‘Three Sentences’ was probably the most important episode of the series to date for a number of reasons. One being that it drove two of our characters to new depths and possibilities. Two being the new nugget of info into the mystery of Jacks Death. Jack’s death is a dark cloud hanging over the show. You can feel it’s presence every time he is being an amazing father and an amazing husband. You can feel it every time you see Miguel on screen. You can feel it in the present day as The Big Three try to navigate their troubles. And not knowing when the lightening is going to strike and the rain is going to fall is beyond stressful and heartbreaking.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that the show is moving towards tackling Jack’s death sooner rather than later. I imagine that if we do find out more about his death this season, it will perhaps be in conjuncture with the death of William, which I see coming in episode 18’s season finale (and I HOPE I am wrong).
Tonight, we were given a glimpse at the timeline and where his death falls and it appears that The Big Three are in their late teens. Seeing as they just turned 10 this week we still have some time with our beloved Jack but just how long remains up in the air.
Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves though. Here are the top 7 moments from tonight’s episode of This Is Us.
#6 – Birthdays through the Years
The episode opened with home videos of Pearson Birthdays of the past. Birthdays have been a huge component of this show since the beginning. If you recall the initial description of This Is Us was a show about a group of people who share the same birthday. The Big Three share a birthday with their father Jack, and we have already had 2 episodes detailing their birth. Also the very first scene of the pilot was this quote:
So needless to say, it was exciting to get a glimpse into the Pearson traditions. The home footage shows the Pearson’s always having joint parties for the kids. There’s a big banner, a three layer cake, pin the tail on the donkey and wrapping paper fights. The whole montage just made you feel nostalgic.
We then cut to Jack and Rebecca in bed as Jack begs to get the kids a family dog and is quickly shot down. Kevin and Kate burst into their room and hold a unofficial “family meeting.” They want separate parties this year. Kate wants a Madonna party and Kevin wants a Princess Bride party (even though the movie terrified him..but that was when he was 9. He’s about to be 10.) They call Randall in who seems to be pretty non nonchalant about the whole thing saying that if he invites kids from school then he has to invite the whole class. They tell him that it would be okay so he jumps on board and says he wants a magic party.
#5 – Toby’s Pep Talk to Kevin
After dropping Kate off at her camp, Toby hits the city to spend some quality time with Kevin who is still down in the dumps about his break ups with Olivia and Sloane. Sloane is currently giving him one deserving cold shoulder at work too. So, Kevin takes Toby out to one of his high end rooftop bars where he proceeds to talk about his womanly troubles and how they always end up the same way.
Toby is the self declared “King of Romantic Gestures” which is true, even though a good amount of his romantic gestures to Kate have just been him deliberately ignoring her wishes and feelings, but I won’t harp too much on that. He tells Kevin “while you were out seducing women with your master race bone structure and your perfect man bod, I was logging in two solid decades of actually doing nice things for women to make them like me.” Toby has also seen almost every romantic comedy that exists, a genre that Kevin has seemed to avoid despite being an actor. He never even saw Notting Hill!
Toby makes sure to tell him that a gesture can’t be wasted on someone who isn’t special or important to him. It has to mean something and the person has to mean something. He tells Kevin to close his eyes and picture who his one true love is and imagine that he can only say three sentences to her. Who does he see?
Kevin closes his eyes and thinks about it. Then it hits him. He knows who he has to go see.
#4 – The Birthday Parties
Jack and Rebecca are scrambling to get everything ready for the THREE separate parties they are throwing the next day. While Jack bedazzles some Madonna gloves he’s watching their old family movies and asks Rebecca how she feels about having another kid. He’s worried that the kids are growing up too fast and won’t need them anymore. Rebecca tells Jack that he is the love of her life and those three kids are her everything, but she is not having any more. The dog is still out too.
