Sunday, May 23, 2021

REVIEW: 'In Treatment' - Colin Remains Abrasive Throughout His First Session with Brooke in 'Colin - Week 1'

HBO's In Treatment - Episode 4.02 "Colin - Week 1"

Colin, a self-proclaimed therapy enthusiast and proud child of hippies, arrives for the first of four court-mandated sessions, but his evasiveness makes a recommendation regarding his recent release from prison difficult for Brooke.

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 next episode of HBO's In Treatment.

"Colin - Week 1" was written by Zack Whedon and directed by Michelle MacLaren

Therapy sessions with Brooke have been court-ordered for Colin as a condition of his parole. He needs her to sign off on his wellness in order to remain on the outside. He doesn't approach the situation with appreciation or respect. He believes he already has the tools to put on a good front to charm people into giving him whatever he wants. Those skills have been beneficial to him in the past. And yet, he was still caught committing wire fraud. He spent four years in prison. He was released early because of the pandemic. He is grateful for that despite how callous that seems. This is a new type of work for Brooke as well. It fits the more traditional perimeters of a therapy session. It's not a conversation conducted through FaceTime like what she does with Eladio. The show has a throwaway line of Colin providing proof of vaccination. More importantly, this is a pro bono case for Brooke. She is doing it for free on behalf of the court. A judge has deemed this necessary for Colin. He is getting the best as well. Well, the audience should still be determining Brooke's skills in handling various different patients. Her style with Colin is different than Eladio. And yet, the session forces her to be like that. Colin is a very different patient. He is just trying to see what narrative he can fall into that will be beneficial for him in this setting. He is putting on these various masks to see which one strikes the right cord. He strokes the therapist's ego. He talks up his unconditional and loving support for therapy. He champions all the work he has already done on himself through interactions just like this. He talks up the benefits hoping to disarm Brooke so that she can easily sign off on his papers. He talks about the transformational experience of prison. He presents as a reformed individual. One deserving of parole who now presents as an empathetic person filled with remorse and acceptance over his past crime. He is a performative activist. He hits the buzzwords of being a champion for social justice causes. He talks about the big picture of the criminal justice system being corrupt. That stems off into a conversation about his crime not being serious or destructive. People with egos were just trying to make a point by wandering into an emerging tech field they don't actually understand. In that instance, he seemingly proclaims his innocence. None of these stories are fitting to his life. Brooke picks up on habits and pattern. She notices how he doesn't like to fill in the details of events that have happened in his life. He shares that his story is more than what's written in his file. It's much more complex than it all seems. And yet, he is reluctant to dig deep to analyze his behavior. He is going through the motions of what he believes is expected. He is also trying to monitor himself. He may have been absent from society for four years. However, he knows that he must play a role with certain people in order to gain their trust and approval. It's common courtesy and simply being a nice person. It comes across as a hassle in his mind. He needs to explain how Brooke isn't a friend who can trust the meaning behind the words he says. She doesn't know him that well yet. He refuses to let her in either. The most genuine moment is when he tells her off. In that moment, he is the one provoked. That anger is real. Brooke got that response from him. She knows exactly what it is. She sees the erratic person underneath the one trying to put on a show and distract. If he offers her nothing but nonsense, then she won't say that he is well and capable of being a member of society once more. She has that power. She uses it against him. She also wants him to be willing to put in the work. It's hard for him to express that curiosity because he switches to dismissing the entire idea of this profession. He demeans the value of her work. He fetishizes the idea of it too. He is trying to be the one driving the story forward. He is used to that command and control. He is still an obnoxious and arrogant man accustomed to wielding power in this world. He is forced into a new role and is fighting it every step of the way. That's a curious endeavor. One that Brooke will have to chip away at over time. She only has four sessions to do so though. A breakthrough may come. It may not. After four weeks, she has to report back a definitive answer. Right now, she only knows that she has to drink after going around in circles with Colin's evasiveness.