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

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The new episode 5 of AppleTV+’s comedy-drama show “Shrinking” is arguably one of its slowest and shortest, with not much happening around. Nonetheless, there are insights into the characters we have been seeing all this time and also therapeutic developments as well. So far, the senior therapist Paul has been angry and disappointed at Jimmy for his unconventional methods of therapy, especially for inviting a patient of his to live with him, and that disagreement continues for the most part. It does ultimately end, though, and it works to the benefit of both characters, while Jimmy’s best friend Brian is thinking of proposing to his boyfriend, all in “Shrinking” Episode 5.

Spoilers Ahead


‘Shrinking’ Episode 5: Recap And Ending

On the very next day, after Jimmy realizes that his teenage daughter Alice has a crush on his patient Sean, who has been living in his house, the therapist goes to inform his neighbor Liz about his findings. Incidentally, Gaby is also there at Liz’s house, as the two of them got drunk the previous night, and Gaby decided to stay over. The two women now tell Jimmy to not get involved in a possible romance of the young since he trusts Sean to not do anything wrong. Jimmy agrees, but he is clearly not used to the thought of Alice dating a patient of his just yet. Later that morning, Sean tells Jimmy about how his father has been texting him, asking to meet, and Sean feels confused about this. The man cannot understand why his father would want to meet and catch up with him after having thrown him out of the house. Jimmy now advises him to not be stuck in a dysfunctional relationship with his father and instead move on by meeting him and dealing with the situation like mature adults. Sean agrees and decides to go ahead with the planned meeting with his father and younger brother, and it all goes well, too, until the father hands him a gift. Sean’s medals from his service in the army had been nicely framed by his mother, and this is the gift that his father now gives him. However, the medals remind Sean of a time and situation that he is not at all comfortable with, and the young man immediately leaves the place.

Gaby’s staying over at Liz’s house now makes her late for work and, more importantly, late in picking up Paul for work. As she rushes over to their meeting spot, Paul is on the phone with his daughter, Meg, talking about a birthday present for his grandson. Paul ultimately decides on cash, unable to understand what the young boy actually wants, and then mentions Gaby driving him to work. Meg is surprised at this and asks why such a practice is in the works, to which Paul says that Gaby simply wants some company while driving to work. Paul, therefore, has a chance to tell his daughter about his Parkinson’s, but he once again decides not to and buries the topic of conversation. While he is at their office, Paul is approached by a regretful Jimmy, who asks that the senior colleague start talking to him about serious things, or else he will find his life and profession difficult. But Paul quickly turns down the request, making Jimmy angrier. The younger therapist now states that he and Paul should just stop communicating altogether and skip their small talk too. Jimmy says that he does not require support or validation from his mentor at all, even though he needs it the most.

Jimmy later meets with his patient Grace, whom we have seen since the very beginning of the show. Grace had earlier lied to her therapist that she had dropped all contact with her toxic husband, Donny, but had been secretly meeting him all the time. After Jimmy found out about this, she stopped talking to her therapist, and Jimmy felt even more guilty, for it was mostly his fault. Now posing as a potential buyer of a house that Grace had been showing as part of her profession, Jimmy apologizes to her for making her choose between having Donny as her husband and him as her therapist. This forceful dilemma made Grace lie about her situation, and now she is coming clean about it. Jimmy apologizes once more and asks her to get back into therapy with him, and she agrees. On the other hand, Paul also starts to have a tough time now that he is not talking to Jimmy. Many times, after he would get a tough patient or an intense session, Paul would talk about it to Jimmy in the most casual way, but now that outlet was shut. Paul tries doing the same with Gaby, but she quickly understands what is happening and stops him, saying that she will not be Jimmy’s replacement for Paul.

After the sudden disappointment and anger from the meeting with his father, Sean leaves the park and intends to take a walk. He texts Alice to join her and being in school, the girl decides to sneak out and meet Sean. Together they walk up to a water tank tower as Sean explains his difficulty with his father to Alice, who claims that she understands him completely. Perhaps out of his built-up frustration, Sean then starts to climb up the tower, and Alice is scared for him. In this while, her school calls up Jimmy to inform him of her sneaking out, and the two finally meet when Alice and Sean return home. Jimmy is angry at his daughter but also cannot press much as Alice quickly reminds him that his own life was in total disarray with drugs and alcohol only a few months back. It is clear that Alice is unable to speak of her concerns for Sean with her father, for they do not have that space yet. She apparently tells Jimmy to have a word with Paul and learns that the two are not talking to each other. Jimmy also tries talking to Sean next, but the young man now says that he should perhaps stop his therapy sessions with Jimmy and intends to move out of the house too.

