Hi everyone and welcome back to the lovely This Is Us; lots to catch up on so let's get right into our dramedy (is this a dramedy? Kinda, right?) without further ado!
We open with a very young Rebecca (Ava Castro) watching her mom fearfully cater to her dad while he watches a football game, then we switch to the 70s, where 70s Rebecca (Mandy Moore - THIS ISN'T CONFUSING AT ALL TO EXPLAIN) is watching her husband Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) watch football.
I'm just gonna say it: football sucks.
She's not gonna be her mom, she's not gonna watch Jack watch TV: teach her football! I would make fun of that but I have 13 years of basketball knowledge that would call me a hypocrite.
We fast forward a few years, Rebecca became an even bigger fan than Jack, of course and she's leading the charge on all things football Chez Pearson. It's SuperBowl Sunday! Miguel and Shelly are gonna meet them later, if they can get a sitter.
I'm not sure Jack is on the same page re:kids, his face got carefully blank then.
It's just: they stand around all the time! And it's this massive machine that doesn't include women hardly at all; how can you support that, Becca? HOW? I know most of you probably love football almost as much as my uncles (one has dogs named Jerome and Bettis) so I'll shut up, but my objection stands.
It's a full house over at Randall's (Sterling K. Brown); his bio-dad William (Ron Cephas-Jones) taking chemo pills, his brother Kevin (Justin Hartley) working on the play he's in, his daughters being led astray by their Uncle Kevin, you know: the usual. Beth (Susan Kelechi-Watson who looks breathtakingly luminescent here) has haaaaddd it with Kevin; she and Randall gang up on him to suggest he hit the road.
Really? Like, REALLY?
Kevin talks about his huge lonely hotel room with all its' amenities and quiet and Randall will take it! Kevin can babysit, they're off to a night in a swank hotel, woo hoo! Date night!
Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz) brings her boyfriend Toby (Chris Sullivan) breakfast in bed; it's quinoa something with hemp seeds, mmmmm! I said before I am anti-superfoods but really, the food is fine, I am anti-food trends.
She's not eating it (whew) coz she's being weighed at their meeting tonight and NO she can't go play minigolf after because it's Sunday Night Football. *sigh* Toby doesn't understand, so she has to be really clear with him.
I immediately wondered if it had something to do with special time with her dad because I assume he died at some point since Miguel is in the picture in the present (MY BRAIN IS MELTING)
We're back in the 70s pre-kids with Rebecca and Jack; she's singing (I started and then remembered: duh, Mandy Moore!), go Steelers!
Shelly (Wynn Everett) and Miguel (Jon Huertas - I love Spanish words with "hue" and "ig", you can really lean into the pronunciation: give Ignacio a go!) arrive late with a story of vomiting babies and pre-schoolers slapping said vomiting baby; it's all pretty much par for the course for young kiddos. Rebecca is horrified; she jokingly asks Jack to promise her they'll never have kids.
Now I KNOW Jack isn't on that no-kids page; isn't this the kind of thing you discuss pre-marriage? Spoiler alert: Jack broke that promise!
He waits a few minutes then brings it up during the game; what does she mean she doesn't want to have kids? He actually turned his back on the TV to ask! Shelly and Miguel make like trees.
We're back in the present, Randall and Beth are making a run for it, Beth taking all the misgivings with her. Randall isn't taking anything but a cell phone with a dead battery
Laurie (Jill Lynne Johnson) is holding forth about properly portioning her crackers (when I think about how many meetings I attended exactly like this and how many times I used phrases like "how many I'm allowed" I just want to bring Sarai Walker back in time with me so she can slap the shit out of me. Also: read Dietland, it's a revelation) but Toby's distracting everyone by sending Kate an invite to his huge Steelers party, woo hoo!
Kevin's trying to run lines, do that after the kids go to bed! Or write recaps, whatevs. He turns a potential Barbie fashion show into an opportunity to run lines with William, as long as William can read. Of course William can read! Poetry, damn people are quick to assume.
Randall is just about peeing himself he's so happy to be in Kevin's huge beautiful hotel suite; sex first! Nasty shower sex, then robes and room service and no falling asleep to House Hunters! Beth paces while looking like she's going to throw up, guess who's probably pregnant?!?
Now they BOTH look like they're gonna hurl. Hahahaha I just said she was glowing! Except I used bigger words because I have a thesaurus somewhere and I felt guilty.
Kate came to Toby's party, yay! But Shooter (Reggie Watkins) is there too, Kate does not look happy. This was not on the invite!!
Also not happy is 70s Jack; Rebecca's tired of his moping and fine: they'll hash it out right now, during the Superbowl. She challenges him: is she not enough for him? Because she's not there yet; she equates having children with being one of those women who ONLY have children and she wants no part of it. Jack understands that so much that he immediately gets into a fight with a dude at the bar. They're TOTALLY ready for kids!
Also not ready for more kids are Randall and Beth; she's been on the pill forever but thinks there could have been a brief window due to some new medication. Randall is furious; he had a whole plan for moving to Charleston and early retirement and again: wouldn't that be something you discuss WITH your spouse?
