The Amazon Prime series Sebastian Fitzek’s Therapy, as the name suggests, is an adaptation of the 2006 book Therapy, authored by one of the most celebrated German writers in recent times, Sebastian Fitzek. The series begins with the central character, Viktor Larenz, seated in the waiting room, immersed in the landscape hanging on the wall. Once he realized that he had been waiting for a long time, he decided to inquire about his daughter. He was confident that he had brought her to the doctor’s chamber, yet neither the doctor nor the receptionist seemed to have any clue where Josy was. After frantically searching for Josy, Viktor and Isabell had to seek help from the police, but even after three weeks, Josy did not return home. The absence of his daughter affected his mental health, and eventually, his marriage fell apart. We find out that two years later, Viktor visited the Parkum island with his dog, Sindbad. He had a house on the island, and he wanted to spend time alone, but a mysterious woman brought havoc into his life.
Who was Anna Spiegel?
After arriving at Parkum, a strange woman found her way to Viktor’s house and demanded to be treated by him. Viktor used to be a psychiatrist, but he stopped practicing when Josy went missing. It had been two years, and Josy’s mysterious disappearance remained unsolved. The peculiar woman claimed to be Anna Spiegel, a writer who suffered from schizophrenia. Her mental health started to fall apart when she lost her father at a young age. She realized that there were many things she had come to believe were true, but in reality, they did not exist. Anna was all the more terrified when she figured out that the stories she wrote about often came true. She once saw a character she vividly described in her stories appear in reality, and the person died just like she had stated in her book. Initially, Viktor could not figure out why Anna so desperately wanted to be treated by him, but gradually, he figured out that she knew something about his daughter. She claimed to have written a story before she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital that involved a young girl who suffered from an indescribable disease and her sudden disappearance from the doctor’s clinic. Anna disappeared after making the revelation, and Viktor wondered if she was playing mind games with him. The next time he met her, she discussed meeting Josy in a dark alley. Apparently, Josy refused to return home because she was afraid of the evil that waited for her there.
Every piece of the puzzle started to fall apart with the death of Viktor’s dog. He started to lose his mind when the people around him claimed to have never seen his dog. The details that he remembered were magically altered, and he wondered if everyone on the island was conspiring against him. Viktor started to doubt Halberstaedt, the person he trusted the most on the island, when he found the hammer that was used to kill Sindbad matched his tool collection. Viktor could sense that he was going insane, and his reality was crumbling down. He walked to the basement of his house and was surprised to see his childhood bedroom. Anna was trying to convey a message to Viktor, but before he could figure it out, he was shot by Halberstaedt.
When he woke up, he found himself in a hospital bed. Viktor learned that he had been in a state of coma for the last two years, and Parkum was a fragment of his imagination. With the help of Dr. Roth, he tried to track down Anna Spiegel, but they did not come across any individuals by the same name. Viktor soon realized that, just like every other character he met on the island, Anna, too, was a person he created. But Anna’s purpose was to help him navigate through his condition and find out the actual truth behind the sudden disappearance of his daughter. Viktor realized that a part of his subconscious was attempting to uncover the truth in the form of Anna, and he needed to go back to the coma state once again to face reality. Viktor went into a coma after consuming a combination of drugs to commit suicide, but thanks to Dr. Roth’s experimental methods, he was back to his senses. Viktor, with the help of his best friend, Wolfgang Riegger, procured drugs to induce a coma once again.
How was Viktor responsible for Josy’s disappearance?
While Viktor tried to uncover the truth by exploring his subconscious, Dr. Martin Roth was gathering evidence to find out what happened to Josy. His daughter, Mila, was Josy’s best friend, and he wanted to do his best to make her proud. He had mostly been absent from Mila’s life due to his professional commitment, but by helping Viktor find Josy, he was hopeful that his daughter would not see him as a complete failure. It was while spending time with Mila that he learned that Josy did not suffer from any symptoms of her mysterious sickness when they went to Amsterdam for a week. Dr. Roth met Dr. Grohlke to find out more about Josy’s condition. He shared his concern over the fact that Josy did not suffer from nosebleeds or stomach cramps when she was away from home. It was possible that Josy’s sickness was induced by a regular dose of untraceable poisoning in the form of elements that she was allergic to that was monitored by someone close to her, possibly her parents. Dr. Roth confronted Wolfgang Riegger to find out the truth that he was hiding.
