If you were looking for an escape from reality, the two-hour premiere of This Is Us Season 5 did not deliver.
What it did deliver, however, was a timely commentary about the world around us through the eyes of one of our favorite TV families.
And that was the point; there’s no escaping our current reality that’s consumed by COVID and BLM.
In just nine minutes, the series touched upon addressing real life issues and the fact that it’s pretty much falling apart.
It would be ignorant to think that a series with a fully developed Black family in the lead would somehow ignore the realities. There’s no way that Randall, who has always struggled with his Blackness in a the white world that he was raised in, wouldn’t acknowledge it.
Randall and Kate’s conversation, in particular, was spot on.
While she may have had good intentions, she was a little late in acknowledging the issues. She never expected Randall to call out her white guilt though because he’s always been timid and kept all of that bottled up inside. Randall always prioritized everyone else — as evidenced by his arrival at the cabin when Rebecca went missing — but he never prioritized himself.
But something has changed in Randall that is allowing him to experience his own Blackness and call out those who inadvertently made him feel ashamed for it or that he couldn’t express it. Rebecca and Jack tried their best for Randall, but they never gave him the support that a young Black child needed.
He’s always known what it means to be a Black man in America, but for the first time, he’s acknowledging it out loud instead of pushing it away.
I don’t think that I, as a white woman, can comment on this or sum it up better than the series writers did, but I do think it’s important to facilitate this conversation. It forces us to rethink behaviors and actions, even those with the best intentions. These are tough topics, but we can no longer shy away from them, especially when we have a show about a blended family that’s affected from every angle.
As I was browsing through Twitter, I collectively saw people applauding that scene as something that many people of color have wanted to say to their white friends and family but could never find the appropriate words. Many also connected to the feeling of exhaustion, so it’s important that this reality is reflected on television.
Now that Randall is making these discoveries, his decision to change therapists becomes more important than ever. And it’s leading him down a road that’s honestly exciting to watch, particularly in 2020.
His realization lead to an even better moment between Randall and Beth, which emphasized the resilience of the Black community in the face of adversity.
These are trying times — they test you everyday and push you to your limits, but in order to keep trudging, we have to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. It may be hard to remain optimistic, but it’s the one thing we can all hold onto while trying to evoke positive change.
While Randall and Kate had an open conversation that hopefully sparked thoughtful conversations in every living room worldwide, things between Kevin and Randall didn’t go so well.
I’d say the fandom collectively cringed at Kevin’s attempt at making small talk with his brother. He reached out for advice about his twins without apologizing for any of the comments he made including telling telling Randall that he was the worst thing that ever happened to him.
That’s not something we can just gloss over as if it never happened. It may have been said in the heat of the moment and out of anger, but it was spoken into existence. Randall isn’t going to forget that, and by the look on his face, he couldn’t believe his brother was still exhibiting such selfish behavior after everything that has transpired.
I’m here for Randall’s growth, but I’m also here for the growth I expected from Kevin, and sadly, this wasn’t it. Hopefully, it’ll come in time because there are times where I fully believe Kevin is on the cusp of greatness, especially with his scenes with Madison.
While the Big Three’s 40th birthday definitely didn’t go down as their best, it’s a pivotal moment in their lives that ushers in some necessary change.
Kevin was in his own bubble dealing with the news of Madison’s pregnancy. The couple (because it seems like they’re on their way to being engaged at this point) had a bit of a pregnancy scare after she tripped on a luggage and fell on her stomach, but thankfully, the doctor still heard two heartbeats: a baby boy and a baby girl.
There’s something so poetic about Kevin finding out that he’s going to welcome twins as Kate and Toby learn that they’re about to embark on an adoption journey. This is the new Big Three in the making.
The agency called and informed Kate and Toby that they found a match named Ellie, who, according to the promo, we’ll get to meet in the upcoming episode.
I’m excited about seeing Kate and Toby take this journey — and to see how different it was than Rebecca and Jack’s decision to adopt a third baby and go home with him the next day 40 years ago. However, the magic has slightly fizzled out since we know that they successfully adopt a daughter thanks to a flash-forward in season 4.
We’ve also already seen Rebecca’s storyline pan out on This Is Us Season 4, but it was reassuring that her brief case of disorientation was a side-effect of mixing medication.
Things aren’t to get easier for her, and it’ll be tough to watch her mental state deteriorate, but at least things are looking up for now since the clinical trial was postponed due to COVID.
