Tuesday, March 17, 2020

This Is Us 4.14: “The Cabin”

\“It was a fun, silly time capsule, bro. And I choked. I’ve been anxious for so long and I don’t get better. Not really. The truth is, as soon as I tackled that mugger, I had him. I didn’t have to hit him. I wanted to.”
– Randall

This was a really strong episode of “This Is Us”. The Big Three all finally know about Rebecca’s diagnosis and we get a glimpse into the future that answers a few questions. And we are finally done with Marc. When the Big Three are thirteen or so, Jack and Rebecca decide to do a time capsule at the cabin, with the intent of digging it up when the Big Three are eighteen. That obviously never happened so it’s still buried in the back yard. As everyone tries to figure out what to put in it, we see Randall struggle with what he wants to put in while Kevin and Kate seem to already know. It appears Jack is also struggling. Rebecca catches him sketching a design for a big house and he says he wants to build it on the hill above where the cabin is. This all becomes very important to the later storylines. But before we get there, we need to deal with the problem named Marc.

He and Kate arrive at the cabin and he continues to be a manipulative, abusive jackass by first making sure she still loves him and then when she makes coffee and asks him to use a different mug (the one he grabbed was Jack’s and no one but he drank from it), he purposely breaks it and upsets Kate. Then, she goes to get firewood and he takes a dig at her weight before locking her out in the freezing snow for what appears to be quite a while. Meanwhile, Rebecca and the boys are on their way up because Rebecca is worried about Kate given that phone call at the pay phone. They can’t get to the cabin that night because of a road closure due to a tree. When they arrive the next morning, Rebecca insists that Randall and Kevin tell Kate they came up because of the snow. Things quickly devolve though when Kevin remarks on how cold it is in the cabin and then Randall notices a broken window. Then it’s revealed that Kate is wearing gloves to cover up a nasty cut she got on her hand when she broke the window to get back into the house. Marc tries to play it off but Rebecca stands up to him and tells him to get out of her house. And just like that, he’s gone. I will admit, I kind of wished Kevin had gotten to hit Marc because that would have been very satisfying.

Now to the present where the Big Three head to the cabin to try and bond or commiserate or whatever. We briefly get to see Toby taking care of Jack, complete with a choking scare. But baby Jack is okay and then Toby (finally) shares his love of Star Wars with his little boy by making sound effects as he shows him the figurines he has. It was very sweet and I’ve been waiting for Toby to realize he can share things with his son. Back at the cabin, the power goes out and both Randall and Kate start to panic because Randall can’t see the camera feed on the security system and Kate can’t FaceTime Toby and Jack. Kevin is just trying to keep the fact he slept with Madison a secret. But that cat gets out of the bag when Madison leaves Kate a series of voicemails about it while they are at a convenience store stocking up on supplies. When they get back to the cabin, Kate and Kevin note that Randall is not okay given how much he panicked about not being able to reach Beth for a few hours. Randall gets defensive, claiming he’s just exhausted from everything going on, including his trip to LA. And just like that, the cat is out of the bag about Rebecca’s diagnosis. Kevin flips out, assuming (rightly so) that Rebecca was worried about his sobriety. I mean, I can understand him being upset that she didn’t tell him and he was the last to know but also, we saw how easily Kevin feel back into things when life threw curveballs at him. This prompts Kevin to go sit outside for a while, leaving Randall and Kate to work on a puzzle that Jack had created from a family photo. Jack’s eye is missing when they finish up and this prompts Randall to declare it is time to dig up the time capsule. It turns out that Randall couldn’t choose and Kevin told him to take the puzzle piece because when they dig it up, people will be happy they found it. We also discover that Rebecca put Jack’s drawing of the house in and Jack put in a recording explaining about the house and watching the kids try to decide what to put in it. I’m a little surprised they weren’t more emotional hearing his voice for likely the first time in twenty years.

By the end, Kate is heading home and Randall is finally able to admit that he’s not getting better with his anxiety and he needs help. He’s going to consider a therapist but I have my doubts that it’s going to go as expected. And in a glimpse of the future, we see that Kevin built the house that Jack designed on the hill and that’s where everyone has gathered with old Rebecca. Gotta admit, Kevin looks pretty good with the grey in his hair and beard. Not bad. I like that we got that piece of the puzzle (no pun intended) filled in while still leaving lots of questions still to answer. We only have a few more episodes until the end of the season and I’ll be sad when they are over ad we have to wait six months for more. But hey, at least we know the writers get to tell the whole story they intended to tell!

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