Sunday, November 4, 2018

This Is Us 3.06: “Kamsahamnida”

“I’m curious about Dad, too, but Vietnam that was a chapter in his life he didn’t want us to know about.”
- Randall

This episode of “This Is Us” saw a bunch of present-day storylines continue to move forward which I think is a good thing. And we got to see a glimpse into a period in the past we haven’t seen quite yet. The Big Three are about 12 years old and Jack comes home with a black eye from boxing at the gym. Rebecca kind of freaks out about the whole thing and he promises to only hit the punching bag from now on. His promise doesn’t last long because Randall tells Jack he’s being bullied at school and he wants to be able to defend himself. Jack agrees to give his son some lessons without telling Rebecca but she finds out anyway and she again gets upset. They both then end up confused when they discover Randall lied about the bully. When Jack confronts him, Randall admits he just wanted a piece of his dad that Kevin got biologically. In typical Jack fashion, he reminds his son that his secret weapon his is mind. I was also kind of surprised that in the end, Jack related a story to Rebecca about him and Nicky boxing as kids. The look on her face says “you’ve never told me about him before” and I think that’s just great. We also find the whole family watching boxing on TV and Jack points out that sometimes when an opponent is hurt really bad, they put on a big smile to fake out the other guy.

That advice comes back to help Randall later on. He goes to Philly for church and gets called out by his opponent. It’s all gracious and covered in a façade of friendliness but Randall sees it for what it is. He’s not going to win the black neighborhood. When Kevin drops by to inundate his brother with all of the stuff he’s been digging up about Jack and Vietnam, Randall realizes he needs to take a different approach. He does a little research and finds out the Korean population in the neighborhood barely votes. And also, they apparently love the Manny in South Korea. So, they use Kevin’s fame to set up a voter registration table. Randall gets to give an impassioned speech that touches the residents to show that he does care about them and what they need and want. Randall even manages to get a new campaign manager out of it, too. I am excited to see what happens with this new character. I liked that he really seemed impressed with Randall after Randall got his 75-year-old grandmother who’d never voted in her life to register.

While Randall is off having his campaign drama, we see Beth is still struggling with being unemployed. She’s been trying to hide the fact that she’s not dealing with it from Randall and the girls but when they go out to try and sell girl scout cookies, she ends up snapping at Tess (who admittedly is being kind of a brat). Beth goes to apologize but Deja has quite a few words of wisdom. I’m so glad they kept her character on the show and have made her part of the family. She really has an interesting way of seeing things and her life experience really shines through in this conversation with Beth. She reminds Beth that Randall is head over heels in love with her and he’ll be there to support her and remind her of how awesome she is. He does that when he gets home but she’s just not feeling it. He then decides to offer her a job on his campaign team. Not as a pity job but because he knows they work so well together and he realizes having her with him was the missing piece to the puzzle. Later that day, Randall goes to see his opponent and we see him smile big when Randall exclaims that he’s going to win Koreatown. Randall knows he’s hit his opponent hard and he’s just covering. Even all these years after they lost Jack, his presence is still being felt and I love it.

And lest we forget about Kate, she and Toby are still dealing with the fall out of Toby being off his medication. Even though he’s on the meds now, it is taking a long time to recalibrate and he’s just really struggling. Kate calls Rebecca a whole bunch for advice and I like that their relationship is in a place where she can do that and accept what her mom has to say. Since the wedding, I feel like Kate and Rebecca have started to become closer and have a stronger mother-daughter bond. Kate isn’t sure if she should push Toby or let him do things at his own pace. It seems that letting him do things his own way isn’t really working. And as Kate laments this to her mom on the phone while walking the dog, said puppy gets into a bag of garbage and ends up eating a rock. So now she has to worry about what to do about the dog. Ultimately, the dog is fine. But, we get some really good insight into Toby’s character. While Kate is at the vet, Toby showers and gets dressed but he’s still not feeling better. As he tells Kate, he hoped going through the motions would make him want to do things but it doesn’t. He almost gets out of going for another walk with Kate and the dog when she just tells him he should go on the walk. So not coddling him seems to be the answer. He also worries that Kate is going to eventually leave him given his depression 9and that’s what happened with his first wife). Kate insists she’s not going anywhere because she agreed to be with him in sickness and in health and for better or worse. Her life has been kind of crappy at times but she thinks it’s made her stronger and she’s determined to stand by her man, no matter what.

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