Jack taught his baby girl Kate one very important lesson on the conclusion of The Big Three Trilogy on This Is Us: “even things that we like can be bad for us, sweetheart.”
We see that’s absolutely true in flashbacks concerning her first love and first boyfriend, Marc, and we slightly see it with Toby’s struggle to accept that Jack is blind, which has prevented him from being the husband and father that Kate and Jack need.
I’ve been looking forward to the episode dedicated to Kate because I wanted to see what happens with Marc. When he was mentioned in Kate’s adult life, she had such a visceral reaction to the memories that I do believe they play a huge role in shaping her and her current relationship.
While Kate’s main struggle has always been the weight, a part of her has developed insecurities that stem from an abusive relationship with Marc.
When we first met Marc, the audience collectively knew something was up with him.
He was sweet and charming, but there was also something a little darker about him. It didn’t help that he randomly showed up at her house (stalker vibes) and the fact that neither of her siblings liked him was a huge red flag.
In reality, there were many red flags that Kate chose to ignore for one simple reason: Marc noticed her.
He was the first person to fill the Jack void following her father’s passing. A huge part of Kate’s identity was intertwined with Jack’s and when he died, so did a part of her. She lost herself.
During her fight with Rebecca in which she decides to ditch her mother’s birthday to go to the cabin with Marc, Kate admits that no one has ever looked at her in “that” way before.
But Kate also knew that this wasn’t the right relationship and she tried desperately to ignore that.
She tried to pretend that the good outweighed the bad, that Marc would change for her, and that his anger was only temporary. It’s all too common in relationships where a woman stays because she’s hopeful or protects her abuser because she feels ashamed, which I think happened in Kate’s case.
She didn’t want to own up to the fact that her mother was right, that her whole family was right, and wanted to show them that she was a good judge of character. If Randall and Kevin were both out being adults with their significant others, why couldn’t she be?
From what we saw in this episode, Marc wasn’t physically abusive in the sense that he hit Kate, but he did kick her out of the car and left her to fend for herself in the middle of the night, which I guess counts as a physical action.
Moreso, Marc was emotionally and verbally abusive as well as manipulative. He couldn’t control his anger as we saw with his outburst during their coffee date with Rebecca and after he kicked Kate out of the car.
He also wanted to control Kate’s actions by telling her what she should do, what she should read, and where she should work. And he wanted her to feel indebted to him for getting her the job in the first place.
He latched onto Kate’s biggest insecurity and exposed it whenever he felt the need to regain that control ie. when he fat-shamed her for grabbing chocolates and when she said he can’t look at her face, and he was an alcoholic.
None of this is to say Marc was a bad guy — there were moments where he showed remorse and seemed to care about Kate — but there’s no denying that he’s a product of his upbringing and “hurt people hurt people.”
Unlike Jack, who overcame his demons and became a model father, Marc was the polar opposite and allowed his upbringing to define him and control his life.
The toxic nature of the relationship caused Kate to doubt herself, to place blame on herself, and to shame herself.
She thought she deserved to be in the situation, and it was upsetting to watch.
All of those insecurities manifested themselves in the present day.
Toby is struggling in his own way with accepting baby Jack’s reality, and Kate finds herself walking on eggshells because she’s scared to hurt his feelings or lose him. A lot of what she’s feeling and acting on leads right back into what she experienced with Marc.
Thankfully, Toby has always been a good guy like her father. He also battled his demons and came out on the other side healthier and stronger.
The difference between someone like Marc and Toby (and yes, age difference plays a factor so it’s comparing apples to bananas, really but bear with me) is that Toby wants to be a good father and feels guilty for disappointing the family while Marc never truly wanted to change.
The episode left off with Marc coming back to get Kate and showing remorse for leaving her behind, but another teaser shows that he has another angry outburst and locks Kate out of the cabin in the middle of a cold, winter night. The remorse he feels is negated by another hurtful act.
Rebecca, who didn’t wasn’t a fan of the vibe Marc was putting down, rallied the troops to go save her Kate, and boy, I would not want to be Marc when Kevin and Randall get their hands on him.
It’s beautiful that the hero in Kate’s story isn’t Jack but rather Rebecca.
For several seasons, Kate was a “daddy’s girl” and had some resentment for her mother; their relationship suffered at times because of Kate’s insecurities and jealousy, but her mother never gave up on her.
Just like in the flashbacks, in the present day, Rebecca is also a phone call away and ready to be by Kate’s side as she tackles this new challenge in her life with baby Jack’s blindness.
While Kate was upset that Toby didn’t go the retreat, there was something so special about Rebecca joining her.
