By Parker, Just Parker
Unfortunately, I am at work today and it is a bad, bad work day. Like everything that could go wrong is going wrong kind of work day. And none of it is my fault (they always say that, I know) but everyone wants me to fix it kind of work day. I only got to watch this episode once, pretty quickly and with multiple interruptions, so I apologize in advance if I got anything majorly wrong. Please correct me in the comments, but be nice, I had a bad day and it’s still not over. Jesus. 🙁
This week very much felt like the second-to-last episode of a blockbuster season, didn’t it? A major plot line resolved (William) and we are set up with three major potential cliffhangers for the last episode (Jacks’ Death, Kevin/Sophie and Kate/Toby).
I’m going to start with the Cliffhangers….
This episode starts a few days after the Valentine’s Day fight between Jack and Rebecca. She’s about to leave to go on tour and instead of coming home, Jack stays late at an office retirement party. Miguel is trying to get him to leave and this slut ho Heather is hitting on him and tells him that the real party is going to be later at a bar. I have a bad feeling about Heather…. Jack does get home, but late and he and Rebecca start to have a fight in the kitchen. It warms up a bit but this isn’t the Jack and Rebecca we know. Ben (the band dude who was her ex and who was the cause of the Valentine’s Day friction from last time and who used to turn into a dog on True Blood) honks outside. Rebecca says goodbye to the kids and Jack kisses her goodbye at the door kind of coldly and lets her lug her luggage to the van by herself. And Kate and all of America roll their collective eyes and says “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, JACK. IT’S REBECCA. GO KISS HER GOODBYE PROPERLY.” He opens the door to run after her, but she’s already gone. And I hate that that is probably the last time they’ll see each other. And it’s like this. I mean really hate it.
Then there’s a commercial for something called “International Delight One-Touch Latte” which looks so disgusting that I’m sort of grateful for the momentary distraction while I contemplate the horror of modern living.
Jack drops the kids off at a party, but he and Kate have a conversation before she gets out of the car. Kate has picked up on the problems in the marriage and asks Jack why he isn’t at Rebecca’s show, which is only 2 hours away in Cleveland. Rut roh.
Jack is home watching television but decides to go to the ‘after party’ that fucking Heather told him about. He gets there and he orders a beer. Next scene (clearly a little while later) he’s finishing off some kind of brown liquor – probably scotch or bourbon – and Heather sits next to him and starts hitting on him. She has one good line,“Nobody goes to Cleveland to follow their dreams.” and then gets a little too fresh. He snaps back into Jack mode and tells Heather that “she’s embarrassing him and embarrassing herself.” Yay! But Boo! because I’d rather he had an affair than die.
Next, Jack is on the phone with the parents of the kids who are having the party. He asks if they can look after the kids and he’ll pick them up in the morning. Fuck…fuck…fuck….He asks to speak to Kate.. fuck.. fuck…fuck…. and tells her, “Hi princesss, it’s dad, you were right. I’m going to go fix things with your mom.” fuck…fuck…fuck…. He’s drunk. In case we didn’t get that, he fumbles and drops his keys. And he gets into his car and heads to Cleveland. And fuck.
Except we know he’s never going to make it to Cleveland and it explains why Kate thinks it is her fault that Jack died and why she probably ate herself to morbid obesity.
And now I’m a little mad at all the misdirection from Fogelman and also the actor who plays Kevin. Because it looks like it is going to be as simple as a drunk driving accident. Hopefully with a fire …(shit, must use inside voice). Or maybe not, but at least for right now it looks like the simplest explanation is the most likely explanation.
Was kind of all about Jack. And her telling him ultimately how Jack died. I feel like she will be our narrator of Jack’s death ultimately. It was her memory of his funeral that gave us our first glimpse of it and she is the keeper of his ashes. I’m not sure if I’m going to warm up to the Toby/Kate storyline. We’ll see. I sort of liked the fatties’ group scenes, which were lighthearted and fun, to serious crying-all-the-time Kate. I’m fat too, by the way, so DON’T JUDGE.
All of their scenes are kind of about them being cute together. It’s a touch cloyingly sweet and I’m still a little confused where this story line is going and whether it is going to interest me. But Kevin is relatively easy on the eyes, so whatever. It’s the opening night of his play and he’s trying to figure out how to get Novak, the theater critic for the Times back to the play. There is some sweet interplay:
“You’re sexy when you’re loyal”
“I’m really loyal”
“You’re not sexy when you brag about it.”
Awwwww. And then she leaves him with “a floundering career and a luke-warm Americano.” And I flash back to the latte commercial and throw up a little in my mouth.
Kevin goes to see Novak, who tells Kevin that he’s pretty sure he choked and that he’s just a “40 year-old playboy with no talent.” Ouch. Kevin says he’s only 36, but it’s kind of funny because the actor who plays Kevin is really 40. Our first This is Us inside joke? Anyway, Kevin begs Novak to come to the play and we’re all rooting for him to show.
