Hi, friends! And welcome to my first real This is Us recap of 2021! As you'll find out shortly, this episode did absolutely nothing for me! It was a huge waste of time and it feels particularly frustrating to have such a boring episode when we as viewers know that we are only getting six seasons of the show. I want more background on underdeveloped characters, not a filler episode where the Big Three are moody and broody and well, annoying.
So, without further ado, here is my recap of Season 5 Episode 5 "A Long Road Home". Spoilers ahead, y'all!
We begin by tying up some loose ends from the last episode we saw before Winter hiatus, with Kate confirming that she did in fact have an abortion at the age of 18. This is such a weird plot line to me. Katiegirl has been pregnant twice before in the span of the show: she miscarried and then she gave birth to baby Jack. Why is this abortion PTSD just now coming up? And why is she suddenly so interested in seeing what happened to her shitty ex-boyfriend? If this had happened maybe two or three seasons ago, I would buy it, but I don't. I'm annoyed and frustrated.
For reasons I cannot possibly explain, Kate decides to track down Marc to see what he's up to these days and...tell him off? Listen, I can't speak for everyone, but I know for a fact that any abuser or source of negativity or cause of PTSD in my past needs to stay in the past. Marc hurt her, both physically and emotionally, and who's to say 40-something Marc wouldn't do the same?
So Toby takes Kate to this place in LA where he's working (sidenote: Didn't they meet in PA? Why is he also in California?) and is outside on a smoke break. He looks the same, long hair and a creepy mustache. He doesn't immediately recognize Kate and he's not sure why she's there. Guess what, Marc? The audience doesn't know either! Kate goes off on him about how she's doing so great now and that he sucked as a boyfriend. He's like...what took you 20 years? And he has a point! Kate is MARRIED! She has a CHILD! All of this could've been said in THERAPY! Also closure isn't real and will never get you what you need. NEXT.
Kevin is getting ready to leave for his movie that shoots in Canada and Madison is getting nervous. He starts talking about how often they'll travel because of his work and she really just wants to stay where they are with their family. It's a point of contention and proof that they still really don't know each other at all. BUT! Dan Fogelman lets his wife kiss Justin Hartley so I guess that's some progress on the #Kadison or #Mevin front?
They interview a nanny but Madison isn't feeling it, and she also isn't feeling it when Kevin tries to give her a big Pearson speech. She tells him to go and they will figure it out soon. The babies are still two months away. Mmmk, but does Miss Madison know that a lot of times twins come ~early~. Guess not! Who wants to bet these ones do?
Kevin has a flashback to when Randall called him and told him not to move to LA the first time and leave Sophie so soon after they got married. Young Kevin shoots him down and thinks he's just trying to sabotage his life and doesn't believe in him. Adult Kevin needs Randall to tell him the same thing now so he has a reason to turn around. But Randall doesn't so Kevin doesn't, and the whole thing feels very blah. Like, you're 40 years old Kev, make your own choices and stick to them.
Lastly, Randall learns that his biological mother actually lived a full life, passing away in 2015 from breast cancer. This begs the question: why the weird mystery and making us think she's currently alive? I feel like they could've done a flashback episode about Laurel's life without making her not die after giving birth.
Anyway, Randall gets really pissed at William (who is dead) because he lied to him, but thankfully we get a really quick resolution when Hai (the man who contacted Randall) lets him know that William had no idea Laurel survived. Randall gets a bunch of added stress from this new discovery, and him and Beth decide they're going to go and see Hai in person to get Laurel's story. Aaaaand that's gonna be the next episode. All about Laurel.
It should be a good one, because the deep-dive history episodes are usually great (see: Beth's episode), but it does feel like such a weird time to learn about Laurel, but I need Randall's stress to go away ASAP. He has too much to talk about in therapy, poor guy.
What did y'all think of the episode? Underwhelming? Do you disagree with me and absolutely adore it? Let me know in the comments!
It's no secret that my favorite new show of 2020 was Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. The show has everything I could possibly ask for; likable characters, musical numbers, love stories. It also doesn't shy away from the tricky topic of grief, which is what this episode is all about (and somehow it is still delightful).
