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


Episode 5 of “Fleishman is in Trouble” follows incidents after Toby’s twelve-step dealing with his situation and grief, which ended in an utter breakdown as he had to accept that Rachel was gone from his life once and for all. In a sense, Episode 5 also has him dealing with this acceptance and trying to live with it, at least during the first half of it. While the children are now seen back after some events at their summer camp, the episode also further informs about Libby’s life and career.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Fleishman is in Trouble’ Episode 5: Recap And Ending

Following the breakdown that Toby experienced at the hospital, he now had to go through an even more difficult phase. That of living his normal life with the acceptance that he was nobody in Rachel’s life anymore. As Libby’s narration puts it, this loneliness of his was almost like a presence of its own instead of being an absence of Rachel or a partner. He tried multiple ways to make himself feel better, including having more than one casual hookup, but nothing seemed to work. At any restaurant, Toby hated having to eat at the bar instead of at a table because, to him, eating at the bar was like the epitome of loneliness, making it evident that one had nobody to accompany them. Yet, now that he was having meals by himself, the restaurant servers would often send him to a single seat at the bar as tables were given out to families and couples. That entire summer, Toby had been looking forward to a specific exhibit that had been recently brought to his favorite place, the American Museum of Natural History. This exhibit was the newly developed material Vantablack, made in laboratories by scientists as the darkest black in existence and the closest physical manifestation to a void. Despite being excited to see it all summer, Toby was immensely scared of it the moment he first laid eyes on it in the museum. To him, this was almost like the manifestation of his own life at present—a pitch-dark black void. Unable to enter the room designed for the exhibit, Toby left the museum and kept waiting for the end of summer, when at least his kids would return. While heavy work also resumes at the hospital, he finds it difficult to deal with the time after work, at night, when he would have to be completely alone at his apartment.

One night, Toby asks his younger colleagues out for drinks, but all of them have their own personal engagements to keep. He then calls up Seth and gets himself invited to a night out with Seth’s friends. Toby does enjoy himself on what is an absolutely wild night by his standards: drinking at multiple bars, watching a feisty dance-off, visiting an underground supermodel fight club in the middle of the night, and almost blacking out till dawn. Early in the morning, Seth takes his leave, and Toby is left alone once again. He then contacts Nahid, as Toby is now desperate for any company, and visits her house in the morning. After a moment of peace and unexpected happiness, when Nahid comforts him with a back massage, Toby once again suggests that they go out for a date. Nahid now explains why she does not really want to do so since she is not technically or legally divorced from her husband. Instead, she lives in a sort of agreement with the conservative-minded man, who also happens to be gay, to be able to afford an affluent lifestyle in exchange for appearing at public events with him. Toby remarks how this is not really freedom but rather being tied down to the unwanted life of someone else. Nahid’s reply then makes him wonder whether he is even enjoying the freedom he has in life at present and whether this freedom is even worth having. On his way home, Toby passes by some dogs put up for adoption and sees a particular one that catches his fancy. He takes the dog along with him and names it Bubbles, in accordance with his daughter Hanna’s wish since childhood. Seth and Libby are the first to meet Bubbles, as Toby meets with them at the park and brings his new dog along. It seems his sudden adoption of the dog works in his favor, as he keeps busy with the pet for the first few days.

It is around this time one morning that he receives a sudden call from Hanna and Solly’s summer camp director, asking him to drive up to the camp. Toby manages to get Seth and Vanessa to stay at his apartment and take care of Bubbles while he drives to the camp, which is some distance from the city. Upon arriving, he is informed of an undesirable event that had taken place concerning his daughter. Hanna had supposedly taken a suggestive photo of herself and sent it to a boy in the camp, who had then shown it around to his friends until the camp authorities got wind of it. But instead of doing anything to the young boy, who was already showing the first red flag of growing up to be an absolute jerk, the camp director punished Hanna, for it was against the rules of decorum at the place to take any such pictures of oneself. Toby also seems rather surprised that his daughter was the one to be expelled from camp while the boy could stay on with his friends, and he provides the right support to Hanna. Taking Hanna and Solly too, for he no longer trusted the camp authorities anymore, Toby readies to leave the place when he spots the boy who had broken Hanna’s trust. Realizing very well that the director would not say anything to the boy at all, Toby decides to take matters into his own hands and tells off the boy for his disgusting and insensitive behavior. Returning to New York, the children are delighted to find their new pet, Bubbles, even though Hanna has just experienced the cruel side of life. They have a warm, lovely dinner with Seth and Vanessa, and Toby cannot help but feel wonder at how happiness and grief interchanged over a quick succession of time in the growing Hanna’s mind. Later that night, after putting the children to bed, Toby once again goes to Rachel’s apartment for a confrontation, or maybe to inform her of what had happened with Hanna and possibly ask for her help with it. He even learns from the receptionist that Rachel is indeed home, but then Toby stops himself from ringing the doorbell. After giving it a long thought, he realizes that it is best for him to stop contacting Rachel, too, since his daughter’s concern is now clearly his concern alone. Rachel had walked out of their lives and from the children’s lives too, and it was perhaps better for the children to keep it like that.

