Thursday, October 17, 2019

This Is Us 4.04: “Flip A Coin”

“So, I picked up a book and started a new chapter, in every sense of the phrase.”
- Carol

There wasn’t a huge leap of forward momentum in this week’s episode, but it still took a few small shuffles forward on several storylines. In the past, we see Rebecca and Beth’s mom, Carol, meet during parents’ weekend. They actually end up sharing their respective stories of loss. Rebecca rambles on about what she’s lost and Carol just sits there listening, all stoic (Beth and Randall had made a semi award retreat to class by that point). Rebecca ends up being in awe of Carol’s ability to be so strong. Carol shares that she’s got her students to keep her focused. Rebecca wants that, too but she’s still struggling. Kate has also been struggling to find purpose with her brothers off in the world. She goes to the record store and meets a cute guy who offers her a job. He’s not Toby but he’s kind of sweet and musically nerdy like Kate. In the end, Beth and Randall are on track to move forward with another date (despite what Beth’s mom thinks about the fact and the way that Randall is still grieving Jack’s loss) and Kate and Rebecca maybe moving out of their condo. Oh, and Kevin and Sophie got married!

Speaking of Kevin, he, Nicky and Cassidy are heading to an AA meeting only to find that the website hasn’t been updated in ages and the meeting isn’t’ for another five hours. Cassidy is really irritable about the mix-up because she really needs a meeting after having breakfast with her husband and he still wants a divorce. Kevin wanted a meeting because the Manny got cancelled and Nicky was just along because Kevin really gave him no choice. But, Kevin jumps into actor mode and finds a way for them all to stay busy until the meeting rolls around. Despite Nicky insisting he doesn’t want a new trailer, Kevin takes them to a dealership and starts haggling with the Manny-obsessed salesman. Along the way, Kevin interacts with another super fan and Cassidy is kind of baffled. She thinks he’s a shallow idiot who can’t possibly relate to her trauma or what she’s going through with the potential divorce. But, we know Kevin Pearson has layers. He explains that the Manny was his first big job and while he hated the pilot, he discovered that he could actually be an actor and he had actual skills when he made the baby in the end of the pilot laugh instead of screaming his head off. He also points out that he’s been divorced and it sucks. I still think that Kevin and Cassidy are going to end up together but she wants her husband back and he insists on helping her. We also get Nicky to open up about why he bought the trailer in the first place. He got it for a girl named Sally (who Jack asked out on Nicky’s behalf) but when he got back from the war, he went to her house and she wasn’t there. By episode’s end, Kevin has bought himself a trailer and parked it next to Nicky’s. Yeah, I can’t see how this is going to go over so well.

Beth and Randall have their own drama cooking this week as Beth unveils her dance studio. I’m a little confused how when they arrive, there’s a dead possum in the wall. Hadn’t she been there before? Anyway, one of Randall’s constituents comes out to help but the smell won’t go away for a few weeks. Carol tells Beth to just reschedule the event but Randall insists he can fix things. And he does so beautifully. He sets everything up outside and it goes off like a smash. We even get a little moment with Randall and Carol where she says that she was wrong about him. She couldn’t see the strong man and devoted father and husband that young man was going to become. That’s not the only drama they’ve got to deal with this week, though. Deja wants to go to the movies with Malik and some other kids and Beth and Randall insist on meeting him. Randall is okay with him until he learns about baby Janelle. That, understandably, leads to both him and Beth flipping out. As much as the situation is unusual and I can see their worry about their teenage daughter, Deja isn’t a stupid girl. She’s more street smart than maybe they give her credit for. And I just like Malik.

And lest we forget, Kate and Toby are having their own drama this week with baby Jack. Kate has signed him up for a baby music class, despite Gregory’s suggestion that Jack is too little. Kate is insistent though and she wants her son to experience everything that other kids do. The class is an absolute disaster. There’s way too much auditory stimulation for Jack going on at once and the teacher just doesn’t get it. She’s up in his face and being super loud. I could see both of Kate and Toby’s points as they argue in the car. They were late because Toby needed to go back and grab Jack’s favorite toy (which he’d put in the fridge when he got extra milk). Kate says they wouldn’t have been late if they hadn’t spent all that time looking for the toy so they could have gotten Jack used to the space. But Toby also notes that it was a lot of stimulation all at once. I kind of agree that even if they had gotten him used to the space itself, that wouldn’t have dealt with all the conflicting sounds and stimulation from the teacher. I think Kate is also still resentful of Toby for spending so much time at the gym. In the end, though, they take Jack to the beach and slowly introduce him to some new sounds (ocean, seagulls, wind) and feelings (water and sand on his feet). They are going to have missteps but I do appreciate the writers for showing us the good and the bad along the way.

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