Honestly, I'm so pumped that this show got renewed and that we get to have more of Zoey's in our lives. If you haven't already watched Season 1, you can check it out on Hulu or on Peacock (NBC's new streaming service).
Spoiler Alert: If you haven't watched the Season 2 premiere of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, "Zoey's Extraordinary Return"...get out!
Last time we saw Zoey, her father Mitch (Peter Gallagher, I miss you already!) passed away. Their relationship was a special one, so it was no surprise that months later she is still grieving this loss. Even the angelic voice of her BFF Mo singing "Rise Up" by Andra Day didn't comfort her.
Zoey is in a rut. She has to return to work, but she doesn't feel ready. To make matters worse, since the death of her father she hasn't heard any 'Heart Songs', which means her musical superpowers are potentially nonexistent. As she emerges from her childhood bedroom in a magenta collared sweater, Mo declares, "You look like a sad Emma Stone Halloween costume." I can't say that he's wrong.
Zoey's brother David and his wife Emily have welcomed their son into the world, a precious baby named Miles. As Zoey leaves for work Emily cries, "Say hi to a job for me!". Last season it was already clear that Emily was feeling apprehensive to motherhood, and now David feels lost without his father, so it kind of seems like the most stressful time to be welcoming a little one into the world. Also, David and Zoey's mom, Maggie, won't hold the baby. So there's that.
Zoey gets coffee with her hot best friend Max, who she may or may not have made out with in the season finale. She's been avoiding everybody these days and apologizes. He gives her a ring that he made for her (not for engagement purposes!). It's a shield with a music note turned backward to look like a Z. It's probably the sweetest gift somebody has never gotten for me. If you're not #TeamMax at this point, what are you even doing?
As soon as Zoey arrives at work, all of her coworkers begin serenading her with "Hello Dolly", to which she is both terrified and surprised (because she thought her powers were gone!). With her absence and Lauren Graham's Joan getting a promotion, Leif has been put in charge and now everyone has standing desks and is playing with dogs? There's even a new replacement for Max, who famously quit last season to pursue other avenues.
Joan offers Zoey her job, essentially, as she is being promoted yet again and is on the move. This is sad because we LOVE Joan! Zoey has to think about it because she is hella overwhelmed at the moment. She goes to see Mo who is just causally hanging out with Max and Simon (Zoey's other love interest). Turns out with Zoey off the grid, they've all gotten pretty close.
Zoey tries to hang, but can't when the boys assure her that they aren't going to be fighting over her and then break out into "Are You Gonna Be my Girl?". Zoey's head is spinning and she mostly just misses her dad, so she leaves. When she tells Mo she can hear singing again, he says, "So the powers are back! You're interesting again!" Have I mentioned how much I adore Mo?
Zoey's mom is having trouble finalizing a lot of things that you finalize when someone dies, and can't seem to get into Mitch's computer. Zoey reminds her that she is literally a professional coder and does it within seconds. On his computer they find videos addressed to each of them (and David of course), recorded before Mitch's voice completely gave out. It is absolutely heartbreaking and cut short because of how difficult it is to watch and listen to, but I love seeing Peter Gallagher again.
Next time Zoey goes to work, she fully loses her shit. George (the new Max) is annoying her and his heart song makes her yell at Tobin (I love Tobin) for teasing him. Joan is still pressuring her to take her job ("I like your sweater. It's so cute that you shop at Etsy.") She completely lashes out and leaves work early, going home to her bed and to be with her mother.
Joan comes to visit her and explains that she is leaving, and completely understands that Zoey needs some space and time. David and Emily come over for dinner and Maggie explains that holding Miles is difficult for her because she wanted to be a grandparent with Mitch, and feels it's unfair to him that she gets to do it and he doesn't.
Then, I kid you not, the opening notes of "Carry On" began to play and I said out loud to absolutely no one, "Oh no." Because, if you know this song, you know it's already super sad, but having a bunch of grieving people sing and dance to it? TEN TIMES SADDER. I then burst into tears, which was only interrupted by the fact that they let Mary Steenburgen sing a little too much and her voice is not the strongest, in my opinion. I was personally hoping Jane Levy would hop in for a verse, even if she's the only one hearing it.