Miguel doesn’t get enough love or credit, and let’s be honest, he’s usually sidelined by Rebecca’s kids and overshadowed by Jack’s greatness, but it was wonderful to see him confide in Toby about his concerns. It was the one of the few times Miguel had a voice and the fact that Toby provided solid advice about how to deal with a grim health diagnosis was fitting.
It provided audiences with a beautiful look at Miguel’s love for Rebecca as he promised her that they would take it “one day at a time” and enjoy every minute of it. He gave her the faith that she needed in order not to give up on this battle.
The episode flipped between the present and the past, taking audiences back to the hospital when the Big Three came into the world. Of course, we know exactly how it went down for Rebecca and Jack, but these flashbacks allowed Jack to have a moment where he prayed for Rebecca to get better. The scene was intense as he prayed that God would take him instead and we know what happens a few years down the line.
It was also eerie seeing him pass William so many times in the hospital and made me think how many times we pass a complete stranger not knowing that they will one day impact our lives.
When Randall questioned if today was actually his birth day, it opened up the possibility of exploring his birth on a deeper level. In a twist that only the writers of This Is Us could pull off, it turns out that Randall was wanted by both his parents. They planned for his arrival and tried to create a better life for themselves despite circumstances consistently keeping them boxed in to a life of poverty, addiction, and struggle.
His mother was fighting her heroine addiction and hoped to get a better job so they could afford a bigger apartment with a window for her little boy. A mother’s love is so strong. In retrospect, knowing that Randall was wanted makes his time spent with William all the more sweeter.
While we believed his mother overdosed shortly after birth, in actuality, she had a home birth and when the pain became unbearable, William gave her a narcotic for the pain. How heartbreaking is it that she chose to suffer at home because she didn’t want to be shunned by doctors for trying to beat an addiction?
We also thought we knew what happened next — William left and dropped off Randall at the firehouse — but what we didn’t know is that Randall’s mother was resuscitated.
What happened to her? Did William know she didn’t die?
Was she so upset with him for giving Randall away that she left? And does this mean we’ll get a reunion between Randall and his birth mother in the future?
Randall has always had unresolved issues with his mother’s, and maybe this will be what he needs to finally find some healing.
- Kate and Toby’s reaction to Kevin and Madison’s pregnancy news was so great. “What are these words you’re saying?” may go down as the best Toby quote. I fully expected Kate to be upset or throw a fit, so it was a nice surprise when she was just genuinely happy for both of them.
- Kevin and Randall both clearly have things they want to say to each other, so while their reunion may be a long and winding road, I’m looking forward to the day where they can both sit down and be completely honest with each other.
- Malik and Deja celebrated their one year anniversary, and I feel like the kids just don’t get enough screen time! We want more Deja, Tess, and Annie!
- Randall saying Beth has turned into Dr. Fauci was also stellar. What a time to be alive.
What did you think of the This Is Us Season 5 premiere? Did it live up to your expectations? Are you happy they addressed current events?
Sound off in the comments below. And if any particular scene resonated with you, share it in the comments!
This Is Us Review – Adding to the Family Tree (5×09)
This Is Us Season 5 Episode 9 tackled the hardships and joys of parenting while painting it as a rewarding yet terrifying and difficult journey, no matter where you are in life.
Regardless of how many books you read or how many shows you watch about parenting, absolutely no one is prepared to be a parent, especially not a first-time parent. The series makes that very clear as it tackles three different timelines over the span of an hour.
And surprisingly, all the action happens during the car drives from the hospital.
Who knew they could be so illuminating?
Given the car setting, it would be understandable if the episode was boring and uneventful, but it was the exact opposite; it gave audiences a glimpse into the lives of the characters as they started a new chapter in their lives with their respective families.
We’ve seen the magic that is the Pearson clan, but now we’re seeing the magic from the families of the Big Three.
It’s the first day of the rest of their lives, and This Is Us captured every feeling and emotion brilliantly.
The series has a knack for making profound television, and it doesn’t even require the characters to exit the vehicle.
During Jack and Rebecca’s drive home from the hospital, the new parents felt overwhelmed with the idea of taking home three newborn babies.
A road rage incident triggered Jack, which led him to down a bit of a spiral as he secretly purchased and chugged a small bottle of whiskey at the gas station. While the scene was initially concerning, he eventually confessed what he did to Rebecca. What a relief.
And he explained his concerns that he was going to be an alcohol father just like his dad was.
Rebecca reminded him that he’s nothing like his dad because he doesn’t suck up the air in the room — he is the air.
