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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

This Is Us Review – The Past Influences the Present at the Cabin (4×14)

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This Is Us The Cabin Review Season 4

A time capsule can bring you back to a moment in time and put things into perspective.

At least, that’s what happened on This Is Us “The Cabin” when the Big Three reunited in their family cabin to mull over their problems.

By the end of the hour, they all had some clarity about their next steps.

Randall realized that he was done letting the anxiety control him as it did his whole life and vowed to seek out counseling. Randall’s storyline continues to be one that normalizes mental health not only in a general sense but also as it pertains to African American males.

He may seem like he has it all together, but Randall has been a ticking time bomb since the break-in. It’s important to check up on your family and want to make sure your house is safe, but the incessant way that Randall goes about it is indicative of a bigger, underlying issue that he’s repressing and refusing to acknowledge.

Digging up the time capsule and realizing that his anxiety stemmed all the way back to when they were young and over something as basic as what to bury in the ground made him realize that he needs to get it under control.

Kate dug up a game of MASH, which revealed her one wish was to “live happily ever after.”

It’s a common dream for young girls, sure, but in the context of Kate’s current situation, it was a cold, hard truth smacking her in the face.

While things may seem bleak for Kate as she questions her relationship, I’ll continue to argue that Tobias (I love that Randall calls him that) is doing just fine in the daddy department.

He may have been hesitant about embracing his blind son, but all he needed was a little push. As the two spent time together, they had a chance to really bond and without Kate around, Toby was forced to step up to the plate.

Being alone with his son helped him realize that while life may be different than he imagined with baby Jack, it isn’t any less special.

His first major realization was that baby Jack needs him in his life. He’s always going to need a father to support him, teach him right from wrong, and help him on his life’s journey.

Related: This Is Us Review – Finding Your Way Home (4×13)

Parenting doesn’t always come as naturally to everyone, but I have no doubt Toby will get the hang of it.

When he saw baby Jack choking, his fatherly instincts kicked in and, in that moment, he realized just how much his son needed him.

But most importantly, Toby realized that he can still introduce Jack to all the things he loves, he just has to take a different approach.

The scene with him showing Jack all the Star Wars characters and imitating the sounds was such a sweet moment and something Jack Pearson would have done for his child.

Kate’s past storyline with Marc was also wrapped up, and it ended better than I thought it would.

After Marc, the asshole, broke Jack Pearson’s cup on purpose, Kate finally told him off, which triggered Marc’s angry meltdown.

In a fit of rage, he locked her out in the blistering cold and ignored her knocking as he knocked back a few cold ones.

Honestly, this dude couldn’t be kicked out of the house fast enough when Rebecca, Kevin, and Randall arrived.

However, I was expecting something much worse like the family finding Kate on the brink of hypothermia, so seeing them happily making pancakes and pretending everything was fine took me by surprise.

It was Randall who realized that a window was broken, noticed Kate’s gloves, and realized that something was sickeningly wrong with this “perfect” image.

Kate did her best to protect Marc because that’s what she was used to doing, but she needed to get to a point where she acknowledged how messed up their situation was.

I’m just glad she was in a safe space where Rebecca, Kevin, and Randall all had her back and that nothing worse happened to her while she was with him.

Also, Rebecca is such a strong woman who fights for the people she loves, and now, in the future, she needs them all to fight for her.

Kevin came to the cabin to cope with losing Sophie, and the time capsule reminded him that it’s always been her as he dug up a picture of the two of them when they were children.

He was also forced to come clean to Kate about sleeping with Madison after Madison blurted it out to Kate in a voicemail after telling him it should be their little secret. Thanks a lot, Madison.

Kate wasn’t entirely on-board with Kevin and Madison, but she seemed more upset about the fact that Kevin kept it from her than anything else.

Related: This Is Us Review – Why Kevin’s Hook Up Upset So Many Fans (4×12)

But I have to be honest, I still don’t think Madison is Kevin’s wife in the future or the woman pregnant with his baby. Unless it’s an “oopsie” and Kevin steps up to the plate, he doesn’t seem emotionally invested in pursuing anything with Madison. The “sparks” weren’t there, and that’s telling. Plus, he’s still pining over Sophie.

If I had to guess, the writers are going to pull the rug right from under us and offer a major twist just like that house.

When we first saw the flash-forward to the night the family gathers at Kevin’s to say goodbye to a sick and frail Rebecca, we assumed the house Kevin was living in was a mansion somewhere in LA.

Turns out, it’s the dream cabin that Jack Pearson sketched and planned to build for his wife one day.

Grab your tissues, it’s an emotional sucker… but you already knew that because Tuesdays are for crying!

The Big Three dug up the renderings with the time capsule and listened to a cassette that was recorded by Jack in 1993, which detailed his plans and how Rebecca always believed in him.

Kevin became inspired by the sketch and made the decision to build the house as they were leaving from their weekend getaway.

