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This Is Us

This Is Us – The Club (4×06)

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What did all the storylines have in common on This Is Us Season 4 Episode 6?

Golf and sex.

Yeah, you read that right.

When an episode starts with Kate asking Toby to “promise her they’ll always be hot for each other,” there are valid reasons for concerns especially with break-up rumors constantly circulating around the couple.

The snippiness was a direct result of not making love to each other for precisely 9 months and 23 days. Tobe’s been counting.

Here’s the thing about getting in the mood — you cannot force it.

No matter how much Toby wanted to make love to his wife, a little incident with his much-too-big pants threw him off his game.

And until he confronted Kate about why she asked him to hang onto the pants (was it because she thought he’d gain the weight back or because she wanted him to gain the weight back), he couldn’t get in the mood.

Of course, this led to Kate asking if she was the problem, which Toby was already trying to avoid.

As much as I understand Kate’s insecurities, she’s her own worst enemy. Toby’s weight loss had nothing to do with her body and didn’t somehow translate into disgust for her body all of a sudden.

They eventually found their groove just before the grandparents brought baby Jack home.

There wasn’t any mention of the new mystery of This Is Us surrounding a possible abusive relationship in Kate’s past.

It’s unclear how they’re going to bring the storyline back up, but know it’s coming eventually.

One of my pet peeves with this show is how they introduce something and then leave us hanging for weeks on end. It’s frustrating.

During the last episode, Milo Ventimiglia got behind the camera in his biggest role yet as a director of the episode.

And despite comments that we may start seeing less of Jack, there was plenty of story development around his character.

Even in the past, Jack’s an intricate character that has layers upon layers to peel back.

The lessons he learned while playing golf with Rebecca’s dad came up while he was teaching Randall to play golf and then again in the present when Randall was wooing the councilman on the turf.

The best twist of the episode was the revelation that Randall was a damn good golf player thanks to his dad.

After listening to his concerns about being a young black man, Jack taught young Randall to play so that he’d always be able to find himself in any situation.

And Randall utilized that to his advantage by pretending not to know how to play so that the councilman would take pity on him, feel responsible for teaching him something, and then agree to talk about his plans for a grocery store.

Honestly, Randall’s too smart for his own good. Jack knew that he was going to become somebody important one day.

Seeing Jack struggle with Randall’s identity is giving us a whole new storyline for the patriarch and deepens his connection with his adoptive son.

While Jack may not see color when looking at Randall, it’s a fact that cannot be overlooked.

Randall’s response telling Jack that he “doesn’t see him” was powerful and may have just changed the course of Randall’s relationship with his parents.

Randall is forcing them to confront his race head-on alongside his teacher, Mr. Lawrence, who Randall has sort of adopted as a role model.

You can’t blame him. Since he was a young boy, Randall wanted to find people who looked like him. He’s always wanted to deepen this part of himself.

All of Jack’s past storylines with Rebecca’s father fill me with anger while simultaneously making me so damn proud of our boy.

Jack was obviously intimidated, which is why he took down all of those G&T’s, but he also had the backbone to fight for himself and for Rebecca.

Jack’s comments about marrying his daughter, having a good job, a nice house, and a yard full of kids were almost prophetic,  but the cherry on top was his redirected question: “do you see yourself there?”

In the modern-day, we’d call that a sick burn.

As we know, the wedding Rebecca’s father had in mind for her wasn’t the wedding she and Jack had at all.

Thank god.

Her father was a pompous ass who pitied Jack but played it off as trying to “help him.”

And then, the moment we’ve been waiting for between Kevin and Cassidy finally happened, and it was a huge turning point in Kevin’s storyline.

Right after having the kids talk, Kevin and Cassidy hooked up adding fuel to the theory that she’s the woman he has a family with in the future when Rebecca is lying on her deathbed.

It would also explain why Nicky is there holding Rebecca’s hand in her final moments.

Nicky played a huge role in Kevin and Cassidy’s meeting, and he’s developed a very important relationship with Kevin.

As much as he wants to deny it, he needs Kevin and enjoys having him just a trailer away.

I’ll also say that I’m so glad Cassidy swung by Kevin’s trailer when she did because having him hook up with Donna would have been a grave mistake.

