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This Is Us

This Is Us – Kamsahamnida (3×06)

THIS IS US -- "Kamsahamnida" Episode 306 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin Pearson, Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)



This Is Us gets political just in time for the midterm elections.

Did you expect anything less from Randall Pearson, the son-son whose superpower is his brain?

Randall may have had a hard time getting his campaign off the ground, but it didn’t come as a shocker that he would finesse his way into the light.

You know why? Because unlike brother Solomon, Randall actually cares about the people and cares about helping their community.

He couldn’t convince the African-American community who saw him as a foreigner but also a threat, so he went to the Korean community, an untapped part of the city where Solomon wasn’t focused and folks didn’t think anyone cared about them.

Admittedly, I find it a little irritating that Randall only appreciated his brother’s movie star status when it benefitted him.

He’s always been supportive of Kevin, however, initially, he was embarrassed to be seen with him because he didn’t want his white, famous brother to ruin his street cred.

Seeing the flashback storyline of Randall trying to learn how to box from Jack so he could be “strong like him” only made Randall’s victory during his run for City Council that much stronger.

When he confronted two-faced Solomon with a smile on his face, a tactic his father told him boxers used, I couldn’t help but smile. Jack Pearson still runs through their blood.

Beth isn’t doing as hot as Randall these days, but you can’t win them all.

She’s the strongest woman on the show, aside from Rebecca, so when her cracks began showing it was comforting to see she’s still a human underneath the super-mom disguise.

Her freak-out on the girls when they were trying to sell Girl Scout cookies was natural in every way. She was already feeling like a failure for being fired and not securing another job, but then to fail her daughters by not knowing about a credit card swiper was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I really thought Deja was going to call Annie out for acting like a  brat seeing as she comes from a broken home where selling Girl Scout cookies wasn’t even in the equation.

You’d be lucky if her mother held a decent paying job long enough to keep the lights on.

However, what Deja said about Randall calling her “exceptional” and being madly in love with Beth made my heart flutter.

I know she resented the Pearsons for a little because they “took” her away from her mother, but it’s nice to see her exposed to real love and positive role models.

Living in that house for a bit really did make her the Queen of pep talks!

I firmly believe that everything always happens for a reason, and in this case, Beth was fired just in time to join Randall’s campaign and bring it to the next level.

Her skills are unprecedented and there isn’t another person who could rally and vouch for Randall the way she can!

With Jae-Kwon and Beth on his team, Randall has this thing in the bag. Especially because pretty soon, people will see he’s not only genuine and transparent but also a man of his words. Not to mention, he has really nice hands.

Kevin was inspired by his brother’s “get out there and go” attitude and made the choice to get answer’s in Vietnam.

It’s the first time we’ve ever seen Kevin take a calculated risk and feel so certain about it. I always say follow your gut and Kevin is doing just that.

I hope this storyline finally gets Justin Hartley that long-overdue Emmy nomination. This is the strongest and most confident his character has ever been.

His impassioned speech about needing to “peel off the wallpaper” and finding out who the woman in the photo was enough to convince Zoe to go with him.

We already knew she would end up on the trip with him since the teaser in the first episode of the season, but seeing them successfully get to this point in their relationship was vital.

I’m curious to see if they’ll be able to locate the woman and what her story will be. Was Jack in love with her? Did she help him get over Nicky’s death? Was she the reason Jack survived the war? Did he lose her before being discharged?

There is another Pearson baking in the oven and the family couldn’t be more thrilled.

Unfortunately, as Kate’s wishes came true, Toby spiraled back into a state of severe depression.

It’s important to note how subtly the series addressed the lack of education surrounding anti-depressants, depression, and mental health in general.

“Can’t he just get back on the meds,” is such an ignorant question, yet it’s most people’s go-to when they find out someone is suffering from the invisible disease.

There is no magic pill —  overcoming depression takes constant work. And once you take the meds, it doesn’t just go away either.

The sad reality is that it never goes away. For most people, it’s a lifelong struggle.

