‘Don’t Take My Sunshine Away’ examines the Pearson’s happily ever after’s.
It’s normal for a mother to wonder if her children would one day grow up and be okay, but not all happy endings are necessarily happy.
Life is a struggle right now for the Pearson clan, and it seems things may only get worse for Beth and Randall before they get better. If they even get better.
A season of frustrations and subtle jabs between the once happy couple has built up to this very moment and it’s all fueled by a pretty massive misstep on Randall’s part.
Okay, it wasn’t just a misstep, Randall acted like a complete asshole while Beth, the strongest woman on the show, held it together for the sake of painting the perfect picture for the Councilman.
Real women don’t air out their problems in public. Beth was composed, almost too composed, and dutifully played the role of supporting wife, which made it evident that tensions were going to come to a head the moment they left the Councilman’s house.
Beth let him have it for belittling her and for once, it was nice to see Randall be held accountable. Much like Kevin, Randall always gets away with everything because he’s so inherently good. But that also means when he does mess up, it’s that much more noticeable.
He couldn’t just weasel his way out of this because what he’d said was “in the heat of the moment.”
However, neither Randall or Beth is right in their arguments.
Both of them want their dreams realized but neither of them wants to make the sacrifices for each other.
Almost immediately into his first day on the job, it dawned on Randall that he was in way over his head with his new position.
This office isn’t made for someone who has a family and needs to be home in time for dinner.
It’ll be interesting to see how this storyline plays out since the alternative to working together and as a team despite feeling the pressures is that they call it quits.
Juggling three daughters and careers without a significant other’s support seems more daunting than their current reality.
It’s also seriously upsetting because we’re talking about a couple who could always figure everything out. They were each other’s rocks. Are we really going to flush all that down the drain?
Also at a crossroads? Kevin.
He’s blindsided by Zoe’s admission that she doesn’t want to have children and is forced to make a major decision about their future together while also dealing with AA meetings and couples therapy.
Given Kevin’s recent struggle, dropping something so serious and life-altering on him doesn’t seem like the best course of action.
But surprisingly, Kevin deals with it pretty well.
He finds a sounding board in Sophie, his ex and once assumed ‘true love,’ who helps coax him into making the necessary decision: he chooses a life with Zoe over possibly having children one day.
While Kevin makes plans for his future, he also makes amends with his ex by sending her tickets to Billy Joel as a gift for her recent engagement.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think This Is Us wrapped up a storyline with a little bow on it, but the fact that they decided to bring back Sophie solely to guide Kevin and inform us of her engagement makes me a bit skeptical.
There has to be a more complicated reasoning for their run-in, right?
Will Sophie realize she wants to be with Kevin? Will he want to be with her?
The middle-school dance narrative fell a little flat in my opinion. It didn’t serve much of a purpose other than to give us some needed Jack screentime, some cute moments with Jack and Rebecca, and a cloying moment where Jack talks about what would have happened if they’d both met in middle school.
The other part that stood out to me is how effectively manipulative Kevin was. Encouraging Sophie to participate in a toilet paper prank when she clearly doesn’t want to is so effortless on his part. The point is honed in when Zoe talks about Kevin’s ‘charm’ at getting everything he wants during therapy.
He chose Zoe over children, but there’s a possibility his decision could spiral into a complex story of manipulation. Maybe that’s what he secretly believes will happen because Sophie convinced him that he’ll “get what he wants.”
Zoe is very secure in her decision not to have children, so I hope Kevin would never try to change her mind by using her love for his as leverage.
Much like Sophie, I think Zoe is really good for Kevin, but their relationship could become problematic very quickly.
Jack commends Rebecca on how effortless raising the kids is to her because of her upbringing whereas his childhood was less conventional and thus, parenting has been a bit of a challenge.
This moment directly mirrors what Toby and Kate are going through during their sixth straight day in the NICU with a preemie baby Jack.
Kate’s bonding with her baby despite the circumstances by singing him songs and talking to him, but the same can’t be said for Toby who can’t see past the tubes when he looks at little Jack.
Toby works through his anxiety and fears with another father, Gavin, which is much more effective than unloading his fears onto Kate who is already terrified but remaining strong and brave in the face of adversity.
The realization that Toby and Kate are ‘lucky’ in their situation because other parents will never be able to take their babies home is painful.
Though the storyline is heavy, it’s well-executed and shines a light on storylines that are important yet rarely get portrayed on television. The inability bond with a child is familiar to many parents regardless if their children were born weeks in advance or right on time.