Lastly, Max stops by to tell Zoey about his new business venture idea him and Mo want to start, and asks her permission because Mo was Zoey's friend first. Zoey is supportive, of course.
She then tells Max that she is sorry for being so absent lately, and that his scruff is super hot (she doesn't say this, but I do). She holds his hand on her bed and tells him she's had a lot of time to think about what happened the night her dad passed away and then she leans in for a kiss and I'm like WHAT. WHAT. WHAAAAAT.
I only say 'what' that many times in all caps because most TV shows love to drag out their love triangles for as long as humanly possible. I honestly did not think we'd get any resolution whatsoever this early into the season, and that the boys' musical number was all the attention that would be paid to it for now. I think this decision is for the best and makes the most sense, even from my biased #TeamMax perspective.
Simon is gorgeous and sweet, but I think Max is in it for Zoey in the long haul and it's so much better to just establish that now rather than go back and forth and let Zoey hurt both of them. Introduce a new character for Simon! Let's watch Zoey and Max fall in love and have a great storyline!
All in all, I loved this episode and I adore this show so much. I hope it continues thriving in ratings and just being the best all around. If you haven't checked out Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, I cannot explain how badly I need you to.
Hi! So obviously this episode of This is Us aired on November 17th and it is now January 5th and I still haven't blogged about it which is just rude! Because the mid-season (is that what we're calling it?) premiere is tonight, I thought I'd come back with a short blog recapping the last episode we got before that Winter break. However, because it's been so long that I barely remember it, y'all get my Notes app version* instead.
*by this I literally mean these are the things I wrote in the Notes app as the episode was airing. Usually I make a whole recap out of them but not for this one! Okay here we go:
- Kevin overworking himself makes me sad.
- This director seems like a dooooouche but he has excellent hair.
- This adoption isn't gonna go well, make my words.
- They named her Chloe...that ain't maybe-Haley.
- Annie talking like she's a March sister LOL
- Malik shadowing Randall, that's cute. Glad we got to see him and Deja interact.
- Not Malik falling asleep
- Yeah Ellie doesn't like that they named that baby
- Rebecca babying Kevin parallel? Idk I kind of get it
- Okay so Malik did not cut the cameras
- Deja calls Randall 'Dad' and Beth by her name.
- This scene would be more awk but SKB is fine
- Jack's color is green and Becca's is pink.
- Little Kevin is such a dick lmao
- Why does Ellie feel so sketchyyyy
- Malik is so BOLD asking for an internship
- "Honestly" = doesn't mean honest
- "I think I love this melted wax baby" Toby omg stop
- What's wrong with Kate??? You always sad bish
- This teen pregnancy thing seems out of character for Kate??? Like doesn't make sense to me and I don't buy it 5 seasons in
- JACK PEARSON YOU ARE NOT AN ORDINARY MAN
- Kevin still uses the flash cards :( I love that
- Why did Foster send him a basket? Eh, I don't care.
- Randall looking at the memes
- Oh shit that one guy is gonna find him
- Do you ever think about how Jack died and cry
- I'm emotionaaaaaal
- JANUARY 5TH? Fuck that shit.
Okay! Hope y'all enjoyed that unfiltered mess! I will return with regular recaps this week, but I will always use my trusty notes app and thank it for giving us this messy AF blog post.
Hi, my friends. Episode 3 of This is Us's fifth season was entitled, "Changes" because things are, you guessed it, changing! And yes, this is in fact the third episode because the premiere, "Forty" was two episodes! I know what you're all thinking: I'm great at counting, and you're right!
Here is your little SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen last night's episode of This is Us, don't read this recap! Unless you don't plan on watching it and just wanna know what happens, which I absolutely do not judge you for.
Up first this week is Kate and Toby and their adoption journey. We know they have a daughter named Haley in the future, but what's the age difference between her and Jack? Was she adopted or did Kate birth her?
