“The Cleaner” Season 2: Episodes 3 & 4


The Projectionist

William is asked by an East Indian mother to help her pregnant daughter who is addicted to meth and being forced into marriage by her
father; William kidnaps the girl on her wedding day and decides to take her to his safe house for detox instead of to the hospital, a decision he may come to regret later. Meanwhile, William tries to figure how to celebrate Ben’s birthday and struggles with his separation from Melissa.

Does Everybody Have a Drink?

Jonathan, a talent manager, hires William and his team to help his star client, April Maykick her drug habit. Jonathan is about to be married to his fiancée Josefina and their patience is waning for his out-of-control alcoholic parents, who happen to be Los Angeles’ longest running nightclub act. Jonathan seeks William’s help again in cleaning up his parents, who are the epitome of a codependent alcoholic couple. As Jonathan’s wedding approaches, William helps him realize he in fact is an enabler and that unless he changes his ways, there is little help for those around him getting clean. Melissa serves William with divorce papers.


I think The Projectionist is one of the best episodes yet. It showed us William’s own struggles as well as cultural struggles. It was definitely an eye opener. People don’t stop because of a baby and the baby’s father had to run off and leave Usha to wake her up. Williams quote about the Mr. Patel’s granddaughter (“… Talk about missing life… your granddaughter is first baby I’ve ever seen born… and I’ve got two kids…”) brought tears to my eyes. I loved the prayer William keeps repeating (“God, I offer myself to you–to build with me and to do with me as you will. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do your will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of your Power, your Love, and your Way of life,” aka third step prayer from Alcoholics Anonymous), too; it added more to the character. I liked how Arnie provided some light-hearted touches to the episode and like his affection for Akani and how protective he is. He generally cares about her.

Does Everybody Have a Drink? delves into the rawness of human emotions, as it deals with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Addiction, to whatever, is about the loss of control, so a person with any addiction, or like in the son’s case being around drinking his whole life that he searches for it (and doesn’t drink). In this episode we see a parent that won’t stop drinking (and will lose an adult child because of it), because he’s too old to change now, and this same father that throws out his wife of many years because she wants to change. And William’s battle in this episode is convincing Jonathan (who must be a truly caring individual) to stop being always there for his parents and his client and let them hit the bottom instead of solving problems for them, if he really wants them to decide to change and get clean for goods, and save his relationship with the woman he’s about to marry along the way…  This episode really hits it right on the head.

What hit me in both of these episodes is Akani’s lack of hope and trust that people can change for the better (“an addict is an addict”), if compared to William’s willingness to believe change is possible and to trust people (though sometimes his trust and hope turn out to be misplaced). As she is an ex addict (BTW, I wonder what her addiction was), her seemingly being hopeless when it comes to other people’s chances to recover kind of surprises me.

As for the other characters, I still can’t understand Melissa. I can see how she can feel William switched from an addiction to drugs to an addiction to curing addiction and how feeling abandoned by her husband once due to addiction and again due to his need to help other addicts out of their troubles can make her angry. I can also see how guilt can be a constant emotion with recovered and recovering addicts and how, in sobriety, they can be constantly reminding themselves of their failures. However, I feel like William is trying to cope with the fact that he did what he did, he didn’t do what he didn’t do, and nothing will change that. All he can do is do the best he can now – and leave the guilt somewhere else. Melissa decided , instead, seems to be still taking advantage of William’s guilt, and use it against him, instead of support him in his effort to change. I wish William would get over his ex-junkie guilt long enough to realize what’s really happening and tell her to stop with her little dramas or at least appear to be moving on. It is obvious that then she would everything she can to save their relationship (why would she have stayed with William for so long, even when he was screwed up, if she didn’t love him?).

On a side note, unanswered questions that have been hanging out there for me since the beginning of season 2 are

  1. Why William is driving his old truck again? What happened to the GMC, the new truck William was shown driving off in at the end of season 1? It looks like they are trying to strip William down to some sort of bare bones scenario: letting him live in his office, not showing the detox center, etc.
  2. What happened to Darnell? He was there all through season 1 and he suddenly just wasn’t, no explanation given as to why he is not in season 2.
  3. As the season 1 finale showed William leaving and go somewhere, what did William do while he was away? How long was gone? Where did he go?

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