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 – Childhood Traumas in the Present Day (5×04)
This Is Us delivered some truly great moments on “Honestly,” which is a good thing as this episode is supposed to hold us over until January 5, 2021.
It doesn’t seem fair that we had to wait almost all of 2020 for new episodes only to be given four and then forced to wait again, but maybe, like Kevin, we have to learn to tough it.
That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.
The Big Three continued to struggle with their past traumas that affected them into adulthood.
In the past, we see Rebecca and Jack struggling to sleep train Kevin, who wakes up crying every night. Jack assures Rebecca they have to let him cry it out, but she can’t fathom letting her child “suffer.”
Her behavior carries over into their pre-teen years as Kevin struggles with his team as the quarterback of the football team.
Rebecca isn’t a helicopter in the same way we see modern-day parents, but she’s definitely always ready to step in to make life easier for Kevin, which isn’t helping them or teaching him any grit.
But that’s the great thing we see in Kevin when he’s an adult. Instead of backing down when things get tough, he pushes even harder.
Seeing him use his notecards in the present — a method Randall taught him when he was younger and struggling to memorize plays — was heartwarming.
They may not be talking right now, but they’ve impacted each other’s lives in major ways.
Seeing Kevin navigate his own path to success also proves that sometimes, it’s okay to let your kids figure it out for themselves.
The director seemed to come into the reading with a preconceived notion about Kevin, which wasn’t fair to him. I’m wondering if he didn’t like Kevin’s performance or wasn’t pleased that Kevin was cast?
Either way, it’s fantastic that Kevin didn’t just give up or lose his temper. I hope he blows the director away.
And maybe this is the push to truly break out in his career with a performance that’s “less tired.”
Fingers-crossed he gets that Oscar-moment with Rebecca!
Randall saw himself in Malik, who was shadowing him in his City Council position for a school class.
Malik committed the biggest flub when he didn’t turn off the live stream and accidentally broadcast Randall’s striptease dance to everyone in Philly and beyond.
Note to self: always double-check a stream is off, especially with Zoom meetings.
The situation seemed rough initially, and Randall was pretty hard on Malik, a few good things came out of it.
First, Randall got to know Malik on a deeper level and realized that Deja’s boyfriend is a standup and ambitious kid.
Malik explained his tiredness by giving Randall the tea – he wakes up at 5 a.m. to take care of his daughter and puts her needs before his own.
That being said, he’s still trying to make something of himself as he wants to go to an Ivy League school, open up a restaurant and become the first Michelin-starred place in Philly.
You’ve got to admire the drive and the hustle in a young kid like that. He has his head on right, and Randall recognizes himself in Malik, which is why he gave him that internship even after the live stream flub.
This bromance may be the best thing to happen in 2020!
The other good thing to come out of it is that it’ll bring Randall closer to his birth mother… or at least his birth mother’s boyfriends/husband.
Going viral on the Internet meant that the Japanese man from This Is Us Season 5 Episode 3 saw the clip and heard Randall talk about his birth father William Hill.
The series is drawing this storyline out, but it seems like they’ve got big plans and it’ll be worth it.
There were moments when the series made it seem like she was still alive, but if she’s not, at least maybe Randall will be able to learn more about her by connecting with someone who knew her well.
Also, it’s great that Randall and his family have such a great sense of humor and can laugh about the whole ordeal. It’s even better that the angle of the camera was really great and Randall looked that good!
Kate’s adoption storyline took a somber note when she confronted her past demons and vocalized them to Toby for the first time ever.
The series circled-back to her tumultuous relationship with Mark and revealed some interesting things about their explosive breakup.
At first glance, it seems like Kate found out that she was pregnant with Mark’s baby and possibly aborted it.
However, upon closer inspection, in the scene, Kate is actually holding an ovulation test, which would indicate that she wanted a baby with Mark.
Obviously, that’s troublesome for many reasons considering Mark was toxic and treated her poorly.
Did she stay home from New York to try to get pregnant with him? Did she succeed?
Did she give the baby up for adoption? There are so many avenues the series can take here. My mind is spinning and jumping to the most outrageous conclusion that Ellie is Kate’s daughter.
