Friday, February 24, 2023

REVIEW: 'Shrinking' - A Party Brings Up Memories of Who Jimmy and Gaby Were While in Relationships in 'Imposter Syndrome'

AppleTV+'s Shrinking - Episode 1.06 "Imposter Syndrome"

At Alice's urging, Jimmy agrees to host a party. Gaby struggles with her post-divorce libido. Liz recommends medical marijuana to Paul.

"Imposter Syndrome" was written by Annie Mebane and directed by Randall Keenan Winston

Paul is proud of Sean for doing the work. He's revisiting the horrors of his military service. Everyone acknowledges how the only way for him to deal with this trauma so that he doesn't lash out in other contexts is to do the work. He needs to be honest about his feelings. It's hard and painful. And yet, he's doing precisely that. Paul is as well. He told Meg about his Parkinson's diagnosis. Of course, it's strange to him that she is coming to oversee his medical care. He doesn't need that. In fact, it's overwhelming. He sees it as nothing but emotional blackmail. Liz talks some sense into him. He should be grateful that his daughter wants to drop everything to care for him despite him being a distant father. He still carries so many regrets. He doesn't want others to repeat the same mistakes he did. It's only in being honest that he can potentially fix things. Of course, Paul also has so much clarity about Jimmy's own reluctance to do the hard work. Jimmy always latches onto a convenient distraction. Right now, that means caring for Sean as a patient and helping Brian with his proposal. He genuinely cares about both of them. He wants to help them. That can't be used as a convenient excuse to avoid the hard work he must do on himself. Once his home is full of guests for the engagement party, he's suddenly confronted with what his life with Tia was actually like. He was paranoid about losing her before the deadly accident. He feared she was planning on leaving him. It's ultimately up to Gaby to talk some sense into him. She's convinced she would have known if Tia was unhappy. They talked about everything. There was no reluctance simply because Gaby and Jimmy worked together. Jimmy's fears are driven by a look he remembers. He recalls Tia being so disappointed by him and resentful of the life she settled for. She yearned for more and felt like Jimmy was holding her back. If that was true, then it's inherently tragic that she died. She lived her life feeling unfulfilled. And now, Jimmy is wallowing in the sadness. He avoids dealing with the difficult emotions. At the party, he drinks to mask the pain. He resorts to the same coping mechanisms that he once employed. The world is changing though. His former sex worker has now left that life behind. Others are moving on with their lives. They are making choices that work for them and what they hope to accomplish. Meanwhile, Jimmy is stuck in the same place. He's ruining events and inflicting emotional pain on people who can't handle that right now.

Sean should be trusted to know it would be inappropriate to have a sexual relationship with Alice. And yet, the two of them are frequently paired together. They are kindred spirits. She understands pain and suffering. Their situations are completely different. It should be good enough that they are helping each other navigating this turbulent time. However, Alice conflates that with romantic intrigue. She can't tolerate her father weaponizing those feelings against her. In fact, she appreciates Sean running after her afterwards. He's just doing the right and noble thing. Lines are blurred because Jimmy has dismantled professional boundaries. He's setting a bad example for his daughter. As a result, she no longer trusts her own instincts. She tries to kiss Sean. He asserts that she is just a child. Alice wants to be more than that. That's the nature of who she is though. That can't be ignored or cast aside in pursuit of something else. That wouldn't be healthy in the long run. Alice sits in the devastation of that moment. Meanwhile, Gaby is tasked with cleaning up Jimmy after he vomits during Brian's performance to propose to Charlie. It's frankly miraculous that Charlie says yes. That mostly just shows how Brian doesn't need to make all these elaborate plans in order to win his love. He already has it. The feeling is mutual. The future is bright for the two of them. Jimmy can't derail that now because he's too self-involved. He can't look beyond himself to see the suffering of others. He has the medical training to help people deal with their issues. He's still easily distracted. That's the nature of his life because he refuses to do the hard work. Instead, he holds onto whatever he believes will bring him comfort. Nothing will because nothing can fill that void. He asks deep questions though. He's confronted with that reality. He's grateful to Gaby for helping him see the beauty and magic in his marriage. But their interaction ends in a kiss. Suddenly, Jimmy and Gaby rely on each other romantically. It's a shocking turn of events because it relies on both of them refusing to properly address their situations. They are dealing with similar things while interacting with people at the party. Of course, Jimmy is much more blatant in his toxic behavior. That can't be denied. Gaby still has fun along the way. Her friendship with Liz has quickly become one of the best parts of the show. The story still builds to this climactic moment between Jimmy and Gaby. Two prominent characters are paired together romantically. That's not out of the ordinary. However, it shouldn't immediately be seen as fine and beneficial for either of them. Instead, it's them leaning on each other and confusing what these feelings mean because of their avoidance elsewhere. It's complicated because of their history. Gaby knows so much about Jimmy. That makes things easier. That simplicity doesn't provide a way out for the hard work. It just maintains the overall reluctance to grieve and accept the tragedy of the past.