The Shrink Next Door season 1, episode 4 recap – “The Foundation” giving back

November 18, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Apple TV+, Streaming Service
3.5

Summary

Ike continues to isolate Marty from his potential allies in “The Foundation”, as his manipulations become even more grandiose.

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3.5

Summary

Ike continues to isolate Marty from his potential allies in “The Foundation”, as his manipulations become even more grandiose.

This recap of The Shrink Next Door season 1, episode 4, “The Foundation”, contains spoilers.


The way abusers and manipulators work is, at least initially, by isolating their victims. They need to be cut off from people who really care about them since anyone with their best interests at heart will be able to see what’s happening to them – and will try and intervene. This is why “The Foundation” opens with Phyllis, on her birthday, receiving a card from Marty that contains many tiny pictures of her face, trimmed from all the family photographs. It’s making a point that Marty has cut his sister from his life. He has given himself over completely to Dr. Ike.

The Shrink Next Door season 1, episode 4 recap

It’s here that Dr. Ike’s plans for Marty begin to reveal themselves in earnest. He has manipulated the man since their very first meeting, of course, but he probably does that with everyone. Two developments, though, lead Ike down a path of much more outlandish and egregious deceptions. The first is the fact that Bonnie has twin girls, putting a major financial strain on their household. (Ike wanted a boy so badly that he had already ordered a ridiculous amount of deli food for the bris, which he spends the entire episode trying to get rid of in a funny little subplot.) The second is that he discovered Marty is considerably wealthy. You don’t need any degrees to see how those two things fit together.

The idea that Ike floats to Marty is to start a charitable foundation. Ike’s new daughters prompt them to talk about legacy, and since 40-year-old, single Marty isn’t planning on having children any time soon, the question of how else one can leave one’s mark comes up. Since Ike is obsessed with his social standing and his perceived altruism, a charity is perfect. And since Marty is so vulnerable and gullible, they’re able to establish one as a 50/50 partnership despite the fact that Marty’s initial investment is many times more than Ike’s, who throws in – and even then, reluctantly – two and a half grand. The bank manager, by the way, clearly sees what’s going on here and doesn’t comment on it further. This begins a trend of this one-sided relationship being obviously exploitative to absolutely everyone except Marty.

Hannah (Christina Vidal), like Phyllis and that bank manager, sees through Ike pretty quickly. The difference here, in terms of dynamic, is that Hannah is presented as a possible love interest for Marty. It’s Ike who pushes Marty to invite her to a swanky gala where he plans to make the new foundation’s reputation by bidding on overpriced items in an auction, mostly as a short-sighted way to talk Marty into putting up six grand for a full eight-person table. It’s a mistake, though, since Hannah’s small talk with Marty quickly reveals he’s bankrolling everything while Ike tries to schmooze high-rollers, and when he gets carried away with Marty’s money during the auction, giving Marty what seems like a panic attack, Hannah is up-front with Ike about what’s causing him so much stress. This sets alarm bells ringing for Ike, and once he helps Marty get to the hospital, he later visits Hannah and implies she should stop seeing Marty, having realized that she’s a potential threat to his exploitation.

The problem is that Marty attributes a great deal of his personal progress to Ike, and after Ike insists on getting him an ambulance, Marty feels as if he has saved his life (and he might have!). There’s a note of sincerity to how Ike cares for Marty in this sequence that adds a welcome bit of ambiguity to the dynamic. Of course, Ike is flagrantly ripping Marty off, stealing a wage for being an industrial psychiatric consultant, stealing blank checks from his ledger, and throwing Marty’s inheritance money around like confetti. Yet, while there’s a chance it might just be me, I detected some earnestness when Ike realized that Marty was genuinely having a health crisis. I don’t think The Shrink Next Door has necessarily done the best job of depicting it since Rudd and Ferrell are both performing in such an arch way, but I suspect the point here is to suggest that Ike, through circumstance, opportunity, and various baked-in character flaws, is succumbing to his worst impulses in a way that he might not necessarily desire or be totally comfortable with. He’s a bad guy, but I don’t think he’s a real villain – at least not yet.

There’s plenty of time for that, though, and thus far, despite some issues in performance and tone that I think are a little detrimental to the underlying character study, The Shrink Next Door is doing a really good job of depicting how the snowball of this predatory relationship is picking up speed and size as it goes along.

You can stream The Shrink Next Door season 1, episode 4, “The Foundation”, exclusively on Apple TV+.

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