Shinryochu (心療中 – in treatment) ~In the Room~ focuses on the conversations between counselor Tenma Ryo (Inagaki Goro) and various young people under his care. We already saw that this was rather more intense than a normal drama, and certainly more so than the dramas that previously occupied this time slot. It was also riveting stuff. Can the second episode keep up with the first?

Well, it begins with Tenma arguing with his wife about their son Ayumu and his unwillingness to go to school.

Shinryochu Ep 02 000Shinryochu Ep 02 001Shinryochu Ep 02 002

Tenma has trouble connecting with Ayumu.

Shinryochu Ep 02 003Shinryochu Ep 02 004Shinryochu Ep 02 005

But the trouble is only beginning for him. His first case is a young couple – Kitahara Ren (Senga Kento) and Ito Nana.

Shinryochu Ep 02 006Shinryochu Ep 02 007

Ito gets there first, and Tenma tries to approach her about the issues.

Shinryochu Ep 02 008Shinryochu Ep 02 009Shinryochu Ep 02 010Shinryochu Ep 02 011

When Kitahara arrives, tensions already seem high.

Shinryochu Ep 02 012Shinryochu Ep 02 014Shinryochu Ep 02 015

Ito is in an extremely defensive mood. Can Tenma break through to her?

Shinryochu Ep 02 016Shinryochu Ep 02 017

Kitahara isn’t the subtle type when it comes to discussing his girlfriend’s hormones and pregnancy affecting her behavior.

Shinryochu Ep 02 018Shinryochu Ep 02 019

And while it looks like he’s the one trying to reach out in good faith . . .

Shinryochu Ep 02 020Shinryochu Ep 02 021Shinryochu Ep 02 022Shinryochu Ep 02 023

. . . it turns out that he’s been sleeping around. Ito thinks he’s a sex addict.

Shinryochu Ep 02 026Shinryochu Ep 02 027Shinryochu Ep 02 028Shinryochu Ep 02 032

Just when we might start to feel sympathy for Ito, she starts getting very blunt about Kitahara.

Shinryochu Ep 02 034Shinryochu Ep 02 035Shinryochu Ep 02 036Shinryochu Ep 02 037

Then she starts attacking Tenma’s character and his one sore spot – his family issues.

Shinryochu Ep 02 038Shinryochu Ep 02 039

She wants a simple answer about whether she should get an abortion and break off the planned marriage to Kitahara.

Shinryochu Ep 02 041Shinryochu Ep 02 042Shinryochu Ep 02 043Shinryochu Ep 02 044Shinryochu Ep 02 045

How will Tenma deal with this troubled couple? And will anything he does actually succeed?

Shinryochu Ep 02 050

His next patient, Aikawa Sakuya (Sanada Yuma) manages to be even worse. You see, he believes that he’s a danger to society and resents that no one believes him.

Shinryochu Ep 02 052Shinryochu Ep 02 053Shinryochu Ep 02 054Shinryochu Ep 02 055

Aikawa simply cannot accept that he’s normal, and cites a perfect score on an EQ test that Tenma himself administered to prove his point.

Shinryochu Ep 02 058Shinryochu Ep 02 059Shinryochu Ep 02 060

Aikawa hasn’t killed anyone, but is convinced that he will, and wants to be confined.

Shinryochu Ep 02 061Shinryochu Ep 02 062

To say that he has issues is an understatement. It does lead to some great expressions from Sanada-kun, though. This is really great acting work from him.

Shinryochu Ep 02 063Shinryochu Ep 02 064Shinryochu Ep 02 065Shinryochu Ep 02 066

And there’s everything from the extreme to the subtle:

Shinryochu Ep 02 068Shinryochu Ep 02 069

So, what makes him believe that he has evil lurking inside of him?

Shinryochu Ep 02 070Shinryochu Ep 02 073

What is he prepared to do to prove that he’s not normal and dangerous enough to warrant police attention?

Shinryochu Ep 02 074Shinryochu Ep 02 075Shinryochu Ep 02 076

And what is Tenma going to do about it?

Shinryochu Ep 02 079Shinryochu Ep 02 081Shinryochu Ep 02 085Shinryochu Ep 02 087

As if he hasn’t had a rough day already, Tenma gets a nasty surprise from his wife. From what Ayumu said at the start of the show, it seems like he already knew.

Shinryochu Ep 02 089Shinryochu Ep 02 090Shinryochu Ep 02 091

Sorry to leave so much out, but this drama is full of genuine spoilers because it ratchets up the tension so quickly and keeps introducing new conflicts.

And the half hour just flies by without giving the viewer any reason to take their eyes off the screen. The young actors are simply spectacular.

But it’s still unclear where we’re going with all of this. There’s a clear overarching plot in the form of Tenma’s problems with his wife, but that doesn’t appear to have anything direct to do with the events in the body of each episode. Meanwhile, we’ve been introduced to four different threads involving patients in two episodes. To what extent are we going to be following these four cases, and how many new ones are going to be introduced? If it’s going to be just tip-of-iceberg stuff all the way, that’s going to be quite annoying, but can they really bring all these threads to a successful resolution in the short time available?

Well, it’ll sure be interesting to watch to see if they can, or if they’ll take a different approach. Already, there are so many constraints on the series (mainly since all the action has to happen in Tenma’s office) that the writing will have to be extraordinary to keep it engaging through an entire season.