On this week’s installment of This Is Us, Randall reminded us all that self-care is important.
Randall deals with anxiety on a regular basis, but as the stress of his job, his mother’s illness, and the break-in at his home piled on, Randall was crumbling, as any human would be.
As Beth pointed out, it’s a lot for anyone to handle.
Randall put on a brave face and tried to bottle it all inside and ignore the warning signs, but eventually, that anger, fear, resentment, it all had to go somewhere.
It ended up being channeled to thwart a snatch-and-grab, which wasn’t the worst way to cope, but it wasn’t the right way either.
Randall saved a woman, he was hailed as a hero, but he felt far from that and he wasn’t okay. He was screaming internally and no one could hear him.
He hasn’t been for a while, he’s just good at covering it up.
It may not have been the best episode of This Is Us because it wasn’t loaded with feel-good moments, dramatic reveals, or Jack saying all the right things, but it was one of the most important episodes to date.
The series devoted a whole episode to addressing mental health and the stigma around asking for help specifically as it relates to men of color.
Many people, Randall included, saw his anxiety as a weakness. He didn’t feel that he could talk about his problems or be open about them until eventually, he couldn’t keep them bottled up inside.
His psyche was damaged by the intruder more than he was letting on and as we found out more about the break-in and that the man was upstairs where the girls were sleeping, it became harder for Randall to cope.
When Randall finally reached his breaking point, he called Kevin, the one person who has become his rock overtime and has lifted him up when he was down and held him when he needed to cry. We saw it happen on This Is Us Season 1 when Randall had a panic attack at his old job, and it happened again at the end of the episode.
Kevin’s a good brother, and it’s important we have that person we can turn to when things get hard, but it’s also important that we understand that sometimes, it pays to talk to someone that’s a trained psychologist that can help us solve our problems and walk through our trauma; someone who can begin the healing process.
It’s also important to note how strong their brotherly love is here compared to the fractured relationship that was shown in the future. Could they have fallen out because Randall kept his mother’s diagnosis a secret at her request? Or was it something more? Maybe something to do with Randall’s refusal to seek professional help for his issues.
There were a few people throughout the course of the episode that tried to help Randall including Darnell who stopped by to let him know therapy is nothing to be ashamed of. He encouraged Randall to seek help and told him how he used to be a tripwire until he found someone to talk to about his issues.
He informs Randall that it’s a weight lifted when you can just open up about everything regardless if you talk about what’s hurting you, upsetting you, or making you happy. But that doesn’t resonate with Randall who brushes him off and assures him running is good enough therapy. That is until he turns a corner and witnesses a robbery.
Since This Is Us expertly plays with multiple timeless, Randall’s anxiety is layered in both the past and present as they intertwine to show us that Randall’s nightmares have consistently been a byproduct of his stress and something he’s learned to live with but never learned to manage.
In his college days, Randall has nightmares following Jack’s death and asks Beth to sleep over countless times. When she encourages talking to someone rather than torturing himself, he refuses.
When she’s finally able to convince him to seek out some counseling in the form of a grief group, Randall is unable to attend because his problems and worries keep piling on, this time with Kate, which seems to be the third part in the Pearson trilogy.
We also see scenes of a young Randall who keeps finding comfort in his father’s arms because he’s scared of monsters and cannot fall asleep in his new big boy bed. However, Jack’s response to Randall telling him that he’s scared may have been the start of a harmful pattern. Jack, the ever-exhausted father who just wants to watch “The Shining” in peace tells his son to be “lowkey” and essentially to “step it up” because there’s nothing to be scared of.
This teaches Randall that his fears and anxieties aren’t warranted and shouldn’t be brought to anyone’s attention.
We see him try to deal with his anxiety in low-key manner in college when he’s having nightmares and again in the present. His father’s words are constantly echoing in his subconscious as he downplays his fears and emotions to Kevin. Jae Kwon, Darnell, and even his own wife.
Jack’s rhetoric continues to create bad behaviors for Randall as his father tells him to “be brave.”
