‘Fleishman Is In Trouble’ Episode 4: Recap & Ending, Explained: How Does Toby Deal With His New Suspicion?


“Fleishman is in Trouble,” Episode 3, had ended with Toby Fleishman suddenly stumbling upon the thought that his recently divorced wife, Rachel, was probably missing because she was having an affair with Sam Rothberg. Rachel had earlier hinted at being clearly attracted to Rothberg, and Toby now realizes that the two of them are indeed in locations close to each other at present. “Fleishman is in Trouble” Episode 4 now begins from this very moment, as Toby has a gradual, step-by-step approach to dealing with this new thought, and we are also given a small glimpse at the lives of the two best friends, Libby and Seth.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Fleishman is in Trouble’ Episode 4: Recap And Ending

After the first hint of suspicion enters Toby’s mind, he goes through a gradual, twelve-stage ordeal of dealing with it, according to Libby’s narration, in slight accordance with the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. Except, in Toby’s case, the grief is replaced by the thought that his divorced wife has been napping on a park bench while having a sensual and exciting affair with Sam Rothberg, all while dumping her two children on Toby. Libby’s voiceover narration then takes us through all these extensive stages as we watch Toby live through them one after another. The first stage is, of course, shock, that Toby had not realized until now that his wife was so attracted to the rich and successful Rothberg. He opens up Facebook, which he had consciously stayed away from after his divorce, and goes through old pictures of Rachel and Rothberg, and all this feeds on to his already strong suspicion. Stage two follows soon, in which Toby attempts to grow indifferent towards the matter and tries to keep his mind off it. But every activity, ranging from watching the news on the TV to solving crossword puzzles, constantly keeps reminding Toby of the very matter he is trying to avoid, and in an attempt to be indifferent to his ex-wife’s possible affair, he becomes less indifferent about it than ever. It was also at this stage that he called up Libby to tell her of his suspicions, and the best friend then suggested that Rachel could have been having an affair even before they had been divorced. This further takes Toby back to the times when they would spend time at the Rothbergs’ since they were all friends, and Sam would show off his rich and luxurious life at every chance.

Stage three, self-pleasure, also fails terribly for Toby, as it is perhaps very natural to not be able to perform when in such an anguished state. The fourth stage, confrontation, made him determined to go over to Rachel’s apartment and directly charge her with his suspicions, but this has to be put on pause as Toby receives an urgent call from the hospital. The woman, who had earlier been brought in with severe liver failure, was now diagnosed as requiring an immediate liver transplant. After looking at the case and witnessing how a normal family, where a husband grieves when his wife is sick, works, Toby returns to Rachel’s apartment for a confrontation. Realizing that she is not inside, he uses his old keys to enter the apartment and goes through it, looking for any evidence to satisfy his suspicion. While he does find a bottle of medicine prescribed to Sam Rothberg, what is perhaps even more shocking to Toby is that he finds Rachel’s strong choices and opinions about certain things seem to have changed. While Rachel disliked beef lo mein and hated weed, Toby finds both of these things in her house at present. Picking up a toaster that was probably either a gift he had received or one that he had bought, Toby vengefully walks out of the apartment and calls up his lawyer, moving into the fifth stage of his misery—reclamation. Having to wait two hours for the lawyer, Toby tries a brief sixth stage of distracting himself as well by trying to read a book at a bookstore, but his real situation again catches up with him soon. Meeting with their lawyer, the same one who handled their divorce, Toby wants to make an adjustment to their custodial agreement to ensure that Rachel never gets custody of the children again. But it is the lawyer who reminds him that what he wants already seems to be the situation he is in, as it is unlikely that Rachel would want to take the kids back again, and as long as she was paying him for child support, there was nothing legally wrong. The lawyer also makes a comment on how laws are still biased towards husbands, and through a rather strange choice of words, she refers to Toby as the wife in his past marriage. While she probably means the one who received the divorce notice (the wife), as opposed to the one who filed for it (the husband), to Toby, such a reference is extremely humiliating and thus begins stage seven. Desperate to prove to his male ego that he is not the wife but very much the husband, or the man, he calls up Nahid, a woman he had earlier had casual sex with, and goes over to her place. In his eighth stage of grief, Toby fornicates with Nahid and spends the night at her apartment. The next morning, he asks Nahid out on a date, but the woman denies it, saying that she is not up for dating at the moment.

