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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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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 – Kevin and Randall Tackle the Ugly Stuff (5×13)

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This Is Us Brotherly Love Review Season 5 Episode 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. 

This Is Us Brotherly Love Review Season 5 Episode 13

THIS IS US — “Brotherly Love” Episode 513 — Pictured in this screengrab: (l-r) Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Justin Hartley as Kevin — (Photo by: NBC)

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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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Manny Put a Ring On It (5×12)

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This Is Us Both Things Can Be True Review Season 5 Episode 12

There were plenty of great heart-to-heart’s on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 12.

The series brilliantly touches on all those feelings and emotions buried deep within us while simultaneously having everything come full circle in all the various timelines.

An episode where character and plot development is achieved solely through words is difficult, but “Both Things Can Be True” did a magnificent job. There weren’t any jaw-dropping moments or cliffhangers — everything was fueled by a basic human experience.

As Kevin and Madison were planning their wedding in the present-day timeline, Jack was planning on proposing to Rebecca in the past.

 Miguel was involved in the planning of both events as Jack’s best friend and currently, Kevin’s step-dad aka Rebecca’s husband. 

While we’ve all accepted Miguel’s role in the Pearsons’ life, it wasn’t an easy pill for Nicky to swallow. As they teamed up for rehearsal dinner planning, Nicky made a few tasteless and backhanded comments towards Miguel that were just plain ugly. 

Now, we know Nicky’s a tough cookie and can be quite cynical, but it was still uncalled for and awkward. Most importantly, Miguel didn’t deserve it. He’s been treated like the show’s villain for far too long when he’s only ever sacrificed everything for this family!

Eventually, Miguel stood up for himself and explained that the only person that he owes an explanation is the one man he can’t give it to. And while we won’t ever know what Jack would have said about Miguel marrying Rebecca, I think it’s safe to say that he would’ve been grateful that someone stepped in to take care of his wife and kids upon his death.

Miguel was there to help Rebecca through her grief and now, he’s there as she deals with new struggles surrounding the early stages of Alzheimer’s. In a way, he’s kept Jack alive for Rebecca, and, in turn, Rebecca has kept Jack alive for Miguel.

Miguel has been there through everything as we saw him help Jack plan the perfect proposal for Rebecca. The same energy he had towards Nicky he also had towards Rebecca’s father in the past, who finally returned Jack’s calls and told him he’d “tolerate” the union. 

We all need a friend like Miguel, who vouched for Jack’s character and made sure Rebecca’s dad knew that she was lucky to find a guy like Jack Pearson. Jack puts all the other men to shame, so tell ’em, Miguel. 

Nicky’s actions were a result of his jealousy as he felt that Miguel replaced him in Jack’s life, but Miguel always knew that Jack wanted his brother around for the big day. While that never happened, it’s heartwarming that they are able to be there for Jack’s son. 

Another unexpected heart-to-heart happened between Toby and Madison. Toby may be struggling with this whole “stay-at-home” dad thing, but I’m digging his new role, especially if it means we get more screentime bonding between these two. 

Toby and Madison were both bottling up things from their partners. Madison didn’t want to get married at some luxurious venue that Kevin and his publicist dreamt up, while Toby wasn’t loving staying home with the kids and not having a full-time job. 

Madison came around and told Kevin the truth, and I love how receptive he was to her concerns. Kevin really just wants to make Madison happy, and if that means they get married at a garden that reminds her of her trip to Japan, so be it. 

In fact, seeing all of Kevin’s exes see the big engagement news in the tabloids and smile shows that he’s made a positive impact on all of them despite making a few missteps here and there. You can’t help but be happy that Kevin found “the one” and settled down!

Toby, on the other hand, didn’t confront his feelings head-on or tell Kate the truth likely because he saw how happy she was after her first day helping blind children discover their love of music. It says a lot about Toby as he’s willing to put his happiness on hold for Kate, but I hope it doesn’t lead to any resentment. 

Both of them deserve to pursue their dreams, and he should be able to talk to her about it without thinking he’s going to strip her of her happiness. 