It’s certainly admirable that Randall can stand his own against an intruder to protect his family, but he doesn’t have to be brave all the time.
To his credit, Jack did thank Randall for being brave enough to voice that he was scared, which is an important lesson and one that hopefully, Randall remembers soon enough.
This Is Us was also brave as they attempted to change the dialogue surrounding mental health. It may not be the cure-all, but it’s a start just as Randall reaching out to his brother and acknowledging that he has a problem was a start.
As we continue, the series is tapping into some of the issues that have very obviously been plaguing the Big Three but have never been fully addressed. The siblings may have had the perfect parents, but they’re far from perfect and most of the time, they’ve been running from their issues instead of addressing them head-on.
The second part of the trilogy surrounds Kevin, who answered Sophie’s call and was on his way to her father’s funeral when he picks up Randall’s first phone call. By the second call, Kevin’s laying in bed with Sophie and acknowledging that he may have made a mistake, which is where we start tapping into all of Kevin’s deeply buried issues with commitment and more. The teaser for Kevin’s episode seems to be all about “true love” and Sophie, the one that got away.
It’s a promising cliffhanger as we all anxiously (for lack of a better word) wait to see who Kevin’s pregnant wife is in the flash-forward scenes.
Not to dismiss Kevin’s moment, but I’m deeply interested in Kate’s storyline. It’s been hinted that things with her older boyfriend Marc got pretty dark in previous episodes, but the series never followed up on it until this week when we had a brief snippet of Kate’s phone conversation with Marc where she was asking him why he was so angry.
Towards the end of the episode, college Randall gets a call from Kevin that something happened to Kate and they’re on their way to pick him up. Is this a case of domestic abuse?
Alright, so the few takeaways from this episode:
- Mental health matters — be sure to check on your loved ones today.
- Therapy is nothing to be ashamed of and is encouraged. It’s incredibly brave to seek help and work towards becoming the best version of yourself.
- Alarm systems are a priority. It’s hard to believe Randall didn’t have one considering his anxiety, his concern for his family, and the fact that they have the means and can afford it.
This Is Us Review – The Train (6×17)
There are some shows, some characters, and some families that come into your life and change everything.
Since its premiere, This Is Us has always been that show with those life-changing characters and families. Each episode has been an emotional tsunami that opened the flood gates and assured fans that it was okay — more than okay, actually — to feel all the feels and let out the tears.
The series sent waves when it introduced three timelines that all connected with each other, so the expectations have been high for the final few episodes, especially the penultimate episode that said goodbye to the matriarch, Rebecca Pearson.
Everyone always raves about what a great guy Jack Pearson is — and he was a terrific father albeit a flawed man — but no one ever gives Rebecca the credit she deserves.
The episode, which detailed Rebecca’s journey to the end, highlighted that Rebecca was really the glue that held it all together in the face of loss, heartache, and trauma. She endured so much so that, in their individual ways, her children could thrive. And she made sure that — until her very last breath — her children were taken care of in a way that only a mother can.
She held on for so long for them, and wow, she really deserved that rest.
When you think of death, you typically think of pain and suffering, which makes all the sense in the world. It’s hard not to. But This Is Us once again challenged those surface-level emotions by showcasing Rebecca’s death as a beautiful and natural process in this journey we call life.
The end doesn’t always have to be sad. It can be a celebration of a full life lived. Rebecca’s sure was.
Dan Fogelman and team brilliantly brought to life the quote: “It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die.”
For Rebecca, that life was weaved in seamlessly through her journey to the caboose car on the train. Ever since she was a little child, Rebecca absolutely loved riding on the train with her father, so it was fitting that she took one last ride with a final destination in mind.
I mean, the writing was exceptional as it hit on every major and minor moment that meant anything to the series and these characters.
It was also a creative way to incorporate and celebrate all the people that shaped the show and made an impact on Rebecca’s life along the way.