Misdirected aggression becomes the ninth stage, as Toby yells at a man smoking a cigarette in a public park and then calls up Libby, asking her to meet him. Libby’s busy day instead results in him driving over to the suburbs to spend the day with Libby and her family. Going to the local poolside, Toby sees all the families, including Libby’s, spending a lovely time with each other and can take no more. He rather rudely asks Libby to let him leave and then visits his other best friend, Seth. During the evening spent with Seth and his current girlfriend, Toby receives a call from the hospital, beginning the tenth stage of dealing with his wife’s infidelity—constant motion. As the liver organ required for the transplant is managed and he is called to the hospital for surgery, Toby realizes that no matter what happens in life, this constant movement of life is always going to continue. He recognizes that no matter what, all the internal reflections and questionings that he has been having since his messy divorce are something that is bound to continue in life. Stage eleven, exhaustion, catches up soon, as the man is heavily burdened by his professional as well as personal ordeals. Toby finds short respite in sleep as he spends the night on the couch at his hospital department, and the next morning, he goes to see the liver transplant patient who has woken up after a successful surgery. He then returns to his office and sits down to enter the very last, twelfth stage of grief—acceptance. After passing through the mostly ineffective eleven previous stages, Toby has no option but to accept his true reality and break down in tears, trying to somehow get used to the confusion and despair that his life is now filled with.

How Exactly Are The Lives Of The Best Friends Libby And Seth?

The time that Toby spends with his two best friends separately, during one of the stages of his own personal grief, provides a brief look into the lives of these friends. Starting with Libby, her own marriage with her husband, Adam, looks to be going through a tough time, and she also struggles with internal struggles in her mind as well. Libby herself reflects on her life, just like Toby has been doing in recent times, and she thinks of all the potential and desires she once had in life. In contrast, here she is now arranging things for her children and family to prepare for a day at the local swimming pool. Rather, she is not really interested in the arrangement part, which her husband Adam has been singlehandedly managing, as she is more invested in her conversation with Toby. Libby and Adam look like they are barely somehow managing to coexist, with nothing particularly wrong between the couple but with no apparent love or affection either. Adam also seems a bit wary of his wife’s interest in her friend, who kept no contact with her in the intervening years, and he is not too interested in having a conversation with Toby either. To Adam, Toby is his wife’s friend, and he seems to want to keep it that way, not necessarily wanting to be friends with Toby and listen to the story of his sad, divorced life. Libby also has a hard time fitting in with the crowd that she has to live with—that of the mothers of young children, who regularly visit yoga clubs and wear utilitarian swimwear by the side of the pool every weekend. She seems to have once been averse to such a life and yet now finds herself having to live a similar one. Some of her friends at the poolside inform her of an upcoming party, and Libby is not too bothered by such trivialities; she desperately yearns for a change of scenery. Perhaps the emergence of Toby in her life makes her wish to return to the life she so enjoyed during their student years, and she also seems rather desperate to leave the poolside and accompany Toby to meet with Seth. Quite clearly, Libby herself is not in a romantic wonderland in her marriage, but Toby fails to realize all this. Instead, he takes Libby’s marriage as at least a better situation than his own and rudely asks Libby to let him be. Toby then meets with Seth, who is given far less time on screen in this episode, but he, too, seems to be dealing with problems in life. Once his girlfriend, Vanessa, excuses herself from the scene, Seth tells Toby that he has been fired from his job, along with his entire department. The finance-related firm that he worked at has been facing some charges of corruption and fraud, and Seth’s department has been fired for this. Although Seth shares this instantly with Toby, who had spent years in the middle with no contact with his best friend, Seth still has not been able to tell Vanessa of his firing. This also indicates that Seth’s personal relationship is not as rosy and perfect as it seems from the outside either.

What Should We Expect Next From ‘Fleishman Is In Trouble’ Episode 5?

Now that Toby Fleishman has finally come to accept his situation and fate, the real ordeal of how he manages to live with it or through it starts now. The self-realizations and reflections on his life can be expected to continue, as Toby might now finally stop looking for Rachel. We have been introduced to the lives of Libby and Seth in “Fleishman is in Trouble” episode 4, and this might become a constant staple in every episode from now on. How much more trouble, internally, Fleishman might find himself in is something to look forward to in this enjoyable drama series.

See More: ‘Fleishman Is In Trouble’ Episode 5: Recap & Ending, Explained – How Does Toby Find Company In His Children?

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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