This is Us
Original Air Date: Oct 17, 2017
Jules – Senior Managing Editor
This week we go further back in time for the Pearsons in flashbacks, while the Big Three have a lot going on, including a surprise thrown in. Let’s get to what happened.
In the past, the big three are ten and the family are at the video store where Kevin is being more whiny than normal. It’s because he’s sick with the chicken pox. None of the kids have had it, Jack remembers having it, and after a call to mom, Rebecca’s had it too. The doctor says it’s better if all siblings get it at same time so it’s all over with at once.
While dealing with sick kids in a snowstorn, Rebecca’s mom Janet (Elizabeth Perkins) arrives at the Pearson home unannounced and immediately starts with the criticism. She tries to redeem with presents, but they are predictable. Kevin gets a football helmet, Kate gets a mermaid dress that doesn’t fit (Janet tells her it can be her “goal” dress – what!), and Randall gets a basketball (apparently for the third time).
It’s clear Janet doesn’t love Randall as much as Kate and Kevin after Rebecca gets the brunt of more criticism, this time on her cooking and being called a nickname she hates. Later Janet asks why Rebecca and her family doesn’t come home for holidays and Rebecca answers very honestly. She says it’s because of the constant criticism of her whole family, which she’s able to often explain away, except for Randall. Rebecca tells her mom that Randall tries so hard to get Grandma to like him. Rebecca thought it was because he’s adopted, but it’s because he’s black.
Of course Janet denies it, but Rebecca goes further calling her mom a racist and too late, there’s Randall who heard it all. He’s there to show off his first pox. Rebecca then tells her mom that when the snow is gone, she wants her gone, too.
Later Rebecca and Jack (who is now just as sick as the kids – apparently he didn’t have the pox as a kids) try to explain things to Randall about how racism isn’t always obvious and how sometimes it’s subtle, but still there. They remind Randall about what Martin Luther King, Jr. did. “Someone shot him because he wanted to give black people equal rights,” says Randall and then in the next beat Randall asks “Did Grandma shoot him?” Best line! It’s a hard talk, but the Pearsons do their best.
The next morning, the whole family is avoiding downstairs and Grandma. Eventually, they go downstairs. Jack musters all he can to shovel snow and is later joined by Kevin. Rebecca goes to talk to her mom to tell her the car is free. Janet says she’s trying despite some parts being foreign to her. Rebecca says she shouldn’t have to try. Ends with Janet listening to Randall and saying he’s a special young man and Randal saying “took you long enough.”
In the present, Randall and family have had Deja for two weeks now and she hasn’t washed her hair once and it’s starting to smell. Randall says how Beth has always been the lead parent, and he wants to be the lead this time. So he takes the family bowling, but it ends when Deja pushes another kid and Randall has some choice words with the dad.
Deja thinks she’s going to be kicked out out because she pushed someone, but Beth talks to her about that and her hair by telling a story of growing up with three sisters and despite the fighting, always coming together to do each other’s hair. Beth offers to take Deja to her salon, but Deja ends up asking Beth to do it.
While prepping to wash Deja’s hair, Beth sees Deja’s patches in her head saying some people are born with it, including her sister, or that stress makes it flare up. Seems it’s the latter for Deja. Beth gets Deja to open up in confidence and is able to braid her hair very lovingly to cover up the spots. Of course Beth later ends up telling Randall and Randall inadvertently lets Deja know, who is not happy about it. Deja ends up cutting off all her braids so she’s left is a super pixie cut. She shows up to breakfast and the parents are surprised, but say nothing.
Elsewhere, Kevin gets caught by Brian Grazer for his softball sized knee. Sees Kevin tore his meniscus and will need arthroscopic surgery, which he gets right away. Kevin recovers post surgery at Kate and Toby’s. After getting the script re-write and a gift basket, Kevin goes into rehab mode. He reveals to Toby that he’s doing all this because he doesn’t want his knee to screw up his life again. Again because back in high school Kevin was a football star, but a knee injury ended it early and then he went into acting. After finding a great love of acting, Kevin is finally finding his groove and gets his great role and 20 years later back to his knee ruining it. It also seems the re-write has someone else saying a line Kevin was all excited about saying. Toby kind of gets it, Kevin takes more pills while rehabbing like crazy while watching old home movies of his football games, and what seems like the next day, Kevin is back on set.
Kate meanwhile is working out like crazy to fit into a dress for her first paid gig. It may even seem like Kate is going to potential extremes while at the drug store, but it’s all for show. The episode ends with Kate at the doctor asking if she’s doing everything right due to her age and weight and if it’s “still there.” Doctor says she’s doing everything she is to stay healthy, including taking supplements as Mitragyna speciosa, and it’s revealed that yes, Kate is six weeks pregnant with Toby’s baby. And we’re assuming no one else knows yet.
What did you think about that final surprise? Share thoughts below.
Next week: Brothers