Fleishman is in Trouble (Episode 6): After his divorce from his wife of many years, 41-year-old Toby Fleishman struggles to make peace with his new life. The previous episode showed his struggle to embrace or at least accept the uncertainty of his future life. He is disheartened by how his life did not pan out the way he had visualized it, and the loss of his spouse matters more to him than the feelings of his spouse. The writing cleverly navigates the contours of this self-obsessed individual while also giving the supporting characters just as well-rounded personalities. Besides him, we also hear the story of Libby, who is at that miserable stage of her life where she is contemplating the state of her marriage.
Fleishman is in Trouble Episode 6 ‘This is my enjoyment’ Recap
The new episode, directed by Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini, begins at the exact scene where the previous one ended. Toby (Jesse Eisenberg) & Hannah (Meara Mahoney Gross) rush out of the exhibition once Solly (Maxim Swinton) runs out, scared by the darkness of Vantablack. After a moment of silent togetherness, they walk back home, speaking about their upcoming plans and projects. By now, Toby seems to have learned that humans, by evolution, are meant to survive despite troubling conditions.
Later, Seth (Adam Brody) comes to Toby’s house and tries removing the curtains, which he fails at since they appear welded to the construction. Through this irreverent conversation between two friends, the fear of aging for both seeps in. While Toby is jealous of Seth’s glossy life, Seth considers himself too old to be considered in the same league as the newly appointed ones. He actually feels jealous of how perfect Toby’s life was being married and feels disappointed in himself that he did not at least go through this vetting process even once.
By now, Toby seems to have gained a sense of calm and composure that was missing for a while. The same reflects in his conversation with his children, where he does get angry at their queries. With the same feeling of clarity, he goes to meet Nahid (Mozhan Marnò) and tells her that their relationship with just casual sex is not working for him. He seems to have gotten a grasp on what he truly wants.
The next day, he heads to his office to get the final word about a promotion that he did not want in the first place but was delighted for this recognition for his dedication to work. However, he learns upon arriving at the hospital that he is not going to get it due to his sudden leaves in the recent past that made the management consider him negligent. He gets dismayed seeing them ignore his commitment to decades of work for a few day-offs, which he needed to take because of Rachel’s (Claire Danes) negligence. And the news of his batchmate getting the position instead of him makes him even sadder.
While he already suffers from this distress, the universe thinks that it is not enough for him and decides to worsen the situation of his patient, who had a liver transplant under his supervision. This patient’s husband gets enraged at him for how he stoically states the facts about her recovery rate. He asks for the person who is in charge of Toby. He also brings up the question of fairness in Toby’s verdict and in regard to what the universe is doing to his lovely & cautious wife. Saddened by his blunt remarks, Toby falls into the rabbit hole of thought of fairness and intellectualizes it, as usual, by connecting it with him.
Soon after, one of his juniors asks for his reference for a different medical department, which supposedly has a higher success rate in terms of rising up the ranks. How can this junior, whom he taught so patiently, betray him? He gets pissed due to his disrespect toward their noble profession and goes to his cabin. Over there, he meets Joanie (Ava Yaghmaie), who speaks so highly of him – even calls him the best teacher she has in the hospital. Being already in pursuit of happiness, he impulsively asks her out and realizes only later that he did.
Since everyone & everything seems to bail on him, he decides to go to a restaurant with his kids and eats noodles – rejecting his denial of consuming carbs for years. While he is not too happy about his past few choices and feels bloated, a mother friend comes in with her daughter. He gets surprised to see them and realizes that he forgot about this plan. He whines to her about his divorced life, getting no promotion, and lacking the sense of continual normalcy. This friend says with a straight face how irrelevant his divorce is, considering almost everyone is divorced. She takes him out of his bubble and tells him to go have fun.
While he goes to a party, he keeps thinking of the old party at his home, where he kept making jokes at the expense of hurting Rachel’s showy, phony, wealthy friends by making them the butt of the joke. She always said to him that people come together to have fun, not to complain. So instead of being witty & sarcastic, he decides to enter this new party with a different attitude and does not get hurt even by the remarks of others about his divorce. He rather tells jokes, gains some genuine laughs, and feels a sense of autonomy.
Seth also comes to this party, and so do Libby (Lizzy Caplan) and her husband, Adam (Josh Radnor). While people ask her about her writing prospects, she mentions her disappointing present life with extreme enthusiasm. She even goes on to note this night as the best night of her year. And when Adam details the niceness of amusement park employees (of the capitalistic conglomerate their family went for a trip to), she keeps poking fun at a minor issue – reminiscent of how Larry David from Curb Your Enthusiasm often does.
That does not go well with Adam, who asks her to return home. She rejects him despite his kindly put requests. So, he leaves the party all by himself. Seth & Toby both come at her for behaving rudely to her nice husband, while she defends having fun & enjoying the youthful glory for at least a single night. Toby lectures her about mistreating husbands, and she gets angry at the fact that it is the first time in a while that he talked about her instead of himself. Seth also agrees Toby only talks about himself while never asking about them.
He then goes on to lecture her while quoting her happy marriage with a nice guy, and she lectures him back for his lack of understanding in this subject for not having been married himself. He gets angry at both for always making him the butt of their jokes while they meet. While she is always dismissive, Toby is always needy. He leaves on this bitter note, and Toby offers Libby a ride to the train station. However, she gets out at his place, noting that she has to pee. But the reason for her to stop at his place seems more than that.
She starts sharing the misery of her boring life and feeling stuck in the one that she never pictured for herself. While she pours her heart out to this old friend of hers about her desires and genuine emotions, he goes to sleep with no regard for her. Still, instead of leaving for the train station at that hour, she goes to sleep on his bed next to him. There is a sense of conundrum in her eyes about how she should approach her relationship with Toby. In the morning, the kids wake him up and start asking about their usual queries. While she chips in to help out, Toby rudely escorts her right outside his house.
Fleishman is in Trouble (Episode 6) Ending, Explained
After leaving Toby’s place, Lizzy recalls the days of glorious youth when hope was always just around the corner. She reminisces about her crush on Glenn, who worked for the same magazine that she did. While there was nothing special about him (or any man working there), she fell for him. She felt a strong sense of bonding with him or with the idea of having such a bonding with him. She wanted the sense of control that he or other men had working for their magazine. She fantasized about having an affair with him (or with someone like him) when she gets married.
At the time, she had no obligations, no place she had to return to, and no people whom she needed to be loyal to care about. With years of seeking the safety of a grown-up life, she lost that power of having an infinite number of choices. With regard to her fantasy of having an affair, she recalls what Seth said about it – an affair is just a way for a person to not really betray their spouses but to get back to themselves.
She spends her days with a mundane regularity and smokes away the worries of never being able to return to her youthful days of possibilities of affairs and clandestine hookups. She unwillingly accepts the unfairness of her life and sits on a bench, smoking a cigarette and listening to a sad song. That is when she sees Rachel sitting on the bench in front of her with a bagel in her hand. Her gloomy face reveals more than myriads of words can describe her mental state at the moment.