John Walker's Electronic House

In Treatment Revisited

by on Feb.14, 2008, under Television

My early impressions were correct. As In Treatment nears the end of its third week, it continues to escalate. It really is one of the most stunning pieces of television I’ve seen.

I can’t stress enough how much this show is worth watching. If you’re in the US, subscribe to HBO just for this (as if you needed another reason), or watch it on their website. If you’re outside the US, fake your IP so you can watch it on HBO’s site, or find it by whatever means the moronic system forces you to. You’ll want to find out what I discuss below for yourself.


Laura’s story is obviously the hook on which so much of the arc hangs. Her confession that she’s in love with Paul, and her subsequent explosive behaviour in response to his lack of reciprocation, seems to be unbalancing everything in Paul’s life. Of course, Laura is simply a catalyst in a very complicated reaction. The reality is Paul’s eroding marriage has been ready to break for years, but the timing with Laura is what makes it so much more convoluted. It’s been completely unvoiced, but for Gina’s implied remarks, but the turmoil in Paul’s head is clearly prompting him to take this transfered affection far more seriously than he otherwise would. This was so brilliantly shown when Paul reacts with a barely controlled jealousy when Alex mentions his running into Laura. Every Monday episode is proving teeth-grindingly tense, as the power and control appears to slowly shift toward Laura. Paul’s attempts to discuss the notion that Laura might consider ending the therapy displayed this, while offering a fantastic counterpoint to the equivalent discussion between Paul and Gina the previous Friday.


God, Alex is a prick. The temptation is to put his peculiarly unemotive behaviour down to the trauma of his experiences in Iraq, but it seems increasingly likely that he’s just a real shit. It’s certainly thanks to his father, and his inability to do anything but repeat the pattern, but that doesn’t change anything. The powerplay bringing the coffee maker into the session was fascinating to watch, with Paul apparently winning, and then Alex somehow making a coffee anyway. The agression in his every move makes me want to bunch my legs up and hide behind my knees, fearing for Paul’s ability to remain calm. I think Paul is going to be unable to resist trying to break Alex, rather than help him. He’s already pulling at bricks to tear down his emotional fortress, but I don’t think it’s for a theraputic reason. And I’m completely with him. Destroy that prick.


I’m going to keep Wednesday until the end.


It’s hard to want anything for Jake and Amy other than the misery they both so desperately seek. But they’ve got a kid. And now they’ve lost their second, the product of trying for five years. I don’t see how their relationship can survive the miscarriage. It seemed to be entirely based on their attempts to be pregnant, and now all seems hopeless. It will be very interesting to see Paul’s response to this. Will he attempt to save their marriage while not putting any effort into saving his own? Or will he take out some sort of transfered revenge?


The relationship with Gina appears to be far more complex than they’d hinted at. And both seem to be out for some sort of vengeance for whatever happened between them in the past. It’s hard to see how it can ever be any help for Paul, so determined is he to attack Gina at every turn. But it’s of course excellent to see Paul become the patient, and with it lose any sense of control overhis own behaviour. He obviously knows that he’s using every trick he sees in his clients, but he cannot help himself. Gina’s patience has been impressive so far, but I doubt it can last much longer. Her own grief, and Paul’s cruelty, has to lead to some sort of emotional crack.

Wednesday Again

Oh boy. Sophie. Wednesday’s episodes are the best by a league. But by far the most traumatic to watch. Week 3’s visit to Sophie finally removed any ambiguity to the status of her relationship with Simon, her gym coach. He did sleep with the kid, and she’s clearly a big, big mess. Paul makes a very astute comment, after Sophie quote’s Simon’s wife saying that children forget while adults don’t. He says, very pointedly, that she is absolutely wrong. Children don’t forget, adults do. He has to be refering to whatever happened to Sophie in her childhood – whatever set her up for being so vulnerable, and so detached. Her experience when sleeping with Simon, she explains, was indifference, like she was watching it on a small black and white television, while checking her email. The behaviour of an abuse victim, and an indication that Sophie’s acting on something awful from her past. Every episode with Sophie is a joy, and emotional agony. Mia Wasikowska’s incredible performance is so engrossing. She is so real, so genuinely teenage, and manages to portray Sophie’s intellectual depth underneath the raw, child-like emotion. Her spark at the beginning of week 3’s episode let me forget the awful truths that were due. When she swaps seats with Paul, in a scene that physically embodies what Laura and Alex are always metaphorically trying to do, it’s a hilarious scene. She pokes fun at Paul so kindly, and then, for the first time, she begins to acknowledge that she needs help. It’s silent, but her two bandaged arms push down on the chair either side of her as if she’s about to get up, then she relaxes again. It’s in that moment that she hands control over to Paul, implying that she wants to receive his support, and he immediately acknowledges this by getting up and letting her take her place on the couch. From then on she opens up, and it’s so, so painful. Wasikowska is surely going to be winning Emmys this year for this – the length of her monologues, with no cuts, and the purity of the perfomance, is unlike anything I’ve seen on television since, well since Slings & Arrows.

Thirty-two episodes to go then.

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