This is Us sees the Pearson family in turmoil- Did it throw off our roundtable as well?
This is Us tossed up an episode packed with new information. First we start with Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore). Jack’s decided not to go it alone this time and he’s in AA and rehab is hard because he’s having to deal with all his crap and he’s completely emotionally closed off. He’s also having a hard time connecting with Rebecca, who has a lunch with her friend Shelly and tells her they haven’t been getting it on. Shelly suggests what sounds like a date night.
Date night starts out great until they get to the car sex part of this recreation of a great Jack and Rebecca date night past. It doesn’t go well and date night over. But on the car ride home Jack is finally able to open up about his feelings, including why he’s having trouble being intimate with her. He also tells Rebecca he borrowed money for their house from his dad. Hmmm. She’s super supportive and then they start making out and more.
Kate (Chrissy Metz) is on the set of Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) new movie. And so is Sylvester Stallone! Kate fangirls all over Sly and he takes it in stride, which is super cool of him. Kate tells Kevin her dad would’ve loved it but he doesn’t want to talk about Jack. That theme continues when Kevin finds out that Kate bonded with Sly and told him about Jack right before one of his big scenes and Kevin chokes big time. Back in his trailer he lashes out at Kate, telling her that just because she’s sad and damaged doesn’t mean he is. Ouch Kevin.
As far as Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) family, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Randall finally get the call about a foster child, and she’s on her way. Her name is Deja (Lyric Ross) but some nifty camera work lets us know that Deja isn’t really absorbing everything going on around her. Randall gets the feeling that all the preparation he’s done and books he’s read isn’t quite as effective as he thought it was going to be. Beth gets into a massive fight with Deja when she finds cigarettes in her bag but then she flinches in a pretty scary way when Randall comes in. The girls decide to sleep together in their room and Beth and Randall maybe wonder what they’ve done.
In a sad little flashback, teenage Randall (Niles Fitch) places an ad to find his real parents. His siblings find out he’s going to meet the person who responded to the ad and accompany him to the park where the meet is supposed to happen. A tweaked out white lady shows up and it starts out awkward and gets even more awkward when she asks him for money.
Later that night Deja wakes up the girls to get the scoop on Randall and Beth. They tell her that Beth is really in charge and when they get into trouble they lose iPad privileges, which blows Deja’s mind. Annie (Faithe Herman) flashes back to a time with William (Ron Cephas Jones) when she convinced William not to leave. Beth and Randall are listening on a baby monitor and maybe everything will work out after all! That is until the next morning when Deja confesses the cigarettes were for her mom when she comes back to her. Randall tells his own heartwarming adoption story but then tells her he’s gotten her file and her mom might be going to jail for a really long time. She throws down a family framed photo and storms off.
Kevin’s doing another scene with Sly, this one a big battle scene where Kevin is supposed to save him. But he’s still inundated with flashbacks of Jack, including one from when Jack died. His lack of focus allows something to go really wrong and he injures his knee. When he calls Kate, he apologizes and we get the sense he might start to open up but he chokes down his emotions again. He also tells her his knee is fine, but when they hang up we see him popping pills as Kate tells Jack’s urn he’s just like Jack. That can’t be good.
No more recapping! On with the roundtable!
Andee (@andeesings): Writer for TV After Dark. Ginger, lover of all things nerdy, always up for a Renaissance Faire and a quick flight to anywhere.
Danielle (@dani_pitter): Couch potato, dreamer, writer, and recent college graduate! Also needs many tissues during This is Us, among other amazing shows. http://poemsbyayoungartist.blogspot.com/ – Danielle’s book blog, PoetryBooksYA
https://paramorerklife.blogspot.com/ – Danielle’s fansite, ParamoreRKLife
Jake (@Jake_Lester): Disney World addict, comic book fan & Film and TV fanatic. Contributing Editor to Comicbookmovie.com. I’ve written some things you might have read… probably not though.