Right now we're operating under the assumption that Haley is indeed adopted, and this week Kate and Toby meet her supposed birth mother. Her name is Ellie and she's a 33-year-old single mom. She already has one daughter, Willow, name after the character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ellie got pregnant with maybe-Haley after a one night stand with a guy she met after the death of her husband. She seems really cool and her and Kate get along great.
HOWEVER...I am so wary of these adoption storylines. I watched it go down on Parenthood and again on A Million Little Things (actually, I quit AMLT before it got to that point, but when I read that it did, it didn't surprise me in the slightest). The adoption fakeout is a tired trope. For those who are unfamilar, it's when the birth mom finds a couple (usually main characters on the show) she wants to adopt her baby, and then at the last possible second, usually after she gives birth, she changes her mind. It's so devastating and also overused at this point. I'm really hopeful they stick with Ellie and Ellie sticks with them and gives them Haley of the future.
Next up we've got Randall. Randall has a new therapist, a nice Black man with a baby. He wants Randall to recount memories of his childhood and stop trying to prove to him that he's Black despite being raised by White people. He literally says to his therapist, "Beth, my wife. My Black wife." His therapist is like, "Calm down."
Also shout-out to anyone doing virtual therapy right now (therapists and clients alike). That shit is HARD! It is so different from going in person and having a real private, human conversation. So to those (like me) doing that right now, good job. Mental health is so important, especially during a global pandemic.
Also in Randall-land, Tess gets in trouble at school for posting a "profane" video online with her friend. In the video, she and her friend call out a teacher who is particularly grab-y with Black students, and fails to recognize non-binary students as such. The video is done in the style of a rap/dance/thing and it's...not profane? Like I don't see the issue?
Beth and Randall come down hard on Tess and then ground her for SIX WEEKS. Obviously NBC couldn't make the video worse (I guess?) because it's network television BUT there wasn't even any swearing! Or inappropriate dance moves! Poor Tess was just standing up against her weird ass teacher. I'm Team Tess on this one, guys. Oh, also Randall has a come-to-Jesus moment where he realizes that maybe Tess will turn out better than him, since she already knows who she is. But I beg the question, WHAT ABOUT POOR ANNIE? Annie girl is gonna have all of Randall's anxiety, mark my word.
In flashback 90s world, Jack and Bec are dealing with the Big 3 entering puberty and oh my goodness, those little kid actors have gotten SO big. Their voices are changing and I'm sad because they used to be so freaking little!
Mom and Pops take the kiddos to the doctor to see how they're growing, and then Kate has her friend Tonya and ex Stewart over for a group project. Randall sits in the living room watching TV before doing his homework when Tonya tries to kiss him because she's "always wondered what it'd be like to kiss someone like him". Yucky racism yuck. Grown-up Randall uses this story to write down and possibly tell his therapist. The scene makes me uncomfortable and sad. Fuck Tonya.
Meanwhile, Kevin is trying to get buff for football. Jack takes him to the garage to work out and Bec is apprehensive because she doesn't want Kev to feel like he needs to work out or be a certain size. I mean, he's still growing after all! Last episode showed us that Rebecca didn't want her sons to have to feel male pressure from society, and this scene really drives that point home. Side note: Becca trying to be a "cool mom" is so funny.
Jack and Kevin have a great moment of him teaching Kevin to lift weights, and he doesn't push him too hard. Instead, Kev pushes himself a little too hard, probably trying to prove to himself that he's a big tough guy. I did very much enjoy the wholesome Jack and Kevin content, and wish we got to see more of that. Jack was taken from those kiddos way too soon.
Grown-up Kev is still battling his insecurities when he lands the job in a movie called "Glass Eye". It's about a trial lawyer who takes his shirt off? Anyway, he's still living with pregnant Madison and they're engaged I think. He tells her about the movie and how his diet has the change and she immediately shuts down. He think it's because the sex scenes. LOL.
I'm SO glad they decided to finally address Madison's eating disorder while being pregnant! We watch as she wakes up before Kevin and puts on a full face of makeup before getting dressed and making him breakfast. It reminds me of one of the scenes from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, where Midge does the same so that her husband doesn't see her without makeup. It's so sad to watch Madison here, clearly so insecure about her appearance in front of the man she's seemingly engaged to.
