“I think it’s not working” are probably not the words you’d like to hear from the serial killer who is leaning on you squarely for your expertise in therapy to make him better. Yet, Alan Strauss takes it with a pinch of salt. And a dash of comedy in the form of an old adage that Michael Scott would be proud of. “Ezra” was all about trying to mend broken relations. That involved a certain degree of introspection as well as the contours of adversity. Isn’t that the case with all epiphanious realizations? Read our recap, ending explainer, and review of episode 8 of The Patient, “Ezra”, here below.
The Patient Episode 8 “Ezra” Recap:
Sam is informed by a disappointed Jeanette that she is sent back to reinspect the place she inspected a few weeks back. But how can that be proper? If you’re as smart as Sam, you would know that the waiting period for a reinspection in Lincoln County is eight months. They are not just giving out the inspections like it’s free candy, you know. That is exactly what Sam tells his Boss, who for once does not like Sam’s tone. He calls out his insubordination and tells Sam that he is out of order. Hearing that he is out of line gets him angry and perhaps it is the beginning of an ominous end for his boss. With the tube of the fungal cream in his hands Alan does not have anything better than to ruminate. He is once again back in Charlie’s office, his old therapist to sort out the mess that is his head.
Alan scripts the table and the bed with the end of the cream tube as he defeatedly except that he will never be getting out of this place. Since the note is buried somewhere no one can find it he has no chance of escaping this hell. Charlie conference Alan about the state. In this scenario, the steak refers to the kosher steak that Alan’s daughter-in-law once made for the family dinner, and Alan’s compliment was indeed taken as a backhanded criticism of her cooking. Alan realizes in hindsight how that might have seemed to Ezra’s wife and that is a recurring theme in the entire episode. Empathy and the patient painstaking task of trying to understand what the other person feels about things that one does. Alan maybe thinks he could have worded the compliment differently to give the meaning in Chava’s mind as he intended.
While he still thinks about those bygone moments with Ezra, the son is out there in the streets pinning missing posters of his father. He has managed to alter his Orthodox lifestyle to some extent in order to get closer to his family. Alan’s absence may have woken in him a sense of regret for how he behaved back then. The next thing on Charlie’s agenda is the “contribution”. Well, isn’t Alan pissed off about it! The therapist – the alive one – revisits the incident when Ezra made him look small without any reason. Shoshanna had gone to medical school to follow in her father’s footsteps, while Ezra took the religious route by going to Israel and attending a yeshiva. For the uninitiated, it is a traditional Jewish educational institution focused on the study of Rabbinic literature, primarily the Talmud and halacha (Jewish law), while the Torah and Jewish philosophy are studied in parallel. The studying is usually done through daily shiurim (lectures or classes) as well as in study pairs called chavrusa.
Before Beth comes to visit him, he sends her a list of instructions as to how to dress properly according to orthodox beliefs and talks with the Rebbe. Alan decides to come along with Beth to the university. When they talk with the rebbe, he gives a glowing review of Ezra’s performance. The disciple is himself beaming when the rebbe admits that. He is a real ben torah. So once the parents are in the office of the rebbe, Alan writes a check for $1000 as a donation to the university.
This, in Ezra’s mind, was an insult to his choice and the institution of Orthodox Judaism. He was never able to forgive Alan for doing so. Even when Beth was on her deathbed, he makes it clear to Alan that he has never respected him for choosing this life and not going on the path his parents had set out for him. It is almost like they’re punishing him for following his heart and embracing the idea of himself he feels comfortable with. Let me tell you, that is a tough thing to go through as a kid. When your parents disapprove of your choices and slight you for your life decisions, it is the severest kick in the stomach.
Charlie then asks how much money he gave to Shoshanna to complete medical school. Alan reluctantly replies almost $40,000. And after a second, he realizes Ezra never asked for that kind of money to attend the university. He managed all that on his own. When Charlie asks what would Alan say to Ezra if he were sitting in front of him, Alan has a mean-spirited rant full of accusations and indignation. It is years of what he has kept inside and has never been able to forgive Ezra for the way he treated Beth. There is a high degree of spite and pain in Alan’s voice. And there must be a substantial amount, of immense magnitude, for a father to talk about his son this way. Was Ezra a self-righteous know-it-all, though? Was he more of his mother’s son than his father’s?