Considering how little notice they were given, the parties are quite elaborate and a definite hit! There’s a room full of kids in the living room dressed up like Princess Bride characters with cardboard castles, decorations, and swords for Kevin’s party. Kate’s party has got some great costumes, Jack’s homemade bedazzled gloves, and of course some Madonna tunes!
However, when they make their way out to Randall’s party there are only 4 kids there. Concerned, the two ask Randall where all of his classmates are. He tells them very directly that they aren’t his friends and the only reason that he gets invited to all of their parties is because of the class rule. He doesn’t really seem upset about it at all, but Jack and Rebecca are clearly worried about his lack of friendships at his new school (Rebecca wonders if it’s a race thing) despite the fact that he claims to love going there.
Back inside, Jack finds Kate alone in the room where her party was supposed to be. All of her friends, including her best friend Sophie have all moved into the living room to watch Kevin put on his best Inigo Montoya impression. Kate tells her dad that everyone likes Kevin more and that’s why all of her friends left her party to go to his. He does his best to cheer her up by asking her to teach him how to “vouge”. It’s an adorable scene and just further drives the closeness of Kate and Jacks relationship, but in the end Kate is still heartbroken and just asks to be alone. This really gets to Jack as he realizes that his kids may be getting older but they still need him now more than ever and deserve his undivided attention.
Rebecca on the other hand is having the opposite the kind of revelation. She runs into Randall and asks him again if he is okay about the turn out of his party. Randall who is ever so wise beyond his years says that is totally fine about it. You see he has 3 really good friends and they all showed up to his party and that is what makes him happy. He would rather spend his time with his true friends than a bunch of people who just showed up because they had to. He even sits with them all at lunch at school and they are making a maze book. Seeing just how special this kid is Rebecca tells Jack that even though they can’t take credit for his genes, they raised him and they did a damn good job. She is open to having another kid.
Ultimately the two decide later that night and exhausted in bed that having another kid isn’t the best option for them….and still much to Jack’s dismay neither is a dog. Then they hear shouting from downstairs and run down to see their kids having a wrapping paper fight. The two join in and all of the birthday traditions of the past make their return!
#3 – William’s Bouncing Back
William is officially no longer on chemo and he is feeeeeeeeling great! He’s bouncing down the stairs all lively and ready to take advantage of whatever time he has left. Unfortunately, Randall has to rush off to work where he discovers that his company has brought someone new in to work on a project he was hoping to run. He puts his name in for consideration and tell his boss he will have his presentation ready the next morning.
So, when William comes to his office wanting to spend some time with Randall and take advantage of the beautiful day, Randall really has no choice than to put his work aside and say yes. But when a quick lunch turns into a shopping trip where William tries on a bunch of different sunglasses then makes Randall take him to three different places to find the perfect Egg Cream drink, Randall’s patience starts wearing thin.
When William asks Randall to pull into an empty parking lot he finally reveals his true intention of their outing. He asks Randall if he can drive his car. So, they switch seats and Randall puts on his new shades, one hand on the wheel and one hand with his drink and he is looking fly as hell.
He tells Randall that when he was little there was this old record shop him and his friends would always go to. The owner was the super cool dude who would drive around in his nice car listening to his favorite music, holding onto his favorite drink and wearing some slick shades. He tells Randall that it was always a dream of his to be able to do that one day and you can visibly seem him soften. No longer caring about his presentation or the big account he is fighting for. It’s all about spending this precious remaining time with his father.
Randall then learns that William never learned how to drive he agrees to teach him and the two share the special moment as they go in circles around the parking. William says “this is a dream come true,” and I think for Randall it is too.
#2 – Kevin’s Choice
When we check back in with Kevin he is knocking on the door of an apartment. Assuming it’s either Sloane or Olivia, I was quite shocked when a woman I didn’t recognize answered. (Well, a woman from the show…It’s actually Alexandra Breckenridge from The Walking Dead!) He dives into his three sentence speech that Toby told him about and it goes a little something like this:
“I was head-over-heels in love with you the moment that I saw you. I never should have let you get away. And it’s like you were part of me, it’s like you were my arm, and I when I lost you I lost my arm… dot dot dot it’s like I’ve been walking around without an arm for over a decade, you know? Comma, I really want my arm back, you know, because I never stop thinking about it, comma, not ever. Parentheses, you look amazing, by the way, end parentheses, period.”