With this very thought, Toby takes Hanna and Solly out the next day, like a complete family of three with no sad longing for the fourth member. They return to the American Museum of Natural History, and this time the three walk into the Vantablack exhibit room together. Solly, the youngest of them all, is spooked by the experience and runs out of the museum, followed by his sister and father. The three then sit together, each looking affected in their own way after looking at the closest physical manifestation of a void.

How Had Libby’s Professional Life Been Before She Had Reached This Stage In Her Personal Life?

The scene of the three best friends meeting at the park and then some of the following ones also reveal more about the friends’ lives, as has been happening in a few episodes now. Seth admits to his friends that he feels depressed and stuck with life, too, for he has been sacked from his job and has been having to look for employment opportunities and interviews at an age when things in life are mostly settled. On top of it all, he was unable to tell all of this to his girlfriend, Vanessa, as he believed doing so would definitely result in their breakup. On the other side, Libby goes on a weekend vacation with her family shortly after this meeting at the park. However, she falters at every crucial step—at first, she is almost late enough to make them miss their flight and has also forgotten to make reservations at the restaurant they will be visiting, which had been her only responsibility in the trip. Almost like an explanation to this lost state in life that Libby found herself in, her past experiences in her professional life are revealed to us. After finishing her education, Libby started working at a men’s magazine, as it had always been her dream and ultimate goal to do so. Working as an editorial assistant and then a news assistant, Libby’s aim was to get to the very top of her field and be a writer of stories that would break out into the world and remain in hot conversation for weeks after being published. She had a clear role model in this regard, too, the most popular writer of their magazine, Archer Sylvan. Even though the man clearly had a very sexist approach towards life and his works, such debates were not so popular back then but soon started to make their way into general life.

After the next few years, Archer was almost disregarded by the masses due to his sexist views and ideas, but the magazine still held on to him dearly. Libby had always tried to look at these articles and books of Sylvan as works beyond the discussion of sexism, for she had always looked at the literary fervor of it. She was perhaps convinced that good work was above and beyond touches of sexism, but she did find out gradually that she was indeed very wrong. Even after putting in all the effort and hard work needed to be one of the prominent writers of the magazine, she was just not given any good story to write that could make it to the cover of the issue. The kind of work that she was given also seemed to have very sexist ideas involved, as we witnessed her boss give her a story on NFL cheerleader coaches on one occasion. On the other hand, male writers new to their jobs were given important political stories to cover. Fed up with this extremely biased situation at her workplace for quite some time now, Libby decided to leave the job and write a novel of her own. Her husband, Adam, did support her at the time but seemed to have fallen out of touch with her in the present times. Two years after this decision, Libby had still not written a single word for her novel, nor had she tried hard to do so. Yet, she is also clearly fed up with her life as a non-working mother and wife and looks immensely stuck in life. Unfortunately, Adam has not been able to keep up with these recent developments, and at the end of the weekend vacation trip, he frustratedly exclaims that he does not know what to do with Libby anymore.

What To Expect From ‘Fleishman Is In Trouble’ Episode 6?

While Toby has by now come to some sort of acceptance and settlement in his life, especially with his children, the two best friends still look lost. Seth needs to find a way to tell his girlfriend about the loss of work, and Libby needs to figure out her life as a whole. “Fleishman is in Trouble” Episode 6, or the next couple of episodes, might reveal more to us in these lines and might resolve the situation of all three friends. With Toby’s relationship with his children back in the picture, it would be interesting to see how he and Hanna carry on bonding over time. Despite having no other option, living without a mother figure is not something easy, and “Fleishman is in Trouble” seems to acknowledge that, and it can be given more focus in the following episodes.

See More: ‘Fleishman Is In Trouble’ Episode 6: Recap And Ending, Explained: How Does Toby’s Problems Return Again?

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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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