This Is Us has never shied away from the realities of life even when they are painfully brutal, unfair, or downright disheartening, and I’m so glad they don’t plan to stop now.

This series is such a rare gem.

Toby wanted to be better for Kate; he wanted to be her support system, to get out of bed, and to show her that he was going to be her rock, but realistically, that wasn’t possible.

And for the most part, Kate was understanding of it.

Her chat with her mother really helped her come to grips with the reality that motherhood is a mess of uncertainty. She isn’t always going to have the answers to everything but she’s going to do what she thinks is best.

I think having a child of her own is going to make her appreciate her mother and all that she did for the children just a smidge more.

As for Toby, if she continues being understanding and supportive, there’s a good chance he’s going to be alright.

There was one hiccup on her part for throwing a fit after came down on her for taking her eyes off of Audio. Her actions could have been discouraging to Toby as just before she came home, he forced himself to shower and get dressed.

In Toby’s case, just those “everyday” acts are half the battle.

Not only was he feeling down, but his anxiety from past relationships walking out on him when the going got tough messed with his mind.

Unlike those other women, Kate is invested and dedicated to helping him get back on the right path.

Yes, it’s going to be hard because she’s pregnant and her hormones are going to start acting up, however, just being there for someone is another part of that battle.

I’ve defended Kate a lot this season because I can understand how having children takes a toll on your life and emotional stability.

But though it isn’t an opportune time, she needs to reciprocate all the care and support that Toby has given her throughout the seasons.

We’re taking a heartwrenching two-week break from This Is Us, however, the promo for the episode delivers on Jack and Rebecca’s first road-trip together just a week after they met.

I’m excited to finally see their first moments as a couple, but I noticed this parallels the trip Kevin and Zoe are taking.

They may have been dating longer than a week, but it’s still a big trip to take with someone you’re just starting to be real with.

Is Zoe Kevin’s Rebecca?

I wonder if the writers will somehow tie them together into one profoundly symbolic moment. I don’t have any doubts about it.

What did you think of the episode? Will Kevin find what he’s looking for? Did Randall’s blessing help him with the decision?

Will Kate and Toby make it through this blip in their storyline? Will Randall win the elections.

See you in two weeks, Cravers! Kamsahamnida.

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This Is Us

This Is Us Fall Finale Review – So Long, Marianne (4×09)



This Is Us So Long, Marianne Review

How is it possible that This Is Us manages to make holiday episodes more emotional every single time?

Thanksgiving has always been a huge deal for the Pearson family, and just like Nicky mentioned, Jack Pearson traditions are the backbone of the shindig.

The series does an incredible job of keeping Jack’s memory alive even though he’s been gone for years now.

And it’s done in the smallest of moments that could be glossed over if not for the beautiful parallel that they offer the present-day storylines.

Traditions like 5 pounds of shrimp started with Jack and Nicky ditching their less than joyous Thanksgiving celebrations at home to watch a game at the bar. When Nicky won a good sum of money from a deal he made with a friend, they splurged by ordering an obscene amount of shrimp.

As Nicky attended his first Thanksgiving with the Pearson clan and tagged along with Randall and Annie as they picked up some left-behind belongings from their old house, he realized that despite “erasing him,” his brother never forgot about him.

He’d quote Leonard Cohen’s song and call it a “poem” just like Nicky did, and he’d explain the song to his kids the same way his brother explained it to him.

Nicky was then inspired to honor his late brother and introduce the family to a tradition they didn’t know about just as they’d introduced him to Pilgrim Rick.

As he brought out a platter of 5 pounds of shrimp, I lost it. Again, such a small moment but it has so much power in the context of their storytelling.

And then, they took it even further later showing Kate and Toby’s son, adult Jack, hosting his own Thanksgiving with his pregnant wife and bringing out 5 pounds of shrimp.

Jack’s impact has spanned decades, and even though his grandchildren have never met him, they still honor him because of how important he was to their parents.

Rebecca’s deteriorating memory storyline was front and center as she attempted to ignore the ugly truth until she no longer could.

