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In Treatment Season 2 Week 3

The unknown was a big part of what made the first season of In Treatment so good, so I’ve been a bit concerned that the second season would just give us the same basic characters again, just with different details.  The third week of this second season has started to fill in the lines of the new patients’ character sketches, and I’m happy to report that there is new ground ahead.

After week two, I was concerned that Mia was going to turn out to be just another patient in love with Paul.  But this week’s discussion about Laura, showed me exactly the opposite. As Mia described what she imagined Paul’s encounter with Laura to have been like, we can see that she is really describing the fantasy she had about Paul when she was 22. That small difference is what I think makes Mia a deeper character. The delight on her face when Paul played her old cassette betrayed her excitement about the possibility that Paul regrets passing up his opportunity with her. While she is mature enough to see how foolish her fantasy was, at the same time she is angry at her younger self for her lack of action. There is more conflict here than we ever got with Laura.

April is this season’s version of the Sophie, and Alison Pill has the biggest shoes to fill thanks to the unprecedented performance given by Mia Wasikowska last year. April is probably the least different of this season’s characters, but Pill’s portrayal is so genuine I’m not sure it matters.  The juxtaposition of total exhaustion and fiery destruction seemed like a preview of the range of emotions we can expect for the rest of the season. The most amazing thing is that it doesn’t seem like an act.

Bess and Luke would have been a boring version of Amy and Jake from season one if it weren’t for Oliver. Luke’s excuses and Bess’s passive-aggressive rants are just boring, but Oliver is something new. I mentioned before that my own experience as a child of divorce is a big part of the reason why I love this character. At this point, I can’t see anything wrong with Oliver. He just seems to be making himself neurotic by trying to please both of his parents. My heart broke when he fell asleep on Paul’s couch at the end of the episode, apparently Paul’s office is the only place where Oliver feels safe enough to rest.

If Mia is this season’s Laura, then Walter is the new Alex–and no, I don’t think Mia and Walter are going to fuck. Maybe it’s because I’m a lot more familiar with the corporate world than the military, but Walter is much more interesting to me. I think it’s pretty far-fetched to think a CEO would drop everything and travel around the world just to exert control over his crusading daughter, but I’m willing to suspend disbelief because of the interaction between Walter and Paul. Walter’s insistence on treating Paul like a servant will only go so far before Paul will lose his shit like he did with Alex. Part of me secretly hopes Walter will bring Paul an espresso machine.

Paul is also very different this year.  I’m not sure if it was one of his patients, his divorce, or maybe his sessions with Gina, but something has turned Paul into a man of action.  Last year he would have considered all the reasons in favor and against screwing his high school sweetheart, but here we are in week three and Tammy already spent the night. Surprisingly, Paul’s hour with Gina this week does not include any talk about Tammy, but focuses instead on Paul’s anger with his father. As he went on, I heard Paul express a lot of the same feelings that young Oliver is going through. That would certainly explain why Paul relates so well to Oliver. The closing moments of the session were interesting, with Gina saying very matter-of-factly that next week they would talk about Tammy.

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April 27, 2009 - Posted by | Drama, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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