Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This Is Us 1.18: “Moonshadow”

“You weren’t just my love story, Rebecca. You were my big break. And our love story, I know it may not feel like it right now, but baby I promise you it’s just getting started.”
- Jack

Like many “This Is Us” fans, I’m not ready to say goodbye to the Pearson clan. But alas, we must. On the bright side, we know we have them in our lives for at least 36 more episodes (season 2 and 3)! We pick up where we left Jack, drunk and on the road to Rebecca’s show per Kate’s request. And as he’s drinking and driving, we get a glimpse at him and Rebecca back in the early 1970s before they even met. Jack is baby faced and with shorter hair and lord does he look young! He’s recently back from Vietnam as a mechanic and one of the old ladies he’s helping with her car wants to set him up with her best friend’s granddaughter. Enter Rebecca who is singing open mic nights on weeke3nds and who has just recorded a demo. She bemoans that fact that everyone (her mother, grandmother and friends included) are trying to set her up with people. She wants to just focus on her music! It appears that Jack is still living at home with his mother and asshat of a father. But he and his buddy have dreams of owning their own auto body shop. Jack thinks his buddy’s cousin’s high stakes poker game is just what they need but somehow, I can’t imagine that working out well. Sure, enough Jack wins like $1500 but the card game leader’s goons rough up Jack and take the money back after they leave. But both Jack and Rebecca seem to agree to go on a date with each other and I can’t imagine it won’t go well. But it turns out I was wrong. They haven’t been set up with each other! While Rebecca waits for her blind date at the restaurant (some rich guy named Ethan), Jack and his buddy are going to rob the bar and get their money back. Oh Jack, stop making bad decisions! Luckily, Rebecca runs out on her boring date because she just needs to sing and ends up at the bar that Jack is going to rob. The money is sitting right there in his reach and he is just so captivated by Rebecca on stage that he can’t focus on anything else. Damn their meet cute was adorable! I’m so happy that Jack didn’t go through with the robbery (although his buddy was probably a bit confused).

Jack makes it to the gig in one piece but continues to drink as he sits there at the bar. Back stage, Rebecca is kind of freaking out about the size of the crowd when Ben tries to make a move on her. Don’t be messing with Jack Pearson’s woman now! She exclaims that Jack was right and she storms out, right past Jack at the bar. Oh boy! Jack is decidedly wasted when he goes to look for Rebecca (who is leaving him a sweet message on the house answering machine). He even takes a couple swings at Ben when he finds him. Jack is just not in a good place right now and it’s breaking my heart. I know he’s only human but to see him hurting and so vulnerable is just gut-wrenching. Rebecca is through with the band and insists on driving Jack home but she won’t accept his apology (or anything he has to say) while he’s drunk.

All the years of pent up anger and frustration and hurt feelings come to the surface as Jack admits to drinking for the last few weeks. Things quickly devolve into a shouting match where neither of them are listening to each other. Rebecca then challenges Jack to tell her one thing he loves about her the way she is now. He can’t and she storms off to bed. I suppose this had to happen given the stress we’ve seen the two of them under the last few episodes but damn! I can’t imagine what it was like filming those scenes for them. But the next morning, when Jack starts to apologize, Rebecca cuts him off. She says that they both meant what they said the night before and they need some time apart so he should go stay with Miguel. Oh come on! Don’t fall apart on me now, Pearsons!

Jack gets ready to go and Rebecca is now fretting what to tell the kids. Jack says they should tell them the truth because they’ll be fine. We glimpse the Big Three in the present as they start to make some big live changes. Kate and Toby are now back in LA and she wants to sing. Kevin is going to meet with Ron Howard about the part but he still seems committed to making things with Sophie work. And Randall, fresh off quitting his job and losing his other father informs Beth that he wants to adopt a baby. All the while, Jack is recounting all the things he loves about Rebecca now. Her crazy dancing, her fierce motherhood and her spirit. He thinks they are going to be okay and good lord I hope so! Rebecca tears up as Jack leaves, clutching the moon pendant in her hand tight. I am both hopeful and anxious about what faces the Pearson clan when we return in season 2. I feel like there are so many questions, like how much time will have passed? Are the Big Three really going to prosper on the next steps of their journeys as adults? Will Jack and Rebecca reconcile before Jack’s death? Never have I felt so connected to characters as I have on this show. It’s bene such a beautiful glimpse into the lives of these ordinary people and I have loved every minute of it. I can’t wait to spend more time watching Kate and Kevin and Randall grow and Jack and Rebecca love one another so dearly.

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