Chaos Theory – What an Appropriate Title For the Fourth Installment of The Cleaner

© A&E Network Credit Craig Mathew

This was a pretty “clean” episode by my estimate. No strange scenes interjected by writers who may have won bets in an office pool. Minimal Akani involvement.

There is also a new level of chaos that has been creeping in a little more each episode – have you noticed it? It’s the demand put on William for a relationship with his wife, his daughter, his son.

If you really want some background on issues William is facing as a recovering addict, do some Googling on 12-step programs for addicts and/or alcoholics. Most 12-step programs won’t even allow you to have a relationship with a pet much less a human until you’ve successfully completed a 12-step program and have been sober/clean for a year.

The reason behind this is the stress a relationship can put on an addict. Sure a relationship can also give you support and love, but something doesn’t go your way and the next stop is a bar for a drink or the corner for a dime bag.

Even more chaos comes into William’s life in the form of a dinner party with some old friends, including William’s former sponsor. (Plus music by Sharon Little.)

But all the chaos isn’t happening to William. A math professor thinks tootin’ a little cocaine will help him finish his research project. The professor’s girlfriend/colleague comes to William for help. When Arnie poses as a student to run financials on the math professor and reports the results to William, William also has Arnie run the girlfriend’s financials. She’s in as bad financial condition as the math professor. From contributing to his habit or from joining in with him?

There are several times in this episode when I wondered what the answer to that question would be and wondered if A&E had the balls to even touch on that subject during prime time because there for the grace of god go I.

There was a time when I couldn’t lick it so I joined it. I made my ex promise that he would never bring it up and slap me in the face with it – which of course he did, to his father no less. It didn’t take me long to realize that was no answer to our problem – thank goodness I’m no dummy and I don’t have an addictive personality. Talk about CHAOS!

And in The Cleaner, the chaos hits the fan … hard. The girlfriend realizes the research her math professor has been working on is nothing but a bunch of … well crap. That his mind is so fried that his career is essentially over. With nothing left but the deed to his family’s restaurant in hand, he hits the streets to see what he can get for that.

And that’s when everything comes to a screeching halt … William’s crew kicks into high gear and he ends up in rehab. What I really like about the episodes is that they spend maximum time telling the story and minimal time showing you the heroic saving. Boom … Boom … Bam!

Back on the home front, William’s son finds a syringe in the family bathroom and to me keeps it secret for all of about 10 seconds. He can’t wait to confront his dad with it and shove it in his face. It’s hard to immediately read William’s face when he sees it. Is it a look of guilt? Is it a look of horror?

He goes to his friend, his old sponsor, the one who he credits with saving his life at one point. He tells him what has happened and I don’t know if I’m just good at figuring out this or what but I knew from the jump that it was his syringe and I think William knew it, too.

I think William just brought it to him hoping he was going to come “clean.” The real true life drama was when William’s wife was asking him about the syringe. No matter how much love there is, there will always be that shadow of doubt forever.

And that’s what recovering addicts in relationships face every time they’re late coming home … there will always be that doubt … where were you … what were you doing … who were you with … it will never go away.

1 Comment

  1. “Most 12-step programs won’t even allow you to have a relationship with a pet much less a human until you’ve successfully completed a 12-step program and have been sober/clean for a year.”

    Umm .. bullzhit!!. You obviously got that idea from a comic book or something because it is absolutely not true.

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