Carole (@cbraunnj): Costumer, teacher, major knitter while watching great TV. Edna Mode is my hero.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): Nicole Blades is a novelist and freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Good Housekeeping, BuzzFeed, and more. Her next book, HAVE YOU MET NORA?, will be released November 2017. Listen to her new podcast, Hey, Sis!, about women finding their focus and place in business, art, culture, and life. https://www.nicoleblades.com
Ryan (@rynolin): Tall dark and… tall. Theater aficianado. Ryan loves quoting movies, Julie Andrews, and the occasional tap dance routine.
1) First things first: What were you thoughts on the Stallone guest appearance?
Andee (@andeesings): Stallone was so good that I was actually kind of shocked. I seriously bought everything about it. How tolerant he was of Kate gushing over him. How lovely he was about her dad, and then how he became kind of like a father figure himself to Kevin. If that’s any was close to the way that Sly is in real life, I’m dying to meet him.
Danielle (@dani_pitter): I thought his guest appearance was very needed, but his guest spot could have been done by any “classic Hollywood” actor. However, the way he delivered his lines, seeing him in a friendly, open yet stern way was really affective. Seeing him with Kate made me fangirl for her though haha!
Mel (@musiccitymel): I am probably alone in my principals, but I have never been a huge Stallone fan. Aside from that, I did enjoy the dynamic between him and Kate. Kate was basically everyone fangirling over their favorite celeb. But then again, I basically love every scene with Chrissy Metz, so I am probably biased.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): Stallone was great! I really loved the warmth and presence he brought in talking to Kate. It helped shed some more light into the children’s, especially Kate and Kevin, relationship with Jack. I hope he comes back, and maybe provides some fatherly guidance to Kevin who looks as if he is going to need it in upcoming episodes.
Carole (@cbraunnj): Have to admit, I’ve never been a Stallone fan, so I was really leery about him being in the episode, but he was able to make it work. I’m going to thank the good writing for that.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): When Sly first appeared on screen, I legit thought he was CGI. All the work he’s had done to his face over the years…man, it’s not a good look, especially in HD. But then when we got to scene where he was listening and talking with Kate, his melting face kind of, uh, melted away for me and I was locked into what he was saying. He seemed real and natural, like that’s how he might be with an actual fan on set. And by the time we got to him giving Kevin advice, I was glad Sly was there. He gave us a little bit of William (although there will never be a replacement for William!) when he told him: “From my experience, Kevin, there’s no such thing as a long time ago. There’s only memories that mean something and memories that don’t.” Nice, Sly.
Ryan (@rynolin): I LOVED Sly! I really liked what he said to Kate and to Kevin separately. He was personable, and really great. An honest performance.
2) It seems that more than one Pearson kid’s emotional development has been stunted by Jack’s death. First Kevin didn’t want to talk about his dad with Sly. Then he melted down when he brought up that time was irrelevant when memories are involved. What do you think about Kevin’s block?
Andee (@andeesings): It’s funny because it seems like each one of the Pearson kids has a different way of NOT dealing with Jack’s death. Randall’s is the only way that doesn’t seem incredibly self destructive all the time. Kevin is totally emotionally stunted. This episode was maybe the only time I’ve cared about Kevin’s character at all because I just feel like every single episode he’s the same. I think it’s definitely a good way they’re taking the character.
Danielle (@dani_pitter): It was about time that we got into Kevin’s grieving with his father. We’d seen Kate and Randall’s grieving as young teens, so it was Kevin’s turn. I love how Sly Stallone’s words had brought him back to his teen years, even before when he was just goofing with his dad. It was all very bittersweet. He had suppressed a lot of his feelings about his dad, that it was bound to come above somehow. Who knows, those moments in his movie could make or break his career.
Mel (@musiccitymel): I think Kevin is his father’s son. We have seen that Jack really internalizes his emotions and I think Kevin is much like his dad. I liked seeing the flashbacks Kevin had though, because previously we haven’t really delved into how Jack’s death affected him. Though in hindsight, I think his reluctance to get close to anyone in relationships may stem from fear of losing another person he loves.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): With Kate having to find Kevin to break the news to him about Jack’s death, it seems that he is holding some self-destructing guilt about not being around when his family needed him. However, the not wanting to talk about it and Kevin lashing out at Kate is kind of out of left field. I’m sure Kevin’s issues will be addressed, but like Kate with Rebecca, these ill feelings seems a little forced.