Kevin has always been the most emotionally vulnerable character, so it’s such a fitting twist to his narrative, one that has mostly found him bopping around and trying to find purpose in life.

We see a glimpse into that future scene towards the end as he returns home and greets Beth. We’ve already seen an “elderly” Randall and Beth prior to this episode, but whoa, older Kevin was just as hunky in the future.

While we know the scene is going to be heartbreaking, a part of me is looking forward to seeing elderly Kate and Toby. It will also clear up the speculation about where they are in their relationship in the future and, of course, who Kevin is married to.

As for Rebecca’s big memory secret, Randall let that out of the bag when he slipped up about a recent trip to LA.

They were forced to come clean to Kevin about Rebecca’s illness, which triggered the expected response from Kevin that they were all afraid of.

But, I don’t think any of them give Kevin enough credit. Rebecca didn’t want to tell Kevin the truth because she was afraid for his sobriety, but he’s been juggling a lot of emotional baggage and has never lost his focus or reached for an alcoholic drink.

Just like Kate and Randall, Kevin is a fighter.

But since the big secret isn’t what caused the rift between Kevin and Randall, what is it?

Does something trigger Randall during therapy? As we saw in the promo, Randall finally went to talk to a therapist and it seems that he was hit with the realization that he wasn’t the glue that held the family together.

What did you think of the episode?

Who do you think Kevin settles down with?

Will Toby and Kate make it through? How advanced will Rebecca’s cognitive impairment get?

Let us know all of your thoughts in the comments, Cravers!

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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Finding Your Way Home (4×13)

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This is Us Hell of a Week Part Three Review

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.

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

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.

This Is Us Hell of a Week Part 3

NBC/ This Is US

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.

This Is Us Review – Why Kevin’s Hook Up Upset So Many Fans (4×12)

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?

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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Why Kevin’s Hook Up Upset So Many Fans (4×12)

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This Is Us a Hell of a Week Part 2 review

At the start of the hour, “M. Night” Shyamalan, Kevin’s director, uttered this phrase: “this is the ending everyone wants and they still won’t see it coming.”

And he couldn’t be more right.

Most fans have been pushing for Kevin to date his longtime love, highschool sweetheart, and ex-wife, Sophie.

The episode, which focused on Kevin and dissected his trauma while also giving us plenty of Sophie and Kevin flashbacks that dated all the way back to their childhood, gave off the “true love” vibe.

It was the ending everyone wanted and yet, Kevin didn’t end up with Sophia.

Instead, the audience was thrown for a loop with a twist no one saw coming and one that angered fans mainly because creator Dan Fogelman nixed the theory seasons ago.

At the end of This Is Us Season 4 Episode 11 (an emotionally drive Randall-centric episode that opened up the dialogue around mental health and men of color), we saw Kevin in bed with someone and the hope was that it was Sophie, whom he spent the whole day with after her mother’s funeral.

But alas, it wasn’t Sophie, it was Madison, Kate’s bestie.

The actress that plays Madison, Caitlin Thompson, is Fogelman’s wife in real-life and he put it in writing that he would never, ever, ever allow her to hook up with Justin Hartley’s character.

Here it is in writing:

And then, he did just that.

Now, Fogelman never promised to keep his word, and he’s allowed to change his mind, but fans felt a little jipped and taken advantage of because it seemed like Fogelman purposefully wanted to mislead us.

Yes, that may be the fun of the show, but it’s also irritating unless Madison is the real deal and not just a one-night stand.

At this point, I’m skeptical to believe anything.

Why is Kevin’s dating life so important, you ask?

Well, it’s because the flash-forward to the Big Three’s 40th birthday reveals that Kevin has a fiancee who is pregnant and all bets are off as to who the lucky lady might be.

“It’s Been a Hell of a Week” did a stand-up job at establishing that Sophie and Kevin don’t belong together. It served as more of a tribute to their relationship than a chance for them to get back together, though, lord knows Kevin would have liked that.

Despite having so much history and a genuine connection, too much has transpired between them. They’ve missed their window.

The plot centered around Sophie’s mother’s funeral, and in a way, it was a funeral to their relationship.

As Kevin grieved Claire, his grief over his relationship with Sophie came to the surface He knew Claire supported him and loved him like a son, but he also knew that she never thought his relationship with Sophie would last, and he couldn’t prove her wrong.

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He grieved not being enough, not being able to be that man for Sophie, and he was forced to accept that he never will be; he will never be worthy of that emerald engagement ring.

Kevin has shaped up to be the guy that would have been worthy of Sophie’s love, but timing is an essential part of a relationship.

He was ready now, but she’d given him so many chances that she couldn’t anymore. Plus, she’d moved on with Grant.

The connection between Sophie and Kevin was only the memory of Claire and of the past. It’s nice to get lost up in something nostalgic for a moment, in the “what could of been,” “what should have been,” and the “what was,” but it’s not reality, and oftentimes, it isn’t the future.

Claire knew that. Kevin knew Claire so he could help her grieve her mother unlike Grant who was a new phase in her life

Kevin was also someone who lost a parent and could relate.

