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.