Fleishman is in Trouble: The most beautiful collapse of a marriage you’ve ever seen

Fleishman is in Trouble is building something special here.

This week’s episode may have been one of the best hours of drama I’ve seen all year. We got to live through the evolution of Toby and Rachel in a well directed, and emotionally potent hour of tragic television.

The show began with a flashback to a college party with Naughty By Nature blaring and Toby, Libby, and Seth having a great time being young. Then we get introduced to Rachel. And with the wonderful Lizzy Caplan continuing her sharp commentary, and “Tonight, Tonight” by the Smashing Pumpkins scoring the events, we launch into a romance that wasn’t just too good to be true. It really existed.

And in existing, it meant we could lose it. Then the pain begins.

We began to witness Rachel becoming better at everything. Becoming a smarter and stronger person than her husband (who is a successful doctor). And then resenting him for it. Loving her is no longer enough. She outgrows us.

Then there are also the real tragedies she experiences that drains the warmth out of this person we care for. The nasty sexual harassment we discover is disturbing. There was the troubled pregnancy and the actions of that doctor (which Toby should have knocked out), and there is this hopelessness we experience because there is little we can do, and when those rare opportunities to help do develop, we fail.

In the end, Rachel’s baby can’t smile because she’s never seen her mother smile. And that train wreck of a dinner party, demonstrates that she doesn’t want Toby and already has someone else real she’d rather be with.

Claire Danes needs to be getting Emmy consideration. She also needs to stroke me a check for the therapy bills this heartache is giving me. You guys know I’m normally up and down on Jesse Eisenberg, but he also hit a home run here. The shaking after Rachel picked up the phone was incredible. We also have to talk about direction. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are listed, and everything here was lit and scored wonderfully. Just excellent work.

My big concern is that no one saw this episode of television because of the holiday weekend. That would be unfortunate. It’s simply incredible.

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