Everything that Kevin has gone through — trying to make amends with his uncle, meeting Cassidy, dealing with his addiction head-on — has given him purpose and made him a better man.

The advice he dished out to Cassidy about “seeing things in the war” and “being human” was impressive. He’s noticed something in Cassidy that her husband, who was there for her struggles, failed to see.

He’s hands down the best character on the series right now and living up to his full potential.

What did you think of the episode?

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This Is Us

This Is Us Midseason Premiere Review – Rebecca’s Diagnosis Triggers Randall’s Biggest Fears (4×10)

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This Is Us Light and Shadows Review

This Is Us returned after it midseason hiatus and couldn’t wait to throw plenty of curveballs at us.

Rebecca’s diagnosis was the key part of the episode as it brought upon the cliffhanger that puts Randall in a life-or-death situation.

Or does it?

Randall flew out to LA after hunting down a neurologist for his mother.

While his persistence and insistence didn’t sit well with Miguel at first as he told Randall he is perfectly capable of taking care of his wife and that small memory loss happens, by the end, Miguel knew Randall was right and he didn’t want to admit that something was happening to Rebecca.

The test results indicate that Rebecca has a “mild cognitive impairment,” which could either mean she’ll continue to forget this occassionally or it could mean she’ll begin to deteriorate.

We’re all hoping for the former, but given that we saw a glimpse into the future that showed Rebecca’s older, frail body nearing the end, I assume it’s going to progress more rapidly.

Seeing Rebecca accept the news as memories of her and Jack’s first “I love you” exchange brought me to tears.

Hearing “don’t you ever forget it” has never been more somber than at this very moment.

As we watched Rebecca go through simple tests like drawing a clock and repeating phrases, the moment was juxtaposed with young love between Rebecca and Jack.

A young love blossoming into a great love story, one for the ages.

Rebecca’s dad got to Jack during the disastrous golf-outing where he hammered home the point that he was “good enough” for his precious princess, so Jack broke up with Rebecca.

It crushed her, but eventually, she found out it was all her daddy’s doing.

We’ve touched upon Rebecca not having a good relationship with her mother, so it was nice to see her tell her daughter to go after Jack if she really was in love with him.

Jack proved to be the dependable, loving, thoughtful, epic love story that her mother wanted for her with or without the money and status.

Randall was the only one on hand for Rebecca’s tests because Kevin and Kate didn’t even know anything was wrong and that’s how Randall wanted it, which makes me think that it’s the reason why Kevin is not in attendance for the big three’s 40th birthday.

Randall doesn’t think that Kevin and Kate can handle it, but as it turns out, he might not be so equipped either.

He kept it mostly together during the appointment and looked strong for his mother, but once he came home, something happened.

The scene showed him checking in on all three of his girls plus Beth, who were all sound asleep without a worry in mind, but I couldn’t help notice how much time was being dedicated to Randal checking in on his family in the final moments of an episode.

As he walked down the stairs, a feeling of concern grew over me. And then, we saw it. A man standing in his kitchen pointing a knife.

But is this real or is it a figment of Randall’s imagination?

It’s not unbelievable that someone would break into a house in the middle of the night, but I’m inclined to believe that Randall Pearson, of all people, would have an alarm system.

Paired with the teaser for next week which taps into all of Randall’s former anxieties and fears, and I think that Randall is having a hallucination based on stress.

If you recall earlier in the season, Beth encouraged her husband to get therapy but he refused because he claimed hew as “fine” and could handle everything being thrown his way.

In this episode, Randall commented about his job as Councilman and said that he’ll get one thing done and six more pop-ups. That’s enough to stress out even the strongest of people.

And now, add on Rebecca’s condition.

One of the nightmares in the teaser shows Randall panicking that something is going to happen to his mother.

It seems to be one of his biggest fears and now, that fear is coming to life.

Therefore, it could be that Randall is going to be going through something entirely his own as he deals with crippling anxiety and stress.

Randall is the man who makes sure everyone is okay, but who is making sure that he’s okay?

On the other hand, it could be an intruder that requires Randall to protect his family. Since we’ve seen an aged Randall, Beth, and Tess in earlier flash-forward timelines, we know nothing happens to them.

