The Patient – Season 1 Episode 1 “Intake” Recap & Review


Episode 1 of The Patient Season 1 paints a picture of Dr. Alan Strauss’ life. He’s a recently widowed, Jewish therapist, with at least two children whom he doesn’t seem to be close to. He’s good at his job and lives a quiet life on his own. But before we learn all this, Alan–in a chilling cold open–wakes up chained in someone’s house in the woods.

He attempts and fails to break the chain, then screams for help. Finally, he takes his bearings. He has a bed and some necessities: toothbrush, toilet paper, and even his foot cream. Someone has provided for him.

Flash back four months earlier, and we see Alan in his first session with a young man wearing a cap and sunglasses (for his sensitive eyes) named Gene. He’s blatant at first with the reason he’s seeking help. His dad beat him a lot growing up, and it messed him up.

The scenes shift between Alan’s sessions and his own personal life. He has a bad dream, in which his wife holds a guitar and a baby cries, their face distorted and unnatural. The next day, Alan brings his son Ezra his wife’s guitar. Ezra apathetically reveals that he doesn’t play any more.

In his next session with Gene, Alan tells his client that he hasn’t been opening himself up. He says Gene needs to be able to tell him the hard things.

It can’t be a coincidence that, later that night, Alan is knocked out while checking on a disturbance outside his home. He wakes up with a chain around his leg.

“I know this sucks,” Gene tells him, face now free of sunglasses. Although his name isn’t really Gene, but Sam.

Sam pleads for Alan’s help. He’s out of options, and wasn’t getting anywhere in therapy. He needs to proceed with therapy in a safe place–here.

Sam says he’s not like Alan’s other patients. “I have a compulsion to kill people.” He has killed several people, in fact. There is another man who he has wanted to kill for months. And he has just barely held himself back. 

He wants to stop killing, however. And he wants the help of Dr. Alan Strauss.

The Episode Review

Co-created by Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg (The Americans), the new FX series starring Steve Carell is introduced with a reserved nature to its tone.

More concerned with setting the stage for some quiet psychological exploration than catching us off guard with thrilling twists, The Patient asks patience of viewers as it lays the groundwork for a fascinating exploration of the patient/therapist dynamic.

This first episode leaves not much to go off of in predicting where the series will lead. But if the underlying dark humour and the stellar performances of Carell and Domhnall Gleeson are any indication, it should be a good show.

Next Episode

You can read our full season review for The Patient Season 1 here!


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