Hi everyone! I am finally back to this show after the holidays (expect to hear that a lot, as though the holidays were 400 days long or involving blood sacrifices or something); let's find out on This Is Us about our triplets and their families! I hope you had a great festive!
We open in the 80s in the Pearson's kitchen, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) looks beautiful, unfortunately Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) is rocking the very worst of 80s fashion: the slickback + stubble + pornstache + pager combo. We know it's the 80s because there is PacMan cereal, not that Rebecca intends to let poor young Kate (Mackenzie Hancsicsak) try it out. Fruit only for her Chunky Monkey.
Sure, give the big kid sugar in it's purest form for breakfast: GREAT JOB, Rebecca.
Jack takes pity on Kate and gives her the bad stuff (see? We're applying emotions to food again! I'd have thrown in a complex carbohydrate and protein source is all) while Rebecca glowers. There's a little tension there
But Jack leading The Big Three in their happy chant puts a smile on her face for a minute anyway. Marriage is hard.
So is working out! Kate (Chrissy Metz) is staring at everyone else's toned bums in the gym, that's really the problem. Don't compare yourself to other people! Only beat yourself! And er, not in public. Toby (Chris Sullivan) asks if they can go now? His left testicle is totally toned and you know as well as I do: balance is key. She can't believe HE is losing weight and she isn't, he makes both of us laugh
Confession: I love the gym
Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) are cuddled up late at night, but there's something on her mind. Randall presses, he can take it, don't censor yourself: spill! "How long is your crack-addict biological daddy going to be sleeping in our six year old daughter's bedroom" made me and Randall go "dddaaayyuum."
Ohhhh, they haven't told their daughters that William (Ron Cephas Jones) is their grandfather, eep. Might wanna do that soon.
Jack's not gone home after work, he's taken his slickback for a drink with Miguel (John Huertas) because sometimes it's hard to see the woman he's married. (I'm going to quietly count to ten and then backwards in the corner for a moment, brb) Miguel gives him both barrels: you married the Gold Standard of Wives (I don't believe in that) and way above your station, Jack, you best be careful she doesn't notice.
William is explaining the concept of vices to the youngest Pearsons; Randall jumps in when he starts to explain his procurement strategies for cocaine. They have a nice chat after the kiddos are bundled off; until William asks for money for the bus. I can actually feel Beth's I Told You So from here.
Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley) is meeting with studio execs to discuss his exit from the show; he's nerrvvous. I'm EXCITED, because Lanie Shultz is played by Katey Sagal, who had the role of a lifetime on Sons of Anarchy. You rarely see such a nuanced and detailed part for a woman, let alone a woman past what society considers to be her prime: magic. That whole show is written around her and she is fantastic, although I totally hate her character.
She's Kevin's agent and she's pissed that he's thrown away his career on "ethics" or "opinions" or whatever he expressed to that live studio audience full of camera phones. I love her so much, just for insisting he remove the STUPID SKI HAT IN 80 DEGREE WEATHER
He wants to just move on, but the thing is: he's contractually bound to the show for two more years. And they're not letting him go, so he can't work anywhere else. That's the good news. Now for the part he's not going to like
He explains later to Kate: he has to go to a big fancy Hollywood party and beg the show suits to be the Manny again. Kate pffts: he's succeeded at everything he's ever tried. He's gonna march in there and do a "Manny OWT" and that will be it.
I love that we got to see Kate from the side, we saw her belly! I LOVE seeing big bodies on television, that's how we feel included, yo!
William comes home late; Randall and Beth are suspicious but don't say anything. Beth watches and thinks as Randall takes his kids to bed in the most hilarious way possible. Randall is a great dad.
Kate and Toby are at the fat support group, but it doesn't seem to be so much about support as it does about weight loss. It would be awesome if there was some kind of a support group where you could just go and talk about Candace from Accounting talking for TWO HOURS about F*CKING CLEANSES because I think that would be more helpful. Kate's sulky and angry because she hasn't lost anything, she doesn't want to hear about your Wendy's shenanigans, Laurie (Jill Johnson)!! It's when 105 pound Madison asks for everyone's sympathy that Kate LOSES it, Toby thinks that's a good time for a break, yeahhh.
Kate "hulked out on a bunch of fatties" because she's worried about this Hollywood party she's got to go to with Kevin, ahhh. I get it. She couldn't find a dress, she's not losing weight, she's STARVING: that's what's up. Ah Kate. Toby is emotional for entirely different reasons: this party is at Lanie Schultz's house, right? He wants to go! And more than that, he wants for something to not be about their weight (please sweet baby Thor make it so) oh and he'd like to have sex too, you know, like whenever. Can they? Can she take him to the fancy party with the Lanie who maybe came up with Deadpool and/or Hamilton?
I think "eviscerating the anorexic" is my new favourite phrase but only because of how it sounds, not what it means.
Young Kate is being tucked into bed by Rebecca, she calls softly from her bed "Mom? I only ate fruit today," a poignant reminder that our bodies become about making other people happy. I'm not going to lie, that made me tear up.
Rebecca just wants Kate to be happy; how about they try to find a healthy balance together?
Randall and Kevin are wrestling in the other room; the whispers are starting to get to him about his brother and he even called him Webster. I hope they settle.
