Tuesday, October 31, 2017

This Is Us 2.06: “The 20’s”

“Sometimes babies die right in the beginning. But your dad and I had all this room in our hearts for three babies and we met you. So yeah, you are a miracle.”
- Rebecca

Happy Halloween Pearson clan! It’s time to celebrate another holiday with our favorite family. It’s 1990 and Rebecca is furiously trying to get everyone’s costumes ready while Jack comes home to help carve pumpkins. It’s a little hard to tell if this takes place before or after last episode’s camping trip but even if it’s after, I suspect the good will between Kevin and Randall has dissipated because Kevin thinks Randall’s map and plan of getting candy is stupid and he just wants to hang out with his friends. Kate changes her mind at the last minute to be Sandy from Grease (pretty Sandy not tough Sandy) and it becomes evident later on that she’s trying to impress a boy. According to Kevin, she is hoping the boy will hold her hand during a haunted house in the neighborhood. Jack is clearly not happy about his baby girl liking a boy and there is definitely some tension between him and Rebecca on how they treat the kids, Kate and Randall specifically. And they aren’t wrong about each other either. Ultimately, Kate gets her hand squeezed by the cute boy and Jack sees that Kevin paid him off in candy to do so. It’s sweet that Kevin did that for his sister but at the same time, it kind of is enabling her. And while Jack is dealing with the stirrings of young love, Rebecca has a much harder task ahead of her. She tries to get Randall to be spontaneous and improvise and it leads to a very serious discussion thanks to one of the neighbors telling Randall he was miracle because Rebecca and Jack had lost their third baby. So now, Rebecca has to explain to Randall all on her own that their third baby died but that Randall wasn’t a replacement. It was beautiful and moving.

And as young Randall exhibits somewhat OCD tendencies in his youth, we also see him in the wake of his nervous breakdown in 2008. Beth is one day away from delivering Tess and Randall isn’t exactly doing well. Rebecca is flying in to help out and be there for the birth of her first grandchild. The fact that Miguel didn’t come with her makes me question when they even got together. Randall is trying to install a ceiling fan but it just isn’t working. And Beth is worried that he’s not the same and they’ve just been super polite to each other the last few months. Rebecca insists that Randall is stronger than he appears but Beth doubts it. Things all come to a head when Randall is out getting a replacement fan and Beth goes into labor. It takes some sage advice from the hardware store clerk that snaps Randall out of his haze. I did find it moving how Randall kind of saw parenthood, that at six months gestation babies start to dream and he wasn’t sure he could handle being in charge of a whole person. But in the end, he and Rebecca are there for Beth and do a successful home delivery. A little later, Rebecca has dropped a teacup and she shares with Randall that all of these new milestones in their lives are going to be bittersweet. They’re happy but they will always be sad without Jack.

Meanwhile, Kate is working in a diner while going to night school. She’s got a cute customer who flirts with her and kind of invites her out to a local bar. He’s kind of surprised when she shows up but he then asks her if they can go somewhere. They end up hooking up and Kate reveals that she knows he’s married. But she thought she would just take a chance on something and hope it would feel right afterwards. Clearly it didn’t, although their whole conversation is interrupted by Rebecca calling about Tess. I’ hoping this is the catalyst for Kate and Kevin to team up. I’ve never been a fan of their codependency issues but he’s kind of hopeless without her (even in present day). And speaking of Kevin, he’s still a struggling actor (not having yet landed the Manny) and his roommate just got cast in a big film and he acts kind of ridiculous at a cast party. He’s trying to get the director to let him read for the part his roommate got and he’s just super upset that he’s washing women’s hair while waiting for pilot season. His looks can only get him so far and he knows it. He really is the most insecure of the Big Three. Not to say they don’t all have their issues because they do but even a short time ago (eight years really isn’t that long) he was really not doing well. But then again, Kate’s been sitting in her car at the site of their old house as if Jack would somehow come back if she waited there.

And as everyone gathers to see the new baby, we get a whole lot of blanks filled in. We see Rebecca in both the very distant past (when the Big Three were born) talking to baby Randall and also Rebecca in 2008 talking to baby Tess. We see Kevin and Kate admit their lives suck and we see Kate move out to LA to help Kevin out and we get to see that Miguel is in fact not in the picture at this point because they haven’t spoken since 2000 (based on Miguel’s message to her that notes they haven’t seen each other in eight years). So, that solidifies a few things for me. Rebecca spent much of her life after Jack’s death mourning his loss and Miguel didn’t just swoop in to get his best friend’s wife. The writer said we would eventually not hate Miguel and damn it if they aren’t true to their word.

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