When the woman finally speaks we find out that this is Kevin’s ex-wife (whaaaat!?) who he hasn’t seen in 12 years. And to add in another twist…his ex wife is Sophie, Kate’s best friend and the girl from their 10th birthday party. We then flashback to the party and realize that his whole plan that day was to spend time with Sophie.
He tells Sophie that he would just like to meet and grab coffee and catch up if she would like to. She doesn’t say much to him there, but sends him a text message later asking “when?”
I put this scene in my top 2 because I felt that it was a great door to open for Kevin’s story. I love how they set us up to think his love interests were going to be either Sloane or Olivia when in fact that was all a set up to lead him to his childhood sweetheart turned wife turned ex wife. There is so much backstory to learn now about these two and even how their relationship affected Kate. I don’t want Kevin’s whole story to be aligned with love interests, but feel this development is going to do wonders for his character and his journey.
#1 – Kate’s Breakthrough
I think that it is safe to say that I have no clue where Kate’s story is going. She has so many moving pieces at the moment that it’s a little hard to focus, but I will do my best.
Newly engaged Kate has decided to not go through with her gastric bypass surgery after Toby’s heart attack. She doesn’t think that it’s a good time for surgery after coming so close to losing someone. Her doctor encourages her to check out an immersive weight loss experience, which Kate identifies immediately “fat camp.” However, her doctor encourages her to give it a shot.
Once she’s there she’s surprised to find out that her vision of throwing up all day and sweating enough to fill a pool is not the case at all. The camp focuses more on the emotional and mental barriers that are preventing her weight loss. She’s a little taken aback by the kookiness of it all. She sits through the bird watching and the yoga, but draws the line when she enters this spiritual rhythmic drum stick class.
When she steps outside to call Toby to come pick her up she’s interrupted by the camp’s horse caretaker – a heavy straight shooter named Duke who actually had already flirted with her much earlier in the day. He gives her a hard time telling her that “this place is a joke” and that “she should walk away from it” because “people don’t change and they both know it.” Whether he was working some reverse psychology on her I am not sure, but Kate sees his attitude as a challenge and marches right back into her drumstick class.
It’s a beautifully heartbreaking scene. The instructor is telling everyone to think about what in their life is holding them back and what has led them to this unhappiness all while they beat their drumsticks on the ground. Kate begins to reflect on her past such as the nasty note she received from her friends at the pool, or the fact that her mom was a size small and she was an XL, but then she sees her and her dad “vouging” at her 10th birthday party and starts realizing all that he did to always make her feel beautiful and confident.
….we see Jack’s funeral – the urn, the moon necklace on Rebecca’s chest, the kids, his photo, etc.. Kate lets out a guttural scream in the middle of her class as she finally realized what it is that she’s been holding in so long – her father’s death.
The scene is so important. Not only has Kate discovered the pain that’s been holding her back but she has also started to release it and hopefully that will finally help her move forward in a positive way. It’s also important because we learn that The Big Three are in their late teens at their father funeral, but also that the show is going to start getting more and more into the details of his death.
After the class, Kate finds Duke and thanks him for giving her the push she needed to get back into the class. He tells her that wasn’t his intention at all and that he was just annoyed at her for using her phone. He wasn’t being a dick to her, he simply just is a dick, and he’s interested in Kate. He tells her he’s in Cabin 13 and to come by whenever she’s ready. She tells him it’s not going to happen, but he doesn’t believe her at all.
So the question is will Kate fall for Duke’s temptation? I sure hope not, but her story is moving very quickly with Toby so maybe a little love triangle is what they need.
Watch the two highlighted scenes below!
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’.