The Patient – Season 1 Episode 2 “Alan Learns to Meditate” Recap & Review

Alan Learns to Meditate

In episode 2 of The Patient, Alan is still trapped by Sam, who shows him a box of things he’s stolen to make his killings look like robberies.

It’s hard for someone like Alan to meditate. It’s what his wife once told him when he failed to clear his mind with her. He’s too “in his head.”

It’s maybe in remembering this moment that Alan decides to take some time to calm. He finally eats what Sam set out for him. Drinking his last sip of coffee, he sits back, sighs, and picks up his plastic fork. In the silence, an idea comes to him.

Taking his fork, he jams it into the lock on his chains. When a piece breaks off, he pops it in his mouth before he’s distracted by a noise coming from upstairs. It can’t be Sam; he left.

When Sam does get back, he knows what Alan has tried with the fork and insists he’s not going to be able to escape like that. His tone is friendly, but there’s an underlying threat to his words when he says that Alan must help them; otherwise, where will that leave them?

So, Alan sits across the table from Sam. He says that therapy requires a safe environment, without fear permeating the air. The least Sam can do is promise not to commit any violence against him or anyone unless he talks to him first. Maybe this way, they can try to understand Sam’s compulsion to kill. Sam says he’ll try his best.

Later, Alan wakes up in the night to the same sounds of someone making noise upstairs. He meditates in the morning, remembering an instance where his wife threw some cake at the wall. She was upset with their son, who was rebelling against them in some way.

In their first session together in this new setting, Sam shares details with Alan about the man he wants to kill. As a health inspector, Sam evaluated a Greek restaurant about four months ago. Its manager acted like Sam didn’t know what he was doing, and the interaction stayed with Sam. He’s wanted to kill him ever since. That’s when he began going to see Alan in his office.

Later, Sam becomes frustrated. He feels that talking with Alan isn’t helping, though he still asks for another session after dinner. He then leaves for work.

After he leaves, Alan hears the thudding upstairs again. He tries to call out to whoever is there. They come downstairs with a cane.

“Hello,” Alan says to them calmly.


The Episode Review

Steve Carell’s reserved frustration and Domhnall Gleeson’s wry dramatics continue to complement each other spectacularly in episode 2 of The Patient.

There’s a habit of cutting away from scenes at odd moments that sometimes leaves scenes feeling awkward and unfulfilled. But overall, the show moves through its scenes naturally, slowly unfolding both the most chilling and absurd of scenarios.

This episode’s cliffhanger leaves us with questions. Is there a mother or father in Sam’s attic, aware of his murderous tendencies? It wouldn’t be the most surreal thing we’ve seen in The Patient so far.

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3.5

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