The Cleaner, episodes 10, 11, 12

Rebecca
Rebecca, a gifted teenage pianist, has turned to meth to cope with the pressures in her life. Her father, who has been reluctantly supporting her habit out of fear of losing her, requests William’s help. William and his team face an unexpected challenge in Rebecca’s mother, whose control issues have influenced her daughter’s neuroses. As Rebecca spirals out of control -“dating” a 50-year-old man for drug money and stealing from neighbors – William realizes that, in order to save her, he must first heal her family.

Back to One
Lisa moved to Los Angeles years ago with dreams of becoming an actress, but thus far, all she has managed is a steady career as an extra. When her visiting brother discovers the depth of Lisa’s cocaine problem, he enlists William. He learns that Lisa has been supporting her habit via a credit card scheme and moves to grab her, only to have her finally land a role that could be her break. Meanwhile, Swenton goes missing, and Akani, fearing the worst, races to locate him.

Five Little Words
William brings Swenton into the Banks home to detox, determined to save him from the fate that Mickey suffered. Meanwhile, Akani and Darnell take on a case from drug dealer Gaza Rashburg. They infiltrate his daughter’s sorority house, where Akani discovers that the girl is severely bulimic, while Darnell harbors a personal vendetta against Rashburg. William’s past with drugs and his struggle to get clean is also explored.

Rebecca. I really felt sympathy for Rebecca and her family. It is only too human on the mother’s part to push her daughter to extremes, given that she saw how talented Rebecca was at playing the piano and she could have the career that she dreamed about. It must have been hard for Rebecca to cope with a parent who did not leave it to her to choose whether she wanted to be pianist or not. And the father was caught between the two of them. At one point he said that he was tired of fighting. The advice given? Choose what you care about, but no matter what don’t stop fighting. And this is hard when you have to fight on two fronts for the good of the people you love.

Back to One. Can I admit this episode made me cry? Actually, Lisa, the striving actress, dying (ouch, another failure by William and his team) is not what made me cry, that was sad, and expected. I was about to cry “Get to Swenton!” when they were there on the set where Lisa died. It was William’s prayer that brought tears to my eyes (“How much pressure can we handle before we crack? What will it take to piece us back together? Because whether you send us angels or not, the only real hope we have is.. Each other… We get lost, we are afraid and you know what it’s like for the lost and the frightened.. The lose faith in you, in themselves, in each other, so maybe you sent us those angels, so maybe… Maybe you just need us to believe in them, but for me… I need you. This time my faith, my belief even in the angels you might have sent my way… They are not enough… They are not enough, not this time… Please… Please, help me, don’t let this happen again.” ): it was a very emotional moment, a sign of his humility and one of the very few times he has admitted weakness.

Five Little Words. This is one of the best episodes in the series, in my opinion. I related so much to it that it almost hurt. William’s monologues were awesome, I felt sympathy for both Akani and Melissa, Darnell’s pain was so real, so understandable (he knows it’s wrong, he knows his brother made his own choices, he knows it’s not what God wants, but he still wants to shot the guy), and so was Gaza’s explanation. Considered that I struggled with an eating disorder myself (I had a period when I weighed 100 pounds like Gaza’s daughter supposedly weighs), Gaza’s daughter was very real to me. The whole negative self talk thing as well as the “get away from me, just leave me alone, I’m fine…” hit close to home.

Swenton’s vulnerability and relationship with William and Melissa were powerful in this episode as well. The flashbacks were heart wrenching. It also really hit me when Swenton was talking about how he knew he was damned from the start because of the whole cough syrup thing when he was a kid and how William told him that we are just hardwired from the get go. Also I could feel Swenton’s pain when he was outside smoking and he apologizes to Melissa. Letting people see that you’ve slipped and admitting you are at your worst are the hardest things in the world. It was clear much Swenton depends on William – almost in a father-son dynamic – and the extent of his low self-esteem.

Melissa and William had this great emotional scene at the end where they just look at each other and she knows. After all she put up with from him, she knows he cheated. And she still had the strength to forgive him.

How hard it is to make those five little words change from “I wish I were dead” to “I wish I were alive”, choosing life over death…

So, ready for the season finale next week? Personally, I’m ready for a new episode, not for the first season ending and really hope a second is in the cards. Anyway, don’t miss the season finale on TV and then head for AETV.com to watch the Extended Final Scene

10 thoughts on “The Cleaner, episodes 10, 11, 12”

  1. I agree that Five little words was the best episode yet. I hope the show gets a second season but I’m a bit pessimistic since A&E hasn’t made an announcement about it yet.

  2. In fact, it is rather worrying that A&E hasn’t made an announcement about a second season yet. Hopefully, they were just waiting the end of season one before they draw conclusions about how well the show did and decide whether another season is viable. Anyway, better not be too optimistic so as not to be disappointed if The Cleaner doesn’t get a second season.

  3. It’s episode 10, “Rebecca”, we’re talking about, isn’t it?

    Sara, do you need a transcription of the monologue or a clip?

    If it’s just a transcription you need, it’s no problem for me to re-watch the episode and write the monologue down to post here. I’ll do so as soon as possible.

    Please, let me know if you need a clip, too.

  4. Ok, I just re-watched the beginning of “Rebecca” and William’s monologue goes like this… more or less ;)

    “There are those among us you blessed with a gift… The rare genius, an Einstein, a Galileo, a Mozart, or a Picasso… and even the mere mortals we see more often, men and women with a head for math or science, a talent for painting or poetry, or the beautiful gift of music. When that gift is given to a child, it raises the temperature of any room they’re in, it can inspire those around them, or can grab some to a place of fear… of disharmony. And it’s then, I think, that people begin to think of that gift as a curse. It’s not the gift itself, it’s not even the person you’ve given it to; it’s the rest of us, the parents, the children, the friends, the enemies, the audience. It’s how we deal with that gift that makes it either a blessing or a curse.”

    If there are mistakes in the transcription, please let me know.

  5. I found the time to re-watch “Five Little Words” and transcribe the William’s monologue. Note that I’m including the part opening the episode and the one closing it, separated by ‘( … )’.

    “There are five words that are part of every addict’s vernacular. Five words that come from the darkest place imaginable, but these five words don’t mean surrender or defeat. To call it defeat would oversimplify the absolute loss of humanity. This is it… the disintegration of the soul, the point at which the body has no fire left, when helpless becomes hopeless and hopeless becomes despair. This is the moment in the game where there are no more place, no more outs, no more options. This is the place every addict eventually gets to. The thought of living our lives without our addiction is unthinkable, even worse than the thought of living our lives with it. So when we say these five words, it doesn’t come from a place of fear, it doesn’t come from a place of sadness, it comes from the core of our soul, the burning-out center that has begun to go cold, the place where nothing lives except the truth. These five words… so simple… five little words… ‘I wish I were dead…’

    ( … )

    There are five words that are part of every addict’s vernacular, five words that come from the darkest place imaginable, but these five words don’t mean surrender or defeat. When helpless becomes hopeless and hopeless becomes despair, and it’s out of despair that the addict has a chance, one chance of finding hope and that’s acceptance, so when we say these five words, it doesn’t come from a place of fear, it comes from sadness and from wisdom, from acceptance and from trust. These five little words… ‘I wish I were alive…’”

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