Carole (@cbraunnj): I’ve always thought Kevin was stunted emotionally. I think he’s been blocking Jack’s death for so long that it’s what’s been holding him back in so many things in his life.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): I’m not the best person to talk to about Kevin. I think he’s the least developed and most boring character on the show. (Sidebar: He definitely rates above that Miguel and ugh-Toby by miles, though. At least there’s that, right, Kev?) Maybe his avoidance or intentional mental block has something to do with the fact that as a teen, he found out about his dad’s death from his twin Kate, because he was out mackin’ in the woods with homegirl while his siblings were dealing with the immediate shock and devastation at Miguel’s house. It’s clear that whatever is blocking him is going to come out big time this season.
Ryan (@rynolin): It’s obvious that the Pearson kids all have personal emotional issues. I think Kevin’s problem is that he makes up too many excuses and that prevents him from focusing on who he really is or wants to become.
3) Deja’s presence in Randall’s house is going to be a huge influence on them moving forward. From her differing reactions to both Randall and Beth to the way she was with the girls. What were your thoughts her arrival, about the look this gave into fostering, and what do you think is in store for the family as they move forward?
Andee (@andeesings): Oh man I was holding my breath from even before she stepped into the house. The whole situation was filling me with dread and then when she had that adorable scene with the two girls I kind of melted. It’s no joke, being a foster parent. Deja has some issues and I have a feeling that not only her but her mom might end up being a massive complication for them going forward. I’m kind of wondering what the change in foster situation (being that the Pearsons are kind of well off) will be like for a kid like Deja.
Danielle (@dani_pitter): Deja’s presence was very interesting, the way we’d only seen the back of her head coming from her mother’s house, to the cop car, to the new house. In a way, she reminded me of Callie Jacobs from ‘The Fosters’, how scared, angry and mad at the world they were for, in a way, taking the family they’d known for a new one. When they didn’t want to, but they had to. So the way Deja had freaked out in front of Beth for the cigarettes was scary, but Beth shouldn’t have been snooping through her stuff. Also, when she’d flinched when Randall came in was freaky; something bad must have happened to her. Her interactions with the girls was kinda cute, but what was even cuter was seeing baby Annie remember her time with William when he’d said “this house is crazy” haha! Even then, baby Annie was the most observant in the house!
As for Beth and Randall, I think this was a wake up call for them, especially Randall. He was so prepared into thinking what COULD happen, that what ACTUALLY happened shocked him. He didn’t prepare for the worst, only the best. I hope more wakeup calls are in store for everyone.
Mel (@musiccitymel): I love that this show is giving viewers an inside look into the foster care system. Having volunteered for a girls home, I can say that Deja is such an accurate depiction of many of the youth I’ve had the privilege of meeting. I think Randall was right. This is his calling. Beth and Randall are going to be wonderful foster parents and are going to make such a difference in Deja’s life. But I think the real beauty is going to come in how Deja will work in their lives.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): I have been against Randall and Beth bringing in a foster child that is older from the second it was mentioned. Don’t get me wrong, it is very admirable undertaking, but they have two small girls in the house that they need to make sure they keep safe. They did seems to squash that she would be any threat to the girls in the episode, and Beth and Randall both handled it about as well as they can, but poor Deja has been yanked from what she knows and thrust into this new life so I’m sure it’s going to take some time for her, and the story, to develop.
Carole (@cbraunnj): Deja is going to give Randall, Beth and their girls a real reality check of what life is like for her. They live a fairytale life compared to the way Deja has been living. I’m glad that the show is giving an unvarnished look into having a foster child. I think they are going to have a rocky road for quite some time.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): I’m so pleased that the show is even venturing into a foster parent storyline and that they are doing it via Beth and Randall—the hands-down best part of the show. I think Deja’s character is going to add a new dynamic to the story, one that’s intense and endearing and heartbreaking at once. And of course we’re all going to be crying!
