“Who knew that a complete stranger could become such a big part of your story,” is one of the opening quotes from a young Rebecca after arriving home from her trip to LA with Jack.
Truly, he couldn’t have summed it up better.
Not only does that encompass her relationship with Jack, which at this point, was only three weeks old, but it also rings true for all the new characters introduced in This Is Us Season 4 season premiere.
Everyone starts off as strangers at the beginning of the hour.
As the episode progresses, there are moments of doubt about who these new characters are and how they fit in.
There’s minimal flow to the episode as we switch back back-and-forth between getting to know this new array of folks and between young Jack’s first meeting with Rebecca’s parents.
There wasn’t a single scene with the Big Three up until the very end, so there were moments where I wondered if I was even watching the right show. Had it not been for Jack and Rebecca’s inclusion, I wouldn’t have been so sure.
And therein lies my lesson for the night — never doubt the great minds behind This Is Us.
Towards the end of the episode, everything began to flow together cohesively and all those ten new characters were almost essential to the progression of the series. Because let’s face it, that’s life.
We meet new people all the time that influence our lives and change them in ways we never thought possible.
There’s always room for someone new to make an impression.
And the one thing that makes This Is Us so special is that they aren’t confined to any one timeframe.
Every scene in this episode existed in a different time period — past, present, future — yet they seamlessly flowed into each other.
So, here’s our 4-1-1 breakdown on episode highlights and who these new faces are in terms of the bigger picture:
1. Jack Damon – We’re introduced to a blind man who drops a plate of breakfast accidentally and decides to grab some breakfast at the local diner. What would normally be an uneventful moment is pivotal because he meets Lucy, the love of his life. Their storyline is explored at an accelerated pace. We see their first hook up, we see Jack propose, we see his dog, Sammy, grow older, we see them open up a restaurant together, we see Lucy tell him that she’s pregnant, and we see Jack reach success in his music career.
Now, Jack Damon is actually baby Jack, Kate and Toby’s son. Towards the end of the episode, we see the couple receive the news that although baby Jack isn’t completely blind, he won’t ever regain his eyesight. The full-circle scene cued the waterworks because it’s comforting to know that despite his setback, Jack had a pretty successful life. We’ve only seen the outline as of now, and hopefully, as the season progresses, we’ll see the storyline get filled in. Toby and Kate weren’t present in any of adult Jack’s scenes, which does worry me a bit, but it was probably done with the intention of not ruining the big reveal.
And just think about it — the magic that is This Is Us will now allow us not only to get to know adult Jack but to also meet his future child. The possibilities here are endless.
2. Cassidy – Plenty of people assumed that Once Upon a Time’s Jennifer Morrison would become Kevin’s future wife and we may be onto something. We’re introduced to Cassidy when she’s serving in the Army Corps. She’s missing her family, her husband Ryan (Revenge’s Nick Weschler) and her son, Matty. Her time serving is traumatic and she’s responsible for the death of a village aside from her informant. When she arrives back home, the PTSD takes its toll on her life and her marriage.
She accidentally hits her son while recalling that the price of a water heater in America is how much they paid families for killing their loved ones. Eventually, she seeks out help and while she’s sharing her trauma, Nicky, Jack’s brother, throws a chair through the window. As he’s being arrested, they call Kevin to bail him out and last we see he’s purchasing tickets to fly over there. So, while Kevin and Cassidy’s relationship isn’t promised, it seems like the most logical storyline especially since we saw Kevin with a child in the flash-forward that could have been Matty or another child with Cassidy.
3. Kelly, Darnell, and Malik – This family was predicted to be Randall and Beth’s new neighbors, and while that isn’t totally the case, they are going to be involved with that side of the family.
Malik is introduced as a junior high kid with a little baby daughter, Janelle, at home. His parents are both supportive of him and help him take care of the baby as he’s presumably a single father. Malik attempts to get into some shady business to make money to support his daughter explaining that a good preschool runs upwards of 10K but his father warns him against it since he knows how messy that lifestyle can be from previous experience.
He also offers to watch Janelle so that Malik can go to a barbecue with his friends where he meets the new girl in town: Deja. The two are immediately smitten and Randall and Beth can’t help but cheese seeing Deja at home with a huge smile on her face.
4. Young Rebecca and Jack – Though we mostly know how Jack and Rebecca’s life turned out, there’s still so much to be explored with this couple in any given time period. My personal favorite version of them is when they first met. It’s so fun and light to watch them get to know each other, fall for each other and explore this innocent relationship that they have no idea is going to turn into this whirlwind life. Everything, all the families and characters, it all starts because of Rebecca and Jack.
