In Treatment: Who Is Your Daddy, and What Does He Do?

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Photo: Courtesy of HBO
Episode Title
Week Five: Oliver, Walter, and Gina
Season
2
Episode
22-25

Oliver: Luke, I Am Your Father
Father issues arise as Oliver tests Luke. Oliver found that being perfect didn’t fix things, so now he’s trying to spread the pain. A bully put dog shit in Oliver’s locker; Luke says, “He’s fat and he smells bad. I’d bully him too.” Paul notes that Oliver would like to be adopted. Luke’s narcissistic non sequitur, “Does he even love me?” launches his too-familiar story about being abandoned by a cheating father who has since died and leads Paul to a flat epiphany that sets up two better episodes: “Sometimes you remind yourself of your father ... You almost understand how he could hurt you the way he did. But you’re not doomed to live your father’s life. You have a choice.”

Walter: O.D. He Didn't!
In the show’s strongest episode yet, Walter’s in the hospital for what he calls food poisoning, but which his daughter says is something else. He tried to quietly overdose and failed — and can’t acknowledge this to himself or to Paul. Echoes of April: Walter didn’t want his daughter to have to take care of him. He turns on Paul; a background check revealed Alex’s father’s lawsuit. They both have blood on their hands, but Paul’s young enough to still have a choice. Paul will recommend that they hold Walter as a danger to himself, so Walter unsheathes the businessman’s sharpest weapon: his lawyer. Paul tells him to get in line. A second secret from the daughter: Her perfect mother has a substance-abuse problem.

Gina: Love Will Tear Us Apart
Paul wants his wife back, but she has someone else, so he needs another way through his grief — and to find out how to help his clients with theirs. Gina tries to ground things, but it’s a big episode of big themes. If Paul’s father loved him but could never give him time, then love means nothing. And, in the end, echoes of Walter: The old man had fewer problems, but no time left. Gina tells him love is the one thing with a chance against death, and that he’ll now have to be a better father to himself and his kids. A meeting with Alex’s father leaves us with a cliff-hanger: He’ll drop the suit if Paul will write a letter declaring that he has, yes, blood on his hands.