This week’s episode of The Shrink Next Door marks the start of what can only be a roller coaster going up.
After successfully pulling Marty (Will Ferrell) away from the only family he has left, Dr. Ike (Paul Rudd) continues to make Marty feel isolated from everybody in his life except him. Hannah (Christina Vidal), Marty’s new love interest, sees right through Ike. He also convinces her to stop seeing Marty, supposedly for his own good. However, tragedy quickly strikes the life of Dr. Ike when he receives news that his father has passed away. For the first time, viewers are treated to an inside look at the life of Dr. Ike and his motivations for becoming the man he is.
Marty’s goodwill and kindness continue to shine through as Ferrell gives a sincere and thoughtful performance of a man wanting to do right by his friend. Following the traditional Shiva period, Marty invites Ike and his family to his house in the Hamptons for a getaway. There, Ike realizes that Marty is far more wealthy than previously thought. The wheels are turning. Ike is really beginning to see Marty as a bottomless well of money and societal influence, the two things Ike covets the most. The high-class life is within Ike’s grasp but in order to obtain it, the manipulation of Marty is going to get even worse. The Shrink Next Door‘s fifth episode serves as a pivotal turning point in the series as the mental victimization of Marty truly begins to take shape. Ike uses the passing of his father to garner sympathy from Marty, forcing him to give in to Ike’s every demand.
Marty gives up his lavish master bedroom for Ike and his family. He instead decides to squeeze himself into a tiny guest house, a perfect example of everything Marty seems willing to give up to please his friend. The loss of a loved one can cause a sudden stirring in anyone. However, in the case of Dr. Ike, he focuses on all that he does not have instead of focusing on what he does have. A successful career, a beautiful wife, and healthy kids are not nearly enough for him. Ike needs the approval of strangers. Ike craves to be seen as a high roller in this high-end Hamptons neighborhood. He’ll do anything he has to in order to achieve it.
With both his sister and potential love interest cut out of his life, at the instruction of Ike, Marty’s only loved ones become Ike and Ike’s family. On the surface, it would appear Marty is fine with this. However, the wheels seem to begin turning for Marty. The question now becomes a matter of when he realizes his friend is taking advantage of him, not if. The eerie chemistry displayed between Ferrell and Rudd’s characters takes the viewer on a journey in episode 5 as Marty’s lavish house, a family heirloom, is transforming into a tool of status for Ike. Everything that means something to Marty means nothing to Ike and that singular outlook becomes the only one Marty is allowed to have.
After 5 episodes, Rudd’s character has become the clear-cut villain, with Ferrell’s serving as the sympathetic victim. With just three episodes left in the limited series, the events, as well as the amount of time passing (conveyed through the continuing visible aging of Marty as well as Ike’s young daughters) seems that the slow-burn of an impending confrontation is reaching a boiling point. Apple TV+ has a bona fide winning drama that continues to be a thoughtful character study of what some people want and the harm they are willing to do in order to obtain it. Episode 5 takes the stakes to a new level with the boundaries clearly being crossed as the working relationship becomes far more personal. – Christian Hubbard
New episodes of The Shrink Next Door will stream Fridays on Apple TV+.
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