If Kate hypothetically had a child at 18 and she’s now 40, that would mean Ellie would be around 22, so I don’t think my outlandish theory holds true because she seems significantly olderm but then again, they never confirmed Ellie’s age either. How crazy would that be?!
All of this makes watching Kate’s journey to motherhood that much more emotional. I can’t wait to see how the series ties it all together.
I’m also a bit peeved we haven’t seen the last of Mark because he was such a tool!
This Is Us continues pulling the rug right from under us. We may think we know these characters as well as we know ourselves, but there are still so many moments in their lives we’ve yet to explore.
Lastly, may we all have a Jack Pearson role model in our lives who wants us to know he sees our greatness. Even though Jack had his flaws, it’s moments like these where you truly appreciate all he’s done for the Pearson clan.
This Is Us Review – I’m Going Through Changes (5×03)
Parenting is hard.
That’s the key takeaway on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 3.
Even the best, most connected parents like Rebecca and Jack missed so many things when it came to Randall, Kevin, and Kate.
In the past, the scenes explore how moments in their childhood shaped who they are in the present-day.
In the present-day, we see the Big Three dealing with their own fears and struggling with parenthood.
Randall and Beth learn that Tess has been making mock videos online to stand up for herself. On one hand, Randall finds it admirable that his teen daughter has a better grasp of her self-identity than he does at the age of 40. However, he and Beth both agree that her actions need to be punished.
While it may not seem like it to Tess at the moment, there’s a way about evoking change and making a statement. Unfortunately, telling your teacher “screw you” on the Internet — where things live forever, is not the right way.
It’s an interesting moment, nevertheless, that allows the audience to get a deeper look into Tess’s teenage years.
It also proves that no matter how much parents try, children will carve out their own path, which is a lesson Kevin and Madison could use about now.
Their breakfast interactions were very, polite, for lack of a better word, and it was clear that they were both putting on a front to make this new-age engagement work.
But the truth is, neither of them was really being honest and upfront about who they were. They were tiptoeing around reality, which is no way to go about life.
Madison, who we know struggled with an eating disorder her whole life, was triggered by Kevin’s excessive working out, his rock hard abs that he puts fully on display, and the fact that he skipped breakfast and stated he would be going on a diet for his upcoming role.
For Madison, these were all reminders of her bulimia, but she couldn’t even blame Kevin for it because he didn’t know this side of her.
She also assumed that Kevin was behaving confidently when, in fact, these were all signs of Kevin’s own insecurities that he’s built up since he was a pre-teen hitting puberty.
Kevin has always put his worth in his looks, but that stems from his very own addictions and eating disorders.
It serves as a reminder not to judge a book by its cover because we never know what someone else is going through.
When Madison and Kevin began to open up, a true relationship and trust was established between them. Madison even confessed that she’s the type of girl who goes to conventions for her favorite TV show. The horror!
The truth is, Madison isn’t the kind of girl audiences would have envisioned for Kevin, but she’s exactly who he needs. And vice-versa. It’s nice to see them pull back the curtains and be real, especially Kevin, who has always lived up to this image he’s concocted in his own mind.
Kevin’s body image issues were also rooted in his daddy issues, and we learn that he’s been hitting the dingy garage gym because that’s where he bonded with Jack.
Jack tries to help his son bulk up for the school football team and takes him to the garage to “pump some iron” as his old man did. Unlike his dad, however, Jack tries to make the lifting session inspiring, but the effects seem to be one and the same.
On his quest for a therapist, Randall pinpoints a memory from his young adult life that may have shaped his future and sense of self.
It’s a rather cringe-worthy moment as Kate’s friend, Tanya, tries to make a move on Randall by puckering up with root beer flavored chapstick, which is only made worse when she utters this line when Randall refuses: “I always wondered what it would be like to kiss someone like you.”
Well, that’s a buzzkill.
It’ll be interesting to see Randall unpack that with the therapist, Vance, as it may have something to do with his decision to marry a strong, confident Black woman. After all, in his brief chat with the therapist, he went out of his way to emphasize that his wife was Black as if he had something to prove.
There’s always the thought that Vance is somehow related to Randall through his mother, especially as Randall points out that they’re “very similar” when talking to Beth. Introducing Vance’s daughter, April, could just be an innocent and cute moment, but we know that’s never the case with This Is Us.
