I am very sorry, it has been a LONG time since I dipped my toes into the This Is Us pool, how is everyone doing? Let's find out how The Big Three (then there was ME!) are doing and what happened with a Grandparent switcheroo at the end of last episode.
We open back in the Seventies again; watching a handsome young black man with unironic facial hair write poetry on a city bus. This is younger version (Jermel Nakai) of William (Ron Cephas Jones from Mr. Robot!) and he likes another beautiful passenger (Jennifer C. Holmes) on the bus. We watch them transition from young and in love to on drugs and finally: a terrified and tripping William alone holding young baby Randall.
We're at the hospital with Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) Pearson just after the birth (and delivery) of The Big Three. Dr. K (Gerald McRaney) spits some truth: THIS is the hardest part. Not the getting pregnant, being pregnant and giving birth, but rather dealing with three little people who can't express their needs properly yet need so much and have so much to say.
Babies Kevin and Kate will only sleep if next to each other, leaving baby Randall out by himself in his bassinette. Oh but it's not Randall yet, he's been named Kyle for alliteration purposes and do you really think you want your kids initials to be KKK, Jack and Rebecca? Do you?
We're back in the present with Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson - they're my favourite couple so far on this show, great banter) talk quietly about how he's going to explain William upstairs, his kiddos have already identified their sleepover guest as someone Randall works with. He's gonna smile big when he does it, that's all I got! Also: he thinks this news will devastate her.
My second favourite couple on This Is Us is waking up very differently at the same time. Toby (Chris Sullivan) is hungover to the nuts while Kate (Chrissy Metz) is singing "I've Been To Paradise" (without the arm movements! You can't sing "Ive Been To Paradise" without the arm movements!! Get thee to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) getting out of the shower. He startles her and she pastes him one, woo hoo! Not that I like to see people getting hurt, but that looked like a solid blow. Up top, Kate!
They have breakfast, he really likes her voice! (needs more wavy arms) Has she ever performed? When she was little, you know, then she grew. And grew and now:
Kevin (Justin Hartley) breezes in then; he's really moving to New York! And he just expects her to follow, maybe now we'll find out what she does for a living. Listening closely, while marveling that we actually got to see a plus size actress from MORE than one angle, AND from the side. She's even wearing colours! Woot!
Kevin would like Kate to call her cute casting director friend Cara and ask for some "heavy drama" roles, and nothing where he has to show his penis. I wonder if I'll ever have a job where I have to define photographic boundaries for each of my individual private areas. Gonna say noooo
Toby tries to warn Kevin away from the egg-white gluten-free steel-cut oatmeal pancakes with no added salt, sugar, or oil: too late, too late. Kevin asks, concerned: "is she making you eat this?"
HE TELLS KATE'S BROTHER. Ewwwww!!!
Randall tells his mom as much as he knows about William (which is surprisingly little); she's not devastated at all. She remembers seeing young William outside the hospital as they were leaving, but he ran away.
She barges into William's room and introduces herself, excusing Randall almost immediately. She looks angry.
Baby soothing montage! One keeps crying, it's Kyle who Rebecca thinks hates her. He won't take the breast and part of it has to be that she feels like he's a stranger. A wee tiny stranger that they have to raise exactly the same as the ones she "grew inside" of her. Jack gets him settled and tries to allay Rebecca's concerns but also talks over top of her trying to bring up seeing William.
Randall and Beth wait downstairs while Rebecca and William chat; Rebecca's is furious because she and he made a deal years ago that he would never contact Randall.
She deliberately kept Randall's birth father from Randall?? And he went along with it? She still thinks William is a danger; she thinks Randall helping him will lead to lost time for his family and work and everyone else. He cries after she leaves.
It's time for Randall to take William to the doctor, after an awkward goodbye to Miguel (Jon Huertas) he goes upstairs to find William..gone.
Of course, he isn't moving very fast and Randall finds him not far down the road. They argue, but Randall will not be denied. Whether or not William wants to enjoy the fruit of Rebecca and Jack's labour or not, William is GOING to see the fancy stomach cancer doctor. And then he can shuffle away if he likes. Two neighbours come out to see what the fuss is, Randall's "hi white people. Friendly neighbourhood black man" made me wonder if Randall is ever really settled.
Kate walks out of her house to find Toby has set up everything like she's a celebrity. There's a red carpet and paparazzi (him) and he just wants HER to be the focus for once! He watched her arrange everything for her brother in New York and now it's her day.
Meanwhile, Kevin's finding packing very hard, where is his backup singing sister to come do the heavy lifting of the boring stuff?! He's the talent!
She's not answering her phone because she's being driven to her first gig; Toby has downloaded an instrumental version of Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper was her JAM) and they're going to a retirement home for her first show! Yay!
