The mysterious person upstairs is revealed in an episode of Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg’s ‘The Patient’ that quickly escalates the proceedings above the pedestrian.
At the end of episode two, Dr. Alan Strauss (Steve Carell) calls out to someone, prompting them to come down the stairs into his basement prison. Initially this seemed like it would produce two results: this person would try to help him and be killed…or Sam (Domhnall Gleeson), the serial killer holding Alan hostage, has an accomplice.
The truth is closer to the latter statement, but that’s not the whole story. Moments into “Issues,” the mysterious person is revealed to be Sam’s mother, Candace (Linda Emond) who not only knows the truth about her son, but is prepared to keep Alan locked up if it helps Sam.
That’s a fun, unexpected twist, particularly when Alan wisely tries to manipulate Sam into including Candace in their sessions later in the episode. Alan clearly believes that he can leverage Sam’s love for his mother – and by proxy her confidence in keeping his secret – to help Sam and, in the process, free himself. Which makes sense…at least until this week’s cliffhanger climax proves that nothing on ‘The Patient’ is going to be simple.
After an intriguing, but subdued opening, “Issues” plays like the first truly essential episode of the limited series. We’re just under a third of the way through already, but it’s as though Fields and Weisberg acknowledge that there’s been enough groundwork laid and the time has come to really start cranking up the tension. Alan isn’t alone in this adventure anymore: Candace is involved and so is (presumably) the Greek restaurant employee that Sam has been wanting to hurt.
Now there’s another prisoner in the mix and Alan is on the verge of becoming a witness to a murder approximately ten feet away away. Yikes!
- Thus far it’s not always clear what to take away from Alan’s meditation/family flashbacks. This week’s explores the tension that arose at Ezra (Andrew Leeds)’s Orthodox Jewish wedding when Alan’s wife Beth (Laura Niemi) insisted on singing. Seeing men get up and leave, as both Ezra and his sister Shoshana (Renata Friedman) plead silently with Alan to intervene. It’s awkwardness personified.
- This does raise an interesting wrinkle in the proceedings: back in the first episode, Sam mentioned that Alan was one of three Jewish therapists that he considered. Alan clearly has an uneasy relationship with religion & Ezra and, in episode 2, Beth threw a celebratory cake against the wall following another awkward encounter. I’m curious to know how this all ties together and love to hear from folks with closer ties to Jewish faith.
- Looking ahead: Greek restaurant guy is a goner, right?
‘The Patient’ airs Tuesdays on Hulu (in the US) and Disney+ (in Canada)