This week on This Is Us, it’s all about marriage. Toby and Kate are struggling to find solid ground through their engagement as she’s away at her weight loss camp. Kevin is trying to get back in the good graces of his ex-wife, Sophie who he hasn’t seen in 12 years. Miguel and Shelly tell Jack and Rebecca that they are getting divorced. Randall is slowly losing his good standing at work to be by Beth’s side. And Jack and Rebecca have hit a rough patch in their marriage, which will be further tested when Rebecca decides to go on tour with Ben’s band.
Let’s look at the top 5 moments of the week!
#5 – Kate’s Got a Decision to Make
Okay, Kate is kicking some ass. She’s more motivated than ever, taking 10 mile hikes and fully committing to her classes like yoga. She’s making so much progress, which is why it’s terrible timing for Toby to show up trying to sweep her into the city for a night of some doctor approved “low impact love making.” She makes a point to tell Toby how important this is for and that she can’t have anything messing it up. Toby leaves hurt but does seem to understand where she’s coming from.
On his way back to the car he runs into Duke, the arrogant horse whisperer trying to woo Kate. He mistakes Toby for a camp attendee and tells him that he shouldn’t leave so soon. The women here are getting in shape and feeling great about themselves which makes them great targets for his player persona, especially on wine night. He’s basically a straight up douche. When Toby corrects him saying that he’s there visiting his fiance Kate, Duke responds with “this is awkward” in a power move to get Toby’s head spinning.
Well, it works. Toby shows up in some new workout gear to Kate’s drumstick class after purchasing a day pass. He’s got some sick light up sneakers and a ‘let’s have fun’ attitude. He jokes around the whole time acting like a class clown, which gets on Kate’s last nerve. She lays into him about the same stuff again. Sometimes he just needs to leave her alone and listen to what she’s saying to him. He takes it all the wrong way and turns it around on him saying that his incisions aren’t healing as well as they should, he’s lonely, and his chest feels tight every morning when he wakes up, but she’s not there for any of it. He also reaches into the bag he brought and hands her his grandmother’s wedding ring that he was going to give to her. Then he leaves.
Another example of Kate’s progress? She’s working out on the elliptical instead of eating her feelings and it’s so great to see how proud she is of herself. I’m loving camp Kate. She is strong and empowered and has her eye on the prize. Duke comes in and once again tells her his offer to visit him in Cabin 13. He tells her that he tried to date the nice girl once but it didn’t work out because that’s not who he was and maybe Kate needs to think about that too.
The episode ends with Kate standing outside of Duke’s cabin. Hopefully, she’s there to tell him to back off as cheating on Toby seems very out of character for her. However, I think that Duke could be a good partner for Kate in a completely different way than Toby is. I do not think that Kate and Toby are compatible and I do not see them lasting the entirety of this series, especially if they are already engaged before season 1 is even over. She has so much she needs to work on for herself, mainly dealing with Jack’s death, and I just don’t think that Toby is the right partner to do that with.
#4. Kevin & Sophie
When we last saw Kevin he had just secured a coffee date with his ex-wife Sophie, who also happened to be Kate’s best friend growing up. We don’t know much about their relationship except that they hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in 12 years. Kevin’s got this plan all worked out and it starts with going to their favorite place and sitting at their favorite booth. He tells the couple currently occupying “their booth” that this is where he had his first kiss with Sophie after their 8th grade field trip, it’s where they sat and decided to do long-distance so he could move to LA to pursue acting, and this is the booth where he will win her back. It’s a cute story but the woman only needed an autograph from The Manny to move seats.
He sits down and orders some lava fries just as Sophie comes barging in. She’s clearly had some time to reflect on their last interaction and she is not happy with Kevin or his approach. Basically, she’s just there to tell him off, make sure he is not dying, and leave. Then she sees the plate of lava fries and like I would definitely do, she sits down.
Things seem to be going okay for the pair, although its adamantly clear that Kevin is choosing this path where he only chooses to remember the good things instead of trying to talk about some of the bad things that happened to them. He says things like “I’ve forgotten how cute you are when you eat” which seem to warm her up a bit, but once he tells her he’d like to go back to where they left off she gets upset and storms off.
He follows her all the way onto the subway where she reminds him that they left off with him cheating on her. Why would she want to go back to that moment? She tells him to leave her alone and they both find seats on the subway, which is now stuck for maintenance repair.
Kevin finally gets the courage to try for round 2. He starts by saying he’s sorry about her mom’s MS. Wondering how he could possibly know this about her, he reveals that he friended her on Facebook under a fake name. That gets a laugh out of her and she asks him about Kate with a sadness in her voice. You can tell she’s hurt when she finds out Kate is engaged. I am looking forward to watching those two hash out whatever it was that drove them apart.
Sophie tells him that she is happy with her life now. After they got divorced she made some bad decisions and even married one them. Now she’s got a good job and she’s dating a really nice guy and all is good. Kevin doesn’t want to hear it though. He tells her that he is still in love with her and will be at the diner tomorrow morning again. The next morning Sophie comes in.
I’m praying that this story line moves slow. These two don’t need to go right back to dating. They need to talk things out and reacquaint with each other. Also, we need to get back to Kevin’s play.
#3. Miguel and Shelly’s News
We got a little bit more insight into the Miguel-Rebecca union this week. Jack and Rebecca meet Miguel and Shelly out for dinner. They’re having a little bit of tension as Jack talks about how he has to schedule time with his own wife since Ben keeps her out past 11 most nights. He tries to pass it off as teasing, but it was clearly spoken in truth and Rebecca did not take it well. Miguel and Shelly interrupt to tell them that they have decided to get a divorce. It clearly shakes Jack and Rebecca, but the two insist that it’s better to do it now while they are still friends than down the line when a divorce could be much nastier. So, there we have it. I’m not sure what that means for Miguel’s kids in the current timeline, but we can safely assume, for now, that Shelly is not around due to the divorce. Although i’m sure there will be some exploration of how this divorce affects their relationships with Jack and Rebecca separately, especially since Shelly was Rebecca’s maid of honor.