It is finally Paul who can solve the situation, and the complexities of it are also partly due to the senior man’s arrogance too. Just like an arrogant grandfather being schooled by his granddaughter, Paul is yelled at by Alice when the two meet at their usual park. It is Alice who reminds Paul of how insignificant the reason for his and Jimmy’s argument was, and he finally decides to address it. Taking some beer with him to make things more informal, Paul goes to Jimmy’s house and sits with him and Sean at the same time. Using his experienced tactics, the senior therapist brings out the anger and frustration inside Sean about his time in the army. He explains that the things he did at that time, like kicking down people’s doors and pointing his gun at children, were not things he can now support. He also realizes the pointless outcome of his actions, and this is why Sean does not want to remind himself of his time in the army. In order to get these words out, Paul tells Sean about the troubles in his own life, which at present are his inability to tell Meg about his Parkinson’s disease. This works like a therapy session for Paul as well, as he admits he fears telling Meg about this will make him be treated like a patient at all times, which he does not want to happen.

In the end, Paul convinces Sean to move past the events from his army days and not let them affect his present. He advises the young man to overcome the emotional inertia that is in him due to his past life experiences. He also stresses the qualities of Jimmy as a therapist and assures that he, too, would be there for him if and when Sean requires his assistance. In almost one fell swoop, Paul fixes the messed-up relationship between Sean and Jimmy, as well as between Jimmy and himself. Returning home, he decides to iron out the last crease, too—he calls up Meg and tells her that he wants to talk to her about something important.


What Do We Get To Know About Brian?

Brian features for quite a few minutes in “Shrinking” Episode 5, as his personal struggle in life highlights a central theme of the show so far. Brian tells his close friends, which by now include Gaby as well, that he is about to propose to his boyfriend and finally get married if he says yes. Jimmy and Gaby do not take the man seriously at all and explain their reason for it—Brian had thought of proposing way too many times before and had not yet done it. So much so that even the seller of the diamond ring that he intends to buy for his proposal knows that there is no finality to his decision. This is because Brian himself is scared and insecure about proposing.

As he sits down with Gaby towards the end of the “Shrinking” Episode 5 in an almost informal therapy session setup, he explains his struggles in life. With extremely religious parents, Brian’s life as a gay man was terribly difficult, and he remained closeted for many years of his life. After moving out of his hometown and having a professional and personal life of his own, Brian had completely stopped taking any risky decisions whatsoever. In any situation that would pose any risk or unfavorable outcome, Brian would run away from it. This was the reason why he could never propose to his boyfriend, for there are fears in his mind about what if the boyfriend says no or what if their marriage does not work out and they eventually have a falling out.

The central characters that we have been seeing are also scared of certain outcomes in their lives, due to which they want to stay away from having to make certain decisions. Out of many other things, Jimmy is still scared of his companionless life after the death of his wife, and his fear of growing distant from his daughter Alice is exactly what grows a distance between them. Paul is scared of his daughter Meg and her family looking at him with pity, and he, therefore, does not tell her about his situation for a long time. The neighbor, Liz, is evidently lonely and therefore sees Alice as one more child to nurture. In essence, “Shrinking” also does seem to be built around this central theme—one facing their fears and overcoming them. In the end, Gaby tells Brian that even though her own marriage had not worked out, she would give it another try if she had the chance, perhaps pushing Brian closer to the decision of facing his own fears.


What To Expect From ‘Shrinking’ Episode 6?

Now that the barrier between Sean and Jimmy has been broken, where their relationship grows from here—whether Jimmy can reestablish himself as the therapist instead of the friend—would be interesting to watch. A possible romance between Sean and Alice can also happen, although it looks extremely unlikely. Sean has so far never expressed any romantic attraction or liking towards Alice, and he seems to see her as a good, close friend. Brian would be proposing to his boyfriend probably sometime soon, and whether we are made part of any marriage ceremony would also be something to look for. Lastly, with Paul possibly telling Meg about his Parkinson’s disease, how the daughter reacts and how Paul negotiates the situation would be interesting to watch.


See More: ‘Shrinking’ Episode 6: Recap And Ending, Explained: What Do We Get To Know About Jimmy And Tia’s Marriage?


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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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