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October 6, 2015

In Treatment: Jake and Amy-Week One

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 31st 2008 11:15PM
In Treatment - Jake and Amy(S01E04) "So was that convincing enough?" Amy, after a long monologue about her 'depression.'

It's like the fourth first episode in a row! It really is amazing how every episode so far has essentially been the first episode of a new series. In fact, when they do the "Next time on..." bit, it's not "Tomorrow on In Treatment." It's "Next Thursday on In Treatment: Jake & Amy. And there has been no real connection between these first few episodes, save the common thread of Paul Weston as therapist. Tomorrow night's episode will show what this series is really going to be about as Paul goes to see his own therapist. In Treatment is one of the most unusual television experiments I've ever seen, but after four episodes I think I'm beginning to really like it.

I'm not familiar with the prior work of either Josh Charles or Embeth Davidtz, but I thought both pulled off believable performances as a married couple struggling with what to do about an unplanned pregnancy. I was looking forward to seeing this episode because it's the first time we get to see Paul interacting with more than one person. The first three episodes were like two-man plays you'd see on a stage. But now we have...well, a three-man play.

Amy is an aloof, arrogant, cold-hearted career woman. She comes from money, as Jake was happy to point out with bile dripping from his words, and expects to get her way. But she also suffers from an inability to let down her walls and express herself sincerely. Jake, on the other hand, reminds me of many of my blue collar friends. Construction workers, painters and roofers who aren't the most educated or knowledgeable people, but are brutally honest and sincere. They say what they're feeling. Jake, in fact, never stopped saying what he was feeling. Both characters seemed a bit too perfectly archetypal of their "types," so I'm hoping future installments can add some individuality to their personas.

Maybe it was the presence of that third principal character, or all the fighting and energy, but this episode felt like it moved along at a much quicker clip than the first three. And you could see on Paul's face, that these sessions were starting to wear on him. I'd always heard that most therapists need a therapist of their own to unload on, and Gabriel Byrne's expressions during the frequent fighting, or when he would get interrupted mid-sentence, were dead-on. Byrne is a master of the "less is more" school of acting.

In the end, no decision is reached on whether or not to have the baby, but Weston does start to reveal the real issues surrounding the question (to which Jake appears to be completely oblivious so far). Ultimately it comes down to trust and control. Jake doesn't have any of either, and Amy doesn't want to give any of it up. It's a believable situation. As a man who spent some time with my significant other being the primary bread winner, I can say that there's something difficult about that. Sexist or not, men are taught by society to be the providers, the bread-winners, and to take care of their families and their lives. Not being able to do so, or having to rely on someone else, is a major sting on the pride and extremely difficult to handle. Jake's failing to handle it just as I would have expected, lashing out in anger and suspicion.

Amy doesn't help matters by chronically lying, doing things behind his back. They've created a vicious circle where she lies because he freaks out about everything and doesn't trust her and he freaks out about everything and doesn't trust her because she lies. I also wonder how long they've been married (was that addressed and I missed it?). Of course, at the root of their trust issues, in my opinion, is the genesis of their own relationship. Amy was cheating on her first husband with Jake. I've seen how that plays out and that second marriage almost never makes it.

More than any of the other three patients we've met, I feel Jake and Amy really need therapy or they're going to lose their marriage. I do think Alex has some deep-rooted issues, and Sophie looks to be setting us up for some really heartbreaking tragedy (or is it too obvious the affection she discusses between her and her coach?). Only Laura, so far, has failed to entice me as to what makes her so compelling. It's a shame the series opened with her session.

Almost a week in now and it's still hard to say whether this show is going to be good or not because all we really have is the first episodes of four different, but related, shows. Tomorrow night, as I said, will bring it all together and tell the real story of In Treatment. And getting two modern legends like Gabriel Byrne and Dianne Wiest (as his therapist) together should make for magic. I can't think of better casting!

Which patient(s) do you find the most compelling?
Laura21 (16.2%)
Alex24 (18.5%)
Sophie45 (34.6%)
Jake & Amy40 (30.8%)

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Laura and Alex annoyed me. I liked Sophie's show the most of the patients.

Was it me or did Embeth Davidtz's accent come and go?

I've never seen Josh Charles play a character so gruff. I assumed he suspected her of having an affair, but never saw the abortion question coming.

February 02 2008 at 11:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

im really liking these show, and the way it's constructed is great. I think that each episode has been better than the previous one, and have found miself really waiting for the episode when he goes to the therapist and to know what he really thinks of each patient.

February 01 2008 at 7:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Saw the Sophie thing. It was like a play and way too obvious. They need far sharper stories so as not to appear by-the-numbers. The rich wife/blue-collar husband thing is tired and played out. Are fresh ideas gone?

February 01 2008 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pleased to see a recap of In Treatment on this blog. I've been watching it with my mom, who was a counseling student. She's been explaining to me exactly what "techniques" the therapist is using with his patients and the boundaries that he's forced to establish according to the ACA.

The best segment so far was the one with Blair Underwood playing a guilt-ridden war veteran failing to connect with his feelings. Not sure I've ever seen him do anything that good.

February 01 2008 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fantastic show.

February 01 2008 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Josh Charles from Dead Poets Society and Sports Night? Embeth Davidtz from Fallen? I guess this guy doesn't get out much.

February 01 2008 at 12:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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