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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Who Is Randall’s Therapist? (4×15)

THIS IS US -- "Clouds" Episode 415 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chrissy Metz as Kate, Caitlin Thompson as Madison -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

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It’s been a while since we’ve dealt with the Big Three simultaneously in multiple timelines and it’s for good reason as “Clouds” on This Is Us teetered on the verge of overwhelming.

In the present day, Randall went to his first therapy appointment and made a revelation that will propel him into a rivalry with his family, Kate wondered whether or not Toby’s newfound love for baby Jack was genuine, and Kevin spent time with his ill mother.

Rebecca also got the diagnosis that we all feared.

In the past, Jack tried to help Randall blow off some steam through running, Kate moped around following her breakup with Stuart and learned a waffle-y lesson about love, and Kevin spent time with his mother.

And, as always, the series brilliantly intertwined all the stories in such a pure way that only This Is Us is capable of.

Still, I would have been completely content with the episode focusing solely on Kevin and Rebecca because their relationship is so special.

Also because Justin Hartley continues to be the ray of sunshine delivering great performance after great performance. He’s so nuanced while always keeping this lightness about him.

Rebecca said it was a quality he’s always had, and we’ve never truly seen her appreciate it until now. Carpe Diem Rebecca is doing all the things Rebecca bottled up inside and living out a bucket list as she fears for what the future holds.

Kevin’s present and past storyline paralleled each other — he spent the day hanging out with his mother.

In the past, he tagged along because he wanted to buy playing cards, but in the present, he spent the day just being there for his mom and enjoying every minute of it before her dreaded appointment.

During his time, he realized that the seemingly insignificant moments are the memories that will forever be cherished. They weren’t just buying a baseball card that day, they were making a lifelong memory and one that Kevin will likely hold dear when his mother cannot remember it.

Rebecca and Kevin’s relationship has gone through its share of ups-and-downs, so it was nice to see them genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

Rebecca was able to let go when she was around him, had fun, and just laughed. For a moment, she escaped reality and forgot about her worries.

In life, humans go through phases where we need certain people at certain times.

Growing up, Randall was the reliable child that Rebecca bonded with the most and needed around. He was the “adult” out of the Big Three, but now, in this part of her life, she needs someone like Kevin who will just let her be free and enjoy the moments while she still can.

Back in the day, Rebecca was always taking care of Randall and worrying about him, and she doesn’t have the mental capacity for that anymore, especially not when she’s going through so much on her own.

It’s incredibly heartbreaking that something so pure and beautiful is the moment that’s going to drive a wedge between the brothers and likely, the family.

Randall, whether he wants to admit it or not, liked being the person Rebecca could rely on. It gave him a sense of purpose. It’s why he wants to believe that the whole family would have fallen apart without him — it makes him feel important and gives him a sense of worth.

As that begins to wash away and he realizes someone as unreliable as Kevin holds the spot, he’s not going to cope well.

Too much pressure was put on Randall when he was younger, that’s a fact. He was never taught to deal with his anxiety head-on but instead, told to run it off or brush it off.

It’s all manifesting now as he begins to lose that grip on his family.

It’s unfortunate because Kevin has always been made to feel worthless, and this reaffirms those beliefs from a brother that he has always put first and always helped.

Kevin was always the one to coax Randall through a panic attack or breakdown, and yet, he can’t get the same kind of love and respect from his brother.

Randall didn’t tell Kevin about Rebecca’s illness because they were scared how he’d react, but Kevin’s been holding it together just fine.

Instead, Randall is the one unraveling, which isn’t entirely unexpected, but it’s also odd to see Kevin holding things down.

It’s as if Randall wanted Kevin to crash and burn upon finding out and when he didn’t, Randall didn’t understand what to do.

What was the deal with the therapist? Who is she?

Randall’s therapy scene played out with the audience seeing things from her perspective, but eventually, we saw her face.

I think there’s more of a reason to keep her identity from us at first than just wanting to put the audience in the therapist’s seat.

Did anyone else think it was weird the way she told Randall, “I know who you are.” It almost made me feel like it’s someone related to him. I know it can’t be his birth mother, but I don’t know, I felt like there was something we were missing and it was emphasized by the ticks.

The coffee pot that was hissing was an interesting detail. It could also be a device that shows us how much Randall is progressing or where he’s at in his treatment based on what his reaction is.

Randall’s fragile state is worrisome for Beth, who is just as shaken up by the recent invasion in her home and has been keeping it to herself because she didn’t want to overwhelm for husband.

While she should be able to talk to him about what’s bothering her, I think Beth needs to also see a therapist to work through her fears.

Rebecca’s MRI confirmed Alzheimer’s,  which allows them to start treatment, but there’s really not much they can do to cure the memory loss that we know will eventually set it.

I can see it now, Rebecca’s on her death bed and hallucinates that Nicky is actually Jack. It’s going to be very emotional, so we should all start preparing.

Kate and Toby got back on track after some really great advice from Madison. When did she become a relationship expert?

Madison informed Kate that she shouldn’t resent Toby for being honest with her about his fears and concerns, which was valid.

She’s punishing him and pushing him away for being honest. Her fears of being hurt and abandoned are getting the best of her and she couldn’t even appreciate Toby’s growth or the big Pearson-like gesture he made to apologize for his behavior.

Thankfully, Madison set her straight, and again, what may have seemed like an insignificant little moment in this thing we call life was the framework for baby Jack’s whole future.

We watched him go from being a baby in his music room to a toddler, a pre-teen, a teen, and a young adult.

There’s something so powerful about seeing a character’s journey play out in front of you in moments. I bet parents will attest that watching your kids grow up happens just as quickly.

We’ll likely get to see Jack as an adult again, but it’s strange that the series hasn’t given us any storylines with him after introducing him in the first episode of season 4.

Other Thoughts

  • Madison telling Kate that she was upside down during her sexy time with Kevin was equal parts hilarious and awkward. Do we think she’s pregnant with his baby? It’s entirely possible especially after she gave that speech about Kevin “seeing her at her worst” and still liking her. She’s always wanted that, and it seems she still has the hots for him.
  • Toby’s reaction to finding out that Kevin and Madison slept together was extremely accurate.
  • Also, he made a comment about Madison becoming his sister-in-law. Was that a clue?
  • An “okay, Boomer” joke from Kevin. That really happened.
  • Mandy Moore singing Janis Joplin right before the song fittingly played over the emotional end gave me chills.
  • Did anyone else want Kevin and Rebecca to get arrested for trespassing and end up on TMZ? Now, that would make for a great memory.
  • Jack’s advice about first boyfriends being like waffles that you toss into the trash because they’re a practice run was such a good analogy. I’m going to use that on my kids one day.
  • Something so small and trivial like Jack and Rebecca singing together has the power to become a standout moment amongst all these other great moments.
  • Kevin got Rebecca to her appointment and proved he was responsible. Prove the haters wrong, baby!

To sum it up, the episode gave us insight into otherwise simple moments that would have been forgotten if not for that song.

Rebecca may soon forget these moments, and it’ll kickstart a waterfall of tears all over America when that happens, but the memories will live on in all the people she’s touched and influenced. It will live on in the Big Three, and then in their children, and their children, and their children. I just don’t know if we have that many seasons left!

Share your thoughts on tonight’s This Is Us episode below!


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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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