This Is Us Both Things Can Be True Review Season 5 Episode 12

THIS IS US — “Both Things Can Be True” Episode 512 — Pictured in this screengrab: Eris Baker as Tess — (Photo by: NBC)

However, it’s nice to see Kate finally have something for herself. We’ve seen her struggle with finding a fulfilling career path for so long, so this is a welcome change of pace. 

Her anxieties about leaving behind two young children and her husband were also warranted and showcase the struggle many working moms encounter upon returning to the workforce.

Philip was difficult to deal with and didn’t show any grace towards Kate’s situation, which is also all too common in the workplace, but in a way, I’m glad that Kate was held to a higher standard and proved that she was the right fit for the job despite all of her internal battles. 

Once Philip finally accepts that Kate is his new co-worker and good at her job, I think they’ll get along fairly well! 

It’s just as important to show Kate’s struggle of going back to work as it is to show Toby’s struggle of staying at home. Stay-at-home dads and working moms are much more commonplace these days, and the feelings they have are valid. 

Randall attended a transracial therapy group, and though he didn’t share his story, he connected with other people’s experiences. 

He seemed to particularly connect with the woman who revealed that she wished that she was never adopted, and that pains me. 

With those feelings surfacing for Randall, I’m concerned about his big talk with Kevin that’s supposed to clear the air between them. 

It’s one thing for Randall to share his experiences about being adopted into a white family and sharing his experiences of finding his birth parents, but I don’t think Kevin would take it lightly if he heard that Randall wished he was never a Pearson in the first place. 

I truly hope it doesn’t take that route because things may get messy.

However, it’s also illuminating to explore all emotions and feelings adopted children have faced and the guilt they’ve felt for wanting to know where they come from without hurting those who have been there for them.

It’s a tricky line to walk, but again, it’s important that these stories get told! The series has done an incredible job with Randall’s adoption storyline as it’s so layered and filled with opportunities to dig deeper and explore the character. 

And lastly, Beth was trying her best to be there and accepting of Tess when she invited Alex over.

Using the proper pronouns was the least of her worries, though. 

Beth didn’t realize just how affected she was by Tess’s relationship until she was called out on it. 

It wasn’t right of Tess to call her mom a psycho, so I’m glad Beth nipped that behavior immediately, but she also realized that she needed to adjust to the new reality instead of the one she has envisioned for her daughter. 

It’s an important step for both of them, and though Tess may have felt hurt and alienated, Beth is doing her best to be there for her and support her in every way that she can.

We know Beth’s heart, and we know that it had nothing to do with Tess.

But the open-door policy should apply just as much to Tess and Alex as it does to Deja and Malik. It’s only fair. 

Beth’s exploration of her subconscious feelings also led to an important conversation with her own mother. 

Their situation may be different, but Beth is realizing that her mother also struggled with letting go and adjusting to her daughter’s chosen lifestyle, which is what caused a rift between them in the first place. 

It’s nice to see these mothers and daughters be vulnerable and honest as they make up for lost time and right the wrongs of the past. 

Being a mom is hard, and you don’t realize just how difficult the task is until you become a mother yourself. 

What did you think of the episode?

What was your favorite moment? Let us know in the comments below!


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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Family Dinners (5×10)

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This Is Us Review - I've Got This Season 5 Episode 10

Dinner is never really just dinner, is it?

When you’re not arguing about politics, you’re getting into it about money woes and feeling judged by your mother, who has overstayed her welcome.

Three dinners took place during the course of This Is Us Season 5 Episode 10, and none of them went off without a hitch. 

In the past, Jack attended a dinner with Miguel and the big wigs at his firm in hopes of getting a promotion to support his family of three newborns. Unfortunately, the evening didn’t go as planned and instead of being treated to a meal and drinks, he ended up having to pay the $230 tab after throwing his car down in a credit card roulette. 

Look, $230 nowadays is a lot for one person with expenses to put down, but in those days, it was a fortune. 

My advice for next time? Splitsies four ways and everyone pays for what they ordered! 

While the Pearson family didn’t come from money, the fact that the children never noticed or never felt the stress of not having enough money just speaks to how great Rebecca and Jack were as parents.

