The Patient – Episode 6 “Charlie” Recap & Review


In episode 6 of The Patient, Candace confronts Sam about the murder. “Don’t give up on therapy,” she urges him.

That would of course depend on his therapist functioning again. To avoid replaying the gruesome events in his mind, Alan disassociates. He plays out a therapy session in his mind with a deceased therapist named Charlie.

Alan begs Charlie for help. He’s having trouble keeping it together in front of Sam. He needs a plan, but Sam–someone totally without empathy–is in charge. Charlie, however, thinks Alan is making excuses.

Alan comes to when he hears Sam digging in the other room. But Sam doesn’t finish digging Elias’ grave on his own. Unhappy with Alan for not preventing the murder, he makes the therapist help–believing he should share in the responsibility for Elias’ death.

Sam departs, leaving Alan alone with a shovel and his thoughts. Visions of being trapped in a Holocaust gas chamber plague him, and he disassociates to talk to Charlie again. Charlie asks him why he doesn’t fight. Alan insists he’s not strong enough. But Charlie doesn’t think he is doing everything he can.

He also prods Alan to address a difficult fact for Sam–that his mother is partially responsible for the abuse Sam has experienced.

When Sam returns, Alan persuades him, as a test of empathy, to leave Elias’ body where it can be found. This, he claims, will be much better for Elias’ parents.

Sam agrees, but it’s obvious he’s not doing this out of care and concern. More likely, he agrees out of an obligation to finish what he’s started with these therapy sessions.

While Sam goes to the bathroom, Alan stuffs a note in Elias’ mouth with Sam’s name on it as well as a message to his children that he loves them. He spills ink on his own hands, but luckily, Sam doesn’t seem to notice as he drags the body out of the house.

Alan lets out a sigh as he remembers his wife singing a song about rising up: “not by might and not by power, but by spirit alone.”

Elias won’t be buried today. But that does leave an open grave in the other room.

The Episode Review

The latest episode of The Patient introduces several new interesting facets of Alan’s character. While his Jewish faith has always informed his actions, “Charlie” reveals how intrinsic Dr. Strauss’ religion and heritage are to his entire life. The Holocaust visions provide a lens through which to process his trauma. Memories of his wife leading singing provide hope and inspiration. The Patient offers us such beautiful and tragic illustrations.

Charlie’s presence too adds layers to Alan’s story, begging the question: what happens when someone expected to essentially perform miracles is hanging on by a thread?

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