For our review of the last episode of This Is Us, click here.
Synopsis: Beth’s trip home to care for her mother sparks an unexpected realization. (TVGuide)
Writer: Eboni Freeman
Director: Anne Fletcher
Running Time: 45mins
Airs: Tuesdays at 9pm on CTV (Canada)/NBC (United States)
This Is Us gave us a Beth-centric episode this week, and it was probably one of the strongest of the season. We’ve been waiting for an episode that dove more into Beth’s past and fans finally got it. It was well worth the wait and made us love Beth more than we already did.
Picking up from where last week’s episode left off, Beth was off to D.C. to check in on her mom who had recently hurt her hip. With Zoe there as a buffer, the two women headed down to see Carol (Phylicia Rashad!), who is an interesting, stern woman, to say the least. On their drive down, Zoe finds out that Beth has yet to tell her mother about losing her job which exactly isn’t going to go over well. Especially considering Beth intends on asking her mom to retire for the sake of her health.
The entire episode is a series of flashbacks to Beth’s childhood, and once again This Is Us gives us all the feels and makes us ugly cry. You would think we’d be used to it by now, but nope. Seeing how Beth was as a young child and woman really helped us understand who she is in the present, and helped connect the flash-forward scene. As a kid, Beth loved to dance and was accepted into a prestigious dance academy. Although her mother wasn’t too eager to let her go, her father was 100% supportive and wanted his daughter to live out her dreams because “she danced before she walked”.
Seeing Beth’s relationship with her father was remarkable because it makes sense why she ended up with Randall. Her father was a kind, sweet man who wanted nothing more than to see Beth succeed, and during her days at the dance academy that is exactly what he did–until his final breath. Yes, This Is Us went there and broke our hearts with the reveal that Beth’s dad passed away from lung cancer. This came at a time she was starting to struggle at the academy and didn’t get the lead role she had been working towards all these years. As a result, Carol decided to pull Beth out of the academy and push her down the college route, even though it was against Beth’s dreams and desires.
The complicated relationship between Carol and Beth becomes a central part of this episode as Beth tackles her past demons with her current ones. Somewhere along the line, she finds herself and comes to the realization that she can dare to dream, even if Carol never allowed her to. This even managed to melt Carol by the end of the episode who apologized for not letting Beth continue dance as a child and forcing her to take another path. But hey, it all worked out because this forced path led Beth to Randall and the beautiful life she has with him. Also, can take I take moment to gush and adore the cute bump-in between Beth and Randall as young teens at the college mixer? Seriously, it was so heartwarming and exciting!
After returning home from her fairly successful trip to D.C (and a hilarious getting high session with Zoe), Beth came bearing exciting news for Randall. She knows what she wants to do next, and it’s going to be epic! Like the supportive husband he is, Randall drops Beth off at what we learn is a dance academy and she finds a private room to dance like nobody’s watching. Except there is someone watching and she is beyond impressed with Beth’s moves, but Beth isn’t interested in taking classes–she wants to teach! Yasss!
This pretty much explains what future Beth is up to when we see her at a dance academy of sorts, but we’re not sure in what capacity just yet. Either way, this was a wonderful episode focused on Beth, a character we simply did not know enough about. This is one of the strong points about this series, taking time to reflect on each character, primary or secondary, and this week’s episode proved every character matters on This Is Us.