Wednesday, February 15, 2017

This Is Us 1.15: “Jack Pearson’s Son”

“We’re talking about getting married this summer and there’s still so much we don’t know about each other.”
- Toby

This week’s episode of “This Is Us” not only fell on Valentine’s Day but we find Jack and Rebeca in the past on Valentine’s Day. She’s about to go on tour the following week and she’s frantically trying to get everything ready so the household can function. Jack insists that he can handle everything while she’s away. But, deep down he doesn’t want her to go. Still, he’s a good husband and he wants his wife to be happy so he stays quiet. But slowly, things start to unravel for the Pearsons. Rebecca gets home to hear the kids talking. Randall is freaking out about a Hamlet essay (we see the beginnings of his anxiety and panic attacks as far back as 16) and Kate outs Kevin for having sex with Sophie. Rebecca and Jack are not happy about this (the talk was super awkward) and Rebecca doesn’t think she can go. But, after a little needling from Miguel (who is trying to move on from his wife), Jack ends up talking to Ben (the lead singer in the band) and finds out that he and Rebecca are exes. Jack cancels their Valentine’s Day dinner and kind of loses his mind. Rebecca says she didn’t tell him because it was a 2-month relationship when she was 19 and she knew Jack would lose his mind. He ends up going out to their dinner spot and has a drink for the first time in probably 16 years. I have to admit, I’m not disappointed in Jack very often but that scene broke my heart a little.

What also broke my heart was adult Randall’s continued descent into madness. He’s so stressed with work and William that he’s not sleeping again. He’s rambling to himself at home about work stuff and then when Beth’s mother falls and breaks her hip, prompting Beth to leave town unexpectedly, Randall really starts to fall apart. William is also declining rather quickly and while you can see Randall wants to be there, he can’t miss work stuff. But even when he’s at work, he can’t handle it and the new guy has to step in. I really worry about Randall’s job prospects moving forward. The boss seems kind of uninterested in Randall’s issues. Randall really does need to just take some family leave to deal with everything going on at home. But we know he’s too driven to do that and accept help.

On a slightly less stressful note, we see Kate go to Duke’s cabin. She ends up telling him and reminding herself that while she’s got her issues, she’s awesome deep down and she’s not going to let him tell her otherwise. This is all well and good until he reveals that he can be such a dick because his parents own the place and Kate gets kicked out. So she ends up at Toby’s hotel room, apologizing and agreeing that they should really get to know each other before they walk down the aisle. It is going to be a deep dive. It starts out simple and innocent enough as Toby is shopping for some new clothes for Kevin’s play opening. But then Kate asks about Toby contemplating suicide. He gets real with her in a coffee shop, saying he struggled with depression in his teens when his parents got divorced and then when he divorced from his wife, he really thought about harming himself. He didn’t go out and buy a gun or anything like but he would get drunk and count up all the extra painkillers he had lying around wonder if it was enough to do the job. But he got into therapy and he’s in a much better place these days. In return, he asks her why she doesn’t talk about Jack’s death so much. She starts to shut down but then admits she wants to share it with him but it’s been a huge block for so long and she’s not quite there yet to being able to talk about it. I think once Kate is able to actually deal with Jack’s death, she will be able to move forward in not only her weight loss journey but her life in general. And as they get ready to head in for Kevin’s show, they agree to have a longer engagement so that when they do tie the knot, they are able to talk about everything.

And in and amongst all of this is Kevin. He’s freaking out about the opening of the play. He has a recurring dream about being interviewed by Katie Couric and it goes horribly. He gets a call from Sophie saying she can’t make the opening but that’s probably not the worst. He’s not ready to tell his family he’s sort of cautiously dating his ex-wife. But as he tries to reach out to various family members to help him calm his nerves (first Kate and then Randall) he really starts to doubt himself and spiral. He goes to try and talk to Rebecca but she’s not home. So he actually gets a decent speech and some encouragement from Miguel. Miguel tells Kevin that he reminds Miguel of Jack a lot. And when he’s nervous or freaking out, Kevin just needs to remember that he is Jack Pearson’s son and think about what his dad would do. Oh and for the record, Kevin doesn’t not like Miguel. I still distrust the guy but it was a decent speech. He really puts it to good use when he’s about to go out on stage for the first act of the play, but then we see him leave Sloane standing on the stage alone. It isn’t nerves this time. He got a very weird call from Randall and he knows something is not right with his brother. So we see Kevin running through the city to Randal’s office to find his brother sitting basically catatonic on his office floor. For once, Kevin finally did the right thing!

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