Can I just say that Mandy Moore is such an incredible actress. The whole time, I could feel her confusion and her fear in her body language and movements. The camera angle making it seem like we were sometimes looking through her disoriented POV also helped drive those emotions.

When she finally made her way back home from the movies, she admitted to Randall that she needs to see a doctor, which immediately put a damper on his holiday.

But surprisingly, what we saw of Rebecca’s forgetfulness including the scenes where she thought she saw a young William and when she lost her phone and panicked at a Chinese restaurant didn’t take place on Thanksgiving.

Those scenes were happening in a future timeline, 9-months in advance.

The police picked her up and returned her home to the log cabin where Miguel, Kate, and Kevin were waiting to celebrate their big 4-0!

And this flash-forward revealed a whole lot.

For starters, Randall wasn’t there because “they aren’t on speaking terms.” Does that mean just him and Kevin? Or Randall and the whole family? And what could have changed so drastically in 9 months? Was Kevin upset that Randall knew about Rebecca’s deteriorating state and didn’t say anything to them?

Toby wasn’t seen at the party and neither was baby Jack, which isn’t a good sign at all.

But someone else was there, though they remained off-screen: Kevin’s pregnant fiancee!

Okay, I guess a lot really can change in 9 months! When Kevin told Randall he wanted to start a family by 40, Randall told him to find a girlfriend first, but Kevin just proved that he’s capable of doing whatever he sets his mind to.

So, who is this mystery fiancee?

The fact that it’s only been 9 months makes me think it’s someone Kevin already knew and that points to either Sophie or Cassidy. I can see either happening, honestly.

But 9 months also means it could have been a quick relationship and the woman is someone we’ve never met before. It would be less exciting, sure, but maybe that fresh start is exactly what Kevin needs.

Other Emotional Moments at Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Shauna is doing great. Actually, she might be doing too well. Beth felt intimidated by Deja’s birth mother because they had all these inside jokes and she knew she could never replace her. But that didn’t mean Beth wasn’t a valuable person in Deja’s life. She was the mother who stepped in and filled that void when Shauna wasn’t able to. She gave Deja a great life, a good chance at success, a stable home, and plenty of memories. Deja will always be grateful for that. Deja wished her mom well, but she too was a little triggered that things were going so great. I guess my only concern was why Shauna never invited Deja over to her new apartment with a fireplace? Were they told that they couldn’t see each other? If she’s in such a good headspace that she’s hosting potlucks with her co-workers, why can’t she include Deja occasionally?
  • Kate is not a fan of CrossFit Toby and truthfully, neither am I. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome that Toby is taking his health so seriously and wants to better himself, but honestly, that’s all he was talking about. How off-putting on a day where people just want to enjoy some damn turkey. Kate didn’t bring it up to him because she didn’t want to upset him, but that text message she saw on his phone spells trouble. I’m guessing LadyKryptonite is his CrossFit trainer or nutritionist that’s supposed to keep him on track, but he’s clearly talking to other people about his marriage and isn’t happy with how Kate’s responding to his new lifestyle. Like Beth said, talking to other people about what’s happening between you two is how you enter dangerous territory. These two need to get brutally honest with each other even if it hurts if they want to salvage their relationship. Though, again, seeing as Toby isn’t around for their 40th birthday, it’s safe to say their relationship doesn’t overcome this.
  • Kevin proved he’s ready to become a dad when he helped his favorite niece Tess with feeling comfortable about coming out. It’s awesome how he applies what he’s learned in AA to other aspects of his life, and his lighthearted approach to having her just say it to a plastic clown at the drive-through was adorable. And the best part is that when Tess finally pulled the trigger, people were supportive and loving. As we know, not all coming out experiences are this positive, but it’s nice that This Is Us showcases that in 2019, there are people and families that are open and accepting.

What did you think of the emotional fall finale?

What was your favorite part?

Who do you think Kevin’s fiancee is? Why is Randall not speaking with his family?

And what’s happening with Toby and Kate?

We’ll meet back here on January 14, 2020, Cravers!

