Your usual recapper Parker is having technical difficulties this week so I am going to put up a discussion thread for a week or two until that is all straightened out and then the good recaps will start back up.
The big news is that I did not cry during this episode. Perhaps it was the lack of wine, but I spent most of the episode waiting for the gut punch. Eventually, the gut punch came, but I was too confused at that point to get emotional. Every once in a while I wish I could turn to someone and have them explain an ending to me and this was one of those times.
Essentially, this week was letting us know the status of the relationships since last we left them. Let start with the present day situation with the couples.
Kate and Toby
Things with Kate and Toby seem more serious with Toby supporting Kate emotionally, and it appears financially so that she can pursue her singing career. Kate thinks the reason she is not getting gigs is because she’s fat. Turns out, she just doesn’t have the pipes. But that is not the real problem here. The problem is she confides in Kevin and keeps truths from Toby. This pisses off Toby and causes him to fight with Kevin. Toby says he pushes Kate and Kevin coddles her. Kate says she is 37 years old and doesn’t need pushing or coddling. I beg to differ but this storyline is not on the front burner this week so let’s just move on. This all happened on their 37th birthday party. Kevin was filming in LA so I presume Kate and Toby are living in LA so Kate can pursue her career?
Kevin and Sophie
At the end of last season, Kevin had reunited with his ex wife just before Ron Howard offered him a movie role in LA. This season we see him in LA shooting the movie on his 37th birthday. Sophie calls to tell him she had to cancel her plans to come to LA because her mother who has MS is in bad shape. These two may love each other, but Sophie is going to be her mother’s caregiver for the rest of her life and Kevin is going to be working in LA, at least for now. This is going nowhere.
Randall and Beth
Let’s face it. Sterling K. Brown is the star of this show. This entire episode is narrated off and on by poems from. The title of this episode A Father’s Advice based is a book of poems William wrote for Randall. I still didn’t cry! The first scene with Randall has him on the sidewalk with a baby! Did he adopt already? Nope he just has baby fever and has hijacked a neighbor’s baby. Beth is not on board with the adoption and tells the adoption counselor that Randall just wants to recreate his life so if they have any baby boys that have been dropped off at a fire station, that would be just peachy. Beth is salty.
Randall’s daughters ask him why mommy goes to work now and he stays home to be the girl.
We go back in time with Beth and discover that she spent a lot of time with William in the park talking. Randall goes to talk to his mom about Beth and their marital problems surrounding the adoption. She tells her sometimes one partner has to be the one that pushing things forward. Beth takes Randall to the park and gives Randall a leather bound copy of A Father’s Advice. After seeing some wayward young boys drinking alcohol, she seems to suddenly decide to adopt an old boy no one else would take. Randall agrees. I thought that whole idea seemed out of the blue and a solution that was not well thought out.
Jack and Rebecca in 1978
So after the huge fight last season where Rebecca threw Jack out, he went to stay with Miguel. Jack and Rebecca went out for pizza with the kids and told them that they were not getting a divorce but they just needed some breathing room. Jack was staying at Miguel’s house. Right away, Kate who is in the middle or her ansty teen years says she is going with her dad. The time apart has Randall bonding even closer with his mother. He came home from a party earlier that his siblings and heard Jack saying mean things to Rebecca.
We see Rebecca go to get her husband from Miguel’s. They talk from opposite sides of the doorway. She tells him they still need to work through things but she wants him home. He has been waiting for this moment but then tells her he is drunk. He has been drunk all day. He has been drunk for weeks. He is an alcoholic and needs to go get help. He has to do it on his own, and he can’t come home until he does. He closes the door. A few minutes later she knocks again, tells him she is his wife and he just needs to get in the car. His problems are her problems and they solve them as a team. Just. get. in. the. car. And he does.
Now I should point out that I deleted my recording of This Is Us so I am proud of myself for remembering all of the above. I could actually recall the scenes in my head. But here is where things get tricky. I stopped holding my breath waiting for THE SAD THING and decided the first episode was a soft ball to get us all back in the grove.
And then the last two minutes happen and like any trauma my memory goes to flashes of bits and pieces.
- Kate holding dog, Randall, Randall’s redheaded girl friend?. Rebecca and Miguel. Everyone sobbing because Jack is dead. Miguel appears to be taking them in.
- Rebecca driving down the street with an eerily blank expression, in shock perhaps, there is a plastic bag that according to the Internet held Jack’s personal effects. The items in the baggie, a notebook, a watch some change do not appear to be burned.
- Kate going to find Kevin to tell him Jack is dead. We know that everyone was 17 at this time. Kevin is wearing a big cast on his leg and is making out with Sophie.
- Rebecca pull up to the Pearson house (thanks mailbox) she wearing a Steeler’s jersey. She lets out a long wail and we see the house has burned up, but is not burned down. I believe there was yellow tape.
So Kate mentioned a lot that she is the reason that her father died. Now Kate has a dog. There is speculation online that Jack DIED IN A FIRE! (Called it!) going back in the house to save the dog. But even with the house fire, I think that is too easy. Especially since Jack’s personal effects were not burned. The Steelers shirt is an obvious clue. They were probably all watching football when Jack died. The fire may have nothing at all to do with the death. I have no idea what Kevin’s cast has to do with anything, but it may not have anything to do with Jack’s death. It seems we are going to back up from the night of the death and go back once more to the things leading up to the death.
The good news is that we will know everything about Jack’s death before the end of the season and the writers have other big plot lines that they promise are just as intriguing to take over the whole, “How Did Jack Die?” cliffhanger. But I’m going to need you to help me this week and maybe next as Parker is a whole lot better at the nuances of this show than I am. I just wanted to give you all a place to chat in the meantime.
Did you cry?