DVD Review: In Treatment (Season Three)

Gabriel Byrne is back as Dr. Paul Weston for a third season of In Treatment. This time around he’s doing his best to help out three different patients while trying to work out his own problems with a new therapist of his own.

Seeking guidance this season are Sunil (Irrfan Khan), a Bengali widower in his fifties who has been forced to move to New York to live with his son and daughter-in-law; Frances (Debra Winger), a famous actress whose sister was treated by Paul many years earlier who is now dealing with that sister’s decline in health; and Jesse (Dane DeHaan), an angst ridden teenage boy dealing with his homosexuality as well as the recent discovery of his birth parents. Assisting Paul with his life is Adele (Amy Ryan) a young therapist that Paul develops a crush on.

As with the previous season, each episode focuses on one therapy session for each of the characters, which is what really makes this an engaging and unique show. There are no explosions or car chases or anything like that. It is two people in a room with only their acting chops and some well written dialogue to guide them. Still, the show manages to have some story and character arc not only for the patients, but for Paul as well as he deals with his issues in small segments at the beginning and/or end of every episode.

Highlights for this season are Sunil and Adele. Sunil is instantly the most likable character of his three patients, which makes his violent turns as the season progresses all the more disturbing. You may recognize Irrfan Khan from his roles in The Darjeeling Limited and Slumdog Millionaire but most of his films have been foreign films. This role really gives him a chance to shine in front of an American audience. Adele isn’t the most interesting character, but Amy Ryan brings her to life and shows that she has a lot more to offer than the goofy love interest of Michael Scott on The Office.

Debra Winger gives a fantastic performance as the narcissistic Frances, but her character is so annoying you’d hardly notice. It’s really the end of the series when you realize how great her performance has been. The same goes fro Dane DeHaan as Jesse is easily the most annoying character that Paul has had to help yet. There are so many times when you just want to reach into the screen and slap some sense into him.

In Treatment is a fantastic show that allows actors to really show what they’re made of. With nothing else to distract you from their performance they really have no choice but to give 110% and they all do. You may not like all the characters, but you can’t deny the talent and skill that does into making each and every episode of this show.

In Treatment is presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. This is an extremely well produced show and it looks and sounds fantastic. You really don’t get many moments that show off the surround sound, but that’s not what this show is about. It’s an intimate show that is highlighted perfectly by the audio and sound that it has.

Sadly there are no special features on this set. Especially since this might be the last season of the show. Interviews with the cast on their experiences making the show would have been very interesting.

Despite its lack of special features, In Treatment really is one of the better shows that HBO has put out. It might not be as flashy and in your face as some of the others, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s that good.

HBO presents In Treatment: Season 3. Created by: Hagai Levi. Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Irrfan Khan, Debra Winger, Dane DeHaan and Amy Ryan. Based on the Israeli TV series: BeTipul. Running time: 840 min. 28 episodes on four discs. Rating: TV-MA. Released on DVD: October 4, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.

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