In Treatment s01e07 Episode Script

Alex - Week Two

Previously on In Treatment.
A US Navy aircraft hit a target on the outskirts of Baghdad.
Turns out it's a madrasah, an Islamic religious school, boys studying the Koran.
I flew that mission.
Madrasah murderer.
Shortly after you complete this mission, you work yourself up into a state of exertion.
Don't you think there's a strong desire there to atone for your actions? You're going back to where you dropped a bomb.
Your face is on the internet and there's a price on your head.
Surprised? I didn't think, uh - I didn't think you'd come back again.
- I'm back.
Good.
Come on in.
Would you like some coffee? I've just made a pot.
Yeah, coffee's good.
How do you like it? I got, uh, skim, whole milk.
- Got some soya here.
- Black.
I like to taste the beans.
Bet you need a lot of coffee to listen to the fuck-ups in here.
I don't drink coffee, just tea.
I keep it I keep it for my patients.
- Blood pressure? Irregular heartbeat? - No, I've just never really liked the taste.
Ah, subconscious irregular heartbeat.
- You get check-ups? EKG? - Yep.
Every year.
Yeah? And? How's your heart? It's perfect.
Um, look, Alex, um I'm really glad that you came back.
To tell you the truth, I was, um I was a little worried after you left last week.
- Because I wanted to go back to Baghdad? - Yes.
Well, I went.
Mmn! Damn, Paul.
Sorry, but one thing I don't compromise on is coffee.
Is that your reaction whenever the coffee isn't perfect? Isn't perfect? Paul, this is like attempted murder, your coffee.
Let me hear your interpretation.
It's obvious you have one.
Well, not really, I I remember I used to have this patient once and, um before each session he would say, "Stop.
" And then he would pop a pill and it was just a ritual What are you trying to say? Well, I think in his particular case, what he wanted to show me was his distress and his his pain.
I don't know, maybe with the coffee, it's you're telling me that you're only going to come to therapy under your conditions and anything that you don't like you're gonna spit out right away.
- Aren't you being just a little dramatic? - Maybe.
So, Alex.
Why did you come back? I want your advice on another little matter.
Besides, you deserve to know how my trip went, being that you helped me decide to go - for all the wrong reasons because my visit didn't do what it was supposed to.
- What was it supposed to do? - Let's just cut to the chase.
I'm standing in the street near the bomb site.
It's like London after the Blitz.
It's rubble, you know.
This area had been hit again and again by us, by them, by suicide bombers.
We hooked up with a Red Cross unit.
They take us to this makeshift hospital, this triage unit.
There weren't enough doctors to treat everybody.
- It was chaos.
- So what did you do? I was just watching.
You've got to understand, in my line of work I'm 15,000 feet up in the air.
A missile locks in on the target by radar on a screen.
I don't see people.
I just press a button.
And boom.
It was kind of crazy to be down there all of a sudden.
So how did that make you feel? Coming face to face with the victims? How would it make you feel? Scared.
Um guilty.
See, that would be the normal reaction.
I knew this should've been the trauma of my life but I felt nothing.
Then I realised the system did a great job on me.
What do you mean, the system? Listen, there's people down there, arms and legs missing, faces blown off, it's carnage.
And the parents are waiting to see if their children are going to live all because of what I did.
But what can I tell you? To me, they looked like 200 people standing in line at the pharmacy.
Did you feel any connection with them? Did you feel in any way responsible for what they'd suffered? No, no.
All I cared about was whether they cheated me or not - I mean, the system.
The people in the madrasah, it wasn't any different to seeing it on TV.
The only thing on my mind was whether the system knew that the buildings near the target, the one that was supposed to get my bomb, if they knew these buildings were full of children or not, as they claim.
Nothing else mattered.
So it was important for you to know that you had done the right thing? Like you said last week, if you hit the target you sleep well.
Yes.
