‘Shrinking’ Episode 3: Recap And Ending, Explained – What Is The Struggle In Gaby’s Life?


Episode 3 of AppleTV+’s “Shrinking” continues with Jimmy practicing his “psychological vigilantism” as he takes therapy to a very unconventional stage. All his patients who were seen in the previous two episodes are present in “Shrinking” Episode 3, but what takes precedence is Jimmy’s own grief and his attempt to deal with that grief, helped by Paul. Along with this, Gaby is also revealed to be stuck in a difficult phase of life, and Jimmy tries to help her out too.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Shrinking’ Episode 3: Recap & Ending

The episode opens with Jimmy literally stalking a patient of his on a date, which happens to be the exact situation in which the patient struggles. This man, Alan, was earlier seen complaining about how no women understood him and would always leave him, and it seemed even then that he was not being completely honest. Our protagonist therapist, Jimmy, also had the same feeling, and for this reason, he followed Alan to a restaurant. Here, when the woman goes to the restroom, Jimmy barges in at the table and tells Alan to stop being boastful and bragging about his life and instead be more kind and charming, even showing his vulnerable side. Back at Jimmy’s house, Sean is still there, as he is unable to get a place at the VA housing facility. Although the young man immediately starts to help by cleaning the house and doing some of the basic chores, his presence is still not too comfortable for Alice. The teenager is even more irritated when she sees that Sean has thrown away a plant that she used to keep on the kitchen counter. Although this plant was never too close to her mother, she did water it at times, and so for Alice, it became a way to remember her mother. For all these months now, Alice, too, has not grieved properly, mostly because she had to figure out her life by herself as her father was emotionally absent all throughout.

The girl continues meeting with Paul at the park in a sort of talking session, which is also like therapy in a way. In this current meeting, Alice confesses that everything in her life is making her sad at the moment, and Paul advises that she needs to let out her grief. For this, he suggests a method that he himself tries: to play one’s favorite sad song for fifteen minutes and let oneself grieve for that entire time without any other distraction. This, Paul suggests, would help Alice through the rest of the day, and the girl starts to practice it at her house. It does indeed help Alice, as she gradually starts to open up with Sean as a friend and tells him about her bottled grief as well. In fact, Alice also makes an effort to have dinner with Jimmy, which both of them seem to enjoy, suggesting that Alice is now truly starting to forgive her father and give him one more chance.

The friendly neighbor Liz also makes an appearance in “Shrinking” Episode 3, first when Sean is questioned about his presence by a nosy neighbor named Pam. While Jimmy and Liz both explain to Pam how Sean is a guest staying at Jimmy’s house, Liz also calls out Pam’s racist tendencies. Later that night, Liz decides to have a conversation with Jimmy about her own tendency to intrude into his and his daughter’s lives at the drop of a hat, and she apologizes for the same. Jimmy, too, now opens up about the matter and clearly states that he does not believe Liz would stop butting into his life as she was now promising. Liz realizes there are enough reasons for Jimmy to feel this way, but she promises that she will keep her word and also makes an immediate effort to prove this, even though it is hard for her at first. Although Liz does stay away from her usual behavior, her personality does not change overnight, of course. When Alice tells Liz that she got an A on a history test at school, Liz bakes her a cake to celebrate this relatively small and insignificant achievement. In fact, Alice had only made this news up to show her new friend Sean how their neighbor Liz is always extra-caring towards her. Towards the end of the episode, Liz once again oversteps her line when she meets Paul and takes the opportunity to talk to him about a certain concern of hers. She had seen Alice and Sean talk and laugh and felt that this interaction was quite flirty. Being concerned whether this might affect Alice in a negative way, Liz tells all of this to Paul, since he is the one who regularly speaks to Alice about life and asks him to check on this situation.

Paul had his own struggles throughout “Shrinking” Episode 3, as it is revealed that the man is suffering from an onset of Parkinson’s disease. He regularly keeps himself diagnosed by his doctor, Julie, but a loss of motor senses does seem to set in as Paul runs his car into the back of Gaby’s brand-new Tesla. While both of his younger colleagues are concerned that it is no longer safe for Paul to drive, the man does not want to believe so. He states that he had got his motor senses evaluated only a few months ago and was confident the fender bender was not his fault. However, inside his mind, Paul knows that his fate is very real and that he will have to face it in the near future. He immediately gets himself evaluated once again, and the results do come out positive, meaning that he can drive. However, Paul does eventually admit that he should not drive and asks Gaby to do so. The man also plays a huge role in helping Jimmy out of his present difficulty when Jimmy approaches him for help. Through their conversation, it is established that Jimmy had not really grieved the loss of his wife so far, even after all these months, and instead, he had been just numbing his pains by bottling them inside. Paul gives his reasons for believing this, recalling how Jimmy just kept resorting to drugs, alcohol, and women to numb his struggles. Even at present, Jimmy does not approach Paul to ask for help about himself, but rather about how he felt Gaby’s expression of grief was not appropriate according to him. 

