Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ugly Betty 2x13: A Thousand Words By Friday

(Spoilers for Ugly Betty 2x13, A Thousand Words By Friday)

An interesting episode, though I doubt I'd have been satisfied at all if it had been the strike-forced finale. Loved the idea of Henry out-Tapping Gio, and it was really a great wake-up call to the idea that Henry is perfect and could never be a cad. I like Henry when he shows a bit of a dark side; it makes him much more interesting than the nice but ultimately boring guy we've gotten for over a season now, I'm still rooting for Gio, but Henry showed potential here.

As for the other threads, pretty good. Amanda singing, meh. I like Wilhelmina's sis, so I'm hoping 'the truth' isn't anything huge and disturbing. I do like how, even if they didn't overtly mention it, you could see Sofia's effect on Daniel here really well. Good episode all round, though they've had better.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In Treatment: Sophie, Week Three

"I don't have a heart."

(Spoilers for Wednesday, February 13's episode.)

Welcome back, Sophie!

So, a very interesting episode this week, with Sophie revealing she did indeed had a too-intimate relationship with her coach that involved their having sex once. A lot of interesting details shade her story - she doesn't remember ever not knowing Cy, he discovered her, his wife 'didn't trust' him when she left but trusted Sophie, he initiated it with his looks and holding his breath... This Cy guy seems like quite a character, and not in a good way.

Also wondering what mother-related issues Sophie has, considering her disgust with her mother. Her mother's lack of support for gymnastics seems to make sense now that we know about the bulimia, anorexia and now inappropriate Coach-Sophie interaction. The way she spoke about Darlene and how guilty she felt, along with her 'shades-of-transference' hugging Kate last week all seem connected to me. Last week's comment about gossip was also followed through on here, as Sophie reveals everyone thought they were "doing it" long before it actually occurred.

Also of note is how Sophie made steps toward therapy - asking to use the chair for a bit, asking him to pretend they were in therapy, before delving into her relationship with Cy. Interesting that this occurs just after Alex begins official 'therapy'.

I feel very much for Sophie and her ill-taken belief that she 'breaks everything'. Since a big problem with divorces is the children blaming themselves, this rings true with what I've heard, and I'm wondering whether her parents even addressed the issue at all. Sophie did skip from their scary grins to her father moving out, after all. In relation to this, when Paul tells her it isn't her fault, I could almost imagine he was feeling a little connected to it, as he may have to say the same to his children if he and Kate divorce.

I'm starting to want to meet these peripheral characters - Andrew, Michaela, Cy. They really do have an influence on the patients' lives. I doubt we will, but its still an idea that intrigues me.

In Treatment

"The customer is always wrong."

What is In Treatment?

It's a half-hour drama that airs each weekday on American network HBO, following a therapist, Paul (Gabriel Byrne, pictured above) and his Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday patients, while on Friday he himself goes to see another therapist. It's extremely well done, with the psychological analysis and the complex characters making each episode a treat. I'm a few days behind - currently downloading 1x13 and the show's up to 1x15 - but I've loved every episode so far.

And the cast is excellent. I never saw Melissa George on Alias, but here she works well as Laura on Mondays, whose big secret revealed in the pilot sets off pretty much all the arcs for Paul that make his reactions to the sessions interesting to see in his own Friday sessions. Tuesdays bring Blair Underwood as Alex (my favourite patient by far), a navy pilot who quickly builds up an antagonism with Paul and has a lot bubbling underneath. Wednesdays bring Mia Wasikowska as Sophie, whose teenage angst is player perfectly as we peer into the life of a talented and damaged young gymnast. Thursdays bring Embeth Davidtz and Josh Charles as couple Amy and Jake, whose couples therapy sessions are my least favourite but still hold a lot of drama.

However, the series is about Paul, and Fridays are where it all culminates - his struggles with his patients and his family all move towards a climax as we, after interpreting a week of hints and expressions, finally get to see what's going on in his head. His sessions with Gina, played by the excellent Dianne Wiest, are revelatory both in their (non-romanitic) backstory and their dynamic. We see that, despite being a therapist Paul will never be able to properly analyse himself, and routinely falls into the same holes his patients do while when facing a therapist.

Another favourite is Michelle Forbes as his wife, Kate. She appears with less regularity, but her character is full of fire and Forbes brings it full force every time we see her. She gets a great showcase in 1x09, one that made me fall in love with the character and hope she comes back with much more regularity.

The writing, acting, directing of this series all get top marks from me. There's something about this series, and how it's avoided more buzz and notice I don't understand. It's challenging to keep up with, but wholly rewarding. I have half a mind to track down Betipul, the Isreali series it's based on, just because waiting 1-2 days in between episodes is agony.