Meanwhile, Viktor was back in Parkum, and everything was unfolding exactly the way it did the first time. The only difference was that this time, Viktor was aware that it was not reality, and he was familiar with the characters. Anna Spiegel returned, and Viktor did not waste a minute. He walked down to the basement and entered a chamber where two chairs were kept facing one another. Anna took on the role of the psychotherapist, and Viktor was the patient. Anna held a mirror to Viktor’s face, forcing him to see reality for what it was and not the version that he had convinced himself of. He believed his daughter enjoyed staying at home, whereas she always found reasons to escape. Josy was physically better whenever she was away, and Anna asked him to explain the reason behind it.
How did Viktor’s behavior reflect his childhood trauma?
In Sebastian Fitzek’s Therapy, we find out that Viktor was living in denial, and his childhood had a role to play. Viktor’s parents were theater actors, and as a little boy, he watched them bicker and fight. He was traumatized when he saw his father with another woman backstage. His mother was devastated when her husband left her, and she chose to end her suffering by taking her life. When Viktor went to the washroom, he saw his mother’s body lying in the bathtub in a pool of blood—an image that haunted him even as a grown man. Viktor was sent to boarding school, and he never had anyone to call his family. As a grown man, Viktor cherished his family and was afraid of losing his daughter like he lost his mother. He convinced himself that he was protecting her, whereas, in reality, he was only causing her harm for his own selfish reasons. Viktor could not accept that his daughter was growing up and could form her own opinion. Mila was Josy’s only friend, and she helped Josy become her own person. Viktor suffered from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a disorder where the patient convinces themselves that the person they love is extremely sick and needs their constant care and attention. Viktor drugged his daughter, and that resulted in her mysterious sickness.
Was Josy dead or alive?
When Viktor tried recalling the events before Josy’s disappearance, he remembered Isabell adding poison to his daughter’s drink. He panicked once he realized that Isabell was after him and Josy. He was confident that she wanted to murder them to inherit all his wealth. The previous night, he had seen Isabell place a gun in her bag, confirming his doubt that she, indeed, was after him and Josy. When Isabell left, he packed his bag and sneaked out of his house with Josy. But before he could run away with his daughter, Isabell returned home, and she had her gun with her. Viktor believed that the only way to not get caught was by staying underwater for as long as they could. While Viktor was successful in hiding Josy from Isabell, Josy fell unconscious in the process. Viktor believed he had successfully revived Josy and drove her to the clinic, and that was when she disappeared. This was the story that Viktor had convinced himself of, but the reality was different.
In the end, Viktor finally realizes that he was responsible for his daughter’s disappearance. It was he who drugged her day after day, and the only person Josy was not safe from was him. That morning, he failed to revive his daughter, but he could not accept the reality. So, he chose to build a narrative that would play according to his convenience. Viktor was schizophrenic, and the world he built was his way of coping with the dark reality. Meanwhile, the doctors at the psychiatric ward, after repeated attempts, managed to bring Viktor back to life. He no longer needed to go back to Parkum now that he had uncovered the truth.
During Sebastian Fitzek’s Therapy‘s ending, Viktor announced that he would hand himself over to the police for the murder of his daughter. But before doing so, Dr. Roth proposed that he meet his other victim, Isabell. With the help of Wolfgang, Roth found Isabell’s address, and they drove together to her house. It was not easy for Isabell to meet Viktor after all that she had to live through. She seemed a little shocked when Victor announced that he would hand himself over to the police, and Dr. Roth asked the most pertinent question: where was Josy’s body? Isabell did not answer his question, but Sindbad did. Josy always wanted to bring home a dog, and Sindbad indicated that she was still around. At the end of Sebastian Fitzek’s Therapy, Viktor finally met his daughter after two years. We learn that Isabell brought Josy back to life when she found her lying in the garden. She sought Wolfgang’s help, and once she received Viktor’s call stating that Josy had gone missing, she knew she had the perfect way to keep her daughter away from Viktor. Wolfgang helped Isabell hide Josy, while Isabell pretended to be deeply worried about her daughter and convinced Viktor that she believed him. Josy refused to forgive her father after figuring out that he was the reason she was always sick.
After getting fired from his position for his unique treatments and experiments, Dr. Martin Roth opened his own clinic. He was all the more happy to have his daughter by his side, celebrating his milestone. Mila realized the weight on her father’s shoulder through Josy’s case. His job was demanding, and several lives were dependent on him. Both the father and the daughter made an effort to mend their relationship. Mila and Josy’s reunion was also a heartwarming moment. The two decided to travel to Amsterdam again, but this time all by themselves. Before leaving for Amsterdam, Josy decided to visit her father. Viktor had become more distant, and he was mostly lost in his fictional world—the Parkum. Viktor was not completely in his senses when Josy visited him. But even in his fictitious world, the arrival of his daughter called for celebration. Viktor was glad to see her, even though he could not express himself as much. He imagined welcoming her to his cottage in Parkum. In his imaginary world, he was at peace with his daughter by his side.