Work and sacrifices are this week’s themes, as, in the past timeline, Jack’s choice between the freedom and risk of starting his own business and the drudgery and safety of a desk job in someone else’s is made both simpler and sadder when he finds out Randall’s gifts need the kind of attention a public school can’t give and a private one charges plenty for. Whether that’s the right decision for Jack we don’t know yet, but it’s certainly the right decision for Randall – in the modern day, nobody understands what he does, and he’s a little sore and self-conscious about it, but, unlike his dad, he absolutely loves his desk job. Which is wonderful, because boring or not, we can’t all be rock stars; the best we can hope for is to be good at something we like, and Randall’s got that sorted.
Kevin’s not quite found that happy place yet, though. He’s continuing to struggle with his job, so the increasingly unpleasant Olivia decides to help out and move their relationship forward a few steps in the process. It was obvious from the first time we met Olivia that she and Kevin would end up sleeping together, but the part about it being in a stranger’s bedroom at the memorial service for a man neither of them knew caught me somewhat by surprise, even if it does mean Kevin has to open up about his grief over his dad’s death. Whether Olivia’s sacrifice of basic human decency to get him there and get a better performance out of him is justified, is a different issue entirely.
While Kevin and Randall take a deeper look at themselves, their jobs and whether they need to change, however, Kate’s new job ends up being about the same thing every other Kate story’s about. Having to climb all the stairs in the world to get there notwithstanding (a plus-size person faced with a huge staircase! Oh, how we laughed. *rolls eyes*), at first, it seems like she’s hired because she’s going to be terrific at the job. And she is terrific at it. But then, it turns out she’s mainly hired because – as with everything in Kate’s life – she’s overweight. Her employer wants someone to talk to her apparently also overweight – the girl looked fairly average-sized to me – in that special fat language those of us who aren’t a size six use to recommend snacks and diet plans to each other. FFS. I love this show, and the rest of the episode is excellent, but at this point I have to wonder whether the writers are trolling us with Kate and her storylines, because this is getting beyond a joke.