Tuesday, March 17, 2020

This Is Us 4.15: “Clouds”

“Sometimes, making people forget about their worries or what’s coming next is the most important thing you can do for someone.”
- Rebecca

We are in the home stretch of “This Is Us” and things are starting to settle down for one of the Big Three, but ready to ramp up to 11 for the other two. First, let’s drop in on Kate and Toby. Kate goes off to brunch with Madison, who is trying to apologize for sleeping with Kevin. There doesn’t appear to be any danger of Madison becoming a Pearson but she does give Kate some good advice about how to approach things with Toby. She shouldn’t resent him for being honest about his feelings. So when she goes home, after he’d tried to show her the music studio he wants to build for her, she realizes that he is being sincere in his attempts to be a good dad to Jack. It seems now that he’s been able to deal with his own emotions and fears, he’s in a better place which means he and Kate are going to be in a better place. He doesn’t want to just build the recording studio for Kate. He wants it to be for Jack, too. And we get a sweet montage of Jack growing up in the little studio, all the way to adult Jack recording in there, too. I hope that Kate and Toby are able to stay in a good place (because we really only saw Kate in the montage with Jack as he grew up).

While Kate and toby are on the mend, Kevin and Randall are on a collision course over Rebecca. They just don’t know it yet. Randall spends most of the episode in therapy and it doesn’t go well. Then again, I can’t imagine anyone is surprised by that. He has such a need for control and he even admits that to the therapist. Eventually, as he gets more and more agitated, he exclaims that he’s the whole reason his family hasn’t fallen apart at this point. I definitely think he’s wrong but I can see how he would think that. He feels like he had to step up and be the man of the house after Jack died and take care of Rebecca while his siblings were off doing their thing. But I also think a lot of it was down to Rebecca stepping up for her kids. So that’s going to be interesting as they continue to explore his feelings about his family. He also got really agitated by the out-of-date magazines, the constantly whistling coffee pot and the weird artwork. I think maybe part of the issue with the coffee pot was a little PTSD about the slow cooker but the rest of it was ridiculous. I can also sort of understand why he was mad the doctor Googled him before meeting him but also, she was probably trying to understand where this man was coming from to help him get to the heart of his issues. He’s ready to quit the whole therapy thing when Beth explains that she needs him to get the help because she’s been dealing with things she hasn’t told him about since the break-in because she doesn’t want to put too much on him and watch him fall apart. It was a small scene in comparison but I think it was very impactful. So, by the end of the episode, we see him go back to the office and ready to try again. I know Randall wants a quick fix but with the stuff he’s dealing with, it’s going to take time to unpack, sort through and find ways to deal with it all. And it’s going to be painful.

Meanwhile, Kevin and Rebecca end up going to an old record store where she listens to some Joanie Mitchell, prompting a search for her old house. She says she and Jack tried to find it on their first trip to LA but couldn’t. They didn’t have Siri back then and Kevin finds the house. Rebecca even decides to sneak in (the gate was open). They don’t go in the house but it’s clear Rebecca is loving this fun little mother-son trip. She even says she wants to go his New York premiere with him (which given what we see for the next episode, probably happens). Rebecca doesn’t want to go get her MRI results (which is part of what prompted the trip to find Joanie’s house) but Kevin, for once, is responsible and gets her there (a circumstance Randall rails about in therapy, saying he’ll likely get a text from Kevin saying he lost track of time and missed the appointment). I’m glad Kevin stepped up and was the adult here. It’s showing that he’s starting to really mature. At the end of the episode, he ends up going to buy the same baseball card he and Rebecca hunted for that day long ago to keep in his wallet to remind him to still be fun because that’s what his mother needs him to be right now.

We also see in flashbacks where he got into running. Jack is trying to help Randall manage his worry and anxiety by letting it out through exercise because preteen Randall is stressing over an A-. Kevin managed two As (in PE and Art) and he still gets $10 as promised. He insists that Rebecca take him to the baseball card shop so he can complete his 1991 collection. So while Randall and Jack are off running (and really it can only be a coping mechanism for so long), Kevin and Rebecca end up having fun at the shop trying to find the one card Kevin still needs to complete his collection. And Jack gets to have a really sweet moment with Jack about her breakup with her first boyfriend. He equates first boyfriends to first waffles. You got to go through several before you find the right one. It was so Jack. But it was kind of sweet all the same.

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