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This Is Us

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

THIS IS US -- "The Cabin" Episode 412 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Chrissy Metz as Kate, Sterling K. Brown as Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just like Kate and Randall, Kevin is a fighter.

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

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

What did you think of the episode?

Who do you think Kevin settles down with?

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

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


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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 – 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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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Meet the New Big Three (5×08)

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This Is Us Review In the Room Season 5 Episode 8

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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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Kevin’s Journey Home (5×07)

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This Is Us Review There Season 5 Episode 7

 
Kevin had a stroke of bad luck on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 7, but it’s nothing he can’t handle.
 
Over the course of five seasons, Kevin’s character has grown immensely into a strong man who knows exactly what he wants out of life. 
 
And when he found out Madison went into labor six weeks early, he knew that it was more important than his movie with Robert de Niro. I’m not sure I’d go as far as telling the producer to “shut up” or that “no one cares about his movie,” but the moment proves that Kevin is learning that family trumps all. 
 
Wanting to get to Madison on time for the birth is fueled by his desire to be present like his father Jack always was. 
 
Jack may not have always been the best father (though he was pretty great), but he was always there. And that’s half the battle. It’s why Kevin’s so determined to get there on time — he doesn’t want to let Madison down or start off on the wrong foot.
 
Of course, there’s plenty of obstacles in his way including a long drive, no flights, and a car crash. 
 
Yep, This Is Us once again pulled a fast one on us. The trickery! They made us think that Kevin was going to be involved in a car accident, but instead, he was helping someone whose car crashed into a ditch. That’s the most Jack Pearson thing Kevin could have ever done. 
 
Despite rushing to be by his fiancee’s side, he couldn’t just drive by and leave someone hurt and stranded.
 
Throughout the whole episode, Kevin was trying to live up to his father without realizing that he’s already there. The fact that he’s so determined not to let Madison or his twins down is proof that he is Jack Pearsons’s son.
 
Jack was always present in his children’s lives is because he wanted to be and thus, he made it happen. 
 
Jack was fueled by a desire to be better than his old man, while Kevin wants to live up to his old man.
 
The episode featured some flashbacks that strengthened the “father and son” narrative. In both, Jack and Kevin played baseball to impress their dads, but one was not like the other in that Jack didn’t want to be like his father and made choices that were in Kevin’s best interest.

THIS IS US — “There” Episode 507 — Pictured in this screengrab: Chrissy Metz as Kate — (Photo by: NBC)

 
The first flashback found a young Jack headed to a Little League game with his drunk of a father, who berates him for losing the game and forces him to drive them home. The whole experience is miserable for him, which makes him want to do better in the future. 
 
In a second flashback sequence, Jack takes a young Kevin to baseball camp where he sees Kevin throw up from the pressure and learns that his coach calls him stupid almost on a daily basis. This really resonates with Jack since it reminds him of the emotional abuse he endured from his dad, and he realizes he’s repeating his father’s mistakes. 
 
Back in the present, Kevin takes a detour to drop off the man at the hospital and arrives at the airport in time to make his flight when he hits another snag — he lost his wallet. 
 
And no I.D. means no flight. 
 
At this point, he’s desperate, and I don’t blame him. How much can one man endure while trying to do the right thing? The guilt of leaving Madison to film the movie in Vancouver is already eating him up. And he hasn’t even dealt with the possible destruction of his career, which is low on the totem pole at this point. 
 
Kevin’s impassioned speech to the TSA agent is sweet even if he does pull the “I’m Kevin Pearson” card. Hey, I guess there’s no better time to use your fame to your advantage than when you’re trying to make it home for the birth of your twins. 
 
However, it’s unclear if Kevin’s powers of persuasion were effective. I’m going to go with no considering that the TSA agent, who may be moved by his story, likely cannot do anything or bend the rules for anyone since it’s a security risk. But we’ll see what happens.
 
I thought I’d get through this episode without crying, but ha, jokes on me! When Randall called Madison just as the reality of delivering the babies herself set in, my tears just started flowing.
 
Randall, who was on his way from meeting Hai and learning all about his birth mother, Laurel, realized just how hard Kevin was taking this moment and stepped in to be there for Madison on behalf of his brother. Again, it’s a very Jack Pearson thing to do. Even though he died while they were young, he had such a profound effect on them. 
 
It was a truly touching moment that officially welcomed Madison into the family. 
 
Kate was unfortunately not available because she was also welcoming a new member of the family as Ellie went into labor. Three new Pearsons are arriving at the same time. It’s almost like history repeating itself!
 
What did you think of the episode? Are you glad Kevin is okay? Do you think he’ll make it? Sound off in the comments below! 
 


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