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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Sorry (4×08)



This Is Us Sorry Review

We’re getting ready to explore the early stages of Rebecca’s Alzheimer’s, which will eventually lead us to that moment in the future where the family gathered around her bedside.

Just thinking about how This Is Us tackles storylines and how they’ll handle this one makes me emotional.

Randall spent the day with his mom for a little bit of R&R (Randall and Rebecca time), but things were much different than they used to be.

Rebecca wasn’t acting like herself and she was forgetful. The fact that she’d lost her iPhone before meant that this wasn’t the first time something like this was happening.

Randall picked up on it right away, but when he confronted Rebecca, she was defensive and irritable. Refusing to get help is going to lead to Rebecca getting lost on the fall finale.

The R&R of the present-day paralleled that of Rebecca and Randall’s day together when the Big Three was already in college. Randall was still taking care of his mother than and promised to help her find a job.

When he realized she didn’t land the job interview due to lack of experience, he vouched for her to the boss who took him up on the idea and gave her a chance.

Randall has always been the son who connected so easily with his mother.

There was a brief nod to Kate’s relationship with the older record store guy that no one liked, but we’ve yet to explore the toxic nature of their relationship that was teased.

In the present day, Kate struggled with Toby’s decision to put his gym time before the family and then felt guilty about allowing Jack to eat his first solid food when Toby wasn’t around.

Their relationship has been filled with lies for a while now and though the truth eventually comes out, it would have been easier without the lie in the first place.

Will this be what drives them apart?

Or will they overcome all of this and emerge stronger than ever?

Speaking of strength, Nicky found his just in time for his court trial.

When the judge asked him if he regretted throwing the chair through the Veteran’s building, Nicky’s “not really” was classic and brutally honest.

But it was also beautiful.

Nicky wasn’t sorry because it’s the moment that not only made him become sober but also got his life on track and brought him closer to his nephew, Kevin.

In the process, he learned to forgive himself.

Is it strange that I’m really digging the Kevin, Cassidy, and Nicky trio and don’t want things to change?

I refuse to believe Cassidy is going to go back to her husband because her happy ending is with Kevin.

Hopefully, she realizes that he’s the only one to ever see her and she tags along for Thanksgiving with the Pearson clan.

If we have Nicky, Cassidy, AND Deja’s mother, Shauna, coming to Thanksgiving, there’s no telling what to expect.

And can I just say I’m so glad Beth is the kind of foster mother who encourages Deja to see her birth mother? Yes, it took Malik to make her aware that they’ve neglected that relationship, but she was so supportive once she realized the error of her ways.

It seemed like Kevin was surely going to go down a downward spiral once Nicky called him a wrecking ball for sleeping with Cassidy.

Kevin’s always been so hard on himself when he doesn’t have to be. We’re human, we make mistakes.

But Nicky and Cassidy were able to get him back on track rather quickly, which again, speaks to the power of being surrounded by people who understand you.

Cassidy has to be the person Kevin’s is with in the future, right? She has to be.

Seeing Nicky juxtaposed with Jack’s image was so powerful.

Jack passed so many years ago, but he still plays a huge role in Kevin’s life and he looks up to him and wants to impress him.

Nicky has many similarities to Jack, and I think Kevin likes knowing he’s closer to his father if even just for a minute.

What did you think about the episode?

Will Cassidy and Kevin end up together?

Will Toby and Kate split?

How will they help Rebecca?

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This Is Us

This Is Us – The Dinner and the Date (4×07)



This is Us The Dinner and the Date Review

One day you’re their biggest idol and the next day someone else comes along and becomes their whole world.

This quote summarizes the mindsets of both Randall and Jack on This Is Us “The Dinner and the Date.”

Both Jack and Randall Pearson struggled with accepting that they weren’t the most important person in their child’s lives anymore.

For Jack, it was about being replaced by his teacher, Mr. Lawrence and for Randall, it was seeing Malik become “the man” in Deja’s life.

Much of the episode centered around Deja and Malik.

Though my expectations for this episode were low — frankly, I don’t think is the strongest season of This Is Us — I was surprised by how much I loved this episode.