Later that night, Jack is clearly still upset over the news saying that the deal is you marry your soulmate and you stay with them until you die. Rebecca has more of a “it happens” kind of attitude towards. She just says that sometimes people grow apart. This doesn’t sit right with Jack and she immediately makes it clear that she wasn’t talking about them.
Jack notices Miguel sitting a little too close next to a woman in the break room and decides to confront him about whether or not he was having an affair. Miguel says he would never do that to his kids and tells Jack the reason why they are divorcing. For almost their entire relationship Miguel would wake up early and make him and Shelly a cup of coffee and bring it to her in bed. He did this for as long as he could remember until one morning where he just didn’t feel like making Shelly a cup, so he didn’t. She didn’t even notice. They realized that they had stop putting in the effort to make each other happy and that there was nothing left to fight for nor did they want to fight over anything anymore. They aren’t like Jack and Rebecca and Jack just needs to accept what is happening and be there for his friend.
The dynamic between these two couples is so important and this divorce opens up so many different layers. We know that eventually Miguel and Rebecca end up married, but when do the seeds for that start being planted? Will Shelly still try to be a part of Rebecca’s life or vice-versa. They were the best man and maid of honor at Jack and Rebecca’s wedding, so you can guarantee this is the start of a whole new story.
#2. Randall’s Shaking Hand
It’s safe to say that Randall is struggling. He’s losing his clout at work and it’s nearly impossible for him to accept that William is getting closer and closer to not being with him. He’s being pulled in a hundred different directions and it’s starting to get to him.
He’s woken up from a nightmare in which he had just discovered William dead at their piano by Annie who just wet the bed. He notices that Tess isn’t in bed and finds her downstairs playing chess with William. It’s 3:00 in the morning so him and Beth are a little confused as to why this has to happen now. Tess tells him straight up that William is always sleeping when she gets home and she has practices late at night and it was the only time they could find to play before her tournament the next day and before he dies. Unnerved and in denial William tells Tess that she will have plenty of time to play chess with William and to go to bed. The next morning him and Beth meet with a palliative specialist to discuss their next steps, but William gets upset when Beth starts talking to the specialist about dealing with grief. He rushes off to work.
He needs to rush off to work because work is not going great for Randall right now. Half of his accounts have just been given to the new guy Sanjay and now he has to share a huge client dinner with him tonight as well. Except he’s not going to make it to that huge client dinner because Beth “calls marriage” when he tells her he won’t be able to make it to Tess’s chess tournament. So he is able to watch Tess win but also has to deal with the fact that Sanjay isn’t responding to his text about how the dinner was going and that he is slowly losing control of everything.
Later that night, Randall goes to grab a glass of water and he can barely hold it because his hand is shaking so badly. I swear if they do anything to Randall right now I am going to freak out. I think and hope that it is just another sign of how much Randall puts into everything in his life. Remember that time Beth told William that Randall actually went blind once because he had taken on too much and was so determined to make everything good for everyone? Let’s hope it’s that again.
As for Randall’s job – I am kind of hoping, and I know it’s a reach, that Randall will leave his job and try to start Big Three Homes, the company that Jack had intended to start before he decided to go the stable desk job route earlier in the season.
#1. Rebecca’s Going on Tour
We started this episode with a glimpse into Jack and Rebecca’s wedding at the courthouse. We hear Miguel giving his speech about all of the promises they’ve made to each other and how he knows they will keep them. As we watch them getting ready for their dinner with Miguel and Shelly it’s clearly not the case. They seem distanced and definitely are having some marital issues. Also, while they are getting ready Kate comes in and asks Rebecca for a tampon. It seemed a little out of place, but I think that it was meant to show what age the kids are now. I would peg Kate at 14 during this time period.
Rebecca is still pursuing music singing in Ben’s jazz band. She’s really enjoying it and you can tell that it’s fulfilling to her. When Ben tells her that they were invited to go on a five state tour she is extremely hesitant. I mean she has a family and three teenagers to take care of right now, but she doesn’t seem vehemently against it. Ben insinuates that “if Jack loves her he would let her do this.” She stops him right there and tells Ben all of the amazing sacrifices and gestures that Jack has been doing so that she could be there singing. “My husband’s a freaking superhero, and you have no idea what you’re talking about.” It’s still not a no though.
Later, she comes home to find Jack walking down the stairs with a duffel bag. He’s got the kids taken care of and is taking her away for the night. After arriving at their destination, Jack takes off her blindfold and surprises her with a beautifully romantic set up of Christmas lights and a picnic in their first apartment. He loved those newlyweds and he wants to find those again.
He also has one more surprise for her. He brought their vows for them to read. As he does so we flashback to him delivering them at their wedding. They’re beautiful. I mean it’s Jack, how could they not have been?
Rebecca, saying ‘I do’ means saying ‘I will.’ I will love you today, and every day for the rest of my life. I’ve been trying to focus on all the little moments that I don’t want to forget, but the moment that’s burned into my brain, and heart, is the first time I saw you. Rebecca, you have changed the way I think about love. I know things might not always be easy, but our love has always been worth it. I will encourage you, trust, and respect you. I will create a home with you full of love, and laughter, and compassion. I will raise a family with you. I will grow old with you. I will share my dreams with you. So today, in front of everyone here, I pledge myself to you.
Rebecca is visibly moved, but chooses this perfect moment to drop the bomb about the tour. Then she says she wants to go.