The sitcom-esque convenient amendments are only valid for shows that have made their characters somewhat pleasant or at least rootable, even if they aren’t exemplary specimens of goodness. Apple TV’s comedy-drama about a bunch of screwed-up therapists has done neither. At best, the characters we’re supposed to care for are painstakingly self-aware without a smidgen of sense regarding the courses of action that can actually help them mend the bridges they’ve almost destroyed. While that’s true of a lot of people and shouldn’t necessarily be held against them, these people being in charge of guiding their patients through the crucial stages that can make or break their lives just doesn’t sit right. I would expect therapists to have a tad better grip on how they conduct themselves in their personal lives and how they channel their emotions. And yet, we’re made to not just see them as regular people (which would have been alright); we’re actually made to cut them slack when they least deserve it. Let’s just say that the minds that “Ted Lasso” and “Shrinking” were born out of wouldn’t belong to people that I would trust with giving anybody functional life advice.
It’s All Working Out Because, Well, That’s What The Writers Wrote
Jimmy, the CEO of the grief department, yet again goes the distance to help out a patient dealing with the loss of his mother. And why, do you ask? Isn’t it increasingly obvious that Jimmy projects all over everyone around him because solutions are a one-size-fits-all phenomenon, apparently? Tia’s birthday is nearing, and Jimmy must make a conscious choice to let go respectfully. And so must his patient, who is made to break a couple of laws to sneak into an empty stadium to scatter his mother’s ashes after a bittersweet eulogy. Neat, right? Well, not so much, considering they have to make a run for it when the security chases them out.
Guess who’s getting a lifetime achievement award for his exemplary work as a therapist? Yup, it’s the father who has managed to push his daughter away after a lifetime of disappointing her. At least Paul is grumpy about it, even if his moans and groans have to do with the acceptance that there’s not much left to achieve with his career anymore. But what does he have to whine about when he’s getting all that action with his super-hot even-for-her-age doctor? Not that our Paul isn’t a catch (insert eye-roll here). Bars really need to be brought down lower as you grow older, I guess. I mean, why else would she kiss him after he comes clean about the absolute trainwreck of a husband that he was to his wife? The only good thing that comes out of Paul hooking up with his doctor (girlfriend? okay!) is that Gaby is all excited about the prospect of her sex life not having to take a hit when she’s older. However, we’re totally on Gaby’s side when she can’t stop singing praises of Julie’s legs. Seriously, girl, you’ve got to give up your exercise routine!
Some Almost Missteps
What truly is awful for Jimmy is his having to go through Tia’s belongings to pick out the things he should let go of. At least Paul’s advice worked, and Alice is more appreciative of the dad-like efforts Jimmy has been making toward fixing his relationship with his daughter. Although he really is getting another shot at officiating Brian’s wedding, this has lit a fire under Jimmy. Sure, he had to use a little bit of his usual emotional manipulation to convince Brian to have a little faith in him. But Jimmy could really use a chance at proving that he isn’t the hopeless wreck that everyone believes him to be. Seeing him weep after reading out the first word from the speech he has prepared, however, Brian knows that he’s made a mistake by giving in to Jimmy’s obnoxious demand. Oh well. It’s too late to back out anyway.
The only one with any sort of control over his life seems to be Sean. He’s bagged a steady, albeit boring, job at his dad’s place of work and is now able to pay his therapist the rent that he believes he owes. It’s a win for Jimmy. Or so he believes when he feels worthy enough to give Paul some advice regarding his faltering relationship with Meg. Because why won’t Paul ask his daughter and little Mason to join him on his trip to Vegas on account of the award ceremony? It’s a place fit for all ages, right? Of course, taking the advice royally backfires when Meg seems to not have much of a problem with a Vegas trip, but she definitely seems to take it to heart that, once again, Paul’s work comes before his family.
What’s going on with Gaby, you ask? Well, the good news is that Nico is finally acknowledging all the sacrifices she’s made to get him where he is today. He even admits that the abstract portrait was made after Gaby’s image. The bad news is that Gaby isn’t as over Nico as she had thought. Just a few words of affirmation “greases her peach,” so to speak, and she runs off to her safe hookup option so as not to make the mistake of sleeping with her ex-husband. Gaby may have a bit too much recreational energy at her disposal for her own good, and she isn’t unaware of it. Deciding that she would rather spend her time doing something she has been putting off for quite a while, Gaby proceeds to ask Paul for a written recommendation for her professorship. Not only would getting into academia help her fulfill a wish she had almost given up on, but she can also inspire many as a black woman in a field where there isn’t a lot of POC representation.
‘Shrinking’ Episode 9: Ending Explained – Where Does Jimmy Stand With His Daughter?
It looks like “white guilt catering” isn’t going to remain a joke amongst the friends anymore. While the stability that comes with the job he’s been doing at his father’s office is good for Sean, the man is clearly meant for something more creative. He’s been playing around with the idea of starting his own catering service for a while now, and with an affirming nudge from Alice, Sean makes his case to Liz and asks her to loosen her purse strings. However cool Liz may think she is now that she has a black friend (yeah, the stereotyping atrocity is hard to swallow), she is reluctant to come through for a friend in need when her help can actually make a difference. That is until Derek pulls the rug from under her and spoils her plan of putting the blame on him and agrees to help out Sean with an investment. There’s no way for Liz to back out anymore without looking like a big you-know-what. It does sting her a bit too much when Sean doesn’t let her be a part of the journey and puts his foot down about handling it all by himself. However cold Sean’s decision may come off as, he’s probably just saved himself from having Liz’s incessant opinions hover over his every move.
For once, Alice isn’t scared to be hopeful about her father. And she isn’t reluctant to stand up for him in front of Paul either. Seeing as Jimmy has baffled everyone by bringing a surprisingly positive change to his actions, Paul leans toward taking his advice one more time. He is right to be wary of his vulnerability when all it ever does is botch up already strained situations. Yet when he’s made to choose between being vulnerable and letting his daughter slip through his fingers, the choice seems to be obvious. Of course, the first step would be convincing Julie to take off with him at a moment’s notice. And when she’s ready to follow him to the ends of the earth, their destination turns out to be a fourth-grade school musical that his grandson is performing in. The tug Meg’s heart feels, seeing as her dad has put his family over his work for the first time, is hard for her not to be softened by.
The tides of grief are relenting for the father and daughter. Maybe more so for Alice, who’s begun unfastening the grip of guilt and is slowly turning back into her chirpy self again. The angsty teen we’ve known to be ruthless toward Jimmy now sits through his dorky dance moves with a smile on her face. Waves of sadness are known to come in phases. It hits the hardest when a heart has had a bit of rest and has let its guard down just to feel a little relief. Consciously holding on to the thoughts of someone who’s gone only hinders healing. Now that the weight of the overwhelming grief has started lifting off Alice, she has also stopped making it a point to keep her mother in her thoughts. It is only when she realizes that she has missed Tia’s birthday that the guilt begins digging its claws into Alice’s state of being again. The poor girl has probably just spent one day without feeling like her smile is a betrayal of the tragedy of losing her mother. And for the girl whose luck is about as helpful as her father’s, the day had to coincide with her mother’s birthday. Having a major knucklehead for a dad has given Alice someone to lash out at until now. I only hope that she hasn’t inherited self-damaging inclinations from Jimmy. Now that she can’t blame Jimmy for the way she feels, Alice is likely to have a hard time forgiving herself for something she would’ve chided her father about.