This is Us gets maudlin and gives us a glimpse of the last big game day for the Pearson family
This is Us started in a time period unknown with an old couple we’d never seen before. Keep them in mind. Teen Kate (Hannah Zeile), Randall (Niles Fitch), and Kevin (Logan Shroyer) all have angst. Randall is in love. Kate has to submit additional song material for her college audition and doesn’t want it to be a video audition. And Kevin is bitter about his football career and jealous of Sophie going away to college. This obviously causes problems with their parents though Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) power through. They’re determined to finally start their own business and create a plan.
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Meanwhile older Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) are facing the realities of life as landlords. Or at least Beth is. Randall is too busy committing to fixing everything however unrealistically, although he gets his reality check. As part of his program Kevin (Justin Hartley) is busy making amends which leads to some touching moments between him and Randall as well as his one night stand Charlotte, who returns his necklace. Kate (Chrissy Metz) winds up in a dog shelter and despite her misgivings she adopts an adorable pup.
Remember that older couple? Turns out they were Pearson neighbors when Jack and Rebecca first moved in. And they gave them a glitchy crock pot. Which shorted and started the fire. Oh man.
Carole (@cbraunnj) – Costumer, teacher, admin for Outlander Forever. She makes use of her excessive tv watching by being an obsessive knitter.
1. Beth is super wife. But what is the impact of Randall’s impetuousness? If YOU were Beth at this point, what’s YOUR move?
Mel (@musiccitymel): Honestly, I think Randall kind of learned his lesson after the invasion of the roaches. Moving forward, I believe Randall will ask for Beth’s input. I fully believe Beth will be glad to remind him to slow his roll again should he decide to go all Property Brothers again.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): Beth has to be at her wits end with Randall. I mean I love Randall as much as the next person, but he’s going to get himself and Beth in trouble by promising these tenants the moon, and not being able to deliver. However, I’d keep letting him go until he digs himself in a hole, because he’s not going to learn any other way. It does show why they not only will they make great business partners, but partners in life with the way Beth handled Randall at the end.
Carole (@cbraunnj): Beth is such a Super Wife she should have a cape. If I was Beth, my move would be to move. Possibly to an island. But Beth has some experience with Randall’s roller coaster emotions so she’s right letting him go see how far he can go with this before he realizes she’s of course right for doing things her way.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): I like how Beth is handling things. She sees to be letting Randall work through certain things while still keeping a firm on hand on the steering wheel. She also understands how he works. If anything got really out of hand, you know Beth would step up and speak on it right quick.
K.M. (@kwanawrites): I would definitely not have handled things as coolly as Beth did. I expected her to blow her top but she, as usual, was perfection. I feel like Beth is constantly the wife all of us need. Heck, I’m a wife and I need Beth as a wife. Though her handling things so perfectly and calmly, talking Randall through how they have to handle the business in the future instead of a blowup and an “I told you so” makes me wonder if down the road there won’t be some HUGE Beth/Randall marriage trauma later. How long can a person hold so much in? Or maybe she really is perfection. I know I love her.
2. Kevin joining Randall provided some much needed comic relief. And their bro-confessional got deep. In fact everyone on Kevin’s “make amends” list got deep. Where do they fit into the larger picture for you?
Mel (@musiccitymel): Is Sophie gone for good now? Because I’m super okay with that. I feel like so much of Kevin’s list goes back to Jack and Kevin finally coming to terms with Jack’s death and the state of their relationship at the time he passed away. Kevin getting his dad’s necklace back at the end was so symbolic. I feel like that was a God wink from Jack telling him that he’s on the right track.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): Maybe it’s Justin Hartley and Sterling K. Brown’s chemistry, but I love when Kevin and Randall interact together. I think that they are able to provide a great brother dynamic that is a mixture of love, rivalry and general friendship that comes with being a brother. Also, suns out guns out for the brothers in this episode, my word.
With Kevin’s list it was interesting to see how he makes amends with Jack since he was the last on the list.
Carole (@cbraunnj): Kevin and Randall aren’t exactly the first construction crew I would hire. But they did give it a great try. As for Kevin making amends, he’s trying to fix everything but I really don’t think he’s done screwing up.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): The writers did a great job of showing us the work Kev has done on himself already. He already seems less flaky and unreliable–more grounded. I even liked that they resolved things with old Charlotte and Kev got his precious necklace back. Although I thought there would be more emotion involved with the Sophie conversation… but this might have more to do with the fact that I was over the Kev-Sophie storyline almost as soon as it started.
K.M. (@kwanawrites): I’m glad Kevin joined Randall with fixing up the apartment building I really wanted that to happen. Kevin needed that time with his brother and it seems that Randall did too. I hope to see more of the two of them together. Out of the three they seem to have more growth they needs to be done. Now as for Kevin’s list I would have liked to see him make his amends with those people on camera and maybe we will in a ‘This Is Us’ kind of flashback. I’m sure a scene with Tess would be gut wrenching.