Deja and Malik are characters that command your attention.

Their storyline is unconventional, but it’s real and emotional and forces Randall and Beth to get comfortable in their uncomfortableness.

Deja’s character development is noticeable and yet, she never forgets where she came from or who she is. Her past was engrained in this episode as she ditched school, explored Philly with Malik, and found a little piece of home on their Ferris Bueller inspired day off.

I’d even go as far as saying that Malik might be good for Deja.

She hadn’t has much exposure to a stable home or good men. Most of the examples of what a proper marriage and family look like have stemmed solely from Beth and Randall.

But Malik is a combination of both parts of her life; his family comes from lesser means, but they’re above all, a supportive family.

His life hasn’t been easy yet he has this confidence about him that draws people in.

He may have come off as a player, but deep down inside, Malik is a romantic who knows how to treat a lady.

When Malik brought her to see the lights that Deja remembered seeing as a child with her mom and grandma, I’m not going to lie, the tears welled up in my eyes.

Malik may be 14 but he’s mature; he listened to everything Deja said and planned the perfect date. I don’t know many middle-aged men who could pull off such an impressive evening.

Family dinners are always slightly awkward, but when you add strangers into the mix, the awkwardness is tripled.

In both timelines, that awkwardness was felt by everyone.

Dinner with the Pearson clan and Randall’s teacher, Mr. Lawrence, was less intense than the meeting of Deja’s parents with Malik’s parents.

In the present-day timeline, everyone had preconceived notions about the other party and Beth’s “open-mindedness” went out the door rather quickly.

Each parent blamed the other child for being a bad influence. Beth and Randall looked down on Malik because he was a father and refused to acknowledge him as anything else when, in fact, he’s also a grade-A student and good father.

Randall is a good and protective father, but Malik’s dad stating that he won’t let them overlook his son was powerful.

At the same time, Malik’s parents judged Randall and Beth by their wealth.

They viewed them as bougie and snide comments about the affordability of the house and his role as Councilman.

The dinner was doomed from the very beginning.

The only good thing that came out of it was that all parties checked each other towards the end and realized that the only solution would be to allow these kids to see each other with parental supervision.

In the past timeline, Jack struggled with accepting Mr. Lawrence out of fear that he was being replaced in Randall’s life.

Competitiveness and jealousy don’t look good on Jack.

Rebecca had to check her husband whose jealousy was making for some tense moments.

She also made a rather good point — Randall was seeking out Mr. Lawrence because he’s a man who looks like him. He could give him what Rebecca and Jack couldn’t.

When Jack became honest with himself and Lawrence, he admitted that Randall needed a role model like Lawrence.

By then, Lawrence realized he was overstepping and helped out by giving Jack the tools he needed to guide Randall’s journey of self-discovery.

Jack’s decision to embrace this part of Randall that they’ve been ignoring mainly because of their ignorance was admirable and important.

It’s this very quality that has always made them the best parents and in turn, made Randall such a great person.

Other Thoughts

  • Dejik is a cool ship name but Malajia takes the cake.
  • Malik should have known that skipping class wouldn’t make for a good impression on Randall.
  • Annie and Kevin’s commentary was everything. “It’s crazy that you have a baby” would have surely made Beth spit out her red wine had she been drinking some.
  • Beth may have gone a little too far but her spitfire attitude is a whole mood. Malik’s mom really tried it by bringing up Deja’s past and saying it “must be hard raising someone else’s kid.” She instigated all of that attitude from Beth.

I’m eager to get back to the Big Three storylines and see them all interact more, but a break from the mold wasn’t a bad thing.

This Is Us has a difficult task on their hands because they have to find a way to appease all fans — the ones who say that Kate, Kevin, and Randall should stop mourning their father already and the people who want the series to continue focusing on the core family and less on new characters.

But there’s only so much the writers can accomplish with the Big Three before eventually adding new faces and expanding the storyline. I think they’ve done a good job at balancing all of it for now.

What do you think?

Did you enjoy this episode?

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