The Shrink Next Door season 1, episode 6 recap – “The Party”

December 9, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Apple TV+, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
4

Summary

“The Party” chronicles over a decade of abuse as Ike gradually consumes Marty’s life.

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4

Summary

“The Party” chronicles over a decade of abuse as Ike gradually consumes Marty’s life.

This recap of The Shrink Next Door season 1, episode 6, “The Party”, contains spoilers.


Abuse has cycles; repetitions of the same behaviors with the same outcomes. It’s obvious, probably, to people on the outside looking in, which is why abusers tend to keep their victims to themselves. “The Party” exemplifies this. It’s named after one party, but it really depicts several stretching across an incredible 16 years. They have themes dreamed up by Ike, but for us and certainly for Marty, they’re virtually indistinguishable. He tends the grill and tries to ignore Ike schmoozing the guests, pretending the Hamptons home is his while trying to snatch a moment now and again to keep his fish alive. It’s a miserable string of indignities.

The Shrink Next Door season 1, episode 6 recap

At this point, The Shrink Next Door has long since abandoned any pretense of Ike being a complicated individual with mixed feelings towards Marty. He’s purely a villain now, and his manipulations are both more egregious and more aggressive than ever. Whenever there’s even a suggestion of dissent from Marty, he lashes out brutally and childishly, trying to cover his grossest excesses by being extra appalled at Marty calling them out for what they are.

He’s also still framing everything as though it’s some kind of elaborate therapy, so the parties become a means by which Marty can develop his social skills. This episode was the first time I was able to take Will Ferrell seriously dramatically. That isn’t to say he hasn’t been good before, just that I hadn’t managed to adjust to him not being Ricky Bobby or Brennan Huff or whoever. Him tending to the koi fish veers in that direction somewhat, but it eventually loops back around to being deeply sad, a man trying to cling to one shred of privacy as the rest of his life has become a background for a narcissist to pose in front of.

Potential salvation for Marty arrives in the form of Miriam, played by Sarayu Blue, who might be the best-kept secret in television when it comes to playing extraordinarily charming women in their 40s. There’s a moment in 2007 when Ike tricks Marty into downing two beers and shoving her in the pool that she manages to get a full range of emotions out of; initially aghast and embarrassed and furious, but eventually sadly understanding of how Ike is to blame, and Marty is simply his patsy. She knows this because she has seen herself undergo the same transformation, from a person who lived without Ike to a person who couldn’t, a person who cut off her mother on Ike’s advice and never got to say goodbye to her before she died.

Marty is still thoroughly ensnared by Ike, but he still recognizes the similarities between this story and his own, between Miriam’s mother and Phyllis. It sends him slightly neurotic, his car veering literally all over the road as his thoughts presumably do the same. The cruelest trick of “The Party” is allowing us to believe that this might be the beginning of Marty’s resistance. But it isn’t. Instead, under Ike’s instructions, he pays off the driver of the party bus who ferries the revelers back and forth to fake a breakdown. He convinces Miriam to walk with him to a nearby gas station to call for help, and then he runs away, leaving her stranded, listening to Ike on the other end of the payphone telling her she’s toxic and he doesn’t want to be her therapist anymore. It’s brutal. It happened. And the cycle continues.

You can stream The Shrink Next Door season 1, episode 6, “The Party”, exclusively on Apple TV+.

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