Shrinking is a comedy series about Jimmy Laird, a therapist who is going through severe grief after the passing of his wife and decides to have a more direct approach with his patients. The episodes are streaming on Apple TV+.
Episode 1 recap: Coin Flip
Jimmy is having a little party at his pool at 3 am and his neighbor, Liz, comes out and asks him to shut it down. He’s recovering from his hangover the next morning as his daughter, Alice, leaves for school with Liz.
Jimmy leaves for work as well and arrives late for his first appointment. He’s a therapist and he spends his morning listening to his patients talk about their lives so that he can help them overcome their problems.
Because of the mental state that he’s in, he gets frustrated with all the listening and he finally snaps at one of his patients, Grace. He tells her that they’ve been working together for 2 years without much progress and lays out her problems for her in an assertive rant.
She sheepishly agrees to do what he said and leaves the office. He goes on to discuss what just happened with his colleagues, Paula and Gaby. He asks them if they’ve ever felt frustrated with a patient and pushed them forcefully in the direction they need to go.
Paul tells him that the approach would rob the patients of any autonomy and chances for organic self-growth, calling it “psychological vigilantism”. He takes in Paul’s advice and heads back to his office.
After a while, Jimmy decides to go home and take a shower but Gaby stops him and asks him to take over a patient for her as a favor. It’s a soldier with anger issues who is court-ordered to be there.
He sits down with Sean to talk but the session is a train wreck and Jimmy lets him leave early.
Jimmy heads back home and sees his daughter return from school with Liz and go into her house. He goes to sneakily check up on them but is found out immediately.
Liz gives him some food and tells him to step up his efforts with Alice before she moves out and never wants to come back. Liz’s husband, Derek returns from work and is curt and passive-aggressive with Jimmy.
The next morning, Jimmy is on the phone with Paul while making breakfast for Alice to improve things between them but Paul tells him that he cannot force anything and needs to be patient.
Sean comes in for another session and Jimmy starts by apologizing for being so poor the previous day. He gets a call from Grace and he answers it. She tells him that she took his advice and left her emotionally abusive husband to go live with her sister for a while.
She says she feels much better and Jimmy counts that as a win. He goes over Sean’s anger issues and what sets him off before having a crazy idea. He takes Sean to an MMA fighting gym and asks one of the trainers to spar with Sean.
After the fight, Jimmy sits down with Sean and tells him that he has a lot of residual trauma within him that needs an outlet and if he can find a productive one, then they can move on to figuring out the issues underneath.
He sees his best friend, Brian, off in the distance and doesn’t want to be seen so he scoots away. He tells Gaby about his session with Sean and she tells him that it’s highly unethical to do that.
He continues to take Sean to the gym while trying to spend time with his daughter who keeps ignoring him. Finally, Paul confronts him about what he’s doing and tells him that he’s putting his career at risk.
Jimmy says that he hasn’t had a great past year but he feels like he’s onto something and just needs a chance to play things out. After another session with Sean, Jimmy tells him that his wife died in a car accident and he’s been down ever since but he’s hoping that eventually, things will improve.
Grace is also doing well and Jimmy is in better spirits. He has a conversation with Alice one day before she leaves for school and Alice tells him that she also went through the loss and he wasn’t there for it so he can’t just make a few small gestures and expect things to be alright.
Someone bumps into Sean on the street and squares up to him. He calls Jimmy and when Jimmy gets there, Sean says that he walked away from the fight but didn’t know what to do with his emotions. Jimmy says that this is progress and suggests celebrating.
Sean reminds him that his daughter has a soccer game and he should attend. After getting stuck in traffic, they book it to the field and get there in time.
As they’re watching the game, a rough-looking man approaches Jimmy and assaults him. It’s Grace’s husband who is angry with Jimmy for telling her to leave him. Sean tries to defend Jimmy and beats the other man to a pulp before getting arrested.
Alice thanks Jimmy for coming to her game and he says that he would have come sooner but she reminds him so much of her mother.
Episode 2 recap: Fortress of Solitude
Jimmy suggests having dinner together but Alice says that she has made plans with Liz for the night so Jimmy says he’ll always be there when she’s ready. He also brings up a meeting he’s going to have with her school counselor later in the day.
