Hey, y'all! How goes it? I'm just sitting here, writing this post as the snow falls down outside and honestly it's kind of relaxing. Last week's This is Us took a break from flashbacks (okay, there's still SOME flashbacks) and nostalgia and instead turned its focus onto two of its younger characters, Deja and Malik.
The funny thing is, if you would've told me 3 years ago that this episode would be about Deja and Malik I would've said, "Who?" because Deja didn't come into the picture until Season 2, and Malik is new to the cast this season. It's so funny how much this show has expanded beyond just the Pearson family (I love it for expanding, sometimes the Pearsons drive me mad).
Without further ado, here is your SPOILER ALERT WARNING for the Season Four episode, "The Dinner and the Date".
So let's catch up on the Deja and Malik story, shall we? Deja is Randall and Beth's adopted daughter, she's a freshman in high school so let's say she's probably 14 going on 15. Then there's Malik. He's charming, he's adorable, he's a...teenage father. He's a junior, he's 16, and he has a six month old daughter named Janelle. He also is smitten with Deja, who is smitten right back.
Randall and Beth found out about Malik and thought it was cute that Deja had a crush, but then they found out he puts babies in people and they were like "nope nope nope". However, everyone knows that telling your child, let alone hormonal TEENAGER that they can't do something only makes them want to do it more.
Obviously Deja and Malik still like each other, so with a little coaxing Deja agrees to skip school with him for the day. Look, I'm not saying I condone this but...their parents won't let them hang out! And they're young! And she hasn't seen all the historical parts of Philly! It's not like they're skipping school to have sex, it's very wholesome.
They have the absolute sweetest day and talk about really ~deep~ things. They get cheese steaks and ice cream and lay down in the grass in the park holding hands but then Deja gets scared, but then Malik runs after her and it's SO DRAMATIC. She's trying to remember the last time she was in Philly when she was young with her grandma and mama and he takes her to see these lights that complete the memory and then they KISS. AHHHH.
Obviously Beth and Randall and Mr. and Mrs. Malik's parent find out about this day of skipping and are NOT HAPPY. But we'll talk about that later. For now, let's discuss the past, more specifically 1992, which we seem to be stuck in lately, huh?
We're still rolling along with this Randall's teacher storyline, and I have no idea if I like it or not. Apparently Jack doesn't know his son is black and that he can't relate to him on certain levels. This kind of checks out for Jack because he always wants to be the best at everything, but I also feel like he's more well rounded and insightful enough to know better. Oh god, y'all. I just realized that Jack and Bec are boomers. Nope, this all DEFINITELY makes sense now.
So they have Randall's teacher, Mr. Lawrence, and his wife over for dinner, and it's so awkward that I want to stop watching it immediately. Kevin is wildly inappropriate the entire time, and when Randall suggests going to this Black History Festival with his teacher and his wife, Jack is like "no Randall we will go as a FAMILY". Rebecca pulls him into the kitchen and is like, "Ew, you're being really gross" and he apologizes to Mr. Lawrence who tells him that the Pearson's need a little lesson in Black history. He then also tells Jack that he's the one that will get to meet Randall's children which is just so sad because it's not true.
Back in the present day, Randall and Beth decide to invite Malik's parents over for dinner to discuss what they should do about these damn kids! Beth wears open toed shoes for an open mind (she's the best character, y'all) and Annie makes a ton of inappropriate but very valid comments throughout the night ("It's crazy that you have a baby" and "We never say grace"). Beth also sneaks away for some wine that she hides in the pantry when said dinner gets a little tense.
Randall is the less open-minded one, but he ends up getting along with Malik's dad swimmingly! It's Malik's mom that we have to worry about. She thinks Deja is trouble to which I say...ma'am your son has a whole ass child. Beth is having none of it, Janelle the baby keeps crying during dinner making things chaotic, and the rising tension makes this dinner possibly more awkward than the one from 1992.
There's a whole debate about how both sides are not seeing these children for who they really are. Malik is a great student and Deja is a great sister. Malik's family leaves and Beth and Randall go see a disappointed Deja in her room. She apologized to The Hodges for skipping school, but not for liking their son (awww) and B and R tell her she's grounded, but she can still see Malik. They want to know more about this sweet father and straight-A student. I love them.
So that's the episode! Do we ship Deja and Malik? Are we onboard or do we want a more organic love story (I haven't decided, truthfully)? What do we think of Kelly and Darnell, Malik's parents? Why is Jack so bad at regonizing that his son is black? What's gonna happen next? Tell me in the comments!