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This Is Us

This Is Us – Songbird Road: Part One (3×11)

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That was heavy.

Jack Pearson always told everyone his brother died in the war. When it was revealed that Nicky Pearson was actually alive, fans began wondering why Jack lied.

But here’s the thing — Jack didn’t lie. Nicky was dead to Jack… figuratively speaking.

In order for family man Jack to turn his back on his own blood, we guessed that something major had to have happened in Vietnam.

We didn’t find out what transpired between the brothers, or why Jack disowned his brother and ignored all the cards he’d sent until the Big Three took the six-hour road trip to Bradford.

Kevin, Kate and Randall successfully tracked down Nicky, and were surprised to see the 70-year-old still lived in the trailer, which Kevin surmised was the equivalent of living in a “tin can.”

Nicky didn’t seem as surprised to meet the trio, but as we saw in flashbacks, Jack told Nicky about his family when he himself took that same road trip out to see his brother one final time.

As they began to question their uncle trying to find out why their father would have lied to them, we were finally clued into what transpired in Vietnam that lead Jack to make the decisions he did.

Remember the boat explosion that we assumed took Nicky’s life? Well, Nicky caused the boat explosion on accident when he was setting off grenades to “fish” with a local Vietnamese boy.

After a bit of a tussle, the grenade fell into the boat and because of a language barrier, the boy didn’t know to jump off the boat. He died, and Nicky’s world came crashing down.

It’s unlike Jack to turn his back on family, but in this situation, it’s understandable as he assumed Nicky was so high, he was a lost cause.

There’s only so much a person can take and try to do for a loved one before it becomes unbearable. Jack tried to help, but at the end of the day, Nicky didn’t want to help himself.

The episode unraveled at a slower pace than usual, but it was this slow pace that allowed us to feel every inch of emotion, regret, heartache, and pain that had been tucked away and carried by two brothers.

They were both haunted by the past, but unlike Nicky, Jack found a way to move forward.

Seeing present-day Nicky find out that his brother died in 1998 really broke my heart. Superman wasn’t invincible.

Finding out about the death really took a toll on Nicky because he never got the chance to tell his brother what really happened in Vietnam. He’s been living with the regret of taking a life and upsetting his brother his whole life.

The ending, though upsetting, wasn’t the in the slightest surprising considering how adamant Nicky was about having the Big Three leave after finding out the cause of Jack’s death.

It was hard watching Nicky, a man who let his vices control his life, who sat there and chain smoked, live out his days while a noble man like Jack perished in a fire.

I love when the writers somehow always connect the past to the present, and in this case, Jack’s advice to Kevin right before he left for his “work trip” resonated at this very moment.

Jack encouraged Kevin not to repeat his father’s mistakes, so when he was met with the choice of heading home or going back to Bradford, he chose to be there for his uncle.

That moment when he turned left instead of right sent shivers down my spine.

And it’s a good thing because if it wasn’t for the Big Three, Nicky probably would have ended his life living in that guilt and loneliness.

Now, he’s getting a second chance to meet the light that filled Jack Pearson’s life.

Miguel summed it up perfectly — Jack compartmentalized by pushing aside all the terrible things he’d encountered so that the darkness wouldn’t snuff out the light.

The only infuriating thing about this episode is that Rebecca somehow thinks less of Jack now that the truth came out.

She’s punishing herself for not inquiring more about his past and wondering why Jack lied, as if this one lie, although major, erases all the good times they had.

Despite everything, Jack was still the best husband and the best father. He wasn’t perfect, and that’s something the director and the writers have stressed over and over again.

We, the audience, put Jack up on a pedestal; I get it, he’s pretty fricking great, but he’s still human. He was flawed, he was complicated, and he was in denial.

But most importantly, he thought he was doing the best thing for his family.

Was snubbing his brother the right thing to do? At the time, he probably thought it was.

What did you think? Is Nicky the next William? Will the find a place for him in the Pearson family? Will Rebecca get the answers about her husband she’s desperately seeking?

Nicky is the only one who can tell Rebecca exactly what her husband witness during the war. She’s ready for the truth, even if Jack isn’t around to tell it to her.

Let us know how you felt about this installment of This Is Us in the comments below!