Jack comes home drunk, he was shopping! Shopping. Shopping for an expensive "I'm sorry" but that's not what she wants to look at right now. How does he figure they're doing for parenting? A complicated maths scenario later: she thinks she's doing awesomely and he sucks. I would agree with that assessment. Damn, she gets mean about his drinking
Kate found something to wear! And so did Toby, but Kevin's not so sure. Is the peacock feather in the hat too much? Maybe? Considering Kevin doesn't even have a real shirt on. Party time, excellent! I LOVE Kate's dress!! Toby drags her onto the dance floor, saying they're crushing it, but since it's a glass floor, Imma little worried about that literally. All Kate sees is people laughing at Toby acting a fool on the floor, not noticing what a great time he's having. Ah Kate. Give them something fun to stare at, block it out, babe. Toby drags Kate off for shots.
Miguel is worried that he's overstepped and leaves a message for Jack at work while Jack sits at home and stares at his hands.
Randall is working out, he has a treadmill in the bedroom like at work! That explains why he's all cut and shite. I'm sorry for staring at his nipples. They were very shiny.
Kevin's gone with a slightly longer speech instead of Manny OWT, but Wes Manning (Brad Garrett) doesn't care, not really. He's two years from retirement and The Manny is what? His third-rated sitcom? So. Kevin takes this as encouragement, but no, no no, Kevin. Wes can't drift out two years if he has to recast the lead on his hit sitcom, don't make him "Nagasaki" (as a verb no less) Kevin's career. Take the money, ride out his contract.
This is what I don't understand: his meltdown embarrassed the show and the network, I mean: it was almost Mr. Robot levels of meta-awareness there. How can they want him to stay? I thought they would have hustled him off post-haste and it would have been HIM looking to get that steady paycheque.
Kate is loaded and finally dancing her tatas off, Kevin's come for advice but she's too busy being fished for and throwing shot glasses. Kevin calls Randall; who he treated like shite as a kid. Randall snaps back "because you care what I think?" and Kevin breaks my heart when he says "because I care what everyone thinks." Ah Kevin.
He apologizes for being a shit brother, Randall reminds him: there's still time. Kate and Toby come up and it gets a little hectic but they do The Big Three cheer and "Mom and Dad didn't raise no whores."
William knows there's someone at his door, he just didn't expect it to be Beth creeping in the middle of the night. She cuts to the chase: she's worried about Randall. In the past, Randall has almost killed himself trying to be perfect and she loves that about him, but she also knows she has to protect him sometimes. So now she has to ask him some questions: where is he going when he's gone all day? Is he really sick? He is and if he's overstayed his welcome, she should tell him straight. She's about to when Randall stops her and we get the rest of the story.
William's been going back to Philadelphia on the bus every day to feed his ugly cat Clooney (he thinks that's an ironic nickname, but he hasn't seen The American. George Clooney should never do action movies, he always looks terrified. Plus action movies are stupid), who is all he had in this world. He didn't want to mention it because the kiddos have asthma and he's trying not to cause problems because he wants to stay. He feels good here, he feels better.
Kate is still drunk but coming down, she wants to head home for the puking, but Toby isn't gonna hold her hair. He's gonna stay here and try to bang a Gilmore girl. "The Gilmore the Gilmerrier" and I would be out right at that point. Right then would be the end of my relationship with adorable and hilarious Toby.
It's always going to be about the weight for Kate; it's been her story since she was a little girl. It is ALWAYS in her head and now she's making me cry. Toby knows that, he understands that even 8 (or 10) tequila shots can only block that out for a little while.
Kevin marches out: he told them to screw themselves, he's off to the theater in New York, woot!
Rebecca finds Jack sleeping in the hallway outside their room; he doesn't like sleeping apart from her. He won't drink any more, he just wants to make her happy. He's going to go above and beyond to be there for her and so on and so forth. She finally opens her present, it's a gold necklace with a pendant shaped like a moon, which is in their song.
They sink down onto the floor for some making up time when the kids wake up, pile drive time!
Randall's having the same kind of morning with his kids, dragging them all over in a way that oddly doesn't hype them up, but rather leads to a calm, listening crew. Hm. The doorbell rings, the kids answer and are so excited, Grandma and Grandpa are here! I couldn't wait to see what everyone looked like in the present, but OH. Rebecca married Miguel?? Well, he clearly thought quite a lot of her, where did Jack go??? She still has the necklace around her neck, did Jack die? And we're Manny OWT.
We're peeling back a layer at a time on This Is Us, I loved that William was wonderful and genuine, I'm okay with that particular happy answer. I like that Kevin is working on his craft, he clearly couldn't take any more cashing cheques for his soul. What will Kate do without him? Will she go to New York too? Wait, what does Kate do for work again? Did we go over that? And why did Lanie Schultz say that Kate was Kevin's twin sister, ohhhhh, they must not call them triplets.
I did like how Webster came up a few times, very relevant to The Manny and Randall's dad's storylines. I do wish Kate's story wasn't all about her weight, but maybe that's her arc! Maybe she'll work through it until she realises she's a whole person at any size and worthy of all the self-love she can muster. Fingers crossed! Until next time, peeps, cheers!