In the premiere episode, we explored Jack meeting Rebecca’s pompous parents for the first time. Jack tried to make a good impression on them because, after the trip to LA, he realized he truly liked Rebecca. But making a good impression on them wasn’t an easy feat.
He bought a suit to hang out at the country club, which was sold to him by Miguel, yes, Jack’s best friend and Rebecca’s future husband. Not only do we get to see Jack and Rebecca’s humble beginning, but we get to see Jack and Miguel’s also and turns out, he was always a stand-up guy even when he didn’t know Jack that well.
At dinner, Rebecca’s parents disregard all of her requests and grill Jack about Vietnam and his parents. Jack excuses himself to wash off that lobster juice from his new suit and then launches into a typical Jack Pearson speech about how haunting Vietnam was, how he lost his brother and other loved ones to the war that was “very real” to the soldiers fighting on the front lines, and how his parents fight.
Then, he promised that he wasn’t going to “go anywhere” so they’d all have plenty of time to get to know who he really is.
And while that may have impressed Rebecca and all of us Jack Pearson fans, it wasn’t good enough for Rebecca’s father. He told Jack that while he was a good man, he wasn’t a good enough man. He saw that he was more haunted than he was letting on and believed his daughter deserved better. And with all due respect, I have to disagree with him.
With all that we know now, there is no better man than Jack Pearson. The good news is that after catching more than a few glimpses into the future, we know that nothing Rebecca’s father says actually stops the relationship.
Jack for the win.
Now that your done balling your eyes out — it’s a good sign, it means This Is Us did its duty for the week — let us know what you thought of the This Is Us Season 4 premiere.
Were you impressed with the new characters? Do you wish they spent more time focusing on the Big Three?
Are the new additions necessary?
I think now that we’ve established the who’s who of these new faces, we’ll have more time for our core cast of Pearsons.
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‘This Is Us’ to End After Season 6 at NBC
It’s time to say goodbye to the Pearson clan!
NBC’s groundbreaking family drama This Is Us will end with a sixth and final season, per The Hollywood Reporter
The series was renewed for three seasons — up until season 6 — back in 2019.
NBC has not officially commented on the news. The network is expected to make the announcement on Friday when it unveils the upcoming 2021-22 fall schedule.
This Is Us Season 5 will air its finale on Tuesday, May 25 at 10/9c.
Are you ready to say goodbye to the series and TV’s best family?
Read reviews of This Is Us right here!
This Is Us Review – Follow Your Passion (5×14)
After yet another brief hiatus, This Is Us returned to deliver some grounded, emotional storylines.
As the coronavirus raged on, Beth was forced to close her dance studio as membership dwindled even through Zoom class.
Watching her dream go down the drain for the second time was heartbreaking, but it’s hard to feel for her completely when we’ve seen the future and we know she eventually opens up a prestigious dance school.
As they say, after the rain, there’s always a rainbow. Plus, Beth has overcome failure in the dance world before as we saw her dreams of becoming a dancer and getting cast in the production of Swan Lake dashed in flashbacks to when she was in college.
In both the past and the present, Randall was there for Beth in the way she needed him to be. As Deja pointed out, he tends to be quite a lot, but there’s a beauty in just supporting someone and not always being the hero.
Beth and Randall have always been couple goals (next to Rebecca and Jack), and they continued to give us relationship aspirations as they shared a romantic dance to “All My Life” by K-Ci and Jojo. I know I wasn’t the only one singing my heart out during that scene!
Madison, Rebecca, and Kate went wedding dress shopping for the upcoming big day.
Madison found her dream dress, but found herself feeling slightly disappointed when her father informed her that he wouldn’t be making it to the wedding due to a “work emergency.”
What a lame excuse.
Thanks to Rebecca’s speech (that would make Jack Pearson proud), Madison felt like she was part of a family for the first time ever.
However, after Kevin ran into Zoey, she mentioned that he was a people pleaser, which made him think about whether or not he was getting married to Madison because he wanted to or because he convinced himself he wanted to.
Zoe wasn’t wrong — Kevin is a bit of a “yes, man,” but in this case, it’s been a decision that has been great for his personal life.
Madison is an awesome woman, a great mother, and she brings out the best in Kevin. This is the most put-together and levelheaded he’s been in quite some time, and it’s been some positive character development for him.
Making Kevin question his whole future with his family based on something an ex-girlfriend said jeopardizes all the progress he’s made. I don’t want to see his storyline take a turn for the worse, again.
From the upcoming promos, it looks like Kevin will start to fall into old habits and pine for Sophie, which is also annoying. We’ve been there, done that several times. Sophie was his one true love, but the timing never worked out. They had their shot, and it didn’t work. Let’s not try to go back to that over and over again.
Madison deserves so much better; she deserves a man that’s going to fight for her and choose her, not someone who is going to question every decision in his life.
