday was distracting behind Alex as well. I kept looking to see how real time versus episode time was running.

Do they want us to hate Paul's wife? That was a very ugly scene to start the episode with.

M.Chavez said...

Do they want us to hate [Kate]?

I think it's been established early on that the rut Paul and Kate are in brings out the worst in them. They can't have a civil conversation. It's all sarcasm and cruelty. It's one mistake after another between them, and so there's never any traction to get to the root of their problems.

Vi said...

"Funny how everyone hates Laura and loves Sophie, yet Sophie is only a decade or so removed from becoming who you all hate."

Except Sophie has a chance. She is 16 and in therapy, addressing her sexual assault, daddy issues, low self esstem, among other issues.

Laura is 30 and far gone. She was in therapy for over a year before she even alluded to the abuse. Who do you think has a better chance of recovery?

Dan Jardine said...

Yes, but that is also part of my point. Laura's further developed neuroses are just a natural extension of the same conditions that are shaping Sophie's. Should we hate Laura more simply because she didn't commit suicide and get herself into therapy sooner?

dez said...

Did anyone else miss it this long, or am I just oblivious?


Er, I'm oblivious, too. I have been wondering about the symbolism of the wave toy, if it means more than the obvious connotations, especially since it shows up so frequently in the shots. Anyone got any theories?

As for Sophie, I like how measured Paul is with her, and that he was able to show her that she does have control and is safe in his office. It was a more refined way of getting Sophie to that point than the tactic he used with Laura on Monday. I do wish he'd explained more that eating with gusto doesn't equal being fat, that it's possible to enjoy food, even if you are only eating a little at a time. I thought he dropped the ball a little there.

I also don't think Sophie would necessarily grow up to be another Laura. Not all victims of abuse turn out the same. Plus, I think Sophie's behavior (getting drunk and having sex with that boy) is her way of mimicking the models her father works with, but deep down, she's not comfortable with it and is already backing away from that behavior (which I'm sure therapy is helping speed along).

Of course, I wish I hadn't watched this week's "New Adventures of Old Christine" because every time there was a silence between Paul and Sophie, I imagined Sophie saying, "You're doing that pause thing!" :-D

Dan Jardine said...

I'm not saying Sophie is doomed to become Laura. Far from it--by getting therapy this early in the game, she stands a very good chance of avoiding Laura's mistakes. What I AM saying is that Laura probably started off in much the same way as Sophie, only cuz no one noticed anything (her dad's obliviousness, her mom's death), se never got the help she needed, and now it is (perhaps) too late to "rescue" her.

As for the wave machine, well, the ocean is often referenced as a symbol for the subconscious, so there's always that. Plus, Paul has said that water is also often associated with emotions.

While the show isn't exactly deep, I must confess that like all the rest of you around here, I find it shamelessly addictive.

Anonymous said...

Gabriel Byrne on Charlie Rose last night, March 5th.

http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2008/03/05/1/a-conversation-with-actor-gabriel-byrne

Watching will not reveal anything we don't yet want to know.

Bobman said...

Sophie is a 15-year old girl, Laura is an adult. While both their problems are shaped by abuse, we're of course going to judge them differently. I don't find it odd at all.

dez said...

Tonight was the first time I didn't find Amy totally loathsome. In fact, I started having some sympathy for her once Paul started eliciting her past memories. I also liked how Paul kept his feelings about Kate's cheating at bay (mostly), even though you could see how hard it was for him to exercise restraint once Amy started talking about her planned assignation with Ben. Gabriel Byrne is really amazing.

Stacie said...

I agree, Dez. Paul has been completely on his game this week as a clinician. Can't wait to see tonight's episode, where he and Kate go to see Gina.

Thanks for these posts, Alan. I only know one person who is also watching this show, so I love reading this blog.

Michael said...

So now that makes Paul's four patients all with daddy issues, all related to the love they got or didn't get from their father and how it was displayed.

And now both Amy and Sophie have had eating disorders related to weight issues.

I was waiting for Amy to tell Paul that she had slept with an older father-figure when she was younger, that would put her with Laura and Sophie.

Theresa said...

I was waiting for Amy to tell Paul that she had slept with an older father-figure when she was younger, that would put her with Laura and Sophie.

And Laura needs to reveal that she had/has an eating disorder.

MMS said...

I did eventually notice the connection between the wave machine in his office and the ribbon on the opening credits, but I haven't figured out the significance of the nautical theme and Paul's boats and Sophie's gift of a boat. The only thought I can come up with is that they are all at sea.... which seems so weak. If this was already discussed, my apologies. I either missed it or have forgotten.

Michaela said...

I am actually a little miffed that all of Paul's female patients are now daddy issues/potential sexual abuse cases. There are other reasons for women to be in therapy...like mommy issues! (I guess Sophie is sort of representing that contingent too, but there are other ways for women to become fucked-up other than being abandoned or abused by a father figure.)

I really don't like Amy's affectedness and wish Paul would break her down more often.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Michaela, I think there's a way in which all the patients are supposed to, deep down, be the same patient, and to reflect issues Paul deals with all the time: his strained relationship with his own father, his father's affair with a patient, his distance from his own wife and children, etc.

M.A.Peel said...

I think there's a way in which all the patients are supposed to, deep down, be the same patient

Interesting point. As though the series were a dream. "They" saw when you dream, all the people in the dream are actually you.

Hilary said...

