‘The Patient’ Season 1: Episode 3 – Recap & Ending, Explained – Who Else Was Living In Sam’s House?


FX’s psychological drama “The Patient” returns to continue from exactly where it had left off with episode 2 last week. Episode 3, titled “Issues,” introduces a third character who might be just as important as the two men, as the hostage psychotherapist Alan Strauss tries to help his patient Sam out of his violent addiction.

Spoilers Ahead

‘The Patient’ Episode 3 Recap And Ending

Alan is once again seen greeting the stranger from upstairs with a warm but confused hello, and this stranger is revealed to be a woman named Candace, who happens to be Sam’s mother. Seeing that the woman is not in chains or held captive in any sense, Alan asks her to free him, but things do not seem so simple. Candace agrees that what her son is doing is not right at all and says that she is not like him but does not free Alan either. To her, Sam definitely needs help, and Alan is the only person to help him, even if that means that the psychotherapist has to be chained up and held prisoner. 

The exact reason why Sam has kept his therapist chained up is revealed later when the young man returns home that day. Alan keeps up with his efforts of trying to convince Sam to release him, reminding him how he was much older and with way less physical strength than the young and strong Sam. But Sam reveals that he has to keep Alan tied up because he had pictured the whole scene of him receiving help from the therapist with Alan in the condition that he is in. Alan now once again focuses on talking to his patient about the latter’s past and explains how he sees Candace as a very important part of Sam’s life. Sam tries to play it down, claiming that every textbook psychotherapist harps on most issues stemming from one’s relationship with their mother, and that no such issue is present in his case. Nonetheless, Alan finally convinces him to bring Candace along for the next session, as he would want to look at his case with the mother in mind. 

It becomes very evident that Candace and Sam had been seeking comfort in each other since Sam’s childhood, as both were mistreated by the abusive husband and father, respectively. Sam earlier spoke of how his father would beat him up every time he did something wrong or was even slow in doing something that he asked him to do. The young boy would get beaten up even for his innocence or inability to understand what he was being asked to do. The man was similarly harsh on his wife, Candace, as well, and both the victims bonded even closer with each other due to this. Sam always felt the need to protect his mother, and it is this that Alan tries to use at present to help Sam out. The therapist asks Sam to equate the act of restraining himself from killing someone with the act of protecting his mother, making sure that he did not kill anybody else only to protect his mother. Both Candace and Sam seem to approve of such an idea, and Candace herself asks her son not to commit any more crimes for her sake. 

Alan’s help seems to work at first, as Sam sits down with him that evening after returning from work. He tells of his return to the same restaurant where he had met the obnoxious manager, whom he wanted to kill next. But Sam kept reminding himself of the captive Alan in his house and what the therapist had told him to do, and the young man managed to walk into the restaurant and buy food without doing anything to the manager. Alan congratulated Sam for doing the right thing, but the patient admitted that he still desperately wanted to teach the rude manager how to behave with others. Alan asks whether all the other victims of Sam had also crossed him with their behavior, and Sam insists that was indeed the case and that all of them deserved to be murdered. The next morning, as Sam is away at work, Alan hears noises from upstairs again and tries to call out to Candace, but nobody responds. That evening, he wakes shocked to see Sam bring in a new victim. A man a few years older than Sam, possibly the restaurant manager, has his hands tied with chains and his eyes taped shut as Sam drags him into his house and keeps him hostage in the room next to Alan’s.

What More Do We Learn About Alan Strauss?

As “The Patient” intensely keeps us imprisoned inside Sam’s house, meaning that we do not see anything of the outside world other than through Alan’s thoughts, some more information about Alan himself is revealed. He remembers a certain moment from his past, when his son Ezra was getting married to a woman of the Orthodox Jewish faith, and Alan’s wife Beth wanted to sing at her own son’s wedding. However, this had offended most of the people at the ceremony, for Orthodox Judaism does not allow women to sing in public, but Beth had gone along anyway. As most of the religious men left the room, Ezra too seemed cross at his mother’s act, which was out of her genuine love for him, but he perhaps perceived that moment as having to make a choice between his parents and his religion. Ezra sadly chose his faith, as Alan remembers Beth’s final moments on her deathbed, when Ezra had not even come to meet his mother for the last time and had only sent his wife. While Alan understandably remains scared and frustrated about his current situation—that is, being held captive in a serial killer’s house—the empty time that he seems to be getting to reflect on his life, and especially on his loving wife, appears to have its own effect on him. Perhaps he had never had these thoughts before, and he, too, might come out of this extremely strange experience with a new perspective. The darker shades of Alan’s character and past, if any, remain to be brought to light, but there is a sense of teasing going on on that front as well. After all, Alan once more has a very violent thought of stabbing Sam to death in Episode 3, much like he had once earlier as well. Whether the psychotherapist has any such potential or whether these quick thoughts are due to his desperate situation, remains to be seen.

What To Expect Next From ‘The Patient’ Episode 4? 

“The Patient” really does not seem to waste any time revealing things that can already be guessed, so Episode 4 will probably largely focus on the new hostage that Sam has brought in. Is he the same man Sam intended to murder next? In that case, Sam has not killed him but has instead abducted him and brought him to his house, which might suggest that he wants the man to speak with Alan. There is one more plot point that has been briefly talked about in Episode 3 that will be revealed in the following episodes. At the beginning of this episode, Candace asks whether Sam has told Alan about Mary, who is probably Sam’s ex-wife, but Alan says that he cannot answer such a question due to his professional boundaries. Sam’s character at present might have been largely shaped by his past with Mary, and what it exactly was might be revealed in episode 4 or later on.

See More: ‘The Patient’ Episode 4: Recap And Ending, Explained – Who Is Sam’s New Hostage? What Happens To Him?

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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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