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.

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Tenma has trouble connecting with Ayumu.

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

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

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When Kitahara arrives, tensions already seem high.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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And what is Tenma going to do about it?

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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.

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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.

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