After seeing how great Rebecca was with Madison, Kate thanked her for being such a good and supportive mom, even though she didn’t always deserve it.
And there’s no denying that Kate was a difficult teenager. But she had her reasons, too.
When Jack died, so did her passion for art school. It may have taken her a few decades to find something she was passionate about again, but I’m so glad she did and that she shared it with Rebecca.
Toby continues to struggle with being a stay-at-home dad. He’s embarrassed by the fact that he lost his job and even more embarrassed by the fact that he can’t help but feel jealous about Kate’s new gig.
Instead of opening up about it, he’s bottled it all up inside. And you know that means he’s going to burst — just like the water pipe — eventually.
Hopefully, hearing his dad acknowledge that he comes from a family that opens up about their problems will encourage Toby to speak up and share his troubles with Kate. It’s the only way to ensure a healthy relationship.
And I hope that they find a way for Kate to continue working because, as I mentioned, she’s finally doing something she enjoys. You can see it based on how her face lights up. I just wish she could be able to share it with Toby.
What did you think of the episode?
Are you glad This Is Us is back? Will Toby confide in Kate or will this tension hurt their marriage? Will Kevin go through with the wedding? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
This Is Us Review – Kevin and Randall Tackle the Ugly Stuff (5×13)
Kevin and Randall finally found “brotherly love” after all these years, but it didn’t come easily.
The duo tackled the elephant in the room — their explosive fight during which plenty of hurtful words were exchanged — on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 13.
As the two worked towards making amends, they aired out all the “ugly stuff” and it got pretty heated in certain moments.
The episode allowed audiences to see their different perspectives on the same situation with the key takeaway being: You just don’t see it the way I do.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean either of their experiences was wrong, they’re just different.
Kevin kicked things off with a bit of a half-assed, scripted apology, which Randall compared to a “rehearsed monologue.” Throughout it, he barely took any of the blame for his role in how “othered” he made Randall feel throughout the years when all he wanted to do was blend in.
While it was great that Kevin acknowledged that he should have done more to combat the racism Randall faced from people like his prom date’s father, he didn’t actually own up to his actions.
Throughout a series of flashbacks, which also included new actors playing the boys in the past (or at least I believe they’re new since I don’t recall seeing them before), we see Randall and Kevin’s relationship unfold through the years.
As toddlers, Jack takes them on a “boys weekend” to a live-taping of Mr. Rogers where Kevin becomes jealous of Randall’s “special treatment.” During their teenage years, Kevin gives Randall a fake I.D. of a “Black man” and tells him it’ll work cause he’s Black.
During the present, Randall recalls all of these moments, most of which were subconscious on Kevin’s part, to inform his brother that he always felt singled out because of his Blackness. Kevin would make fun of him for not knowing rap songs, call him Carlton, and make other racially charged comments that he thought were innocent and funny.
As Randall put it, Kevin’s black blindspots showed how wilfully in the dark he was, which hurt more than someone doing it purposefully and with malice.
Kevin doesn’t admit his fault initially, but eventually, he realizes that his jealousy of Randall was directly associated with his Blackness.
Kevin also called out Randall for being ungrateful about being adopted into a caring and loving family, but again, Randall didn’t harbor any resentment towards the Pearsons.
Instead, he opened up about his internal struggle of always wanting to find his birth parents, making up his Ghost Kingdom where the Black weatherman was his dad and the mail carrier was his mom, and also appreciating the life he was handed thanks to Rebecca and Jack.
It was a condensed glimpse of Randall’s journey that fans have been seeing unfold throughout the season.
There’s nothing wrong with Randall dreaming about what could have been if the events of his birth were slightly altered, while still being grateful for what could’ve been.
It’s an inner turmoil Randall has dealt with his whole life. He even admitted to feeling so guilty about his Ghost Kingdoms because of how great his real family was, so it’s not surprising that he’s tired of people telling him how he should feel about it.
Randall also apologized for always making Kevin feel “less than,” which included an apology for the cheap shot comment of Jack being ashamed of him.
While both of the guys will continue to see things through their own lenses, they’ve at least dipped their toes into each other’s perspectives for a moment.
With everything laid out on the table, a once-fractured brotherly bond is starting to rebuild.
There was nothing groundbreaking about the episode, but the breakthrough for Kevin and Randall was nice to see.
They’re finally starting to hold each other accountable for their actions that have spanned decades instead of bottling it up inside and resenting each other.
It takes true love and respect to have conversations this real and raw. Despite their flaws and quibbles, Randall and Kevin have always had each other’s backs, so I’m glad they’re back on track!
Plus, it might be the most honest and transparent conversation Randall has ever had with anyone in the Pearson family! That’s progress.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments below!
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