Shrinking – Season 1 Episode 5 “Woof” Recap & Review


In Shrinking Season 1 Episode 5, Jimmy admits to Liz she was right about Alice’s crush on Sean, but she convinces him not to worry about it as long as he trusts Sean. And he does trust him. At least, he’s easily convinced he does–because he still doesn’t want to accept that he’s getting too personal with his clients.

Jimmy is at least able to ask Paul for help regarding Grace. But Paul doesn’t see a way to reconcile his differences with Jimmy and his unorthodox approaches. So, they settle on just not talking at all.

Meanwhile, Gaby does some marriage counseling with her clients, but doesn’t know what to say when asked if she applies her advice to her own marriage. Her divorce is thrown back at her face again later. When Brian tries and fails for the umpteenth time to follow through on his plan to propose to Charlie, Gaby and Liz try talking sense into him. But Brian notes he doesn’t want to take advice from someone who just got divorced.

Brian later decides he does need Gaby’s take on his situation. He admits to her he hasn’t taken a big risk since coming out to his religious parents, who didn’t react positively. His catchphrase can still be “everything goes my way,” because he never gets hurt due–as a result of never taking risks. He hasn’t proposed to Charlie because it might not work out. Gaby understands. But even though her marriage failed, she’d risk it all again.

Sean takes a risk of his own by taking Jimmy’s advice to go meet up with his dad. But Sean leaves the meeting early after his dad gifts him with framed medals from his time in Afghanistan. Shaken up by the reminder, he texts Alice, who skips school to go take a walk with him.

Jimmy eventually finds Grace, who admits she felt she had to lie to him to escape his judgment. Jimmy is now ready to be there for Grace without judgment. But he has to cut out of their impromptu session early when he learns that Alice skipped school.

Sean confesses to Alice that it feels like no one knows who he is. Feeling frustrated, he decides to climb a water tower, despite Alice’s fear for him. When Alice gets home, she tells Jimmy what happened. He checks up on Sean, who is upset that his advice didn’t pan out and doesn’t want Jimmy to be his therapist anymore. In fact, he’s going to move out in the morning.

Jimmy sure could use Paul’s advice about now–if only they were talking. Gaby tries to encourage Paul to talk to Jimmy, but it’s Alice who finally convinces Paul to come around. She vents to him that she can’t rebuild a relationship with her father if he doesn’t have Paul to help him through his own issues.

So, Paul drops by to see Jimmy and Sean, and he’s actually able to encourage Sean to open up about Afghanistan. He shares that he hasn’t been able to tell his daughter about his Parkinson’s because he’s scared she won’t see him the same way. But no matter what Sean did in Afghanistan, he’s still a good person now. People will love him regardless of what happened there. 

The episode ends with Paul calling Meg. He’s finally going to tell her about his declining health.

The Episode Review

Episode 5 of Shrinking branches out into some refreshing perspectives, even if they are a bit messily weaved into the show’s fabric.

Brian brings a delightful, chaotic energy to the show, especially paired with the witty Gaby–but their joint storyline here is pretty jumbled and unsatisfying. The episode teased early the prospect of digging into Gaby’s divorce, but didn’t really go anywhere with that, aside from delivering a trite platitude about risk-taking. I thought Gaby herself deserved more of a complex arc, but her experiences were only used to give Brian perspective.

And while Jimmy still hasn’t learned his lesson, I’m becoming more intrigued by the direction the show is taking him. His stubbornness regarding his treatment of his patients may seem unrealistic–but it does reflect his own frustrations with his clients never changing their own actions. Maybe the season will end with Jimmy recognizing this flaw in himself and getting his own therapist–or perhaps realizing that Paul fulfills a similar role in his life. And that he should definitely listen to the man.

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You can read our season 1 review of Shrinking here!

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