In The treatment is back for a fourth season after a 10-year hiatus. We all need a new therapist now, and HBO has provided one in the form of Uzo Aduba as Dr. Brooke Taylor (his first leading role since winning his second Emmy, for his performance in as Shirley Chisholm in Mrs America). If you shrink back slightly from the idea of such a powerful actor being hampered in a role that primarily suggests stillness in expectation – well, fear not. I can’t say much more without revealing various twists and turns on the character, but – given that she seems to be slightly misinterpreted in the first episode – it’s worth noting that In Treatment has, and rightly been, always been about. long term rewards. This revival is no exception.
We follow Dr. Taylor through his sessions with three patients and his own therapist through the traditional treatment structure – one episode with each in turn, then repeating the cycle, rather than each episode spanning multiple scenarios to normal television. First up, there’s home aide Eladio (played so intelligently, delicately, and heart-wrenchingly by Anthony Ramos that you can’t help but feel like you’re watching a career-defining performance), who is either a world-class manipulator in search of drugs for an addiction or a young soul already lost in the American mental health system. He’s the one who gives us our first indication of the good doctor’s potential problems with limits and the demons that push her to push them.
Then there’s John Benjamin Hickey doing a great job with the much less finely drawn character of Colin, whose last name might as well be Zeitgeist given the number of searing issues his writer has piled up for him. Colin is a hippie kid turned tech multimillionaire, sentenced to five years in prison for investor fraud. He denies any financial harm he caused, the violence he committed in prison, and the pervasive sexist and racist attitudes of his white man, which become increasingly evident in his court-mandated sessions with Dr. Taylor.
He ostentatiously marvels at its success, protests against the cancellation of culture, and unwittingly proclaims his narcissism at every turn. Colin’s episodes are largely written by Zack Whedon, brother of Joss, the once revered Buffy creator who recently found out that his own previous behavior was being publicly questioned, and you can only hope to be a fly on the wall at their next family reunion. Hopefully at least one of them will pull off a standalone drama out of it, and we can get the popcorn for the dummy render.
Somewhere between these two extreme clients is 18-year-old Laila (Quintessa Swindell), brought in by her beautifully malicious grandmother (Charlayne Woodard) who wants Taylor to explain the hardships that “choosing to be a lesbian” will bring. Once Grandma is gone, Laila prefers to present herself as a sex addict, but a minute of work reveals that she is as unclear about what she really is, like any teenager with an overwhelming presence constantly dictating. the terms of his life.
Overall, the new series is a more blunt tool than the previous three – especially those based on the two original Israeli series created by Hagai Levi, BeTipul. And it has some of the same weaknesses, such as sometimes crushed dialogue. Laila, for example, delivers a monologue about the destruction the Doctor’s Generation has caused to the world that begins with “You haven’t done anything about global warming, racism or whatever” and ends with ” I only have this body to enjoy. ”If teens really talk like that these days, well, a flaming death for all of us doesn’t suddenly seem so bad.
But, beyond all this, the spectacle has Aduba. She can do the comedic moments (“You must have, like, 50” says Laila. “Thanks, I’m 72,” she replies), the looking intelligence – shrouded in warmth for Eladio, sharpened to a sharper edge for Colin, the deepest emotional moments as Taylor comes to terms with her own therapist and her backstory begins to reveal itself. If the whole spectacle does not exceed the sum of its parts, it is lots of parts and Aduba holds them all together and makes them work. It is worth reserving your hours again.