Welcome to the Ending Explained of Episodes 1 and 2 of “The Patient” the new Hulu limited series starring Steve Carrell and Domhnall Gleeson. The series tells the story of a successful therapist who ends up being kidnapped by one of his patients. Why? Well, the patient confesses that he needs help with a particular issue. The issue in question is that he is a serial killer, and he wants to stop being one. The therapist then needs to navigate the situation to save his life.
The Patient comes at the hands of the same creator as the fantastic The Americans, which was also an FX show. The series is a stunning mix of excellent character study and a good old dose of thriller, as the situation becomes more and more complicated with each passing episode. Carrell and Gleeson show what amazing actors they are. Carrell keeps proving is just more than the funny boss from The Office, and Gleeson goes to prove he is way more than the charming guy from About Time.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for The Patient. Read at your own risk.
Who Is Alan Strauss?
The show, more than anything, is a character study. What does that mean? It means that more than a story that centers on the plot, the series centers on its characters, and how they face a certain situation. We are here to meet this character, not to see how the planning and unexpected twists of a heist create exciting situations. Alan, the therapist, is our main character, and he seems to be quite an interesting fellow.
Alan is a very successful therapist. He has many clients, and they all seem to be quite happy with their performance during therapy. They are even now able to recognize their own issues by themselves. They don’t need anyone to point them out. He has a daughter and a son, but he seems to be quite distant from them, which is sad. All in all, Alan seems to be living a normal, if somewhat boring, life. Except, as the episodes show very early on. He has nightmares.
You see, Alan’s wife died recently. Beth was the perfect wife for Alan. She was the love of his life, and so when Beth dies, a part of Alan goes along with her. He dreams of her being beside him in bed, holding her guitar. And he also dreams of this strange, scary baby that reminds us a lot of the monster baby in David Lynch’s Eraserhead. It is unnerving to say the least, although it is also quite compelling. Who is this baby? The answer will come later in the season.
The next day, we see Alan going to see his son, Ezra. Alan is Jewish. He practices his religion in a very standard way. However, Ezra has become more orthodox than his parents and has separated from them quite a bit. In a flashback, we see Alan and Beth having a meeting with other people, and then we see Beth quite angry at Ezra’s choice in life. To which Alan says, he is rebelling, nothing more. Will Ezra’s choice have anything to do with Beth’s passing? We have to wait and see.
Who Else Lives In Sam’s House?
On the other hand of the premise, we have Sam, who is at first introduced to Alan and to the audience as Gene. We see him talking in therapy with Alan, and the first thing he says is that his father used to “beat the shit out of him” constantly. Later, Gene would change that adjective to “all the time” which Alan, of course, feels is an exaggeration, but Gene assures him that he was beaten by his dad most of the time. Gene’s sunglasses indicate to us that he is hiding something.
Later, we see a conversation where Alan confesses to Gene that he is frustrated. The frustration comes from the fact that Gene has really been open to him at all. Every time Gene begins one of his stories, the details become vague and sparse. Alan says that if Gene cannot open up for real and say the things that are hard to say, then the process of healing might never happen. Gene confesses that he understands this, but he is trying. He is really trying.
One night, Alan goes outside his house to see what is making a weird noise, and he gets knocked out. He wakes up chained to a bed in a house in the woods. He screams for help, but no one answers. The next morning, Gene appears. However, this time he introduces himself as Sam. Alan is scared, but Sam assures him that he only did this because he needed to be truthful, and he couldn’t be truthful at the office. Here, Sam confesses he is a serial killer. He has killed a lot of people, but he wants to stop doing it.
The next few days become a tug-of-war between Alan and Sam. Alan assures Sam that this is not the way he can get help. Therapy has the need for a safe environment, as both the patient and therapist go into very emotional territory. Here, Alan is scared for his life constantly. He doesn’t know how to apply therapy this way. They came to an agreement. Sam will not commit violence against Alan or against anyone else before coming to talk to Alan about it.
Sam leaves for work one day, and strange sounds can be heard on the top floor of the house. Alan screams to say hello, and a figure descends the stairs. This person is Sam’s mother. What will Sam’s mother do? Does she know why and how Alan is there? The situation is becoming more and more complicated with the addition of this third party to the mix.