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.
- 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!
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