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This Is Us

This Is Us – Her (3×18)

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This Is US Her Season 3 finale review

Rebecca’s the engine that keeps the family running and losing her is going to be a total loss.

But it was bound to happen right?

It’s the natural order of things.

The episode finally revealed the identity of the ‘her’ everyone was referring to in the future, and though I expected it to be a sickly Rebecca based on how heavy the moment was for Randall, Tess and Toby, it was still heartbreaking to watch.

I’ll tackle the hardest moment of the episode first to get it out of the way mainly so I can finally stop balling my eyes out.

Everyone gathered at Kevin’s HUGE house to seemingly say their goodbye’s to Rebecca.

The scene with a young Randall walking through the hospital halls to visit his mother who was in a car accident mirrored him in the future walking to see his bed-ridden and very old mother possibly on her death bed.

She appears to be senile as Randall reminds his mother who he is.

The surprising part is that the ‘he’ Randall inquires about isn’t Miguel, it’s Nicky Pearson, Jack’s mystery and presumed dead brother.

Does this mean Miguel has already passed?

Has Nicky developed a close bond with the family since their original meeting?

It was obvious that the emotional bulk of this episode was going to surround Rebecca as both the past and the present storylines dealt with how much the Pearson kids and later adults loved and needed her.

At some point, we were going to have to address that she wouldn’t live forever despite being super mom, right?

However, I don’t think I’m ready to bury another Pearson just yet. I’m still not over Jack’s death.

The brief future scenes answered some other lingering questions.

In the present, Kevin and Zoe realized they couldn’t get past the issue of having children. Kevin chose Zoe with the hope that like his mother, she’d change her mind about having kids.

Zoe eventually realized it and the two broke up when she made it clear, again, that she will never change her stance on this.

One thing that didn’t sit well with me was how blatantly transparent Kevin and Zoe’s babysitting scenes were to further their own children storyline.

Obviously, Kevin would be a great dad. He grew up with one of the greatest, and he’s been through enough to give Tess sound advice about finding herself despite never going through what she was going through.

But simply because they were doing well with his brother’s kids doesn’t negate Zoe’s feelings or beliefs about kids.

It irritated me that Kevin even thought they would. He clearly didn’t take Zoe seriously, and I’m glad she stood her ground.

Breakups always suck, and this one stung because they were a genuinely good couple, but it was necessary for both of them to grow.

The flash-forward revealed that Zoe was right; Kevin had a son, though the mother remains a mystery. Do you think it could be Sophie? That would be something, wouldn’t it?

Oh, and did I mention Kevin has a ginormous house?

Beth and Randall finally got a chance to breathe after all the marital woes they’ve been experiencing as of late concerning their passions.

Randall was reminded about how lucky he’s been to win the lotto — adoption and Beth — with a very compelling speech from Deja.

She’s learned a thing or two from Randall!

Her personal account of living with terrible parents was truly heartbreaking. It’s easy to forget how much Deja has gone through now that he foster home problems aren’t at the forefront and she’s accustomed to living with the Pearson’s, but it’s sweet that she still knows where she came from and appreciates where she’s at.

Meanwhile, Beth realized that while her dream is to teach dance, she’s not doing it the way she wants by working for herself.

Both of them were willing to compromise, with Randall even assuring Beth he’d resign because his dreams were unrealistic.

But, alas, Beth had a better plan and one viewers have been suggesting all along: they’d move to Philadelphia and she’d open up her own dance studio.

When Beth mentioned the dance studio, I breathed a sigh of relief because I knew that was a good sign for their future.

In the future flash-forwards, we knew Beth had her own place, but we also thought it meant she and Randall had divorced.

Similarly, when future Randall said ‘hey baby’ to Beth, I burst out crying. They survived everything thrown at them and came out stronger!

Though I really did think the lavish house was going to be there’s!

One couple that’s not doing so well is Kate and Toby.

In the present, the two are doing just fine as they wait to take a premie Jack from the hospital.

He’s learning to breathe on his own but needs a little nudge in the right direction from time to time.

Understandably, it’s a very tense time for Kate as she worries about her child surviving and becoming a good parent, but her behavior towards Rebecca, per usual, was annoying.

Kate’s little fit about her mother overstepping drove me to yell at the TV. Why is she always so ungrateful?

