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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – An Open Dialogue to End the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health (4×11)

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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.

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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.

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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.


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Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.

This Is Us

Who Is Nicky Pearson Married to on ‘This Is Us’?

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Who Is Nicky Pearson Married to on 'This Is Us'?

The season 5 finale of This Is Us stunned audiences with a major cliffhanger, but that wasn’t the only surprising revelation during the hour!

In the final moments as Kate gears up for her wedding to — well, it seems like Phillip, but that could be a red herring — it’s revealed that Nicky has a wife!

Yes, Nicky, Jack’s cynical and “weird” brother, is a married man in the five-year flash forward! But who is his wife?

The obvious answer would be Sally Brooks, his first and only love. 

In flashback episodes, Nicky and Sally met at a vet clinic in 1969 and their relationship flourished. They had the kind of summer romance you see in rom-coms, but when she asked Nicky to head out to California with her, he never showed up because he decided to stick around and be there for his mother, who was still living with his abusive, drunk of a father.

Who Is Nicky Pearson Married to on 'This Is Us'?

Credit: NBC/ This Is Us

Nicky hasn’t seen or heard from Sally since, but after seeing Kevin and Madison’s love story, he was inspired to seek her out online. Now, there are likely a ton of women with the name Sally Brooks, so he might have to get pretty specific with his search, but it’s not impossible.

Laura Kener, the show’s story editor, told Entertainment Weekly that it’s possible we’ll see Sally in the present day. 

“Um, I cannot confirm or deny either of those things, but I think it would be very exciting if it did happen. And I definitely was talking with the actor on set, Genevieve, about who she thinks could be the present-day Sally. So hopefully we will see that — my hopes as a fan and as a writer is that we do because I love Sally, and I want to see more of her,” she explained. 

This doesn’t automatically mean that sparks will fly again as Sally could be married or simply not interested in reconnecting.

But regardless, it could give Nicky the closure he never received and allow him to move on and find love again. 

If Sally isn’t his wife, who is?

The second option is Rebecca Pearson. It would be pretty crazy if Rebecca got married to her late husband’s brother, but she also married his best friend, Miguel, so I guess it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch.

In the 10-12 year flash-forward, Rebecca is on her death bed with her family gathered around her. Nicky is seen by her side, which fans found strange. Furthermore, her husband, Miguel, her husband, is not around. The camera also makes it a point to pan to a wedding band on Nicky’s finger, which could possibly suggest that he and Rebecca tied the knot. 

However, I’m not too keen on this storyline. Marrying Miguel made some sense as they both loved Jack and connected after over their shared grief. They were each other’s support system. As for Nicky, it’s just a little too close to home. 

Plus, I’m a fan of the theory that Nicky is only by her side because Rebecca’s dementia has led her to believe that Nicky is Jack. This could also explain why Miguel isn’t pictured. 

Why Is Nicky By Rebecca’s Side on the ‘This Is Us’ Season 4 Finale? This Theory Might Explain It

The final option is that Nicky married Cassidy (guest star Jennifer Morrison). While there’s a significant age difference between the two, aside from Kevin, Cassidy is the only other person that Nicky is close to. Plus, people of different ages fall in love all the time.

The series likely wouldn’t introduce Morrison’s character only to have her be a blimp in Kevin’s life, right? Unless, of course, Kevin, who ended up not getting married to Madison in the This Is Us Season 5 finale, marries Cassidy in the flash-forward. Either way, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Cassidy just yet! 

If Rebecca thinks Nicky is Jack, and if Kevin is married to Cassidy, then it seems like Nicky either wed Sally or the series will introduce a new love interest for him in the final season.

Regardless of who the wife is, we just hope Nicky, who has only known solitude for the latter half of his life, is happy. 

He deserves a companion that will make him feel happy and alive again!

Who do you think he marries?

This Is Us Season 6 will premiere midseason in 2022. No premiere date has been announced.


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This Is Us

This Is Us Season Finale Review – The Wedding Twist No One Saw Coming (5×16)

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This Is Us Season Finale Review The Adirondacks Season 5 Episode 16

After five seasons, This Is Us continues to sweep us off our feet. 

And yes, that’s a terrible phrase to use for an episode that did not include the highly-anticipated Kevin and Madison wedding. Is anyone really surprised by that?

I think I was more surprised by how much the teasers were hyping up a wedding that both the bride and groom were so uncertain about. We knew in our hearts that it wasn’t going to happen. 

While Kevin and Madison didn’t walk down the aisle towards their happily ever after, there was a silver lining for both of them.

For starters, they both avoided a marriage that was doomed from the beginning. Madison would never have Kevin’s full heart, and that’s unfair to everyone. Meanwhile, he wouldn’t have to force himself to fall in love with a woman after saying “I do.” They were both settling simply because they had children together, which was made obvious when Kevin couldn’t bring himself to tell Madison that he was in love with her. 