William guided Rebecca on the journey with all of the wisdom that he collected throughout the years. Their stories have been connected since the moment he left Randall at the firehouse. He gave Rebecca the third child that completed her family, and so, it was fitting that he was the one to escort her in her final moments.
Dr. K made an appearance to commend Rebecca on truly living his advice about taking lemons and making lemonade to the fullest — she took everything that was thrown her way and she made the sweetest damn lemonade. She turned her life into this big, messy, gigantic, and spectacular thing.
And when her life flashed before her eyes, the pain was overshadowed by the love and the light.
Obviously, at the forefront were her three children, the Big Three — Randall, Kevin, and Kate — but there was also the incredible family that they all built. There were grandchildren, great grandchildren (well, in the making), wives, husbands, ex-husbands, baby mommas, everyone together as one unit. The love that Rebecca gave her children was extended to every single new “Pearson.”
The house wasn’t empty in her final days — it was filled with people who loved and cared for Rebecca in many different ways, including people who learned from her over the years and found her to be a role model and source of inspiration.
As all those loved ones said their final goodbyes, it was acknowledged that Rebecca heard everything they were saying deep in her subconscious as she saw flashes of memorabilia that meant something to her throughout the years along with visions of characters in various moments in time.
When Beth thanked Rebecca for being a guiding force and showing her what it was like to be a mother, Rebecca saw her as both a teenager and a grown woman.
When Sophie said goodbye and mentioned that her love story with Kevin was a once-in-a-lifetime love much like Rebecca and Jack’s, Rebecca saw Kevin and Sophie when they were toddlers, teens, and adults.
Rebecca was lucky enough to be part of every single moment — the good and the bad. She was the bedrock of the family and had a fierce love and loyalty for her kids.
As she made her way through the train, there was also a sweet moment with Miguel, though, admittedly, it felt very brief particularly when you think about how much Rebecca meant to him. The man dedicated his whole life to taking care of her. She was his whole life, and while I know that he wasn’t her one true love, he was such an important person to her, so I wish there was a little bit more love for him.
However, Mandy Moore also sold that chapter in her character’s life as she displayed the emotions that come along with confusion, excitement, and fear all wrapped up into one.
Rebecca knew that her time was running out, and she was trying to make sense of it all while absorbing all that was being thrown her way. She was proud of what she accomplished yet sad that she was leaving it all behind.
There were a few side stories, including Deja’s pregnancy, and even one final mystery that magnificently tied it all together.
Deja informed Randall that he was going to be a “grandpappy,” and the magnitude of life vs. death of it all could be felt. They always say, as one life ends, another begins.
It was revealed that Deja was pregnant with Malik’s child, which allows their relationship to come full circle. I’m happy for those crazy-in-love kids.
However, the idea of one life ends, another begins was also underscored with the introduction of Marcus and his family.
We met Marcus and his family during a traumatic moment in their lives when a car crash landed him in the hospital.
It wasn’t immediately clear how Marcus’s story fit into the grand scheme of things but isn’t that always the case with This Is Us?
Eventually, we learned that Marcus’s father had a heart-to-heart with Jack Pearson on the night of the house fire — and as we know — moments prior to his death.
And even then, Jack had it in him to pass on some sound piece of advice — a motto about lemons that Marcus’s family lived by for all these years.
Two families going through absolute hell that were unknowingly connected on a cosmic level.
They weren’t much different from the Pearsons, except that Marcus survived while Jack died that night. A real “one lives while the other dies” kind of moment.
Another life quote also comes to mind at this moment: “everything happens for a reason.”
Jack’s death was a pivotal moment for the Pearson clan as it changed everything and shaped them into the people that we know today, but if the scales tipped and Marcus died instead of Jack, then the world would’ve never gotten groundbreaking research about Alzheimer’s disease.
Marcus, again unknowingly, went on to make great strides in eliminating and treating the disease that killed Rebecca.
Not everyone’s bad day is a bad day. There is balance and order. As William explained — if you look at the whole picture, you’ll see the beauty even in the sad moments.
And, of course, if we were to get really technical, Jack would’ve never wanted the doctor to save him over a young boy.