And truthfully, when has This Is Us ever been that straightforward about anything?

They love to mess with us and make us think one thing is happening and then surprise us with a twist out of left field.

Case-and-point: Toby and Kate’s marriage.

They wanted us to think that Lady Kryptonite was a threat, that Toby would develop feelings for Kara, and that when he said he was going to the gym, he was actually going to meet up with his new lady friend.

Kate thought it and we thought it. But we never should have. That’s not the guy Toby is and he’s never given us a reason to think otherwise.

Toby admitted that he was distancing himself and spending less time at home with Kate and Jack because Jack’s blindness made him sad.

It was a crushing confession that will likely have a ripple effect on their marriage going forward despite Jack’s new ability to see lights and shadows.

This Is Us quickly gave us a sweet, touching moment as baby Jack began reaching for the pineapple lights. Though, as we also know from the flash-forwards, Jack doesn’t regain his eyesight.

Toby’s concern and feelings are valid, but hopefully, Kate doesn’t get upset with him for being unable to control how he feels and instead, shows him that baby Jack can still have a happy life despite his illness.

A family trip for blind children could help Toby understand his son more; Jack will still be able to hear and feel the ocean and he’ll be able to watch and understand sports just in his own unique way.

Now that we can breathe a sigh of relief that there’s no cheating involved, we can move on to Kevin whose dating life is all over the place.

After stating that he wanted to have a wife and child by the time he’s 40, Kevin is really hunkering down to make it happen. He hired a matchmaker and all.

But the girl that caught his eye wasn’t from a set-up or some girl from a dating app, it was a woman named Lizzy (played by Sophia Bush) that he spotted in the coffee shop.

Lizzy and Kevin had immediate chemistry and after their brief meeting, he pulled out all the stops to give the Chicago girl (an obvious nod to Bush’s time on Chicago PD) the full L.A experience.

He even called up his buddy John Legend to give them a private concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Who knew Kevin had that much pull?

While Kevin thought he was quite possibly staring into the big beautiful eyes of his future wife, she was looking at her hall pass.

Yep, Lizzy was married and Kevin Pearson was the one famous person her husband would let her sleep with.

I’ve never felt more played in my life, so I can’t even imagine how Kevin felt putting himself out there only to find out he’s some “prize.”

And then, he got a phone call from Sophie, which likely means she’s his pregnant wife from the flash-forward.

Why are we going back to Sophie?

She may have been the love of Kevin’s life at one point, but he’s changed and grown so much. Which, yes, could make him a better fit for her as the problem was always that Kevin wasn’t confident and secure enough, but they’ve tried this relationship twice already without any success.

I’d much rather see Kevin figure it out with Cassidy or meet a new soulmate.

And yet, considering we’re less than a year away from the birthday scene, whoever this girl is, she has to already have an established connection with him.

The teaser for next week also mentions that it’s the first of the big three trilogies, so maybe we find out what happened with Kate’s ex-boyfriend? Maybe he’s the intruder stalking the Big Three?

What did you think of the midseason premiere?

Was it worth the wait? Is the intruder real or a hallucination?

Can Toby and Kate move past this?

Who will be Kevin’s wife?

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This Is Us

This Is Us Fall Finale Review – So Long, Marianne (4×09)

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This Is Us So Long, Marianne Review

How is it possible that This Is Us manages to make holiday episodes more emotional every single time?

Thanksgiving has always been a huge deal for the Pearson family, and just like Nicky mentioned, Jack Pearson traditions are the backbone of the shindig.

The series does an incredible job of keeping Jack’s memory alive even though he’s been gone for years now.

And it’s done in the smallest of moments that could be glossed over if not for the beautiful parallel that they offer the present-day storylines.

Traditions like 5 pounds of shrimp started with Jack and Nicky ditching their less than joyous Thanksgiving celebrations at home to watch a game at the bar. When Nicky won a good sum of money from a deal he made with a friend, they splurged by ordering an obscene amount of shrimp.

As Nicky attended his first Thanksgiving with the Pearson clan and tagged along with Randall and Annie as they picked up some left-behind belongings from their old house, he realized that despite “erasing him,” his brother never forgot about him.

