By Parker, Just Parker
Are any of you watching this show? I just started about two weeks ago. One of my Facebook friends would post every Tuesday night about how he was bawling his eyes out because of something that was happening on the show. I sort of mocked him because, well, that’s just what I do, but then I figured I should see what it was all about. HOLY COW THIS SHIT IS GOOD. Really one of the best written shows on television in my opinion. I binged watched the season up to now and cried my eyes out through the whole thing, whether it was Dr. K and his wife, Jack ‘voguing’ with Kate so she would have a good birthday, William (where do I start there?), or any of the many plots and subplots that just left me in wonder. And Jack is just smoking hot too, which does.not.hurt.one.bit. How did I make it so long in life without any awareness of Milo?
Anyway, I told Tamara I’d take a stab at recapping this week’s episode just to gauge interest. If y’all are watching, I’ll keep going although I think we only have two more episodes left after last night. I did just read online that the show was picked up for two more seasons. Maybe we can talk about that in the comments or another time out of respect for the amazingnes that was this epi. I just don’t get how they do two more seasons since they are clearly leading up to Jack’s death in the next two episodes. Does the show hold together after that and how?!?!? I guess we won’t have to worry about that for a while.
So here goes. We know from the promos that this episode is going to be all about Randall and William. Already I’m dreading it because it’s pretty much a given that William is either dying tonight or next Tuesday and I don’t think I’m ready for that.
It opens with what is pretty clearly William’s parents. Mom is pregnant and it is a touching scene as her husband prepares to go off to war. He dies and she tells infant William they are going to be ok and I’m already in tears. Really, I probably would have been in tears just from him singing “You Are My Sunshine” to his wife’s pregnant belly. It’s going to be a long long night.
Adorable scene with Randall and Beth at his shrink where she lists the litany of reasons that he can’t go on a trip to Memphis with Williams. They really are cute together. Shrink sides with Randall and it’s a ROAD TRIP.
But before they go we get William in the girls’ room basically saying goodbye to them (more tears) and basically goodbye to Beth who tells him to take care of Randall and to take care of himself.
The first scene of the road trip is the hyper-organized Randall with a handful of maps telling William that he’s going to be the co-pilot. William throws the maps out the window (and I lol) and tells Randall to ‘just drive, we’ll get there.’
The road trip is pretty cool. There’s a flashback or two of William as a young man with his mom and then they talk about Jack and how he used to calm Randall down when he got “too in his own head.” As someone who’s had a panic attack or 200 🙂 I can relate. William asks about Jack and where he is buried and asks if he can ‘pay his respects’ and I am seriously in tears as I write this. Fuck you This is Us!
Oh god. It gets worse. They go RIGHT THEN to where some of Jack’s ashes are scattered and William speaks to Jack directly thanking him for “doing what he couldn’t” and “raising him to be the man he is.” And then he says “I would have liked to have met my son’s father” and, damn, I am just bawling. I mean I know people don’t really talk like this in real life but it just seems so genuine. And that is the real genius of this show.
There’s a great flashback scene with William in the early stages of his career with his ‘too charming for his own good cousin’ Ricky (his mom’s words). William writes a beautiful blues ballad, which takes his band from a cover band to one that sings originals. For those of you interested, I shazamed it – the song is Brian Tyree singing “We Can Always Come Back To This.” I already bought it.
They get to Memphis and the William tour starts. They go to his old house where he hid some toys and a few quarters behind a brick in the Chimney – still there! For a haircut and some Memphis Barbeque (supposedly some of the best in the USA), then to Melvin’s Place, the dive bar where William used to play with the band where his cousin is now the owner! He is really hostile to William and asks him where he went. He was supposed to come back after caring for his mother and they were going to be starts. There is a long explanation montage of William going to Pittsburgh to see his momma who is dying. They also show him meeting his girlfriend/wife on the bus (remember we saw this in the first William episodes way back when). And they show them taking care of his mom as she dies and as his girlfriend and then William descend into drug use. Back in the present he tells his cousin he was ashamed of what he’d become and that he knew he’d ruined everything, but that now he is dying…..
They make up, Ricky invites him to jam with the band. Randall meets cousins and yeah and everyone is getting drunk and having a good time and I’m crying again. Shut up!
And then damn, we go from fun, happy reunion straight to hospital deathbed. I was really hoping this wasn’t going to happen this week, but we all kind of knew from the first scene it was. Randall realizes that William knew all along that he wasn’t coming home. William gives Randall a copy of that manuscript we’d seen previously, “Poems for My Son” and I am crying more than Randall. Now I’m laughing because I’m crying more than Randall. William gives a beautiful speech that he wraps up by saying that the two most important people to him were the person at the very beginning (his mom) and the person at the very end as he’s staring at Randall. William says he’s scared and Randall takes his head in his hands just like Jack used to do to him and tells him “you’re ok, just breathe.” Yep, more crying. As William passes peacefully away there is a montage of scenes from his life and they end with William (as an old man) embracing his mom as she was in the opening scenes. All of this is over an acoustic version of that song from before, “We Can Always Come Back to This,” this time by Hannah Miller. Yep, I already bought it.
The last scene is Randall driving home. He stops for ducks crossing, a sign from William and he rolls down the windows and cranks up the music, just like his dad told him to do.
One of the best acted, best written and moving television shows I’ve ever seen. I am hoping next week we can find out what happened with Kevin’s play and also what’s up with Toby and Kate. Would it kill This Is Us to give us one light-hearted-ish episode? Probably. After we saw hints that Jack was about to start drinking again, things could be about to turn really dark.