Kevin was so determined to make it work because he so badly wanted to have the kind of love story his parents did. But this wasn’t it… at least not now. I say that because based on the flash-forward, I definitely think there’s a chance that Kevin and Madison fell in love with each other sometime in the future. Otherwise, they’re nailing this modern family/parenting thing, and that’s great too. They both deserve to find their person. 

The other silver lining was that through this experience, Madison finally found her worth. In the same way that Kevin was searching for the fairytale romance and perfect family because of his parents, Madison spent her life accepting any sliver of affection that anyone would give her. After being with Kevin, she realized that she owed it to herself to find someone who was just as in love with her as she was with him. 

Calling off a wedding mere moments before it’s set to happen to a man who has given you everything (except his heart) is difficult, but kudos to Madison for finally putting herself first.

The series is always trying its best to trick us and the sweet Kate and Toby conversation about making sacrifices for the other person was a red herring. 

For a full season, we’ve all wondered when the other foot would drop on Kate and Toby’s relationship as the flash-forward to Rebecca on her death bed seems to reveal that the two of them are no longer together. 

However, this was not the moment I thought we’d get the big reveal. 

As Kevin practiced his speech, it was assumed that he was putting together his vows for his wedding with Madison. When it became obvious that this scene was from a flash-forward, I immediately thought that Kevin was finally going to lock down the love of his life and was convinced we’d see Sophie standing on the other side of the door. 

All of that ended up being absolutely inaccurate as Kevin was actually gearing up for his best man speech for… Kate’s wedding. 

Kate was getting married to her co-teacher, Phillip. Yes, the very Phillip that thought she wasn’t qualified for the job and gave her flack on her first day. 

I’m a huge fan of season finale twists but not when they involve the breakup of one of TV’s sweetest couples. 

Were Kate and Toby tired of making sacrifices for each other? Were they just being delusional when they both said they’d make things work between juggling a family and a career?

Or is this yet another red herring? Kevin calls Phillip brother-in-law, but maybe Phillip is Madison’s long-lost brother and Kate is renewing her vows with Toby? 

It’s a stretch, especially since Kate says “this is the last time I’m doing this.”

We know Toby is still around in the flash-forward, and this could explain the “she” he’s referring to when Randall assures him that “she would want you to be here, Tobe.” Initially, we all thought it referred to Rebecca wanting Toby there or that it might have meant Kate was no longer alive, but now that we know Toby and Kate divorced, it would make sense that he’d feel a little apprehensive about being there for a huge Pearson moment. 

Though, I’m glad he is. Toby is family regardless of whether he’s married to Kate or not. 

This Is Us Season Finale Review The Adirondacks Season 5 Episode 16

THIS IS US — “The Adirondacks”, Episode 516 — Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Sterling K. Brown as Randall — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

The 5-year flash-forward also revealed something quite shocking… Nicky is married! Yes, the cynical Nicky has found a lifelong partner. 

But who is it? Is it his teenage love Sally Brooks? Did he finally find her? Or is it Rebecca? Because in the other flash-forward (so many timelines, so little time!), Nicky is by Rebecca’s bedside. Did she split from Miguel and get married to Nicky? I can’t see that happening, but I’m also not putting anything past this series anymore. 

The episode was filled with great moments about putting yourself and your own happiness first. 

Tess confessed that she didn’t feel like herself in the bridesmaid dress, and while no one ever does, hers was a different story as it was tied to her identity. Beth took matters into her own hands and helped Tess alter the dress to make it more her style, and it turned out awesome. 

Deja found out that Malik got accepted to Harvard, and while she’s obviously concerned about the future of their relationship, can we just get a round of applause for his five for five? Get it! 

This Is Us Review – Kevin’s Strange Bachelor Party (5×15)

And Randall finally opened up to Rebecca about his time in New Orleans learning about his birth mother. He’d been avoiding the conversation for quite some time, but it allowed them to heal from all the pain of the past as Rebecca finally apologized for keeping him away from his birth parents and not giving him a platform to talk about it. 

Rebecca and Randall are the best mother-daughter duo on television, so I’m glad they’re back on track. 

The episode was filled with the same magic that made This Is Us such an unexpected hit back in 2016! 

We even got a present-day Pearson family moment, and while Jack was obviously missing, his presence was felt as everyone suggested how he would handle the given situation. There’s something so special about the family still having each other’s backs after everything they’ve been through. It was one of the most powerful scenes of the season. 

What are your thoughts after the finale? Have you picked your jaw up off the floor?

What do you think led to the Kate and Toby split? Are they still on good terms? Are Kevin and Madison together in the future?

