Friday, March 17, 2023

REVIEW: 'Shrinking' - Jimmy and Alice Face a Sentimental Day in Remarkably Different Ways in 'Moving Forward'

AppleTV+'s Shrinking - Episode 1.09 "Moving Forward"

Jimmy encourages an ambivalent Paul to accept a career achievement award. Sean approaches Liz with a business proposal.

"Moving Forward" was written by Sofi Selig and directed by Randall Keenan Winston

Jimmy is safe and dependable. That's not how anyone would describe him in the year following his wife's death. That's not how anyone would describe him at the start of the series either. And yet, he is now capable of reflecting on the time he had with Tia without it completely derailing him. He mourns that he and Alice didn't get more. The time they did have was completely magical. It's all neatly symbolized through a secret scrapbook Tia put together. It's very effective. It highlights how Jimmy can still get lost in the memories. However, he can now set it aside to focus on what he still needs to do. Alice is miserable being grounded. She respects her father again. She acknowledges how he has stepped up as her parent. That's huge. She was lost after her mother's death too. She leaned on Liz for that emotional support. She will always appreciate her next-door neighbor for that. They now share a bond that will never be broken. There's still room for Jimmy. Alice still has the capacity to love and appreciate her father. She will always try to see what she can get away with. Jimmy no longer lets that fly. It's trivial when it's simply a desire to spend more time out of the house. It's absolutely devastating when it's forgetting her mom's birthday. That's the note of devastation that plays out upon the episode's conclusion. Everything had grown so peaceful and functional. Jimmy still has moments where emotions are overwhelming. He addresses them. They linger for a moment. And then, he returns to his life ready to engage with his loved ones. Alice has that support system too. She helps Sean pitch his catering business to Liz. She's generous and manipulative. She's a kind-hearted teenager in that way. And yet, she completely forgets her mother's birthday. That hits her deeply. She suddenly views herself as a monster. She took the love her mother gave her and threw it away. Alice doesn't know how she can ever forgive herself. Jimmy tries his best to step up yet again. The advice he offers isn't the most comforting. He didn't forget. They aren't unified in the mistake. It was Alice's alone. She casually declined a visit to her mother's grave. Jimmy went there. Alice knew he was doing so. Jimmy wasn't too concerned about her behavior. He wanted to give her the space to grieve how she needed to. It simply never came up throughout the day. It wasn't even a topic during her session with Paul. That's how severely she forget. It was easier to be distracted by Paul's life. It was enjoyable to see the roles reversed with Jimmy suddenly offering the sensible advice for what his mentor should do. Jimmy took pleasure in it. Alice's mistake shows how volatile grief can still be. Everyone has made progress. One misstep shouldn't destroy all that hard work. It just lays things out more clearly than at any other point. Alice is distraught as a result.

Meanwhile, Paul acts on his crush on his doctor. His loved ones told him to pursue it. It was awhile before he accepted that happiness as something he deserved. And now, it's a reality. Gaby stumbles upon the two of them when she needs to use the bathroom before driving Paul to work. She walks into his fortress of solitude and is stunned by what she sees. Her entire reaction is priceless. She wants to engage in this moment and see the glow of this new coupling. That's more interesting than using Paul's bathroom for the first time. She can't contain the secret either. Everyone soon knows. That allows the relationship to get serious quickly. It's soon thereafter that Jimmy and Alice are encouraging Paul to produce a grand romantic gesture. And yes, his subsequent actions show how serious he views this new romance. It's also a show of support for his daughter. He's annoyed by the prospect of seeing a grade school musical. He still decides to be present in his grandson's life. He has been absent as a father before. He doesn't want to repeat the same mistakes. He sees a convenient excuse to be with his family. Meg argues that the weekend in Las Vegas was only because of an award Paul was receiving for his work. She never feels like a priority. Him showing up reveals the true depth of his character. He's not ready to stop living just yet. However, he has faced a reckoning of what he needs to do to be more present for his family. He too has put in that work. It took his loved ones calling him out for his stubbornness. Again, sometimes the dialogue is a bit too self-aware as the characters call out themselves or each other for their problems. However, it's still ultimately rewarding banter. Plus, the storytelling finds ways to offer surprises. Jimmy and Gaby were fine never having sex again. And then, it happens once more. It's safe and dependable. That's what Gaby needs to escape the pressure of falling back into her old routine with Nico. In fact, it ultimately inspires her to pursue a career in academia. She believes she has to show up to create a more welcoming space for Black therapists. This is the way for her to do so. Meanwhile, the sex is all that Jimmy can handle from any romantic relationship. He's still wearing his wedding ring. He still gets emotional when simply saying the word "marriage." He wants to support Brian and marry him to the love of his life. Liz's teasing doesn't help him perform better. It's joyous to watch though. These characters love to laugh at each other's expense. In fact, it's gratifying to realize Derek may have a fully realized life outside of hanging out with his wife and her friends. That's simply part of the package of what to expect in marriage. He has that clarity. And now, so many people lead with that empathetic nature. They aren't all fully healed. Brian still feels the sting of rejection from his father even though he's arrived for the wedding. It's all about the journey. Not everyone has the answers right away. The support is present throughout their lives to radiate with love no matter what happens next. That's a powerful quality that really shaped the arc of this season without losing touch with the laughs along the way.