Hi, friends! I'm writing this in a timely fashion for once because I'm on top of my game! Yay! Last night's episode of This is Us was a mix of really sweet moments, a really unrealistic therapy session, and lots and lots of Joni Mitchell. Let's get to it!
Here's your SPOILER ALERT warning as always, if you haven't watched Season 4, Episode 15 "Clouds" I suggest going and doing that and then coming back to me! Thanks!
Kate and Toby are still having marital woes, which is frustrating because nobody on this show can ever just be happy. Toby unveils a present for Kate he came up with while she was away; a music studio for her (and Jack). Instead of thanking Toby for being thoughtful, she kinda freaks the fuck out and says that a grand gesture isn't enough. I get it but also, we are EXHAUSTED, Kate.
She has lunch with Madison who, after sleeping with Kevin, is suprisingly insightful. She's like, "Girl. Toby's trying. Let him try." And then mentions Kevin being the first guy who's ever really "seen" her, which I think is really special and makes me okay with them ending up together (if they do because at this point I have absolutely no idea). Kate goes back to Toby and lets him show her the part of the music studio for Jack, and then at the end we get flashforwards of Jack using it for years and years to come. I cried a little.
In the early 90's, the kiddos get their report cards and Randall has a CRISIS over getting an A-. Becca wants to get him some help for his anxiety from a counselor or something but Jack assures her that he will take care of it. His solution? RUNNING.
Guys, I love Jack. I always have and I always will. But it's hard to not overlook his faults as a parent, often time masked as strengths and bonding moments with his kids. I too have been told that all I needed was a little exercise when it came to managing my anxiety, but the truth is that that is not enough, and it doesn't work for everyone especially those suffering from severe anxiety like myself and Randall.
We've seen in previous episodes that Randall uses running as an outlet, and in a sequence here we see him running with Jack, running as a teenager without Jack, and running as an adult. Jack was a good dad. Jack didn't understand the severity of his son's issues.
So after all these years, Randall is going to therapy, and his therapist sucks. We don't see her face until the end of the episode, probably for dramatic effect and so we're more focused on Randall during the therapy session itself, but good god, she's awful. As someone who has gone to therapy for almost ten years, this is NOT how all therapists are. For one, she knows his story because she's heard his speeches, meaning she has preconceived notions about Randall before even meeting him, and she doesn't make him comfortable (ESPECIALLY IN A FIRST SESSION) she pokes and prods and just lets him ramble without being reassuring or gentle. Huge dislike, I don't blame Randall for wanting to quit.
But the best scene for Randall comes at the end between him and Beth, where she empties her purse and reveals that she carries pepper spray when closing her dance studio at night, takes doctor prescribed sleeping pills because she can't sleep, and bought Annie an iPhone because after the break-in she's terrified of not being able to contact her daughter. It just goes to show that everyone is hurting, and it persuades Randall to give his awful therapist a second chance. The guy needs therapy but not with this woman! Yuck!
While Randall is getting his therapy on, Kevin takes it upon himself to spend the day with his mother, who is about to get results from her MRI. Spoiler alert: It looks like our Bec is gonna have Alzheimer's :(.
They go shopping at the record store and then on a L.A. road trip to find Joni Mitchell's old house, something Jack and Becca tried to do back in the day. In flashbacks, pre-teen Kevin and Rebecca go scowering for baseball cards after getting groceries, Kev's reward for his two A's on his report card. He buys 14 packs for eight dollars, chew 60-second lasting gum, and Mama Pearson puts her magic touch on one pack to get Kevin the card he desires; a 1991 Jack Candelaria.
They find Ms. Mitchell's house and Becca sings "Our House" as she sees it up close for the first time, a scene that perfectly mirrors her singing it to Jack (and failing to get him to sing along). Kevin looks so happy to see his mama happy, and oh no, I'm crying again.
I still don't understand how we've gone four seasons without an explanation as to how and why Miguel and Bec ended up married, but it breaks my heart to see the side by side of Jack and Rebecca having movie night and snuggling compared to Miguel and Rebecca. Something will just never be right.
Rebecca tells Kevin that his fun spirit never gets lost upon her, and as Kevin reflects back on that day with his mom in the 90's, he goes to a pawn shop and buys a 1991 Jack Candelaria card for two dollars and keeps it in his wallet. Ouch my heart hurts.
Episodes like these remind me how much heart this show has, and that it doesn't have to be over the top to create tear-inducing moments. So often I feel like the writers/creators hype it up too much, so you're expecting more tears or plot twists. "Clouds" reminds us that small moments can have big impacts, and that life is fragile, but Joni Mitchell is timeless.
What did y'all think? Are you sad we have to wait two weeks for another episode? How do you feel about Rebecca's diagnosis? Was I too hard on Randall's therapist (NO!)? Do you think Kate and Toby back on track now? Let me know in the comments!
My aunt told me that last week's episode of This is Us, entitled "The Cabin" was her favorite episode in a season and a half. While I'd argue that the best episode as of late was Kevin's "Hell of a Week", I do agree that this episode was a gamechanger, and felt oddly familar and comforting.
It's not often we get all 3 Pearson siblings together (two live in L.A., one lives in Philly) and it's even less frequent we get them together without their spouses. This episode was all about the 'Sad Three' navigating a rough patch in their lives and figuring out what lies ahead. SPOILER WARNING!
This episode is told in 3 timelines; 1993, 1999, and 2020. Let's start in '93, shall we?
The Pearson kiddos are around 12/13 and oh my god they're annoying! But in a good, annoying teenager way. Jack thinks it'd be a fun idea for everyone to put something into a time capsule he got for them, including himself and Bec. In true Pearson family fashion, Kevin thinks the whole ordeal is stupid, Kate thinks it could be fun, and Randall is dressed out beyond belief at the idea of putting something meaningful in for him to find when he's 18.
Meanwhile, Jack daydreams of building a dream house for him and Becca to grow old in, one up on a hill that overlooks their small cabin. He draws a sketch of it and throws it in the garbage.
In 1999, Rebecca, Kevin, and Randall are on their way to the cabin to help Kate because they think she's in trouble. They're stopped by a snowstorm and their trip is delayed until the roads open back up in the morning. When they arrive, Marc is making breakfast and things seem normal, until they notice a draft coming from the window.
The boys discover the window shattered, and Kate's hand wrapped in gloves. She claims she's fine, she's just cold, but when she takes off the gloves a huge gash in her hand is revealed. Flashback to the previous night, she tried to make coffee and a fire with Marc. He took Jack's mug when she asked him not to, and accidentally broke it. They fought, and he locked her out of the cabin while she collected firewood. It was snowing and freezing and she had to break the window to get back in.
Rebecca is having NONE of Marc's shit and, quite simply tells him to, "Get the hell out of my house." He stands there unfazed, until the boys take a step forward and Rebecca remains firm, and he finally leaves. Becca holds teen Kate in her arms as she cries, "He told me he loved me."
Present day Big Three leaves their familes (well Kevin, leaves Madison) behind as they embark on their sibling getaway. Toby offers to look after Jack for the weekend, insisting that he needs to do it to spend time with his son and also show Kate that he's the man she married. She reluctantly lets him, and things go mostly well aside from Jack nearly choking but it's all good 'cause Tobes has it under control.
When the grown-up Pearson's arrive at the cabin, the power goes out almost immediately due to a storm. They head to a grocery store for candles, food, and shit (or in the case of Randall...wifi). While there, Kate listens to her voicemails from Madison (THREE OF THEM) in which she slowly confesses to sleeping with Kevin. Yikes.
Meanwhile, Randall wants to get a signal so he can check the security cameras at his house, but service is so bad he can't. The siblings' frustrations come to a head as Randall and Kate finally tell Kevin that Rebecca is struggling and might be showing early signs of permenant memory loss. He storms out and sulks in the cold, but not for long before Kate and Randall come get him.
They decide to dig up the time capsule because it's been nearly 30 years since they buried it. They didn't open it back in '98 because of the VERY SAD THING that happened that year. Inside they find: a picture of Kophie from Kevin, a game of M*A*S*H from Kate, a missing puzzle piece from Randall (Kevin's idea to ease his brother's anxiety), Jack's drawing of the house, and a tape recorder.
Originally believing the drawing to be from Jack, they wonder why Rebecca left the tape and recorder. They listen to it and find out that she didn't; Jack did. It's a message from him talking about the family, and how Becca is the glue that holds them all together. She dug his sketch out of the garbage and put it in the capsule, something he suspected when he couldn't find it later. He describes how fiercely loyal his wife is, and how much he loves her. BRB BAWLING RIGHT NOW.
THEN as if that wasn't enough we get a flash forward to approx. 10-12 years in the future, a time frame we've seen briefly before (the one where Bec is on her death bed). Kevin gets out of his car with food in a bag, pulling up to the house that Jack envisioned building for Becca all those years ago. He looks down, all salt and pepper and aging handsomely, at the cabin under the hill all lit up. Beth answers the door and we see that he made his dad's dreams come true, with the house and Rebecca growing old (and eventually dying we can presume) there.
