Friday, February 3, 2023

REVIEW: 'Shrinking' - Jimmy Gets Too Invested in Other People's Choices While Paul Offers a Way to Grieve in 'Fifteen Minutes'

AppleTV+'s Shrinking - Episode 1.03 "Fifteen Minutes"

Jimmy witnesses Gaby in a compromising situation. Paul advises Alice on how to deal with her grief while facing a loss of his own.

"Fifteen Minutes" was written by Brian Gallivan and directed by Ry Russo-Young

Jimmy believes his patients have improved because he has further intruded into their personal lives. He has extended those relationships beyond the office. That makes it much more gratifying or devastating whenever they experience a breakthrough or setback. Jimmy is no longer numb to life. The behavior he has replaced that with though hasn't been great. He continually tries to justify Sean moving into his house. Alice doesn't like it. However, she insists that it's more about stuff going on with her and less about Sean in particular. Of course, nothing in the situation is about Sean. It's not because he is a bad influence who shouldn't occupy this space. It's the principle of the matter. Jimmy needs healthy and clearly understood boundaries with his patients. Now, every session with Sean basically occurs at the boxing gym. Jimmy has found an outlet for Sean to let out his aggression. He saw the benefit of doing so. However, he hasn't dug deeper into why Sean is so easily triggered. That work hasn't happened whatsoever. And yet, anything Sean does has a profound and immediate impact on Jimmy and Alice. Those reactions are extreme. It's all because they refuse to acknowledge just how messed up they are. Paul has a therapeutic method meant to address grief. It's something he utilizes as well in order to cope with his Parkinson's diagnosis. He allows himself fifteen minutes to grieve fully. After that, he has to move on to other endeavors. He's not shutting those feelings out entirely. He addresses them. He simply doesn't let them bubble up in another context. It's helpful advice. Of course, he is stubborn about wanting to maintain his ability to drive. He only reluctantly agrees to let Gaby bring him to work every day because he sees himself as still maintaining control. That's what he needs in order to cope with everything happening. Paul understands that Jimmy has never actually grieved his wife's death. Instead, he has simply been drowning his feelings in things that could replace her. He wasn't actually dealing with the heartbreak of this loss. Jimmy isn't completely oblivious either. He knows Paul has been helping Alice through this turbulent time. He doesn't need to broadcast it like Liz does. Liz wants to step back but she doesn't know how. When she wants help addressing this behavior, she only shares more details about how Jimmy is flailing around in life. He has kept these secrets. He insists that he is doing well. And yet, his fifteen minutes of grief are interrupted by an accident. He doesn't know how to occupy space in a way that is actually nourishing to his spirit. Instead, he is simply trying to do too much. It takes all of his effort to do so. It basically amounts to little as well.

Jimmy celebrates a relationship seemingly working out for Alan. He has long listened to his patient complaining in the office about his fear of ending up alone. It was always obvious that he was deflecting from the true problem. Jimmy only sees it when it's blatantly happening in front of him. He sees that Alan is the problem. It's not the numerous women who agree to these dates. Alan should trust that his vulnerability is more endearing than his false machismo. Of course, it's all filtered through Jimmy. His happiness is determined by how well his advice works for his patients. He's far too invested. He's happy for Grace as she's left her abusive husband and trying not to constantly please people in Vancouver. And then, it's such a betrayal when Jimmy sees the two of them together once more while out on his walk. He has become a part of their lives. It's no longer a relationship that exists solely in the therapy room. Now, he is part of the drama. He can't detach from it. It hits him where it hurts. That's how invested he has become. He carries it all personally. He's defeated when patients don't listen to his advice. It's no big deal for Paul because he knows it's a process. He doesn't expect immediate results. He's curious if Alice got to have dinner with Jimmy. They both backed out because they couldn't communicate with each other. It's a moment that eventually happens. Jimmy still tries to push things too far and too fast. Alice can't handle that. But a dinner is a simple enough goal for them to work towards. That's what Paul wants from them. He sees their struggles. He's invested. He maintains his distance as well. He doesn't want to be pulled into their drama. He only inserts himself once he learns new evidence that further compromises Jimmy's ethics. Of course, not all of this advice can apply the same to different situations. Gaby wants to celebrate her divorce. She is thrilled that her marriage is over. She wants a party. Jimmy sees that as an attack on him. He can't be happy that his colleague has made this choice. He was deprived of the opportunity to continue in marriage with Tia. Her death was completely out of his control. Moreover, it's all just a face Gaby is putting on. She is struggling with this decision as well. It hits her altogether at one particular moment. Jimmy tries his best to be a supportive friend. He's not as good as the friend she lost. Gaby cared for Tia as the friend who could always tell her what she needed. That's gone. Everyone can relate to that. It means Jimmy and Gaby are on equal footing once more. Getting to that point simply proves how selfish Jimmy is. He always frames every action around what it means for him. That's the point. It's an annoying quality. One that makes him destructive to his various relationships. And yet, the audience isn't necessarily meant to see him as good and effective at his job. He's simply human like everyone else. He's doing his best. He's failing to meet those expectations. No one should quite give up on him just yet.