Hi guys, welcome back to This Is Us FINALLY. I have been meaning to recap this much earlier but life: it laughs at me, when it's not trying to poke me in the eye. It's okay, I totally deserve it. ANYway, I have a great friend who is a reader and this is her fave show, so here we go with The Pool!
We open with Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore - or Sheriff Callie as she's known in my house!) trying to deal with the heat while young Kevin (Parker Bates) argues with brother Randall (Lonnie Chavis) who's too busy solving a Rubix Cube in 4 seconds flat. Jack (Milo Ventmiglia) comes in with a solution: it's time for a pool party! Young Kate (Mackenzie Hancsicsak) is all set to go in a Care Bears bikini that is making my 6 year old self CRY THANK YOU
TANGENT: I was Kate's age the first time I understood that I shouldn't expect to ever wear a bikini in public without shame, and it was at a public pool, too. I hope she has a better experience, being fictional and all.
Jack talks Rebecca into the outing by promising she's get a chance to finish her book and I was legit confused: he's taking them by himself? Because no way anyone's reading anything while watching three hooligans in the pool on a hot, sunny day. ASK ME HOW I KNOW
We're in the present with Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth Pearson (Susan Kelechi Watson) getting the kiddos ready for school. Annie (Faithe Herman) wants Grandpa William (Ron Cephas Jones) to do her hair and Grandpa is only too happy to oblige. Tess (Eris Baker) asks about the scars on his arms and when he said bottles were flying through the air, I knew exactly what he meant but Randall and Beth called a timeout. It's okay, William was talking about protesting, COURSE, he was helping the Urban League with bussing back then. Randall and Beth are nonplussed because they assumed it was something to do with drug addiction.
Kevin video-calls Randall just as William heads out for his daily constitutional; who video calls without notice? First thing in the morning? Really, Kevin? And you take two seconds to let your niece talk about her play before you jump in with news about your play? That's okay, they get him back by making him say his Manny catchphrase "Baby say whuuuuuut??" and that oughta teach him not to video chat without warning.
Randall doesn't have time to listen to Kevin talk about himself, he can see William being accosted by Tony (Ozzie Rodriguez) the gated community security guard so he signs off. An old white couple saw William "loitering" in non-designer clothing and called security, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that William is black. He's also older and frail and wearing a straw boater for the love of God, what were they worried about? That he might expire on one of their expensive doorsteps? William is disgusted with everyone, especially Randall for apologizing to the old scared white people and the security guard for the bother.
Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) are enjoying a light lunch
And while I admit to being completely anti super-food, I do like kale in a soup. It stands up really well to a braise, unlike spinach or other greens. I have one thousand recipes if you'd like them.
Toby goes to pay the bill and runs into a beautiful woman he greets with a hug and chats with as Kate watches closely. She even gave mystery beauty the up and down! She asks Toby about the woman immediately, that's his ex-wife. When he shrugs it off with "I told you I was married before", we all turn and stare at the beautiful, thin, conventionally attractive woman and mouth with Kate "not to THAT."
Back in the 70s (80s?), young Kate is rocking out in her CareBears bikini to the amusement of several onlookers who think a chubby kid singing "Supermodel" is hilarious; Rebecca calls her over to try and stop the staring. Kate spies a couple of friends across the pool and starts shrieking. Those girls aren't going anywhere near Kate. I gotta say: yeah, Kate is loud, but so is Kevin and that's okay, right?
Let's just take a moment and enjoy the beauty of a little kid enjoying her awesome swimsuit and working body without any of the baggage society is just DYING to unload on it.
I love Jack and Rebecca, their banter (J:Babe, I hope you don't mind, I had to sleep with someone to get this lounger. R: As long as his wife was okay with it) is adorable as is their confusion over whether or not Randall needs sunscreen or not. I'm pretty sure that, hair and culture is why people say adopting kiddos from another ethnic background should not be taken lightly. Do your homework they say!
Guess who is doing HER homework?? Kate! She's found the former Mrs. Toby online and is stalking like a mofo. She asks Kevin: what if Toby is just fulfilling a fat girl fetish with her?? Er. Kevin knows all about that, he went through a phase (really?) but that's not what's happening here. Now get off the internet, Kate, no self-sabotaging today! Kevin's got an audition to crush!
He's late and the female lead already has her heart set on someone else. I don't think he could have messed up his audition any more if he tried, mistakenly calling the playwright a screenwriter, then condescending that "you gotta start somewhere!" when corrected, etc etc. I can barely watch because the other actor Tony-nominated Olivia Maine (Janet Montgomery) is already seething and Kevin's STILL being patronizing, all the way through. It goes just as badly as I thought it was gonna.
Randall's taking William shopping for ($100) pants, William balks at the price but it's this morning that's kicking up a fuss and keeping them quiet. Randall understands why Williams thinks he's a sellout but he explains very clearly the way he deals with the hundred of little things that happen like that every day. He knows very well what it's like to be black in this white man's world, even with his ability to buy $100 pants.
We're back at the pool, Randall's gone missing while Kevin's doing handstands and not getting near enough parental appreciation for them, he figures. It's always a fight for attention when you're outnumbered by your kiddos. Oh noooo, Kate's been handed a note by that group of girls that have been avoiding her. Aw man.
