Monday, May 31, 2021

REVIEW: 'In Treatment' - Brooke Makes a Major Decision in the Hopes of Creating a More Meaningful Future in 'Brooke - Week 2'

HBO's In Treatment - Episode 4.08 "Brooke - Week 2"

Though Brooke insists reuniting with Adam will not awaken destructive habits, Rita recognizes her actions as part of a recurring pattern and encourages her to spend more time embracing the present.

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.

"Brooke - Week 2" was written by Joshua Allen and directed by Julian Farino

Should the audience expect Gabriel Byrne's Dr. Paul Weston to appear at some point this season? He is no longer the driving force of the series. This season has been a hard reboot of the format even though HBO refers to it as the fourth season. Moreover, Paul has been referenced on a number of occasions already. Part of that is serving as a connection to the past for the viewers previously connected to the show. However, that could have just been done casually in the beginning. It didn't need to be an ongoing concern. And yet, Brooke is avoid Paul's emails and phone calls. It's teased that she respects him more than anyone else in the profession. She was trained by him. But the action always calls attention to this plot point. Because it continually does that, the audience now has to wonder whether the character will be seen again. It should only be done if it expands the plot in a meaningful way. It can't simply be a cameo meant to entertain a select few members of the audience. The core of the story must remain on the characters who are currently in the throes of drama. That includes Brooke as well. She has relapsed. And yet, she is still going through the motions with Rita. She is essentially pretending to still be sober. Meanwhile, Rita is concerned about the risk Adam poses by returning to her life. The threat to Brooke's sobriety existed long before Adam showed up once more. He is an extension of the problem. He isn't the problem itself. He certainly encourages it. He doesn't respect Brooke's sobriety. He doesn't try to help her maintain it. He believes she is smart and strong enough to make decisions on her own. She shouldn't pressure others to monitor what she is doing and hold her accountable when she makes mistakes. All of this is dangerous though because Brooke is continuing to treat patients. Those slips may have been apparent in her last week of sessions. She has faced some major hurdles. Meanwhile, Rita isn't operating from the same place of trust and understanding. That makes it more difficult to engage with the Brooke chapters of this story. It's evident that she isn't being honest with the person she is suppose to trust the most. Instead, she is the one telling an elaborate story. It hasn't thrown her into conflict so far. But it does require the audience to be more critical of the decisions she makes at this specific moment in time. As such, this episode has to wait until the conversation pivots to Brooke's son to find its relevance and poignancy. Her sobriety is mostly void of tension at the moment. The relapse has already occurred. Meanwhile, Brooke is actively making the decision to find her son right now. Rita is concerned because this yearning for the past can be detrimental to her present and future. Brooke feels all alone. The loss of a parent has hit her hard. Moreover, she internalizes the feeling that she is next. That's the natural evolution of the world. And yet, it's becoming clear that her life is reaching for its conclusion. As such, she reflects on the mistakes she has made and the inability to change course now. She wants to apologize to her son. More importantly though, she needs his forgiveness. That is how this structure is debated. She needs something from this relationship. She needs it to better define purpose in her world. She has clarity in her career. Her personal life is complicated. Rita knows that she shouldn't be making big decisions in the heat of the moment. That's exactly what Brooke does though. And again, the audience has a better understanding of what's going on than Rita does. Plus, Rita isn't a therapist. She is simply Brooke's sponsor who believes insight from the program can continue to serve its purpose. Meanwhile, Brooke is questioning the success of the program. That too is a crucial development. She wants the peace, clarity and acceptance that is promised in the pledge. She has worked hard. She doesn't see many accomplishments. As such, she seems destined to make the same mistakes as the past. She is in a different place in her life. That may make the consequences more extreme. But again, this episode is the one solely devoted to amplifying tension as Brooke's turmoil potentially complicates her relationship with every other story happening at the moment. That's all that it is despite Uzo Aduba continuing her brilliant and compassionate performance.