This is Us
Original Air Date: Nov 28, 2017
Jules – Senior Managing Editor
It’s the fall finale of This is Us and we end it with a Randall-centric episode that ties up the trilogy of the three siblings.
In the teenage past, we see Randall’s perspective of applying to college. Seems Randall is on the ivy League path, but after talking with a friend, he wants to visit Howard University. If you’re unfamiliar, Howard is a historically Black private university in Washington D.C.
The visit and tour happen to be the same day as Kevin’s game, but Jack takes Randall and Kevin seems OK with it.
When Randall arrives on the campus, his face just lights up. He meets up with friend Keith, who along with his friends, show him around the campus, including the library and the dorms, while Jack is left to join the official campus tour solo. Randall’s excitement is so obvious when dad pulls him away and he’s already talking about the double major option. Randall does introduce dad to his friends.
On the drive home, Randall asks Jack if he liked Howard and his excitement is subdued, saying it’s no Ivy League, but knows that if Randall likes it and is the right decision, then he knows it’s the right place because Randall always makes the right decisions. Jack mentions how Randall hesitated a bit when he introduced him to his friends and Randall says it’s because he’s old, not because he’s white. Randall acknowledges that how Jack felt in that situation is how he’s felt his whole life and that it’s not his parent’s fault, and hope Jack gets it, but that he’ll always feel that way. Jack says he gets it and Randall responds by saying that it’s like he’s off balance and says how things are more complicated for him. With those words, something triggers in Jack’s head and says that he wants to make a stop before they head hope, there’s something he wants to show Randall.
Their pit stop is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Jack tells Randall of when he was drafted, that it was on TV and that he doesn’t talk about what happened – even his mom doesn’t know what he exactly saw. Jack does that that when he got back, he was off balance, and felt out of place everywhere he went. Jack tells Randall that “you’re going to find your balance, you’re gonna lose it and find it again. it’s part of the ride”. Jack says he knows he won’t be around for all of them, but Randall will be great choices because he’s spectacular. “Own it. Run with it.”
After this spectacular monologue from Milo Ventimiglia, Jack gets a page from Kate – which we know is Kevin being injured at the game. At the hospital, Jack tells Randall that things will be different now, since there’s three of them, there’s always something happening.
In the present, we open with Randall and Beth preparing for Thanksgiving and the mood is positive. But then it goes south when Deja’s mom Shawna shows up. She wants Deja back now because the charges were dropped. Deja eventually goes outside and while happy to see her mom, she’s able to talk her down and to follow procedure with social worker Linda. I am liking this really calm Deja moment in the face of her mom who is the opposite.
Linda arrives the next day at the Pearson household saying she’s checked in on Shawna at her apartment and is going to recommend that she get custody of her daughter. Randall doesn’t take the news well. He says the woman they saw last night is not fit to handle a child, that she trespassed, and they are going to talk to their lawyer. Seems Beth is on the same page. A little disheartened, there’s really nothing Linda can do now. She does say they know what they signed up for.
Randal drops off Deja and vows to come back to watch her presentation later that afternoon. Beth and Randall go to the lawyer and talk about how they thought last year was their craziest Thanksgiving. Flashback to last year when Randall read a note from Rebecca to William. Randall asks William how many times Rebecca met with him. He says twice – right after he was born and when he was nine because Randall asked where he came from. William was sober by then and he thinks he likely came on too strong with Rebecca and that’s why she left abruptly, but then William, with just $20 on him, he tailed Rebecca in a cab.
It was just enough to get to Randall and the Pearson home. William says all he had to do was knock on the door and introduce himself so he could be a part of the big stuff, but then he saw the three bikes, which were numbered 1, 2, 3. William said he didn’t know if it was a nickname and what number was Randall’s and then realized that his son’s life was a life he knew nothing and so he turned around and left. A bicycle that changed his mind. “Who was I to insert myself into your life against your mother’s wishes, who was i?” says William to Randall.
Back in present day, Randall stops by Shawna’s apartment and she’s outside showing her friends clothes he’s just bought, likely for Deja.
At school, Randall and Beth meet up for Deja’s presentation. Randall tells Beth that he doesn’t think they can keep Deja from her mother and then tells Beth about his afternoon detour. Beth agrees, saying she wish she knew that Deja had some awesome nicknames like “DayJay” and “Tatertot.” Randall then talks about life is like Pac-Man. The game doesn’t change, same board and same ghosts, but eventually those ghosts catch up with you. They will both miss Deja. Deja’s presentation goes very well and even name drops Randall for helping her find other potential plant growth stimulants beyond just water, soil, and sun.
At home, Kevin calls Randall saying he’s coming over. Then Linda is at door saying Shawna’s there ready to take Deja home. Deja’s goodbye with the Pearsons was so heartbreaking. Deja tells them that just because she wants to go home doesn’t mean she didn’t like living with them. Awww. Randall emphasizes the work hard, big house, fancy car bit, but when he starts to tear up, it makes us all tear up.
We then get a quick recap of Kate’s breakdown and Kevin’s. It’s Rebecca who calls Randall to tell him about Kate. Randall does notice something is wrong with Kevin, but doesn’t say anything, and instead calls Kate. Tess and Annie talk to Kevin and then Kevin splits having probably drunk too much. Beth says that she would be open to fostering a child again, too, even if it means losing them again. Randall hopes maybe a boy this time.
Cut to a dejected young boy waiting to be placed in a home.
Then we cut to a speeding Kevin and then Tess pops up from the back seat, throwing Kevin off. Things get worse when the cops pull him over for a DUI. Beth and Randall get the call and both want to kill him. Oh Kevin.
So what did you think of the finale? How can Kevin get himself back up? Share your thought below as we wait for new episodes next year!