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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Childhood Traumas in the Present Day (5×04)

THIS IS US -- "Honestly" Episode 504 -- Pictured in this screengrab: Sterling K. Brown as Randall -- (Photo by: NBC)

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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. 

This Is Us/ NBC

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. 


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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 – Manny Put a Ring On It (5×12)

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This Is Us Both Things Can Be True Review Season 5 Episode 12

There were plenty of great heart-to-heart’s on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 12.

The series brilliantly touches on all those feelings and emotions buried deep within us while simultaneously having everything come full circle in all the various timelines.

An episode where character and plot development is achieved solely through words is difficult, but “Both Things Can Be True” did a magnificent job. There weren’t any jaw-dropping moments or cliffhangers — everything was fueled by a basic human experience.

As Kevin and Madison were planning their wedding in the present-day timeline, Jack was planning on proposing to Rebecca in the past.

 Miguel was involved in the planning of both events as Jack’s best friend and currently, Kevin’s step-dad aka Rebecca’s husband. 

While we’ve all accepted Miguel’s role in the Pearsons’ life, it wasn’t an easy pill for Nicky to swallow. As they teamed up for rehearsal dinner planning, Nicky made a few tasteless and backhanded comments towards Miguel that were just plain ugly. 

Now, we know Nicky’s a tough cookie and can be quite cynical, but it was still uncalled for and awkward. Most importantly, Miguel didn’t deserve it. He’s been treated like the show’s villain for far too long when he’s only ever sacrificed everything for this family!

Eventually, Miguel stood up for himself and explained that the only person that he owes an explanation is the one man he can’t give it to. And while we won’t ever know what Jack would have said about Miguel marrying Rebecca, I think it’s safe to say that he would’ve been grateful that someone stepped in to take care of his wife and kids upon his death.

Miguel was there to help Rebecca through her grief and now, he’s there as she deals with new struggles surrounding the early stages of Alzheimer’s. In a way, he’s kept Jack alive for Rebecca, and, in turn, Rebecca has kept Jack alive for Miguel.

Miguel has been there through everything as we saw him help Jack plan the perfect proposal for Rebecca. The same energy he had towards Nicky he also had towards Rebecca’s father in the past, who finally returned Jack’s calls and told him he’d “tolerate” the union. 

We all need a friend like Miguel, who vouched for Jack’s character and made sure Rebecca’s dad knew that she was lucky to find a guy like Jack Pearson. Jack puts all the other men to shame, so tell ’em, Miguel. 

Nicky’s actions were a result of his jealousy as he felt that Miguel replaced him in Jack’s life, but Miguel always knew that Jack wanted his brother around for the big day. While that never happened, it’s heartwarming that they are able to be there for Jack’s son. 

Another unexpected heart-to-heart happened between Toby and Madison. Toby may be struggling with this whole “stay-at-home” dad thing, but I’m digging his new role, especially if it means we get more screentime bonding between these two. 

Toby and Madison were both bottling up things from their partners. Madison didn’t want to get married at some luxurious venue that Kevin and his publicist dreamt up, while Toby wasn’t loving staying home with the kids and not having a full-time job. 

Madison came around and told Kevin the truth, and I love how receptive he was to her concerns. Kevin really just wants to make Madison happy, and if that means they get married at a garden that reminds her of her trip to Japan, so be it. 

In fact, seeing all of Kevin’s exes see the big engagement news in the tabloids and smile shows that he’s made a positive impact on all of them despite making a few missteps here and there. You can’t help but be happy that Kevin found “the one” and settled down!

Toby, on the other hand, didn’t confront his feelings head-on or tell Kate the truth likely because he saw how happy she was after her first day helping blind children discover their love of music. It says a lot about Toby as he’s willing to put his happiness on hold for Kate, but I hope it doesn’t lead to any resentment. 

Both of them deserve to pursue their dreams, and he should be able to talk to her about it without thinking he’s going to strip her of her happiness. 

This Is Us Both Things Can Be True Review Season 5 Episode 12

THIS IS US — “Both Things Can Be True” Episode 512 — Pictured in this screengrab: Eris Baker as Tess — (Photo by: NBC)

However, it’s nice to see Kate finally have something for herself. We’ve seen her struggle with finding a fulfilling career path for so long, so this is a welcome change of pace. 

