Saturday, April 10, 2021

This Is Us 5.12: “Both Things Can Be True”

“There is only one person I owe an explanation to and that’s the one person I can’t give an explanation. I certainly don’t owe anything to you.”
– Miguel

Based on the promo for this episode, I didn’t have very high expectations coming into it. I like Tess but she has turned into such a drama queen since hitting puberty and coming out as gay. Maybe she’s just being a normal teenager but whatever. Anyway, I thought the episode would more heavily focus on that but I was pleasantly surprised that we got lots of other stories that were much more interesting. So, let’s get Tess out of the way. She is having Alex over for the first time and Beth is trying to be extra ware of using the right pronouns and making a good impression. Tess just wants her mom to butt out. As Beth is hemming and hawing downstairs, Deja points out that Tess has the door closed and it isn’t fair that she and Malik have to have the door open. When Beth goes up to check, Tess and Alex are all snuggled up together. Tess calls her mom a psycho which is just so over-the-top and Alex leaves. Later, after talking to her own mother and realizing she has to adjust her dreams and expectations for what Tess’s future holds, she tries to apologize but Tess wonders if they will ever be close again.

While Tess is going through her drama, Randall is attending a group therapy session for transracial adoptees. You know Randall is always the one who has to give the speech (he’s an orator as he tells Beth) but for once, he sits back and just listens. And as other group members talk, you see flashes of Randall’s childhood and he realizes that he’s not alone in the things he felt growing up, wondering who his parents were, wondering where he fit into his community. I think this is going to be a good thing for Randall and I am interested to see what happens moving forward.

On the West Coast, Kate is starting her new job while Toby stays home with the kids. It is clear from the beginning that the teacher Kate is paired with (Hi Jamie from A Million Little Things) isn’t impressed with her. She’s not really qualified to teach but the higher ups like her “energy” so there they are. He’s not happy that she is so distracted checking on Toby and the kids and having massive separation anxiety. Dude clearly isn’t a parent. And even when you’re happy for a little space form your kid, you do miss them. But when Kate gets a young student to open up and embrace the role/song she’s singing, it seems he’s a little bit impressed. I think the better part of this storyline was Madison and Toby bonding at the park. She and Kevin are in wedding planning mode and it’s made the tabloids. But she’s scared to tell him the venue they got isn’t the one she wants. And Toby is scared to tell Kate he hates being a stay-at-home dad. I like that we are getting more extended Pearson-clan bonding moments.

Speaking of Kevin and wedding planning, Miguel is the rehearsal dinner host but Nicky wants to be involved (it’s more because he doesn’t seem to like Miguel). I have to admit, I laughed out loud at the two of them sniping at each other. Nicky makes several snide comments about Miguel taking what he wants and swooping in to take his brother’s wife. Miguel eventually claps back that he didn’t marry Rebecca until thirteen years after Jack’s death and he spends every day wondering what Jack would think. He would owe Jack an explanation, but not Nicky. By episode’s end, Nicky apologizes and admits that he felt replaced by Miguel in Jack’s life. Miguel shares that when Jack got married, he asked Miguel to stand up at the altar with him and give a few words at the reception but that he never used the term “best man” because Miguel figured Jack, somewhere deep down, was saving that title for Nicky. It is nice to see Nicky fitting in more with the rest of the family. Madison manages to get up the courage to tell Kevin about the fact she wants a different venue and shares a story about her family shortly before her parents divorced that basically boiled down to she wanted to get married in a particular small garden. Kevin is down for it. Unfortunately, Toby doesn’t have the same courage to admit his feelings to Kate. I worry that he’s going to keep this from her and it’s going to lead them down a bad road.

And speaking of Jack and Rebecca getting hitched, we pick up with Jack trying to recreate their first date at the carnival. Which, come on man, that’s so damn beautiful and such a Jack Pearson move. Even Miguel points out that it is gestures like that which make other guys hate Jack. Unfortunately, Miguel insists on making Jack practice the proposal, complete with the ring. And it then gets stuck on Miguel’s finger. And just when it looks like Rebecca is about to catch them, her father shows up. He’s been ducking Jack’s calls, asking for his blessing, because he needed to think. He says that he will tolerate Jack’s marriage to Rebecca, because she’s made it perfectly clear that she’s chosen Jack. Jack is ready to accept that from his father-in-law-to-be but Miguel isn’t. He points out that Rebecca’s dad should be happy that Rebecca found a guy like Jack. He lists all the ways Jack has gone without so he could Rebecca ahead of himself. It honesty made me like Miguel a lot more and respect him. He is a decent guy who cares about the Pearsons and has been linked to their story for a long time, too.

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