Alright folks! That's all I have for you! Are you crying again? Because I kind of am. Let me know what you thought of this episode in the comments!
It's completely my bad that it's taken so long to write this recap. I took notes on this episode while watching it and then accidentally deleted it (stupid phones) and then in an attempt to recover said deleted note, I deleted it forever, because I don't know how to use technology. So not only is this post hella late, it's also going to be completely based from memory because I figured it would be more fun that way.
I am writing this obligatory SPOILER ALERT because I will feel very bad if I don't, but if you're two weeks behind on This is Us, that is nobody's problem but your own! Sorry for the sass, let's get to Kate's "Hell of a Week".
Up until this point, the show has been building up an incident between Kate and her older boyfriend, Marc. He's 23; she's 18. He hired her at the record store and she likes him because he's like a security blanket from all the bad things she's endured. EXCEPT, he's really causing a lot of shit in her life.
He gets mad at her for the smallest things, including her talking to a customer about music at the store THEY BOTH WORK AT. He's not driven, shows little to no interest in interacting with her family, and quits his job on a limb because he's pissed at Kate and then proceeds to get more pissed at her when she informs him that she won't be quitting with him. Side Note: I totally he said he quit smoking, when he said he quit his job. He said something about smoking in that same breath. I was probably just really tired.
Anyway, Marc seems to have some sort of mental illness/alcoholism because he is very back and forth. When Kate addresses his outbursts, he apologizes and kisses her like nothing ever happened. I've read people on line diagnosing him with BPD or Bipolar Disorder, and I don't want to just throw a label on his issues, but those two do seem to make the most sense.
Case in point, when Kate tells Rebecca that she and Marc are going to go stay at the family cabin the day after Bec's birthday dinner and Bec expresses minor discomfort, Kate and Marc take off, skipping her birthday celebration all together. On the ride there they seem to be having an okay time, singing Ben Folds and holding hands, until Marc snaps and begins to swerve off the road in the snow. He leaves Kate on the side of the road, with nothing but her overnight bag.
Now's a good time to mention that not only is Marc emotionally abusive, he verbally harasses Kate on multiple occasions, typically resorting to calling her 'fat', which of course is triggering to her because she has always struggled with her weight, but having the person you love call you ugly and fat...that's just not right.
Kate runs to the nearest gas station where she calls her mom, and this is the scene we've watched several times of Bec cancelling her birthday dinner and Kevin phoning Randall so they can go rescue Kate. Shortly after hanging up the phone, Marc pulls up to the gas station with a blanket for Katie girl, and they go back to the cabin before his next outburst.
In the present day, Toby is sucking majorly and skips out on the blind children retreat because of 'work' and because he isn't really feeling having a blind son. Old Rebecca rules, and she decides to step up and go with Kate so they can spend some time together.
Kate and Rebecca manage to go an entire trip without fighting, actually they bond instead. When Kate refuses to go swimming because of how she will look in a bathing suit Becca exclaims, "You're fat, I'm ancient, we're gorgeous!" I gasped as I watched such a positive, hilarious mother-daughter moment on TV and wept as they finally seemed to get each other. Becca heartbreakingly reveals her medical diagnosis, and Kate feels jipped because of course Bec's health is failing just as their relationship is back on course. There's a moment where the two of them sing "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrisette at the karoke bar and it's so wholesome and beautiful.
Side side note: Kate calls Gregory (her neighbor) to check in back home instead of Toby, and while I'm not sure it's anything romantic, I sure do love their dynamic.
Oh! I totally forgot to mention that this whole time Jack is reading toddler Kate a bedtime story, one that she helps tell. It's all about a princess who just wants her mama. It's so fitting and perfect for everything that happens. She just needs her mom.
Finally, the trilogy ends with Kevin and Randall calling Kate when she arrives back from the retreat and telling her that they want to take a 'Sad Three' trip to the cabin.
What did ya think? Did you think the Marc stuff would be more or less extreme? Which episode of the Big Three Trilogy was your favorite? (Mine was Kevin's, obviously). Tell me in the comments!
And if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, don't be afraid to the domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Everyone deserves help. It's not your fault.
Kevin Also Has "A Hell Of A Week" As His Love Story With Sophie Comes To A Possible Close (S4, Ep12 Recap)
Hi, my dear readers and This is Us fans! I want to apologize deeply for the delay in getting this recap up, school has been kicking my butt and this is the first chance I am having to write about, what I personally consider, the best episode of This is Us all season. Actually, it might be the best episode since Season 2. I know, I know, I'm getting crazy.
