Wednesday, October 25, 2017

This Is Us 2.05: “Brothers”

“It would be so easy for you to be nice to him but it takes you more energy and causes more trouble being mean to him like you are. So, why can’t you be nic3e to him?”
- Jack

Well, Kate’s happy news from the ned of last week’s episode is perhaps the only bright spot in this episode. And even that had a bit of a damper put on it by Kate and all of her fears. She’s now eight weeks along and she’s finally able to tell Toby the good news. He’s beyond excited and happy about the news but she begs him to temper his excitement and hope because there are a million ways it could go wrong for them given her weight and age. But, after she gets into an argument with one of the people at her weight loss therapy group and the gets into a fender bender with her, Kate shares the news of her pregnancy (she was momentarily terrified she’d done something in the accident to harm the embryo. This gives Kate the boost she needs to let Toby share the news with random strangers. Which he does in typical over-the-top Toby fashion.

While Kate and Toby are sort of sharing their happy news, things with Kevin and Randall are a little tougher: especially for Kevin. He’s in New York for a gala event where he’s being “auctioned off” for a date to raise money. He makes a somewhat stupid and insensitive comment to Randall about wanting to be auctioned off (sometimes Kevin doesn’t think). Anyway, Randall is going to gala and Deja expresses interest in attending. Randall thinks it is a good idea and a chance for him to connect with her. Beth is skeptical, especially since she thinks (and rightly so) that the girl is crushing hard on Kevin. But, Deja gets all dressed up and they go to the gala. While trying some shrimp cocktail (presumably for the first time), Randall makes a move to stop her from eating the tail and she flinches and runs off to the bathroom. Meanwhile, Kevin has run out of his pain meds and so now he’s medicating with alcohol, which Sophie notices and warns him to pace himself. He clearly doesn’t listen because he’s pretty hammered at the event and he even totally misses the auction. He’s off having a very angry conversation with his doctor about the fact they can’t refill his prescription because they already gave him one refill more than they should have. Kevin is just sliding down his father’s (and grandfather’s) destructive path and it’s kind of heartbreaking to watch. At least Deja manages to open up to Randall in the bathroom (Randall preparing to go in was pretty hilarious). I’m glad she was finally able to put into words why she feels so uncomfortable with people (men specifically) touching her. And it’s as sad as we expected. She suffered physical abuse at one of her last foster homes.

Back in the 1980s when the Big Three are around nine or ten, Jack decides to take the boys on a camping trip to try and strengthen their brotherly bond while Rebecca and Kate plan a fun girls’ weekend of manicures and movies. Rebecca and Kate’s movie-going is quickly put on hold by a call from the nursing home where Jack’s father resides. He’s dying and Rebec a decides to go since Jack isn’t around. She doesn’t have a lot of interaction with her father-in-law. He lies in bed not speaking for most of it. When she finally gets in touch with Jack at the campground (oh the difficulties of reaching people before the era of cell phones) he has no interest in saying any goodbyes to the man who tortured him as a child. In a rare young Jack flashback, we see him in the car with his father going on a fishing trip. His father decides he needs a beer (or several) and pulls into a tavern, leaving young Jack alone in the car. Jack is sure his dad will come back but until he does, he’ll have to content himself with looking after his younger brother Nick! The fact that Jack had a little brother (who if Jack’s late-night trip to the garage to look at Vietnam photos is any indication may be dead) makes his desire to get Randall and Kevin to get along all that more poignant. He knows what it’s like to have a brotherly relationship and he just wants that for his boys. I’m not sure he’s going to get it before he passes, though. Hell, even as adults they don’t get along that well. At the campsite, the boys are setting up the tent and Kevin purposely lets it collapse on Randall. Jack sends Kevin into the tent (once it’s put back up properly) as punishment. And when Jack goes to try and talk to Kevin about why he’s so mean to his brother, Kevin doesn’t want to talk about it. In fact, we know he’s really good at hiding and not dealing with his feelings. But later, while Randall and Jack are cooking hot dogs over the camp fire, Kevin finds Randall’s notebook where Randall has noted all sorts of things that Kevin likes in an attempt to get his brother to like him. While it may not be a permanent fix for their brotherly bond, it’s enough to get them toasting marshmallows together with Jack.

While I wasn’t moved to tears entirely this week (which is a rarity with this show) I did like that we got see some new facets of Jack’s character and pieces of his past that make him the man he is today. I’m kind of anxious to see him back in the 1990s dealing with his alcohol recovery. He’s already told Rebecca about taking money his father. I wonder if she knows about his brother. I can imagine Jack deciding that his brother (and that possible loss) weren’t worth mentioning to Rebecca because they were part of the past he was trying to forget.

No comments:

Post a Comment