Rebecca’s subconscious kept telling William that she was “waiting for someone” throughout the episode, and it soon became clear that it wasn’t Jack. She knew, just like we did, that she would see her husband again. She was, however, waiting for Kate, who was on a 12-hour flight back from London after taking her music program for the blind international.
A mother just knows (kind of like Beth knew that Deja was pregnant before she even said anything), call it motherly intuition, so Rebecca held on until all three of her children were by her side.
As they said their final goodbyes, she acknowledged that she heard everything with one last hand squeeze.
Now, naturally, you were already balling your eyes out this whole time. And if you know anything about This Is Us, you knew that Rebecca’s reunion with Jack was going to be the final moment. When she finally saw her beloved husband, it would indicate her passing.
You braced yourself and it still hit so hard.
When Rebecca laid down and turned to face Jack in bed, I looooost it.
Then, she simply said “hey,” which is what the children told her to say when she finally saw him, and I was in shambles.
It was so pure, simple, and perfect because it’s what we all envision our final moments being. We’re all staring down that barrel hoping that our end will be as comforting as Rebecca’s.
We want to see the people that have passed on and we want them to guide us since they’ve already crossed over. And we want to reunite with our one true love.
Rebecca gets to rest easy knowing that she did everything she could for her kids and left them as capable adults with their own families to raise.
It was a beautiful end to a beautiful story.
And we’re not done. We have one final episode to say goodbye to the Pearson clan, so get your tissues ready!
- How nice is it to see all the kids now? Like Kevin’s children as preteens!
- Why did Kevin look older than everyone else? Sophie barely aged. Nicky still looked the same!
- Toby continues to be the show’s comedic relief by asking Rebecca, on her deathbed, if she liked him better than Phillip.
- There were so many good moments, but Joni Mitchell? Flawless touch. It was the soundtrack to Rebecca’s life because it led her to Jack.
What did you think of the episode?
This Is Us Review – Family Meeting (6×16)
I don’t know how I thought that I was going to hold it together watching the final episodes of This Is Us, but the storytelling does not allow for there to be a single dry eye in the room.
This Is Us Season 6 Episode 16 leaned heavily into the emotional aspect of a mother’s love.
A mother’s love knows no bounds, especially when that mother is Rebecca Pearson.
Rebecca poured her heart and soul into raising the Big Three. She was a devoted mother who sacrificed everything, even when she didn’t exactly know what she was doing or how to do it.
As Randall put it, she was magic, so watching that magic fade away was uncomfortable and difficult.
It forced the Big Three to look at their mother in a different way; she was no longer the caregiver, she was now in need of their care.
The series has always been really great at showing parallels between then and now, but the plot device was especially useful in “Family Meeting” to underscore that the roles between a mother and her children were reversed.
In the same way that she fed them, clothed them, bathed them, and put them to sleep, they were now pitching it to feed her, clothe her, bathe her, and put her to sleep.
And it hit audiences in the feels not only because we’ve all come to love the Pearson clan and feel like we’re extended family members, but also because it’s a reality for each and every one of us because it’s life. And Dan Fogelman, the cast, and the crew have effortlessly, beautifully, and heartbreakingly captured it all through the lens of a single family.
As Randall, Kevin, and Kate debated what they should do with their mother now that Miguel was gone and her disease was worsening, it forced them to dig deep into themselves and into their childhood.
They couldn’t see eye-to-eye, which Rebecca anticipated when she appointed Kate as her guardian. And it’s a good thing she did.
Kevin and Randall both meant well, but they both had tunnel vision. They weren’t actually seeing the situation, and therefore, they weren’t seeing Rebecca — the person she is now.
Kate was silent throughout much of the meeting. She took a step back to reflect. She connected with her mother. She reminded them to actually look at their mother, see her in this fragile state, and be with her.
Admittedly, the scene of Randall and Kevin brushing their mother’s hair and lotioning her hands gutted me. There is such a pure love between all of them that just makes up for all the bad moments.