Eventually Madison breaks down, and tells Kevin she has to literally remind herself to eat for her babies. She has bulimia, which we knew but he didn't, and it almost killed her at 17. She's got a handle on it, but she hates that strangers can tell she's pregnant and that Kevin now has to have a strict diet for a movie. Kevin opens up that he's an alcoholic also battling insecurities around his appearance, and decides a trial lawyer shouldn't need to take his f'ing shirt off! They have a really sweet heart to heart and I'm still waiting for them to just KISS but I'll settle for a deeper, authentic love story right now.
Lastly, at both the beginning and end of the episode there are scenes with a Vietnamese man and his granddaughter. He cooks for her and tells her he also cooked to impress the woman he love(s/d?). This is Us loves bringing in new characters all the damn time just to drop them, so I figured this was just a bookend to whatever the Pearson's were going through in this episode.
But! Turns out, this guy is in love/was in love with Laurel, Randall's totally-alive-now birth mother. The end of the episode is a close-up of a picture of the Vietnamese man and Laurel, and I'm sitting here like "Oh." That's literally it. I think I'm supposed to care more, but I thought Laurel was dead for the past four seasons so I guess my heart isn't really in it. Also, that probably means Randall has a shit ton of other family members and then This is Us is just gonna turn into This is the Duggars. I mean, of course not exactly but...kind of?
That's all for this week! As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments! What do we think of Ellie and adoption storylines? Do you ship Kevin and Madison? Was Tess in the wrong or were Randall and Beth "fascists" ("Did she call you a fascist?")? Do you care about Laurel's story? Tell me!
Oh my goodness, it's been ages since I've posted about This is Us, or television in general. Let me tell you, it is hard to find the will to be creative during Covid-times, so I just want to commend anyone who has a job requiring creativity and comedic nature at this time. It is so hard to create and laugh right now (all year, really), but here we are.
I didn't write about the last couple episodes of Season Four of This is Us, mostly because school took over and then online school became a thing and then the pandemic hit and long story short: I just didn't. And I'm sorry. But I'm back now, and ready to recap the heck out of this Season Five premiere!
As always, this is your Spoiler Alert Warning.
*Previously on This is Us voice*: Randall and Kevin have a big fight about Mama Pearson's health! Kevin sleeps with Madison --- and knocks her up (with twins!) Kate and Toby are there! And in the far, far future their daughter (they have a daughter? Yes!) greets her brother at the hospital as his wife births their first child, Hope. Miguel is Miguel, and on the Big Three's 40th birthday, Rebecca gets lost and has an episode in a very un-Covid world.
Obviously Dan Fogelman and his This is Us crew didn't really anticipate Covid, and therefore had to do some reworking with this timeline being presented to us. The first half of the episode takes place over the course of several months. We first flash back to Madison telling Kevin that she's pregnant with his babies, and they have a very obviously re-filmed conversation about the Coronavirus becoming a bigger deal. It's funny to me that they went to these lengths to remind us that Covid exists in this timeline.
Randall delivers the absolute best line of the entire episode when he says, "I know who Madison is, Beth. She's literally the only friend in our entire family," upon learning that Kevin is having kids. It's true, though, none of the Pearson's have friends. Gee, I wonder why...
Randall, Beth, and their kiddos watch the Black Lives Matter protests take place on television, and though it's a TV show it feels just as painful and as real as June itself. Kate calls Randall and asks which Black charities she should donate to, and it's so cringe because obviously she's trying to do the right thing but it comes across as so white savior-y, which is probably exactly the show's intention.
There are several flashbacks of the Big Three's born day, August 31st, 1980. Mainly just the same as the pilot, but reshot with stuff we've never seen. Like William and Jack just missing one another in the hospital, Rebecca giving a beautiful speech about male fragility and how she hopes her son(s) can always be honest and not afraid to show their emotons, and Jack calling his dad (kind of a weird one, tbh).
