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!