Sunday, May 30, 2021

REVIEW: 'In Treatment' - Brooke Asks Colin to Address the Trauma He Experienced While in Prison in 'Colin - Week 2'

HBO's In Treatment - Episode 4.06 "Colin - Week 2"

Colin chronicles the events that took him from "gold stars all around" to receiving serious demerits in prison. After connecting his troubling behavior to a feeling of profound powerlessness, Brooke challenges Colin to accept responsibility for his actions.

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 2" was written by Zack Whedon and directed by Julian Farino

Brooke wants her patients to be willing to put in the work. That is the only way that progress will come out of therapy. It can be a long and arduous process getting to that point. It's clear that Colin goes into these sessions just wanting to say whatever he believes will get Brooke to sign off on his paperwork. That's his ultimate goal. That is the obstacle he must overcome. He has to impress her. Each session eventually breaks down those barriers in order to produce a more brutal and frank conversation. And yet, Colin is still reluctant to every tool Brooke is trying to wield. He believes she is incapable of helping him and judging him at the same time. He believes she has already made her mind up about him. He can't do anything to change that perception either. They still have two more sessions after this as well. That's what the court has ordered. Colin believes his fate is already known. Meanwhile, Brooke does her best to understand his past behavior and the emotions that fueled his actions. She doesn't need to like her client in order for therapy to work. She sees a connection between a sense of powerlessness and Colin lashing out. He rejects the idea. He's not that smart or clever. And yet, prison was a traumatic experience. His barometer for that is being raped. He views that action as a traumatic event. Because it didn't happen to him, then this time away wasn't all that transformational. It certainly can't be attributed to the nightmares that plague him several times a week. Brooke sees things more clearly. She presents as an objective observer to these events. She can form connections. Ones that hopefully provide insight and value to the life Colin wants to be living now. It's still a mess though. He is still rallying against the world for turning on him because he is a privileged white guy who got convicted of a crime. He needs people to understand his story. He saw himself as fundamentally good before he went to prison. Even in that environment, he behaved for several months. That was the behavior he needed to follow to make this as easy and boring an experience as possible. It still dragged on. He still broke as well. Time was added to his sentence. He was released early because he had access to skilled lawyers amidst the devastation the pandemic took on the prison system. He was lucky. He feels that to a certain extent. But he also wants to judge how others will react to his life story. He believes that people already project a narrative onto him. He wants to deliver all the proof that he is a champion of liberal causes. He expects credit for that as well. He has this evidence ready to go. He has armed himself with information to fight against the narrative that has formed against him. He still views himself as being a good guy in a time when so many bad people hold power in this world. He isn't deserving of feeling powerlessness. And yet, his personal world changed. That came on top of the cultural shift that occurred during his time in prison. It's a lot to navigate. Brooke wants to help. She acknowledges personally the toil that these sessions take. She doesn't like Colin. She still presses for him to dig deeper. He reveals his shame and his darkest moments. He offers genuine and engaging moments. But he also views Brooke as being incapable of offering independent thoughts that don't fit into the monolith of societal thinking. That's how he views the world as having changed. More underserved communities are given the power to speak up and take up space. Colin's world changed. And now, he sees people pouncing on him for no reason. He never really takes responsibility for his crimes. He simply sees all of this as something he has to do in order to be in good standing once more. Even then, he doubts that anything he does can fundamentally change how others perceive him. Those minds have already been made up. He cares about his personal image. In his final outburst, he is immediately apologetic because he believes this will only be used as evidence to convict him even more. He sees people being judged by different standards. He wants to make a difference. He condemns and judges others. He spirals when others have the power to do that to him. He previously provoked violence and destruction in those moments. He almost lost his life as well. These experiences are transformational. He still doesn't see the value in addressing them. He has to atone for the past if he can move forward with a more meaningful future. Instead, he has his eye on the clock ready to run out the door the moment the session is over. He doesn't want anything to further paint him in a bad light. He views himself as always coming across as that. He is immersed in the public comments. That breaks him down and makes him so tentative. He doesn't show any willingness to address the issues raised though. Instead, it's deflection and policing the thoughts of others. It's a dynamic bound to explode. It does here. Brooke knows she should be worried. She may not have offered any help at all here. She can't blame a pain in her back either.