Monday, May 31, 2021

REVIEW: 'In Treatment' - Laila's Imagination Is Quite Expansive While Possibly Being a Destructive Distraction in 'Laila - Week 2'

HBO's In Treatment - Episode 4.07 "Laila - Week 2"

In an effort to connect with Laila over feeling controlled by her family, Brooke shares a traumatic experience from her own childhood. As Brooke digs into her proclivity for unbridled imagination and storytelling as a coping mechanism, Laila reveals a surprising plan for her future.

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.

"Laila - Week 2" was written by Jackie Sibblies Drury and directed by Julian Farino

Brooke is concerned about the age gap between Laila and Cara. They are only separated by three years. However, a lot of emotional development happens in those high school years. Brooke understands the typical and almost expected narrative of graduating from high school and going straight to college. That's the narrative that has formed for Laila. She isn't all that excited about it. It's mostly just something assumed that she will do because it's the traditional next step. It's what her family is planning for her. It's not something she is passionate about. She may only find freedom through this relationship with Cara. She views her younger girlfriend as being a kindred spirit. They are both oppressed by their parents. As such, they can only truly ever be free when they are together. Laila can certainly speak elegantly and passionately about the love and connection she feels. Brooke's concerns still stand though. She worries that Laila may be projecting all of these feelings onto someone who is susceptible to her because of the power difference between them. Laila has the clarity of knowing what this relationship is. Cara may not have that. And yet, Laila may also be regressing in her emotional development in order to feel her own sense of control and individuality. These are all complicated subjects. It's much more difficult to pinpoint her emotional turmoil than the other patients Brooke is currently working with. Of course, the session comes to the same confrontational ending that El and Colin also had this week. That is a common pattern throughout each of these conversations. It happens exactly at the same time as Brooke buying several bottles of alcohol. She is relapsing in her addiction. She does so maybe because she believes she can exert more control over it now. She doesn't drink here. She simply makes these purchases and has them delivered to her house. That's still a crucial development. It too may shade how she conducts herself in these sessions. She worries about the impact she has on her patients. This is the first session this week where she has had control over the ending. Brooke lost track of time with El while Colin ran out of the house as soon as it was possible. Here, it's clear that Laila wants to share more. She wants to dig deeper. And yet, both her grandmother and Brooke are forcing her to leave. She believes that the people in her life don't take seriously the ideas that are in her head. Brooke uses this session to further establish trust. She does so by opening up about her own past. Now, she still has to be careful with the information she gives to her patients. Here, she needs Laila to know that she made mistakes in her teenage years too. Those have had consequences that have rippled throughout her adult life. The priority is still largely on Laila and her willingness to see that information as conductive to an open environment. She expresses how easy it is to fool her father and grandmother with elaborate stories. Meanwhile, Brooke is concerned about Laila not having full control when she drives. She has already gotten into several accidents. She does so with the freedom of knowing no consequences will stem from such destruction. In fact, that may be an incentive for her. A way to exert her control in a world where people are too disinterested in what she is doing or who she is. She has an internal sense of terror. She believes her life is easy because she hasn't been subjected to the worst of humanity that she has been told is inevitable. In her fantasies, she still shows an urge to save her grandmother. Rhonda is never hurt throughout these encounters. And yet, Laila is also planning on running away with Cara. That's a chance at freedom. She wants to escape the people seemingly controlling her life. It's a grand romantic idea. Brooke sees the value in unpacking that. It's not an urgent threat though. She acknowledges the emotions Laila has. She doesn't want to push her into making this plan more tangible and real. The hard work may be left to the next session. Brooke is grateful that Laila continues to speak with her. And yet, it's also clear that a connection between patient and therapist is missing. They yearn for that trust to be built. Every dynamic adjusts on its own timetable. And yet, Brooke has that connection with both El and Colin. As such, this specific story aspires for something different. One that doesn't want to be on-the-nose with its declarations. But it's also taking more time to find its footing which may also highlight how Brooke handles adult patients better than her younger ones. That insight is necessary and informative as well.