Beth appreciates his sacrifice
But she's the one just about to go back to work to remember who she was (it's so different than what you believe when you're only parenting), this isn't exactly balloon-releasing time for her either, Randall. I'm wondering if she accidentally took William's chemo pill. The pregnancy kit they're picking up right now instead of having nasty shower sex should let us all now!
Kate is trying to watch the game, but Shooter and Toby have no respect for the game. It's like the first time I tried to do a group-watch of my very favourite show: RuPauls's Drag Race (DID YOU NOTICE??!). I thought I was going to lose my mind; one of the watchers actually stopped to watch a commercial, then rewinded and watched it again. While we all waited and I swore a lot. Hard pass on doing that again and I have a feeling Kate is thisclose to sweary herself. She leaves and I.get.it.
Kevin is making everyone run lines with him, it's not fun for the girls at all, even William, whose voice he loves and thinks should be a wise old owl in a Pixar movie. Tess (Eris Baker) and Annie (Faithe Herman) want to know what all this stuff about ghosts in the play is about? And more importantly, is their grandpa about to become a ghost? Kevin is very much regretting passing on the Barbie fashion show and his explanation that all people die...is not worded the best.
Rebecca sits alone outside while Jack and Miguel watch the game inside another bar, is it true life is over when you have kids, Miguel? It's totally true, Jack (so true). I read a great article about how kids suck all the joy out of the things that make you happy: also true. They do provide their own source of joy, so there's that.
Randall and Beth have calmed down; they're on the floor in the fancy, fancy bathroom, pee-stick in hand (um. put that down); they just had to be ready to accept it emotionally before they could accept it in reality. Why am I crying??? Dang you, This Is Us, making us fall in love with this beautiful couple each week. So. What will it be?
William's had enough of Kevin putting himself down and doubting himself all the time: he was good in The Manny! He needs to trust himself and that's funny, because I didn't see Kevin like that at all. All I saw was the narcissism and self-absorption, I didn't sense the self-doubt underneath. But then, I'm not a wise old owl in a Pixar film either, OR a dopey Labrador like Kevin.
Jack finds Rebecca outside watching everyone leave; she wins: if it's between her and kids, he'll take her every time. It's just that. He used to watch football with his dad, if he was quiet enough and out of the way, and he wants to do that with his kids, but with more talking. He wants to give his kids the attention and time he wished he had gotten. She sees them with kids, she always has, she just isn't as far along as she thought she would be, singing at Froggy's and passing time. Steelers won! Bradshaw is MVP! They share the kind of kissing that can only lead to triplets.
Toby comes over to find out whaddup; Kate just likes to watch football with her dad, okay? It helps the Steelers win, and in fact, she was conceived in a bathroom the night the Steelers won the SuperBowl and I CALLED it!! Toby concedes defeat; he'd like to meet her dad, Jack sounds cool. She brings over an urn and yeah; Jack is innit and I called that too but it seems creepy to yell about that.
Uncle Kevin comes into the girls' room to make it right; can he tell them a secret? They're listening... When he starts a new project, he paints about it. He painted how the play makes him feel and this is it:
He explains while a montage takes us out; Randall and Beth made me laugh
But then Randall is packing away William's things and I'm crying again: ONE episode without tears, This Is Us, ONE! Kevin tells the girls that just because someone dies that doesn't mean they're not still around, not part of us just because we can't see them. He talks of beginnings and endings as Kate and Toby watch the game with her lucky hat on her dad's urn and we cry over William some more. "This sloppy, wild, colourful magical thing that has no beginning, no end. This right here. I think it's us." We're out.
Ah William. Thank the sweet baby jeebus Beth isn't pregnant; as wonderful as babies are, when you've emotionally prepared yourself to return to the world of the adult and you are dragged back to diapers kicking and screaming? They teetered on that brink and then make it back to safety, whew!
It's interesting how both Jack and Rebecca's childhoods made them want such different things from parenting. Rebecca's mother's acquiescence to a life consisting solely of being a mother and subservient to the male breadwinner turned Rebecca off COMPLETELY from reproducing herself; who would sell themselves into that type of life willingly? Says the former SAHM who every day is realising how easy it is to be unwittingly indoctrinated into a system that explains to you every day how it's our one true "natural" calling. In 2017! Jeebus wept.
And Jack, wanting more from his dad, who was also locked into a rigid gender role, probably tired from the physical and emotional labour of being the sole support for an entire family and wanting some bloody down time, fanks. And no talking about anything, the menz aren't to do any self-introspection, that's for the ladies stoned off their collective arses at 10 am on a Tuesday morning. Thanks, Mother's Little Helper! Gorgeous show again, is it wrong that I hope Shelly and Jack are killed in some horrific but totally painless accident together? Because Miguel and Shelly also seemed very much in love and I would like to remember them like that, before Miguel became Rebecca's new husband.
Until next time!