New Year, New Tears!
This Is Us returned on Tuesday to series high ratings and it did not disappoint. The void was certainly felt these past few weeks, but the break gave a lot of people enough time to jump on board the Pearson family train and catch up on the NBC hit.
The last episode before the winter hiatus ‘Last Christmas’ left us all with a major cliffhanger as Toby collapsed presumably from a heart attack leading him to a risky surgery. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long at all to find out Toby’s fate as it was revealed this week!
Read on to see the Top 7 moments of the episode!
#7: Kevin’s Lady Problems
Things are going pretty well for Kevin and Sloane since their grand idea to continue with their play ‘Back of an Egg.’ They’ve been enjoying Kevin’s private basement at Randall’s, much to the dismay of Beth and their director even said that the play and their on stage chemistry is actually working! They may just pull it off.
Sloane nervously asks Kevin what they’re doing he says he’s not entirely sure. The only thing that Kevin knows is that “hes’s happy there’s a ‘we’ to talk about,” and so is Sloane. That’s when Olivia makes her return, rounding the corner mumbling on and on about how what Kevin said to her really struck a chord. She left the play to go on a spiritual journey of self-discovery where she finally found the depth he said she’d been lacking. Now, she wants Kevin and her role in the play back.
We all kind of saw this coming, right? I was SO happy to see Olivia and her cold personality leave after Kevin handed her a new one at his family’s cabin. However, there was something about the abrupt way she left and the ensuing relationship between Sloane and Kevin that made it obvious her return was looming. Well, Olivia’s back (briefly) with a new sense of self, a horrible new hairstyle, and she promptly ruins everything.
It should be an easy choice for Kevin considering his two options, but he chooses to be a Class-A douche and narrows his choice down to physicality. He sees Sloane as the “sexy librarian” type and Olivia as more of the “intense sexy artist” type, but she also has a little librarian too due to her accent. Kevin, no. Guess he isn’t changing as much as he or we would like to think. These two girls clearly want Kevin to see that there is more to both of them than looks (yes, even “reformed” Olivia) but he is having none of it.
Eventually Olivia asks him to decide who he wants in the play and he chooses Sloane who is listening off stage. He has a solid start, saying that Sloane is hardworking, she’s good in the play, and she is loyal. Then Olivia asks what that means for them. Kevin again chooses Sloane saying that she’s sweet, funny, and that she likes him. Then Kevin’s foot goes in his mouth. He tells Olivia that sometimes you have to do the right thing even if it’s not what you want. KEVIN, NO.
After Olivia leaves in a huff, Sloane appears having heard his speech and he invites her for a drink. She declines and Kevin realizes she heard him talking to Olivia. Way to go, Kev. Stop thinking like The Manny and start thinking like the Back of Egg.
#6: Toby is Alive!
There is probably an argument to be made that this should be further down the list but I just was not surprised at all that Toby survived. As a long time TV fanatic I know that you either kill a main character in a finale or you don’t- there’s not really a place for an off-screen death or even waiting until after a hiatus (The Walking Dead excluded obviously). Killing Toby would have been a HUGE thing for Kate’s story and her determination to get healthy, but the writers have made it clear time and time again that he is a huge part of her journey.
So, Toby is alive! He did not have a heart attack like we all assumed but an arrhythmia, which required an emergency stent in surgery. He is quick to brush it off to Kate saying that it was really nothing at all. Turns out that it is though. The doctor comes in and tells Toby that he has a hole in his heart that needs to be addressed. It can be taken care of with medication but surgery is the best suggested course of action for him.
Kate is rightfully shocked when she discovers that Toby does not want the surgery. He’s afraid of all things surgical – surgery, surgeons, and even the sturgeon fish because it sounds like surgeon. As charming as he tries to be to distract her and make it seem like his health issues are NBD she is not having it. She calls him a child and leaves the room to avoid fighting with someone who has a heart condition.
#5: Jack’s Flashback
The episode opened with a flashback to a young Jack. It was a quick scene but it was so important for the episode and Jack’s backstory as a whole. In the flashback we see Jack’s abusive dad shoving his wife up against the wall and starting to choke her. Jack, who looks to be 16 or 17, comes in to stop it or at least get his father’s attention off of his mother. It works. His dad asks Jack if this is going to be his big moment where he finally fights back, but Jack doesn’t say anything.
Jack goes to console his mother who makes him promise that he will never grow up to be like his father. We all know that Jack Pearson is an amazing father, but it’s hard to forget those conversations he had with Miguel and Rebecca about his looming behavior and drinking problems.
#4: You’re Having Three
We find Jack and Rebecca looking at a new apartment for their new addition. They’ve found a beautiful 2 bedroom on the 6th floor overlooking the city. It’s perfect for their assumed family of three and so Jack surprises Rebecca by purchasing it. If only he had waited a couple more hours to do so.
At their doctors appointment later that day they receive the news that they are having triplets.
Doctor: What would you do if i told you you were having twins?
Jack: I’d say you’re joking
Doctor: You’re right, I am. You’re having triplets.
Panic sets in for the Pearson’s as they realized they just put down a nonrefundable deposit and first and last months rent for a small apartment on the sixth floor…the sixth floor. Not even Jack’s tears to the Landlord could get their money back. So, Jack goes home to start crunching some numbers after begging his boss for a raise while Rebecca goes to lunch with her nagging and controlling mother, who clearly has a distaste for Jack insinuating that “he can’t even get her pregnant responsibly.”
It’s a very tense lunch and another look into the relationships between the patriarchs that we love and their parents. Once she hears about the situation, Rebecca’s mother says that she has a solution that will help them out, and that is that they move in with Rebecca’s parents for a year.