3. Is the Kate/dog mystery driving anyone else crazy? Anyone? Though it was nice how it ended up.
Mel (@musiccitymel): First of all, Audio is precious. But yes, this flashback is driving me nuts. I suspect that Kate goes back in for the pooch and Jack loses his life going back in to find her. Listen, I’m already over here mourning Jack’s death and we haven’t even witnessed it yet. So why did we have to bring an adorable dog into this to further pull at our heart strings?! Rude.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): My dogs always have a soft spot in my heart, I can’t stand seeing animals sad. This being said little Audio broke my heart and that dog deserves an Emmy when Kate left him in the office at the shelter. I’m glad she came to her senses and I think it will help her with getting over Jack’s death a little as well as open up to Toby about it. Also Toby’s sheer excitement of getting a dog was awesome.
Carole (@cbraunnj): I’m ready to adopt Audio!! He’s way too adorable! I really think Kate’s dog is tied up with Jack dying and she’s afraid of attaching herself to another dog. But when she brought home the dog and Toby saw it, I just started having doggie melt.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): As soon as Kate said she can’t go there with owning a dog, it gave me pause. But when they showed Teen Kate with this little dog following her around, I was like: Ah-ha! Total Chekhov’s Gun. I think Jack is going to die in the fire trying to save Kate’s dog or something like that. It’s why she’s always said her father’s death is her fault.
K.M. (@kwanawrites): It really is making me nuts though I now have more of a theory. I wonder if Kate went back in the burning house for the dog and then Jack had to go back for her and that is how he died. I’m so mad that the fire happened because of the neighbor’s faulty crock pot though. That burned me up (no pun intended).
4. Rebecca and Jack, sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. There’s always time for a little romance to celebrate your new business partnership, right? (And it’s an interesting comparison to the other husband/wife business partnership in this episode.)
Mel (@musiccitymel): I just love them together. I love that Rebecca had already made the call about the house because she wanted to support Jack’s dream. And I loved that Jack knew he needed Rebecca as his partner to make this a success. In comparison, I think Randall is realizing just how much he needs Beth’s influence. As far as I’m concerned, both pairs are #couplegoals.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): I thought it was a cool parallel that in the same episode Beth and Randall started their business, Jack and Rebecca decided to start theirs. It was awesome that Jack saw Rebecca’s worth in the business and asked her to take the leap of faith with him. The only sad part about this is we won’t get to see how the partnership plays out, and how similarly or differently it will be from Beth and Randall’s.
Carole (@cbraunnj): I thought it was excellent showing Rebecca and Jack still being so involved with with each other, even being married for double digit years and 3 kids. Beth and Randall are emotionally involved with each other but don’t have the same physical spark.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): Rebecca and Jack are so sweet together. It just makes it all the more sad because we know their time together is gone too soon. Also, we know that that was their last night watching the Super Bowl together. Awww, *teardrop emoji*
K.M. (@kwanawrites): That was sweet. Rebecca and Jack seem to have been so busy with three teens, of course one would wonder when would they have time for romance? It was nice to see them make use of a surprise empty house. So very married couple like. Get it in where you can fit it in.
5. The Pearson kids having were having trouble on Super Bowl Sunday. What were your thoughts on their teen journeys?
Mel (@musiccitymel): I loved seeing these moments of them growing up. The one that resonated with me the most this episode was Kate. Seeing her finally begin to see herself through her dad’s eyes was such a beautiful moment.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): I still don’t get why Kevin and Kate are such asses to their parents. I really don’t. I’m glad it seems to be cooling off with Rebecca and Kate as they get older, but it’s so annoying. Randall was acting like a typical teenager, but Kate and Kevin both go out of their way to make their parents miserable and that’s not normal. It was nice that Kate was able to make up with Jack before the “event” occurs, but Kevin obviously doesn’t get that luxury.
Carole (@cbraunnj): Three 18 year olds. The, “It’s All About Me” year. Randall didn’t seem like he was having trouble, he was about to go on a date. Kate had understandable nerves, she was auditioning. In fact, I totally agree with her about yelling at Jack when he started videotaping her. But Kevin was being a brat. I understand that he’s disappointed that his football dream is over but he’s always been a whiny brat.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): I just kept thinking about how this is likely the kids’ last time with their dad. I liked that Kate made amends with her Dad that night. Let him know that she actually does appreciate how he sees her, how he loves her. And Randall telling him, giddily, that he had his first big kiss was also sweet. It’s just poor Kev who thought he could settle things and apologize the next day, but… we know that’s never going to happen.
K.M. (@kwanawrites): It was totally teen. Parents have one vision in mind for the day and it goes right out the window. I felt it was so hard for Jack who had to deal with his kids growing up and away from him on that day. It was really sad but so like life.
6. We were SO CONFUSED about the old couple at the top of the episode. What were your thoughts on that tease and reveal??
Mel (@musiccitymel): I no longer own a crockpot.
