Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This Is Us 1.12: “The Big Day”

“God, I know we only talk during play-off season but if you’re listening, I think my wife’s been possessed by a demon.”
- Jack

So, coming into this episode, I knew that it was set all in the past, which as we know is a departure from the usual story structure of the show. But that’s totally fine. The show has established itself enough at this point to occasionally break from tradition. And it means we get some more insight into the past characters and the day that led us to the Big Three entering the world! We find Jack and Rebecca the day before the Big Three come into the world. (well we actually see Rebecca’s transition from loving being pregnant to needing Jack’s help to get out of bed in the middle of the night to pee). She’s just really stressed about the fact that the house is still a mess and they just aren’t ready for the children to arrive. On the afternoon of Jack’s birthday, Rebecca is in a real mood and she kicks Jack out of the house (he’s relatively gracious about it) and even offers up a little prayer to God. And then Rebecca realizes her mess-up and she’s really upset.

Elsewhere, we meet Joe, the firefighter who will ultimately unite Randall with his family. He’s at confession, talking to the priest about how he lied to his wife about quitting smoking. I guess the regulations about firefighters smoking being prohibited didn’t come into effect until much more recently. He goes on about how they met when she rear-ended him. I think he misses what they used to have. He even tells his wife that he asked the priest to help fix his marriage. Also missing what he used to have is Dr. K. We see him getting ready to have his grandchildren over and he’s talking to his wife but no one else is there. He even finds an excuse (in work) to turn down a female friend (or acquaintance I guess) that he runs into at the grocery store when she offers to make him dinner. When his family arrives, it’s clear that he’s still struggling to make connections with people after losing his wife. When his son and daughter-in-law try to talk to him about their concerns that he isn’t moving on, he kind of loses it and says he’ snot going to move on. She was his life and now she’s gone. He does go to her grave and is having a really emotional conversation with her when his pager goes off, summoning him back to work.

Rebecca is frantically trying to figure out something to do for Jack’s birthday and she ends up leaving Miguel’s wife a long rambling message before deciding she’s going to make Jack a fancy cake. That’s all well and good but they don’t have the ingredients. So, she duct tapes flip flops to her feet and makes the trek to the only store within waddling distance (a liquor store). Together with the owner, she cobbles together a banana muffin and Twinkies (for icing) and she snags the pilot’s infamous terrible towel. Meanwhile, Miguel is trying to get Jack into golfing but all Jack wants to do is be with his wife and unborn babies. He’s such a good husband. Even when he was having issues with drinking after the babies were born, he was still a good guy.

At the fire station, we find Joe on shift when someone rings the doorbell. We see baby Randall (so interesting that Rebecca calls him Kevin and Kate’s younger brother even though he’s actually older than them) on the doorstep. William is watching from around a corner and once Joe takes the baby inside, William takes off. While a co-worker suggests Joe take the baby to the police, I don’t think he’s going to end up doing that (in fact we know he doesn’t). Well at first, he tries to convince his wife that they should keep the baby but she says that a child isn’t going to fix their problems. But finding the baby was enough to make them both realize that they want to try and fix things and go back to way the it was.

Back at home, Rebecca puts together the cupcake and then gets to spend some time in the nursery, talking to the babies in her belly. She raves about Jack and how excited she is for them to meet him and then she shares her fears about her shortcomings as a prospective mother. The things she says are definitely born out in what we’ve seen of her on the show thus far. Jack comes back and has been filming her which is kind of adorable. He says it’s only picture but I suspect it has sound, too. It would be a sweet way to incorporate Jack into the present if the Big Three watched it or something. But he convinces her to do the sexy dance and we’ve about caught up with the events of the pilot.

We see Jack stripping down for his birthday dance and then Jack and Rebeca at the hospital meeting Dr. K. They cut in between the delivery and Dr. K telling Jack about losing the third baby. Unlike in the pilot, we get to actually hear Jack tell Rebecca about the baby and hear her vehemently denying the truth. I honestly can’t imagine what that would be like. But in the end, they end up taking Randall home and it prompts Dr. K to move on with his life. We see him having dinner with that lady friend while Joe and his wife are reconnecting and rekindling their marriage. And as we jump ahead to Father’s Day when the Big Three are 8 or 9, we see that they are in fact watching the video he took of Rebecca (and it doesn’t have sound). It was really sweet. I really liked getting to see what brought all of these people together on this one day in the history of the Pearsons. And if I’m honest, I didn’t even miss the adult Big Three all that much.

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