This Is Us s1 ep 5

Family, football and big questions of life, the universe and everything this week in an even more ambitious episode of This Is Us than usual.

Despite the expansion of the story, however, the telling of it is never less than careful and coherent, jumping back and forth as it does into a number of additional timelines to tell us a little about Jack’s (I think) family history, Rebecca and Jack’s childhoods, their early married life, and how and when they decided to have the Big Three. Randall and Beth, meanwhile, are also considering another child in the modern timeline, and Kevin is making an utterly charming mess of babysitting the ones they already have.

Also in the modern day, Kate and Toby’s story is notable for Toby being much more insecure and annoying than Kate this week – this is a new development for me, albeit not for Jed – but at least it’s not about their weight, and it also gives the writers an excuse for another very big reveal; I’m sure I won’t be the only one who worked out that REDACTED was REDACTED a few weeks ago, but I did think they’d keep us waiting a bit longer before confirming. The fact they didn’t shows, I think, a confidence in the story and plotting that, so far at least, is entirely justified.

Principal honours of the ep, however, have to be split between, on the one hand, Randall and Beth facing the possibility of another child (Sterling K Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson are, once again, terrific) and, unusually Kevin’s evening with William and the kids, which turned out to be funny, mortifying, and incredibly moving all at once. I don’t think I’ve realised before now just how good Justin Hartley and Ron Cephas Jones are; having them work together this week was inspired and, Hartley, in particular was outstanding. That final sequence where he talked about the painting, and we saw the past and the future and everything in between was so devastatingly moving and beautiful I don’t think I have the words to do it justice; me crying at This Is Us isn’t unusual, but my goodness. Sob.

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4 thoughts on “This Is Us s1 ep 5

  1. Jed Bartlet January 10, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    Oh my GOD Toby is annoying. Even worse, the show gives him a pass on it this week: Kate (repeatedly) makes it clear that she wants to watch the game on her own; Toby (repeatedly) whines about it to the point where, in the interests of compromise, she goes round to his; Toby produces some random buddy and STOPS THE GAME TO TELL SOME BULLSHIT ANECDOTE. So far, so Toby. But then we get to see them in the future watching the game together anyway – you see, Kate, Toby knew what was good for you all along! Eff this shit.

    As it happens, much as I loved this episode, I was kind of annoyed by Kevin’s evening of babysitting as well. How stupid do you have to be to get drawn into a conversation with kids about death while babysitting them? Ron Cephas Jones saved those scenes.

    I say again: Sterling K. Brown is a major, major star. His time is now. And Susan Kelechi Watson is even better this week.

    • CJ Cregg January 10, 2017 / 7:54 pm

      Bless him, Kevin isn’t the brightest Pearson by a long shot though. And he’s had no experience with kids, he’s used to using sarcasm and his looks to get him through any situation and mask his insecurities rather than thinking about his choice of words – I know everything was exaggerated for dramatic/ comedic effect in that scene and he got himself into such a ridiculous guddle that it stretched the bounds of poetic licence, but I can see him easily getting drawn into a conversation with kids that he shouldn’t, whether it’s about death or anything else.

      Totally agree Toby was appalling this week. I did like the little Steelers bobble hat they put on the urn though.

  2. Kay20 January 11, 2017 / 5:34 am

    This episode also brought out two things for me. First I absolutely HATED that Toby got a pass for being a stalker and the show saying it was okay for him to essentially browbeat Kate into hanging out with him. Watching the Steelers was an incredibly important family tradition. Why couldn’t she still have enjoyed that alone? She always needs a man to make her be extroverted? WTF SHOW? I love football, and I would done the exact same thing, and then kicked him out again when he showed up at the house. I found this to be a dubious message and I was angry about it. Still am.

    In contrast, like CJ, I blubbered at the end scene. Justin Hartley was just phenomenal in his description of the painting. And it was such a moving explanation delivered with William’s quiet support. Terrific and I thought the best scene of the show for the week – yes even better than Randall this week. Justin is bringing new depth to Kevin – which makes Kate’s storylines that much shallower. She’s completely tied to her weight and Toby right now which just feels like an injustice relative to the others. The other women on the show are written better – why is Kate’s storyline just so 2×4?

    • CJ Cregg January 17, 2017 / 10:42 pm

      Agreed – Kate’s storylines really stick out as being the poor sibling to the others, if you know what I mean. Since the rest of it is so well-written, it’s really glaring.

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