Nerves are nerves, but Rebecca took charge, took notes, and saved baby Jack’s life. Not to mention she was just trying to be there for Kate during this tough time.

Kate eventually realized the error of her ways and apologized for overreacting in advance, which was cute.

I know it’s her insecurities getting the best of her, but Rebecca doesn’t deserve any of it. I’m over how she continuously acts terribly towards her own mother.

Rebecca is an angel for being so cool, calm and collected all the time.

Seeing her acknowledge that living up to her mother and that effortless Rebecca-magic was going to be hard was probably the sweetest moment we’ve ever seen between the two.

Rebecca is an angel for being so cool, calm and collected all the time.

In the future, Kate and Toby aren’t together, which is explains why he was hesitant on coming to the Pearson gathering and said ‘she’ wouldn’t want him there.

Marriages are tough and go through many different phases so there could be a plethora of reasons that lead to their divorce.

We’ll have to tune in to This Is Us Season 4 to find out.

Kate and Jack, who isn’t a baby anymore, were on their way to Kevin’s house. It’s a silver lining that at least their miracle baby survived!

We’ll get more involved with this future storyline as next season progresses, but I have to say, I can’t wait to see what older Kate and Kevin look like.

They truly nailed Beth and Randall, not to mention the spot-on casting for older Tess!

Overall, This Is Us Season 3 had it’s better and worse moments.

The delivery of timelines and mysteries has begun feeling slightly manipulative. Maybe it’s always been this way and we were just too impressed with Jack’s charm to notice, but this episode, in particular, showed exactly how contrived the storylines have become.

It wouldn’t even be possible to predict anything in this series because memories are created simply to align with the story the writers are trying to tell in the present and future.

Still, there’s an emotional depth with this finale that the series hasn’t had since Jack’s passing.

Rebecca has had a spark, spunk and light about her that has carried this show during the good times and the bad, and also gifted us with these incredible humans.

Saying goodbye to her probably won’t happen immediately when the series picks back up, but it’s unavoidable.

What did you think of the This Is Us Season 3 finale?

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This Is Us

This Is Us – R&B (3×17)

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This Is Us R&B review

Beth and Randall’s fight on “R&B” was long overdue. The tension bubbling right on the surface came to a major head, and it’s unclear if there’s a way to bounce back from this.

In my heart, in my ‘Beth and Randall are forever’ hearts, I believe this fight is normal, healthy even, and that they will bounce back stronger than ever.

Much like Randall, I’m also a woman with anxiety and realize that too much has been said, lines have been crossed, that may make this a definite turning point and irreversible.

My mind keeps going back to that flash-forward in This Is Us Season 2 in which we saw future Beth and Randall on bad terms. It wasn’t clear if they were divorced, but their relationship didn’t evoke the same passion and happiness as the earlier days.

This Is Us has crafted two of TV’s most perfect couples in Jack and Rebecca and Beth and Randall.

We idolize them because they’ve figured out this whole marriage thing and make it seem effortless.

But they’ve also peeled back the layers to reveal that no marriage is perfect.

Marriage is fickle; it’s a teeter-totter where one person is always slightly above the other. One person is always giving more while the other one is giving up more.

And when that teeter-totter doesn’t ever find balance, things start to crumble.

The explosive episode of This Is Us took us on a journey through Beth and Randall’s life together right down to their first date.

As expected, Randall planned the perfect date at a nice fancy restaurant with a nice suit and tie, but Beth wasn’t impressed.

I was a little thrown by how much attitude Beth was serving Randall who was a perfect gentleman and clearly smitten with her.

Looking back at their whole relationship, it was just Beth’s skepticism which has carried throughout her whole life.

She didn’t want to become her husband’s shadow, she didn’t want to get lost in his orbit, or become less than, and that’s understandable.

But then, that’s exactly what happened. At least, according to her.

As their fight wages on and surprisingly doesn’t wake any of their children — how soundproof are their walls? — Beth has an epiphany that she’s always been the one bending over backward by giving up her job to raise the kids, working overtime when he quit his job and embracing his wild dreams as her own.

Never has it been about her.

And on some level, I can see it. Randall is a lot to handle and he does consume you.

But, she also knew that going in.

Randall doesn’t see any of the flags Beth does because he’s always tried to be the best person he could be to his queen.