- Poor Rebecca and Jack. They couldn’t even get a little naughty in the library without being spotted by their brainiac son.
- Randall and Beth continuously complain about their overlapping schedules and echo wanting to save money, but then somehow have the ability to fly across the US on a whim and go to lavish dinners on weekdays. Who is watching their children? How can they afford that babysitter?
- Where were all the other Pearsons? The former episode focused on all of them refusing to leave the waiting room but now, none of them barely mentioned Toby and Kate. Randall and Beth left almost immediately while Rebecca was nowhere to be found.
- What’s wrong with Beth teaching solely on weekends while Randall brings in the bread during the weekdays? And why can’t she find a freelance gig when the girls are at school?
This Is Us Review – Childhood Traumas in the Present Day (5×04)
This Is Us delivered some truly great moments on “Honestly,” which is a good thing as this episode is supposed to hold us over until January 5, 2021.
It doesn’t seem fair that we had to wait almost all of 2020 for new episodes only to be given four and then forced to wait again, but maybe, like Kevin, we have to learn to tough it.
That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.
The Big Three continued to struggle with their past traumas that affected them into adulthood.
In the past, we see Rebecca and Jack struggling to sleep train Kevin, who wakes up crying every night. Jack assures Rebecca they have to let him cry it out, but she can’t fathom letting her child “suffer.”
Her behavior carries over into their pre-teen years as Kevin struggles with his team as the quarterback of the football team.
Rebecca isn’t a helicopter in the same way we see modern-day parents, but she’s definitely always ready to step in to make life easier for Kevin, which isn’t helping them or teaching him any grit.
But that’s the great thing we see in Kevin when he’s an adult. Instead of backing down when things get tough, he pushes even harder.
Seeing him use his notecards in the present — a method Randall taught him when he was younger and struggling to memorize plays — was heartwarming.
They may not be talking right now, but they’ve impacted each other’s lives in major ways.
Seeing Kevin navigate his own path to success also proves that sometimes, it’s okay to let your kids figure it out for themselves.
The director seemed to come into the reading with a preconceived notion about Kevin, which wasn’t fair to him. I’m wondering if he didn’t like Kevin’s performance or wasn’t pleased that Kevin was cast?
Either way, it’s fantastic that Kevin didn’t just give up or lose his temper. I hope he blows the director away.
And maybe this is the push to truly break out in his career with a performance that’s “less tired.”
Fingers-crossed he gets that Oscar-moment with Rebecca!
Randall saw himself in Malik, who was shadowing him in his City Council position for a school class.
Malik committed the biggest flub when he didn’t turn off the live stream and accidentally broadcast Randall’s striptease dance to everyone in Philly and beyond.
Note to self: always double-check a stream is off, especially with Zoom meetings.
The situation seemed rough initially, and Randall was pretty hard on Malik, a few good things came out of it.
First, Randall got to know Malik on a deeper level and realized that Deja’s boyfriend is a standup and ambitious kid.
Malik explained his tiredness by giving Randall the tea – he wakes up at 5 a.m. to take care of his daughter and puts her needs before his own.
That being said, he’s still trying to make something of himself as he wants to go to an Ivy League school, open up a restaurant and become the first Michelin-starred place in Philly.
You’ve got to admire the drive and the hustle in a young kid like that. He has his head on right, and Randall recognizes himself in Malik, which is why he gave him that internship even after the live stream flub.
This bromance may be the best thing to happen in 2020!
The other good thing to come out of it is that it’ll bring Randall closer to his birth mother… or at least his birth mother’s boyfriends/husband.
Going viral on the Internet meant that the Japanese man from This Is Us Season 5 Episode 3 saw the clip and heard Randall talk about his birth father William Hill.
The series is drawing this storyline out, but it seems like they’ve got big plans and it’ll be worth it.
There were moments when the series made it seem like she was still alive, but if she’s not, at least maybe Randall will be able to learn more about her by connecting with someone who knew her well.
Also, it’s great that Randall and his family have such a great sense of humor and can laugh about the whole ordeal. It’s even better that the angle of the camera was really great and Randall looked that good!
Kate’s adoption storyline took a somber note when she confronted her past demons and vocalized them to Toby for the first time ever.
The series circled-back to her tumultuous relationship with Mark and revealed some interesting things about their explosive breakup.
At first glance, it seems like Kate found out that she was pregnant with Mark’s baby and possibly aborted it.
