TV Reviews

This Is Us Season 2 Episode 15: The Car Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: The history of the Pearsons as told through the life of the family car. (TVGuide)

Writers: Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger

Director: Ken Olin

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 45mins

Lucky for us, we didn’t have to wait very long before a new episode of This Is Us. After the gut-wrenching episode of Jack’s death, we thought we’d get a break from ugly crying. Boy, were we wrong.

This episode is told in a unique, touching way through the Pearsons family car–and their time with it as a family. As the episode begins, an emotionless, solemn Rebecca is seen waiting in her car–with a quick glance at an envelope containing tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert.

While we may have lost Jack in the show, his presence is still strong in the story. A flashback reveals the day he buys the Wagoneer for the family. This is a very bittersweet moment as the kids, Rebecca, and Jack spend the day at the dealership, taking the kids as leverage to get a better deal. This episode is so difficult to stomach with the constant looming reminder that Jack has passed away. There are so many hauntingly beautiful moments scattered throughout the episode that tug strongly at our heartstrings.

This episode is perhaps even more heart-breaking than the last as it focuses on Jack’s funeral. Seeing the kids and Rebecca adorned in black is so incredibly sad and heart-breaking. Mandy Moore, once again, does so much justice to Rebecca’s character and channels every emotion spot-on.

In another flashback, the Pearson’s are heading to their first concert in the Wagoneer. This is a homage to the beginning of the episode where we see tickets to a Springsteen concert. The cuteness of the moment increases ten-fold when the kids try and distract Rebecca from her fear of driving across the bridge they are on. Sigh, #familygoals. The episode constantly reminds us just how special this car is for the Pearson’s–and reels us into the emotion of it.

Watching young teen Kate is difficult in this episode because she is starting to feel guilty about Jack’s murder. And we have to say, it’s so hard to sympathize with her. But if Jack has taught us anything, we have to be more understanding..right? Due to her guilt, Kate mentions she wants to get rid of the dog. This is a total WTF moment because again, we just can’t channel our inner Jack.

In another memory with the Pearson family car, we are taken back to a moment when Rebecca has a cancer scare. In an effort to keep her distracted while they wait for news, Jack takes her somewhere. This “somewhere” is where Jack takes her to his favorite tree (remember where Kevin went in the last episode?) and tells her that this is her favorite tree because it is where they learned she is okay. Sigh. Lucky for everyone, Rebecca’s scare was false, but it left us in tears regardless. Jack tells Rebecca that she will live forever, and he will go first (WHY JACK WHY!) and when he does, he does not want to be in buried in the ground.

This moment leads to the dreaded funeral–inclusive of sad eulogies by Miguel and Randall. Knowing Jack was in the urn was such a difficult thing to grasp, real or not, it’s all the same to us.

While connecting past memories with the Pearson family car, this episode gave us some beautiful moments. One of them being when Randall is learning how to drive with Jack and Kevin sitting in the back. After a fight breaks out between Randall and Kevin, Jack makes them walk home. Upon returning home, Jack reminds them that he won’t be around forever–so it’s important for them to have each other’s backs. The friction between them worsens when Kevin sees Randall wearing Jack’s watch.

Teen Kate also has a sweet moment with her amazing father when he catches her ditching school to go meet Alanis Morissette. Jack being Jack, he gives her a ride while persuading her to follow her dreams of being a singer. How could someone be so perfect?

Remember Dr. Nathan? The same Dr. Nathan that delivered Kevin and Kate? He makes an appearance in this episode when he shows up at the funeral. In a classic, “Share The Moment” scene, Rebecca confesses her fears about living this life without Jack and the guilt she feels for not being there in Jack’s final moments. Nathan reassures her that Jack harbored the same fears she does and that she will be okay.

The final scene of the episode was a personal series favorite, due to the sheer raw emotion of a family coming to terms with a tragic loss. Rebecca takes the kids to Jack’s favorite tree, where they will spread his ashes. They reminisce about the amazing, goofy person Jack was and talk about their memories of him. Mandy Moore executes this scene so perfectly, it hurts. She tells the kids they have to live their life and not carry any guilt over what happened. “I promise you, we’re going to be okay.”

This episode was such an amazing follow-up to Jack’s death and exudes emotional perfection in every way. Using the car as a flashback to Pearson memories was pure genius and makes for all the feels. Now, we must face the reality of three weeks without This Is Us, but if its any consolation–Jack’s story is not over yet.

Score: 9/10

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