He thought he loved her enough to give her the love, life and respect he thought she deserved.

I’ll agree that Randall made some pretty rash decisions in his heyday, but I don’t think he ever compromised Beth or asked her to give up a dream to achieve it.

My issue with this episode was that it felt like they were trying to insert moments of Beth losing herself during flashbacks that we’ve been present for and never witnessed this was a problem.

Did we ship Beth and Randall so hard that we were ignorant to what was happening or was it never made clear that Beth bent over for Randall so much that she’d eventually crack? It seemed forced simply for the sake of the storyline.

There’s no right or wrong solution here because well, they’ve both done what they thought was best.

Randall may have overstepped on This Is Us Season 3 Episode 16 after leaving Beth a rather belittling voicemail when he thought she didn’t have his back so it was fair that Beth wanted her issues to be heard first.

But eventually, Beth overstepped by calling out Randall’s panic attacks, which was a low blow and sent him back all the way to Philly.

Randall has generally been cool, calm and collected, so for him to exit because he couldn’t be around Beth was really telling.

Who knows what will happen between these two now that they’ve finally talked it out honestly, something Randall believed they’d been doing throughout most of their relationship.

Is it Randall’s fault that Beth bottled up and repressed all these emotions? Maybe if she’d been more honest about what she wanted instead of trying to appease Randall they wouldn’t be in this mess.

Should Randall have assumed Beth would always be his ride or die? Maybe he should have asked her if she’s genuinely happy in her life or seen some of the warning signs like when she secretly booked a hotel to get away for 24-hours?

The episode had the potential for being really depressing giving the explosive nature but the sweet moments held it all together.

Susan Kelechi Watson and Sterling K. Brown delivered powerful performances that, in true This Is Us fashion, made us cry and laugh at the same time. Even the younger versions of themselves did a good job.

Seeing Beth and Randall’s first date, their proposal, their wedding day, and how tired they were after having their first baby not only strengthened them in my eyes but proved that they are just like any other normal couple with ups and downs, good moments and bad ones.

Much like Jack and Rebecca, Beth and Randall’s relationship has balance romance with realism.

In fact, Randall is a lot like Jack. Their fight even reminded Randall of the only true fight Jack and Rebecca had which coincidentally was about Rebecca feeling like she’d lost a part of herself and that she couldn’t have a career.

Maybe Rebecca and Beth have to sit down and have another heart-to-heart. Rebecca has always admired Beth and seeing her praise her for not being a “wallflower” only contributed to Beth being “the one” for Randall.

So yes, the fight was bad. Things got ugly and people’s feelings were hurt.

But if you look at their vows and their whole journey together, you’ll see a couple who is better together despite any hiccups. They are a couple who has always figured it out. When they look at each other they see an eternity together, and they promised to work things out no matter what came their way.

Careers come and go but family and first loves, man, those are forever. Sacrifices will need to be made, but I believe they have what it takes.

I hope they may good on those vows because like I said, if Beth and Randall can’t make this thing called marriage work, who the hell can?

Other Thoughts

  • What is that thing on Kevin’s face? Get it off!
  • College Randall with his polo and khaki’s is everything.
  • Seeing William again was a pleasant surprise!

 

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This Is Us

This Is Us – Don’t Take My Sunshine Away (3×16)

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This Is Us Don't Take My Sunshine Away

‘Don’t Take My Sunshine Away’ examines the Pearson’s happily ever after’s.

It’s normal for a mother to wonder if her children would one day grow up and be okay, but not all happy endings are necessarily happy.

Life is a struggle right now for the Pearson clan, and it seems things may only get worse for Beth and Randall before they get better. If they even get better.

A season of frustrations and subtle jabs between the once happy couple has built up to this very moment and it’s all fueled by a pretty massive misstep on Randall’s part.

Okay, it wasn’t just a misstep, Randall acted like a complete asshole while Beth, the strongest woman on the show, held it together for the sake of painting the perfect picture for the Councilman.

Real women don’t air out their problems in public. Beth was composed, almost too composed, and dutifully played the role of supporting wife, which made it evident that tensions were going to come to a head the moment they left the Councilman’s house.

Beth let him have it for belittling her and for once, it was nice to see Randall be held accountable. Much like Kevin, Randall always gets away with everything because he’s so inherently good. But that also means when he does mess up, it’s that much more noticeable.

