Monday, April 20, 2009

In Treatment 3.1-2: Sleep and Ethics

Two brilliant episodes of In Treatment (third week, Mia and April) tonight (I have a feeling I'm going to be saying that a lot on Sunday nights)...

1. Mia's was one of the best sessions in the one+ years of the series so far, featuring memorably expressive acting by Hope Davis - all with her face - and almost more about Paul's relationship with Laura, last year, than we learned last year.

Mia provides a classic rendition of a woman who desperately wants to be loved, but is so sure that she won't, she pushes all potential lovers away. This includes Paul, whom Mia goads to anger in a variety of ways, and in fact succeeds, though Paul is about to contain it. Paul is a very special case in Mia's life, since she loved him 20 years ago as his patient. She suspects/hopes that he may have loved her. And, indeed, Paul has kept a recording of her piano playing, all of these years.

Mia's obsessed with Laura - having come upon her deposition in the Alex case - because she can't abide that Laura may have succeeded in seducing Paul, whereas Mia did not.

But what lifts all of this beyond tawdry soap opera is Mia's telling Paul that she wants to sleep in her lover's arms after making love. That one statement captures perfectly the vulnerability and fundamental human need that has gone unfulfilled in Mia all these years, for her whole life...

2. Sleep plays a role in April's session, too. She's gotten no sleep, she says, for the past few nights. She comes to Paul's office early, and falls asleep. Paul wakes her up.

We thus get a powerful metaphor for what Paul needs to do with April, and her cancer. She doesn't have the time to undergo conventional psychotherapy - she's needs chemotherapy. Paul is therefore in the difficult position of doing two things - getting April to understand what is troubling her mind, but doing this fast enough so she can get the treatment she needs for her body.

Tonight we learn that part of April's problem (of course) stems from her relationship with her mother. Paul needs to break through what April is telling him - that she doesn't want to burden her mother by telling her about her cancer. That's what's keeping her from getting treatment - she says she has no one else who can support her during this.

But how long can Paul wait for April to see the light? He promised April, last week, that he wouldn't tell anybody else about her condition. This presumably includes April's mother. But the time may be drawing near when he will have to make a choice. Which is the most ethical path: keeping your word to your patient and letting her die, or breaking your word so she can live?

I know which one I would choose, and I wouldn't wait too much longer...

See also: Back in Treatment on HBO ... Back in Treatment: Three More Fine Times ... 2.1-2: Fathers and Daughters ...2.3-5: A Senior, A First Love, A Boy and His Turtle

And Season One reviews: In Treatment on HBO ... 2. Scalding ... 3. Triangle ... 4. Love and Death ... 6. Paul's Greatest Strength ... 6. Paul's Boat ... 7. Alex in the Sky with Diamonds ... 8. A Princely Performance ... In Treatment Concludes (For Now)






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


more about The Plot to Save Socrates... good reading if you're in a doctor's office...


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