Ryan (@rynolin): I think Deja is going to come around. It’s going to be a long road ahead, but it’s difficult in her situation. I don’t know anyone who has fostered, just from what I’ve seen on TV, but I do think this might make some people steer clear until they do more research. I was surprised that Beth went through her bag and through her belongings. Yes, I do agree that a child should not have cigarettes but maybe go through it together? Ugh Beth! You were doing so well! (I still love her.) I think Randall has bit off more than he can chew, but in regular Randall fashion he thought about it and found a way to talk to her. Although I think comparing himself to her was a little much.
4) Rebecca’s grand gesture for Jack started out sweet, but ended really awkwardly before he was finally able to open up to her outside the house. How do you think Rebecca and Jack should move forward from here?
Andee (@andeesings): Well honestly I think that Rebecca constantly praising Jack might not really be the best thing for him. Every time she tells him how strong he is, etc, I wonder if that’s the right approach. I think Jack needs a little taste of reality. Yes, he messed up. He can be strong, but he needs to figure it out and talk to Rebecca. I think she’s a little at sea because the last time he struggled things seemed a lot easier.
Danielle (@dani_pitter): I have no idea, actually…. maybe take it one day at a time? I liked Rebecca’s sweet gesture to make Jack feel better, but I didn’t think a dinner and a makeout session in the car would do much. It’s good that Jack wants so badly to get better, but it won’t happen overnight.
Mel (@musiccitymel): Jack pumping the brakes was a very mature thing to do. I think they need to keep this conversation going and I hope Jack will continue to sort through and grow through his pain. I love that Jack admitted he wasn’t quite ready to share everything with Rebecca. And I love that Rebecca is giving him the space he needs, but also letting him know she’s right by his side.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): It was classic Jack and Rebecca, but with a twist. Like she called it, pulling a “Jack Pearson”, it was nice to see Rebecca go out and surprise Jack with a big grand gesture. Jack’s reaction and the awkwardness that followed is to be expected. This is a man that has been torn down and is trying to figure out how to build himself back up, but at the same time still be the amazing husband and father that we all know and love. It was a really sweet moment seeing Rebecca help him turn the corner and let him know there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m not saying that it’s going to be smooth sailing, but I think they’ve hit a big milestone in Jack’s recovery to help them communicate better moving forward.
Carole (@cbraunnj): Jack needs to keep being honest and available to Rebecca. He can’t keep his trying to be sober just to himself. It’s really effecting both of them.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): I really like their relationship. It’s so clear how much love is there; it’s rooted in everything that they do for each other. Rebecca is 100 percent standing by her man, no matter the flaw or the misstep; she plans to be there with him. That’s some big love right there! And the fact that Jack doesn’t want to disappoint her, doesn’t want to be dependent on the alcohol anymore and truly wants to change and be better for her, for the family, for himself, it makes me think that they can move through it. Buuuuut then there’s the whole house fire, Jack dying thing that tells me the clock might run out on them before they can fully move forward. #teardropemoji
Ryan (@rynolin): Jack seems to be doing ok. It’s nice to see him laughing and smiling again. I think Rebecca should be going to therapy and focus on how to cope with a spouse who is an alcoholic. She needs to stop being so selfish. She’s losing me big time.
5) There have been ups and downs in many of the relationships on the show. But we’ve rarely seen Kevin and Kate waver and Kevin doesn’t usually keep secrets from Kate. What’s up with that?
Andee (@andeesings): Kate and Kevin’s little tiff was a bit of a shock to me. Kevin tends to be a little needy with Kate, he always relies on her and she’s definitely always there for him. That’s why when he said what he said to her, which by the way was maybe the most heinous thing you could say to a person, I was floored. I think eventually he’s going to come clean, but I think Kevin is headed for a really rough patch. I hope he doesn’t lose his entire career. He isn’t making a great impression on Ron Howard.
