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In Treatment - Complete HBO Season 2 [DVD]
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Set within the highly charged confines of individual psychotherapy sessions, In Treatment centers around Dr. Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne) who recently divorced his wife Kate and has moved from Maryland to a brownstone in Brooklyn, New York. Rebuilding his practice while wrestling with some of the demons he left behind--including a lawsuit filed by the father of Alex, a patient who died last year--Paul takes on several new patients and commutes to Maryland every Friday to continue his own sessions with Dr. Gina Toll (Dianne Wiest).
In its superb second season, In Treatment remains the gold standard example of discomfort television; not discomfort as in the cringe-worthy comedy of awkward pauses (The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm), but discomfort in the intimate and primal issues most series avoid or reassuringly attempt to wrap up within the hour. "The kind of therapy I practice, it's not a quick fix," Dr. Paul Weston (Golden Globe winner Gabriel Byrne) tells one of his four new patients. "It's a process, and eventually change happens, but it does take time." It's time well spent in the company of Byrne and an exemplary Emmy-worthy ensemble. Hope Davis, John Mahoney, and Dianne Wiest seem incapable of sounding a false note, but the revelations this season are two young newcomers, Alison Pill as an architecture student who refuses to tell her mother about her recent cancer diagnosis, and Aaron Shaw as Oliver, a child caught in the crossfire of his parents' anything but amicable divorce. The format is unchanged from Season One. Each daily half hour "session" mostly plays out in real time, with some illuminating glimpses of Paul outside his relocated Brooklyn office. Davis's Mia is a hard-driving lawyer and a former patient of Paul's, with abandonment and intimacy issues after he ended her therapy 20 years before. Mahoney's Walter is an embattled CEO suffering from a recent wave of panic attacks. Wiest reprises her Emmy-winning role as Gina, Paul's former mentor whom he visits on Fridays. They have much to talk about. His "mess of a life" includes a recent divorce, a $20 million malpractice suit brought by an embittered father (Glynn Turman reprising his Emmy-winning role) who blames Paul for the possibly suicidal death of his son (a patient from Season One), and the passing of his own estranged father. "I'm caught between heaven and hell," Paul tells Gina. In its raw emotion, In Treatment is hardly escapist entertainment. "Last week I had nothing," Mia wails at one point, "now I feel less than nothing." But, as Paul assures her, this is ultimately a good thing for these desperate characters (and viewers) seeking closure. "Thank you, Paul," Mia allows. "That was a good session." And a great season. --Donald Liebenson
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How on earth you can generate such dramatic tension from such a closed set, talking heads (rather than thrills and spills), cerebral (on the face of it) subject matter, and generally none too perfect characters...but you are absolutely gripped.
After each 30 min episode you can't wait for the next one in the week and the series (although be sure to watch them in sequence, at least first time round). And I personally loved the fact that nothing ends neatly or in a Hollywood happy ending way...in fact in some cases there is almost ambiguity.
Gabriel Byrne is truly magisterial in the lead but special mention to the 2 young leads in the 2nd and 3rd slots. A treat and a treasure.
Impossible to only watch one 'session' at a time.
Gabriel Byrne is always watchable - and this is without doubt some of his most nuanced acting work - intelligently compelling and believable, and well framed by a genuinely superb support cast.
Season 1 had some jaw-droppingly emotinal moments - Season 2 is set to deliver more of the same.
Aimed to watch one episode only...so 4 episodes in one sitting, later...be warned this is addictive viewing.
Great drama, great for learning about human nature, great for learning about the self.
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