Wednesday, January 25, 2017

This Is Us 1.13: "Three Sentences"

“Talks don’t work anymore. I couldn’t make Kate feel better. That’s like my thing, you know? I tried but it just didn’t stick.”
- Jack

While some people may have not felt the emotional punch of this episode, I did. It was different from what we’ve gotten before but I think it had a lot of sweet moments and interesting little tidbits to chew on while we wait for the next episode. In the past, we find Jack watching home movies celebrating the Big Three’s (and his) birthday over the years. It is a montage of presents, cake and pin the tail on the donkey. Jack is really looking forward to it until Kate and Kevin announce they want separate parties—Madonna for Kate and Princess Bride for Kevin (on a side note, I was very pleased with this choice, I love that movie so much)—and Randall even throws in that he wants a magician (although you can tell he doesn’t really care). Jack and Rebecca relent and give their kids three different parties at the house. At first things appear to be going well, Kate and her girls are glamming it up and Kevin is reenacting the best Inigo Montoya moments from the film for his buddies. Then Kate goes outside and sees that only three kids showed up for Randall’s party. She is upset that none of the kids in his class came even though they were invited. But as Randall puts it, he has three really good friends and they all came so he’s happy. Then, Jack notices all the girls hanging at Kevin’s bash and he finds Kate sitting alone in a room. He tries to cheer her up with one of his dad talks (god he’s just so sweet) but it doesn’t work. The heartbreak on his face when he tells Rebecca that his parenting isn’t working was just so painful. He’s been portrayed as such a great father and having a special bond with his little girl, that the fact he can’t fix things anymore is just brutal. In the end, he and Rebecca figure out that the party was all about Kate’s friend Sophie, whom Kevin likes. Oh, and they decide that after the pre-teen drama emerging with their three kids, the thought of having any more is out the window. They do end the night with a wrapping paper fight and cake.

In the present, the Big Three are dealing with the fallout from their own recent life choices. Randall is surprised by how much energy William has and despite having a lot of work to do, he spends the afternoon with his father. They shop for sunglasses, find his favorite drink and then sit in a parking lot where William explains his childhood dream to be a cool cat like the guy who owned the record shop back in Memphis where he used to hang out. So in a sweet moment, Randall teaches hi father to drive. It was nice to see Randall loosen up a bit and not be so focused on his work.

Meanwhile, Kate decides to forgo the gastric bypass surgery (at least for now). Toby’s surgery was something of a wake-up call to her. Her doctor suggests an alternative weight loss experience but it is nothing like Kate imagined. Her expectations of a Biggest Loser-esque workout hell are dashed with horseback riding, yoga and food classes. At first she can’t even handle any of it but when she gets told off by a guy who works there (I think), she decides to give it another chance and start to focus on the issues beneath the weight.We see her flash back to seeing the difference in clothing sizes between her and Rebecca when she was 8 or 9, we see her get the nasty note at the pool and for the first time we get a glimpse of Jack’s funeral. I’ll be honest, I got emotional just seeing that. We don’t even know how it happened or when exactly (though we do get a glimpse of the Big Three around teenage years) and yet it hit me hard. It hits Kate so hard that she starts screaming. But she needed the emotional release. I think she’s ready to work out her issues now. She goes to thank the horse guy but he’s totally a dick and keeps hitting on her. He’s of the opinion that they will be hooking up despite her engaged status. Yeah, I kind of wanted to sic angry Man-ny breakdown Kevin on this dude. Seriously, if you are a decent human being, you don’t get up in someone’s business once they say they are in a relationship. That’s just not what you do. I really dislike this guy (and not just out of loyalty to Toby). He’s controlling and a bit misogynistic. Telling Kate that she’s going to give in and be with him.

Speaking of Kevin, he’s been tasked by Kate to keep Toby company while he’s still in New York on doctor’s orders. Kevin is still hemming and hawing over his romantic prospects so Toby gives him some advice: picture the woman he loves and what three sentences he’d say to her if he had just 30 seconds. We also learn that Toby is a walking rom-com directory. But hey, the advice works. It just doesn’t take us to the woman we’re expecting. He shows up on a woman’s door and says his piece (it’s kind of sweet). And then we learn that they used to be married and are now divorced. I was not expecting that at all. I was also not expecting that this woman was Sophie (although in hindsight we can see it—especially given the whole contrivance of the birthday party when they were 10). He gets her to agree to at least meet him to talk. It’s interesting that he had this part of his history we had no idea about and we are just learning about it now.

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