It was also such a raw moment that brought things full circle and reminded just how fleeting time is.
Eventually, Kevin presented the only logical solution to their dilemma that allowed Rebecca’s wishes to be fulfilled. She would live out her days in the cabin surrounded by family and none of her children would be forced to make their lives “smaller” because of it.
Kevin may have been a troublemaker for much of his life, and it took him a while to figure things out, but he was definitely on the right path by wanting to give Rebecca those “lazy Sundays.”
What made Rebecca such a great mother is that she loved her family — every single member of it.
What was supposed to be “one baby” ended up being three, and eventually, a whole clan of Pearson’s waiting to lend a hand to take care of the matriarch. It was, as the title noted, an actual “family meeting.”
When Kevin presented his plan for Rebecca, it was a definite moment where he was proving that he had finally grown up.
He wasn’t doing it alone either because Sophie, a nurse, was on-board, along with Madison, Elijah, and the twins, who would move to the East Coast to be closer to their families. And Nicky and Edie lived at the cabin as well, which meant that Rebecca would be surrounded by the family she created with Jack. A family that stemmed from one moment at the bathroom in Froggy’s.
Rebecca was always at the center of the family, so it was fitting that taking care of her seemed to be what brought everyone together for years to come.
Mandy Moore has done an outstanding job as Rebecca in every phase of her life; someone needs to give that woman an Emmy for her work.
The supporting cast, however, are the Big Three’s better halves. It’s not just a saying, it’s fact.
Beth has been part of the family for so long that she knows exactly when to make a break for it. She knows that she doesn’t meddle with Big Three business. She knows her husband so well, she knows exactly what he’s thinking and what he’s saying.
Sophie has been around for nearly as long — with some gaps in between — so she was perfect at channeling her inner-Kevin in the situation.
And while Phillip made a good point that they were making jokes while the Big Three dealt with the weight of making a decision about their mother’s soul-crushing disease, he also hasn’t experienced the ups-and-downs that come with being a Pearson so he doesn’t quite get that lightening the mood is absolutely necessary.
Sophie and Beth were the comedic relief in what would have otherwise been a very dark and depressing episode. They symbolize the people in your life who cope with bad situations by cracking jokes.
Toby was also a light in the darkness when he cracked a joke about getting back together after reminding Kate to stay confident while dealing with her brothers and their big personalities.
I love that Kate turned to both Toby and Phillip to get advice about her decision. She may have been a “late bloomer,” but she’s truly bloomed into her own and has some really great people in her life.
As the train heads towards the final two episodes of This Is Us, there’s no delaying the inevitable — Rebecca’s death.
I always thought that Jack’s death was going to be the one that hit the hardest, and while Miguel’s was a close second, it’s Rebecca’s passing that is going to have us all picking up the pieces for a very long time.
What did you think of the episode?
Did you like that The Big Three showed a level of maturity when making this big decision about their mother’s future? Were you glad to see the rest of the family equally involved in the decision-making process?
And how are you preparing for the final episodes?
This Is Us Review – Miguel Story… Finally! (6×15)
Miguel finally got his time to shine!
To be quite honest, Miguel deserved so much more than a single episode to honor his life, but at the very least, he got that.
On This Is Us Season 6 Episode 15, Miguel was acknowledged, seen, and loved.
We saw him as a child when his family uprooted his life to the U.S. We saw him navigate the complexities of being an immigrant by applying to jobs using both his real name and an English name. We saw him try to make something of himself and embrace where his path led.
We saw him fall in love with Shelly and have a beautiful life. And we saw that life take a dark turn as one late night led to another and eventually, to the demise of his family.
We saw him grapple with Jack’s death, get closer to Rebecca, and then move to Houston to start over. We saw him isolated and lonely as he struggled to maintain a relationship with his kids, who hated him and sided with their other, and his own father, who sadly passed away before they could ever find closure.
We saw him reconnect with Rebecca and genuinely smile for the first time in a while. We saw their first date after eight years apart — Rebecca made the first move.
