In episode 8 of The Patient, Sam’s anger is stoked once again when his supervisor, Kyle, bends the rules about reinspection at work. When Sam brings this up, Kyle tells him to watch how he speaks to his boss. For now, Sam holds himself back. But it’s clear his thoughts are taking a murderous turn.
Alan, meanwhile, is struggling with his own simmering anger toward his son Ezra. In his mind, he talks with Charlie, who helps him work through his feelings toward Ezra.
Alan is angry with how Ezra accused him of not respecting his choices, even when Alan feels he’s been perfectly reasonable. Charlie helps Alan see subtle ways he has been unsupportive.
Still, if Alan could tell Ezra anything, it’s that he broke up his family and devastated Beth. His way had to be the only way.
Ezra was always stubborn–much like Beth.
We then get a glimpse of what Ezra’s doing, and it would likely be a surprise to Alan. Despite all the bad blood between himself and his father, Ezra laboriously puts up missing signs with Alan’s face on them.
Alan thinks Ezra is self-righteous. But Charlie then draws connections to Ezra’s behavior and Alan’s own. In reality, Alan has looked down on Ezra’s choices. It then dawns on Alan that he’s been more compassionate to a serial killer than he has been to his own son.
He desperately needs to see Ezra so he can apologize to him. Maybe now he’ll stop making excuses and start fighting for escape.
At least, it looks like dreams of escape in Alan’s eyes when he picks up his empty tube of foot cream and sharpens it on the side of his bed.
Ezra remains worried for his father, and this affects multiple aspects of his life. He surprises his family by bringing home candy that, by the looks of it, isn’t kosher.
Later, he goes to Alan’s house and picks up Beth’s guitar–the one he earlier refused to accept from his dad. He plays it, singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” He then confesses to his wife how harsh Alan was toward him after Beth’s death. Ezra was simply angry with him–that’s all.
While Ezra seems to be letting go of some of his anger, Sam acts on his. He follows his boss to a restaurant. When Kyle leaves, Sam acts like he’s run into him coincidentally. He ushers him into a private area behind another restaurant.
There, Sam brings up the issue again of Kyle’s breaking company policy. When Kyle calls him an idiot, Sam finally breaks. He slams Kyle into the ground and strangles him.
He starts walking away, but then turns back. Kneeling down by Kyle’s body, Sam recites what little of the Kaddish he can remember.
He goes to a convenience store to grab a hot dog and calls Mr. Buchella. It turns out that the school counselor would be glad to be Sam’s therapist.
Sam then goes home and wakes Alan to play some ping pong. When Alan is one point from winning, Sam confesses about the murder.
He tells Alan he wants to change, but doesn’t know if it’s possible. Alan insists that it is–not only for him, but for his victims too. But it takes time.
Sam doesn’t seem to want to listen. He tells Alan that therapy isn’t working and it was a mistake bringing him here. He’s never hurt anyone he liked before, but he might have to kill Alan.
At the end of the episode, we hear the sound of Alan scraping and sharpening his tube of foot cream against the bed.
I love how this episode brings Ezra further into the story, and it’s interesting to see that the longer the series goes on, the more its title seems to refer to Alan than it does Sam. Alan is, in a sense, his own patient.
For so long, he has not reflected on himself but only reacted in anger where Ezra is concerned. Now, he has time to sit in his thoughts, and it’s fascinating the ways he is able to use techniques for his patients on himself.
I’m hoping the father and child get the closure they need, but the more time Alan spends discussing Ezra, the more I wonder about his other child. Shoshana has appeared only briefly in the series, but directors make a point of occasionally reminding us of her existence.
I feel she’ll be important in the upcoming episodes. Has Alan been neglectful of his daughter in spending so much thought and energy on Ezra?