Ezra continues relentlessly to put up flyers of Alan around the neighborhood. Sam catches Kyle exiting the office at the same time by chance and a brooding tone foreshadows the inevitable fate of the boss who misspoke to an employee. Sam follows him in his truck. Alan repeats the above questions to Charlie when he goes back to think more about his life. But this time around, he slights Charlie for saying otherwise. That Ezra took more after Alan and in fact, it was his stubbornness that drifted them apart. The contempt that he had for his son was ruthless. And in all probability, he could feel it weighing him down. He was angrier at Alan and not Beth. Alan was indeed the arrogant know-it-all who looked down upon his own son’s religious choices. He has been blaming him for ages.
Charlie softly asks Alan once again what he would say to him after this revelation. “I am sorry Ezra. For not being the father that he was supposed to be”, an emotional Alan admits. He incredulously confides in Charlie that he was more compassionate to a serial killer than he was to his own son. How is that even possible for a therapist to do? Ezra goes to Shoshanna’s house and asks for a new stapler. He still has a stack full of flyers to put out and Shoshanna asks him to relax and takes over the duty. Sam is still watching Kyle’s every move, including watching him play table tennis. Sam follows Kyle into a diner and awaits to make his plan a reality.
Ezra comes back home with sweets for his children, an unexpected treat that they do not take too positively. Ezra understands the gravity of the situation and tries to comfort his sons as his father could probably never do. The serial killer feigns accidentally running into Kyle as he comes out of the diner. He lies that he just had dinner at the restaurant on the other end of the street and complains about their dirty bins out in the back. He invites Kyle to take a look, who is cautiously warned but still goes ahead.
The Patient Episode 8 “Ezra” Ending, Explained:
Occupational hazard, most probably. And why would he think there is any harm in doing so? Once he goes out, Sam warns him to rethink his actions. He accuses Kyle of taking bribes to cut down on waiting periods for reinspections and the boss then takes offense. Sam pushes him down and gets on top of him, strangling the last breath out of him. To offer his respect to Kyle’s spirit, he recites Alan’s poem. It is the same thing from the Kaddish that Alan recited for Beth. Sam then takes his wallet and watch as souvenirs.
Ezra drops by Alan’s house and picks up Beth’s guitar that Alan had offered him in episode 1 but he refused to take it. He sings “Country Roads”, the same song that Elias and Alan sang in episode 4 to embolden each other. He thinks about Beth as he sings and when he comes back to his house, we see a framed photo of his parents on the side table. Ezra confides in his wife that he was just angry with his father after Beth’s death but he misses him. She comforts him. Sam then proceeds to have a hotdog like it is a normal day. He once again calls Buchella, his school counselor, to ask about his offer. The old geezer is happy to help him for a hefty fee but can start next Tuesday.
Sam wakes up Alan to play ping pong. But Alan beats Sam after a long game. He confesses his crime to Alan. The therapist isn’t surprised in the least bit but is taken aback by the frequency of Sam’s habit, as much as he is himself. Alan says that Sam mustn’t be too hard on himself as people can change over time. While ten years sounds like a long time to Sam, he confesses that he is about to change therapists. Alan only has a week’s time maybe before Sam “hurts someone he likes”, something he has never done before and wouldn’t do if there is any other option left for him.
He then narrates a tale about a Frenchman, an Englishman, and a Jew to Sam. When they are asked about the form of execution, the first one replies a guillotine, the second a firing squad, and the wise Jew “old age”. Yes, indeed. The failing joke won’t save Alan’s life if something does not happen for him before that. Sam is convinced that he needs a change of personnel and Alan will be left at his mercy if he continues his drab show.
The Patient Episode 8 “Ezra” Review:
The Patient was an interesting choice of title. Perhaps the makers used a distraction (a bloody one, LOL) to mislead the viewer until it was finally clear to whom the title referred. This episode is a fascinating revelation that comes undone in treacherous regret seemingly impossible to redeem. The father-son complex is certainly quite a moving emotional tangent for the story. We saw the core, which makes shows like these endure in our memory probably for the first time in this season. It was a bold move but quite honestly, the story wasn’t going anywhere. Maybe that was the point all along and it is only now we have been made aware of that.