Instead of focusing on the negatives and what-ifs, the duo just embraced the moment for what it was: the moment they became a family.
When you look at it as a moment of celebration, your whole mindset changes.
Parents have a huge impact on the kind of people we become, for better or worse.
In Jack’s case, he didn’t want to be like his old man, but in Kevin’s case, he wanted to live up to his father.
The Big Three have a tendency to put Jack on a pedestal and view him as this perfect father, but it was nice to see that notion grounded a bit.
Jack and Kevin both struggled with the idea of becoming fathers.
The car seat scene was a nice touch showing just how similar their experiences were — neither of them read the dang manual and decided to wing it on the spot.
However, Kevin couldn’t exactly get any advice from his dad, which is where the dream sequence came into play.
Kevin was worried that he would fail, and Jack let him know that he’s capable and he’ll figure it out.
The dream also provided fans with a rare look at Justin Hartley and Milo Ventimiglia in a scene together.
While they may be father and son to all of us, they rarely get to share scenes since Jack is long gone by the time Kevin is an adult.
Their dynamic is so effortless that it’s hard to look away.
However, you always need your dad, and Jack’s “visit” gives him perspective and guidance.
Kevin realizes that he’s going to be fine because he sees just how strong Madison is. She’s a boss who is handling this whole “new mom” thing without any stress.
Not only does she birth twins, but she offers to drive them all home after several sleepless nights and even handles his paparazzi situation.
She’s a super mom.
All of this puts makes Kevin realize that what he wants most at this point in his life is a family.
So, he proposes to Madison in a heartwarming moment using the hospital band as a ring. Could it be any more perfect?
The series has been slowly inching towards the idea that Kevin is no longer enchanted by the entertainment industry as prioritized the birth of his twins over the movie, picked a fight with a fan, and even confronted the paparazzi.
So much of Kevin’s self-worth has been tied up in his career that I’m really interested in seeing him in this new chapter in his life.
We also see Randall and Beth’s post-delivery ride home with Annie, who is described as an angel on Earth.
It’s clear that taking home the second child is much less stressful than the first child. They even make time for a DQ run!
However, Randall makes the mistake of broaching the topic of a third child. Of course, he wants a boy, but Beth’s not interested in any of it because well, she just destroyed her insides and pushed out a child.
I love how real Beth is about every damn thing in life. She’s my spirit animal.
Of course, it’s fun to watch knowing how life unfolds for Randall, who eventually adds a third child to see his family that isn’t a boy!
The whole scene comes full-circle when Randall has a heart-to-heart with infant Annie and explains that his desire to have more children is because Beth and the girls are the start of his family tree. At that point in time, Randall didn’t know anything about his birth parents, so his comments make sense, but in the present, we know that he’s added quite a lot of branches to that tree.
Regardless, it’s a sweet moment that’s only made sweeter with the flash-forward that shows Deja and Annie arriving at Kevin’s house to say goodbye to a frail Rebecca.
Prior to that moment, we find out that Deja is working at a hospital. When Annie picks her up, she gifts her a teething giraffe and informs her that she can’t keep this pregnancy a secret for long.
More babies — more branches! So many generations in one short hour!
And how incredible is the casting for all three of Randall’s adult daughters?
The flash-forward is yet another tease, and we’ll hopefully see everyone in the same room in the near future.
Wouldn’t it be great to see Randall’s kids interacting with Kevin and Kate’s kids?
In the present-day, we also see Kate and Toby make their way home from the hospital after welcoming Hailey.
However, their car ride is a bit different as they drive Hailey’s birth mother, Ellie, home from the hospital.
Kate was really excited about making plans with Ellie in the future considering their open adoption agreement, but you could tell the whole ordeal was very difficult for Ellie.
Eventually, she made the conscious decision not to be in Hailey’s life for the time being, and it was valid. She thought she could handle it but upon welcoming her daughter, she realized it wouldn’t be as easy as she thought to let go and watch from a distance.
Kate’s sadness was also valid as she truly wanted Hailey to have a bond with her birth mom after seeing how difficult it was for Randall to grow up without knowing his birth parents.
My guess is that Ellie will eventually come around to the idea once she has enough time to process it all and isn’t hurting as much.
Maybe that’s who Randall is referring to in the flash-forward when he says “they’re here” as we see a car pulling up?
Toby also informs Kate that he was laid off, which seems like terrible timing but for the first time ever, Kate doesn’t spiral.
She’s hopeful as she holds her new baby, a baby that she didn’t think was possible based on her earlier diagnosis.