He’d quote Leonard Cohen’s song and call it a “poem” just like Nicky did, and he’d explain the song to his kids the same way his brother explained it to him.

Nicky was then inspired to honor his late brother and introduce the family to a tradition they didn’t know about just as they’d introduced him to Pilgrim Rick.

As he brought out a platter of 5 pounds of shrimp, I lost it. Again, such a small moment but it has so much power in the context of their storytelling.

And then, they took it even further later showing Kate and Toby’s son, adult Jack, hosting his own Thanksgiving with his pregnant wife and bringing out 5 pounds of shrimp.

Jack’s impact has spanned decades, and even though his grandchildren have never met him, they still honor him because of how important he was to their parents.

Rebecca’s deteriorating memory storyline was front and center as she attempted to ignore the ugly truth until she no longer could.

Can I just say that Mandy Moore is such an incredible actress. The whole time, I could feel her confusion and her fear in her body language and movements. The camera angle making it seem like we were sometimes looking through her disoriented POV also helped drive those emotions.

When she finally made her way back home from the movies, she admitted to Randall that she needs to see a doctor, which immediately put a damper on his holiday.

But surprisingly, what we saw of Rebecca’s forgetfulness including the scenes where she thought she saw a young William and when she lost her phone and panicked at a Chinese restaurant didn’t take place on Thanksgiving.

Those scenes were happening in a future timeline, 9-months in advance.

The police picked her up and returned her home to the log cabin where Miguel, Kate, and Kevin were waiting to celebrate their big 4-0!

And this flash-forward revealed a whole lot.

For starters, Randall wasn’t there because “they aren’t on speaking terms.” Does that mean just him and Kevin? Or Randall and the whole family? And what could have changed so drastically in 9 months? Was Kevin upset that Randall knew about Rebecca’s deteriorating state and didn’t say anything to them?

Toby wasn’t seen at the party and neither was baby Jack, which isn’t a good sign at all.

But someone else was there, though they remained off-screen: Kevin’s pregnant fiancee!

Okay, I guess a lot really can change in 9 months! When Kevin told Randall he wanted to start a family by 40, Randall told him to find a girlfriend first, but Kevin just proved that he’s capable of doing whatever he sets his mind to.

So, who is this mystery fiancee?

The fact that it’s only been 9 months makes me think it’s someone Kevin already knew and that points to either Sophie or Cassidy. I can see either happening, honestly.

But 9 months also means it could have been a quick relationship and the woman is someone we’ve never met before. It would be less exciting, sure, but maybe that fresh start is exactly what Kevin needs.

Other Emotional Moments at Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Shauna is doing great. Actually, she might be doing too well. Beth felt intimidated by Deja’s birth mother because they had all these inside jokes and she knew she could never replace her. But that didn’t mean Beth wasn’t a valuable person in Deja’s life. She was the mother who stepped in and filled that void when Shauna wasn’t able to. She gave Deja a great life, a good chance at success, a stable home, and plenty of memories. Deja will always be grateful for that. Deja wished her mom well, but she too was a little triggered that things were going so great. I guess my only concern was why Shauna never invited Deja over to her new apartment with a fireplace? Were they told that they couldn’t see each other? If she’s in such a good headspace that she’s hosting potlucks with her co-workers, why can’t she include Deja occasionally?
  • Kate is not a fan of CrossFit Toby and truthfully, neither am I. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome that Toby is taking his health so seriously and wants to better himself, but honestly, that’s all he was talking about. How off-putting on a day where people just want to enjoy some damn turkey. Kate didn’t bring it up to him because she didn’t want to upset him, but that text message she saw on his phone spells trouble. I’m guessing LadyKryptonite is his CrossFit trainer or nutritionist that’s supposed to keep him on track, but he’s clearly talking to other people about his marriage and isn’t happy with how Kate’s responding to his new lifestyle. Like Beth said, talking to other people about what’s happening between you two is how you enter dangerous territory. These two need to get brutally honest with each other even if it hurts if they want to salvage their relationship. Though, again, seeing as Toby isn’t around for their 40th birthday, it’s safe to say their relationship doesn’t overcome this.
  • Kevin proved he’s ready to become a dad when he helped his favorite niece Tess with feeling comfortable about coming out. It’s awesome how he applies what he’s learned in AA to other aspects of his life, and his lighthearted approach to having her just say it to a plastic clown at the drive-through was adorable. And the best part is that when Tess finally pulled the trigger, people were supportive and loving. As we know, not all coming out experiences are this positive, but it’s nice that This Is Us showcases that in 2019, there are people and families that are open and accepting.