We saw them broach the topic of Jack and what he would think about their romance, and like much of the audience, the consensus among them was that Jack would want what’s best for them. He’d want them to be happy.
We saw Miguel and Rebecca definitely not “ease into” breaking the news about their relationship to the kids.
We also saw Miguel take care of Rebecca, often putting her needs ahead of his own and neglecting his own health.
His mother, who dedicated her life to taking care of her disabled sister Gabi, once told him that love is unconditional and he seemed to have taken it to heart.
He wanted to be there for Rebecca every step of the way. And he was too proud to call it quits when the going got tough because he made a promise to her.
I love that the Big Three stepped in when they realized that Miguel could no longer shoulder the responsibility of being Rebecca’s caregiver.
It was sweet that he wanted to be, but after the fall in the snow which really hurt his back, it was clear that they overlooked the glaring fact that Miguel was aging right alongside his vibrant wife.
Rebecca’s sickness took precedence, but there was no denying that Miguel had a hard life where he wasn’t exactly seen.
The Big Three finally saw him and understood his needs as well.
Most of all, they finally acknowledged that they loved him and appreciated that he was part of the family. It was beautiful to see because Miguel has always been such an outsider in the family. He was a trooper about it, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt someday.
Also, props to Beth for knowing that Migs’ was endgame. She’s good.
By about the midway point of the episode, it was clear that Miguel’s time was coming to an end much sooner than Rebecca’s.
And that’s the thing about a disease like Alzheimer’s — it’s a gut punch day in and day out, but it also takes its time sometimes.
Someone with Alzheimer’s can outlive someone with, let’s say, a heart condition, which it seems Miguel had.
I have to give props to Kevin for stepping up and reaching out to Miguel’s son in hopes of encouraging him not to squander this final goodbye and leave things unfinished.
Not being able to say goodbye to Jack has affected Kevin immensely, so it was big of him to recognize that and reach out to the son, even if was to put the ball in his court.
He was receptive, thankfully, and Miguel got to enjoy a holiday or two with his kids, steps kids, grandkids, and step grandkids by his side.
There’s nothing more you could really ask for.
Kevin was also the one who opposed Miguel’s relationship with Rebecca the most. As the sensitive kid who was wholly devoted to his father, it makes sense. And though it took him years to warm up to the idea, I’m glad he finally did. He was a a huge source of support in Miguel’s final years, and that had to have meant the world.
And eventually, Miguel passed away. I’d like to think that he reconnected with Jack Pearson somewhere in heaven and they are both looking over Rebecca.
The symbolism of the tree that they planted together was deep and beautiful — just like their life together.
Miguel never wanted to leave Rebecca’s side, and he never would have willingly. The episode also confirms that the reason Miguel isn’t by Rebecca’s deathbed is that he died years prior.
The episode was an incredible run-through of a man’s life, and in a way, it’s almost as fast and fleeting as life itself. One minute you’re a kid playing ball with your whole life ahead of you, the next minute you’re staring down at a life lived and chock full of memories — both good and bad. They all mold together to shape the person you are today. And Miguel? He was a character who was flawed, but he tried his damn best. And he loved with every single ounce of his being.
We finally, finally, finally got to know his story, and it was worth the wait.
- Chicago Fire2 weeks ago
Chicago Fire Review: Halfway to the Moon (10×20)
- This Is Us5 days ago
This Is Us Review – The Train (6×17)
- Chicago Med2 weeks ago
Chicago Med Review – End of the Day, Anything Can Happen (7×20)
- This Is Us3 weeks ago
This Is Us Review – Miguel Story… Finally! (6×15)
- This Is Us2 weeks ago
This Is Us Review – Family Meeting (6×16)
- Dynasty2 weeks ago
Dynasty Review – Mind Your Business (5×10)
- Riverdale1 week ago
Riverdale Review – Venomous (6×14)
- Riverdale3 weeks ago
Riverdale Review – Is a Barchie Baby on the Way? (6×12)