For the first time since it’s premiere This Is Us ended without a heart wrenching twist during its final moments and I have to admit that it was welcomed. While the episode certainly did have a surprise revelation (more on that later) it was weaved in throughout the episode at a very welcomed pace.
Week by week this show continues to impress me with it’s storytelling. It somehow finds this remarkable balance between stories specific to the episode and the stories that will take a couple of seasons to flesh out without feeling overcrowded or rushed. I for one am loving it.
So let’s dig in!
We start the episode with a montage of Randall’s father, William, back in the 1970’s and it’s important to note that they’ve done an amazing job at aging Ron Cephas Jones to his younger self. The montage shows William getting on the bus everyday and writing poetry in his notebook. He sees a beautiful woman on the bus one day and then eventually they get together. Soon the writing in his notebook becomes illegible and it’s clear that he has started using. The woman disappears and we see William on the bus with a baby in his hands as they drive past the fire station.
Cut over to Rebecca and Jack preparing to leave the hospital with their three babies whom they have named Kevin, Kate and Kyle after Dr. K who delivered them. I had assumed that the episode being named ‘Kyle’ would have been about Rebecca and Jack grieving over their lost child who they had planned to name Kyle. While that plot point did happen in a sense it was a nice surprise to see it play out as it did and made me very interested to learn how his name changes from Kyle to Randall.
Jack who is being super adorable and extremely ready to start the adventure wheels Rebecca out of the hospital and runs to get the car. While she is waiting for him she notices a black man across the road staring very intently at her and the child in her arms. It’s William seeing to that Kyle/Randall found a good home. Rebecca must somehow feel that this man is connected to her new child and calls out to him. William turns around and gets on the bus.
Present day Randall is now having to deal with telling his mother that not only did he find his biological father, but that he is living with them. Moore is actually doing a great job pulling off older Rebecca. Her makeup looks much better than I thought it would and she seems to be trying to change her voice a little bit. It’s a performance that I can only see getting better with time. Rebecca seems to take the news very well and calmly, simply asking to meet him.
Rebecca marches right into the room and introduces herself to William then asks to speak with him privately. Randall is a little reluctant to leave but once he does things shift for the two. William simply looks up to Rebecca and says “you look well.” This one line and those three words hold a meaning that could potentially change Randall’s world and that is that Rebecca and William know each other somehow.
The two then have the following exchange detailing what could be a huge Pearson family secret.
“We had a deal,” Rebecca sternly reminds him.
“I won’t tell him if that’s what you’re thinking,” William replies.
“It will break him,” she says. “Knowing that he could have known you and I kept him from that.”
Let’s check in with our other Pearson’s shall we? Yes, it has recently come to light that the family we are following are called the Pearson’s.
Toby wakes up on Kate’s couch clearly hungover from the party they went to the night before. He hobbles around her place and pauses when he hears Kate singing in the bathroom. He decides to stand outside of the door listening until she opens it and gets completely spooked and instinctively punches him in the face.
Toby’s fine over breakfast, “luckily, I have all of this fat to soften the blow,” he jokingly assures her. He beings to prod her about her singing because she is amazing. Turns out that Kate loved singing growing up, but eventually stopped because she didn’t like being in the spotlight. Kevin comes storming into the room talking about all of the things he and Kate have to do before their big move to New York. You see, Kate has been acting as Kevin’s “personal assistant” all these years for him, but in addition to that the two have never been apart and it’s assumed that she will be moving with Kevin to New York. Obviously, Toby sees the exchange and has some thoughts about Kate’s devotion to her brother over herself.
So what does the perfect boyfriend do? He treats Kate to a day where she’s the star. He picks her up in a limousine with a red carpet, snapping photos likes he is the paparazzi. While driving Kate has 10 missed calls from Kevin who doesn’t even know where to begin with his packing. They’re trying to show just how reliant he is on her. He even suggests that they call the packing company that our favorite Dothraki Jason Momoa recommended.
Toby reveals to Kate that today she is going to sing in front of people. He already has the instrumental version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” burned to a CD and is quick to calm all of her hesitations. Her one song only gig will take place at a nursing home where his Aunt Dolly is, where half of them will forget by the next day and the other half will be asleep.