Today-Time Kate is stalking Toby's ex Josie (Natalia Cigliuti) while reassuring Kevin he did fine, fine in his audition, sure! She signs off to go into Josie's store while Kevin literally bumps into Olivia Maine on the street. Kate takes too long stroking a leather portfolio and Josie makes eye contact - is she here about the job? Great! Let's go talk
Rebecca tracks down Randall, he's off playing with some black kids on the other side of the pool. Rebecca is in full mama bear mode, stopped by one of the parents who've been keeping an eye on Randall. Rebecca introduces herself, but they know who she is. "When a white family adopts a black child and doesn't introduce themselves to any of us, we tend to take notice." Damn. Rebecca and I are taken aback by the attack that came out of nowhere, some more awkwardness ensues and Rebecca leaves, before marching back to lay things out the way they are. Randall is her son and she's his mother and if anyone has a problem with that: she doesn't care. As she's leaving, the other woman calls out that the reason Randall is itching is that his hair needs to be cut properly, it's a hair thing!
Oh goodness, I've only just realised that Randall's daughter Tess playing Snow White is going to cause some snickers, but honestly: it's about the character and that IS the biggest role. Randall does not like seeing people laugh at his daughter saying she's Snow White, even if Beth and William don't seem to take it the same way he does.
Kevin and Olivia are going for drinks; awww, redemption. But no. She thinks he should go back to L.A. It's too hard here and he doesn't have the talent for it.
But he DOES get the part, since the producers think The Manny will pump up sales. She is not happy.
Neither is Rebecca, still fuming over the other woman's high-handed manner with her, I woulda asked about sunscreen if I was Rebecca, since the woman thought she knew everything. Randall sits and makes notes while Kevin chases a football into the deeper water and almost drowns, you know he blamed all that on his parents paying more attention to Randall. I can't be the only one yelling at the lifeguards in that scene, can I??
Rebecca has found the note from the mean girls, she sighs as Kate sits covered in a towel and not eating. Jack is furious; I am so mad at Rebecca for talking him down for saying something, blaming it on them not making sure Kate had a shirt on. I MEAN
Kevin's had it with all this parental ignorance, he starts yelling at Jack and Rebecca - he almost drowned! They're too busy making sure Kate isn't eating too much and Randall isn't "too adopted" which leaves Kevin: almost drowning. Jack makes it okay, he's trying but there are three of them and he's sorry he wasn't watching like he said he would.
Rebecca goes on her own to make it right too, she goes back to the woman who gave her a hard time about Randall: does she know the name of a good barber? And could Randall have a playdate with her son? And he needs sunscreen, right?
Kate's interview goes really well! Does she know anything about Josie? Only EVERYTHING
Back at the pool, Jack finds Kate sad and alone in her towel; would she like his magic t-shirt from the land of Daytona Beach WHERE SHE MUST NEVER GO? It's the t-shirt Rebecca hates and it might be the only thing that will cheer Kate up today. The t-shirt makes whomever wears it appear however they want to everyone else and I don't even know how I typed all that because I was crying the.whole.time. Kate goes with princess and Jack gets choked up like me: he always sees you like that, Kate. Always.
Toby can't believe his life right now; his girlfriend working for his ex-wife. All Kate can think about, all that's been ricocheting through her head is this
And no, Kate, he doesn't want Josie. She was terrible to him and it was years before he crawled out of the depression that consumed him after they divorced. Kate isn't the only one with problems, the only one with baggage and fine: she wasn't going to keep the job anyway. Because she and Toby are good together, they fit and that's why she isn't picking up the phone right now when Kevin calls so she can tell him how great he is.
Is his upbringing the reason he's so needy with people? Narcissistic, his self-absorption knows no bounds but I assumed that was an actor thing. Could it be because he never got enough of it as a kiddo?
Over at Randall's house, he's still brooding over the laughs at Snow White and the run-in that morning at the gate. It's deeper than that, though, he's remembering his childhood and that little notebook he used to carry around to mark down when he met a new black person. He's done the math and figured out that William was helping the kids get bussing as he was growing up in the Whitest Place on Earth and wondering if any of the new black men he met were his dad. I do think it's interesting that Randall has chosen to live in the exact same type of place. William knows where this is going.
THIS WHOLE SHOW IS A BOX OF KLEENEX!!
A doorbell ring separates them; it's Kevin! Um. What? He was in New York! He's going to be staying with them for awhile, which delights his nieces AND William, the new president of his fan club, he LOVES The Manny!
We finish our day back at the pool, Jack curled up with The Big Three and Rebecca trying her hardest to finish her book, last page! Is this a good time to talk about another child?
I've missed this show, I might cheat and watch ahead because it's like having a warm, weepy bath. Some beautifully realised characters and you know how much I love Kate. I do.
I'm curious about Kevin's motivation for leaving New York (WHAT'S YOUR MOTIVATION, KEVIN??), was it because he was alone and missed Kate? Was it the insulting acting job on the play, thanks to his Manny fame? Was it because he just needed people to tell him how awesome he was a bunch more?
Correction: I've been informed that Randall is actually just outside New York and that last paragraph makes no sense. I left it because I think the essence is true: Kevin needed to be around people who love him and when he couldn't have Kate (she bizzayyyy), he finally went to Randall, even though their relationship is complicated. HE went looking for Randall!
Fat dating is fraught, y'all. I understand that dating is difficult all together (hard pass) but when you're not the convention...it's extry complicated and that baggage can be exceptionally hard to overcome. How do you shut out those voices in your head? Maybe with the understanding that we all have voices in our heads, telling us how unworthy we are and how undeserving we are of love. When body image is involved, as it so often is for women, especially, there just aren't any easy rows to hoe. We need a little MamaRu
Can I get an amen??! Until next time you guys! Cheers