‘The Patient’ Episode 9: Recap And Ending, Explained – How Does Alan’s Plans For Sam Backfire Again?


Episode 9 of “The Patient” sees Alan Strauss make another attempt to somehow carve a way out of escape from his basement prison, and he expects this to work faster than someone finding the note in Elias’ hidden body. While the last few episodes had us regularly getting out of Sam’s house and following other characters as well, episode 9 returns to the style of the early episodes, and the camera is restricted inside the house. Now that the end is near, Sam devises a twisted plan to end his misery once and for all, but the fate of Alan still remains undecided.

Spoilers Ahead

‘The Patient’ Episode 9: Recap And Ending

Alan continues to desperately sharpen his empty foot cream tube and has dissociative conversations with Charlie about it and other things. He also has nightmares of Auschwitz on a regular basis, and on this occasion, he dreams of waking a man up from a nightmare. Talking to Charlie about this dream, Alan explains that he saw the famed psychiatrist Viktor Frankl in the concentration camp and had woken him up from a nightmare, much against the principles of Frankl himself. As Charlie reminds him (and us), the Austrian psychiatrist who had survived the horrid concentration camps had clearly said that he advised people to not wake someone up from a nightmare in the camps, as the reality inside there was worse than any nightmare. Charlie sees this dream of Alan as a message of the general triumph of the human spirit, but to Alan himself, this is more of an internal message that he should not let Sam kill him without a fight. It is evident that Alan has changed his take on the whole situation, as he was earlier scared to attack Sam because he would be overpowered, and it is also clear that he has been sharpening the tube to attack his captor. Over the next few scenes, it is also revealed that Alan has indeed made a proper plan to attempt this attack and possibly escape the house, as he is now certain that his earlier plan of hiding a note in Elias’ body has completely failed.

On this particular morning, the psychotherapist calls out to his patient, saying that he wants to discuss something important, and when Sam comes in, he tells him that he does not want the young man to see a different therapist. Alan says that changing therapists midway suggests that a patient is taking an easy way out and that this rarely works out for anyone. But the man is also plain and honest about the fact that he does not want Sam to see his high school therapist because that would mean he would kill Alan. Sam is also amused and satisfied with this honesty, and this further makes him take one last faith in Alan. While telling his patient about the works of Viktor Frankl, Alan points out how the meaning of one’s life is often found in their relationships. He wants Sam to develop a relationship, preferably a romantic one, and when the young man says that he is not good at forming these new bonds, Alan takes a chance at pitching his plan. He says that it might also work for Sam to try and reconnect with his ex-wife Mary because he did have a genuine relationship with her and so he would not have to start from scratch. Sam is not too convinced at first, recalling how Mary would not understand certain actions of his and had doubts as to whether he loved her or not. But Alan knows how to tackle the situation; perhaps he sees the desire to get back with Mary inside Sam as well, and ultimately, he convinces Sam to see her again. It would be best, Alan says, if Sam would invite Mary over to his house, and Alan could also somehow hear their conversation. The two men try to think of ways to do that, although Alan seems to pretend to think before suggesting that a baby monitor be used. Sam announces this new development to his mother, Candace, as well, and although the mother is surprised at it, she does not have anything against such a plan since she has always liked Mary. It was finally decided that Sam and Mary would sit on the upper floor and have a healthy chat while Alan would observe them from the basement through a baby cam monitor. While Alan claims that this would help him understand and help Sam’s situation, his real plan is to stab Sam during this time. The weapon that he has been preparing, the empty ointment tube, would never kill Sam in a single strike, and while the psychopath would definitely fight back in other situations, Alan believes that Sam would not be able to fight when Mary is in his house, because he would be too scared to reveal his horrible secrets to his ex-lover.

During his conversation back with Charlie, the dead friend/therapist points out how Alan’s plan had the potential to not just backfire but also to make Sam kill Mary. Charlie also points out how this possible death of Mary would be completely due to Alan’s decision, and he would have to bear the responsibility of it in his conscience forever. But Alan remains determined, and he also grooms Sam about how to go about the meeting. The next morning, Mary visits the house and sits down for brunch. Sam terribly falters to make any meaningful conversation, and Alan had known something like this would happen. The young man nervously walks down to the basement and asks for Alan’s help, and the therapist is ready with his weapon to strike Sam. However, Alan cannot go through with his plan, as his conscience seems to hold him back, and he allows Sam to return to the brunch table. When he hears Mary talk of leaving, Alan wishes to shout out to her, informing her of his situation so that she would get some help, but he stops himself from doing that either. After Mary leaves, Sam comes to the basement and expresses his frustration about one more of Alan’s plans for him not working. He insisted that he would go to see the high school therapist in a few days. Alan now tells Sam that he should talk more about his father and his father’s effect on his life with his new therapist, and it is this plan that backfires the most. It is probably that Alan was trying to make Sam open up some more about his father to him as a means to buy some more time for himself. He tells Sam how all his murders were born out of the rage he had against his father, and not technically because of his anger against the individuals, and perhaps wants Sam to forgive himself for his acts and stop them. However, this works in a completely opposite manner, as Sam is now very convinced that killing his father would stop his urge to murder people. With a set determination, he walks out to find and kill his apparently abusive father and bring an end to his deadly habit.

Why Does Alan Not Attack Sam When He Can?

When Alan has the opportunity to stab Sam with the sharp metal tube in the basement, he knows that this might be his biggest chance to escape. He had earlier expressed astonished amusement at the fact that his plan of making Sam bring Mary to his house had even worked. However, at that exact moment, Alan was also very sure that the chance of his plan being a success was highly outweighed by another much greater possibility—that of Sam killing Mary. After all, Sam is extremely cautious of being caught or his crimes being found out, and he would definitely go to any extent to ensure that his secrets remain so. He had even told Alan very clearly that if Alan was thinking of doing something, Sam would actually consider harming or killing Mary as well, even though she was the love of his life. Although the death of Elias was not completely on Alan, it did occur when the psychotherapist’s suggestion for his patient failed to work, and Sam succumbed to his anger. In this case with Mary, Alan knows how any attack on the young woman would be entirely because of him and on his conscience. There was also the possibility, as Charlie reminds him, of Sam’s strangely unreactive mother, Candace, to side with her son to protect him and, in the process, attack or kill Mary. This would not only make Alan indirectly responsible for someone’s death, but it would also create another murderer. As his conscience, in the form of Charlie, keeps reminding him that he will get Mary killed, Alan finally decides that he cannot go through with this plan, and he lets Sam walk away. This is also the same reason why he does not call out to Mary for help, as this would also bring imminent danger to the young woman, and she would most possibly be killed by Sam.

What To Expect Next From ‘The Patient’ Season Finale?

Like it has been ever since the beginning of the series, time is running out for Alan Strauss, but now more than ever. No matter how cornered the psychotherapist feels, though, launching an attack or trying to kill someone does not look like his style at all. Alan takes his chances but fails to create any opportunity at the right moment. Instead, his fate is left up to chance and Sam’s wish of what to do with him. On the other hand, Sam’s sudden decision to kill his father to end his murder spree makes his fate undecided, too, for he might very well end up getting caught by the law. Sam’s father might also turn out to be the mean and abusive man that he claims to be, and the father might stop his son in his tracks. Either way, what happens to Alan and Sam at the end would be the important thing to look forward to in next week’s season finale.

See More: ‘The Patient’ Ending, Explained: How Does Alan And Sam’s Story Come To An End?

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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