Danielle (@dani_pitter): I thought it was totally unreasonable for Kevin to blame Kate for how he’d messed up in his scene with Sly Stallone. Kate bringing up her dad’s memories to Sly in conversation helped keep his memory alive, and Kevin getting mad about that only pushed his grief down further. Again, it was bound to happen, their fight. They usually don’t fight together, but when they do, they go in. Kate talking about her therapy session was nice though; I was glad she got some help about dealing with her grief. Hopefully they can get back to being the duo of The Big Three!
Mel (@musiccitymel): We tend to lash out at those we love the most. And Kate is Kevin’s person, so I am not entirely surprised that she is taking the brunt of his anguish. I’m not gonna lie, I was SUPER salty when he got ugly with her. But I appreciate that he called and apologized. Kevin hasn’t won me over the way the rest of the family has. Often times he is a bit self centered and kind of makes everything about him. Kate has basically always been the glue that holds him together. I’m hopeful that we are about to see him grow and learn to stand on his own a bit more.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): A part of it could have to do with Toby’s talk that he had with Kevin back in “A Father’s Advice”. it was a great, much needed, moment for Toby. However, it could have made Kevin take a step back and realize that Kate is branching out and finding emotional support from people other than him, and rather than talk about it he, pushing her out.
Carole (@cbraunnj): He has a big break, film wise, and he’s thinking he’s blown it. He said I have to pack up my stuff while on the phone with Kate. I’m wondering if he’s been let go from the movie.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): Twin life. But I think that is why it’s going to be really hard for Kevin to keep any secret from his sister. She’s got a good line on him and can sense what’s really going on. Plus, the ex-wife-girlfriend (whose storyline is also kind of yawn) will probably peep what’s happening with him (pill-popping, etc.) and maybe narc on him to Kate. Plus, real talk, Kevin the character is not a good enough actor to keep any secret.
Ryan (@rynolin): I think Kevin should stop complaining sooooo much. Kevin is so selfish and vain. (Even when dirtied up in his army fatigue.) What he said to Kate about being “miserable and depressed” (I’m paraphrasing) is unforgivable at this point.
6) Kevin’s dog tags. The dog. His knee injury. We’re connecting the dots towards figuring out Jack’s death. What are your current predictions based on the new information here?
Andee (@andeesings): Did anyone else catch Jack’s confession about the money for the house, and how Jack kept harping on not dealing with stuff with his dad? Does anyone else thing that maybe Kate reaches out to her grandfather and he somehow burns the house down, killing Jack? Is this too crazy?
Danielle (@dani_pitter): Yeah, what was that all about?! Were those Jack’s dog tags first? How did he get them, probably from the war, duh, lol. I don’t know, my mind was everywhere at once during that segment. I bet you his knee got banged up before the house fire, but Jack saved him somehow, got stuck in the burning house and died there? I don’t know anymore haha!! I’m bad at predictions…
Mel (@musiccitymel): Y’all, can we talk about how adorable Milo was with the dog? Were the writers just sitting around like, ‘What can we do to make Milo even more perfect?’ Oh. I know! Let’s have him hold a puppy. As a lover of both dogs and Milo, I melted. I have no clue how he died. I really don’t think it was the fire, based on the fact that Rebecca had his belongings in the car as if she picked them up from the police station in the previous episode. But if he died saving that dog, I am going to need years of therapy to recover.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): Kevin is obviously not with the family when they find out about the death, and like I said earlier, Kevin seems to hold some guilt about either not being there for people, or not being able to prevent Jack’s death. My gut, at this moment, is telling me that the house fire claimed Jack’s life when he went back in to save the family dog. However, with this show, which is one of the most fascinating things about it, you never can anticipate or figure out what’s coming next.
Carole (@cbraunnj): Ok, I’m still not connecting it all. I’m wondering if the fire has anything to do with Jack’s death. Maybe the dog pulled Kevin and his knee went out on him? Wild guess here.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): I don’t want this to be the case, but I fear Jack falls off the wagon and starts drinking in secret, puts on some Bad Idea Jeans and somehow it leads to a fire. Maybe he decides to burn the house down to get money for it and then ends up having to go in to save Kate, who was in the house unbeknownst, and that’s what happens? Someone on Twitter said they think that damn washing machine explodes or causes the fire. But that would be just…. come on!
