Monday, June 28, 2021

REVIEW: 'In Treatment' - Brooke and Rhonda Have Intense Reactions to Laila's Latest Actions in 'Laila - Week 6'

HBO's In Treatment - Episode 4.23 "Laila - Week 6"

When Rhonda arrives at Brooke's home distraught over her granddaughter's disappearance, Brooke seizes the opportunity to illuminate how Rhonda's unattainable expectations have marked Laila's entire life.

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 6" was written by Jackie Sibblies Drury and directed by Jessica Yu

Brooke doesn't tell Rhonda that Laila has followed through on her plans to run away to Lima, Peru. Nor does Brooke tell Laila that Rhonda is at her home worried about her well-being. The therapist acknowledges that it's ultimately up to both of them to respect the individuality and agency of the other. Moreover, they have to be aware enough of the love present within their dynamic as well. It's been contentious all season long. Rhonda has outsized expectations for her granddaughter's life. Laila has always felt the burden of living up to those expectations even though she doesn't have any idea who she truly is. Laila is a mess of complications. She contradicts herself with every impulse. Brooke has long understood that complexity. And here, the story is marked by the individuals on the couch having to do the hard work to land in potentially better places in their lives. It also affirms that Brooke is much more engaging as a therapist when she is dealing with adult patients. She is happy and relieved when Laila finally calls. She was worried about her after awhile too. She feared that Laila followed through on her suicidal thoughts. That isn't the ending for this story though. Instead, Laila escapes to live out her life. She is given the freedom to make mistakes. She is a teenager finding her place in the world. She has always had these impulses to run away. Following through on that action gives her newfound perspective. But it's also freeing to know that people are allowing her to have this control over her life. Rhonda always hunts down her granddaughter. That is the pattern that has emerged in their lives. Everything she does is out of love for her. It's pure devotion. She has given her entire life to Laila. She wants to be appreciated. Brooke does have some contempt for the ways in which Rhonda has parented Laila. She is grateful as well. They both remark on just how smart Laila is. She has found her way to another continent with her grandmother being completely in the dark about how to track her down. This freedom is necessary for her to grow. She had to do something to better live her life. She was willing to completely condemn therapy after her last session with Brooke as well. This family believes that talking about their problems with a stranger only invites new problems into their lives. Rhonda doesn't want to encourage these impulses. And yet, her controlling ways have pushed her granddaughter away. She must be accepting of Laila's decisions as an adult in order to keep her in her life. Laila's mother ran away from the family and ultimately chose to cut off all contact because it was too difficult and confusing. History could have been repeated here. Brooke's intervention hasn't always been beneficial. It built up the prospect of suicide. That threat loomed over the proceedings. It made it ominous when Brooke received Laila's phone and saw the last post on her Instagram. It's scary. The police get involved. Brooke worries about Laila as well. But she is ultimately proud of her patient. This doesn't represent the end of their journey together. In fact, most of this episode is almost presented as Brooke having to deal with a new patient altogether. That can make this episode a bit more perfunctory as it has to devote time to Rhonda's backstory and what has informed her overall decisions. She sees the freedom that comes from Laila having choices in her life. She is angry instead of admitting she is scared. Brooke can deduce so much about this women. However, her understanding is also shaded by all that she has been told about her by Laila. Brooke is protective of her patient. She worries. She is uplifted in the end. She helps bring this family closer together. It's just one conversation. The pattern of their lives may not be broken. But it's also freeing to know that they are willing to do things differently. Brooke empowers those choices. Temptation is still very real and present for her. She could slip at any moment in time. That hasn't happened though. She is more aware of her emotional turmoil. She finally feels at peace with the guidance she can offer her patients after making mistakes with all of them throughout this season. Their emotional well-being is still largely protected. They find peace and resolution. That's remarkable given all the baggage and drama Brooke was enduring in her personal life throughout the season. Her patients trusted her. She is still good at her job. She pushes when she needs to. She listens when it's required. She helps people realize important things about themselves. Sometimes it happens quickly. Sometimes it takes weeks for those revelations to occur. She has the skills to make it happen though. Some are grateful for that. They all have different reactions. And yet, the endings for Eladio, Colin and Laila all feel earned as well.