Shrinking – Season 1 Episode 6 “Impostor Syndrome” Recap & Review

Impostor Syndrome

In Shrinking Season 1 Episode 6, Sean and Paul are deciding to do the work and face the pain in their lives. Paul implies Jimmy still needs to do the same.

Meanwhile, Gaby tries to have a better sex life post-divorce but doesn’t have any libido. Liz assures her it’s nothing to worry about, after noting to Paul it couldn’t hurt for him to try some weed gummies to help with his Parkinson’s.

Brian shows Gaby and Jimmy the ring he bought for Charlie. Since his place isn’t big enough for a surprise engagement party, he hopes Gaby or Jimmy will host. Jimmy isn’t sure he’s ready to open up his house so soon after his wife’s death, but Alice convinces him, remembering how Tia used to love throwing parties.

Paul shows up to the party drunk and high, ready to vent his frustrations to Brian and Liz. He’s been wanting to spend time with Meg, but she’s been so busy. But now that he’s sick, she’s suddenly dropping everything because she has to. 

Liz tells Paul it’s not a bad thing to expect his kids to come through for him. The problem is that Paul doesn’t think he’s earned it. He wasn’t there for Meg while she was growing up. Liz then remarks that, if he hasn’t earned her care and she’s still showing up for him, maybe he should be grateful rather than feel sorry for himself.

While Gaby endures apologies regarding her divorce, Jimmy receives relentless condolences from people. This party is the first time he’s seeing many of his friends since Tia’s death.

To his surprise, his friend Ben brings his new girlfriend Kiara. Jimmy introduces Kiara to Gaby. He paid for her services when she was a sex worker, but she’s now retired and dating Ben.

Later, Jimmy catches Alice drinking and takes her cup from her. Drunk himself, he tells her he knows about her feelings for Sean, and she runs upstairs. In her bedroom, she tries to kiss Sean. He stops her, telling her she’s just a kid.

Jimmy then confesses to Gaby he’s been struggling tonight. People keep telling him he and Tia were the perfect couple, when they were fighting all the time in reality. Gaby assures him Tia loved him, but he doesn’t believe it.

Finally, Charlie arrives for the surprise engagement, but a drunk Jimmy throws up and ruins it. But Charlie is just enthralled to learn of Brian’s proposal, which he accepts. Paul advises them to stay open in their marriage. “Two vulnerable people will always find a way to connect,” he says.

After Jimmy cleans up and sobers up, Gaby shows him a picture of Tia looking very much in love with him–just a couple of weeks before she died. She assures him again that she loved him, and he thanks her.

The two of them hug, and the hug soon turns into a kiss.

The Episode Review

I adore Gaby and Jimmy’s friendship, and I think the direction this episode took for their characters makes sense, as long as the show doesn’t try to force a relationship between them–unless it works quite a bit to make such a progression believable.

Gaby and Jimmy might not make sense to everyone, but their kiss does fit into a theme of vulnerable people connecting with each other. Going through what Gaby and Jimmy have been through (both losing Tia, and both losing a partner) bonds people. This is a kiss born not out of romantic chemistry, I think, but of shared grief.

I do wonder if Paul left out some nuance in his remarks about vulnerability (Who could blame him?). Are connections formed out of vulnerability always for the better? Will they be in this case?

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You can read our season 1 review of Shrinking here!

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