It’s a moment where she believes they will be okay because they are together. And I hope that’s also the case.
However, it does worry me that maybe this is the beginning of the end for Kate and Toby? What if money and career woes lead to a divorce? It’s been a popular theory as to why they aren’t together in the flash-forward.
Could Kate and Jack be in the car? Are they with Hailey and Ellie? What’s the deal here?
I can’t wait till we get an episode that gives us just a bit more about the flash-forward scene!
Until then, I’m content knowing that the Pearson family tree continues to flourish.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments!
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This Is Us Review – Meet the New Big Three (5×08)
The new Big Three have arrived.
This Is Us pulling at your heartstrings and making you weep isn’t anything new, but these tears were different because we celebrated the newest members of the Pearson clan – Kevin and Madison’s twins and Toby and Kate’s adopted daughter.
The episode detailed giving birth during a pretty crazy time in the world: the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasized the importance of staying connected through cellphones and the Internet.
Initially, the scenes of Nasir from India and Esther from Argentina were confusing. I thought they were flashbacks of Miguel’s parents and that we were finally getting some more backstory about the often-overlooked character, but instead, This Is Us paid tribute to a real-life computer researcher responsible for the algorithm that allows all of us, even the Pearsons, to remain connected.
It’s about time this man got the recognition he deserves during a time where staying connected is so imperative and crucial to our society’s ability to function.
This man is singlehandedly responsible for giving us the opportunity to be part of important and milestone moments in our loved ones’ lives; he paved the way for a future that you and I take for granted daily. Even now as we watch our favorite show on a Tuesday night!
And while Miguel doesn’t get his time in the sun, Rebecca did thank him for being there for her and the family, which was the most acknowledgment he’s gotten in quite some time. He deserves so much more recognition, but this is a good start.
With Kate and Madison both welcoming babies at the same time in different hospitals and the family not being able to be there – including Toby who had an elaborate tailgating set-up in the hospital parking lot – connecting with them via video chat after the births was imperative.
Randall and Beth were on the phone with Madison for hours while Kevin did his best to make it to her. And he did! We never saw how he managed to pull off traveling without an I.D. or how the hospital let him in after he just traveled through an airport, but that’s neither here nor there.
The point is, he made it for the birth of his twins, and while he was gone, Randall filled in by virtually holding Madison’s hand and telling her drunk Kevin stories.
Despite everything that happened with these two, Randall remains the best brother who always puts his family first.
After all the emotions settled a bit, Kevin broached the topic of their big fight, and while it wasn’t the right time to get into detail, at least they’re back on track and have acknowledged that the conversation must be had and apologies must be made.
Kate’s adoption process made me nervous for a bit because it seemed as though Ellie wasn’t going to hand over the baby. I got worried when she changed her mind and asked to hold her and then asked to be alone with the baby.
Based on Kate’s surprised reaction, she also didn’t know what it meant and was trying to be understanding.
Ellie’s emotional goodbye to her daughter hit me in the feels. One can imagine that giving up your baby is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do, but it’s also so brave of her to acknowledge that she needs to do what’s best for her.
And Kate meeting baby Hailey was pure bliss. Again, in a time when the world is upside-down and downright scary, there’s nothing more reassuring than looking down at an innocent baby.
The waterworks also began flowing when Toby decided to give the baby the middle name “Rose” after the ill wife of the man in the parking lot.
When he mentioned her name and gave Toby a “lucky pig,” it was obvious that Toby would find inspiration for the middle name from their abrupt meeting, but it was still such a genuine moment of human connection — this one in person yet still distanced.
Also, can we celebrate the fact that Rose got some good news after being diagnosed with COVID? Hospitals are a place where you experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but it was a good night for everyone.
The flashbacks of Jack and Rebecca at the cabin mulling over how their children no longer wanted to hang out with them fit in perfectly. Sometimes, flashbacks don’t jive with what’s happening in other timelines, but that painting was a reminder to always remain present and never miss a thing even if life gets in the way.
Rebecca stayed true to that promise. The montage of them making the painting juxtaposed with the current bundles of joy being boy really hit right in the feels.
And lastly, Kevin paid tribute to Uncle Nicky (and Nic Cage) when he named one of the twins Nicholas. And honestly, good on them for bringing back the Frances. How cute is Franny?
Franny, Nicholas, and Hailey – the new Big Three that will carry on the Pearson legacy. You just know Jack is up there in heaven beaming with pride.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments below!
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