What did you think of the emotional fall finale?

What was your favorite part?

Who do you think Kevin’s fiancee is? Why is Randall not speaking with his family?

And what’s happening with Toby and Kate?

We’ll meet back here on January 14, 2020, Cravers!

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This Is Us

This Is Us Review – Sorry (4×08)

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This Is Us Sorry Review

We’re getting ready to explore the early stages of Rebecca’s Alzheimer’s, which will eventually lead us to that moment in the future where the family gathered around her bedside.

Just thinking about how This Is Us tackles storylines and how they’ll handle this one makes me emotional.

Randall spent the day with his mom for a little bit of R&R (Randall and Rebecca time), but things were much different than they used to be.

Rebecca wasn’t acting like herself and she was forgetful. The fact that she’d lost her iPhone before meant that this wasn’t the first time something like this was happening.

Randall picked up on it right away, but when he confronted Rebecca, she was defensive and irritable. Refusing to get help is going to lead to Rebecca getting lost on the fall finale.

The R&R of the present-day paralleled that of Rebecca and Randall’s day together when the Big Three was already in college. Randall was still taking care of his mother than and promised to help her find a job.

When he realized she didn’t land the job interview due to lack of experience, he vouched for her to the boss who took him up on the idea and gave her a chance.

Randall has always been the son who connected so easily with his mother.

There was a brief nod to Kate’s relationship with the older record store guy that no one liked, but we’ve yet to explore the toxic nature of their relationship that was teased.

In the present day, Kate struggled with Toby’s decision to put his gym time before the family and then felt guilty about allowing Jack to eat his first solid food when Toby wasn’t around.

Their relationship has been filled with lies for a while now and though the truth eventually comes out, it would have been easier without the lie in the first place.

Will this be what drives them apart?

Or will they overcome all of this and emerge stronger than ever?

Speaking of strength, Nicky found his just in time for his court trial.

When the judge asked him if he regretted throwing the chair through the Veteran’s building, Nicky’s “not really” was classic and brutally honest.

But it was also beautiful.

Nicky wasn’t sorry because it’s the moment that not only made him become sober but also got his life on track and brought him closer to his nephew, Kevin.

In the process, he learned to forgive himself.

Is it strange that I’m really digging the Kevin, Cassidy, and Nicky trio and don’t want things to change?

I refuse to believe Cassidy is going to go back to her husband because her happy ending is with Kevin.

Hopefully, she realizes that he’s the only one to ever see her and she tags along for Thanksgiving with the Pearson clan.

If we have Nicky, Cassidy, AND Deja’s mother, Shauna, coming to Thanksgiving, there’s no telling what to expect.

And can I just say I’m so glad Beth is the kind of foster mother who encourages Deja to see her birth mother? Yes, it took Malik to make her aware that they’ve neglected that relationship, but she was so supportive once she realized the error of her ways.

It seemed like Kevin was surely going to go down a downward spiral once Nicky called him a wrecking ball for sleeping with Cassidy.

Kevin’s always been so hard on himself when he doesn’t have to be. We’re human, we make mistakes.

But Nicky and Cassidy were able to get him back on track rather quickly, which again, speaks to the power of being surrounded by people who understand you.

Cassidy has to be the person Kevin’s is with in the future, right? She has to be.

Seeing Nicky juxtaposed with Jack’s image was so powerful.

Jack passed so many years ago, but he still plays a huge role in Kevin’s life and he looks up to him and wants to impress him.

Nicky has many similarities to Jack, and I think Kevin likes knowing he’s closer to his father if even just for a minute.

What did you think about the episode?

Will Cassidy and Kevin end up together?

Will Toby and Kate split?

How will they help Rebecca?

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