In episode 9 of Shrinking, Paul tries to fix things between himself and his daughter while a significant anniversary approaches for Jimmy and Alice. The episode is streaming on Apple TV+.
Gaby, Paul, and Jimmy each have a session with a patient of theirs. Gaby’s patient travels a long distance just so that she can meet a black therapist just like her which is significant for her.
Paul tells his patient that he’s receiving a lifetime achievement award but doesn’t want to accept it because it’s a sign that his career is at its end. His patient tells him that he’s a great therapist and he deserves to be celebrated once in a while.
Jimmy takes his patient to the Rose Bowl so that they can spread their mother’s ashes and say goodbye to her. He mentions that it’s his dead wife’s birthday coming up and it is time they both learn to move forward.
Jimmy goes over a box of Tia’s stuff and cries over it as he ruminates on the wedding ring he’s still wearing. He sees Alice working in her corner in the kitchen and she asks him if her grounding can be over but he says no.
He then heads over to Liz’s house where everyone is celebrating Derek’s retirement. Brian also announces that he’s reinstated Jimmy as his officiant for the wedding because Jimmy guilted him into doing it.
Gaby goes to Paul’s house the next day to pick him up and barges in to use the restroom when she runs into Julie, Paul’s doctor. She and Paul spent the night together and Gaby is very excited about it. She tells Paul to invite Julie to his award ceremony but they agree they’re not at that stage yet.
Sean has been working with his dad at a job where he’s miserable but he’s earned enough to pay Jimmy’s rent. Paul scoffs at this but Jimmy brushes it off. He talks to Paul about the ceremony that’s happening in Las Vegas and tells him to invite Meg and her family to make up.
Gaby has lunch with Nico where he constantly flirts with her and invites her back to his place. She ends up going back to hers and sleeping with Jimmy. They have continued to sleep with each other to let off steam.
Alice asks Sean how he’s enjoying his work but he can’t hide his misery. She tells him to talk to Liz about the catering business they spoke about but Sean says they were just joking around. Alice says she will back him if he goes for it.
Brian and Liz are with Jimmy to listen to his officiant speech. Jimmy is very proud of what he’s written but every time he says the word “marriage”, he breaks down into tears and Brian gets worried.
Paul asks Meg if she’s interested in going to Las Vegas and she says that while she loves the place, she can’t attend because Mason has a school play. When she finds out that it’s for another work-related thing, she gets annoyed and hangs up on him.
Paul gets annoyed at Jimmy because he’s the one who advised Paul to invite Meg. Gaby asks Paul for a recommendation so that she can apply for a professorship. She wants to teach younger minds and foster more black therapists like her.
Brian and Charlie check out the wedding venue with Brian’s father and Brian asks his dad if he would be his best man since Jimmy is the officiant. His father says he’s touched by the request but he would feel better sitting on the sidelines.
Alice and Paul are at the park for one of their sessions where Alice tells Paul that Jimmy has finally been stepping up and being a dad. Jimmy shows up and asks Alice if she would like to join him in visiting Tia.
She says that she’s got her bike and she has to help Sean with something. Jimmy sees that Paul is still annoyed and tells him that it’s no big deal if Meg shut him down. If he truly cares, he must make a grand gesture and keep trying.
Sean, Alice, and Gaby sit down with Liz with a business plan and ask her to invest. Liz repeats that they were joking around and she’d have to check with Derek before doing anything.
Gaby calls out to Derek and asks him if he’s fine with giving her the money and he immediately says yes. Alice also uses her relationship with Liz to convince her to go for it. Liz agrees and says she can help out with many things but Sean says he’s got it covered which brings her down a little.
Gaby sticks around and comforts her even though she had a part to play in this ambush. Paul goes to Julie’s house and asks her if she’s like to go away for the weekend with him. She takes a few moments but agrees.
Jimmy visits Tia’s grave on her birthday and remembers an old birthday memory they shared. Paul and Julie are all dressed up as they get out of the car but it turns out they actually traveled to Mason’s school to catch his play.
They find seats next to Meg and her husband and Meg is overwhelmed with happiness at this. Jimmy finally decides to remove his wedding ring and places it next to a picture of him and Tia.
Alice walks in to spend some time with him and they chat. Jimmy asks her when her next game is and when she goes through her calendar, she sees a reminder for her mother’s birthday.
She exclaims that they forgot but Jimmy says he didn’t, and that’s why he visited her grave. Alice asks him why he didn’t remind her and he says he thought she knew and just wanted some space.
Jimmy tells Alice that it’s a minor mistake but she is filled with guilt and rushes out in tears.
- This episode is filled with multiple set-ups for a very significant finale. Brian and Charlie’s wedding is promising to be a very eventful ceremony for everybody.
- It’s wonderful that they’re exploring the issue of therapists of color and how important that is in the community. The fact that Gaby is making a progressive decision for the future is great for the character and lets the audience learn too.
- The ending of the episode is filled with a gut-wrenching one-two as Paul’s decision to attend Mason’s play is a genuine surprise and fills anyone watching with immense joy.
- That is followed by the moment between Jimmy and Alice which starts off happy but soon turns into heartbreak as Alice realizes she forgot her mother’s birthday. This series has been brilliant at balancing it’s tone and going all out with it’s emotions.
Shrinking season 1 episode 9
Randall Keenan Winston
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