We also get some flashbacks of William and Laurel (Randall's biological parents) over the course of her pregnancy and untimely death. I always like seeing characters we've never really explored before, and Laurel's story has always remained relatively untold, so it was nice to hear her talk about her addiction and fear of how Randall's life would be.
I also have to admit: I love Kevin and Madison together. I really do. Kevin needs to be happy and have a stable relationship for once. I love his and Sophie's story, but for me, it's over. They were each other's first loves and it has to end at that. Kevin and Zoe were kind of a bore, and I never understood what was happening between him and Cassidy. He needs an honest to goodness NEW love story, and I think he could finally have that with Madison! But if they kill her off in childbirth I SWEAR...
ALSO this is just a direct message to Dan Fogelman himself: LET KEVIN HARTLEY KISS YOUR WIFE, DAMMIT! He shows shots of Kev and Madison sleeping in bed practically naked, and him touching her belly to feel the babies kicking but he won't let them KISS! What the heck!
When we finally catch up to The Big Three's birthday, Kate/Toby, Kevin/Madison, and Rebecca/Miguel are headed up to the cabin for a celebration, while Randall remains sulking at home because he's still not speaking to Kev. Which, I get because they both said some awful things in their fight, but also: get it together you idiot brothers.
Madison trips over her suitcase and is afraid she lost one of the babies, so Kevin and her go to the local hospital where he makes an A+ Grey's Anatomy reference, and then kind of proposes? I want a great love story, guys! Not a masked-up hospital proposal that is spur of the moment! I want him to think it THROUGH! Anywho, I think she says yes? And both their babies are fine. And he says she has "morning sickness" so the others aren't concerned, which is just another obvious rewrite but it's fine.
Kate tells Rebecca that adoption isn't Amazon, which is hilarious and true. Rebecca remembers bringing Randall home the same day as her and Kevin, and everyone at home is like "yeah, that was 1980, Bec." Rebecca has her meltdown in a mask-less restaurant, and the mask-less cops bring her home. Miguel is seemingly unbothered and decides to plant some trees.
After having a heart to heart with his best friend, Malik, Randall decides to go to the cabin after all. He makes sure Mama Pearson is okay, and then he and Kate have an awkward fight about her virtue signaling and he and Kevin make progress by talking about how Kev's afraid to be a girl dad (Madison is having boy/girl twins). They don't really make up, but they also don't tell each other they wish they didn't exist so, baby steps?
On his way home, Randall calls his therapist (who I thought was supposed to be like super important) and tells her he can't see her anymore and that he thinks it would be better for him to have a Black therapist. I think this is an interesting storyline to explore for Randall, especially this year, as he begins to really explore how growing up in a White family has affected him.
Then we get a huge bombshell dropped on us. Just when we thought we'd seen the last of Laurel, as she died of an overdose and William ran for the hills with their baby, it turns out she actually survived! This is very soap opera like, and I don't know that I totally buy/dig it. For as long as we've watched this show, Laurel has been dead. And how would Randall have never found her when he found William? How did William never realize she was alive? It all seems very messy and unrealistic, but I guess we will just have to wait and see. Also Randall was DEF born on the 30th, right?
Also, for the love of all things, can we please find out how Miguel and Rebecca got together because their relationship makes NO sense to me and has never been explained yet we're bringing characters back to life! C'mon!
What did y'all think of this premiere? Impressive? Sad? Surprising? Let me know in the comments!
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!
The councilman is struggling, y'all. As if we didn't already know that Randall had chronic anxiety (untreated, I might add), this episode really cements that. It's a little redundant, in my personal opinion, but it also goes to show that not all heroes wear capes, and not everyone is as strong (whether it be mentally or physically) as they want to be.
SPOILER ALERT: IT'S BEEN A MINUTE SINCE THE EPISODE AIRED BUT AS ALWAYS, IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED SEASON 4, EPISODE 11 "A HELL OF A WEEK: PART ONE" (I'M REALIZING NOW THAT THE PART ONE IMPLIES THAT THERE WILL INDEED BE A PART TWO TO THIS STRESSFUL SAGA) PLEASE DON'T READ ON OR YOU'LL BE AN ANXIOUS MESS FOR NO REASON AT ALL. THANKS!
