'I Know This Much is True' Episode 2 portrays how mental illness shapes the lives of loved ones around
Mark Ruffalo as Dominic and Thomas raises an important question in episode 2 of the HBO. How far is too far when it comes to caring for a family member suffering from mental illness?
'I Know This Much is True' in its second episode sees Dominic (Mark Ruffalo) finally voices out his frustrations about being tied down because of his twin brother Thomas (Mark Ruffalo) who is a mentally ill patient. He has schizophrenia and his hallucinations have gotten much worse since the death of their mother. Just as when they were kids, Dominic ends up becoming the person who cleans up after Thomas every time he has an episode or expresses violent self-harm tendencies. Like when he chopped off his hand in the name of God.
What could Dominic do but take care of his brother? Initially, he only worries about getting Thomas to transfer out of the maximum-security psychiatric facility. However, when Thomas' doctor Ms. Patel (Archie Panjabi) plays the session recording to Dominic to help him gather the condition of his brother, it becomes clear that Thomas' hallucinations have gone a step too far.
He insists that his mother was raped by his stepfather Ray who had then forced Dominic and Thomas to watch while he assaulted her. He claims that he was physically abused by his stepfather who would give Dominic leeway and never attacked him during their childhood and all of this brings Dominic's unhappiness with his brother to the surface. He clarifies to Dr. Patel that their mother was not raped and also confirms that Ray would leave him alone because he did not get on his step father's nerves like his brother and was always on the defensive.
We also know how Dominic wished that his stepfather was dead when he was a young child. He said as much to his mother one night when she had tried to put him to sleep. However, he was defenseless against Ray as a child and was unable to take a stand for Thomas. He still harbors guilt for the same, and part of the reason that he continues to put up with his brother is because of this. For instance, when the doctors wanted Dominic to give consent to attach the hand again, Thomas is deadset against it and he even tells his brother to stand up for him at least once. Thomas had been referring to their situation when they were children and Dominic is aware of the same as well. Which is why he decides to support his brother.
Episode 2 also shows that Dominic doesn't worry about Thomas' mental well-being unless he is well taken care of at a facility. He wants nothing to do but take his brother to McDonald's every weekend for a burger. Dominic also confesses to Dr. Patel that he had thought that he would cut off his relationship with his brother, possibly run away from his responsibility as a twin. However, he ended up as a 40-year-old divorcee who is still taking care of his brother.
The more absurd Thomas' claims are, the more Dominic is frustrated and it is clear that he has reached the end of consideration for this relationship. However, will this push him away once and for all or was this a rant before he continues to care for his brother? How much is too much when it comes to taking care of a mentally ill family member and isn't it important to draw a line somewhere if such responsibility is affecting one's mental state as well? That was the crux of this episode.
New episodes of 'I Know This Much is True' will drop on Sundays on HBO.