“Most of them lived through World War II, so no matter how bad you are they’ve seen worse.” -Toby
Kate sings her song hesitantly at first but finds her confidence along the way and completely nails it. Toby watches her awe-struck and the two quickly make their way to a utility closet for an impromptu make out session. They’re interrupted by Kevin who is still continuously calling Kate. Toby begs her not to answer but of course she does. Turns out that when Kevin was unable to get a hold of Kate to come and help him pack he called is ex Insane Elaine for a quick hook up to distract him. However, once Insane Elaine found out that Kevin was planning to move she locked him in the closet and is destroying his house. Kate tells him that she will be right there.
Toby begs her not to leave. “I’m not some nut job who performs grand gestures for every girl that I go on a few dates with,” he says. “I like you, Kate. I like you a lot, but I can’t play second banana to your brother.” She tells him that he has to. That everyone has to play second to her brother. They have been together their entire lives and are connected in a way that no one can understand. One time when she broke her arm he yelled out in pain 10 miles away. She leaves a defeated Toby in the closet to drive his limo home alone.
At Kevin’s, Kate explains to him why she wasn’t answering his calls and it’s then that Kevin understand exactly what Toby has been trying to do. He looks to Kate and fires her. He doesn’t want her to be his assistant anymore and he doesn’t want her to move to New York. He realizes that they’ve never had the chance to be their own individuals and he wants her to have that opportunity just as he wants to be able to go to New York and do things for himself. It’s a beautiful scene. I’m beginning to like their relationship the most out of all of them.
“I don’t really know who I am if I’m not your sister,” Kate says.
“I do. You’re gonna love her,” Kevin replies
Kevin hops on a plane to New York and Kate apologizes to Toby and the two finally have sex, much to Toby’s excitement.
Okay, let’s get back to our present day parent trap. We are treated to a flashback scene of what happened between Rebecca and William. Rebecca had been struggling to connect with Kyle since bringing him home from the hospital. He wasn’t breastfeeding like the others, and she hates to admit it but he feels like a stranger to her. Her solution is to go and find the man that she believes to be his father.
She waits for the bus and luckily the driver is able to identify William by her description. He says that she is looking for “Shakespeare” and to get on the bus and he’ll take her to his stop. Once Rebecca shows up at William’s apartment, a scene that beautifully mirrors Randall’s in the pilot, she asks to know more about him and where Kyle/Randall came from. Looking around at the mess and stray needles, William assures her that he met the mother on the bus and that he read his favorite poet to her almost every day and that the baby had been born out of love. Rebecca reveals that she knows it was destiny that brought Kyle/Randall to her and Jack and she needs to know that she can move forward. She wants William to promise that he will not try and contact Kyle/Randall or come around. He agrees.
Rebecca also opens up to him that she is having a hard time connecting to Kyle, so William suggests that she start by giving him his own name. She asks what the name of his favorite poet was and he hands her a book of poetry by Dudley Randall, and that my friends is the story of how Kyle became Randall.
The book of poetry actually sits on Randall’s bookshelf today. Rebecca is still upstairs with William and tells him that she raised her son to be a good man. Randall will do whatever it takes to make sure that William gets the care that he needs. He will spend as much money as it takes and let it interfere with his family and his job. Bottom line, William better be worth it and not hurt her son. Mama Bear is out and she is fierce. It’s going to be an interesting dynamic moving forward.
William takes this to heart and sneaks out of the house to go back home. Randall finds him and insists that he get in the car so that they can go to his doctors appointment. Randall had to pull a lot of strings to get him this appointment so he damn well is going to go. Unfortunately the appointment doesn’t go as well as Randall had hoped. The cancer had metastasized and even the experimental treatments would only grant him a few months.
Guilt stricken about how he should have tried to find him sooner, Beth encourages Randall to take advantage of the time that he still has. So, Randall announces to William that his girls will be officially meeting their grandfather the next morning. He then asks to hear the story about how he met his mother…his biological mother.
So, it’s not a matter of if Rebecca’s secret is going to come out…it’s a matter of when. It will probably break Randall’s heart to know that he could have known his father growing up and now that the time he has is so limited I don’t think that he will be able to see Rebecca’s reasons behind it.
I’m hoping to get some good scenes with Kevin and the family now that he is moving to the East coast and of course would like some answers as to why Kate and Jack are no longer together – I just hate that.