HBO's In Treatment: Paul, Adele, a final session

I loved "In Treatment" this season. And I am crazy about the final shot of Paul walking away and disappearing into a Brooklyn street scene.

I feel like I have issues with the way each of the four final episodes ended, but I hate endings and separation. I hesitate to use this term with all the "pros" who have been reading these "In Treatment" posts and threads the past few weeks, but I do believe I have been experiencing separation anxiety the last few days about this series ending. And I think that anxiety -- rather than the episodes themselves -- is the reason for my issues.

Or maybe I am simply starting to lose my clarity -- just like Paul.

Actually Paul is way down the road of lost clarity.

As he himself said to Adele in Tuesday's finale: "I'm 57 years old and I lost my way."

Is Paul lost? Or, is he being self-pitying and overly dramatic again?

Was Adele a good therapist for him? Or, did she simply enjoy her intellectual dominance of him -- not that she was necessarily so much smarter, but she had, as Paul said in their first meeting, "clarity."

Show runners Dan Futterman and Anya Epstein did tackle big issues yhis season and they didn't flinch when it came to attacking the very core principles of psychoanalysis.

"I'm convinced I cannot spend the next 10 to 20 years of my life like this: locked in a room listening," Paul says.

Yes, how weird does that make some analysts? And how do they guard against it? By going into analysis with another analyst who spends her or his life locked in a room listening. And isn't it interesting that Paul said "locked." Who "locks" them in? They're not literally locked in, are they? So what does he mean?

I was also intrigued by the way he questioned the use of the word "relationship" for the situation between therapist and patient.

"It's only a 'relationship' created in this room by the artifice of therapy," he says to Adele when she uses the word to describe what she and he have.

Yes, it's a construct created by the "artifice of therapy." I do hope some of the pros who lurk here will step up and explain what's "real" and what's created only by "artifice" and why patients shouldn't wind up more confused -- just like Paul claims to be -- by being in therapy.

And, finally, he questions the pain that confusion would cause. (I won't use the empty word "journey" to describe the "relationship.") Is the pain of therapy worth it? Adele is clear as a bell that it is, but Paul says not for him.

You have to appreciate a drama that questions the very foundations of the world on which it is based. The season has been nothing if not daring and brave.


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