Jake (@Jake_Lester): It was nice they went to the show’s roots from the pilot and did a time switch. However, I feel that poor ol’ George is going to become This Is Us fans #1 enemy for giving Jack and Rebecca that Crock-Pot. And I’ve seen fan’s tweets, you guys need to lay off the poor Crock-Pot corporation. They produce a fine product that was written in as faulty for a fictional TV show.
Carole (@cbraunnj): I couldn’t figure out who these people were, I didn’t think they were relatives. But once the episode got to the second scene of the older couple, the pieces started fitting together.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): TWIST! That was a cool reveal. It wasn’t gimmicky or groan-worthy. The writers on this show have really stepped things up this season.
K.M. (@kwanawrites): I was totally confused too. It has me wondering if we’ll see more from them later. It seems out of left field that the writers would introduce such pivotal characters at such an odd time. They have to have more of a relation or story. Maybe parents of Jack’s Army friend? There has to be something there. Please This Is Us Writers tell me there is a connective thread!
7. Just when you think you can’t possibly still get emotional during this show. What did you think about the last five minutes and what are you predictions on next week?
Mel (@musiccitymel): They showed us everything in intricate detail. Down to the cup towels! THE CUP TOWELS Y’ALL. I don’t like this one bit. I now see why they’ve waited to show us this part of the story. Even knowing it’s coming, we are all going to be emotionally ruined after this episode. I am only being mildly dramatic here. These writers are coming for our souls and on SUPER BOWL SUNDAY. How. Rude. 😭😂
Jake (@Jake_Lester): I got all ugly cry face from just the promo, so the Super Bowl episode is just going to wreck me. It’s finally going to happen, and I don’t know if I’ll be ready for it. My biggest, most obvious prediction is that Jack will go out like a hero saving his children, his wife and the dog. However, with Kate feeling like it’s her fault maybe she leaves her tape she’s using to apply to school in the house and convinces Jack to go back in and get it? Whatever happens, it will make for one big cryfest, and I can’t wait.
Carole (@cbraunnj): I’m yelling at the screen, “Get out of the house!” Then I wanted to unplug all my appliances. The last 5 minutes just hurt. But I think Jack rescued Rebecca and Randall. Kate and Kevin weren’t home. And then Jack went back in to get the dog and that’s how Jack and the dog died. Next episode is going to be tough to watch.
Nicole (@NicoleBlades): Those last five minutes wrecked me! I barely blinked through it. The way it was shot and the song in the background–just aces. Honestly, how are we going to cope with that next episode. The trailer had me practically yelling at the TV to make it stop. Kevin is going to be in the woods with Sophie and miss everything (as we’ve seen in an earlier flashback) and I think Jack is going to try to save Kate and she might ask him to go back for the dog and he won’t make it out. Basically, we are going to drown in tears!
K.M. (@kwanawrites): Oh gosh the previews for next week were so emotional. For so long I wanted to know how Jack died and now I don’t think I’m ready to face it. The looks on young Kate and Randall’s faces just about ripped me apart. I don’t know if I’m ready to deal. Once again, I think we’ll all be in puddles. Have the tissue handy.
Final Verdict: This is Us leads us up to an ending with such feels we could barely survive that let alone a whole other episode of it.
When This is Us takes you there it really goes there. We were thinking the episode was ho-hum and man was that old couple confusing but then the last two minutes they had to hit us with a song montage. It’s good to see the Pearson kids moving forward although not all of them appear to be doing it in the healthiest way.
There’s only one question we could possibly ask here. Is this it for Jack? What happens that makes Kate feel so responsible for his death? And what does the dog have to do with it? Will this show ever stop toying with our feelings?!?!?
It was nice to see Kate moving forward from her dog feelings though it does seem a little strange that she’s blamed the dog all these years. And Audio is cute as a button despite his unfortunate name. We couldn’t believe it when she walked away from that animal so we were really relieved when he was sitting in her living room like the little gentleman he is.
You know things are bad when Crock Pot needs to issue a statement defending their poor crock pots that people started tossing into the trash after finding out that our hero Jack’s demise came because some old dude couldn’t let his faulty piece of junk get tossed in the trash. Don’t blame crock pots for our soul-crushing sadness, fellow fans. It’s not their fault.
Kevin provided some unexpected emotional weight this episode. But that was after he provided some of the best laughs in the episode when he become a real live popcorn moment for the ladies when he renovated the apartment. That was pretty incredible. As far as his amends go some of them were long (that scene with Sophie seemed interminable especially since we’ve never seen their life together so we don’t have any sympathy pangs for their life together) but who didn’t have a moment when he turned Jack’s necklace into his palm?
Who on earth knows what’s going on with Randall but we sure do hope he learns fast. And we know that Beth’s patience can’t last forever. Of all the people in the show it seems like Beth most closely resembles Jack (minus the addiction) which is kind of interesting when you think about it.
This is Us used this week to set up their big post-Super Bowl airing and after the last five minutes of the episode who really remembered anything else in the show? It’s all about that fire and the family feels we know we’ll be getting the next time we see the Pearson clan. But Saint Jack is about to get his halo, and we just aren’t ready…