And all those people whose suffering you were responsible for could you not see them? No, no, I saw them, I felt nothing for them.
And then I realised how ingenious that my body has a built-in separation mechanism.
- What do you mean, separation? - Compartmentalisation.
I'm standing there and all I cared about was whether I made a precise hit.
The enemy is a formula.
Size of building, amount of people, multiplied by the amount of explosives, divided by 100 equals the number of estimated casualties.
I'm standing there, I don't feel anything.
I had this friend who died a couple of months ago, um Anyway, I, um I went to the funeral and all through the service, I kept saying to myself, "Why don't I feel sad?" I thought to myself, "Maybe I didn't love him, maybe I didn't care.
" I tormented myself for about a week.
Anyway, finally, I realised that actually I felt a great deal.
Even the fact that I was so busy with my guilty feelings, even that attests to how much I felt about him.
W- What are you saying? That I was feeling but I didn't feel that I was feeling? I think that you have very, very deep feelings about these people but something strong inside you prevents you from acknowledging those feelings.
Not just to me or to anybody else - but to yourself.
- I don't understand what you're saying.
I don't get what you're telling me.
Feelings are not a philosophy.
You feel or you don't.
- You can't bullshit about it.
- You think I'm bullshitting? I'm paying you 150 bucks for less than an hour and I don't see you making an effort.
You're supposed to be smarter than me.
Ah, so we're competing to see who's the, uh who's the smartest? Yeah? You know, Alex, I think that here, like everywhere else, like with the coffee, for instance, you're concerned with what's the best.
Must be Must be very difficult.
Come on, give me a break.
It must be kind of frightening for you to feel empathy with these people.
So you create this kind of alternate reality where those people were "just waiting in line at the pharmacy.
"I'm just the accidental tourist, "not the pilot who bombed them, who killed their family.
" Oh, I wish you were right.
It's much more fundamental.
Look, if you hold on to this organ called guilt feelings - and I believe that's what it is, it's an organ, like the spleen or liver - the system will cut it out of you completely.
Understand? I have no way of feeling guilt any more.
I don't have the organ.
So you really believe it's possible to amputate such an organ? You You went back to Iraq.
Can Why was it so important for you to go back? To risk your life just to be there? I told you, I wanted to check if anything was left.
And And I wanted to see what happens when I come down from that top view.
- But nothing happened? - That's right.
Nothing.
Can we Can we go back for a moment to the, uh to the site of the bombing? Can you describe one moment when you said to yourself, "I should be feeling something now, right now, and I don't"? Um Yeah, there was a moment, I don't know if this is what you're looking for.
But there was a moment when this old man came over to me and he had been burned, his arm was bandaged.
He kept looking at me with a strange little smile.
Which means, "I know you.
" "I know you.
" I ignored him at first but he came back.
"I know you, I know you," he kept saying.
For a second I thought he did recognise me but I didn't really believe that.
I doubt he'd ever seen the internet but in some deep, intuitive way he knew.
He knew I was the man who dropped the bomb that destroyed the whole street.
Well You could be You could be describing a mystical experience, like a like a dream.
Yeah, it was like a dream, like a totally bizarre dream.
He looked like an old warlock out of a fairy tale.
And he wouldn't leave me alone, he kept pointing at me.
"I know you.
" And I looked in his eyes and he was sort of amused, kind of friendly the way my father looks at me when he thinks I've done something wrong, like no matter what, I can't hide from it, and I was frozen there.
By that time people had gathered and they were watching us.
Finally, someone from the church group pulled me away, but that old man, he never took his eyes off me.
You still think it's too early to talk about your father? Why, because he popped into my head for a second? You people, what is it with you people? I give you a little crumb and you lunge at it.
No.
I'm just asking myself, Alex, what was it about that old man that makes you think about your father? Let me tell you something.
If there's someone who does not know the meaning of guilt, it's my father.
You know why? Because if he could feel, he wouldn't have survived.
