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


Episode 4 of AppleTV+’s comedy-drama series “Shrinking” continues with Jimmy’s realization that his straightforward therapy practice was prone to mishaps, something that he understood at the end of episode 3. Gaby’s divorce, which had been a major development in the previous episode, is now resolved, but Paul’s decision not to talk with Jimmy is still intact. This was due to the fact that Jimmy had let his young army veteran patient stay at his house, and “Shrinking” Episode 4 now has Jimmy starting to regret this decision as well.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Shrinking’ Episode 4 Recap And Ending

The new episode begins with Liz coming to Jimmy’s house and apologizing for telling Paul about Sean. When Liz had earlier told Paul about her concerns regarding Sean and Alice’s closeness, she did not know that Jimmy was keeping Sean a secret from the elder therapist. This led to Paul having a major argument with Jimmy, and now Jimmy clearly states that he holds Liz responsible for the whole fiasco. Nonetheless, he accepts her apology and is even more confident that Paul will not stay mad at him for long, for such situations have happened before, and Paul always forgave him soon enough. However, things don’t look as hopeful this time around, as Jimmy is still largely ignored by Paul at their office, with the senior only talking about insignificant things like potatoes with Jimmy. Giving it some more time, Jimmy focuses on his professional duties instead, and here he receives even more setbacks.

While leaving home, our protagonist picks up Sean from his own house, as the patient is still holed up in Jimmy’s pool house and gives him a ride to the therapy center. He wants to continue with Sean’s therapy, as it was pretty much left incomplete earlier, but Sean now does not want to do the same. He states that he has been really happy in the past couple of days, ever since moving into Jimmy’s house, and now does not want to talk about the dark and difficult depths of his mind. The therapist understood that all of Sean’s problems stemmed from his experiences overseas during the war, so he asked the patient to talk about the same. But these memories are clearly not fond ones for Sean, and he wants to keep them buried and repressed, saying that he does not want to talk about them.

As Paul explains the situation soon after, Jimmy had made Sean believe that he was his friend or roommate and not just his therapist. This meant that Sean now wanted to avoid all the difficult scenarios, and Jimmy was not in the apt role of the therapist to force him to get into them for his own benefit. Later on, after having had a comparatively tough day at work, Jimmy tries to approach Sean again, this time as a friend, but this does not help either. Sean denies talking and walks out of the house. Jimmy’s technique of “psychological vigilantism” fails terribly in another instance too, when he intends to make his patient Wally more comfortable with therapy by accompanying her to her house. The patient takes this as a hint of romantic interest and tries to kiss Jimmy twice. Jimmy has to turn the woman down, making the situation even worse as she will now definitely not return for therapy even though she needs it. On the other side, Jimmy tries to contact Gloria, too, after having seen her sneakily meet with her apparently ex-husband Donny. But the woman now avoids all contact with her therapist and even blocks his calls by putting them directly to voicemail.

Gaby seems fine enough after her divorce, and she now goes to Jimmy’s house to spend some time with Alice. Perhaps due to the reassurance she got from Jimmy in the previous episode about how he would try to still be there for her even though his wife and her best friend Tia were now no more, Gaby now does the same for Alice. She talks to the teenager like a friend and about things that a mother would discuss with her maturing daughter. Gaby makes Alice feel like she could approach her at any time with any problems or difficulties. It is through this discussion that Gaby learns that Alice had gotten sexually involved with Liz’s son, Connor before the boy had gone away for his education.

Gaby feels that the girl should share this with her father, for it was not anything wrong that she had done, and Alice agrees. When Jimmy returns home and stresses his wish to be a cool father, Alice comes clean to him, but the father’s reaction is not as cool as he would have wanted. Jimmy is unable to accept it well and instead takes this as one more way in which Liz is intruding into his life. Even though the woman had no idea about this, Jimmy confronts her and tells her that all this had happened because Alice had to spend so much time at her house. He also suggests that Alice might not have been too keen about such involvement, and Connor might have made use of her. He then literally stomps his feet like an angry five-year-old, shouting at Liz to get a life of her own and whatnot. Liz is understandably shocked after this interaction, and she is hurt as well. It is now Gaby who comes to her and provides her support, and the two women have now become friends.

As Connor returns home from college, Jimmy confronts him too, but soon understands that his overreaction is totally unnecessary. Connor seems genuinely interested in Alice, and he wants to be romantically involved with her, too, and not just take advantage of her, as Jimmy believes. The father now apologizes to Liz and finds her and Gaby sitting together, having drinks. Jimmy joins them as well, and now the two women casually talk about what they feel is a budding chemistry between Alice and Sean. Jimmy is shocked to even think of such a thing, saying that Sean is a good guy, and he would never try to take advantage of Alice. However, as Liz and Gaby explain, it was not about Sean but about Alice, for she was in the very natural phase of life when romantic and sexual interests were top priorities for any teenager. Jimmy still does not buy into it, and he instead makes up with Sean and spends the night together at the pool house. Late at night, though, Alice comes to the pool house and thinks aloud about her attraction to Sean. Jimmy, who is still awake, hears this and realizes that his unusual method of therapy has indeed gone very wrong.

How Is Paul’s Relationship With His Family?

While Paul has always been very secretive about his family since the beginning of “Shrinking,” episode 4 now reveals some information about his relationship with them. His colleagues Jimmy and Gaby knew that the man had a daughter who lived in Connecticut, but Paul would never say anything in detail about her, despite them always wanting to know. However, the daughter, Meg, now visits her father, and she comes to the therapy center looking for him. From the conversation between Paul and Meg, it becomes clear that he does not have the best relationship with his family. Paul’s wife had been separated from him for many years now, and his efforts to find a new partner had not really worked out. After their separation, the family moved to the eastern part of the country, and Paul had not kept in touch with them. Meg was a young girl at this time, and the detachment she had developed from her father remains even now.

Paul offers to visit her house and stay a few days with her and her family, making it very clear that he wants the company. But Meg makes excuses, saying that her husband’s mother was staying with them for a few days, and manages to make Paul drop the plan. It is evident that Paul’s only family at the moment is his daughter, but the woman does not want to spend time with her father as much as he wants to. He also wants to know and have a relationship with his grandson, but the only way he has met the boy is through photographs of him that Meg brings with her.

At the end of “Shrinking” Episode 4, we see Paul replace an old photo of the grandson with a new one that Meg had brought on this trip, and judging by the difference in age between the two people in the photos, it is quite clear that Meg visits only once every few years. There is also the matter of Paul not yet being able to tell Meg about his Parkinson’s, as he reveals to Brian. The reason why Paul is unable to tell his daughter is that he feels the disconnect between them and therefore does not feel comfortable burdening her with this information. Jimmy and Gaby are more like children or kin to him than Meg is, and it is quite evident that the two colleagues care more about Paul than his biological daughter does.

What To Expect From ‘Shrinking’ Episode 5?

Now that Jimmy has learned of the possibility of a romance between Sean and his daughter Alice, he appears quite concerned about the matter and would definitely work against it. That would mean getting Sean out of the house, and how he tries to do so would be interesting to watch. He would finally have to draw the line between being a friend and a therapist, and that can worsen Sean’s situation even more. Along with this, Paul would also have to break the ice and let his daughter know about his Parkinson’s disease. Even though he does not feel close enough with his daughter, letting her know is mandatory for legal reasons, since she is his closest biological relation. How Paul might go about doing this would also be interesting to watch.

See More: ‘Shrinking’ Episode 5: Recap And Ending, Explained: How Does Paul And Jimmy’s Disagreement End?

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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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