Kind of on the same level as the wave machine... but I can't seem to get over the logical disconnect between what are supposedly 50-minute sessions that only last 23 or so...

I don't think it'd be such an issue for me if the episodes themselves weren't filmed as if they were in real time... and if the characters themselves didn't mention the time left in a session as much (which, yes, is normal in therapy). We're not meant to feel like we're missing part of each session, right?

I understand dramatically why it has to be this way. It's hard enough to write 20 minutes of relevant, interesting conversation that advances these stories. And in truth, real therapy would have a lot more down time (and fewer breakthroughs -- it's been quite a successful week for Paul and his patients). So that's what we're missing. The false starts, the stuff that doesn't matter... And two and half hours of In Treatment each week is plenty.

Still, it bugs me. I wish it didn't.

So I'm still a bit stunned by Paul's session with Laura. I'm wondering how much his telling Kate about Laura, that confession, fueled his ability to break those boundaries, to even sit on the same couch. And I wonder how consciously he knew that his admission would help her.

dez said...

"They" saw when you dream, all the people in the dream are actually you.

It would certainly account for the consistency of the wave machine in so many of the shots.

Alan, I think the similarity of the patients doesn't just reflect Paul's problems, but reinforces and magnifies them. He may also be trying out "fixes" with them to see how they work before he applies the same fixes to his own life.

Hilary said...

Kind of on the same level as the wave machine... but I can't seem to get over the logical disconnect between what are supposedly 50-minute sessions that only last 23 or so...

I don't think it'd be such an issue for me if the episodes themselves weren't filmed as if they were in real time... and if the characters themselves didn't mention the time left in a session as much (which, yes, is normal in therapy). We're not meant to feel like we're missing part of each session, right?

I understand dramatically why it has to be this way. It's hard enough to write 20 minutes of relevant, interesting conversation that advances these stories. And in truth, real therapy would have a lot more down time (and fewer breakthroughs -- it's been quite a successful week for Paul and his patients). So that's what we're missing. The false starts, the stuff that doesn't matter... And two and half hours of In Treatment each week is plenty.

Still, it bugs me. I wish it didn't.

So I'm still a bit stunned by Paul's session with Laura. I'm wondering how much his telling Kate about Laura, that confession, fueled his ability to break those boundaries, to even sit on the same couch. And I wonder how consciously he knew that his admission would help her.

Nicole said...

Paul reminded me a lot like Jake in his session with Gina (and Kate). He kept interrupting and pretty much derailed the whole thing for future sessions with Kate and Gina. I really wonder if Kate will return next week, although I hope she does because these are my favourite sessions. Along with the conflict between Paul and Gina, the connections with the weeks patients are made, and my logical brain likes to understand what the connections are between the week's patients and Paul.

I love Kate / Michelle Forbes in this role and I agreed with Kate's assessment of Laura 100%. I have disliked Laura from the beginning and her ability to manipulate Paul with her sexuality has been irritating throughout. At least Paul hasn't caved physically, but if he's "in love" with Laura then the damage is probably done. He really needs to get Laura out of his life if he wants to keep Kate.

On a petty note, I have been wondering for the past few weeks if Melissa George has veneers, because it seems like her teeth are too big for her mouth. Maybe I have just transferred my dislike of Laura the character to the actress, but I thought she was garbage in Alias and her horrible accent distracted me, so this is two shows running where I dislike the character she is playing.

leor said...

to the posters who have a problem with all the patients having daddy issues, i think it's important to remember that these are just 4 of his patients for the purpose of the show. i'm sure if we glimpsed some of his other patients, they'd have completely different problems, which yes, would give the show greater variety, but in the end have less relevance to paul's own story.

jcpbmg said...

I just caught up with the last 3 weeks of episodes and without question Sophie has reached an unbearable level of annoyingness .

I understand the role Sophie's supposed to play in the big picture for Paul, and maybe it's because of how realistic the character is, but I still found myself fast forwarding through parts of her week 6 episode.

Anonymous said...

There are other, much less traumatic ways of getting at transference. Paul used his countertransference in a way that could have been, and still may be wreckless. He should have let that relationship terminate. This being tv, however, will proabably not happen.

dez said...

Paul reminded me a lot like Jake in his session with Gina (and Kate). He kept interrupting and pretty much derailed the whole thing for future sessions with Kate and Gina.

He was a real pill in that session, wasn't he? I wanted Gina to get a little unprofessional and tell him to STFU.

Who did Melissa George play on "Alias"? I totally don't remember her.

Theresa said...

Who did Melissa George play on "Alias"? I totally don't remember her.

She was the British woman that Michael Vartan married while Jennifer Garner was gone for three years, and her father was a senator or something: Lauren Reed. She was a blonde on Alias.

special k said...

This show has more daddy issues than "Lost".

Amen to that. I'm a little disappointed that it has come to this, just because it's so unoriginal. BUT, In Treatment does it realy well, so I shouldn't complain.

I guess I'm one of the few people who can't stand Sophie. She is an awful, awful human being about 90% of the time, and no way in hell will I chalk that up to being a teenage girl, because I was one once, I know tons of them now, and her behavior is simply disgusting, ugly, and mean. Sophie truly is on the steps to becoming a Laura.

HOWEVER, I do really like the actress who plays Sophie. Can't say the same for Laura. Laura is an unlikeable character played by a not-really-likeable (in this show, anyway) actress.