The story was focused on making amends, acceptance, and moving forward, but it was about Kevin and Sophie and not about Grant, which is why we never saw him or met him. It didn’t matter who he was or what he looked like or what his dynamic with Sophie was because that’s what it was. It wouldn’t have changed the storyline in any way.

Sophie and Kevin aren’t meant to be anymore, but their friendship is something they both cherish, and it was a nice wrap up to the storyline.

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Will his first love be his last love? #ThisIsUs

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And truly, I hope that’s what it was. However, that may not be the case given how Sophie looked at that emerald ring upon finding it.

Maybe she is the one, but before she could give him another chance, she needed to see Kevin’s growth and that he’s accepted a life without her in it.

Now, back to that cliffhanger.

Madison doesn’t strike me as someone that meshes well with Kevin, and the hook-up was surprising, however, plenty of relationships have flourished into healthy relationships after starting as just a casual thing.

Madison has always been a take-charge kind of gal who helped get Kate out of a funk. She’s been there when many others turned their back on her. She doesn’t leave when things get hard, and she’s loyal.

Those qualities make her a promising partner for Kevin if they’re both digging this relationship. I wouldn’t want them to both settle simply out of necessity because they both realize they’re almost 40 and lonely.

If Kevin is going to settle down, it better be with someone he’s madly in love with that’s equally as in love with him. Also, let him heed Claire’s advice: “we don’t settle.”

Hartley followed up with People after the episode and his comment makes it seem like this is just a one-off moment between two broken people who needed some comfort and found it in each other.

“For now you can assume that’s what it was because they both found themselves in a very vulnerable position,” he said.

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She was always Kevin's biggest fan. #ThisIsUs

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He also explained that things get sticky because Madison is a family friend. The devil’s advocate in me, however, wants to point out that Hartley can say whatever he wants to leave the audience befuddled. It’s his job not to spoil anything.

Our whole focus on who Kevin ends up with is hinged on the idea that he is happy about his situation in the flash-forward.

Back in season 3, he told Randall that by 40 he wanted to be married with a baby, which means he’s putting the pressure on himself and maybe settling is fine by him.

It’s entirely possible that the flash-forward isn’t as “happy, go-lucky” as audiences interpreted.

We can’t forget that something happened that drove a wedge between Kevin and Randall. It could be the fact that Randall kept his mother’s memory diagnosis a secret or it could be something entirely different. The series loves to pull the rug out from under us so it’s never really certain where the storyline is headed.

Kevin’s at the point where in his life where if Madison was to get pregnant, he’d stay with her and support her. One of his honorable qualities and also his flaw is that he wants to be there for people and help them solve their problems.

This could be one of those situations.

After all, the 40th birthday is about 8 months away, which would line up with the timing of this “one-night stand.”

As for Madison being part of the family, Kate could either be jealous that she has to share both of her best friends or she could be happy.

Likely, Kate’s only concern would stem from the fact that she wouldn’t want Kevin to hurt Madison as he’s known for doing that on occasion. He even told Madison that he always leaves relationships before things get complicated.

And Madison told him that she always stays too long, which now that I think about it, could be foreshadowing. Could Kevin stay with Madison because he doesn’t want to be another guy that leaves and runs away from anything serious?

There’s a lot of possibilities here, so if you’re not happy about the mystery girl being Madison, there’s a huge chance it isn’t her.

Heck, for all we know it could be “hall pass Lizzy.”

Other This Is Us musings

  • I didn’t like how they made Rebecca to be the ‘bad guy’ for the sake of Claire’s supportive storyline. Rebecca has always been supportive of Kevin, and wouldn’t have skipped his acting debut had she known about it and not been in a tizzy trying to pick up her life after his father’s death. Claire was the motherly-figure Kev needed but that doesn’t make Rebecca any less of a good mom.
  • Kevin’s speech to Sophie about how she’ll eventually be able to go back to the coffee shop just like he went back to the forest, a spot where his “childhood ended,” was sweet. It shows how much he’s grown as a character.
  • Sophie and Kevin’s “Good Will Hunting” game was a testament to their longlasting friendship and proves that though the ending may be different than they imagined, it doesn’t mean it’s not as good. Heck, it seemed to be better than anything they came up with.
  • Sophie looking to Kevin for inspiration also showcased how important he will always be to her even if they aren’t romantically involved.
  • The episode teased the next and final installment of the “Big Three trilogy” with Kate’s emotionally abusive relationship with Marc, the greaseball no one liked. Something tells me this one is going to be hard to watch.
  • Also, in the present-day, Kate and Toby’s marriage is imploding, and it seems serious this time as they seemingly just got back from their retreat for families with blind children.
  • Flashbacks to when the kiddos were young and scared to sleep in their “big kid” beds paralleled the storyline in a great way again. Jack telling young Kevin that “you’re going to find something else to love” resonated following the loss of Sophie, Well, maybe not a “something” but a “someone.”

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