In Treatment Season 3

#1
I couldn't make it with Boardwalk Empire. The third episode just did me in, and I had to give it up. Just wasn't feeling it, even though I really wanted to.

But I am more than making it with IT 3. The Tuesday episodes were superb, especially the one with Amy Ryan as the new shrink. And Sarah Treem is about the most insightful, authentic screenwriter for young characters I know of. She did the Sophie episodes of season 1, the April episodes of season 2, and is apparently the one penning the Jesse storyline of season 3. Her characters are completely and utterly real.

Season 3 will have its work cut out to equal season 2, but it's off to a good start.

Oh, and I guess I could add that that Gabriel Byrne fellow sure makes watching the show a pleasure.:icon_wink:
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: In Treatment Season 3

#2
Caught up this afternoon and I am loving it so far. I agree with you, Fly, that the Tuesday episodes were stronger, though I thought Irrfan Khan as Sunil was excellent, and I look forward to more from him (and speaking of actors, it's noteworthy when Debra Winger, a great actress in her own right, is possibly the least interesting on the show).

I'm guessing that many watchers will find Jesse "annoying," just as they found AJ and Meadow annoying, but to me it's very truthful and very honest about the teenage experience. To be blunt about it, teenagers, at times, can be real assholes (as well as conflicted and unsure and self-hating and arrogant) and I think this show (like The Sopranos before it) reflects that more than any of its peers in television.

As far as Boardwalk Empire goes, I actually thought the last 3 were better than the first 3, but I can't blame you for bailing, Fly. I'm sure the rest of the board will let you know if you were premature in that decision, but for me, it's too early to call.

Re: In Treatment Season 3

#3
Yeah, I probably should have hung in for longer, but that 3rd episode just really irked me. I found the IRS guy (or FBI or whatever) just totally over the top and the staging of the "deathbed" confession nowhere near believable. Mostly I didn't last longer because of where I am in life right now (which is not pleasant but hopefully is leading somewhere big soon), and I just don't have the time, patience, or interest for something that isn't touching me or provoking me at deep levels. BE wasn't even coming close to doing that. Maybe down the line I'll give it another shot.

I agree with you about Kahn. He was excellent in his performance, and I agree that Winger was easily the weakest (or maybe least interesting) characterization so far.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: In Treatment Season 3

#4
So, the season's over. Any thoughts, Fly (or anyone else who might have watched)?

Obviously, the thing with Sunil was going to be divisive, but I appreciated how it affected Paul, and in turn affected me as a viewer. It casts a dubious light over all of his patients, and of him as a therapist and therapy in general, I think, to wonder if you're hearing the truth, or what percent you're hearing. If Paul can be conned, so to speak, does that mean he's a failure as a therapist? Thought-provoking stuff, in my opinion.

Additionally, I was elated to see Joseph Siravo back on HBO as Jesse's father. I always enjoyed his appearances as Johnny Boy Soprano on our favorite show, and it was good to see him on another favorite (and giving a very good performance).

Re: In Treatment Season 3

#5
Hi jouster,

Sunil was by far my favorite of the new patients. Irrfan Khan was freaking awesome in that role. I hope he wins an award for it. I just can't imagine anyone being more compelling in a "guest" spot, if it's fair to call it that. The storyline and writing for the first six Sunil episodes I thought was also outstanding.

That said, I didn't care for the ending. I did not buy such an elaborate "con", especially since it was so dependent upon numerous other people taking actions that were in no way guaranteed or predictable. If Sunil wanted to be deported, he could very easily have done something much more "bright line" to get arrested and then refuse to present papers, like vagrancy, shoplifting, vandalism, etc. Having to depend on alarming Paul sufficiently with violent innuendo so that he would notify Julia, who would then have to call the police, who would then have to buy her side of the story for an alleged assault that occurred over a week earlier and wasn't reported contemporaneously, just smacked to me of a writer's contrivance so that Paul could be "played" in a way he never had before and never expected. That would, in turn, play into his whole dilemma over the artificiality of interpersonal relations in psychotherapy. I won't say it ruined the storyline because the rest of the writing was so good and the acting was so superb. But it kept it from being -- top to bottom -- my favorite patient storyline in the series. That remains Sophie from season 1.

Jesse started with potential, but after 2-3 sessions of his incessant, overwrought, narcissistic self-pity and shock value sex talk, I just lost all feeling for him. The actor was very good, but, for the first time, I felt Sarah Treem stumbled. She just didn't do a good enough job providing real reasons for this kid to be such a self-centered, whiny brat.

