Not all family reunions are happy.
In fact, the reunion took a really dark turn for a sensitive Kevin who couldn’t save his uncle from the leaky ceiling and rundown trailer.
By the end of the hour, Kevin had relapsed and it was a heartbreaking moment as Rebecca’s words “I’m so proud of you Kevin” echoed eerily in the background.
This Is Us cannot let any of the characters be happy, can they?
This season, Kevin has been the strongest he’s ever been, but This Is Us paints a picture of the bleak reality that comes with alcoholism.
Kevin is impulsive and he thrust himself into helping his uncle. But the reality of seeing his uncle drinking, contemplating suicide and being unable to connect with the Pearson clan because it was ‘too hard’ took a toll on him emotionally.
He expected things to go smoother than they did, and that’s probably because of how successful Randall has been with finding and helping people.
While This Is Us isn’t a stranger to family reunions, Nicky’s meeting with the family was vastly different from William’s. William embraced meeting his estranged son and wanted to make amends with the remainder of his time on earth.
Meanwhile, Nicky wasn’t comfortable with being pulled from his trailer nor did he really embrace the family-aspect.
As he put it, he used to be a person but that was so long ago, he doesn’t know if he can really go back to it.
He’s never going to be the uncle the Pearsons, specifically Kevin need, but he may just be the guy Kevin needs.
Kevin had good intentions, but at the end of the day, Nicky was a man stuck in his ways and used to an isolated way of life.
There’s nothing anyone could have done to change it.
However, I don’t think This Is Us writers would introduce the story if more wasn’t going to come of it.
Kevin’s clearly struggling with his addiction and the only person who knows what that’s like aside from his father is Nicky.
Something tells me we haven’t even gotten to the most beautiful part of the storyline where Nicky finds a new purpose in helping his family and making amends with his brother through them.
He’s going to have to step up and step out of his comfort zone to be there for Kevin.
I personally wasn’t the biggest fan of the Nicky storyline so I’m hoping more comes of it.
When Rebecca finally met Nicky, it felt like time had just stopped.
There was something so poetic about her coming out simply to get to know her husband’s brother, a man she didn’t even know still existed.
But seeing her and Kevin’s journey now compared to their time spent together right after Jack’s meeting with Nicky in 1992 is what made the episode so special.
I love that the series doesn’t shy away from Jack’s flaws.
Randall may have remembered how upset and out-of-sorts Jack was that day in the 90s, but Kate only remembered the sequin fight and Pearson pizza.
Kate has always been the one who put her father on a pedestal but realizing that he wasn’t always on top of his game but still for them is important for her going forward.
Randall is already a great parent, but Kate now has all the tools to be one. I mean, she’s already planning movie nights in the yard as she knows those “good moments” are what kids will remember one day.
The series showcases just how complex and fragile being a parent is. Jack was a great parent because he was himself, he allowed himself to feel his pain, yet he still found a way to be there for his children.
And we see that Kevin has always put in the effort for things he was passionate about. He did research about his baseball player’s favorite spots the same way he did about the vet centers for Nicky.
As for Rebecca, I truly think she came out to meet Nicky because she does feel guilty for not trying more. Obviously, she knew something was off with Jack, as did Randall but we won’t blame him because he was only 11.
Why didn’t Rebecca try to get more out of Jack? Was she scared to push? Was she scared of what she might find out?
With Nicky’s storyline wrapped, what comes next for the Big Three?
Randall is going to be taking office soon, however, Beth is out of town to take care of her mother. Will we finally get a glimpse of her next career choice and possibly a fast forward to her relationship with Randall?
Kate is expecting a baby boy and because of Jack and Rebecca’s parenting, she knows exactly how she wants to raise him.
And Kevin, well, he has yet another long road ahead of him. Hopefully, this doesn’t take away the only good thing in his life, Zoey.
Alright, This Is Us cravers, share your thoughts with us below!
This Is Us – Flip a Coin (4×04)
This Is Us – Unhinged (4×03)
There are always hidden lessons tucked away in every This Is Us episode.
Lessons are taught as past, present, and sometimes future experiences that mirror each other.
Kevin, Randall, and Kate are all moving into new phases of their adult lives.
Randall’s making a name for himself as the “unhinged” councilman in Philadelphia after announcing an open door policy for all his constituents.
Randall: He’s a man of the people and his policy reflects that. Unlike most politicians, Randall isn’t in this as a stepping stone to some greater title that gives him more power. His purpose is to evoke change, which is something Berenice, his toxic and moody assistant, didn’t fully grasp. Berenice surely meant well, and she had the experience to offer up plenty of useful insight into Randall’s tenure, but it wasn’t enough to keep her around.
Berenice criticized Randall for not being a typical politician as if that’s something someone should strive to become.
Randall may be taking an atypical approach, but he’s doing exactly what he’s been voted into office for — to help the people that elected him.
Yes, he’ll need the help of his other councilman to do his job, but he can’t help pass anything if he doesn’t know what the real-life, everyday problems are. Too many politicians nowadays don’t live the life regular people do, they don’t experience the problems, they don’t understand where they’re coming from. Randall is taking a hammer to all of that, and Berenice wasn’t going to bring him down.
She overstepped by suggesting that he fire Jae-Won and keep him strictly as a “friend.” Jae-Won shared the same passion for the work as Randall does. He believes in change, and he believes it’s time to change how they go about ushering in change.
He’s been there since day one, and helped Randall win the election — he deserves to be there.
Randall’s present-day confidence and ability to do what he felt was right juxtaposed his first day of school experiences where he had a panic attack for getting in trouble for being out of dress code.
