Wednesday, February 17, 2021

This Is Us 5.08: “In the Room”

“I know this isn’t how you imagined the births of these babies, but I know that Kevin is out there trying his damndest to get to you.”
– Randall

I loved everything about this episode. It was just beautifully done and there was a little surprise at the very end that I wasn’t expecting. And not in the usual “This Is Us” fashion. At the start of the episode, we meet Ester and Nasir at a party in Albuquerque in 1963. He’s Indian, she’s Argentinian and while she has no clue what he’s talking about with regard to computer programming, she likes the way he talks. They end up getting married and having a son (who I swear was going to be Miguel). Then a few years later, Ester is waiting for Nasir at home and she’s mad because he was supposed to come home at 6:00 for family dinner. When he starts going on about his work and how close they are to a breakthrough, she makes him tell her what he’s talking about in terms she (and their four-year-old son) would understand. Basically, he and his team worked on the algorithm that allows technology companies now to send images and videos across the internet. Nasir is actually a real-life person (Nasir Ahmed) and he’s the reason we can do Zoom and Skype and FaceTime today. I cried when they dropped the title cards at the end of the episode explaining who he and Ester are. It was just so touching and not at all how I expected these new characters to connect to our core cast.

Speaking of the core cast, we pick up with Randall and Beth still driving home from New Orleans and they’re now video chatting with Madison as she’s laboring. She’s still worried that Kevin isn’t going to show up or that she’s bothering Beth and Randall. But, they are happy to stay on the line because they know she needs the support. She freaks out about getting the epidural when the contractions get to be too intense and Randall tells an adorable story about Kevin being drunk after junior prom and jumping on his bed naked singing “MMMBop”. Now, as a life-long Hanson fan I not only appreciated this reference, but I truly appreciated Randall actually signing the chorus with the proper melody. I spent a lot of my childhood people singing it wrong as a joke to rag on the band and I’m just grateful they could respect the band and their fans by actually giving it a good effort. As Madison finishes getting the epidural, Kevin arrives.

Out in California, Toby is sitting in the parking lot of the hospital while Kate is Ellie’s birth partner. At first it seems like Ellie is gung ho about handing the baby over to Kate, instructing the nursing staff to hand the baby to Kate after she’s born. Perhaps the more interesting part of this story, is the man Toby meets in the parking lot. We never learn his name but his wife Rose is in the hospital battling COVID and she’s on a ventilator. He comes to the hospital every night and parks in spot 157 (her lucky number). Of course, Toby is parked in that spot and after chatting a little, he moves over a couple spaces. He and the man bond as both Madison and Ellie labor.

Not to forget the elder generation of Pearsons, we find Rebecca and Miguel at the cabin and Rebecca feels so disconnected from her children. She feels like she should be there and this bring sup memories of a trip to the cabin she and Jack took when the Big Three were preteens. The kids all arranged sleepovers and Rebecca suggests they can have a romantic trip, but it gets interrupted by a burst pipe in the bathroom and Rebecca’s ragging on the kids gets to Jack. He keeps worrying that they won’t be in each other’s lives once the kids grow up and move away. He compares his fears to what he and Rebecca did with their own families. She promises that they will always be connected and she points to a ruined piece of artwork that they did with the kids as toddlers where they all did their handprints in paint. It’s a picture older Rebecca keeps staring at in the present and it represents that the family will always be connected. She also references how they never talk about how Miguel has to carry Jack’s death differently than the rest of the family. I’m sure we’ll eventually get more information on their relationship post Jack (beyond their wedding and honey moon in Puerto Rico).

Eventually, both Madison and Ellie deliver their respective bundles of joy. Kevin is pretty much in awe and he and Madison name their kids Nicholas (after Uncle Nicky….and a little bit Nick Cage) and Frances (after Madison’s grandmother). I’m excited to see more of Nicky and Franny in the future (maybe even in the grown up Jack future timeline). Speaking of the Damon family, we also get to meet little Hailey Rose, too. Toby was allowed to pick the middle name and as soon as he connected with the guy in the parking lot, I knew that’s what was coming. I was worried for a split second when Ellie asked to hold and then spend some time alone with Hailey. The look on Kate’s face I think mirrored most of the audience. But, Ellie just needs to say her goodbyes and soon she’s in Kate’s arms and we get a ton of FaceTime video going on. Rebecca gets to see each of her new grandbabies and then the babies get to meet each other and Kate dubs them “the new Big Three” which I think is adorable. And we see Kevin and Randall closing in on reconciliation and willing to have a frank discussion about Randall’s experience growing up Black in a white family. I don’t know what This Is Us holds in store for the Pearson clan next, but I’m so on board for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment