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'In Treatment': All's surprisingly well that ends extremely well

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Intreatmenthope_l Closing out a superb season of In Treatment this week, last night’s final sessions with Hope Davis’ Mia and Alison Pill’s April were enough to put a tired smile on the face of Gabriel Byrne’s Dr. Paul Weston.

Mia entered by announcing with typical drama, “I’m stopping therapy”… and then spent the rest of her session wheedling Weston for his approval and his disappointment. It’s been Davis’ great achievement to render Mia a woman who is intelligent, infuriating, funny, exciting, hyper-self-conscious, and impossible. Paul was actually able to help her achieve — there’s no other word for it — closure on the therapy that had begun between the two of them 20 years ago. Just as important, he helped her through a few crucial steps in dealing with her Daddy issues, even if in a sometimes roundabout manner. (With perfect wryness, Mia said at one point, “Nicely done: You’ve managed to double-back to Dad without even mentioning him.”) The door was left open for more work with Mia, though I assume Hope Davis has other commitments, and that the writers will move on to another Monday patient, don’t you?

As for April, the 23 year-old arrived with good news: “the mass behind my spine is shrinking.” Her cancer is by no means gone, but she was ready to leave Paul’s tender care. And he understood it was time for her to leave, and conducted a lovely exit session. Of course, not without a few barbed observations from our prickly patient. When Paul pressed her to be more aware of what her mind and body tells her instead of trying to ignore psychic and physical pain, April said, “Teaching people to be self-obsessed? Do you really think I need more help in that department?”  I admit it: I teared up when Paul gave her his dead father’s leather cap to replace the itchy wool one she was wearing on her scratchy shaven skull. God, I’m going to miss April.

Wow: two for two, Paul! See, you’re the good therapist your therapist, Gina, has been telling you you are. Make sure to watch In Treatment‘s final three sessions tonight, and then petition HBO to renew this marvelous series.