In "A Hell Of A Week: Part 2", we get to see Kevin's difficultly to let go of the past and perhaps finally move on from his great love story. THIS IS YOUR SPOILER ALERT, ALTHOUGH THIS EPISODE AIRED LITERALLY TWO WEEKS AGO SO LIKE, YOU'VE WATCHED IT BY NOW.
In an effort to continue incorporating Jack in the show, we learn that the night that toddler Randall couldn't fall asleep, neither could toddler Kevin. He wants his little sheep mobile that Rebecca has already donated. Jack tells him, toward the end of the episode, that he's going to "find something else to love" and if that isn't putting the nail in the coffin for Kevin/Sophie, I don't know what is. Oh wait! Yes, I do! The rest of the episode! That does it!
We know by now that Sophie called Kevin because her mother, Claire, passed away. In flashbacks, we as viewers meet Claire for the first time and she's...eccentric. She's irresponsible with money, Kevin's biggest fan, but she also is somewhat realistic. She refuses to give Kevin her mother's engagement ring, a beautiful emerald ring that Sophie wants badly, because she wants him to earn it. He never does.
The whole episode is incredibly meta. As Kevin is working on night shoots for his movie, he insists to the director that the "ending we already shot was pretty good,". But, the director persists, "This is the ending everyone wants and they still won't see it coming." We thought that we were done with Sophie when she announced her engagement to Grant (whose face we don't see in this episode), but this episode proves there's more to be told when it comes to Kevin's greatest love thus far.
Additionally, a running gag between teenage and adult Kevin and Sophie is predicting an ending when things get sad. To what? Well, we learn that the night of the horrific Pearson house fire, Kevin and Sophie went to a party in the woods. They got bored and decided to get donuts and go to the movies instead, where they saw MOST of Good Will Hunting. The power goes out and they aren't able to see the end so they make it up for the next 20 years, vowing to never watch it. After showing up at Claire's funeral and then again at her old house for the reception (with powdered donuts!!), Kevin whisks Sophie away to that same spot in the woods, where they finally watch the ending.
I love so much of this because Kevin and Sophie as kids and as teenagers are perfect for one another. They compliment each other so well, and I could watch an entire movie of teen Kev and Soph's love story. I also love the realism that this episode has. Yes, they were perfect, but Kevin messed it up. He cheated on her during their marriage and they were never able to come back from it. They tried, but his alcoholism got in the way and eventually she found someone else. I like to see them as the anti-Jack and Rebecca. They just didn't work out, and while it's so sad, it's okay. They had some really beautiful moments.
Speaking of beautiful moments, I LOST it when teen Sophie hands Kevin a napkin during his father's funeral with an alternate ending to the movie. What a perfect, emotional moment between two vulnerable people. Also, the scene when Kevin talks to Claire's grave and leaves his headshot and then takes it away is so sad and funny at the same time. I can't stop thinking about how amazing Justin Hartley is.
After Kevin and Sophie say their goodbyes, Kevin heads back to LA and to Kate's house to hang out with her and baby Jack. When he arrives, Kate's bff Madison opens the door. Apparently Toby is at work, Kate and baby Jack went on the retreat she originally got as a birthday present for Toby, and Madison is dog sitting Audio.
They have a cup of tea and share their romantic struggles. Kevin tells her not to focus so much on being left and instead celebrate the fact that she's the one who wants to stay. One thing leads to another and it sure looks like they sleep together. I mean, we don't see them kiss or anything sexy but Kevin does wake up shirtless in the bed next to her when he calls Randall the next day. He suggests the three siblings go back to Pittsburgh to the old cabin.
As Sophie goes through her mother's things, she is finally able to have the emerald ring she always desired. She looks at it and compares it to her current engagement ring from faceless Grant and cries to herself. Some may take this as the Kophie story not being over, but I think it is. I don't think Kevin will ever earn that ring; it's Sophie's to keep now. When you think about it, it's really gut-wrenching and brutal, but life is like that sometimes and it's nice to see that play out on TV.
I haven't decided whether or not I'm okay with this Madison thing yet, or if I believe that she's his baby mama and future fiancé. It would be nice to see the story unfold, and no matter how much I love Sophie and Kevin's story, I think it's time to finally let it go and move on.
What do you think? Are you still team #Kophie or are you ready for Kevin's next great love story? Let me know in the comments!