Fleishman is in Trouble Episode 3 Recap and Ending, Explained

Created by Taffy Brodesser-Akner from her 2019 namesake novel, ‘Fleishman Is in Trouble’ is an FX on Hulu series that offers a rather subjective view of the dissolution of a marriage, at least initially. The plot revolves around Toby (Jesse Eisenberg) and Rachel Fleishman (Claire Danes), a New York Upper East Side Jewish couple whose marriage has fallen apart at the start of the series. One day, Rachel drops their two children off at Toby’s new and much smaller apartment without notifying him and disappears. Initially, Toby thinks this is not anything extraordinary because Rachel has done this in the past. But as the days go by, he starts to wonder about other possibilities. In episode 3, titled ‘Free Pass,’ the non-linear narrative goes back into the past and depicts the entirety of Toby and Rachel’s relationship. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Fleishman is in Trouble’ episode 3. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Fleishman Is in Trouble Season 1 Episode 3 Recap

Toward the end of episode 2, Toby learns from Rachel’s friends — they are supposed to be their mutual friends but really aren’t — that they have seen Rachel sleeping on a park bench. Clearly, he doesn’t know how to feel about that. Libby’s (Lizzy Caplan) narration tells us that he has gotten back home without realizing how he did it and purchased a rotted slice of watermelon along the way.

As Toby reflects on how things have come to this, the scene shifts, and we are taken back to the past, to the time when it all began, the beginning of the end, if you will. Toby meets Rachel at a party, and the connection is instantaneous. We are told that Toby has been lonely up until this point. Apparently, most women don’t want to be with a doctor; they just the like the idea of being with one, a supposedly inherited trait stemming from their mother’s desire for security.

Toby sees Rachel from across the room before approaching her and woes her by completely and willingly supplicating her greater bartering skills. And then, the early stage of their relationship ensues when people love the very things about their partners that they will hate later. When Rachel meets Toby’s family for the first time and realizes how close they are, she earnestly tells him that she wants this. Believing this to be a sign, Toby proposes in an ice skating rink, one of her favorite places to be, and she accepts.

Libby tells us that Rachel never liked her and Seth, and they begin to grow distant from Toby as months pass. Meanwhile, Rachel asserts her presence in the world of talent agents, securing a future theater star as a client and establishing her own agency. Toby’s work as a hepatologist becomes second in priority as she earns significantly more than him. This leads to Toby declining an offer for the director’s position in a hospital in Philadelphia. At this time, perhaps he thinks the marriage is salvageable, so he agrees with his wife and stays in New York.

Image Credit: Linda Kallerus/FX

The birth of their daughter comes with its own troubling experience. When Rachel is admitted into the hospital, their regular doctor is in Hawaii on vacation. Their replacement intentionally raptures Rachel’s membrane and causes her water to break without her consent.

Several years later, while they are hosting the obnoxious friends that Rachel made among the elites of New York, she mentions the name of Sam Rothberg during some throwaway conversation about free passes. In the present time, while holding that rotted watermelon in his hands, Toby remembers, and things start to make sense finally.

Fleishman Is in Trouble Episode 3 Ending: Where Is Rachel? Did She Cheat on Toby?

It’s not really a case of infidelity if there is nothing left to salvage of their relationship, and both partners have decidedly moved on. But that’s the context for the present, where Toby is furious at Rachel not because of perceived infidelity but by her sudden disappearance. He realizes that while she was supposed to be at Everglade Holistic Wellness and Retreat Center, she was actually with Rothberg. She isn’t hurt or in any kind of danger. The fact that her friends saw her sleeping in the park must mean that this small getaway didn’t end the way Rachel predicted.

Image Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

Going back to the night of the dinner, Toby and Rachel’s relationship was well on its way to dying by then. They didn’t care who heard while they fought, and Rachel immediately named Rothberg as her free pass, and not some Hollywood actor or pop stars as others did. We know that Toby had been asking for a divorce for a while before Rachel agreed to it. Perhaps, her blooming relationship with Rothberg, who was also probably married at this point, served as the trigger.

Rachel must have found out about Toby’s venture into online dating. The getaway was probably her way to find some respite from the proofs of her failed marriage.

Read More: Who is the Narrator in Fleishman is in Trouble?