Fleishman is in Trouble Episode 4: For the 40-something Toby Fleishman, life suddenly becomes impossible to bear. He is a newly divorced white man who diligently performs his duties as a noble medical professional. Despite the myriad of privileges, he wallows in self-pity due to a woman who abandoned him. He abhors the added responsibility that falls over him after her absence. While he also cribs about her absence during their marriage, the recent sobbing has another layer of sexual repression. The previous episode dealt with his relationship with Rachel in the past leading to the same repressed mind that directs him to a wealthy man he is jealous of.

Streaming on Hulu and Disney+ Hotstar, this black comedy series is getting increasingly amusing with every new episode.

Fleishman is in Trouble Episode 4 Recap

Episode 4: God, What an Idiot He Was!

Fleishman is in Trouble Episode 4

Titled ‘God, What an Idiot He Was!’, the fourth episode is directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. At the end of the previous episode, we learn about Toby’s (Jesse Eisenberg) suspicion about his ex-wife Rachel (Claire Danes) gallivanting with Sam Rothberg (Josh Stamberg). He recalls a past incident where she mentioned Sam as her free pass, and the wheels of thoughts start rolling in Toby’s mind. The episode breaks down his mental state according to Kubler Ross’s stages of grief while adding a few creative ones of their own.

These are Toby’s ‘Stages of realizing that your missing wife has been in the park napping, and also fucking Sam Rothberg’! In his first shock stage, Toby goes through a shock about not realizing Rachel’s attraction toward this wealthy man. While Toby cannot bear the stress that comes with it, he attempts to be indifferent to this kerfuffle. But he fails at it miserably since his mind repeatedly leads him to overthink his misery and Rachel’s betrayal.

Toby opens up about these spiraling thoughts with Libby (Lizzy Caplan). He acknowledges his utter lack of knowledge about Sam and Rachel’s romantic entanglement. He recalls their visit to Rothbergs’ house and tries to locate traces of kindling of these two souls. Not being able to bear the thought of it, Toby then switches to the next step of masturbation. He rushes out of his apartment to the older one he shared with Rachel. On the way, he sees a woman and recognizes her as the one he masturbates to. He feels disgusted about the pathetic state he has descended to.

Right when Toby is on the doorstep and is trying to muster the courage to confront Rachel, he gets a call about a hospital emergency. He rushes right there to see a woman in need of a liver transplant. He tells the diagnosis to her husband with empathy, giving a sense of his tumultuous present. While this emergency prevented him from taking action, he could not stop wanting to confront his ex-wife. He walks towards the exit with determination to be stopped by another doctor for another emergency since the assigned doctor’s daughter is having a baby.

Suddenly, his work did not seem so urgent, and his resolve to confront gets dissolved pretty quickly. However, after that operation, he can think of nothing else stopping him from confronting Rachel. He goes straight to their house, knocks on the door, and gets no response. Impatient, he cannot bear another second of boiled-down anger and chooses to open the door with his pair of keys. He inspects things that Rachel always mentioned she hated or disliked. Why would she have something that she hates? A new partner, what else? While ruminating over the changes, he imagines her having sex with Sam on the bed and almost in every other room. That ruins his fond memories of this house where he assumed to spend the rest of his life, married with kids.

In anger, he takes the toaster from the apartment and rushes out of the building. He calls his lawyer to speak about the agreement with Rachel to take complete ownership of the kids. It is amusing to see him fighting for more time with their children while he was miserable when Rachel dumped them on him just a few days ago. Despite enforcing the urgency of his seemingly grave requirements, the lawyer can only meet him after a few hours. So, he decides to spend his time in a bookstore.

Coincidently, or perhaps intentionally, he chooses a book that villainizes a woman similar to Rachel (who has a sexual awakening) and pities the male protagonist who is abandoned like him. He soon realizes the dated views from the book by the stairs of another customer, gets out of the shop, and heads straight to the lawyer’s office. She tells him that despite Rachel not following the custody agreement, he has lesser power over bending it for being a husband. By getting responsibilities he did not ask for, he realizes what it is like being the wife in a marriage. Then the seventh stage of humiliation comes.

He goes to a woman’s house who expresses her interest in having sex with him. He accepts her offer and, after having sex, sleeps at her place instead of feeling lonely in his apartment. In the morning, he learns that it was not meant to be romantic for her in any way, and he gets devastated since he considers both of them to be dating. He walks out of her place, still holding his old toaster, and takes out his anger over a man in the park for a little reason. He then calls Libby since he realizes the need for an outlet to dump his anger.

Libby invites him to her place outside the city, despite having plans to go swimming with her family. Toby comes in with his toaster, and despite seeing the kids’ chaos and hurry in her house, he shares the new development in his life. She intently listens to it and delays the family outing, which upsets her husband, Adam (Josh Radnor). Toby tags along with them to the swimming pool, and yet again, she is happy with bailing out on the family plan to support him emotionally.

While it feels like she is doing it only out of care, she has an ulterior motive. Toby reminds her of the times when she still considered herself worth some potential, unlike now, when she is constantly reminded of her age and body figure by other mom-friends. It is her way of trying to relive the past. However, due to his whim, Toby shouts at her not to tag along with him after all and to let him go alone. He realizes that she reminds him of the image of a happy family that he cannot tolerate anymore.

He then recalls an incident in the honeymoon period of their divorce, when they had decided to get separated but were yet to do so. Rachel brings up the subject of having more kids, which upsets Toby since she does not have enough time for the two, which they already have with her work responsibilities. She defends her work as necessary for paying the kids’ tuition fees. But the thought of her having agency bugs Toby like nothing else. He then goes to meet Seth (Adam Brody), who is on a date with his new girlfriend, who can give him free access to several restaurants. When she is not present at the table, he reveals losing his job and not disclosing it to her.

Toby realizes that the place is filled with people like Sam Rothberg, who can have everything that they want, and he cannot, for being himself. He seeks the comfort of his home, which is when he gets a call from the hospital about an emergency. Instead of spending a dreadful night, it ends up being a lifesaver for him. They suddenly receive a liver for the patient above transplant surgery. When he meets this patient, her friend shows a photo of her right before hospitalization. He had pictured her as a thoughtful intellectual, unlike the images that showcase her as a free spirit in Vegas. He cannot fathom the thought of her being unlike the ideal image he had built about her.

Fleishman is in Trouble Episode 4 Ending Explained

Does Toby manage to accept the loss of his marriage?

Toby cannot bear the thought of his dreams getting shattered over and over and decides to stay in the hospital, which can at least give him a sense that someone needs him. Since his interns are comfortable taking care of the operation, he sleeps in his office and dreams about the woman coming up to his couch and arousing him. He wakes up to find the female intern, Joanie (Ava Yaghmaie), who informs him about a development in operation. He goes to see the happy couple after the success of the surgery.

He quickly realizes the source of his misery, which is mainly the loss of the same kind of relationship and not accepting the loss. He reaches the final stage of acceptance, where he silently acknowledges that Rachel has left him – and that there is nothing he can do to stop her or bring her back to him. He ends up sobbing uncontrollably. Only this time, it is not out of self-pity but self-realization.


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