Tuesday, September 26, 2017

This Is Us 2.01: “A Father’s Advice”

“Sometimes in marriage someone has to be the one to push to make the big moves. And oftentimes in our marriage it was your father. Our marriage wasn’t perfect, it’s true. But none are. And your father wasn’t perfect either. But he was pretty damn close. As close as they come.”
- Rebecca

It’s been a long summer, Pearson clan but we are finally back for season 2 of “This Is Us” and I cannot wait to see what the writers have in store for us this year. When last we left the family, everyone was in a bit of a state of transition. In the present, Kate and Toby were moving in together in LA, Kevin had gone back to LA to shoot a film while Sophie stayed in New York (they are still together at this point) and Randall had quit his job and told Beth he wanted to adopt a baby. In the past, Jack and Rebecca have had their epic fight and Jack has left to go stay with Miguel and the teenage Big Three don’t know what’s going on just yet.

In the past, we see Rebecca pick up the kids the next morning and she and Jack try to explain about their separation. Kate immediately tries to side with her dad, saying she’ll go stay with him and Miguel but Jack shuts that down. The boys don’t take it much better and when Jack insists they will be fine, Rebecca isn’t ready for even hand holding. As she puts it, she needs to feel something else other than disappointment first. I have to say, this show always makes me teary eyed and this week was no different. But what did it for me is that we hear old William narrating a poem from his book that he left for Randall and it’s beautiful, as one would expect. A little later, Jack is at Miguel’s, relaying what happened and all he wants is for his friend to tell him everything will be okay. Miguel comes through eventually but Jack just looks so sad, sitting on the couch waiting for the phone the ring. Rebecca isn’t really handling things much better as she drags the kids to a movie despite there being zero interest. And as the family sits and watches the movie, we see that Randall had left the party and gone back home, catching part of his parents’ fight so he’s got information the other kids don’t. And as we know, Kate likely feel responsible because she urged her father to go be with her mother. And man, Jack is trying to find ways to win Rebecca back and it’s just not working. He goes to one of the clubs she sang at and tries to convince the owner to book Rebecca as a solo act but he refuses. The look on his face just makes your heart break. And then the big reveal comes. When Rebecca tries to get him to go home—they have things to work on but that’s okay—he tells her that he’s been drunk for weeks and he can’t go home until he’s got a handle on it. She convinces him to get in the car and then we cut to sometime in the future (it’s unclear although we know that the Big Three were seventeen at the time) to find the house a gutted mess by a fire and Jack’s wedding ring in the dash of Rebecca’s car.

In the present, the Big Three are celebrating their 37th birthdays. And while things may look good on the outside, there are chips to be found. Beth is kind of giving Randall a bit of a cold shoulder. Whether it’s the fact she had to go back to work to support the family while Randall stayed home with the girls or the whole baby fever/adoption thing, it’s unclear. But she’s just not thrilled with him. Kevin seems to be having some success with filming the movie but Sophie is stuck in New York taking care of her MS-stricken mother. Which means the double date with Toby and Kate is now an awkward trio grouping. And boy, is Toby not happy. Not having siblings, I don’t quite understand the bond that they can sometimes have but I know enough about twins to know they share a certain extra connection which is evidenced by their shorthand when Kevin just bursts into Kate and Toby’s place while they are in the middle of getting sexy. As Kate sits waiting to audition for a band, she sees all the pretty, skinny girls and flashes back to that awful day at the pool in her care bear bikini and she walks out. That night, she and Kevin are doing their twin thing again and when Toby makes a toast to tell Kate how proud is of her, she admits she bailed on the audition. He’s even more angry when he finds out that she told Kevin first. Toby is really having a tough time with Kate and Kevin’s relationship. I think them being back in the same city in LA they are sort of falling back into old habits of their codependence. Toby and Kevin get into it and Kate overhears. She decides that she doesn’t need anyone to coddle her or push her. She’s going back to the audition to wipe the floor with the competition. And damn girl can sing! She doesn’t get the part but it’s not due to her age or her weight and it’s something she can work on so she’s happy. We also get a heart to heart with Kevin and Toby where Kevin admits he kind of sucks at life but he didn’t have to try to be Kate’s brother. Hell, she told him that Jack had died.

At the adoption meeting, Beth finally gets to let some of her feelings out. She rants that Randall wants to adopt a little boy to honor his fathers’ sacrifices and commitment. Randall makes things worse by telling her that his longing isn’t going to go away so she needs to get her head around things. OH boy, he should not have said that. He goes to see Rebecca and she tells him that she didn’t want to take home another baby at first. But Jack kept pushing her, determined that baby Randall was meant to be theirs and now, obviously, she’s grateful he pushed. That may have worked with their marriage but Beth is too strong-willed to let Randall just push his desires onto her if she really doesn’t agree with them. In brief flashback, we see Beth rant to William a little about how Randall pushes people on her and how it frustrates her. Randall eventually comes to the realization that he doesn’t want to be his parents so he needs to adjust his plan. Beth might have a thought or two on that front. She takes him to William’s favorite spot (sort of in the hood) and says that if they’re going to go the adoption route, they should take in an older child that no one else would want. I like Beth’s idea and I suspect Randall will quickly come around to it, too.

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