Who is Nicky married to? Sound off in the comments below to share your thoughts, feelings, and opinions. 

And we’ll see you back here for the sixth and final season in the fall! 


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This Is Us Review – Kevin’s Strange Bachelor Party (5×15)

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This Is Us Review Jerry 2.0 Season 5 Episode 15

Kevin and Madison celebrated their respective bachelor and bachelorette parties on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 15.

For a Hollywood hunk, Kevin’s bachelor party was pretty lame, but it was fitting for the family-focused series. 

The boys went up to the family cabin with the hopes of fly fishing, but due to the weather, they found themselves watching Jerry Maguire, talking about their feelings, and reminiscing about the past.

And that’s kind of what bothered me about the episode. There was too much emphasis on the past and not enough on the future, namely, Madison and Kevin’s future. 

Their relationship may be unconventional, and yes, it’s highly likely that if they didn’t accidentally get pregnant, they wouldn’t be together, but they did find each other, which has to mean something.

Their love isn’t a grand love like Rebecca and Jack’s, but not every relationship is.

However, as Miguel rightfully pointed out, that doesn’t make it any less important. What Madison and Kevin have is unique and special in their own way, and I wish the series acknowledged that instead of trying to tear them apart through every means possible.

Kevin was right to call out Nicky for his rude behavior. I know he doesn’t have a filter, but some things just don’t need to be said out loud.

This Is Us Review Jerry 2.0 Season 5 Episode 15

THIS IS US — “Jerry 2.0”, Episode 515 — Pictured: (l-r) Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Chris Sullivan as Toby, Jon Hertas as Miguel, Griffin Dunne as Nicky, Justin Hartley as Kevin — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Nicky’s comments coupled with the call from Sophie made Kevin doubt and question his decision to get married to Madison, but I’m glad Miguel brought him back to reality. 

Miguel definitely knows that there are different types of love and they’re all valid. He will never be Rebecca’s Jack, but they have something real that they’ve made work.

Similarly, Madison will never be Kevin’s Sophie, but that’s a good thing. Kevin and Sophie tried to make it work numerous times, and despite the love they had for each other, it just didn’t fit. 

Randall managed to keep everyone in check, but Miguel’s advice saved the day. 

Honestly, Miguel continues to be so underrated, but I’m glad they’re incorporating him into the storylines more and more.  

I was happy that Kevin didn’t call Sophie back and decided to delete her number. It was a little irritating that she decided to call Kevin in the first place and insert herself back into his life. 

A congratulations text would’ve worked just as well, but it seemed like she was hoping something else might come of it and that isn’t fair to Kevin. He tried to win her back so many times and she turned him down. Her call seemed to be fueled by the “you want what you can’t have.”

Madison’s bachelorette party didn’t fare any better. While it had a more bachelorette vibe to it, it was still pretty depressing. 

First off, none of Madison’s friends came to the party. Then, the model that they were painting turned out to be Madison’s ex, and finally, she also began to question her relationship with Kevin when watching the video about their future.

The whole ex thing didn’t seem to serve any purpose, but it was funny watching them call him out for ghosting her!

What did become evident is that both Kevin and Madison both have the same fears and insecurities about the relationship. Instead of pretending they’re this happy couple, they should probably talk about it before the wedding.

I definitely think they both love each other, but they have to be honest about their feelings if they want to make this work. Slapping a bandaid over it isn’t going to cut it. 

With both of them questioning the relationship, it’s definitely hard to get excited about the wedding in the upcoming season finale. 

Will they make it down the aisle? Will Sophie be a wedding crasher? Or will they live happily ever after?

Other Major Moments

  • Toby realized that he couldn’t continue on as a stay-at-home dad and put himself in the running for a position in San Francisco. What does that mean for him and Kate considering she just found a job she loves in LA?
  • Beth was also looking for a job and couldn’t bring herself to work at just another dance academy as she considered the traditional ones to be broken and joyless. Rebecca suggested that she start her own (and we know that she runs with that advice in the future), and I just love how positive of a force she is in everyone’s lives. She was supportive of Madison, and she’s always been #TeamBeth. 
  • In turn, I love that Beth was the only person who treated Rebecca like a human instead of a broken doll. Their relationship is so sweet. 
  • Fisherman Randall is a whole vibe. 
  • Nicky wanting to bring a jigsaw puzzle to the bachelor party was so on-brand. 
  • Rebecca’s reaction to learning about ghosting was everything. People who ghost other people are jerks! 
  • Nicky is trying to find his one true love, Sally Brooks. It’s definitely a generic name, so he might have so trouble with the Google results, but I’m excited about this storyline. Maybe it’ll make him less cynical! 

What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments! 


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