If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Kevin helps Randall and Beth with a project. Kate contemplates a big gift for Toby. Jack and Rebecca talk about their future. (TVGuide)
Writers: Kay Oyegun & Don Roos
Director: Uta Briesewitz
Running Time: 45mins
It’s easy to sound like a broken record with every new review of This Is Us, but it’s hard to not gush with every episode that goes by. Tonight was perhaps the most emotionally gut-wrenching episode of the series so far. And waiting two weeks for the next week will be insufferable, to say the least.
Tonight’s episode played out in typical This Is Us fashion where situations and moments aren’t quite what we think. The episode began with an old couple packing things away in their home–a couple we assume to be living in the house that Jack and Rebecca were going to buy. However, this was not the case–more on this later.
It was fitting that the episode revolved around Super Bowl Sunday seeing as how that is when the next episode will air. This would be the final Super Bowl Sunday that Jack and Rebecca would get with the kids. However, the day does not go as planned–not at all.
In the present, Kevin is focused on making amends with everyone he’s hurt. In this spirit, he spends the day helping Randall and Beth repair and remodel the building they just bought. This made for some hilarious moments as the elderly female tenants took much pleasure in watching a sweaty, buff Kevin get to work. It was a welcome change watching Randall put his emotional energy into the building and its tenants. Probably too eager and excited, he goes above and beyond to do what he can for them.
This episode was a huge one for Kate as well, in the past and present. In the present, she went and got Toby a puppy, despite her reservations about having one. This reluctance stems from her memories of having a pet dog in her childhood–a memory tied to Jack. Side note–her trip to the shelter revealed a surprise in tonight’s episode in the form of Lena Waithe–who played a volunteer at the dog shelter.
The juxtaposition of Kevin struggling in the past and present was some beautiful storytelling in this week’s episode. Kevin in the present was working through his issues and coming to terms with his addiction and those he has hurt–including Sophie. During this emotional quest, he managed to get Jack’s necklace back from Charlotte!
In the past, Kevin’s injury had him destined for community college, while Sophie celebrated her acceptance into NYU. This was a huge source of frustration and angst for him, as his future suddenly appeared very gloomy. And while young Kevin came to terms with his future and stormed out of the house, Kate received news that she made it into the final auditions for the music college. There was a very beautiful moment shared between Kate and Jack when Kate realized how much her father truly loved her and supported her dreams.
Rebecca and Jack discussed their future together and began planning the construction business. This was another beautiful moment of the episode–watching them plan the future was so heartwarming and devastating at the same time because we knew what was coming next. A sequence of moments followed this scene that alluded to the moment we all have been dreading over the last season and a half–Jack’s death.
Before we discuss the end of the episode, I think it’s important to point out that on Kevin’s list of people to make amends with, the camera shifted to the part of the list that said, Dad. This went hand in hand with Jack leaving Kevin a note in the past telling him he loved him and that he needed to apologize for his behavior. But they’ll just talk tomorrow–right?
Remember the old couple mentioned at the beginning of this review? The assumption was that this couple was part of Jack and Rebecca’s present. However, we quickly learn this couple were their neighbors in the past. While getting ready to move out, the elderly man dropped off a crockpot as a parting gift. Little did we know this crockpot would be the end of Jack, literally. In the final moments of the episode, we see the crockpot have an electrical glitch and start a fire in the Pearson home. With no warning or alarm (remember, the batteries!), the fire consumed their home. Simultaneously, a montage of Pearson memories began to play, breaking our hearts along with it. Sigh, this is it, folks, we have finally arrived at that moment.
Wow, tonight’s episode was something else. Yes, we’ve known it was coming for a long time and have had plenty of time to prepare, but it doesn’t make this moment any easier. This episode did a marvelous job intertwining the past and present in a seamless way–as it always does and dropped subtle hints along the way for what was to come.
As we impatiently wait for the next episode of This Is Us, we must prepare for what’s about to happen–and if the promo is any indication, we will be ugly crying more than we ever have before. And it’s safe to say that Kate’s PTSD for getting a dog and Kevin’s suddenly makes a whole lot of sense.