Her anxieties about leaving behind two young children and her husband were also warranted and showcase the struggle many working moms encounter upon returning to the workforce.

Philip was difficult to deal with and didn’t show any grace towards Kate’s situation, which is also all too common in the workplace, but in a way, I’m glad that Kate was held to a higher standard and proved that she was the right fit for the job despite all of her internal battles. 

Once Philip finally accepts that Kate is his new co-worker and good at her job, I think they’ll get along fairly well! 

It’s just as important to show Kate’s struggle of going back to work as it is to show Toby’s struggle of staying at home. Stay-at-home dads and working moms are much more commonplace these days, and the feelings they have are valid. 

Randall attended a transracial therapy group, and though he didn’t share his story, he connected with other people’s experiences. 

He seemed to particularly connect with the woman who revealed that she wished that she was never adopted, and that pains me. 

With those feelings surfacing for Randall, I’m concerned about his big talk with Kevin that’s supposed to clear the air between them. 

It’s one thing for Randall to share his experiences about being adopted into a white family and sharing his experiences of finding his birth parents, but I don’t think Kevin would take it lightly if he heard that Randall wished he was never a Pearson in the first place. 

I truly hope it doesn’t take that route because things may get messy.

However, it’s also illuminating to explore all emotions and feelings adopted children have faced and the guilt they’ve felt for wanting to know where they come from without hurting those who have been there for them.

It’s a tricky line to walk, but again, it’s important that these stories get told! The series has done an incredible job with Randall’s adoption storyline as it’s so layered and filled with opportunities to dig deeper and explore the character. 

And lastly, Beth was trying her best to be there and accepting of Tess when she invited Alex over.

Using the proper pronouns was the least of her worries, though. 

Beth didn’t realize just how affected she was by Tess’s relationship until she was called out on it. 

It wasn’t right of Tess to call her mom a psycho, so I’m glad Beth nipped that behavior immediately, but she also realized that she needed to adjust to the new reality instead of the one she has envisioned for her daughter. 

It’s an important step for both of them, and though Tess may have felt hurt and alienated, Beth is doing her best to be there for her and support her in every way that she can.

We know Beth’s heart, and we know that it had nothing to do with Tess.

But the open-door policy should apply just as much to Tess and Alex as it does to Deja and Malik. It’s only fair. 

Beth’s exploration of her subconscious feelings also led to an important conversation with her own mother. 

Their situation may be different, but Beth is realizing that her mother also struggled with letting go and adjusting to her daughter’s chosen lifestyle, which is what caused a rift between them in the first place. 

It’s nice to see these mothers and daughters be vulnerable and honest as they make up for lost time and right the wrongs of the past. 

Being a mom is hard, and you don’t realize just how difficult the task is until you become a mother yourself. 

What did you think of the episode?

What was your favorite moment? Let us know in the comments below!


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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Family Dinners (5×10)

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This Is Us Review - I've Got This Season 5 Episode 10

Dinner is never really just dinner, is it?

When you’re not arguing about politics, you’re getting into it about money woes and feeling judged by your mother, who has overstayed her welcome.

Three dinners took place during the course of This Is Us Season 5 Episode 10, and none of them went off without a hitch. 

In the past, Jack attended a dinner with Miguel and the big wigs at his firm in hopes of getting a promotion to support his family of three newborns. Unfortunately, the evening didn’t go as planned and instead of being treated to a meal and drinks, he ended up having to pay the $230 tab after throwing his car down in a credit card roulette. 

Look, $230 nowadays is a lot for one person with expenses to put down, but in those days, it was a fortune. 

My advice for next time? Splitsies four ways and everyone pays for what they ordered! 

While the Pearson family didn’t come from money, the fact that the children never noticed or never felt the stress of not having enough money just speaks to how great Rebecca and Jack were as parents.

And it informed Kate and Kevin’s experiences in the present-day as the former found her family struggling financially after Toby was laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I love that This Is Us is showcasing the struggles plenty of Americans are going through right now. 

Not everyone is as fortunate as Kevin to get paid loads of money for a gig, but it also doesn’t mean that they are less-than. Kevin’s intentions were pure, I know. He genuinely wanted to be there for his family and help his brother out during a tough time, but it’s understandable that it would make Toby feel inadequate and like he can’t take care of his family. 

