This Thursday, April 7, Arte inaugurates season 2 of the event series created by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (“Hors Normes”). After the 2015 attacks, the pandemic now hovers over Doctor Dayan’s office, faced with new patients.
Five years after the Bataclan attacks, the day after the first confinement, the psychoanalyst Philippe Dayan (Frederic Pierrot) welcomes four new patients: Inès (Eye Haidara), a lonely forty-year-old lawyer, Robin (Aliocha Delmotte), an overweight teenager who was bullied at school, Lydia (Suzanne Lindon), a student who came to share a dark secret, and Alain (Jacques Weber), a business leader caught up in a media turmoil… Divorced, sued by the family of one of his former patients, Doctor Dayan turns to Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a renowned analyst and essayist whose support he hopes for his ongoing trial.
In Therapy season 2, created by Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache and Laetitia Gonzalez
Every Thursday at 8:55 p.m. on Arte and in full on Arte.tv
New patients, new issues
Exit the Parisian firm, Ariane (Mélanie Thierry), Damien (Pio Marmaï), Léonora (Clémence Poésy) and Esther (Carole Bouquet), his former supervisor. After the emotional explosion caused by the tragic death of Adel Chibane (Reda Kateb), who left to go to war in Syria in a desperate act after being traumatized by his intervention on the evening of the Bataclan attacks, Philippe Dayan changed his living environment. .
Five years have passed since this event which jeopardized his career. Awaiting the trial initiated by Adel’s family, who accuse him of not having been able to prevent his acting out, Dayan, whose marriage was in serious trouble, is now divorced and has taken his quarters in a small house in the suburbs of Paris.
He welcomes new faces there who will punctuate the season with their appointments, in the hushed calm of his new office. Quiet indeed, because Dayan is marked by loneliness in this season, plagued by doubt and fear of not having been able to measure up, and the troubles exposed by his new patients will find a particular echo in him.
All so different from each other, these new protagonists explore different stages of life: adolescence and its torments linked to the gaze of others and the fear of rejection through young Robin, the absolute taboo of illness at an where one feels all-powerful for Lydia, the fear of having sacrificed everything for her career and the weight of the family heritage for Inès, arriving at a pivotal moment in her life, and finally the time of the examination of conscience for Alain, a septuagenarian caught up in existential anxiety attacks.
All these issues will confront Dayan with the limits of his practice, which he continues to cross inexorably. His new supervisor, Claire, in charge of helping him prepare for the trial that could cost him his career, will try to understand where this savior syndrome that hinders him comes from.
COVID-19 in the background
Written at the end of 2020, at the heart of the third wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, this season supervised by Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat (Nona and her daughters) takes hold of this collective trauma. to transcribe it on an individual scale, through words and gestures.
While seeing characters on screen wearing a mask creates a startling effect of rejection at first, the series offers the opportunity to step aside and take a step back from this paradigm shift. By paying attention to the rituals integrated by each and the fears they can arouse, the series also depicts a way of caring for others, in the extension of the therapeutic work initiated by the clients when they enter Dayan’s practice.
They are also ready-made means for certain characters to illustrate their fear of loss, of abandonment. When he compulsively washes his hands with hydroalcoholic gel and insists on measuring the exact distance between the couch and the therapist’s chair to respect the recommended meter distance, Robin is actually prey to anxiety at the idea that his parents divorce, and for which he imagines himself to be responsible.
As for Lydia, it was the fact of having been contaminated by the virus that pushed her to go to the hospital, where she carried out tests which revealed to her a health problem quite different from what she imagined. related to the pandemic. Isolated from her loved ones during confinement, she is then unable to confide in herself, and refuses to ask for help, creating fertile ground for her neuroses.
Therapy and its ghosts
A veritable individual and collective shock wave, this epidemic has been a catalyst for everyone’s concerns, the fallout from which is gracefully illustrated here by the camera of the four new directors who came to surround the Nakache-Toledano duo: Emmanuelle Bercot, Arnaud Desplechin , Emmanuel Finkiel and Agnès Jaoui have put themselves at the service of the series in this sense, granting their cinematography in tune with the characters and their ills, whether contemporary or universal.
With the shadow of Adel Chibane hanging over Philippe Dayan’s cabinet in the first episode, the tone for this season 2 is set. If the patients sometimes flinch, to the point of physically collapsing during the sessions, letting their fragilities overwhelm them, it is the theme of death that is omnipresent in these new episodes. Through the pandemic in the background of course, but also the repressed and traumatic memory of the death of loved ones; fear of one’s own mortality; the fear that death will strike one’s loved ones and that one will be helpless; or the regret of having left a potential life aside.
Faced with these upset patients, Dayan is not left out, because his own ghosts come to remind him when he consults Claire, his new supervisor who is determined to destabilize him. And one of them (played by Agnès Jaoui in a moving guest role), met by chance between two sessions, could well bring him the appeasement he has always been looking for, in response to the sometimes dangerous emotional investment that he places in his practice of therapy at the risk of crossing the limits.
At the end of these new episodes as if suspended in time like the confinement which preceded the events they retrace, In Therapy restores all its power of humanity with more acuity and perhaps even more realism than its previous season by refocusing on the complexity of human relationships, leaving aside scriptwriting artifices. And reminds us once again how much listening and empathy specific to therapy are vital to everyone, in this hectic world of incessant hubbub.