You know, my father killed his father with his bare hands.
Yeah.
And that's a fact.
Man, I'd love to see him on this couch.
Doc, you'd have a field day with him.
- You want to talk about it? - Oh, now I got your attention.
Well, I don't think I can tell it as well as he does but I'll try.
Mid-'50s, right, Jim Crow Oklahoma.
My old man had pissed off the local good old boys by trying to organise some, uh, black labour at this factory.
They threatened him but my dad didn't back down.
He's a tough son of a bitch, I'll give him that.
Anyway, the whole thing had escalated and, uh, this mob with hoods attacked his house.
My Uncle Ronnie was on the porch, they shot him down, my Aunt Jeannie too.
And then they came inside.
My father takes the rest of the family, they run downstairs to the boiler room.
They all crammed into this area, this hidden room.
My grandfather, his father, was very sick, dying of lung cancer.
He had this, uh Apparently he had this this wheezing and this hacking cough.
So my father puts his hand over his father's mouth and nose and he kept it there while they searched the basement.
Kept it clamped tight.
Then when they finally cleared out, my grandfather was dead.
He'd suffocated.
- There it is.
- That's, uh That's a horrific story.
He tells it every year on my grandfather's birthday.
It's a tradition.
And you believe he doesn't feel guilty about it? I'm telling you.
He always used to say, "Leave the guilt for the white man.
"We can't afford it.
" Well, it's possible that he's saying that it's dangerous to feel guilty, that it's a kind of weakness.
Maybe that's a message that you've grown up with.
What can I say? That's just my father's way.
- But is it your way? - I don't know.
Hey, it works for him.
Doesn't necessarily make him an asshole.
People love my father.
My wife is crazy about him.
You should see him, at family dinners he's got her off in a corner, telling jokes.
I don't know, she appreciates him.
Maybe that's why we lasted as long as we did.
You say lasted as if it was past tense.
Yeah.
Yeah, actually, that's why I came to see you today.
There's this issue with my wife.
What happened was, when I came home from my trip, it was late.
The kids were already asleep.
And I saw my wife.
- What do you mean you saw your wife? - I looked at her.
I really looked at her.
She was sleeping in front of the television, for an hour, an hour and a half, nonstop.
I sat there without taking my eyes off her.
When was the last time you watched your wife sleep for an hour straight? - I usually fall asleep before she does.
- Try it once, you'll be surprised.
What'll surprise me? What you discover.
About her.
About yourself.
I was looking at her, looking at every inch of her body.
And I said to myself, "Who the hell is this woman, "sleeping on the sofa in front of the TV? "What the hell does she know about me? "What does she think she knows about me? "And what the hell am I doing living with her, "in the same living room, in the same house, the same kids, "for the past 15 years?" Understand? And I'm sitting opposite her, right? She doesn't imagine what's going through my head and you know what happened? She starts grinding her teeth.
It's the first time I ever saw her grind her teeth in her sleep and I'm talking something sick, frightening.
The sound that came out of her mouth - you could cut diamonds between her teeth.
It really fucked me up.
- Sounds pretty upsetting.
- Shocking, I tell you.
And I understood that this woman's been so busy pretending everything's OK, flowing - she's a model mother, a model wife, an outstanding lecturer in a communications college, very impressive in front of my fellow pilots, and it turns out she takes it all out on her teeth at night.
You know, that's pretty common, actually.
They don't think it has anything to do with stress, it has to do with, uh, flaws in the structure of the jaw.
You really believe that? No.
- It's connected to her stress.
- In what way? In wh OK.
She is a totally repressed person and all her repressions come out at night, in her sleep.
So she grinds her teeth.
Mm.
You think Michaela may have trouble with her feelings too? You think I don't feel? Wait till you meet her.
Everything is just like clockwork.
Clockwork, it's clockwork.
The kids have been going to bed at the same hour since they were two days old.
