This Is Us s1 ep 3

Time to find out a little bit more of Randall’s family history this week: because the writers of This Is Us know exactly how to knock the stuffing out of me, the story of how Randall’s parents met and fell in love, and how he came to be left at the fire station is skilfully, briefly told in a dialogue-free, achingly poignant couple of minutes reminiscent of the gorgeous (and devastating) opening sequence of Up. It’s moving and beautiful, and starts the episode off with an air of melancholy which infuses all the 1970s scenes: from Rebecca’s struggles with grief, motherhood and adoption, and her secret meeting with REDACTED to Jack’s desperate positivity, it’s all very sweet and very sad. And DR KATOWSKY is back! So, yes I know it’s all shamelessly manipulative, but I don’t care because it’s also tremendous.

In the modern timeline, meanwhile, the potential repercussions of Rebecca and REDACTED’s decisions become clear to her and the viewer, as she meets William after a hasty, hilarious conversation between Beth and Randall, a man who had intended to have a plan for this very situation, but hadn’t quite got there yet.

As Randall tries to build a relationship with his father in the present, then, we also get a deeper insight into the not entirely healthy relationship between Kevin and Kate, for which the word co-dependent seems like something of an understatement. Toby points this out by way of an odd, but cute storyline involving a red carpet and compulsory singing at a nursing home, your reaction to which may well depend on how you feel about Toby – I love him, so I enjoyed it, but if you don’t, I can see it being deeply annoying. It takes Kevin himself to make the break, however, thanks to which he and his sister each end up going for it in different, but equally interesting ways which bode well both for them and the storyline in general. Another fantastic episode then, packed with humour, pathos and love – my sister turned to me at the end of it and said the show was “like a big hug, with lots of squeezes.” Couldn’t have put it better myself.


6 thoughts on “This Is Us s1 ep 3

  1. Kay20 December 25, 2016 / 5:56 am

    Isn’t it funny how this show makes you want to hug all family members?

    • CJ Cregg December 27, 2016 / 9:59 pm

      It’s the warmest, fuzziest thing on TV 🙂

  2. Jed Bartlet December 26, 2016 / 7:51 am

    I loved this, yet again.

    I’m still not entirely engaged with Kevin’s arc, except insofar as it intersects with Kate’s, but I liked the way it fell to him to take responsibility for their co-dependency. Toby is still… a bit much for me, and I’m not a huge fan of the device in which someone (normally a man) performs a grand gesture for someone (normally a woman) who just doesn’t know what’s good for her until she’s forced into realising it. I think he’s an idiot, although if he’s good to our Kate then I’ll put up with him, I suppose.

    The Rebecca/Jack stuff was just great this week, but the best storyline, as far as I’m concerned, continues to be Beth and Randall, at least in part because Susan KW and Sterling KB are bringing all the awesome to every single scene.

    • CJ Cregg December 27, 2016 / 9:57 pm

      Yeah, much as I loved the ep, I’m not loving the fact that both the main men in Kate’s life – twin and Toby – are making the big life decisions for her. She’s too self-conscious to pursue the singing, so Toby does it for her. She’s too devoted to break away from her brother, so Kevin does it for her…. Does she have any agency at all?

      On Beth and Randall: That scene where Beth asks Randall what Rebecca and William would be talking about and he snaps “The Knicks, Beth, I don’t know!” And then “Because you love me so much, you’re going to let me have that one” ( or words to that effect) – HEE.

      • Jed Bartlet December 28, 2016 / 12:37 am

        I suppose as far as Kate is concerned, her plot might be about her developing sense of self-worth. (Which kind of takes us back to the conversation we had after the first episode, about whether the show defined her by her weight, or whether the character did.)

    • Kay20 December 28, 2016 / 4:36 am

      I just finished episode 5 and while I liked Toby at first, he is starting to grate on me for his pushiness for all the reasons you mention above. More when you guys review that episode, but have to say that what you’ve already noticed is absolutely astute.

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