This week we have seen that all of the patients, Paul included, are struggling with fears and feelings about being left. Mia was left by her parents when they sent her away. April was left by her parents when they failed to notice she was gone and by her mother when her attention was so singularly focused on Daniel. Oliver is left by his parents as they continue to fight over the corpse of their marriage. Walter was left by his brother who died and by his parents in their grief and now is left by his daughter and possibly by his company. And Paul was left by his father and mother and has left his son. Five patients scarred by and scared of leaving and being left. Five patients all reluctant to be in therapy, which they fear can only bring them more leaving and more abandonment.
Setting boundaries -- Paul seems to have difficulty setting boundaries on patients who have really strong personalities. This happened last season with Laura and with Alex -- in both cases he allowed them to act out without placing limits on what was acceptable in therapy. And we see again this season with Mia and Walter that he is not setting limits on behavior that can be destructive to the whole therapeutic endeavor.
Paul is at the breakfast table in his apartment. Tammy comes in. The phone rings and it is Rosie. Paul asks if she has to leave because he thought they would take the train down together. Rosie is asking him about his father. She hangs up on him.
He runs into Tammy again at Gina's. She says Mark -- her husband? -- is in the car. She looks anxious and says she has to go.
Paul goes in to see Gina. She asks if he is okay. He says his father is sick, in late stage Parkinson's. Paul snaps at her. Paul says he can't talk with him. He is in a nursing home. Paul is angry he has to take care of him, and says he thinks his father deliberately mishandled his finances so he would have to take care of him. He says he is just waiting for him to die. Paul says it isn't that his absence is different because he was never there.
Paul discloses that he has talked with Tammy. Tammy revealed that Paul's father was with his mother when she tried to kill herself, that he went with her to the hospital. Tammy told him that his father called her mother all the time to check on his mother. and his sons. Patrick was out playing sports. Gina says his father was at work, his brother out playing sports leaving him with his mother. She talks about the unreliablility of memory. She tells him she knows his feelings are warranted but the facts may be different for that night. Paul is angry that his father did not get her into the hospital, instead leaving him to worry every day about what he would find. Gina says maybe he didn't want to take his mother away from him, or him away from his mother.
We hear Walter yelling on the phone outside the door.
Walter is still on the phone when he comes in. He tells his secretary not to call for 40 minutes. There is a business crisis. Paul offers to reschedule. Water says they have already rescheduled from earlier in the evening. Walter tries to hand him cash for his time. Paul asks if he is paying for the session in cash, but he says no, for the time lost to the rescheduling. Walter's phone rings.
Walter tells Paul about a power struggle in the office. Paul asks him to slow down because it seems like he is in the middle of a breaking crisis. Walter goes on again about what happened. Paul says he seems unable to focus and maybe they should refocus. Walter says no, he needs him now and it could be a month before he could talk again.
Walter tells Paul he spent the last 44 out of 72 hours on a plane. He tells him he flew to Rwanda to get Natalie because he knew she was in trouble. She didn't ask him to come but he knew there was trouble. He and Natalie had talked or emailed every day of her life but a week before she emailed her mother full of worry about him. He couldn't believe the way she was writing was her voice, that there was something wrong. When he got there he found she had cut off all of her hair. He says he didn't know who he was talking to -- no shoes, very thin, a child in her arms. He stood there looking at her and she asked why he was there. He says he is taking her home. She says no, she is busy. She suggests he lie down in one of the shacks there and he is appalled by the conditions. He took all of her stuff from the shack. She gets furious and screams at him for this. He got very angry. She started to cry and he held her. He tells her again they are going home. She told him to go fuck himself. Walter says she broke his heart with that.
Paul is doing a video chat with his son about how he is doing in school. There's a knock on the door and Paul tells his son he has to go because he has a patient. Max thinks it is a girlfriend.
Bess arrives to pick up the turtle. As Paul gets the turtle, Bess says Oliver has been with Luke all week. She tells him she had time to read and had a difficult three hour phone call with her sister. Bess gives Paul cookies for having cared for the turtle. Bess seems to be seeking care from Paul for herself.
Oliver and his parents are all on the couch. Paul asks how the week was. Oliver says great. He and his father went to a basketball game, watched The Godfather, went to museums. Bess asks how he slept and he says fine. Bess is looking for problems. She brings up the turtle that Oliver forgot. Oliver takes out some electronic device and says again that he got his homework done, that Nina came to help him. Bess is not happy that Nina was there. Bess feels that Luke asked Oliver to keep Nina a secret. But Oliver says he already knew her because she was his teacher last year. Bess is angry. Oliver doesn't want to say more because whatever he says makes it worse. Paul suggests that he and Oliver go to the waiting room so Luke and Bess can talk.
Paul is at his table reading the paper when the phone rings. It is April asking if she can come in early.
April comes in and has her big project for school with her. Paul asks to look at it. It is a model of two spiky towers which she says is meant to be a World Trade Center memorial. Paul compliments it.
April says she is really tired -- because of her anxiety and the lymphoma. She lies down on the couch. She says she couldn't sleep the night before. Her heart was racing, like there was something poison running through her veins and she wished she could open and make it run out. Paul tells her when she said that he thought of cancer. She says chemo, he says no, because she can choose not to have chemo.
She says it reminds her of a time when she had a song she could not get out of her head and she thought she was going insane. he asks he what she thinks that would feel like and she said falling. He asks what she kept thinking about. She tells him she kept thinking she wanted to go home but she couldn't because her home is so long ago and so far away. She tells him she is so tired she wants to lie down for a minute. She asks him to wake her at 8 -- it is 7:59. He agrees. He watches her and then a moment later softly calls her name. He gets up and touches her shoulder to try to waken her. She asks what time it is. Good she says -- it is over because the project was due yesterday but she had until 8 to turn it in. She gets up and smashes it. She says it was hideous and critiques it. Paul tells her it is very hard to see her destroy her own work. April says she did fall asleep and she dreamed she was on the model, that it was life-sized and she fell. She says it was like joy. Paul says it is different from falling into nothing. In her dream she is able to fall and release everything that she holds so tightly under control while she is awake. She is angry because now she will have to think about it. She compares what he said to how her brother is. Paul says he notices she is often trying to feel what her brother feels and that maybe she does this instead of feeling her own feelings.
Mia is outside and Paul is late for their appointment which is very early on Monday morning. Paul arrives and apologizes.
Mia wants to know why Paul is late. Paul asks about her being upset. Mia is angry that they are starting 12 minutes late. Mia asks if he had a girl friend. She says this is more home than an office. He deflects her questions. She persists in making hostile observations rather than talk about her anger. Paul asks if she is afraid he will leave again.
Mia says she doesn't want to be there. She doesn't like brownstones. She says she did not think about last week's session. Paul says he did, about her comment at the door, that he owed her a child. She continues to spar with him. She asks about Laura. Mia has read the deposition from Laura. Mia keeps talking about Laura. She tells Paul that Laura says he broke the rules for her and that he had an affair with her. She continues to goad him. Paul tries to get back to Mia and what she did -- that she crossed a boundary by reading the deposition and then bringing it there. She throws the deposition on the floor and says it is his.