He couldn’t just weasel his way out of this because what he’d said was “in the heat of the moment.”

However, neither Randall or Beth is right in their arguments.

Both of them want their dreams realized but neither of them wants to make the sacrifices for each other.

Almost immediately into his first day on the job, it dawned on Randall that he was in way over his head with his new position.

This office isn’t made for someone who has a family and needs to be home in time for dinner.

It’ll be interesting to see how this storyline plays out since the alternative to working together and as a team despite feeling the pressures is that they call it quits.

Juggling three daughters and careers without a significant other’s support seems more daunting than their current reality.

It’s also seriously upsetting because we’re talking about a couple who could always figure everything out. They were each other’s rocks. Are we really going to flush all that down the drain?

Also at a crossroads? Kevin.

He’s blindsided by Zoe’s admission that she doesn’t want to have children and is forced to make a major decision about their future together while also dealing with AA meetings and couples therapy.

Given Kevin’s recent struggle, dropping something so serious and life-altering on him doesn’t seem like the best course of action.

But surprisingly, Kevin deals with it pretty well.

He finds a sounding board in Sophie, his ex and once assumed ‘true love,’ who helps coax him into making the necessary decision: he chooses a life with Zoe over possibly having children one day.

While Kevin makes plans for his future, he also makes amends with his ex by sending her tickets to Billy Joel as a gift for her recent engagement.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think This Is Us wrapped up a storyline with a little bow on it, but the fact that they decided to bring back Sophie solely to guide Kevin and inform us of her engagement makes me a bit skeptical.

There has to be a more complicated reasoning for their run-in, right?

Will Sophie realize she wants to be with Kevin? Will he want to be with her?

The middle-school dance narrative fell a little flat in my opinion. It didn’t serve much of a purpose other than to give us some needed Jack screentime, some cute moments with Jack and Rebecca, and a cloying moment where Jack talks about what would have happened if they’d both met in middle school.

The other part that stood out to me is how effectively manipulative Kevin was. Encouraging Sophie to participate in a toilet paper prank when she clearly doesn’t want to is so effortless on his part. The point is honed in when Zoe talks about Kevin’s ‘charm’ at getting everything he wants during therapy.

He chose Zoe over children, but there’s a possibility his decision could spiral into a complex story of manipulation. Maybe that’s what he secretly believes will happen because Sophie convinced him that he’ll “get what he wants.”

Zoe is very secure in her decision not to have children, so I hope Kevin would never try to change her mind by using her love for his as leverage.

Much like Sophie, I think Zoe is really good for Kevin, but their relationship could become problematic very quickly.

Jack commends Rebecca on how effortless raising the kids is to her because of her upbringing whereas his childhood was less conventional and thus, parenting has been a bit of a challenge.

This moment directly mirrors what Toby and Kate are going through during their sixth straight day in the NICU with a preemie baby Jack.

Kate’s bonding with her baby despite the circumstances by singing him songs and talking to him, but the same can’t be said for Toby who can’t see past the tubes when he looks at little Jack.

Toby works through his anxiety and fears with another father, Gavin, which is much more effective than unloading his fears onto Kate who is already terrified but remaining strong and brave in the face of adversity.

The realization that Toby and Kate are ‘lucky’ in their situation because other parents will never be able to take their babies home is painful.

Though the storyline is heavy, it’s well-executed and shines a light on storylines that are important yet rarely get portrayed on television. The inability bond with a child is familiar to many parents regardless if their children were born weeks in advance or right on time.

Other Thoughts

  • Poor Rebecca and Jack. They couldn’t even get a little naughty in the library without being spotted by their brainiac son.
  • Randall and Beth continuously complain about their overlapping schedules and echo wanting to save money, but then somehow have the ability to fly across the US on a whim and go to lavish dinners on weekdays. Who is watching their children? How can they afford that babysitter?
  • Where were all the other Pearsons? The former episode focused on all of them refusing to leave the waiting room but now, none of them barely mentioned Toby and Kate. Randall and Beth left almost immediately while Rebecca was nowhere to be found.
  • What’s wrong with Beth teaching solely on weekends while Randall brings in the bread during the weekdays? And why can’t she find a freelance gig when the girls are at school?

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