Ryan (@rynolin): I’m very lost on Jack’s death. All I can say is I am dreading it. They write this character that you root for but know he is going to die soon. RUDE!
7) Those last few minutes! The news about Deja’s mom. Kevin taking the pills! And why did Jack bring up owing his dad money about the house? Talk to us. What are your thoughts?
Andee (@andeesings): Kevin. STAY AWAY FROM THE PILLS! I think Deja’s mom is going to end up being trouble for Randall, and I think Jack’s dad and the owing money is going to factor in somehow. If it doesn’t have to do with Jack’s death maybe his father tries to take the house after he’s dead? I don’t know but there’s definitely a reason they brought that up.
Danielle (@dani_pitter): Hearing about Deja’s mom was heartbreaking. It must be hard to hear that your mom may never be coming back. But breaking that photo of William wasn’t cool; she could have just left and gave it back. I still feel really badly for her though.
I didn’t think anything of Kevin’s pills. I thought those were painkillers for his knee. Hope he doesn’t start using to alleviate his pain though…
I thought it was kind of Jack to bring up his dad paying for the house; his honesty showcases that he’s ready to grow up and be a better man for his wife and family.
Mel (@musiccitymel): My heart hurts for Deja. This is going to be a difficult road for all of them, but I truly think they are all going to change each others lives for the better. I am wondering if they are about to take on the subject of opioid addiction. I could definitely see them doing so and doing so beautifully. As for Jack and the money, I think he told Rebecca this as a way of opening up. Though he isn’t ready to tell her everything, he is making an effort to be completely honest with her. They have a lot of work ahead of them, but they both want to put in the work. And that’s what matters.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): Deja is in a really good spot for the first time in her life, and it will be interesting character development to see how she responds to that. Randall and Beth are going to go out of their way to make her feel at home, but I feel like ultimately it will be Tess and Annie (more so Annie as she did with William) who will break through her shell and make her feel a part of the family.
Kevin’s pill use will likely spiral out of control, and is being used to mask more emotional pain from Jack’s death and Kate not needing him as much any more. It will also be interesting to see how Sophie, who wasn’t featured much, if at all, in this episode will react to him taking pills.
The steps to open up to Rebecca for Jack was a long and tough road, but I feel like him telling her about borrowing money from his father is just another step for him to be as honest as he possibly can be with her, and really tackle his sobriety head on. It’s him barring his soul to her and letting her know one of his deepest, and his mind, darkest secrets.
Carole (@cbraunnj): I’m wondering what Deja’s mom did that she’s going to be put away for a long time? I also have a feeling that Deja has been abused in some way. Where did Kevin get the pills? I don’t think the film set medic gave them to him. I can understand why Jack told Rebecca about borrowing money from his dad. Among the various parts of the 12 steps is to come clean to those around you, to tell everything that you haven’t shared before.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): I think the money-house thing was a bit of foreshadowing (if a little ham-fisted), because it kind of came up out of no where. Kevin’s going to get hooked on the pills. That is super clear. And as for Deja, there’s just a lot of pain and broken-ness and possible deep trauma in that young girl’s life. Beth and Randall have a long road ahead of them to help her toward healing
Ryan (@rynolin): Randall and Beth are going to learn how to talk to Deja better after her reaction to learning about her mom. Kevin taking the pills will be a recipe for disaster. Jack brought up the money because one of the steps in going clean is to admit something that has been tugging at you. Or something you think that is a wrong doing. I think that was a big anchor that kept bringing him down. I also loved the different ways of saying Kevin was just like his father and combining it with the urn and the pills.
Final Verdict: This is Us is setting up the Pearson family for some big trouble!
Things are getting tricky for the Pearson family and we are definitely biting our nails! Not only that, are theories are all over the map! How about it, This is Us fans? Do you think any of our roundtable is right? Did someone steal your theory? Sound off to us in the comments below!