More backstage cuteness with Sophie. She gives him a crutch for when he ‘breaks a leg.’ Awwwww. It’s a little vomit-worthy, but it works. The play is a YUGE success, but Kevin looks out on the crowd and sees Novak’s empty seat and if you’re like me, you’re probably convinced it is going to have a happy ending because Novak was in a different seat and it’s all going to be ok but it isn’t. 🙁
Then there is a commercial for the new John Lithgow show, “Trial and Error,” and it looks pretty funny. I love John Lithgow.
Anyway, the family swarms Kevin after the play and the only thing that stuck out was a weird joke Toby made about how it was a “good thing he didn’t show his penis because penis showing is so 2015.” And I’m thinking MORE PENIS SHOWING NOW PLEASE. Who’s with me?!?!
Kevin tells Sophie he is going to win her back no matter how long it takes, and apparently all it takes is him giving her a sentimental talk. They fuck and in the middle of the night he gets a call from Ron Howard (played by himself) saying that he just happened to be there because his kid is a Manny fan and that Kevin would be perfect for a movie that starts shooting in a month…in LA…uh oh…. He’s going to stay with Sophie, right? I think so too.
The episode opens with shot of William writing a note, which Randall and Beth find as they are planning William’s memorial. In the note he asks the two kids to plan the service because adults tend to make memorials sad and he wants them to make it fun. Randall and Beth try to give the girls some ideas but they cut them off and say “they’ll take it from here.” I lol’d and cried a little.
Beth: I guess I’ll have to cancel the white doves.
Randall: You got white doves?
Beth: They don’t make black ones!
Ha. The girls agree to let Randall speak at the memorial. There are a few scenes while Randall is writing the memorial that are really touching and yes, I cried, a lot. First he gets a call from Jesse, William’s boyfriend who is in Chicago and tells him a story about William pretending to be interested in football to lure in a young man at their Narcotics Anonymous meeting. It was super touching and Jesse referred to William as a “soft arm-rest for weary souls to lean on.” And I lost it.
The next scene was the postman who brought in a fruit basket and asked about Williams. He teared up when Randall told him William had died and told Randall that he used to accompany William on his walks. William would ask about his daughter. More tears….it feels like they are giving Randall the perfect eulogy material.
The basket of pears that was delivered had a pre-typed card that basically said “Our Deepest Sympathies, The Team.” Beth looks at Randall with an awesome eye-roll and says you have GOT to be kidding. (This will be important-ish later.)
For William’s memorial, the girls have decided that they are going to “act out his perfect day” so they start with breakfast and M&M’s to represent his pills. Beth is feeling left out and I kind of feel sorry for her although I sort of thought she had said goodbye to William when we did the last recap. Guess not!
So Randall is about to give the Eulogy and instead hands the mic to Beth who gives a really beautiful talk about how William was “endearing as hell” and “part of our fabric now.” Kate breaks down, I break down, we all break down.
Randall tells Kate she has to open up to Toby and also tells Kate about a weird dream that he had, which we get to see, that shows Jack and William swapping stories about Jack teaching Randall how to drive and Randall teaching Kevin how to drive. And I am now vaguely wondering whether future flashbacks will show Jack and William actually meeting in the past under some circumstances? Maybe? That would be pretty cool potentially.
Then they all put on hats and go for a walk. Randall gets to wear William’s hat (more tears). On the walk, Rebecca apologizes to Randall and tells him how terrified she was of telling him about her lie. I was underwhelmed to be honest. Not sure I care for older Rebecca all that much.
After Kevin’s play, Randall goes over to his office and quits. Because he’s allergic to pears and because it’s time for him to do something with his life that isn’t working 20 hour days for 10 years with no vacations. Quitting is what I really want to do right now. But unlike on television, some of us have actual bills to pay.
So the William arc is more or less complete and it was, honestly, one of the best acted storylines I’ve ever seen on television. I feel the same way about Jack and Rebecca. Milo and Mandy have really done phenomenal work and I hope they’re recognized for it.
The last episode of the season promises to be intense. It is supposedly all Jack and Rebecca. I know we joke about people dying in a fire. Well, some of us joke… But I have this feeling that a garden variety drunk driving accident is going to be way too anticlimactic. Or maybe it’s just that I can’t bear the thought of the last time Jack and Rebecca being together was that cold kiss he gave her on her way out the door to Cleveland. It’d be heartbreaking to me. Which is sort of amazing because I’m not sure I’ve ever felt quite so emotionally connected to television characters before. We know Jack dies, that’s a given. I’m sort of hoping that if Jack is in an accident, he has the opportunity to say goodbye before he dies.
Which is a real bummer of a way to end a recap. Sorry everyone!
What did you think of the episode? Did you cry?