#3: Kate Proposes to Toby?
Toby calls Kate back to the hospital with a fake 911 Emergency text. Once she arrives he tells her that he’s going to go through with the surgery, but he had to make the call at the last minute or else he wouldn’t have gone through with it. When Kate asks him what made him change his mind he tells her that he would do anything for her and that he loves her, something that Kate hasn’t ever heard romantically.
Much to Toby’s dismay they inject him with a huge vial of something and wheel him off before Kate can even process that he said ‘I love you.’
As she waits with her brothers in the waiting room thinking about what had just happened she is full of regret for not saying ‘I love you’ back to Toby before he went into a risky surgery. Luckily, he makes it out (can you imagine the curve ball if they didn’t have him make it out of this one- damn!). She goes to his bedside as he’s sleeping and just releases the emotional walls she’s been holding up.
Kate tells Toby that she loves him – the first time she has ever said that to someone outside of her family. Then comes the big one, “This is scary Toby. This is scary, but I want to spend the rest of my life with you…if you’ll have me.”
Of course, Toby has been faking sleep the whole time. He turns to her.
Toby: I would totally marry you if that’s something you’re down with.
Kate: You would?
Toby: I’d marry the hell out of you, Kate Pearson.
And just like that, they’re getting married. Or at least I think? I’m not entirely sure just how resolute it was. Are they engaged? Or were they just saying someday? Guess we will have to keep watching to find out, but for now Toby is back in the picture and it seems like he’s going to be for a long time. I am a interested in seeing how his health scare impacts Kate’s surgery plans and Toby’s insistence to not diet.
#2: Randall & William (& Jessie)
Naturally, a Randall scene is close to topping the list. Throughout the episode we watch Randall struggle with wrapping his head around William and Jessie’s relationship, especially after William makes plans to spend the night at his beau’s house. For a second Randall thinks that he might be homophobic, but Beth reminds him that he is good and he is accepting. She suggests that he try and get to know Jessie a little more, which he does try to do but it ends up being an awkward mess (and that’s after Randall offered him, a recovering addict, a whiskey).
When it comes down to it though, Randall is jealous of the time that William is spending with Jessie as opposed to him and his family. When he tells William this it gives William the opportunity to finally come clean about why he has been spending so much time with Jessie.
He can feel the cancer killing him and knows that his time is coming up and the last thing that he wants to do is burden Randall’s family with that responsibility. Jessie has been helping him set up all the necessary things he needs such as hospice. Ever since Randall met William he has not wanted to continue with his chemo treatments. It was the promise of more time with his new family that convinced him to try. Now though, he is not sure he wants to continue and for the first time ever Randall listens. He tells William that this house is his home to live in and if it comes to it…to die in.
By not killing Toby, the writers have basically thrown the flag up that William will most likely not make it to season 2 and I hate that. I cannot imagine this show without William and do not think I am anywhere near prepared to handle that.
#1: Jack’s Dad & The Big Three House
Rebecca comes home from her lunch and tells Jack about her mothers idea for them to move in after the babies are born. He looks at her like she had three heads reminding her that she can’t stand her mother. All of these emotions seem to hit Rebecca at once. The fact that she is having triplets, the fact that they can’t afford triplets, the fact that her mother disapproves of her life, and the fact that she was so willing to give up and consider moving in with her parents.
She fakes a craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream to get Jack out of the house and the second he leaves she breaks down in tears. Only Jack realizes that he forgot his wallet and goes back in to hear her crying. He tries to play it off like he didn’t hear but you can see his heart breaking over the situation that the two are in and how it is affecting her. Watching Mandy Moore try to talk normally to him through silent sobs was probably her best acting scene to date.
Jack heads back out but drives past the ice cream store and pulls up to a small house. He takes off his wedding ring and knocks on the door. His father answers and immediately it sinks in what Jack is doing. This man was abusive to him and his mother and has been so removed from Jack’s life that he doesn’t even know about Rebecca. So, for Jack to go to him and ask for money is a HUGE deal and its quite moving. The lengths that Jack is willing to go for his family have probably just reached a point that we can’t even possibly comprehend yet.
Jack tells his father he is in gambling trouble and needs the money. His father looks down on him making sure to belittle him as much as possible. Jack can only play along. “You’ve always been right about me. I’m no good. I’m never going to be any good, and I come to you and I’ve got my hand out.”
His father gives him the money and Jack immediately goes and sells his car. He then brings Rebecca to the “money pit” that he and his construction crew have been working on. She’s confused, but he tells her that he figured it all out and that the house is theirs. It was a welcomed knot on the wonder of just how Rebecca and Jack were able to raise their children in that big house comfortably and I’m thankful that the writers are willing to show us.
He takes her upstairs to the unfinished bedrooms telling her all of the plans that he has for the house. She stares into the bedroom and it transforms into the triplets nursery. Then she looks to the bathroom and sees kids having bath time.
“This is going to be a great place to raise a family. Can you see it?” Jack asks.
Rebecca smiles, “This could work.”
Feel like reliving the moments? Check out these two episode highlights below.
Be sure to catch This Is Us Tuesdays at 9 EST on NBC and keep checking back on FanFest for more new, recaps, and updates!
Having studied Media & Writing at James Madison University, I always knew that I wanted to do some type of creative writing, but being able to write about zombies, Starks, and superheroes on a daily basis for Fan Fest is my actual dream. While I probably shouldn’t be as proud as I am to be so similar to Nick Miller, I do hope to one day write my own “Pepperwood Chronicles’.