By Tim Stevens
The following is an excerpted transcript of a therapy session with Wasp (Dr. Henry Pym) and Ant-Man (Eric O’Grady). Tim Stevens is on-hand to facilitate.
WASP: I have heard you are very good at your job and I do not doubt it. I just happen to think this will prove to be a waste of all of our times—certainly yours and mine.
ANT-MAN: Your face is a waste of all of our times!
TIM STEVENS: Eric, please. Henry…
W: Hank’s fine.
TS: Ok. Hank, I appreciate you sharing your feelings with me and that you are cognizant of my time. However, I recommend we at least try to make this work once before we decide that it cannot. Think of it as an experiment. Will you do that?
W (sighs slightly): Yes, fine. As an experiment, I suppose it might have some merit.
TS: Great. So, again, tell me why you both think you are here.
AM: Because “Hank” over there is an enormous jerk.
W: Now wait just a mom—
TS: Eric, is there a way you can phrase that that might be a little more…respectful?
AM (heavy, sarcastic sigh): Yeah, fine. I think we are here because Hank is having a hard time accepting help from anyone, regardless of how much he needs it.
TS: Alright. Good, thank you, Eric. And Hank, how do you feel about Eric’s characterization of this session?
W: Simply put, I think it is wrong. I have trouble accepting help from him. He is a thief who frequently engages in despicable activities using items that I invented.
AM: Hey, hey. Let’s not say things we can’t take back. A thief? Would a thief be an Avenger?
W: Yes! And have, several times. Hawkeye, Swordsman, Black Widow.
AM: There you go then! You liked some of them, right?
W: The difference between you and them is they made a serious change in their lives when they joined the Avengers. They dedicated themselves to the ideal of being a hero. You still play Wii with that felon Black Fox!
AM: Well…you created a killer robot!
TS: Alright, let’s all just take a moment to relax here. It is good to express our feelings, but we really should do it without inflammatory language.
AM: What? It’s true. There’s this robot named Ul—
TS: I understand Eric, but we are looking to come to an understanding, not hurt one another. So certainly terms like…well…like killer robot, I suppose, should be left off the table.
W: I…I have made mistakes. Done things I am very ashamed of. And I live every moment of my life trying to make up for them…trying to overcome that legacy. So do not sit there and pretend that the way I live my life is at all the same as the way you live yours. You are still manipulating women, cavorting with criminals, and generally behaving like some…some adolescent.
TS: Again, please avoid the insults.
AM: And maybe I am trying. I’m not a genius scientist who already had Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as his buddies, alright?
W: Well, forgive me if I do not see it then.
TS: Okay. Good. I think that gives me a very good idea on where you both stand. I would actually like to go back to what you said a few moments ago, Hank. You mentioned that you have made mistakes and are trying to make amends, right?
W: Yes. I very much am.
TS: Which is wonderful and should be applauded. However, earlier, Eric said that you refuse help. I think he meant from him, but I find myself wondering if you refuse help from everyone. That, maybe, you feel the need to fix everything on your own to, as you put it, “overcome your legacy.” Does that seem accurate?
W: I…No. Not really, no. I have been a teammate for most of my adult life. I do not mind working with others. Just not him.
TS: Okay. Okay, I hear you. I would say though that working with others is not always the same as allowing people to help you. So, that might just be something for you to give some further thought, too. And Eric, why is it so important to you that Hank let you help him?
AM: It’s not. I don’t care about him at all. I’m just, you know, being Avenger-y and such.
AM: Yeah! Well…I don’t know. I do have his gear and I felt like, maybe, I could do him a solid here. Give him some information and help him out, you know? I just didn’t realize he’d be so…high and mighty about it.
W: You brought a Sleepwalker into my lab, who stole my technology. Did you expect me to be thrilled?
AM: That was an accident!
TS: And have you apologized for it, Eric?
AM: What? No! Screw that. What do I have to apologize for?
TS: Being duped by one of your criminal friends into bringing a…“Sleepwalker” into Hank’s lab and thus costing him some of his hard work, perhaps?
AM: Oh. Right…that. Like it would even make a difference if I did.
TS: Maybe you should try and find out.
AM (exaggerated sigh): Fine…I’m really sorry.
TS: To Hank, not to me.
AM (turning to W): I’m sorry. I thought I was doing a good thing. I honestly didn’t think Black Fox was lying to me. And the Sleepwalker thing…I didn’t even know about those. I was trying to help…really, I was.
W: Well, I just hope we can get back what was stolen.
AM (throws up his hands in frustration): See?!
TS: Now, Hank, I think that was a fairly sincere apology, don’t you? Don’t you think Eric deserves more than a brush off for it?
W: I think he should not have let this happen in the first place.
TS: And if it could all work out like that, that would be great. But we both know it cannot. What happened happened. And now he’s trying to make amends by helping you find the invention and stop its misuse. That seems admirable to me.
TS: Think of it this way. Nothing you can ever do can unmake Ultron—
AM (mumbling): Oh, I see. You get to bring up the robot.
TS (ignoring AM): —but that does not mean you cannot do things to make up for the mistake, right?
W: That…that is what I am hoping.
TS: Exactly. And, I think if you are honest, you can see that Eric is doing the same thing. He may have…his own way of doing things and you might not like him personally or find him very annoying—
TS: —but ultimately, he’s just looking to try and help rectify a mistake he made, right?
Silence. Uncomfortable shifting.
TS: Okay. Well, clearly, you both have some things to consider, but we are out of time here. Please do give what we talked about some thought. I wish both the best of luck with this tech retrieval and I look forward to hopefully seeing you both return.
The duo will meet with Doctor Tim Seeley for their next session. Please look at file ANT-MAN & THE WASP #2, available for review on December 2, for the case notes.
Tim Stevens, MA, a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee at a Federal Correctional Institute, has experience in organizing and facilitating group therapy sessions.