Monday, June 28, 2021

REVIEW: 'In Treatment' - Brooke and Adam Discuss the Roles They Serve in Each Other's Lives in 'Brooke - Week 6'

HBO's In Treatment - Episode 4.24 "Brooke - Week 6"

In the wake of her much-needed self-analysis, Brooke contemplates how startling revelations might impact her future with her son and inform her relationship with Adam.

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 6" was directed by Jessica Yu with story by Jennifer Schuur & Joshua Allen and teleplay by Jennifer Schuur

From the very beginning, Adam has been labeled as a bad influence on Brooke. In reality, they are actually bad influences on each other. That is a key distinction. It only comes to the forefront now because Adam has the self-respect to demand they finish their fight. It offers clarity to both of them within this relationship. It still concludes in sex. But that's the end for them at this moment in time. Of course, Adam always hangs onto the certainty that one day Brooke will choose to stay with him. That's why he is always devoted to her. When she is drinking, she wants to be with him too. It's only in sobriety that she has the understanding that this relationship isn't the best for her. As such, he blames so much of her problems on her thinking during sobriety. It also showcases just how ignorant he is about addiction. He doesn't know why Brooke struggles with controlling how much she drinks and how she behaves afterwards. When that temptation is around her, she is going to drink in order to avoid dealing with the emotions that consume her life. And yes, she isn't fully willing to embrace sobriety once more until the end of the season. That's how all of this concludes. Sure, she had an insightful therapy session with herself last week. That provided her with new perspective during her week with her patients. She was able to serve them in new ways that hopefully made things better. She has the clarity of knowing that El is going to be well taken care of by another therapy. She continues to challenge Colin to dig deep into his true animosity towards humanity. She is proud of Laila for actually living her life and embracing the freedom she has long strived to maintain. It's always been much more difficult for her to be aware of her own behavior and the way that its toxic effects damage her relationships. Drinking is the core problem. It's not all that she must overcome. She is determined to prove others wrong. So many people tell her that Adam isn't good for her. She can do better. He is simply the safe and comfortable choice. She knows how she is with him. And yet, that only further highlights the downfall she has had in this relationship. She knew what they were like as a couple previously. She truly believed this time would be different regarding her drinking. She has a new understanding of her life and her relationship with alcohol. She could handle things differently. It still swirls around the same pattern with Adam. Nothing has truly changed at all. They both desperately want this dynamic to work. That comes from how well they know each other. However, the narrative hasn't put in the work to make it seem like this connection has some major benefits. Part of that is a stylistic choice. They aren't meant to be good for each other. And yet, they must be a compelling couple to watch on television. Otherwise, it's pointless to spend this much time with them and their relationship. And yes, not all of it was ultimately worthwhile in the end. It's all about Brooke's journey and getting to the point where she makes that call to Rita. The expectation was that she would end this season meeting her son for the first time. Instead, she has enough awareness to realize that reconnecting with Rita and working on her sobriety is more urgent. She knew that she was pursuing this biological connection to provide some deeper meaning for her life. She didn't actually care what was going on with her son and why he never tried to find her. She still has a vested interest in this story. She wants it to work out. She isn't in the right place for this meeting to happen though. Sometimes she has that clarity. Sometimes she willfully ignores it. That defines her relationship with Adam too. She can sometimes toss aside his cruel comments and jokes. Other times, she has to address them upfront. They have different expectations of what they want from this connection. That too extends from Brooke's uncertainty in her life. Her work used to always be enough. That came from her being too scared to expand her world even further. She is comfortable in her place in this world. Her downfall has been illuminating to her. Her regaining her sobriety may not make these feelings go away either. She simply can no longer ignore them by making them disappear through alcohol. She is taking the steps to confront her true self. That's the resolution Brooke herself receives at the end of the season. It's personal while still mostly feeling tangential compared to the stories that defined Eladio, Colin and Laila. Brooke works extremely well in those settings. The turmoil in her personal life is a much more complicated plot point that reveals the ways in which this format can be incredibly blunt with its themes. Brooke may make progress on herself in the future. It requires hard work. Rita is the person she'll lean on in that endeavor. It's a celebration. It may not be as clarifying as Brooke expects it to be as Rita herself has had limitations within this narrative.