Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Back in Treatment, Three More Fine Times

In Treatment was back again on HBO tonight, with three episodes that rounded out this Season's five-episode premiere. As with last night, I realized how much I had missed listening in to this good often extraordinary conversation...

Starting with the Paul and Gina episode - last things first - I first have to admit that I left out an important piece of the Paul-Alex story when I outlined it here to you last night. Actually, I knew I was leaving it out, but was too lazy or impatient to figure out a way to put it in without taking the review too far off on a tangent. Score one, apropos Marshall McLuhan, for the medium being more important than the message.

But the message, which plays a significant in role in what Paul and Gina say to each other, is that Paul's love for Laura got somewhat in the way of his treatment of Alex, because Laura slept with Alex to make Paul jealous (she may have loved Paul, too). These are the kinds of things which Paul can discuss only with his mentor Gina, which makes their relationship unique. He can also tell her, in one session, how sick and tired he is of providing treatment, and then how determined he is to save April (from last night). Of course, Paul and Gina continue the tug-of-war that typified last year about whether it makes sense for Paul to see Gina, and of course he will. Also of significance is the way Paul's face lights up when his first love, dazzling Tammy Kent - one of Gina's patients now - walks in. As Gina said to Paul, it was good to see him smile.

Meanwhile, cases four and three back in New York look promising (at least, for us).

Walter - perfectly played by John Mahoney - is a rich CEO with anxiety problems which he (of course) doesn't want to acknowledge. Perfect timing for a storyline like this - though I'd guess that AIG execs won't be among the most avid viewers of In Treatment this year, if they were last year. Walter's anxiety, though, seems more tied to his beloved daughter, overseas in Africa, than to his business. We'll no doubt be learning more of what she means to him, and why, in the episodes ahead.

Nuclear family life is also the centerpiece of Oliver's story, whose parents are getting divorced but have not yet quite told him. Tonight's episode was mostly focused on why Oliver does not want to stay over at his father's house. Far from school, one reason. No food in fridge, another. But the real reason, as yet unspoken, is .... Well, my guess is some kind of sex has something to do it. Also, romantic that I am, I'm thinking how refreshing it would be if Oliver's parents did not get divorced.

I'm also noticing again, as I did last night, that Paul is really at his best when he's talking to children. There's no danger of his falling romantically in love with them, or being stung by something they say to him. As with Sophie last year, Paul's sessions with them are a pleasure to see.

But so is the whole series, and I'll be back here with more musing on this year's In Treatment, bright and early (or late, depending on your sleeping habits) next week.

See also: Back in Treatment on HBO

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)

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

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