However, upon closer inspection, in the scene, Kate is actually holding an ovulation test, which would indicate that she wanted a baby with Mark.
Obviously, that’s troublesome for many reasons considering Mark was toxic and treated her poorly.
Did she stay home from New York to try to get pregnant with him? Did she succeed?
Did she give the baby up for adoption? There are so many avenues the series can take here. My mind is spinning and jumping to the most outrageous conclusion that Ellie is Kate’s daughter.
If Kate hypothetically had a child at 18 and she’s now 40, that would mean Ellie would be around 22, so I don’t think my outlandish theory holds true because she seems significantly olderm but then again, they never confirmed Ellie’s age either. How crazy would that be?!
All of this makes watching Kate’s journey to motherhood that much more emotional. I can’t wait to see how the series ties it all together.
I’m also a bit peeved we haven’t seen the last of Mark because he was such a tool!
This Is Us continues pulling the rug right from under us. We may think we know these characters as well as we know ourselves, but there are still so many moments in their lives we’ve yet to explore.
Lastly, may we all have a Jack Pearson role model in our lives who wants us to know he sees our greatness. Even though Jack had his flaws, it’s moments like these where you truly appreciate all he’s done for the Pearson clan.
This Is Us Review – I’m Going Through Changes (5×03)
Parenting is hard.
That’s the key takeaway on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 3.
Even the best, most connected parents like Rebecca and Jack missed so many things when it came to Randall, Kevin, and Kate.
In the past, the scenes explore how moments in their childhood shaped who they are in the present-day.
In the present-day, we see the Big Three dealing with their own fears and struggling with parenthood.
Randall and Beth learn that Tess has been making mock videos online to stand up for herself. On one hand, Randall finds it admirable that his teen daughter has a better grasp of her self-identity than he does at the age of 40. However, he and Beth both agree that her actions need to be punished.
While it may not seem like it to Tess at the moment, there’s a way about evoking change and making a statement. Unfortunately, telling your teacher “screw you” on the Internet — where things live forever, is not the right way.
It’s an interesting moment, nevertheless, that allows the audience to get a deeper look into Tess’s teenage years.
It also proves that no matter how much parents try, children will carve out their own path, which is a lesson Kevin and Madison could use about now.
Their breakfast interactions were very, polite, for lack of a better word, and it was clear that they were both putting on a front to make this new-age engagement work.
But the truth is, neither of them was really being honest and upfront about who they were. They were tiptoeing around reality, which is no way to go about life.
Madison, who we know struggled with an eating disorder her whole life, was triggered by Kevin’s excessive working out, his rock hard abs that he puts fully on display, and the fact that he skipped breakfast and stated he would be going on a diet for his upcoming role.
For Madison, these were all reminders of her bulimia, but she couldn’t even blame Kevin for it because he didn’t know this side of her.
She also assumed that Kevin was behaving confidently when, in fact, these were all signs of Kevin’s own insecurities that he’s built up since he was a pre-teen hitting puberty.
Kevin has always put his worth in his looks, but that stems from his very own addictions and eating disorders.
It serves as a reminder not to judge a book by its cover because we never know what someone else is going through.
When Madison and Kevin began to open up, a true relationship and trust was established between them. Madison even confessed that she’s the type of girl who goes to conventions for her favorite TV show. The horror!
The truth is, Madison isn’t the kind of girl audiences would have envisioned for Kevin, but she’s exactly who he needs. And vice-versa. It’s nice to see them pull back the curtains and be real, especially Kevin, who has always lived up to this image he’s concocted in his own mind.
Kevin’s body image issues were also rooted in his daddy issues, and we learn that he’s been hitting the dingy garage gym because that’s where he bonded with Jack.
Jack tries to help his son bulk up for the school football team and takes him to the garage to “pump some iron” as his old man did. Unlike his dad, however, Jack tries to make the lifting session inspiring, but the effects seem to be one and the same.
On his quest for a therapist, Randall pinpoints a memory from his young adult life that may have shaped his future and sense of self.
It’s a rather cringe-worthy moment as Kate’s friend, Tanya, tries to make a move on Randall by puckering up with root beer flavored chapstick, which is only made worse when she utters this line when Randall refuses: “I always wondered what it would be like to kiss someone like you.”
Well, that’s a buzzkill.
