Wednesday, September 26, 2018

This Is Us 3.01: “Nine Bucks”

“I don’t like talking about the war or my brother. It makes me sad. It makes me angry. But, I like talking to you a lot. You make me feel like I’m home.”
- Jack

It feels like it’s been forever since we last shared time with the Pearsons. But, we are finally back and it feels great! And as has become customary, we join the Big Three on their birthday! In case you forgot, we ended last season with Kate and Toby’s wedding along with some quick flashes to the future with Kevin and Zoe (Beth’s cousin) heading to Vietnam, Kate and Toby dealing with what appears to be a resurgence of Toby’s depression and in the far future, a grown-up Tess and Randall were going off to see “her”.

We get glimpses of the direct aftermath of Kate and Toby’s wedding: Randall and Beth finding Deja has smashed the car, Kevin and Zoe hooking up for the first time and Toby ad Kate deciding to try for another baby. Out of the three, I’d say Randall and Beth have best outcome as of the ending of this episode. Deja has been in therapy but it doesn’t seem to be helping much. She’s still hurt that Shauna gave up her rights. But, Randall thinks he’s got an idea to fix things so he brings Deja to the building he and Beth bought and shares the fact that adoption shaped and influenced his life in a lot of ways. This is a long-winded way of telling her that the Pearsons want to adopt her but only if she chooses. It appears that Deja isn’t keen on the idea but after she visits her father (whose never been in her life and may or may not even know of her existence), her attitude changes. She realizes that she’s found a family that loves her and wants to support her. I’m looking forward to seeing this storyline develop.

Tangentially related is Kevin and Zoe. They both know that Beth would freak out if she found out about them. We assume Beth just doesn’t trust Kevin with a member of her family. But after she and Zoe get into a yelling match, Beth eventually reveals to Kevin that she really does love him a lot. She doesn’t show it but she does and she cares about him which is why she’s worried about him and Zoe. She fears her cousin is going to break Kevin and Beth doesn’t want to see that happen to her brother-in-law. To be honest, that’s not the reaction and reveal I was expecting out of Beth. I know we are getting more of Beth’s backstory so I hope that we get to see more of Zoe’s past, too. Hopefully it will enlighten us more about her character and what is going to unfold with her and Kevin as they eventually take that trip to Vietnam.

And then there was Kate and Toby. Since the wedding they’ve been trying to conceive and it hasn’t happened. Kate eventually gets diagnosed with PCOS and it turns out Toby’s sperm count is low, likely due to the antidepressants he’s on. Immediately I knew this wasn’t going to end well. They go to see a fertility specialist who declines to take them on as patients because of Kate’s weight and age and the likelihood of a successful pregnancy being so low. Kate mopes through her birthday party and she and Toby are in agreed to ‘screw IVF” when the doctor calls back and changes her mind. She wants to give then hope and do the impossible. This is going to be an interesting storyline. I like that they are focusing on issues that aren’t talked about a lot in the media. I’m less thrilled about the fact Toby has flushed his meds down the toilet and not told Kate about it. We also get another clue to the far future storyline when Randall calls Toby and asks him to join them. Now I’m thinking it might be Kate they’re talking about.

In the past, we get to witness Jack and Rebecca’s first date. If you thought it was going to be all sunshine and puppies, you’d be wrong. In typical Jack Person fashion, he wants to show Rebecca a great time but he’s only got nine bucks (thanks Miguel) in his pocket when they head to a nearby carnival. He blows all but two of it on entrance a snack for Rebecca. When it starts raining, he can’t afford the umbrella (if he got one, they couldn’t do any games) and so the date kind of takes a bad turn. They’re standing under an awning as the rain comes down. And it appears at first blush they have nothing in common. He’s a dog person. She’s into cats. He likes pepperoni on his pizza, she’s more of a mushroom girl. He can’t even share much about himself because he doesn’t want to talk about the war or the fact he lost his brother overseas (I’m really hoping that Kevin and Zoe’s trip reveals that Nick is somehow still alive). As Jack goes to drop Rebecca off at home, he admits the truth of why the date was such a disaster. She agrees it was a bad date but she can’t help liking the way he looks at her. And then she does something she’s never done on a first date: she kisses him. She also leaves an item in the car so he has to return it the next day (apparently that’s a thing girls did back in the 70s). But again, this isn’t a smooth road. As Jack shows up the next day, the other guy that Rebecca went on a date with shows up with a bigger bouquet of flowers than what Jack could afford. And so, as he seems them together, he drives off. Don’t stop fighting for her, Jack!

I didn’t cry as much in this episode as I usually do, which hopefully means the writers were telling the truth when they said this season would be lighter and funnier. There were some adorable moments throughout the episode (pieces of Jack and Rebecca’s date, Randall’s excitement over the new shoes Deja got him, Kevin chatting with Tess and Annie) and I’m excited to see what’s next for this wonderful family. It’s good to be home.

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