IN TREATMENT Season 2 Review, Clips: Eps 3, 4, 5

By at April 6, 2009 | 11:40 am | Print

With Season 2’s first two episodes offering both Paul’s personal woes and a classic treatment case, the rest of the week gives us an incendiary family relationship, a hyper-driven CEO and the return of Dr. Gina Toll.

Before diving in with plot summaries and reviews, it’s worth saying that Gabriel Byrne’s portrayal of Paul is as well-developed and controlled as ever, and the series’ writing is the reason In Treatment is completely habit-forming. Just my call from the gallery — enjoy the details.

:: EPISODE 3 (series episode #46)

I always wonder about the well-being of a child actor when they’re asked to express emotional pain for a movie or TV series. You usually find most are well-adjusted and intellectually advanced, but the thought is inevitable, as it is with young Aaron Shaw. He plays Oliver, a kid caught in the crossfire of his parents’ horrendous divorce process.

Oliver is Brooklyn-tough (he uses the phrase “fuck the deck” within moments of playing cards with Paul) but soft enough to express his need to sleep and eat well. As his mother, Sherri Saum oversells the overprotective mom part a bit too much, especially in her physical performance, but we’ll see what happens. As the dad, Russell Hornsby lets a little anger surface, but holds it in check enough to see we may have some interesting developments coming.

Where You’ve Seen Aaron Shaw: You haven’t really. Unless you’ve caught Maurice Jamal’s Dirty Laundry (2006).

:: EPISODE 4 (series episode #47)

I read another review of the “Thursday” sessions that said John Mahoney’s performance in this season’s In Treatment will make you forget he ever played on Frazier. So far, damn right.

Mahoney plays Walter, a hardnosed business leader wanting an instant cure for insomnia. He presents Walter as a collection of organized tics with a nerves-of-steel exterior. Byrne opts for the quiet, half-smile approach he’s cultivated so effectively for Paul. And the whole purge already comes to an unexpected conclusion…

:: EPISODE #5 (series episode #48)

If you’re a shrink, it must suck when strangers ask your line of work. You just gotta make something up. As Paul does while riding the train from NY to DC.

Seems he does this weekend commute regularly to see his kids. But this time out, he reconnects with Gina (Dianne Wiest), not for a treatment session but for more like a bullshit session.

Of course, it turns into something more, and Byrne effectively lets Paul collapse into his own self-pity and hatred, bringing to light the fears we think we see coalescing in the first four episodes. And Wiest winds the wonderful dialogue around her finger, playing the foil so well to Paul’s emotional hangups. Is there more to say between the two this season? Of course…

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