I am excited for her, but I can almost taste the vomit inching it's way up her throat right now
Jack's brought The Big Three to see Dr. K for a checkup; they're all doing great! Not so much the parents...Dr. K knows that Jack coming to the appointment by himself means that something's up. Jack's very worried about Rebecca; he thinks she's broken. Can he fix her? Or teach Jack how to fix her?
Sit down, Jack.
Dr. K reminds Jack: Rebecca just lost a baby, she'll need some time. Then he sends Jack to have a nap while he watches the kids because he's the best.doctor.ever.
Rebecca isn't taking time for herself, oh no, she's looking for William on the bus. The bus driver knows him as Shakespeare, have a seat and wait, Becs.
Toby's warming up the crowd at Kate's first set, he's kind of awesomely terrible. Kate and I are counting all the people under 100 in the room, there are several more than zero, which is a problem.
Did I mention that I can't hear Time After Time without crying? I can't. I was a mess in Trolls. She has a truly great voice, it plays over a montage of young and old William.
It's humping time in the janitor's closet! Woo hoo! But Kevin calls and RUINS it, he called someone named Insane Elaine and had sex with her because Kate wasn't picking up to do his dirty work.
Kate leaves to go help her brother, Toby warning her that he won't play second fiddle to Kevin. But everyone does.
William gets the bad news from the swank doc; the cancer is not treatable. In the past, Rebecca finds William and he tries to explain that baby Kyle didn't come from this, not from drugs. Rather from love and poetry and THEN drugs.
Rebecca talks a little bit about The Big Three and thanks William, she wanted to know that there was good in baby Kyle's past. William tentatively asks if he can check on Kyle from time to time: that's a hard no from Rebecca.
She cries while she talks about not bonding with Kyle; William suggest she give him his own name. Don't expect him to be like his siblings he doesn't know yet and wasn't sharing a hot tub with, give him his own identity. Rebecca asks who Kyle's mom's favourite poet was and that's how we get Randall, from poet Dudley Randall.
Beth asks Randall what's up. William is back at the house but the news is bad. Her "you don't have a lot of time" makes Randall cry, whatever he wanted out of meeting his dad, he's almost at the end of it. His throat works and she comforts him; best couple.
Kate finds Kevin in his closet, surrounded by booze and angst; he started reading those plays she gave him and he got overwhelmed. What if he isn't good enough? She reassures him but somehow they end up talking about her.
His face when he realises that she ended her budding relationship AND a chance at throwing down to answer his needy baby call:
And he fires her on the spot. Yay!! I didn't even realise she actually worked for him! He wants to try it alone without her holding his hand the whole time; she's scared because she doesn't know who she is if not his sister. He does, though, Kate's going to love her!
Kate's called Toby to her house to apologize, he's not interested, that's fine, whatever, she can't make up for what she did and blah blah *she holds up a condom*
Kevin calls just then. Kate doesn't pick up and, hey!, he booked his own self a flight to New York because if they just keep talking about it, they're never going to do it.
Back in the seventies; Rebecca gets home to find an exhausted Jack on the floor; he didn't know where she was. He thought she ran away and there is no way that hasn't run through the mind of every new parent ever. She can't stop thinking of the baby they lost and finally, he stops pushing through with positivity and admits he does too. She doesn't tell him about meeting William but she does bring up changing Kyle's name.
Randall tells William he's not done yet, there's gotta be another oncologist out there that can help. And he wants to tell his daughters who William is, work friend no more. William visibly perks up while Randall comes in and closes the door. How did William meet his mother? On the bus of destiny, of course!
Kevin touches down in New York, waking Kate who wakes Toby, she shhs him with "He's okay. I'm okay"
Rebecca has found her way with baby Randall, she's finally able to breastfeed him and bond, yay! And we're out. I guess sometimes you just gotta know a little backstory of who's on your boob.
The music on this show is just the best; it took us out over the last few scenes but never quite overwhelmed. I see how Rebecca made the choice she did with young William, I just don't agree with it. I thought when Randall said "tell me how you met my mother" he meant how William met REBECCA; that would have been interesting too, that Randall sussed the lying that was afoot. I'm glad they're going to know William the poet, and not just because he was on Mr. Robot and has the most interesting face ever.
I love Kate and Toby's storyline so far, although I was slightly non-plussed that Kevin magically only now noticed that Kate is hiding her life inside his. I'm glad that, unlike Kate, Chrissy Metz does NOT avoid the spotlight, woot!
Jack and Rebecca continue to struggle in their marriage and I like how they aren't glossing over how very difficult it is in the beginning with any amount of children. Especially with multiples, of course. TTM signing off, have a great weekend!