Sunday, May 23, 2021

REVIEW: 'In Treatment' - Brooke Must Learn More About Eladio Before Prescribing Him Medication in 'Eladio - Week 1'

HBO's In Treatment - Episode 4.01 "Eladio - Week 1"

After a troubling dream finds home health aide Eladio reaching out in the middle of the night, Brooke reestablishes boundaries as his therapist. Later, when Eladio requests medication, Brooke switches her focus to his history of insomnia.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of HBO's In Treatment.

"Eladio - Week 1" was written by Chris Gabo and directed by Michelle MacLaren

This drama seems tailor-made to be produced in a time of pandemic restrictions. The setup is very simple. Each episode depicts a therapy session. It's fueled by emotional drama driven by conversation. Brooke treats her patients. The profession has changed. Our first interaction with this new setup features Brooke FaceTiming with her new patient, Eladio. That too is a radical change that may actually make this more accessible to people who need it. Of course, those boundaries are increasingly blurred as well. The audience is just getting to know Brooke as a therapist. This show is a continuation of the format that aired a decade ago with Gabriel Byrne in the lead role. Dr. Paul Weston is no longer the central figure though. Sure, it still takes place in the same world. Brooke has a picture with Paul. She chooses not to respond to an email from him about rescheduling an appointment. Those connections are apparent. They aren't the source of drama moving forward. It's still all driven by the therapy sessions. The world has changed. People still need therapy. Now, El is hoping for a quick fix to his issues. He is lucky to have access to Brooke. He has these sessions because he is a home health aide for a wealthy family. He doesn't even understand all the luxurious items that occupy space in their home. This is the environment he is in though. And yet, some troubling behavior is starting to present itself once more. He is terrified about the harm it will do to him. He is granted this access to Brooke. She is still getting to know her new patient. The first interaction seen between them isn't a session though. Instead, it's a call in the middle of the night. Neither of them are asleep. Brooke answers as well. El isn't calling because he's in an emergency. He is fine. He simply had a weird dream. One that he needs to reach out and share with someone. Even after one session, he projects a maternal embrace onto Brooke. Now, she absolutely cares about El's well-being. She doesn't want him to be in pain. She also acknowledges that this work takes time. She is available for any of her patients when they are in crisis. She apologizes for answering the phone though and encouraging this ongoing conversation. By the end of this session though, El still wants to view Brooke as family. He is willing to make that admission solely because of the extent of things he shares with her. He hasn't told the family he is working with that he was diagnosed as bipolar when he was in college. He loves so fiercely. He cares about people. But he also believes he doesn't experience the world in the same way as others do. Others believe he isn't a sentimental person. He feels deeply though. And so, it's a tragedy when someone in his care is suddenly removed from his world. That is evident. It doesn't explain the current insomnia he is facing. Medication could treat this problem. That's solely what he's hoping to get out of this arrangement. It's the way he has always perceived therapy. Brooke isn't against medication. She needs to know more about him. She starts to see the patterns in his life. The details are personal and profound. Brooke tries her best to arm herself with his perspective. She takes that on in the hopes of understanding the psychological burden that's blocking his psyche. But again, there is a fair amount of emotional transference already taking place. The family already depends so much on El. He goes above what the job description entails. He is giving in that way. He may give away too much because he is so free and open with his love. They are his priority. His mental state is important too. He also needs this relationship with Brooke to be more than professional. He needs a maternal figure. Brooke must keep her distance. She remains intrigued. Her interest is piqued by this young man's story. She sees the patterns of his life. She sees how romantic he can be. She also sees him completely thrown into a world without any sense of his own identity. She sees a peak into his world. He is more vulnerable with her. It's freeing and helpful. It ends abruptly too. And so, that progress may be slow and erratic given the way El experiences the world around him. That may present as a challenge to Brooke on top of her dealing with grief over the recent death of her father. She highlights her individual place in the world in order to relate to his struggle. She helps him open up. She reveals part of herself through this experience of helping others. It's beneficial and serves a purpose. The audience needs these clues to better understand everything happening. It's sure to grow more complicated in the future despite all the information being portrayed solely through dialogue.