Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Delight: In Treatment - season two

As far as I'm concerned, there's only one good way to watch a TV series: on DVD. No commercial breaks, no summer hiatus or reruns, just hour after hour of quality TV. This last month I've been enjoying season two of In Treatment. 

I tried season one and didn't much care for it. But season two blew me away. I never really got the charms of Gabriel Byrne before. I knew him only as the controller in Nikita/Assassin and the devil in End of Days. Both roles not exactly designed to stretch his acting capabilities a whole lot past 'coasting'. Imagine my surprise when I saw him flexing his acting muscles in 'In Treatment'. Who knew?

I'm not so sure Paul Weston is a great therapist. The endless talking through of transference and counter-transference issues, well, I don't know. Then again, I've never been through psycho-analysis so what do I know.
What I loved most about Paul were his eyes, Gabriel Byrne gave Paul wonderfully warm eyes. The empathy and love he feels for his patients is all in his eyes.

April's storyline affected me the most; I cried pretty much all through her sessions in week 4 and week 7. And I actually cheered out loud when Paul crossed  professional boundaries for her. I'm all for professionalism, but some things are just more important.
Also, April was so cute! That little round face with the big eyes. So adorable, I just wanted to pick her up and take her home. The character, not the actress of course.

Walter's storyline I found extremely moving too. I had no idea Mahoney was that good an actor, having seen him only in the odd episode of Frasier. Some of the reviews of this season at the time were sceptical about Walter's emotional breakthrough in episode 6, and his reaching out for Paul in his pain. Both rang totally true for me, I've been there. 

It's incredibly painful when the walls you've so carefully been building to shield you from your own pain come crashing down. No place left to hide.
Also his childlike reaching out for Paul was - in my mind at least - a wonderful acting choice. It's exactly what I longed to do when I got stuck in my own place of pain. It's about wanting to be connected I guess.

And poor Oliver! Whatever little mistakes my parents made with me, at least they sure as hell were proper adults. Which can't be said for Bess and Luke, trapped in lives they clearly didn't want. I felt sorry for them, but of course Oliver was the real victim here. None of it was his fault. But I'd like to think that in the 'In Treatment universe' Paul and Oliver enjoyed lots of lovely phone calls until Oliver made some new friends at school.

I also liked Mia's storyline. Hope Davis, what an amazing actress she is. Mia is not an easy character to like, with all her acting out. In the hands of a lesser actress she probably would've ended up a ridiculous and one-dimensional character. Hope Davis plays her with so much much compassion, that you can't help but feel sorry for this woman, so crushed by life. There but for the grace of God and all that.
Hope Davis shows us a glimpse now and then of the woman Mia could have been if she hadn't been so hurt by her parents. I especially loved the moment when Mia realised that Paul had kept the gift she gave him for all those years. That smile really transformed her face. Great acting.

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