Monday, June 14, 2021

REVIEW: 'In Treatment' - Brooke Questions What Stops Laila From Staying Grounded and Present in the Moment in 'Laila - Week 4'

HBO's In Treatment - Episode 4.15 "Laila - Week 4"

Concerned over her patient's disclosure at the end of their last session, Brooke presses Laila to open up about her complicated understanding of love, sex and the 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 4" was written by Jackie Sibblies Drury and directed by Janicza Bravo

Brooke is concerned about Laila. At the end of their previous session, Laila said she didn't think she would ever be happy. That was depressing. It also highlights some serious issues happening in her mind. Brooke delves into those with even more conviction here. She can't allow Laila to once again fade away or into the comfort of something else. Brooke is grateful that Laila has Cara to serve as a personal refuge for her. But she also doesn't believe Cara should serve as Laila's own tether to stability in this world. Laila's love for Cara fuels so much of her fantasies. That means Brooke is concerned that Laila could break should those moments not live up to the expectations she has set in her head. Laila has such a wild and vivid imagination. She can go into detail about so much in this world. And yet, she feels unprepared to actually do anything on her own. The world has already been destroyed by the generations who came before her. No one acts with any true consideration for her. No one actually loves her. The actions of her father and grandmother aren't true displays of love. It's all just to make them feel good. It's not about genuinely noticing her and understanding what she needs. Laila isn't even completely sure about what she wants in life. So much remains a fog for her. That extends to her gender identity as well as her understanding of love and sex. She is disappointed by so much in this world. She is told that the female sexual response is miraculous. It should be life-affirming to her. In reality, it's just a big disappointment. She doesn't really receive any pleasure from it. She is more vulnerable with Brooke now in talking about this stuff. She isn't just lying to mask what is truly happening in her world. And yet, Brooke doesn't have all the answers quite yet. She isn't perfect. She doesn't try to be either. She just hopes her patients trust her long enough to provide clarity when those breakthrough moments occur. They place their mental health in her capable hands. She has the skills to provide guidance. She voices her concerns. She appreciates all that her patients are willing to share with her. They also go off to live their individual lives. Brooke has no control over what her patients do once they leave these sessions. Laila may only keep coming back because her grandmother makes her. These sessions are vital though. They reveal the suicidal depression that she may easily fall into when her expectations aren't meant. She wants the opportunity to be immature. But she also has a desire to be more responsible. She has spent her life preparing for the realities of the world. It's exhausting. She has done everything in service to the people who expect so much of her. She hasn't actually lived for herself. She believes she knows how Brooke will respond to every thought she shares as well. Brooke continually surprises her. Brooke has to lift Laila up. She can't further inflict trauma onto her. That could lead to a dangerous outcome. She wants to avoid that at all costs. She also wants to push Laila into confronting what these issues actually reveal about herself. She can't ignore them because they cause problems. That continues to happen. Her family does a remarkable job in covering it all up and acting as if nothing happened. Laila's car is fixed no problem. She deals with no consequences from that action. She wants them. She expects them. She believes she has everyone figured out. Brooke serves as an eye-opening individual who can constantly surprise her young patient. That too sets a high bar for her to achieve. Once Laila grows too comfortable, she may just assume she knows everything about what Brooke can offer her. That may provide clarity at the end of this journey. It may not. Brooke is still digging for the truth. She sees the darkness. It is present. This story is still yet to reveal itself fully. Brooke treads carefully. She voices her concerns. She allows Laila to express herself. She is also a teenager overwhelmed by the world and the way society at large functions. Brooke can join in on condemning those pressures put upon people from a young age. She also has the perspective and wisdom of knowing what life has to offer. She wants Laila to stay grounded. She needs her to be present in the moment. That remains a struggle. It may be linked to trauma. It may be connected to something else entirely. These conversations are still enlightening. They still need a bit more depth to be just as illuminating as the other patients Brooke treats on a weekly basis. More intimacy and vulnerability is found here. That doesn't offer much in terms of plot progression though. This still has to serve as a compelling television show after all.