It may be one of the last few moments that Kate and Rebecca have together before the memory loss begins to take effect.
In both instances, Rebecca was the rock that Kate needed.
She helped Kate “lift the weight” and finally get into the pool, she helped her realize that she’s way stronger than most people think including herself, and she reminded her that with or without Toby, Kate has what it takes to raise this baby.
She kickstarted a fire in Kate that hasn’t been burning in some time because she was complacent.
And through all of it, Rebecca didn’t judge Kate, she didn’t judge Toby, heck, she never even said a bad word about him, which speaks volumes to the growth she’s had as a character. I think that a less judgemental approach and the more understanding nature helped strengthen their relationship.
Rebecca explained that her illness made her become more “fun” because she no longer fusses about the little things and it’s true. My favorite line of the episode was when Rebecca told Kate “you’re fat, I’m ancient, we’re gorgeous.”
Somehow, the line was both something Rebecca would say and something Rebecca wouldn’t say. In fact, it’s something she’s always wanted to say but couldn’t because her relationship with Kate was fragile. She never wanted to offend her daughter or make her feel less than, but at the same time, it’s important that Rebecca is real about their situation.
Kate is fat (and it’s both good and bad), Rebecca is ancient (there’s no denying that), and these qualities and more make them gorgeous. It’s time they started accepting their truths and living them rather than being ashamed and stifled by them.
The statement combined with all of Rebecca’s other motherly advice empowered Kate so that she would stop sulking, turning to other people for validation, and could finally confront the issue with Toby head-on.
Toby doesn’t deserve to be shamed for his very human fears and feelings, but he also has to get it together and accept the truth that baby Jack won’t ever have his vision but he can still have a meaningful life. His parents are there to be his first teachers and show him that life has purpose, to help him navigate it, and to give him adjustments.
The fact that Kate found the courage to lay down the law and Toby felt the pressure and found the courage to tell her he wants to watch baby Jack for the weekend was real progress. Rebecca knew he had it in him and so did we, he just needed a little push in the right direction.
There’s also something to be said about the fact that Kate’s personal opinion of herself has been so wrapped up in the exterior and her image and yet, her son will never know what she looks like and will never get to base his opinion on any of those factors.
There were so many truly wonderful moments in this episode that managed to find a healthy balance between the emotionally heavy and the light almost fairytale-like moments.
Justin Hartley did a wonderful job directing and incorporating the very fabric of what makes this show great into every scene.
He really managed to nail what makes Rebecca and Kate’s relationship so special.
From their late-night swim to Rebecca’s story about the lightning bugs (and finally, the meaning behind her nickname “bug), and their karaoke session to “Ironic,” it was all so wonderful and encompassing of a whole lifetime of memories leading up to this very moment.
Sadly, all of these feel-good moments lead me to believe that Rebecca’s memory loss is going to be much worse than she told Kate it would be.
However, it’s comforting that she was the one to tell Kate the truth about her diagnosis and didn’t keep it from her to protect her.
At this point, Kevin is the only one who doesn’t know, which means that he may get upset with Randall for not cluing him in.
The upcoming episode finds the Big Three at the cabin in both the present and the past.
We know from flashbacks that Kate and Marc’s story has only just begun, but what happens when the adult Big Three now dubbed “Sad Three” reunite to talk through their worries, concerns, and fears?
What did you think of the Kate-centric episode? It’s been a hell of a week, hasn’t it?
Is it everything you hoped it would be? How are you feeling about her and Rebecca’s relationship dynamic?
This Is Us Review – Adding to the Family Tree (5×09)
This Is Us Season 5 Episode 9 tackled the hardships and joys of parenting while painting it as a rewarding yet terrifying and difficult journey, no matter where you are in life.
Regardless of how many books you read or how many shows you watch about parenting, absolutely no one is prepared to be a parent, especially not a first-time parent. The series makes that very clear as it tackles three different timelines over the span of an hour.
And surprisingly, all the action happens during the car drives from the hospital.
Who knew they could be so illuminating?
Given the car setting, it would be understandable if the episode was boring and uneventful, but it was the exact opposite; it gave audiences a glimpse into the lives of the characters as they started a new chapter in their lives with their respective families.
We’ve seen the magic that is the Pearson clan, but now we’re seeing the magic from the families of the Big Three.
It’s the first day of the rest of their lives, and This Is Us captured every feeling and emotion brilliantly.
The series has a knack for making profound television, and it doesn’t even require the characters to exit the vehicle.
During Jack and Rebecca’s drive home from the hospital, the new parents felt overwhelmed with the idea of taking home three newborn babies.
