Friday, November 23, 2018

This Is Us 3.08: “Six Thanksgivings”

“You need to take that fight and show your kids that you are still their father.”
- Jack

We have reached our Thanksgiving episode of season three. Based on the previews it looks like it’s going to be quite the emotional one! This year we got see Thanksgiving throughout the years with different members of the Pearson family (and some extended family), In Vietnam, Jack is still trying to sort out what has got Nicky in such a funk. Nick refuses to sit down with everyone for turkey and then he refuses a direct order from Jack when he goes to bandage the foot of the little boy whose mom currently has Kevin’s necklace. Jack ends up helping the little boy and the woman gives him the necklace as a thank you. When Jack confronts his brother, we get a little insight into Nicky’s time at war. His first commanding officer was too nice to the villagers and they betrayed him, ultimately getting the officer killed. Nicky also related a weird story of how the officer got the rest of the guys to stop giving Nicky crap. It involved a decapitated chicken. But at least Jack has some idea of what his baby brother has seen.

Not long before Jack dies, the Pearsons celebrate their last thanksgiving as a family. The Big Three have been at each other’s throats so Jack hopes this will help mellow them out a little. It turns out, Kevin and Kate or busy teasing Randall about his college essay topic. He has to write about the person who influenced his life the most. Everyone keeps telling him to use the easy answer of the fireman who found him. Miguel is joining them for dinner but he’s not having the best of times. He’s recently split from his wife and his kids don’t want to talk to him. As eh watches the Pearson clan enjoy each other’s company he kind of freaks out and needs a Jack pep talk to get his head on straight. Jack tells him that Miguel sacrificed a lot to provide for his family and he can still be in his kids’ lives. He just has to fight for them. By the end of dinner, Randall reads the essay he’s written that notes he’s met too many people to pick just one but if he absolutely had to, it would be the firefighter.

We then find William and Jesse as they are starting their romance. I am still always surprised when William pops up. I don’t know why and I know I shouldn’t be. There is still so much of his story left to tell and I’m always glad to see him. He finds Jesse at the liquor store on Thanksgiving and invites him over. Jesse admits that he loved cocaine and it did ruin his life and he’s not super happy about being clean. But, when William invites him to a jazz night, he does show up. At first William thinks Jesse isn’t interested or his misread signals but Jesse assures him the woman he shows up with is his cousin. I definitely want to see more of their story unfold!

In the present, we have several threads going on simultaneously. Randall, Beth, Annie and Deja are heading out to serve dinner to the homeless while Tess stays home not feeling well with Kate and Toby who are in charge of making dinner. Rebecca and Miguel are going to his daughter’s for dinner and then to Randall’s for dessert. Miguel thinks he is a pity invite since his ex-wife is spending the holiday with her new husband’s family. It’s very easy to see why we haven’t seen his kids until now. They are downright awful to their dad. I wasn’t thrilled when Miguel and Rebecca got married but he’s slowly grown on me, especially since we now know he and Rebecca reconnected a decade after Jack’s passing. I suspect they’ve only been married a few years. It makes me feel a lot better about their relationship. But when Miguel’s son accuses Rebecca of stealing their dad away from their mom, Miguel’s had enough. He sets his kids straight that he tried to stay in contact and in their lives but they never responded so he gave up. And then his ex-wife got remarried and then he and Rebecca reconnected. He tells them to respect his wife. You go man!

Back at Randall’s, dinner isn’t going so well. Toby is trying so hard to make thing go right because he’s taking the small victories as he continues to adjust to his new medication. Kate tells him not to stress because they are going to be great. She also gets to have a motherly moment with Tess when Toby runs into Tess in the bathroom trying to figure out pads and tampons. She’s gotten her first period. So, Kate gets to share her embarrassing first time with Tess and then we learn some interesting news about the oldest Pearson grandkid: she might be gay or bisexual. She begs Kate not to say anything to Randall and Beth. This also makes me curious about the “her” in the future since it’s Tess who is going to with Randall and Toby.

Lastly, we see Randall and the rest of the family at the shelter. Randall’s campaign manager is happy that Beth moved locations and then she shoots down the idea of doing a photo op for Randall. She doesn’t think the people who showed up want to be seen getting handouts. Then it becomes clear that Randall has been siding with Beth because she’s his wife and he thinks she needs the wins. She’s not happy about that and he ends up sort of alienating his campaign manager, too. Oh Randall. We also see Deja flash back to get handouts when she was with her mom and she’s giving out more food than she was told to. She also ends up exchanging holiday messages with her mom. I like how she fits in with the other girls in the family. I would have loved to see Tess be able to go to her about period stuff. That would have been a fun sisterly bonding moment, too. I really did like this episode and was pleasantly surprised by the stories we got. It gets me in a good place for the fall finale next week.

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