They got sick on a fixed date.
We'd have sex on a fixed date in a fixed position and Michaela even farts once a year on a fixed date.
Once a year, on the night after Easter Sunday, she farts.
She lets herself fart once, maybe twice.
A little one, not that much, then it's over.
No farting for the rest of the year.
She's Man, she's a programmed person.
Every emotion is under control.
Sounds like you're a little angry with her.
No.
- Wh Why - The way you talk about her.
No.
Takes a lot more to make me angry.
I got the impression before when you were speaking that maybe you're a little angry with yourself.
I mean, you went all the way to Iraq and you couldn't feel anything.
I don't know.
Maybe.
- Have you spoken to Michaela about it? - Mm.
Of course.
Over our morning coffee.
She said, "Yes, honey, I grind my teeth.
"And you only noticed it now? You are such a sweetheart.
"That's what I call love.
" And she said, "Please cut down on your coffee, remember what the doctor said.
" Since my heart attack, she lets me have one cup of coffee a day.
That battery acid you gave me doesn't count.
OK, OK.
So you don't like Michaela worrying about you, treating you like you're sick? It's like she's on a mission, to get me back up in the air asap.
She says I'm fit as a fiddle, I need to get back.
- How long has it been since you've flown? - Two months.
Must be hard to be away from that world, not to be part of what used to be the the centre of your of your life.
I'm still one of them, you can relax on that.
Sitting at home thinking about the possibility that you might never fly again.
Course I'll fly again.
People with worse injuries bounce back.
Do you want to go back, Alex? When the time is right.
Michaela's dying for me to go back.
And at night, she grinds her teeth like Alex, it's not like she she changed overnight, I mean What are you saying? There are things about Michaela that really bother you because they reflect something inside you that you you can't live with.
- Like what? - Like her passion for you to fly again.
I'm not 100% convinced that you actually want to go back.
Maybe because you're having trouble forgiving yourself.
OK, all of this just reinforces my decision to leave home.
What? Wh - Why? - Yeah, I don't think It's pointless to drag this out for years.
A person decides he's not in love with his spouse, he shouldn't have to put off leaving home, isn't that so? It's over, it's dead.
Got friends who go to three years of couples therapy and still separate.
So what's the use? I say cut that shit.
Don't you think that's a little extreme? It is possible to overcome a crisis.
Do you know what I realised? That I was never in love with her, with Michaela.
Do you know what that means, what a terrible realisation that is? What do you expect me to do? Find a lover? Like my dad? Start coming home late? I don't even have a good excuse any more.
I don't do anything but sit on my ass and watch TV.
So what? You look upset.
No, I'm just I'm just a little concerned, that's all.
Don't be, it's - I feel a great relief.
- Oh, I'm sure.
There must be tremendous relief in just walking away.
- But I'm not convinced it's the solution.
- Why not? I suppose because I ask myself who you really leave.
Maybe she's a frightening reflection of you.
Maybe you're leaving yourself, not your wife.
Well, that's irrelevant.
I have no reason to go back.
We're finished, we're done, we're finished.
Have you said anything to, uh to her about it? Not yet.
- I thought I'd consult with you first.
- Is this really a consultation? Because again I feel like I'm a rubber stamp for a decision you've already made.
No, no.
On the contrary.
This meeting clinched the matter.
- You can take credit for it.
- Why are you always giving me credit? You know No, it's not that you give me credit.
What you're doing is asking me to accept responsibility for your big decisions.
And you know what? It's not me making these decisions, it's you.
You knew before you walked through that door that you'd go back to Iraq.
You knew before you brought up the subject of Michaela's teeth grinding that your marriage was deeply in trouble.
These aren't conclusions that you've come to here on this couch in the last week with my permission.
Aren't these things that have been boiling over inside you for a very, very long time, Alex? I I got to go.
Like you say, my time is up.
Hey, don't worry.
I'll keep you posted.
English SDH