Sunday, February 10, 2008

In Treatment 2: Scalding

A scalding second week of In Treatment on HBO, with the talk and the action centering much more on Paul and his wife, powerfully played by Michelle Forbes.

Michelle Forbes has had memorable roles on trend-setting television ranging from Star Trek to last year's Battlestar Galactica, and her performance as Kate is about as down-to-Earth as you can get and just as outstanding.

Kate figures in the Monday Laura episode - Paul doesn't want scintillating Laura to use the bathroom inside his home (the office bathroom needs plumbing) because he doesn't want Kate and Laura to meet. Sophie comes into the office out of the rain on Wednesday, holds her arms up, and asks Paul to help her undress (her arms are in casts). Paul wisely calls on Kate to help.

There's a clear tension between between Paul and Kate in every scene they inhabit. But it all comes to a head when Jake and Amy leave unexpectedly on Thursday (she's having a miscarriage), and Paul and Kate are alone in the office.

Kate tells him she's never felt in first place in his life. He barely reacts. She eventually tells him she's having an affair. He goes ballistic.

Although we saw Paul not being on top of his life last Friday at Gina's, the Thursday confrontation between Kate and Paul clearly moves him from hero to tragic hero, to perhaps even hero-villain in this unfolding story. Well, maybe villain is too strong a word, but Paul certainly seems less sympathetic a character after that scene.

Which is all to the good in this surprising, highly original series. Paul's conversation with Gina this past Friday moved the story along - Gina's one of my favorite characters, she has a real tenderness - and although Alex's story on Tuesday didn't intersect with Kate's, Blair Underwood was the best he's ever been on the screen.

For that matter, all the acting is superb - as is this series.

I'm looking forward to more next week.

See also In Treatment on HBO ... 3. Triangle ... 4. Love and Death ... 5. Paul's Greatest Strength ... 6. Paul's Boat ... 7. Alex in the Sky with Diamonds ... 8. A Princely Performance ... In Treatment Concludes: For Now

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