Toby, much like so many others who are now unemployed, lost his job and has been stuck in the vicious cycle of remote and impersonal interviews. Getting a job nowadays is difficult, and it’s absolutely not a reflection of the person or their skill; it’s just a reality. 

He’ll land on his feet eventually, but it’s great for a show to tackle the very real situation that’s affecting so many families. 

While Toby didn’t want things to fall onto Kate, I think it’s great that she’s found a job that she wants to pursue. Working mothers are the backbone of America, and there’s no shame in having her be the breadwinner for a bit while he gets back on his feet. 

This Is Us Review - I've Got This Season 5 Episode 10

THIS IS US — “I’ve Got This” Episode 510 — Pictured in this screengrab: (l-r) Lyric Ross as Deja, Asante Blackk as Malik, Faithe Herman as Annie, Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth, Eris Baker as Tess, Phylicia Rashad as Carol, Sterling K. Brown as Randall — (Photo by: NBC)

Toby has always supported Kate, and it’s awesome that she wants to return the favor. 

Plus, the job as a teaching assistant at Jack’s music school seems like the perfect fit for Kate. She’s always wanted to find something that she could call her own, and it looks like things are finally falling into place. 

You know what they say — when one door closes, another opens, even if it might not be exactly what Toby envisioned.

Kevin seems to be thriving in his dad role, but according to the last few episodes, he kind of burned a few bridges with the directors of his latest film. 

Is this going to take a toll on his career? He may have all the funds to have a nanny and dream up a Malibu compound now, but if he’s leaving acting behind, what does that truly mean for the future?

Nicky’s back… and the fact that he braved his first flight to come and visit Kevin and his children is just the sweetest thing. 

Kevin’s always been a family man, and it’s awesome that he’ll be able to share his new bundles of joy with the man that’s the closest connection to his dad! 

As for Randall and Beth’s dinner, well, their house is chaotic in the best possible way. 

Beth thought her mom was judging her based on how her kids behaved, but it was actually Beth who was casting the judgment on herself. 

Her mother was just happy to be a part of the action. 

Sometimes, as children, we always think we’re not living up to our mother’s expectations, but our mothers just want to spend some quality time with the family. 

When Beth realized that her mother decided to extend her stay because she was lonely at home, she invited her to stay with them indefinitely. 

For audiences, it’s a plus because Phylicia Rashad is a blessing and a half. But Beth probably should’ve run it by Randall first. 

Though, she did have a fair point that she’s always accomodating when it comes to his family. She can have this moment!

Deja and Randall’s bond is adorable. They’ve been through the highs and lows together, but it’s sweet to see her acknowledge that Randall is the only person who has ever been #TeamDeja from the beginning.

I’m glad she didn’t hold a grudge against him for helping Malik though because Malik realized the same thing Deja did — Randall is a stand-up guy who gives great advice. 

He’s become a father figure to them both, and his advice carries more weight as he’s someone who grew up without knowing his birth parents. 

At the end of the day, there’s something to be said for allowing your child to get to know their birth mother. However, Malik’s reservations are valid as Jennifer and her family weren’t supportive and didn’t want to be in this child’s life at first. He also has to be careful that allowing her back into his child’s life doesn’t do more harm than good. 

Obviously, everyone deserves a second chance, but not everyone makes the most of that second chance, so I wouldn’t let her fully in just yet. 

I also wonder if it’ll strain Deja and Malik’s relationship moving forward. They’re only 15, so the chances of them making it till the end (or at the very least those flash-forward episodes) are slim, but it’s a sweet sentiment.

The Pearson clan has gotten significantly bigger as everyone embraces their new chapters with their respective families, but Jack and Rebecca’s influence continues as they now tackle the parental roles with the same grace and love. 

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


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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Adding to the Family Tree (5×09)

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This Is Us Review The Ride Season 5 Episode 9

 

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. 

This Is Us Review The Ride Season 5 Episode 9

THIS IS US — “The Ride”, Episode 509 — Pictured in this screen grab: (l-r) Chris Sullivan as Toby, Chrissy Metz as Kate — (Photo by: NBC)

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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