A road rage incident triggered Jack, which led him to down a bit of a spiral as he secretly purchased and chugged a small bottle of whiskey at the gas station. While the scene was initially concerning, he eventually confessed what he did to Rebecca. What a relief.
And he explained his concerns that he was going to be an alcohol father just like his dad was.
Rebecca reminded him that he’s nothing like his dad because he doesn’t suck up the air in the room — he is the air.
Instead of focusing on the negatives and what-ifs, the duo just embraced the moment for what it was: the moment they became a family.
When you look at it as a moment of celebration, your whole mindset changes.
Parents have a huge impact on the kind of people we become, for better or worse.
In Jack’s case, he didn’t want to be like his old man, but in Kevin’s case, he wanted to live up to his father.
The Big Three have a tendency to put Jack on a pedestal and view him as this perfect father, but it was nice to see that notion grounded a bit.
Jack and Kevin both struggled with the idea of becoming fathers.
The car seat scene was a nice touch showing just how similar their experiences were — neither of them read the dang manual and decided to wing it on the spot.
However, Kevin couldn’t exactly get any advice from his dad, which is where the dream sequence came into play.
Kevin was worried that he would fail, and Jack let him know that he’s capable and he’ll figure it out.
The dream also provided fans with a rare look at Justin Hartley and Milo Ventimiglia in a scene together.
While they may be father and son to all of us, they rarely get to share scenes since Jack is long gone by the time Kevin is an adult.
Their dynamic is so effortless that it’s hard to look away.
However, you always need your dad, and Jack’s “visit” gives him perspective and guidance.
Kevin realizes that he’s going to be fine because he sees just how strong Madison is. She’s a boss who is handling this whole “new mom” thing without any stress.
Not only does she birth twins, but she offers to drive them all home after several sleepless nights and even handles his paparazzi situation.
She’s a super mom.
All of this puts makes Kevin realize that what he wants most at this point in his life is a family.
So, he proposes to Madison in a heartwarming moment using the hospital band as a ring. Could it be any more perfect?
The series has been slowly inching towards the idea that Kevin is no longer enchanted by the entertainment industry as prioritized the birth of his twins over the movie, picked a fight with a fan, and even confronted the paparazzi.
So much of Kevin’s self-worth has been tied up in his career that I’m really interested in seeing him in this new chapter in his life.
We also see Randall and Beth’s post-delivery ride home with Annie, who is described as an angel on Earth.
It’s clear that taking home the second child is much less stressful than the first child. They even make time for a DQ run!
However, Randall makes the mistake of broaching the topic of a third child. Of course, he wants a boy, but Beth’s not interested in any of it because well, she just destroyed her insides and pushed out a child.
I love how real Beth is about every damn thing in life. She’s my spirit animal.
Of course, it’s fun to watch knowing how life unfolds for Randall, who eventually adds a third child to see his family that isn’t a boy!
The whole scene comes full-circle when Randall has a heart-to-heart with infant Annie and explains that his desire to have more children is because Beth and the girls are the start of his family tree. At that point in time, Randall didn’t know anything about his birth parents, so his comments make sense, but in the present, we know that he’s added quite a lot of branches to that tree.
Regardless, it’s a sweet moment that’s only made sweeter with the flash-forward that shows Deja and Annie arriving at Kevin’s house to say goodbye to a frail Rebecca.
Prior to that moment, we find out that Deja is working at a hospital. When Annie picks her up, she gifts her a teething giraffe and informs her that she can’t keep this pregnancy a secret for long.
More babies — more branches! So many generations in one short hour!
And how incredible is the casting for all three of Randall’s adult daughters?
The flash-forward is yet another tease, and we’ll hopefully see everyone in the same room in the near future.
Wouldn’t it be great to see Randall’s kids interacting with Kevin and Kate’s kids?
In the present-day, we also see Kate and Toby make their way home from the hospital after welcoming Hailey.
However, their car ride is a bit different as they drive Hailey’s birth mother, Ellie, home from the hospital.
Kate was really excited about making plans with Ellie in the future considering their open adoption agreement, but you could tell the whole ordeal was very difficult for Ellie.
Eventually, she made the conscious decision not to be in Hailey’s life for the time being, and it was valid. She thought she could handle it but upon welcoming her daughter, she realized it wouldn’t be as easy as she thought to let go and watch from a distance.
Kate’s sadness was also valid as she truly wanted Hailey to have a bond with her birth mom after seeing how difficult it was for Randall to grow up without knowing his birth parents.
My guess is that Ellie will eventually come around to the idea once she has enough time to process it all and isn’t hurting as much.
Maybe that’s who Randall is referring to in the flash-forward when he says “they’re here” as we see a car pulling up?
