Tuesday, November 7, 2017

This Is Us 2.07: “The Most Disappointed Man”

“It is our job to protect that little girl, so we’re gonna do our job.”
- Beth

I don’t know why but since we lost William last season, I’ve almost forgotten that we have basically his whole life to back through and explore because whenever he pops up, I’m surprised (always pleasantly so although this week I was also very sad). We find Rebecca and Jack in the very early 1980s with the Big Three as infants and one-year-olds. They are trying to do everything they can to impress a social worker and a judge to allow them to formally adopt Randall. I have a sinking suspicion that things may not go their way but as the Big Three turn one, they are optimistic. Unfortunately, at this time William ends up in jail for drug use. He gives this heartbreaking speech to the judge about how a year ago his mother and girlfriend were alive and he was going to be a dad and now he is just so disappointed in himself and his life that he doesn’t much care if the judge locks him up. But the judge was moved by William’s words and pays him a visit in lock up pending sentencing. He’s going to take a chance on William and get him out and in treatment and all William has to do is make sure if he starts to think about going down a path that would lead back to jail, he’d remember the judge and make a different choice. It was beautiful. (I almost used it as a quote but I couldn’t find the judge’s name). We see that after older William gets the news about his cancer diagnosis he goes home and is about to light up when he remembers the judge’s face and then Randall shows up on his doorstep. It was all very emotional and moving and beautiful and I just want more William!

As I predicted the judge is not going to just let Jack and Rebecca adopt Randall. Despite the glowing recommendation from the social worker, the judge has questions and the social worker isn’t present so they get pushed off to another hearing date. The judge does agree to speak with Jack and Rebecca ex-parte in chambers after they approach him in the hallway. I honestly don’t think that’s going to make it any better. He flat out tells them that Randall needs to be with a Black family because Jack and Rebecca can’t prepare him for what it means to be Black. I understand that mixed race families weren’t common back in the early 80s and that race relations weren’t great but damn I don’t like this judge. Rebecca ends up sending the judge a letter and family portrait and promises that they will keep going back to court until he does his job and lets them be the family they want to be.

In the present, Randall is kind of wound up about having to take Deja to see her mom in jail. He thinks her mother is a criminal and doesn’t think she deserves to have a relationship with her daughter but Beth reminds him she is the girl’s mother. When they get there, Randall kind of snaps at Deja’s social worker, especially after he finds out Deja’s mom is bailing on the visit (which was going to be a face to face without the phone and glass separating them). But the social worker points out that her job is really hard and she recounts a story about a little girl who went deaf from an ear infection and she still hasn’t been placed. Randall ends up lying to Deja about why her mom isn’t coming. He probably thinks he’s doing the right thing but when she finds out the truth, it’s going to weaken that rust they are slowly building up. Beth is royally pissed about the whole thing and wants to keep Deja away from her mother. Randall pays Deja’s mom a visit and things get very intense. Not only does Randall get defensive when the woman assumes that Randall is married to a white woman but he’s going to defend Deja for as long as he can. He has a fight on his hands. Or so it appears at first. But as he explains to Beth when gets home, he gave Deja’s mom their number so she could talk to Deja because they may be falling for their foster daughter but they may not be the best thing for her and they have to now make the hard decisions.

Across the country, Kevin is still using and abusing booze and pills to fight off his knee pain and he’s been blowing off Sophie which is only going to last so long before she finds out what he’s doing. Or just gets fed up enough to ditch him a second time. And he’s in kind of a haze when he pays Kate and Toby a visit and they share the news that she’s pregnant (now at ten weeks. Every episode we inch a little closer to the end of the first trimester). Kate notices Kevin is off but can’t put her finger on what it is. But, she doesn’t have time to worry about her brother because Toby is freaking out about telling his very Catholic mother that she’s going to be a grandma and that the baby was conceived out of wedlock. Kate’s solution: go to the courthouse and get married right then. They get their marriage license at City Hall and as Kate goes on about all the things they won’t have to do for a wedding now (dress shopping, figuring out a father/daughter dance and walking down the aisle and countless people saying that Jack would have loved the day), you just tell that Toby isn’t thrilled with all of this. He’s showy by nature and I suspect he wanted the big wedding. Meanwhile, Kevin busy three engagement rings for Sophie (while likely drunk and high on pain meds) in a scene directly calling back to Jack drunkenly buying the moon necklace for Rebecca all those years ago. Sitting at home, Toby ends up having their weird conversation with Jack’s urn and he realizes that he needs to propose to Kate and so he does and it’s appropriately Toby and cheesy and Kate loves it. And she realizes that she wants the whole big wedding experience. Hope they can get married within 60 days because that’s how long marriage certificates are typically valid for! Too bad Kevin’s life is just spiraling horribly out of control. He ends up ranting about how his vision of their future is a nightmare and he’s just an empty shell and ends up getting the door slammed in his face.

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