Wednesday, April 3, 2019

This Is Us 3.18: "Her"

“I’ll tell you one thing. I don’t think we figure out who we are all at once. I think it happens over a long period of time, piece by piece.”
- Kevin

Oh man, I was not expecting that ending of the episode! Before we can get there, though, we need to take a look at the drama unfolding for the Pearson clan in the present and briefly in the past. We find the Big Three as preteens and Rebecca ends up in a car accident due to careless driving. She’s banged up and has a broken arm. Her injuries freak the kids out a bit, as does her speech thanks to the pain meds. She insists Jack take them home and he does so but that just doesn’t go well. I’m not sure how or why Jack is so inept with parenting in this episode. I suppose it could be still around the time he saw Nicky so he could just be off. But, ultimately, he takes the kids back to the hospital and convinces a bleary-eyed nurse to let them see Rebecca before visiting hours start. This actually ends up tying more into the future storyline but we’ll get there in a minute.

In the present, Kate and Toby are still dealing with baby Jack in the NICU. He’s now two weeks old and has started to breathe on his own. Still, he may forget so they just need to tap his foot to startle him to remind him he needs to keep breathing. I don’t know if I had that problem, but I know my heart would stop sometimes when I was fed so similar scariness of preemies! Rebecca is dutifully taking notes on everything and asking the doctor a zillion questions which kind of annoys Kate. Then, when Jack stops breathing and alarms go off, Kate slightly panics and then Rebecca remembers what to do and the baby is fine. Kate snaps at h3er mother which sends Rebecca home. Kate ends up apologizing to her mom. So for now, it seems, they are in a good place.

That leaves us with Kevin and Randall, whose stories are somewhat intertwined. Randall has to take Deja to a debate tournament while Beth goes to teach ballet classes. Kevin and Zoe agree to watch Tess and Annie which leads to Kevin realizing he does still want kids. Especially after he gets to give Tess a pretty good speech about how you figure out who you are over time through different life experiences. Kevin also observes Zoe with Annie and thinks Zoe would make a great mom. But, later that night, she confirms that she in fact never wants to be a mom. I suspect she’s one of those people who likes being around other people’s kids but doesn’t want her own. Kevin finally acknowledges that he does in fact want kids some day and thus they end up breaking up again.

It turns out that Deja is a bit crafty. She took Randall on a long car ride to deliver a speech of her own, much like when he wanted her to sign the adoption papers. She brings him to the worst foster home she was in. The parents were abusive and took in too many kids just for the money so they could scratch lotto tickets. This is all to say that Randall and Beth need to sort their stuff out because she and Tess can feel the tension. And she thinks Randall “won the lottery” when he got adopted and when he met Beth. As Randall processes the wise words from his oldest daughter (she really is a pretty wise girl), he calls up his campaign manager to ask a question I was honestly surprised he would ask. He wants to know the procedure to resign. Unbeknownst to him, Beth is reevaluating some things on her end, too. We see her meet with a realtor in Philly and in true This Is Us fashion we think it means she’s looking at houses. But when she gets home, she tells Randall she wants to open her own dance studio in Philly so they can move there and that way Randall doesn’t have to give up his political aspirations and she can teach dance how she wants to.

This leads us to the future storyline we’ve been wondering about all season. We know from prior hints that it’s set probably 10-20 years in the future given Tess being a grown-up and social worker. We know that folks are gathering to see Rebecca. We quickly see Tess, Randall and Beth catch up with one another and it seems that Beth and Randall are in fact in a good place (as also evidenced by how things went down in the present). I am a little confused about why Deja and Annie aren’t around but who knows, maybe they are coming. Toby arrives, too, and says that he talked to Jack and “they” are on their way. That does not say that he is with Kate, although it could. We don’t know. It makes me wonder a little if Toby and Kate are no longer together. We also learn that everyone is gathering at Kevin’s huge house. We also meet a nameless child who it sounds like is Kevin’s son. So he eventually becomes a dad, too. We have no idea who his mom is (other than we know it isn’t Zoe). And then, Randall goes to see Rebecca and she is very old and it seems like she doesn’t remember Randall. Whether it’s just old age or dementia is yet another question to be answered. Perhaps the biggest twist in the future storyline is that it is not Miguel sitting vigil by Rebecca’s bedside. It’s Uncle Nicky! Okay, I was not expecting that and I need to know how Nicky ends up there given how much he brushed off the rest of the family when last we saw him. I did like how this scene was cut to show young Randall walking into Rebecca’s hospital room in the past. It was very well done. Now we just have to wait six months to see what happens next!