Shrinking (Apple TV+): Episode 7 Review
Episode 7 of Apple TV+’s Shrinking might just be the series’ best episode to date, with plenty of hilarious twists and meaningful moments.
Last week, Apple TV+’s Shrinking treated us to more than one shocking development and plenty of unexpected bittersweet moments. This week, showrunners Bill Lawrence, Jason Segel and Brett Goldstein deliver what might just be the series’ best episode to date. Episode 7 feels like the culmination of a show that took its time to introduce its characters and make us become incredibly attached to them. 7 episodes into the series, it’s gotten to the point that simply spending time with them gives us reason enough to watch it. This week, every single one of those characters is given time to grow, as they process some grief and open up with one another, all while remaining their charming, hilarious selves.
Last week’s episode left us with at least two unexpected twists to process. The first was Jimmy (Jason Segel) and Gaby (Jessica Williams) hooking up right after Gaby had reassured Jimmy that his wife Tia (Lilan Bowden) loved him. Naturally, the two of them have much to discuss in episode 7, but a series of hilarious coincidences soon replace any morning after awkwardness. Of course,Paul (Harrison Ford), who just so happens to have passed out on Jimmy’s couch with his bag of Doritos, knows just the right thing to say. I dare you to keep a straight face as you watch Harrison Ford knowingly smile at Jimmy while saying the most wonderfully blunt sentence ever, in a moment you’ll want to rewind over and over again.
Harrison Ford has clearly become so comfortable in his character’s shoes that he can make us laugh hysterically one moment and cry like emotional wrecks the next. Here, he really gets to shine in an episode where he’s not just used for comic relief. Episode 7 finally begins to address Paul’s relationship with his daughter May (Lily Rabe) as well as his struggles with an illness that he might not have accepted as much as he thinks he has. This ultimately gives us one of the most poignant and emotionally charged scenes of the series, in an episode that has at least two extremely intense moments revolving around grief.
But there’s another twist to deal with in episode 7, and that is the consequences of Alice’s (Lukita Maxwell) attempt to kiss Sean (Luke Tennie). In the past few weeks, Shrinking did something very clever with their relationship without us even noticing. Ever since Jimmy first found out that his daughter liked his patient, we’ve been anticipating a relationship of sorts between the two of them: after all, this is what would usually happen with such premises. And so, for weeks we’ve been waiting for Jimmy and Alice to have a confrontation, so that Jimmy could ultimately come to terms with the fact that his daughter is not a child anymore.
But it’s Shrinking we’re talking about, and this is a show that avoids overdramatising scenarios for the sake of it. Which is exactly what the series did. At the end of last week’s episode, Alice tried to kiss Sean. But the latter did a very sensible thing – he stopped her immediately, since Alice is still “a child” and he doesn’t think of her that way. With this one simple gesture, Shrinking subverted our expectations by showing us healthy character dynamics. In episode 7, Sean and Alice’s relationship evolves further, thanks to gaby and Liz’s (Christa Miller) advice, and the show uses these dynamics to beautifully explore abandonment issues and the very nature of friendship.
Speaking of changed friendships, episode 7 also establishes a nice parallel between Sean and Alice and Jimmy and Gaby. The two of them are also having a tough time processing the night they spent together and how that affected their memory of Tia, who was not only Jimmy’s wife but also Gaby’s best friend. What happens at the end of the episode is best left unspoiled, but Jason Segel delivers another meaningful scene, made all the more potent by a screenplay that also draws Alice into it. In the end, it’s not just about Jimmy, Gaby, and Tia, but first and foremost about family, grief, and love.
“Stay open. If your defences come up, you’re f*cked. But two vulnerable people, you’ll always find a way.” Paul’s advice to Brian (Michael Urie) and his future husband Charlie (Devin Kawaoka) in last week’s episode is the best way to sum up what happens this week. Up till now, Shrinking has not just explored grief and loss, but also – and first and foremost – love, and the importance of opening up with the people who care about you and who might even know you better than you know yourself. In episode 7, most characters face their worst fears and memories, and find the strength to be vulnerable despite it all. And it’s in that vulnerability that Shrinking ‘s strength lies: the series’ lighthearted tone gives us plenty of charming, relatable scenarios, but its the show’s heart that keeps us coming back for more.
Episode 7 of Shrinking is now available to watch on Apple TV+.