Friday, December 10, 2010

What I’m Watching: In Treatment (Season Finale)

In Treatment: Season 3, Episodes 25-28 “Week Seven” (B+)

The past seven weeks have been packed with extensive character development and angry outbursts, yet it still feels like these four therapy sessions are screeching to a halt so quickly after just getting started less than two months ago. What I like about the resolution of these four patients is that it isn’t necessary for them all to end, in the universe of this show of course, or for the conclusion of each patient’s arc to be uniform. In two cases, the therapy is done thanks to a decision made by a member of the patient’s family. The case of Sunil is particularly interesting since the man who Paul likened most with himself turned out to be manipulating him the entire time. Paul’s frustration and fury about Sunil having lied to him is quite understandable, and it is tough to distinguish what might have been true among all of the things Sunil expressed on Paul’s couch from what was utter fiction designed to get Sunil thrown in jail and deported back to Calcutta. Frances, through no fault of her own, has probably been the least interesting patient of the season, but Debra Winger still delivered a powerhouse performance, and being the least interesting on this show still isn’t a bad thing at all. Dane DeHaan was also marvelously impressive as Jesse, and it was interesting to see Roberto appear in the final session and then yell at Jesse for swearing at Paul. Jesse was this season’s angsty, sympathetic teenager, following Sophie and Mia, and he certainly gave his two predecessors, not to mention Paul, a run for their money. Adele proved less fascinating than she (and Amy Ryan) could have, but it was Paul’s fascination with her that made their sessions worthwhile and entirely interesting. I’d love to see this show return for a fourth season, though HBO is notoriously slow at both making those kinds of decisions and bringing back their shows at all (hence the 16-month gap between seasons two and three), so for now, I’ll just have to be content that this was a strong season with great scripts and terrific performances.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Irrfan Khan as Sunil

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