TV Reviews

This Is Us Season 3 Episode 2: A Philadelphia Story Review

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

Synopsis: The Pearsons gather to support Kevin at his movie premiere. The teenage Big Three make college decisions.  (TVGuide)

Writer: Kay Oyegun

Director: Chris Koch

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 45mins

Airs: Tuesdays at 9pm on CTV (Canada)/NBC (United States)

This Is Us has wasted no time getting right into the Pearson family’s past, present, and sometimes future lives. And if you thought that Jack’s absence may decrease the quality of the show, you thought wrong. This week’s episode brings back guest star, Ron Cephas Jones, as William who has been sober for 5 years. The focus of his story was on him befriending a woman and her child new to his community, and in the present we see Randall interact with this woman at the rec center he takes Deja to.

The episode is particularly heartbreaking for Randall as he is faced with two very difficult situations that rattle up his core. The first situation comes when he takes Deja to the rec center to meet new friends and be a part of a community she feels more comfortable in. Upon reaching the rec center, he is disappointed with how broken down the center is and begins to come up with plans to get everything fixed. This includes planning a run-in with a local councilman at the barber shop to insist that he take care of the rec center.

The councilman tells him a childhood story in which a rec center he frequented was in danger of being closed down, but his father fought to keep it open. However, just a year ago, he confesses he voted to have it shut down. The idea of him helping Randall doesn’t seem so promising and although the councilman promises to send a maintenance crew over to the center, no one ever shows up.

In the past, Randall struggles with who he is as he prepares to head to college after being accepted to Howard University. However, seeing his family fall apart after Jack’s death leads him to the decision to reject his acceptance. Between Kate overeating, Kevin constantly drinking, and Rebecca unable to face her day, Randall feels like he has to step up to help everyone out.

The Big Three and Rebecca go to check out a new house, and Jack’s voice is heard throughout the scene and later it is revealed that Jack and Rebecca went to see the house just a few months prior but Rebecca didn’t want to move at that time. Sigh, if only.

In the present, the Pearson family is preparing for Kevin’s big premiere while Kevin tries to keep it cool in front of Zoe who only wants their relationship to be casual. However, it seems like she starts to change her by the end of the episode!

Rebecca finds out that Kate and Toby are doing IVF and is extremely concerned with what effects it could have on Kate and her health given her current weight. As an argument begins to escalate, Toby angrily intervenes catching everyone off guard to this unexpected outburst. But, of course, we know it is probably due to his antidepressant withdrawal. which based on flash-forwards we’ve seen, isn’t going to end well.

But the most gut-wrenching part of the episode? When Randall finds out from Kevin that Kate is eager to get pregnant because she is the only one who can pass on a piece of their dad. While on the surface this comment makes literal sense, Randall sees it from a different perspective which is clear by the devastated look on his face. Come on Kate, Randall may not be Jack’s biological son, but he has every bit of Jack within him–perhaps more than the others.

This Is Us can basically never go wrong, and this episode continues to keep us drawn into the story and the characters. Next week, we’re heading into Vietnam territory as Kevin starts to dig into his father’s past out of curiosity. And if you watched the season 2 finale, you know exactly where we’re headed.

Score: 8.5/10

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