And it informed Kate and Kevin’s experiences in the present-day as the former found her family struggling financially after Toby was laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I love that This Is Us is showcasing the struggles plenty of Americans are going through right now. 

Not everyone is as fortunate as Kevin to get paid loads of money for a gig, but it also doesn’t mean that they are less-than. Kevin’s intentions were pure, I know. He genuinely wanted to be there for his family and help his brother out during a tough time, but it’s understandable that it would make Toby feel inadequate and like he can’t take care of his family. 

Toby, much like so many others who are now unemployed, lost his job and has been stuck in the vicious cycle of remote and impersonal interviews. Getting a job nowadays is difficult, and it’s absolutely not a reflection of the person or their skill; it’s just a reality. 

He’ll land on his feet eventually, but it’s great for a show to tackle the very real situation that’s affecting so many families. 

While Toby didn’t want things to fall onto Kate, I think it’s great that she’s found a job that she wants to pursue. Working mothers are the backbone of America, and there’s no shame in having her be the breadwinner for a bit while he gets back on his feet. 

This Is Us Review - I've Got This Season 5 Episode 10

THIS IS US — “I’ve Got This” Episode 510 — Pictured in this screengrab: (l-r) Lyric Ross as Deja, Asante Blackk as Malik, Faithe Herman as Annie, Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth, Eris Baker as Tess, Phylicia Rashad as Carol, Sterling K. Brown as Randall — (Photo by: NBC)

Toby has always supported Kate, and it’s awesome that she wants to return the favor. 

Plus, the job as a teaching assistant at Jack’s music school seems like the perfect fit for Kate. She’s always wanted to find something that she could call her own, and it looks like things are finally falling into place. 

You know what they say — when one door closes, another opens, even if it might not be exactly what Toby envisioned.

Kevin seems to be thriving in his dad role, but according to the last few episodes, he kind of burned a few bridges with the directors of his latest film. 

Is this going to take a toll on his career? He may have all the funds to have a nanny and dream up a Malibu compound now, but if he’s leaving acting behind, what does that truly mean for the future?

Nicky’s back… and the fact that he braved his first flight to come and visit Kevin and his children is just the sweetest thing. 

Kevin’s always been a family man, and it’s awesome that he’ll be able to share his new bundles of joy with the man that’s the closest connection to his dad! 

As for Randall and Beth’s dinner, well, their house is chaotic in the best possible way. 

Beth thought her mom was judging her based on how her kids behaved, but it was actually Beth who was casting the judgment on herself. 

Her mother was just happy to be a part of the action. 

Sometimes, as children, we always think we’re not living up to our mother’s expectations, but our mothers just want to spend some quality time with the family. 

When Beth realized that her mother decided to extend her stay because she was lonely at home, she invited her to stay with them indefinitely. 

For audiences, it’s a plus because Phylicia Rashad is a blessing and a half. But Beth probably should’ve run it by Randall first. 

Though, she did have a fair point that she’s always accomodating when it comes to his family. She can have this moment!

Deja and Randall’s bond is adorable. They’ve been through the highs and lows together, but it’s sweet to see her acknowledge that Randall is the only person who has ever been #TeamDeja from the beginning.

I’m glad she didn’t hold a grudge against him for helping Malik though because Malik realized the same thing Deja did — Randall is a stand-up guy who gives great advice. 

He’s become a father figure to them both, and his advice carries more weight as he’s someone who grew up without knowing his birth parents. 

At the end of the day, there’s something to be said for allowing your child to get to know their birth mother. However, Malik’s reservations are valid as Jennifer and her family weren’t supportive and didn’t want to be in this child’s life at first. He also has to be careful that allowing her back into his child’s life doesn’t do more harm than good. 

Obviously, everyone deserves a second chance, but not everyone makes the most of that second chance, so I wouldn’t let her fully in just yet. 

I also wonder if it’ll strain Deja and Malik’s relationship moving forward. They’re only 15, so the chances of them making it till the end (or at the very least those flash-forward episodes) are slim, but it’s a sweet sentiment.

The Pearson clan has gotten significantly bigger as everyone embraces their new chapters with their respective families, but Jack and Rebecca’s influence continues as they now tackle the parental roles with the same grace and love. 

What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments below! 


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