Last week's episode ended on a horrifying note when Randall found an armed man in his home. He says, "I won't let you get past me," which is a pretty ballsy move because I would've for sure either 1) screamed bloody murder OR 2) started crying hysterically begging for this man to take my shit and leave. Randall throws some money at the man (he has a money clip @ John Mulaney!)
The man ends up leaving and Randall calls the police and it's all very hard to watch knowing Beth along with their three daughters were all sleeping in the house. I'm sitting here like; how did this man get in? Why doesn't Randall, a city councilman leaving in a nice house in Philly, not have a security system installed? I truly believe he takes on too much, and the flashbacks of this episode prove he's been that way his entire life.
Randall calls Kevin to process what just happened, and Kevin informs him that he's back in Pittsburgh for Sophie's mom's funeral (that's why she called, y'all!). Kevin asks Randall where he was coming home from since he said he was at the airport, and Randall has to lie to his brother about their mother's derailing health. It's a nice scene between two brothers, so I'll give the episode that.
Before I forget, I should mention that when Randall calls Kevin later in the episode to talk, we see Kevin in bed with a blonde haired woman. If it's Sophie, God help us all. I'm sure we'll find out next episode though.
In flashbacks to the college years, or the beginning of the post-Jack era, Randall and Rebecca chat as she does her son's laundry. He tells her he's been having nightmares, but of course he doesn't go into much detail about them because he's Randall and he's the man of the house and he's the new Jack Pearson. Back at school, Randall uses Beth as his safe haven, often having her stay the night so he can fall asleep. Randall and Beth are goals at ALL ages.
Kevin and Sophie come home early for Becca's birthday dinner, and Randall and Bec witness Kate throwing flowers into the garbage and fighting with her mysterious older boyfriend, Marc. The way they argue is so true to older Kate's character; it sounds like she's pleading with him and apologizing for nothing, something present-day Kate would do.
Teen Beth suggests to Teen Randall that he address his grief about his father in a group setting. After all, both Beth and Randall lost their fathers around the same time, but while Beth seems to have made peace with her father's death, Randall is still obviously reeling from it. They plan on going to a support group, but just then Randall gets a call from Kevin saying that they (being him and Rebecca) are on their way to pick Randall up because something is wrong with Kate. Dun dun dun.
So, once again, Randall doesn't get the help he needs and he pushes everything down in an effort to make everybody else's lives easier and better.
In the present-day, Randall is distracted at work because he is terrified that that man is going to break into his home again. The police informed that they usually strike two nights in a row because families usually don't stay in their homes. His phone keeps going off due to the security system being installed, and he can't seem to pay attention or listen to anyone. He comes home to have a panic attack in his bathroom, and I'm like, bro, I would've had one in the bathroom at work.
Beth tells Randall that they need to take the day after the Town Hall to talk about all of this and he agrees. While getting ready for the Town Hall Meeting, Beth's earrings seem to have been stolen as well as Randall's cuff links. Randall figures that the man came into his room, which sends him spiraling even more. At the meeting he can't even articulate answers properly.
The next morning he goes running and runs (ha!) into Malik's dad who is like "bro, do you do anything to help with your shit BESIDES running?" and Randall is like "no". Malik's dad tells him to go to therapy and Randall is like "ok but first I gotta save this woman from being robbed" AND HE DOES IN THE BROAD DAYLIGHT. That's literally all I have to say about that because it's too much for one episode.
Anywho, to wrap up, there's a scene in this episode where Jack, pre-sobriety, gives a three or four year old Randall a pep talk before bed. Randall can't fall asleep in his big boy bed and seeks Jack's help. Jack tells him that Kevin and Kate are high maintenance, and so Randall is going to have to do everyone a favor and not be high maintenance. He's going to have to be the tough one, the strong one, the dependable one. It's not Jack's finest parenting moment, because look at the mess it has created. But it's a good reminder that these characters are humans, and humans are allowed to make mistakes.
So that's it on this episode! It makes me sad to see such an able man like Randall not get the help he needs, and I hope he does soon. What did y'all think? Comment!