This Is Us s1 ep 16

Saying too much about this episode and spoiling it would be a disservice – it’s one to be watched alone rather than read about. And truth be told, I’d like to minimise the risk of sobbing all over my screen (again), so I’ll keep it brief.

Randall and William are headed to Memphis so Randall (and the audience) can learn a bit more about his father’s story and the “whole other family” he has out there; which means that, yes, it’s road trip time. Few shows can do the road trip episode well, but by focussing on the depth of the relationship between these two wonderfully-drawn characters played by two incredible actors in Sterling K Brown and Ron Cephas Jones (both of whom can move mountains with little more than a look), This Is Us does it brilliantly; in their hands, this episode becomes a hauntingly beautiful elegy for life, love and family which I genuinely don’t have the words to describe. I started crying quietly early on (when they visited REDACTED’s resting place) but for the last fifteen or so utterly devastating minutes, I was inconsolable, and the deeply melancholy feeling hasn’t really left me since. Which is a strange way to recommend what is supposed to be entertainment, but there we go. This was piercingly sad, but exquisite.

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