Tuesday, December 6, 2016

This Is Us 1.10: “Last Christmas”

“Nothing bad ever happens on Christmas Eve.”
- Rebecca

Just when you thought you were recovered from the tense family gathering at Thanksgiving, we are hit with Christmas! We begin in 1989 when the Big Three are nine years old. Their house is a plethora of wrapped gifts and they have plans to go caroling and to church. But that’s all put on hold when Kate’s appendix nearly bursts and she needs emergency surgery. As the rest of the Pearsons wait for her to come out of surgery, Rebecca happens to find Dr. K in a room as a patient. He was in a car accident and he doesn’t seem overly confident he’s going to survive the night, thanks to some internal bleeding. But as Jack and Rebecca talk to him, he seems to liven up. And as young Kevin goes by the chapel and decides he’ll try praying for Kate (he was clinging to the bed rail as they wheeled her down to the OR and Jack had to pull him off), Randall buys a light up snow globe as a thank you to Dr. K for his part in the Pearsons’ adopting him. I’ll tell you, it was a simple gesture on Randall’s part but I started crying like a baby!

In the present, we learn that Olivia has disappeared and the play isn’t going to happen. That seems like a really dick move on Olivia’s part but maybe Kevin’s harsh reality check did some good (obviously not from Sloane’s perspective…hey I finally figured out her name!). But because Sloane and Kevin slept together and then Sloane told her mother that she was dating the Man-ny, Kevin gets roped into Chanukah dinner. It actually turns out really well because we see that Slone has a really creative way of telling the story which leads Kevin to convince her that she should be the lead in the play and he’ll put his own money into producing the play. He says they need to have faith in each other (which I’m guessing stems from his praying back in 1989).

Meanwhile, Kate and Rebecca are at a consultation for the gastric bypass surgery. The doctor is explaining not only the risks of the surgery but the harshness of Kate’s new reality. Her stomach will be the size of an egg and all of the side effects that can come with eating too much or something her stomach can’t handle. And then as the doctor goes over some last minute medical information about depression and binge-eating, Rebecca is rather horrified to learn that Kate has dealt with both of those things as an adult. In the car on the way to Rebecca and Miguel’s to change, Rebecca asks if she’s responsible for Kate’s weight and Kate admits she isn’t sure (which is probably part of what Kate needs to get a handle on before she can really work out what she needs to be happy). But then mother and daughter share a bit of laughter at Miguel trying to blow up one of those ridiculous inflatable snowmen on the front lawn.

Just when you think things can’t take any more of an emotional turn, we get to William attending an NA meeting. He’s sharing with the room about how he finally got his act together and one day, Randall came knocking and he was grateful for the support of the people around him so that he could be there to meet his son finally. He does it in the way that he always speaks, in such a poetic kind of way. And then another man, Jesse, shares a story which turns out to be about William. It seems that for a time, William and Jesse were in love (or at least Jesse was in love with William). And when William took off, Jesse fell back into his old habits to cope with the pain of the abandonment. After the meeting, William tries to seek Jesse’s forgiveness and in the end, Jesse asks to spend whatever time William has left together. I honestly was not expecting William to be bisexual or to learn it in such a way.

Randall isn’t having a much better night. Everyone else has cancelled on them for Christmas dinner and he and Beth are stuck at a work party. As his boss is handing out bonuses, Beth confronts Randall about buying some guy’s boat without even consulting her. When he goes to try and give it back (to make her happy), he finds the guy getting ready to jump off the roof. Much like the William reveal, I was not expecting Randall to have to talk the guy out of committing suicide! And yet, with a very impassioned speech which I hope he will listen to himself with regard to Rebecca, he convinces the guy not to do it (just as Beth shows up wondering what is going on).

Once Randall, Beth and the girls get home, everyone else slowly starts showing up, even Toby. Kate takes him back and they quite happily have some make up sex. Tess also casually points out to William that William is gay, or at least bisexual and the look on Randall’s face is kind of hilarious. It’s just like, oh, okay cool. I liked how for a time, everyone was happy and getting along until Toby stands up and then keels over. As we watch Kate wake up in the past and Dr. K survive his surgery, we see that Toby doesn’t make it. Or at least he flat lines, leaving us on a horrible cliffhanger until mid-January. I have to admit, I knew we would get the usual heart gripping drama with this fall finale, I but I was honestly blown away by the various reveals. I honestly can’t remember a show that’s made such an impact on me in so few episodes! This show really is special, even if it turns me into a blubbering mess nine times out of ten.

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