It’ll be interesting to see Randall unpack that with the therapist, Vance, as it may have something to do with his decision to marry a strong, confident Black woman. After all, in his brief chat with the therapist, he went out of his way to emphasize that his wife was Black as if he had something to prove.
There’s always the thought that Vance is somehow related to Randall through his mother, especially as Randall points out that they’re “very similar” when talking to Beth. Introducing Vance’s daughter, April, could just be an innocent and cute moment, but we know that’s never the case with This Is Us.
Fans were scratching their heads with the interlude of a Vietnamese grandfather and granddaughter fishing. The scenes may have been frustrating as they were thrown in randomly throughout the episode, but again, nothing is ever random. In the final scene, the cute young girl Lin asks her grandfather if he cooks for the woman in all of the pictures to impress her. He nods and the camera pans to a photograph showing the grandfather with Randall’s mother!
It doesn’t give us much to work with, but it means that answers about Randall’s birth mother are coming — and yes, it seems like she survived.
Could this scene somehow be related to the scene with Vance? Time will tell.
Lastly, there was Kate and Toby, who met with a potential birth mother and hoped to make a good impression. It seemed like things went well with Ellie, despite their little squabble about diapers. I agree with Ellie that seeing how a couple bounces back from a fight is a good assessment of their marriage.
Through flashforwards, we know that Kate and Toby eventually adopt a daughter, but will it be Ellie’s daughter?
Or will she realize she wants to keep her child from a one-night stand? Also, leave it to This Is Us to make every single storyline heartbreaking, even Ellie’s backstory of why she’s giving up the child (her husband died of cancer, it took her a long time to move on, and when she finally agreed to a date, she had a fling and ended up pregnant).
What did you think of the episode?
Are you excited about the new possibilities for the Big Three?
Which storyline excites you most? Let us know in the comments below.
Is Randall’s Birth Mother His New Therapist on ‘This Is Us’ Season 5? Here’s What the Writers Said
For several seasons, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) has struggled navigating life as a Black man raised in a white family.
Tensions really escalated when he found out that his adoptive mother, Rebecca Pearson, had known his biological father, William, his entire life and kept him a secret despite knowing how much he wanted information on his biological family.
After years of dealing with identity and anxiety issues, Randall eventually went to therapy to deal with the stress brought on by his mother’s illness, his run for City Council, and the burglarization of his home.
There’s a stigma that follows seeking out therapy, especially when it comes to Black men, so Randall’s decision was bold and important.
It wasn’t easy at first to open up, but eventually, the therapist was able to break through his tough exterior. When This Is Us Season 5 premiered, Randall seemed in a much better place mentally — the tremors were gone! — as he continued virtual therapy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He also dealt with racial relations brought on by yet another heinous murder of a Black man in America prompting protests known as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Important and difficult conversations were had with his family, specifically Kate, which led him to realize that he needed to change therapists.
While he initially made the conscious decision to pursue a therapist that was a white woman, just like adoptive mother, as he grew more secure in his identity, he realized he needed someone that he could fully open up with and not hide the “Black parts” from.
He needed a Black therapist.
Randall’s realization happens at the same time as the shocking twist that his biological mother, Laurel, (who audiences thought died shortly after birth due to an overdose) was actually resuscitated and likely survived.
This Is Us is such a meticulously planned show that the writers managed to weave in COVID and BLM into an episode so organically that it was impossible for the audience to tell when or how it was altered. It just fit.
So, there’s reason to believe that the timing of Randall’s decision and the reveal that his mother may be alive isn’t an accident.
What if his new therapist is his biological mother? It’s a popular theory and one that the This Is Us writers already debunked, but should we believe them?
She is not going to end up as Randall’s therapist. #ThisIsUs
— ThisIsUsWriters (@ThisIsUsWriters) October 28, 2020
It’s possible that she’s either too old to still be practicing or no longer alive.
However, that doesn’t mean Randall’s new therapist isn’t a long-lost brother or sister that he didn’t know about?
There has to be some connection.
Randall has always sought out answers about his biological family, who he is, and where he comes from. Even after meeting William and mending things with him, Randall continues to have a void because he never knew his biological mother. His “mommy issues” stem from the abandonment (which we now know wasn’t intentional as he was wanted) by his biological mom and the deception by his adoptive mother.
For a show centered around family and the importance of family, it would only make sense for them to pursue this avenue and allow Randall to further explore his background on a deeper level.
What do you think, Cravers? If Randall’s mom isn’t the therapist, how does this storyline play into Randall’s overall arc?
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