In Treatment (2008)

It took me a while to finish the first season since I first started to watch it. On the one hand, the pilot already got me interested. On the other, I responded emotionally to every episode. When you watch a TV show about different people coming to therapy it’s hard to detach yourself, first, from their problems, and second, from your own (I bet there’s a professional term for it). Once they analyze their lives, childhoods, relationships with their parents and partners, it becomes obvious, at some point, you’re gonna do the same, joining them in your own analysis. This is this shows greatest success: you get attached and involved, feeling it’s you visiting Dr. Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne).

The show has a bunch of fascinating characters. My personal favorite is Sophie (Mia Wasikowska), a young gymnast, whose suicidal tendencies and aggressive, overly vulgar language for her age make her quite a show to watch. At the same time, she wins the viewers hearts with her (deeply hidden) vulnerability and great need for love. These two sides of Sophie conflict constantly until her long-awaited breakthrough comes. There’s also Laura (Melissa George). I had mixed feelings about her. At times, I could relate to her, but then, some of her confessions sickened me. She too got to the bottom of her problems. When comes to Jake (Josh Charles) and Amy (Embeth Davidtz), it was kind of sad to watch their marriage fail, or rather be shuttered to a thousand pieces. Their issues went very deep into their pasts and childhoods, making their relationship so complex it was actually a challenge for Paul. Finally, there was Alex (Blair Underwood). I was least interested in his problems. He had an air of self-confidence. He tried to be in charge of the therapy, which created a lot of tension, and even friction between him and Paul, which quite nicely spiced things up. The decision to end his story the way it did was a good one. Thanks to that, we could see Paul’s doubts about his skills as a psychotherapist, and to have a glimpse at Alex’s life, especially at his father (a fantastic episode!). Last but not least, Paul also goes to therapy himself. He sees Gina (Dianne Wiest), his fellow therapist and mentor. It allows us to hear that Paul, the one who’s supposed to have all the answers, has doubts and problems of his own. He can name his problems, knows what all the psychology books he read say about them, and yet he keeps getting deeper into them. He analyzes, or even overinterprets, his own life, but can’t find any solutions. He’s not just a stoic figure, sitting in front of his patients, asking the same: ‘What did you feel about it?’ He’s a flawed, broken, but genuine person. It makes him as real as them.

In Treatment has pretty solid acting, which makes so much easier to get emotionally attached to the show and the characters. It’s also impressive that watching a half an hour episode when two (sometimes, three) people sit and talk, without even moving much, can be so gripping. Each episode is a part of a bigger story of one character, but it’s a story of its own, too. Smartly written with amazing dialogues. They always start talking about seemingly unimportant stuff, and end up delving into heavy things. The show thrills, surprises, shocks, and moves. What do I really feel about it? The one thing I’m sure of – it’s worth your time!

Long days, pleasant nights,

Veronica Bazydlo

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