If any episode of [[Being Erica (TV Series)|Being Erica]] deserves a second watching, it’s Erica, Interrupted. Within the first ten minutes, all the various season-long threads are pulled together and everything appears to be perfect. Too perfect. Let’s see what happens to mess things up, shall we?
Before we start though, look out for a cameo appearance by show creator Jana Sinyor around the five minute mark, as an old friend of Dave’s.
Now, back to the review – everything around Erica is perfect. Utopian. Everything is in harmony – her parents are reunited, her sister is in a good, supportive relationship, Dave and Ivan are engaged, and there’s even a chance of a spark between Julianne and Brent(!). And Erica herself is loved up with Adam The Irish Lothario.
Leave it to Dr. Tom to hit the reset switch. Erica wakes up in hospital, back at the point where she first met her time travel therapist. Everything – “every victory, every defeat” – never actually happened. Worse, there’s a distinct Wizard Of Oz vibe to the whole thing: there’s Julianne, except she’s a nurse here with slightly greasy skin. Julianne would never rock that look. Oh, Dave! Except Dave’s an orderly in this world. And Dr Tom doesn’t recognize her!
Panic! Dismay! Disappointment! Sadness, grief for her ‘imagined’ life and a desire to run away overtake Erica. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the ‘ghost’ of her brother Leo visits her. Except that in places, Leo sounds like Dr Tom. Rewatch that part and imagine some of Leo’s lines delivered by Dr Tom, staring off into the distance. Despite Leo’s attempts to crush Erica’s spirit, Erica sticks to her belief that everything she lived was real.
And then we discover that the whole ordeal was a test. Erica’s not particularly happy about it, but Dr. Tom doesn’t exactly apologize for it.
Dr. Erica, the only therapy you’ll ever need?
You might remember that there were said to be three phases to therapy – solo, group and then training to be a therapist. This may have been moving along a touch too quickly. If you think about it, Erica spent two seasons in solo therapy and most of this season in group. Is it too soon to make her a doctor in her own right, even if she’s in a pretty good place right now?
Questions abound: How would you feel if someone made the decision that you were to be a therapist? Erica seems alright about it, but it’s a massive change. As Erica herself asks – what about the rest of my life? What about her family, and friends, and business? Does she juggle all this stuff? Does she get paid for being a therapist?
All of that becomes quickly secondary in the episode – we know we’ll get the answers eventually (hopefully, since the season 3 finale is around the corner). For now, the success is bittersweet – we find out that Adam was tested too and failed. To counter that, Erica gets to create her own office, using a touch of brilliant therapist magic. And she gets sent off on her first assignment – to help her first patient.
At the end of the episode, we see her being tapped on the shoulder. So, is the patient someone who Erica knows? In which case, can I speculate that it’s Ethan? Who else – I’m fairly certain that it was a man who tapped her on the shoulder. Someone taller than her. Your guesses are welcome in the comments section!
Phew – fast moving, dizzying narrative. Erica returning to the point where therapy began as a clever counterpoint to how successful her life is now. The idea that all she has built through therapy was suddenly removed was brilliant, encompassing ideas from the Wizard Of Oz, It’s A Wonderful Life and (I like to think) Ken Grimwood’s time travel masterpiece, Replay.
Still, is it possible that Erica’s therapy is moving too fast? If the idea of group therapy was too much for viewers to take in, is the idea of Erica being a therapist pushing it? I’m a little worried that Jana Sinyor and Aaron Martin are perhaps pushing the story along in case there’s a possibility that Being Erica doesn’t get renewed. Certainly, her personal and professional life are in great shape. Wouldn’t the zenith of Erica’s achievements be becoming a therapist? The show first toyed with this idea at the beginning of Season 2 when Dr. Naadiah enlisted Erica to stop Dr. Tom from descending into depression.
I’d hate for this to be a subtle swansong for this excellent series – and it has been consistently great this season, even though the viewers have had to accept some changes to the format. The heart of the show remains the same, and it would be interesting to see Erica balance her life with being a therapist too. What do you guys think?