Toby also informs Kate that he was laid off, which seems like terrible timing but for the first time ever, Kate doesn’t spiral.
She’s hopeful as she holds her new baby, a baby that she didn’t think was possible based on her earlier diagnosis.
It’s a moment where she believes they will be okay because they are together. And I hope that’s also the case.
However, it does worry me that maybe this is the beginning of the end for Kate and Toby? What if money and career woes lead to a divorce? It’s been a popular theory as to why they aren’t together in the flash-forward.
Could Kate and Jack be in the car? Are they with Hailey and Ellie? What’s the deal here?
I can’t wait till we get an episode that gives us just a bit more about the flash-forward scene!
Until then, I’m content knowing that the Pearson family tree continues to flourish.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments!
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This Is Us Review – Meet the New Big Three (5×08)
The new Big Three have arrived.
This Is Us pulling at your heartstrings and making you weep isn’t anything new, but these tears were different because we celebrated the newest members of the Pearson clan – Kevin and Madison’s twins and Toby and Kate’s adopted daughter.
The episode detailed giving birth during a pretty crazy time in the world: the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasized the importance of staying connected through cellphones and the Internet.
Initially, the scenes of Nasir from India and Esther from Argentina were confusing. I thought they were flashbacks of Miguel’s parents and that we were finally getting some more backstory about the often-overlooked character, but instead, This Is Us paid tribute to a real-life computer researcher responsible for the algorithm that allows all of us, even the Pearsons, to remain connected.
It’s about time this man got the recognition he deserves during a time where staying connected is so imperative and crucial to our society’s ability to function.
This man is singlehandedly responsible for giving us the opportunity to be part of important and milestone moments in our loved ones’ lives; he paved the way for a future that you and I take for granted daily. Even now as we watch our favorite show on a Tuesday night!
And while Miguel doesn’t get his time in the sun, Rebecca did thank him for being there for her and the family, which was the most acknowledgment he’s gotten in quite some time. He deserves so much more recognition, but this is a good start.
With Kate and Madison both welcoming babies at the same time in different hospitals and the family not being able to be there – including Toby who had an elaborate tailgating set-up in the hospital parking lot – connecting with them via video chat after the births was imperative.
Randall and Beth were on the phone with Madison for hours while Kevin did his best to make it to her. And he did! We never saw how he managed to pull off traveling without an I.D. or how the hospital let him in after he just traveled through an airport, but that’s neither here nor there.
The point is, he made it for the birth of his twins, and while he was gone, Randall filled in by virtually holding Madison’s hand and telling her drunk Kevin stories.
Despite everything that happened with these two, Randall remains the best brother who always puts his family first.
After all the emotions settled a bit, Kevin broached the topic of their big fight, and while it wasn’t the right time to get into detail, at least they’re back on track and have acknowledged that the conversation must be had and apologies must be made.
Kate’s adoption process made me nervous for a bit because it seemed as though Ellie wasn’t going to hand over the baby. I got worried when she changed her mind and asked to hold her and then asked to be alone with the baby.
Based on Kate’s surprised reaction, she also didn’t know what it meant and was trying to be understanding.
Ellie’s emotional goodbye to her daughter hit me in the feels. One can imagine that giving up your baby is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do, but it’s also so brave of her to acknowledge that she needs to do what’s best for her.
And Kate meeting baby Hailey was pure bliss. Again, in a time when the world is upside-down and downright scary, there’s nothing more reassuring than looking down at an innocent baby.
The waterworks also began flowing when Toby decided to give the baby the middle name “Rose” after the ill wife of the man in the parking lot.
When he mentioned her name and gave Toby a “lucky pig,” it was obvious that Toby would find inspiration for the middle name from their abrupt meeting, but it was still such a genuine moment of human connection — this one in person yet still distanced.
Also, can we celebrate the fact that Rose got some good news after being diagnosed with COVID? Hospitals are a place where you experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but it was a good night for everyone.
The flashbacks of Jack and Rebecca at the cabin mulling over how their children no longer wanted to hang out with them fit in perfectly. Sometimes, flashbacks don’t jive with what’s happening in other timelines, but that painting was a reminder to always remain present and never miss a thing even if life gets in the way.
Rebecca stayed true to that promise. The montage of them making the painting juxtaposed with the current bundles of joy being boy really hit right in the feels.
And lastly, Kevin paid tribute to Uncle Nicky (and Nic Cage) when he named one of the twins Nicholas. And honestly, good on them for bringing back the Frances. How cute is Franny?
Franny, Nicholas, and Hailey – the new Big Three that will carry on the Pearson legacy. You just know Jack is up there in heaven beaming with pride.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments below!
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