Shrinking (Season 1), Episode 9: Previously, on ‘Shrinking,’ we saw Jimmy coming to terms with his past mistakes. Paul advised him not to let his past be a roadblock in confronting others about their mistakes. So, he takes a constructive step on it and tells Brian that his recent decision hurts him. He also decides to ground Alice for stealing his car. It does not sit well with her, and she lashes out at Jimmy. But he decides to reclaim his role as a parent if he wants to be treated like one.
Then there was also Gaby’s conflict who gets angry at Nico for not acknowledging her contribution to his art. The latest episode shows her, Paul, and almost everyone working on themselves to improve themselves moving forward. Before delving into their psychological landscapes, be aware of spoilers.
Shrinking (Season 1) Episode 9 Recap:
Episode 9: Moving Forward
The new episode shows Jimmy (Jason Segel) going through his memories with Tia from a photo album. At a certain point, they end, and he gets a lump in his throat. He has come a long way from ignoring her loss to accepting the bittersweet parts of their marriage. So watching it feels like an extremely intimate moment that you are invited to witness. Besides, Jason’s performance is so genuine that it is impossible not to feel for him getting over that emotional baggage.
While Alice (Lukita Maxwell) was initially pissed at him for being grounded, she eventually comes around with him. Now she asks him if her grounding can be over. But he does not let go of the hook that easily. He also dances goofily around her to balance that side with his fun one. But instead of getting irritated, she becomes part of this silliness with him.
Besides, he continues with his rebel therapy techniques, taking a patient to come to terms with his mother’s death. They go to a stadium to throw her ashes. The experiment does not pan out well for them, and they decide to run. On the other hand, Paul (Harrison Ford) is about to get a lifetime achievement award, and he is in two minds about going to receive it. People get such awards when they are at the end of their life. So, he sees it as a pity-induced recognition by them considering his diagnosis.
His long-time patient suggests that he should still go since this win is not as tragic as he is making it to be. Later, Jimmy also says that Paul should go. He also suggests that he should ask Meg (Lily Rabe) to join him. Paul thinks of it as a great opportunity to connect with her and decides to go.
Meanwhile, he starts sleeping with Dr. Julie Baram (Wendie Malick), whom he had a crush on. It may have happened since Meg pushed him to ask her out. When Gaby (Jessica Williams) arrives at his place to pick him up for work, he refuses to let her in. That odd secretiveness makes her learn about his relationship with Julie. Of course, Gaby being Gaby starts to hype him up for this new, exciting chapter of Paul’s life. But Paul being his grumpy self, does not share her enthusiasm one bit! Anyhow, it is great to see Paul, privately hyping himself, elated by the fact that ‘he has still got it!’
Meanwhile, Gaby decides to meet Nico (Adam Foster Ballard) again to apologize for ruining his big night. A conversation with one of her patients made her reevaluate how she handled her relationship and take this step. However, she also expects Nico’s apology for not acknowledging her contribution to his art and to accept that the woman in one of his works was her and not the gallerist. He apologizes and accepts it.
Then he starts praising her kindness and patience and then starts complimenting her on her looks, which turns her on. She ends up in bed, but lucky for her, she sleeps with Jimmy instead of getting back with Nico. She thanks Jimmy for being a reliable partner and not letting her get sucked back into her past relationship. They also get happy by how much in sync they are in terms of their emotional and sexual chemistry.
By that time, Sean (Luke Tennie) gets a job as a copier at his dad’s office. He cannot stop saying how grateful he is for this opportunity since it comes as a favor from his dad. While he is now able to pay rent to Jimmy, he is not entirely happy about being burdened by his father the way he has always been. Alice senses that and asks him whether he still wants to pursue his business idea of ‘white guilt catering.’ While she said it only in jest, Alice tries to convince him that Liz can finance them (Christa Miller).