As he’s headed to the police station to bail out Sean, he calls Paul to tell him that he was patient with Alice but he’s starting to lose hope. Paul tells him that he was out of sorts for almost a year and he’s just started making an effort so he cannot expect immediate results.
After getting out of Jail, Sean says he needs a lawyer because Grace’s husband is going to sue him. Jimmy reluctantly calls Brian, who he’s been avoiding for the last year.
At work, he asks Gaby to keep the assault a secret from Paul. They talk about how much of a private person Paul is and they don’t know all that much about him. Paul says that his family is just for him and his home is his fortress of solitude.
Jimmy has a check-in with Grace over a video call but he takes care not to reveal the black eye he got from her husband. After finishing his session with her, he sits down with another one of his patients, Dan.
Dan is very standoffish and Jimmy points that out to him very plainly. He takes him out to coffee where Dan has a nice moment with the barista, something he constantly complains about.
Jimmy has to rush to Alice’s school for the meeting with the counselor and Liz is already there. Liz does most of the talking and Jimmy feels embarrassed by it.
He talks about it with Paul and Gaby and Gaby agrees that even though she’s been a great help, she needs to back down so that Jimmy has the space to build his relationship with Alice.
Sean, Brian, and Jimmy meet with Grace’s husband and his lawyer and Brian points out that the fight was clearly started by the other party and Sean was just helping his therapist.
As they leave, Brian invites Jimmy for pickleball later at night but Jimmy says he can’t attend. Sean asks Brian why they drifted apart but Brian says he has no idea.
Alice’s friend at school invites her to have drinks under a bridge that evening but Alice isn’t interested. She meets Paul and talks about how everyone else at her school is so much more immature than she is.
Paul tells her that Jimmy knows exactly how she feels and she should give him a chance to make amends. Jimmy is having a session when Brian barges in and calls him out for avoiding him and wallowing in self-pity.
Gaby pays Liz a visit and tells her that she needs to give Alice and Jimmy some space. She points out that Liz is trying to fill space since her boys have all moved out but she needs to find other activities for that.
Paul finds out about the assault from Alice and confronts Jimmy about it. he pleads with Jimmy to make sure his personal and professional lives do not intertwine or else it will make things more difficult for Alice.
Sean’s parents ask him to move out of their house since he got arrested again. Alice tells Liz that she’ll be having dinner with her dad and will be skipping their plan. Liz says it’s not an issue but she actually put a lot of effort into it.
Jimmy finds himself drinking by himself exactly like Brian predicted and decides to take up his offer. Alice returns with food and when Jimmy offers to cancel in case she wants to eat with him, she says the food is actually for her and Liz.
Jimmy meets Brian while Alice goes to Paul’s house with the food. Alice makes it seem like it was Jimmy’s fault that she isn’t having dinner with him.
Brian asks Jimmy if they’re going to have an honest conversation about what happened between them but when Jimmy tries to put it off, Brian gets annoyed.
They sit down and Jimmy says that he wanted to hit rock bottom after his wife died and Brian was too positive to be around which is why he pushed him away. Jimmy gets a message and says he has to leave but his relationship with Brian has improved.
Alice gets home to find Sean sitting in their kitchen. Jimmy says that Sean needed a place to crash for a bit and so he’ll be living with them, doing the opposite of what Paul told him.
- Shrinking is a wonderful exploration of human behavior and the complexities of different relationships. All kinds of issues will be covered such as anger, grief, and neglect, which will be handled with the right amount of sensitivity.
- An argument can be made for a disclaimer explaining the clear ethical violations that Jimmy is committing and real-life professionals might have differing opinions on this particular depiction.
- The cast appears charming and works extremely well with each other. Jason Segel, Jessica Williams, and Harrison Ford are a wonderful trio whenever they are on screen together and their interactions and quite entertaining.
- Ford is essentially playing himself in this series, a grumpy, yet caring old man but with a degree in psychology and he is an absolute delight in this role.
Shrinking season 1 episodes 1 and 2
Director: James Ponsoldt, Ry Russo-Young
Date Created: 2023-01-27 12:00