Monday, June 14, 2021

REVIEW: 'In Treatment' - Brooke Hopes to Maintain Her Friendship with Rita Despite Her Destructive Behavior in 'Brooke - Week 4'

HBO's In Treatment - Episode 4.16 "Brooke - Week 4"

Despite throwing a serious wrench in their plans, Brooke gains unexpected clarity on her relationship with Rita.

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 4" was written by Jennifer Schuur and directed by Janicza Bravo

Brooke hoped that she could maintain a friendship with Rita even though she was no longer sober. She didn't want to believe that was a key condition of their friendship. Rita was willing to indulge in that as well. She too didn't want to lose her friend over this action. She wanted to continue helping her. And yet, every decision Brooke makes when she is drinking is wrong and destructive. This episode outlines that completely. Every single action taken should be viewed as a dangerous mistake. Of course, that should also make the audience question every single thing she has done with her patients throughout the week. It's probably only going to get worse as well. These issues can't just be apparent in her spotlight episode. They also have to be present when she is helping El, Colin and Laila too. The work has always been important to her. It has always been completely fulfilling to her. She never needed anything else in her life. And yet, a void emerged following her father's death. She needed to fill it in some way. Alcohol was the easiest choice. She is an alcoholic after all. Even now though, the void still exists. She yearns for more. She still feels fulfilled by the work she does. She also insists that she isn't compromised in continuing to treat patients. Rita had that concern. She wants to trust Brooke's judgment. It's hard for her to now reconcile with that given the behavior she encourages here. Brooke invites her friend over to see a blood lunar eclipse. It's a beautiful sight meant to bond them together. Instead, it only affirms just how dangerous Brooke's actions are to Rita's own sobriety. She is tempted now that Brooke has relapsed. Brooke invited Rita over and then continued to drink. As such, she isn't ready and willing to be a friend. She can't engage with this activity. Instead, she has to be the person cared for. She has to be pushed out of bed with her hangover treated. Rita draws a line. But she also recognizes the pattern. She sees this as the end of their friendship. She cannot handle all of this. She encourages Brooke to get sober once more. Her head is clear and decisive when she is sober as well. Ambiguity and uncertainty has only entered her life because she has started drinking again. It was never in question that Adam was completely in love with Brooke. The true question has always been what Brooke wants. For the longest time, the work was enough. She didn't need a family. Her focus has shifted though. She believes that yearning for something more could actually be beneficial to the life she already has. She is comfortable at her home. This is where she lives and works. She doesn't need to engage with the outside world anymore. She can still make destructive choices at home. She proclaims her love for Adam. He previously expressed an interest in starting a family with her. And now, she takes action to potentially make that occur. She lashes out at Rita for being dramatic and overreacting to the situation. She also wants things to be perfect and loving with Adam. Brooke doesn't have the clarity to see herself and her needs for what they truly are. She provides so much guidance to many people. She can't do that with herself. Rita and Paul helped place her on the path she lived for the longest time. Rita proved to be a great friend who kept Brooke sober. Their bond was much deeper than the traditional sponsor-sponsee relationship. Meanwhile, Paul opened Brooke's eyes to the world of therapy. Helping others in this way provided her with a viable alternative to fill her soul with purpose. She has been avoiding his calls for the longest time. She always insists that they will reconnect at some point. They are simply too busy with everything going on in the world. As such, she believes she never has to confront the truth. She can just deflect with no one being willing to keep her in the moment and hold her accountable. She serves that role for her patients. Rita has been a de facto therapist for Brooke. That relationship has now broken down. That may create a week that is more chaotic than ever before. It will place the focus on Brooke at a time when all of her patients are in volatile places in their lives too. Of course, all of this continues to be told incredibly bluntly in these Brooke-centric episodes. Not much nuance can be found in her dynamics with Rita and Adam. As such, her personal life should have more glaring complications elsewhere. The audience anticipates that with the show wanting to also challenge our notions to expect more nuance elsewhere. That battle of expectations though can be hard to juggle and rationalize though.