Since Tia’s death, Liz has always had a soft spot for Alice. She also gave Alice one of her precious rocks, which she rarely gives anyone. That means Alice is special to her. So, they decide to use it to manipulate her into financing. Liz & her husband anyway have a lot of funds lying around. Why not use it to help someone? So they decide to pitch her their plan.
Liz is meanwhile not happy with sharing her personal space with Derek (Ted McGinley) now that he has retired from his job. By then, she had found a great friend in Gaby, who comes by her place and joins her in unapologetically dissing others. Brian (Michael Urie) arrives there to bring Jimmy back to officiate his wedding. Jimmy is more than happy about it. But he is still stuck with his feelings related to ‘marriage.’ So, when they try rehearsing his speech for the ceremony, he keeps breaking down whenever ‘marriage’ is mentioned.
While Brian thinks he is heading toward another disaster, Liz remains busy eating blueberries and refuses to do any heavy lifting. Later, she gets a visit from Alice and Sean, joined by Gaby, who believes in their business plan. Liz gets tricked into meeting them by Gaby and gets their triggering business proposal. It puts her in a dicey situation, and she isn’t sure how to deal with it. So, she says that she needs to speak with Derek before making any financial decision.
Since the ball goes in Derek’s court, Gaby calls him to ask directly. Derek hears that his non-white friends need financial help and instantly says yes. Liz gets surprised since she was not aware of their friendship. She tries to make up by saying she will handle marketing since she is good at it. Sean says that he will take care of everything. He just needs the money. So she is left with just being a financier and having no contribution to the business. She gets upset at Gaby for being tricked into this meeting. Gaby apologizes for hurting her feelings.
Shrinking (Season 1), Episode 9 Ending Explained:
Paul manages to get on a call with Meg and asks if she would join him for a weekend away in Las Vegas. She initially says Yes, and then remembers her son’s play on Saturday. He still asks her to come on Sunday, if possible, since it is for his big award. But it upsets her since she sees it as him prioritizing work over family. So, she abruptly cuts the call. He feels terrible since he decided to attend it, hoping to meet his entire family.
Alas, because of the invitation, he decides to go, but not without company. He drives to Julie’s place and asks if she would like to join him. She feels bad for him, considering attending something like this may be his last chance. So, she joins him even if it is a last-minute request. Turns out, the two do not go to his big event but instead go to watch his grandson perform on stage. Paul’s sudden visit surprises Meg. She also feels happy that he finally decided to make time for her. Their special encounter ends on a tearjerker when she firmly holds his hand. Julie sees it and feels happy for him to find the connection with his daughter that he craved.
Back at Jimmy’s place, he finally gets invited into Alice’s world. She comes to him by herself and shares a music track hoping he will also love it. While it is evident that he is happy by it, he decides not to show it by crying as he often did in the recent past. Instead, he tries to dance on it to cheer her up, and she ends up embarrassing herself. There’s a sweet, goofy moment they share because of it.
Right after, she sees a notification of Tia’s birthday a day ago. She feels bad that they forgot about this special day. But Jimmy notes that he did not. Earlier, he asks her whether she would like to join him at her grave. He thought she denied coming because she wasn’t yet ready to face Tia. Knowing this makes her feel even worse since she realizes that only she forgot about it. Jimmy consoles her, but she cannot get over her guilt.
While the emotional challenges have not completely disappeared, there is a beautiful lesson about parenting that the writing subtly conveys. Jimmy and Paul both deal with their daughters without submitting completely to their requests but by finding a middle ground. Paul does not let go of his work. But he still makes up time for Meg. Jimmy becomes a disciplinary parent and reclaims that role in Alice’s life. But he also remains vulnerable.
After grounding Alice, he also says how much he misses the music sessions they (him, Alice, and Tia) used to have together. That’s how he slowly becomes part of her world – where she also feels free to rant about her friends. He missed that, and when Lukita rambles about it, Jason’s eyes clearly reflect how badly he craved this closeness. You know that face when you’re about to break down but hold on to your tears? Jason manages to achieve exactly that, but so effortlessly, it would be a surprise if you didn’t cry with him.