Fans were scratching their heads with the interlude of a Vietnamese grandfather and granddaughter fishing. The scenes may have been frustrating as they were thrown in randomly throughout the episode, but again, nothing is ever random. In the final scene, the cute young girl Lin asks her grandfather if he cooks for the woman in all of the pictures to impress her. He nods and the camera pans to a photograph showing the grandfather with Randall’s mother!
It doesn’t give us much to work with, but it means that answers about Randall’s birth mother are coming — and yes, it seems like she survived.
Could this scene somehow be related to the scene with Vance? Time will tell.
Lastly, there was Kate and Toby, who met with a potential birth mother and hoped to make a good impression. It seemed like things went well with Ellie, despite their little squabble about diapers. I agree with Ellie that seeing how a couple bounces back from a fight is a good assessment of their marriage.
Through flashforwards, we know that Kate and Toby eventually adopt a daughter, but will it be Ellie’s daughter?
Or will she realize she wants to keep her child from a one-night stand? Also, leave it to This Is Us to make every single storyline heartbreaking, even Ellie’s backstory of why she’s giving up the child (her husband died of cancer, it took her a long time to move on, and when she finally agreed to a date, she had a fling and ended up pregnant).
What did you think of the episode?
Are you excited about the new possibilities for the Big Three?
Which storyline excites you most? Let us know in the comments below.
Is Randall’s Birth Mother His New Therapist on ‘This Is Us’ Season 5? Here’s What the Writers Said
For several seasons, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) has struggled navigating life as a Black man raised in a white family.
Tensions really escalated when he found out that his adoptive mother, Rebecca Pearson, had known his biological father, William, his entire life and kept him a secret despite knowing how much he wanted information on his biological family.
After years of dealing with identity and anxiety issues, Randall eventually went to therapy to deal with the stress brought on by his mother’s illness, his run for City Council, and the burglarization of his home.
There’s a stigma that follows seeking out therapy, especially when it comes to Black men, so Randall’s decision was bold and important.
It wasn’t easy at first to open up, but eventually, the therapist was able to break through his tough exterior. When This Is Us Season 5 premiered, Randall seemed in a much better place mentally — the tremors were gone! — as he continued virtual therapy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He also dealt with racial relations brought on by yet another heinous murder of a Black man in America prompting protests known as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Important and difficult conversations were had with his family, specifically Kate, which led him to realize that he needed to change therapists.
While he initially made the conscious decision to pursue a therapist that was a white woman, just like adoptive mother, as he grew more secure in his identity, he realized he needed someone that he could fully open up with and not hide the “Black parts” from.
He needed a Black therapist.
Randall’s realization happens at the same time as the shocking twist that his biological mother, Laurel, (who audiences thought died shortly after birth due to an overdose) was actually resuscitated and likely survived.
This Is Us is such a meticulously planned show that the writers managed to weave in COVID and BLM into an episode so organically that it was impossible for the audience to tell when or how it was altered. It just fit.
So, there’s reason to believe that the timing of Randall’s decision and the reveal that his mother may be alive isn’t an accident.
What if his new therapist is his biological mother? It’s a popular theory and one that the This Is Us writers already debunked, but should we believe them?
She is not going to end up as Randall’s therapist. #ThisIsUs
— ThisIsUsWriters (@ThisIsUsWriters) October 28, 2020
It’s possible that she’s either too old to still be practicing or no longer alive.
However, that doesn’t mean Randall’s new therapist isn’t a long-lost brother or sister that he didn’t know about?
There has to be some connection.
Randall has always sought out answers about his biological family, who he is, and where he comes from. Even after meeting William and mending things with him, Randall continues to have a void because he never knew his biological mother. His “mommy issues” stem from the abandonment (which we now know wasn’t intentional as he was wanted) by his biological mom and the deception by his adoptive mother.
For a show centered around family and the importance of family, it would only make sense for them to pursue this avenue and allow Randall to further explore his background on a deeper level.
What do you think, Cravers? If Randall’s mom isn’t the therapist, how does this storyline play into Randall’s overall arc?
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