Special effects on Being Erica and how do therapists travel in time?

For those of us who’ve religiously watched [[Being Erica (TV Series)|Being Erica]] over the past three seasons, we’re used to Erica walking through a doorway and ending up in a therapy session with Dr. Tom.

However the still above, taken from the latest episode, Physician, Heal Thyself, simply blew my mind. We rarely see Dr. Tom travel through the doors, but to see Dr. Tom storming through a doorway, right into Erica’s apartment, it sent my nerves on fire. It was Dr. Tom breaking all the rules – in a fury, and confronting Erica in her own home.

I’m sure that we’ve seen Erica move from Tom’s office to her apartment in the past, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen the two locations joined up before. Instead of seeing the hallway of the apartment complex, we’re looking directly into Tom’s office. Suddenly there are a billion questions about how this type of travel works – but we’ll get to them in a minute.

First, I was so stoked by this effect that I did something I rarely do – I asked the show’s creator Jana Sinyor how the effect was achieved. Here’s what she had to say:

We put a green screen in the door, then in post we just drop in the shot of Tom’s office. Normally we just move a bit of wall so that when Erica opens the door, or Tom opens the door you can see a bit of where they’re coming from – but here, because the door stayed open the whole time, we had to green screen it.

So there you go, folks. That’s how the magic happens!

Time Therapy, Inc

There’s so much we don’t know about the therapists who seem to exist outside time. Look at the various offices for Tom, Naadiah and Arthur – they’re cut off, insular. You have no idea where you are or when you are.

And there are different methods of travel. Therapists and patients can move through a door and end up in a different place. However that’s usually moving between therapy and real life. When a patient time travels, they tend to get ‘sucked’ backwards or forwards in time and likewise on the return journey. Having said that, sometimes Erica has arrived in group therapy abruptly, almost like being dropped into her seat.

Dr. Tom storming into Erica’s apartment has me wondering how this works. There’s got to be some way to choose the destination on the other side of the door, right? It’s certainly not random. I wonder if Tom himself controls this for himself and his patients.

Tom’s Dead. Tom’s Not Dead.

Just a continuation of this train of thought (I’m on an analytical roll today) – One of the biggest questions on Being Erica are the origins and authority of the therapists. How do they exist? How can they mess with time? How are patients chosen? Believe it or not, I’m glad the show barely acknowledges these things – it would kill the magic.

But we discovered in Physician, Heal Thyself that Dr. Tom killed himself. The jumping off a building thing in Being Dr. Tom actually happened! Somehow, Dr. Naadiah rescued him – not saving his life, but somehow offering him the ability to change his suicide into a regret that could be reversed. But the therapists don’t operate outside of reality – Tom’s wife and daughter exist in the real world, and he can choose to interact with them. We know this because Dr. Arthur urges Tom to get a better balance.

These developments might not have worked – remember when we assumed Tom was a lone wolf, a mysterious therapist with the power to resolve past regrets? But with each new development the show’s mythology has become enriched and deepened. There’s more mystery, more questions that viewers will be asking themselves. How can Dr. Tom (or any of the therapists) yield the power to manipulate time and then go home at the end of the day and live a normal life?

I’d love a discussion about this! If there are any other Being Erica fans who want to pontificate about the world this show has created, my door is always open! Leave me a comment – I’d love to hear other theories!

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