Oh, he was adopted. How tragic. He's gay and he thinks -- deep down -- his parents don't accept him because of it. Meanwhile, he treats his adoptive mother like dog crap, and yet she shows more loyalty, patience, and forbearance than most "real" mothers ever would. His blue collar father is shelling out $220 a week for him to rip his parents to shreds in sessions with a shrink and drives 8 hours one way to bail him out of jail without so much as raising his voice at him in rebuke. Yeah, he's got it tough.

I think there was a good story here, don't get me wrong. But I really think they overplayed the character's strident, abrasive, myopic side. It made it very difficult for me to invest in his story.

Frances' story improved as things went along but never really became anything special. I did feel very sorry for her in the last episode. And I loved the subtle way it was revealed in the last two episodes that Paul really had been in love with her sister, yet another example of how he has always unconsciously used his patients to forge pseudo-intimate relationships that he can't forge in the world outside his office.

Which brings me to the Adele episodes. Just flat out fantastic in every respect, up and down. For me, this was the best storyline of the whole series because it did far more than the Gina episodes ever did to really make sense of who Paul is. Even though she sometimes offered good insight, Gina's psychobabble could really get under my skin at times. She was just the epitome of a shrink that takes herself too seriously.

Adele was incisive, piercing, compassionate, firm, confident without being arrogant, and the right mix of everything Paul needed. I TOTALLY bought his romantic fixation on her (and believe it was returned, despite the fact that she couldn't admit it.) I never saw the pregnancy curve ball coming, but it was a brilliant twist that really propelled the story to the inevitable conclusion. The acting between Byrne and Amy Ryan in those moments -- and throughout the story -- was simply superb.


The last episode was especially touching to me, haunting, in fact. I've watched it several times. There was the poignancy of him holding his hand out to shake hands . . . and it literally shaking, a reminder that, even though he's finally countered his Parkinson's fears with some much-needed rationality, there still could be something to them. And as much as I love Byrne in that role and will miss the series if this was the end, it's really hard for me to imagine where they might go with it after this season. Unless and until Paul changes and undergoes a radical shift in his personal life, it would feel very false to see him back treating patients again, status quo. We know his heart isn't in it much of the time and that he's been teetering on this ledge since the series began. Adele forced him to face some truths about himself, and, of all people, for him to walk away from those truths and simply carry on exactly as before would be a disservice to the character and the series. He's too unhappy for me to buy that. So they either need to make a new season center around his personal life or just let it end where it did.

The last scene of him out on the street, literally not knowing which direction to take, was brilliant. If that's the last image we see of him, I'll be sad, but I can live with it.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: In Treatment Season 3

#6
Well, Fly, it's looking like Paul out on the street will, in fact, be the last we see of him - there won't be any more seasons of In Treatment.

I am going to miss it, but there is a good legacy there and they left it in a fairly strong place. Seasons 1 and 3 were flawed but had some amazingly compelling elements, and season 2 is one of my favorite seasons of television. The acting throughout the entire series was fantastic, and the writing very strong, as well. Bravo to all involved, I say.

Re: In Treatment Season 3

#7
Yeah, kind of made official what we all could guess from the way the last season ended. Although I understand there's still a spin out there that it's not necessarily done entirely -- just definitely done with the format used for the first three seasons, which I presume means multiple half hour episodes per week, each dedicated to a different patient. Because it's neither a ratings, syndication, DVD sales, nor even award gold mine for HBO, it's hard to imagine they are really putting that much into the reported discussions with producers to continue it in some other format.

I read that Byrne found it increasingly onerous to do, and I suspect his lack of enthusiasm for continuing it in its current format was probably a factor in the cancellation. HBO certainly wasn't going to break the bank to entice him to stay. My interest in the show would severely wane, however, if he were not part of any future it might have (some have speculated a new version could follow a different therapist).

While it had much to commend it and many sublime moments, the series was always a bit uneven for me, and I concur with you whole heartedly that season 2 was the best top to bottom. My favorite storyline from the whole run, though, was the gymnast story from season 1. Mia W-something -- the actress who played Sophie -- has certainly gone on to create quite a burgeoning movie career for herself after that role. No surprise at all. She, like Byrne and the writing for that storyline, was absolutely brilliant.

Alas, I have my DVDs of the first season and will be getting the third when it's released.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"
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