Suddenly speaking English, refusing to take medication - often In Treatment will give you the anticipated, but all is forgiven when watching the actors deal with these sometimes clunky stories and cliched lines. It is a master acting class to watch Gabriel Byrne and Irrfan Khan.
"So, do I look familiar?"
Speaking of cliches, Debra Winger's back story as Frances is drowning in them. This is why the elusive actress, the subject of Rosanna Arquette's Searching for Debra Winger, came to HBO? With Frances, the writers seem unsure of what to do with the distinguished actress and in a panic have thrown at her every disaster that could befall a middle-aged actress - unfaithful husband, overly rebellious daughter, dying sister, and the worst of all, forgetting her lines.
A self-awareness at writing about an archetypal actress using an archetypal actress is not enough. It's hard to reconcile that by taking a role in a theatre production of Night of the Iguana that Frances is in someway betraying her role as a mother and caring sister. Doesn't the woman have to work? At least to pay her therapist fees? Is this memory problem really going to be about menopause?
There are, however, glimpses of hope for the half-hour spent in the company of Frances and the icy brilliance of Debra Winger. Did you notice when Paul asks Frances if she had notified her sister, Patricia, a patient of his long ago, of having appointment with him, Frances is evasive: "She speaks very highly of you," and Paul allows her to be: "Oh, she does?" and he sits a little higher in his therapist chair. This may be an indication that Frances, despite all her dramatic problems, will be a formidable opponent, and skillful and entertaining verbal sparring will result.
"I tried to friend you, but then I discovered you're not on Facebook. Are you a libertarian or something?"
One thing that In Treatment has done very well all along is casting, especially for its teenage roles. In the first season, Mia Wasikowska played Sophie, an anorexic gymnast in a highlight of the premiere. Despite Mia looking neither anorexic nor gymnastically inclined, it was a breakout role for the actress who went on to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. In Season Two, Alison Pill was heartbreaking as the cancer-stricken college student in deep denial about her disease. Pill, a vastly talented theatre actor in New York, translated exceptionally well onto the television screen.