He’s grown immensely from the boy that followed the rules to a man who makes his own and speaks out against injustice.
Kevin – Kevin’s on a journey to find himself, and it seems he’s been on this same journey since he was in middle school.
Kevin’s storylines are always filled with so much heart and that’s because he’s an emotionally vulnerable human. His ego always preceded him, but when you get to know him, you see that he’s always putting everyone he cares about ahead of himself.
When he was in middle school, he sacrificed his “me day” to help Randall deal with a panic attack despite not fully understanding what was happening to Randall. When he chucked it up to being a phase in “puberty,” I muttered: “I wish.”
In the present, Kevin was extending the same care towards Nicky, who was visibly struggling with addiction.
Kevin is the most underrated character and the one who pulls from Jack’s caring nature.
He never gives up on the people he cares about. Nicky resisted the help, but Kevin never wavered; he stuck around.
It’s amazing that This Is Us can bring me to tears with a summarized montage of Nicky’s up-and-down battle with addiction. It allowed us to explore Kevin’s more serious side as he put his foot down and told Nicky how all of this would go down. And, as most viewers have been anticipating, it led Kevin to meet Cassidy, his potential love interest.
Nicky threw the chair because he was driven to drink after losing the only therapist he felt comfortable opening up to.
As Kevin supported Nicky in the aftermath, he befriended Cassidy’s kid in the waiting room.
Although sparks weren’t flying between Kevin and Cassidy during their first meeting, they did bump into each other again at an AA meeting.
Cassidy and Nicky couldn’t keep it together as Kevin was pouring his soul out and it led to a laugh attack from all three.
Sometimes, laughter is the best medicine.
Helping Nicky may have just led Kevin to his next chapter and a new purpose.
Kate – Kate struggled with her weight again in both the present-day and the flashbacks. Though she’s much more confident than the Katie girl who did one work out video with her mother in the 80s and felt deterred after she saw she wasn’t losing weight, the reality of her weight still well, weighed heavy on her.
It was only amplified when she realized how slim and hunky Toby’s been looking. That paired with his client meeting in which she had to admit she couldn’t fit into a booth and needed a table instead really triggered her.
Kate’s anger is expected as she’s always put so much pressure on herself to be thin and gets upset when it comes easily or naturally to others. But the anger wasn’t warranted, which is why it’s good she got over it quickly.
Toby didn’t mean to hurt her by taking care of himself and his health — his motives for doing it for his child were inspiring — he just didn’t want her to feel bad about not doing it also.
No one should ever be blamed for doing what’s best for them, even if it isn’t what others believe you should be doing.
Kate apologized and acknowledge how great his healthy lifestyle was, but there’s definitely going to be some animosity going forward. This isn’t the end yet. Could this be why Kate and Toby aren’t together anymore in the future?
Kate’s neighbor, Gregory, was unlikeable at first, but it teaches an important lesson about not judging people because you never know what they’re going through.
His callous way of requesting that Toby didn’t block the driveway seemed insensitive and uptight. It was obvious the storage unit was taking up too much space, and there was obviously a better way to go about getting his point across.
But later, we learned that Gregory was recovering from a stroke (guest star Psych’s Timothy O’Toole was also a stroke survivor) and walking a mile was a personal goal, which was being hindered by the car in the driveway.
Knowing that changed our whole outlook on Gregory – he went’ from being the “asshole neighbor” to the funny and slightly cynical one.
There’s potential within this new friendship, and maybe Gregory will be the one to push Kate in a way she’s never been able to push herself.
There’s an emphasis on health here from both Toby and Gregory that I don’t think Kate will ignore.
The first step is just taking that walk around the block.
First Day of School – The first day of school was the connection between young Kate, Randall and Kevin, and Randall’s girls, Deja, Annie, and Tess.
Both Tess and Randall wanted to make a good impression and found themselves misunderstood.
Tess may have come out to her parents and family members last season, but her storyline will echo what many LGBTQ folks know all too well — coming out never truly ends.
Every time you meet a new person, you’ll have to come out to them, which Tess realized is more difficult than she thought it would be.
Deja was having a situation of her own when Malik informed her that he was the father of a baby girl.
Finding out someone has a child is a lot to process for an adult let alone a teenage girl who isn’t prepared for such responsibilities.
But, Deja is more mature than many other girls her age. She’s gone through difficult times and experiences, which have made her stronger, and that outlook on life is why she’d probably be open to Malik’s situation.
And we’re all secretly hoping she gives Malik a chance because we want to see Randall’s reaction.
Will Beth and Randall handle the news maturely? Or will Randall spiral into another bus incident?
Jack and Miguel – Friendship is the key to life. I mentioned that Kevin is just as caring and nurturing as his father, and this rings true in the flashback to Jack and Miguel. Both men had each other’s backs during a difficult situation. If it wasn’t for Miguel, Jack would have lost his job over an accidental mistake.
Both men are/ were lucky to have each other in their lives. I do wonder if this backstory will have some impact on their friendship going forward. Jack seemed to make the mistake because he wasn’t happy in his line of work. Otherwise, the scene felt like they were just inserting it to give us some quality Jack time. I’m never opposed to that, but it isn’t how This Is Us operates.
The fourth season is delivering storylines that exemplify that character’s strengths, showcase their rawness, and propel the plot forward.
Even though fans were skeptical about how the series would move on, at some point, we have to move on from grieving from Jack’s death.
This new handful of characters allows us to do so while still connecting to inspiring moments with our Pearson clan.
This Is Us Season 4 Premiere – Strangers (4×01)
“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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