Wednesday, October 10, 2018

This Is Us 3.03: “Katie Girls”

“You deserve more than what’s in that house.”
- Jack

This episode took us back to the aftermath of Jack and Rebecca’s disastrous first date. We quickly learn that the man who showed up with flowers on Rebecca’s doorstep was her ex-boyfriend, Alan whom she met in shop class in high school. I was kind of surprised that she would have been allowed into the class in the 1960s and 1970s given that it was seen as a masculine endeavor. But, she and Alan had three years together before he jetted off to London for a job and she decided she didn’t want to follow a guy around the world. Well, at least at that point she didn’t. Now, he convinces her to move to New York with him. She goes out to grab some celebratory champagne and runs into Jack in the grocery store. He’s a bit dejected from seeing Rebecca with another guy and then gets plain angry at his abusive father for throwing the sandwich his mother made on the floor and demanding another because it had too much pickle. Jack gives his mom an ultimatum: pack her bags and stay with a friend or stay and Jack will kill his dad. I don’t see Jack Pearson as the kind of guy who normally results to violence, but to defend someone he loves, especially against her piece of garbage father, he wasn’t kidding. Ultimately, after Jack and Rebecca have their grocery store run-in, Rebecca realizes she wants to give Jack a try and she’s more than pleasantly surprised when she sees him doing dishes—a task she always saw her mother do. By the end, they agree to go on a road trip to LA together. I just love seeing the fact that this great relationship we entered into in the pilot wasn’t as effortless as a lot of us believed. They have so much to get through to where they end up and it’s exciting.

In the present, we get a quick reaction to Kevin’s film (everyone thinks it’s pretty great and Kate is so proud of her brother) but things take a turn when Randall confronts Kate about her “piece of Dad” comment. They end up in quite the argument where he mentions adopting and she throws back that he had two biological kids before adopting Deja. A week later, Randall still hasn’t apologized and in typical Randall fashion (which he totally got from Jack), he flies across the country to be there for Kate for her egg retrieval surgery to make it up to her. As sweet a gesture as it was, he probably should have stayed home because he’s got fires to put out on the home front. Beth has been putting together a fun kitchen co-op proposal but instead of approving it, her boss ends up firing her allegedly for budgetary reasons (okay there’s the day job bleeding through). It’s unclear if she took the severance pay or not but this offshoot of the Pearson clan now has zero breadwinners. So someone is gonna have to step it up. If you believe William (thank you flashback), it needs to be Randall who puts Beth front and center. But given he now wants to run for city council to try and improve things in William’s old neighborhood, I get the feeling there is going to be some discord in this marriage.

Speaking of Kate and Toby, they are both nervous about the procedure and we get to see Toby and Randall share some time together while Kate is under the knife, bonding over their “hidden” conditions. I like that they are starting to get close. I’m honestly hoping that continues. Kate, meanwhile, is under anesthesia and she sort of hallucinates the two younger versions of herself. Young Kate is just carefree and wants to know if she maries Zach from Saved by the Bell and Teen Kate is bitter and angry following Jack’s death and keeps pushing that Kate can’t have a baby or take care of another person. Things finally settle down when Jack—sporting the look from the pre-teen Big Three era—shows up and brings ice cream. Getting to see her dad one last time give our Kate the permission she needs to wake up. She’s allayed her own fears represented by her younger selves and it turns out the procedure was a success so she and Toby are one step closer to parenthood hopefully. I’m still waiting for Toby’s downward spiral to kick in. I have a feeling the embryos may not take or something else will go wrong that will prolong him being off his medication.

And then there was Kevin. He’s doing some wrap up press stuff following the movie premiere and he invites Zoe along for an NPR interview with one of her favorite reporters. It irritated me later on the way Zoe quoted the reporter as to why she was suddenly taking an interest in what was going on with Kevin. I mean it’s good he has someone to go on the journey with him but the way she framed it made it seem very self-serving. In the NPR interview, Kevin gets asked a bunch of questions about Jack’s time in Vietnam and Kevin realizes he knows next to nothing about his father’s military service. It’s a wakeup call for him to go digging into his dad’s past. He also has a memory of being a young kid, wanting to get a toy grenade (instead of plane) and Jack kind of freaking out and yelling at him. Jack later explained to young Kevin that he was in a war and a lot of people got hurt and war isn’t a game. He gives young Kevin the opportunity to ask him questions and of course he doesn’t ask anything. But this gives us a nice springboard into Jack’s past before he met Rebecca and his time in the war. I’m very excited by the fact the show is tackling this time period as not many shows really address this era.

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