Paul gives Jimmy the same advice about grieving that he himself practices and has also given to Alice. Jimmy listens to his suggestion and tries it out, which does have an immediate effect as the man cycles away, completely broken down and weeping. The practice does help him out, too, as the man looks and seems better than he was. But Jimmy then has a serious disagreement with his mentor Paul when the latter gets to know from Liz that Sean has been living in Jimmy’s house. This is technically another one of Jimmy’s unconventional therapy practices, as he has brought a patient to his house, and Paul believes this was extremely wrong and harmful to Alice. The man tells Jimmy all of this, and when the latter tries to justify his action, Paul states that he does not want to talk to him anymore. On the other side, Jimmy feels that his new way of therapy is indeed far better and more effective, as he sees Sean and Alice laughing and sharing Liz’s cake like friends. Alan, the man seen at the beginning of the episode, had also sent him a photo of himself and the woman he had gone on a date with, meaning that Jimmy’s advice had worked and the two were now together. In the earlier episodes, the therapist had also directly advised his patient Grace to leave her abusive husband Donny, which she had done, and Grace also regularly keeps talking to Jimmy about the progress in her life. However, at the very end of “Shrinking” Episode 3, Jimmy comes across Grace and Donny meeting secretly, meaning that Grace was not really in Canada as she was saying and that she was also not over Donny. The woman had a typical problem of pleasing everyone else around her, and she had made up this whole lie and pretense only to please her therapist Jimmy. Finally, Jimmy realizes that his unconventional practice can indeed be very harmful, as has clearly happened with Grace.

What Problem Is Gaby In At Present?

Although Gaby was introduced to us in the first two episodes, we get a closer look at her personal life only in “Shrinking” Episode 3. After having bought herself a shiny new Tesla car, Gaby is excited to drive it to work, and she wants to share this excitement with her husband, Nico. But despite all her attempts, Nico does not care too much about it and, in the end, turns down her wish to accompany her. While this already hints at an unhappy marriage, things become completely apparent later on when Gaby asks Jimmy to give her a ride since she is leaving her car for repairs after Paul has dented it. A little while later, she also messages Jimmy to drop the plan, but the man has already reached the place by then. Watching from a distance, Jimmy is shocked to see Gaby kiss and make out with a younger man, making it clear that she is cheating on her husband. It takes Jimmy a lot of courage and chances to bring this up with Gaby, and when he finally does, Gaby reveals that she is filing for divorce and ending her marriage with Nico. Jimmy expresses sadness at this and is rather surprised at the fact that Gaby is not as sad. He does not really grasp the fact that Gaby wanted to end this marriage because it was not working for her. Nico was going through a sobriety phase, and Gaby seemingly had dealt with a lot of problems due to her husband’s alcohol or drug abuse earlier. Now that she does not want to be a part of it anymore and does not feel crushingly sad about it, Jimmy gets concerned about her. This is what he approaches Paul with, and the experienced senior tells him about how different people have different ways of grieving. Gaby invites Jimmy and his best friend Brian to her house for a divorce party the next night, and the protagonist is confused about this, too, believing that his friend and colleague is going through a state of extreme denial. But after his conversation with Paul, Jimmy finally provides the right support to Gaby at her house. She now admits that she misses her best friend, Tia far too much, who was Jimmy’s wife. Although Jimmy cannot take the place of his wife in Gaby’s life, and the latter does not want that either, he promises to support her as much as he can. He realizes that he had kept himself absent from Gaby’s life too for all these months, just like he had done with everyone else. After all, Gaby, too, had been grieving her best friend’s death, and now she has to go through an extreme change in her life.

What Is To Be Expected From ‘Shrinking’ Episode 4?

Now that a chink has appeared in Jimmy’s unconventional and upfront therapy practice, it can be expected that more instances of the same will follow. Whether things go wrong between him and Sean, or worse, between Sean and Alice, would be interesting to watch. With the look into Gaby’s personal life in “Shrinking” Episode 3, the show can continue giving a perspective into the lives of the other friends too, and Brian or Liz can be next. While Paul has decided to stop talking to Jimmy, how long this disagreement lasts will be interesting, for Jimmy is mostly clueless without the guidance of Paul in his life. After all, it is now starting to seem clear that Paul’s opinion about Jimmy’s new therapy practice is correct. 

See More: ‘Shrinking’ Episode 4: Recap And Ending, Explained: How Does Jimmy’s Experimental Therapy Start To Backfire?

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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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