Tuesday, September 6, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Patient' - Alan and Sam Continue to Communicate While More People Are Brought Into Their Environment in 'Issues'

FX's The Patient - Episode 1.03 "Issues"

Sam's desire to find a therapeutic solution grows as his inner struggle intensifies. Dr. Strauss brings a new variable into their sessions.

"Issues" was written by Joel Fields & Joe Weisberg and directed by Kevin Bray

Sam was reluctant to embrace therapy because he feared all his problems would be blamed on his mother. That's how little he valued the process of this work. He obviously got over those preconceptions. He saw Alan as someone who could genuinely help him. And yet, Sam's mother is easily accessible. She lives upstairs from where Alan is being held against his will. He would love nothing more than for someone to unchain him so he can escape to freedom. Candace doesn't want to do that. She doesn't want her son to get into trouble. She feels compelled to protect him no matter what. He continually does terrible things. She always accepts him. Life is difficult. She doesn't understand all that he is going through. She is even convinced that Alan can provide Sam with the cure he so desperately needs. This therapy is a slow and tedious process. Alan can't offer an immediate solution that can fix Sam of all his problems. He can possibly provide his patient with the tools necessary to better cope with the world. That also requires all involved to feel trusted throughout this process. The thought of killing Sam is still at the forefront of Alan's mind. He wants to ease Sam's concerns. Removing the chain won't immediately change anything. The doctor will still be confined to this space. Sam is more physically capable than Alan is. That argument isn't persuasive. It's the latest example of Alan doing whatever it takes to end this captivity. They have all be futile. He reaches out to better understand. Doing the work provides some dimension to his day. It's still completely on Sam's time table. Alan recognizes how Sam isn't alone in this struggle. Candace is willing and able to help. She reaches out in support. She also understands how wrong this entire premise is. She refuses to do anything about it. She doesn't want her child to suffer. She is very protective of him. They survived a lot together. They have become codependent. As such, they essentially prop up the bad vices the other has. Candace knows how troubled her son is. She has done nothing to prevent him from killing again. Those consequences remain elusive. He's still proud about what he has done. Every person he killed deserved it for some reason. He has those rationalizations in his head. Right now, Alan is focused on the restaurant manager who is the current subject of Sam's fascination. He doesn't want anything to happen to him. That's the immediate concern. Sam promised to try to communicate with his therapist before taking any lethal actions. Even that may be completely pointless in the end. The house is slowly growing more populated. It's still an isolating experience for Alan. He hopes to maintain some rationality and dignity. Those ideals are slowly fading away. His entire life is consumed by what Sam wants.

Alan sees the benefit of family therapy. He believes it's necessary to have Sam and Candace sitting in the same room and talking about these issues. Sam thought he could carry out this insane scheme without his mother ruining it. She never goes to the basement anyway. She certainly has her trepidations. However, it's still striking when she is willing to communicate her feelings while Sam is unable to engage with her on the same level. He can't even look at her. He's incredibly defensive because he believes he knows how she will share the details of their family. He can't speak to her every action though. He can't inform how she responded to the world. She has a perspective that's necessary for Alan to do his job. Alan hopes to pivot the argument around doing what's best to keep Candace protected. If Sam continues to kill, then that will only increase the odds of him some day causing a lot of heartache for Candace. That argument is convincing for a day. Again, it showcases the various tools Alan is willing to employ in order to handle this situation like any of his typical cases. This is anything but typical though. He is chained to a bed in a basement. Candace responded to him once. She engaged in the therapy too. Afterwards, Alan is left crying out only to receive no response. Instead, he's woken up in the middle of the night with Sam dragging his latest victim into this environment. The situation mirrors the pattern he started with Alan. Sam didn't kill the people he has brought home. He simply wants them tied up in a situation he can control. That's striking because it's suppose to represent improvement. He wants to resist these temptations. He still acts out in a violent way. That may remain impossible to ever change. Alan knows exactly what it's like to struggle with a child's actions. He saw no problem with his wife performing at his son's wedding. And yet, the simple act of her doing so was offensive to the religion and culture Ezra embraced. It all seems so trivial and silly. Ezra looks to his father believing he should do something to stop this. Instead, Alan is looking at the woman he loves so much. That creates all this distance within the family. It haunts Alan to this day. He remembers his wife dying and their son not being there. Her deathbed was surrounded by family. One person was still absent. It was a result of people failing to understand and empathize. Alan and Beth don't know how their son came to embrace this particular life. It means something to him. They want to behave how they would have before this change occurred. They don't want to recognize it. It creates so much awkwardness and pain. That goes left unsaid. And now, that's all Alan can think about as he's forced to face what could very well be the last remaining days of his life in this prison. He can't change the circumstances either. It's all too late even though Sam and Candace desperately hope Alan can provide them with something to completely change their lives.