THIS IS US: Fighting for Love in “I Call Marriage” {ROUNDTABLE}

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Our hearts were going pitty-pat during this week’s episode of This Is Us. Various permutations of love – new love, lost love, established love, family love – were put to the test. Who will fight for love? Will they win?

Be. Still. My. Heart. Was this the most loving, and most honest about love, episode of television ever? Let’s start with the bride and groom: we saw Rebecca and Jack go through a little rough patch, and find a way to reconnect. Do you think it will stick, or are we in for rockier times ahead?

Ange: Jack Pearson sure knows how to make a gal swoon – I certainly was when he lead Rebecca into their old apartment that he had lit up with fairy lights! And then the vows! That being said, I agree with you dubbing this episode one of the most honest about love episodes of television ever as we watched the trials and tribulations of Jack and Rebecca’s relationship throughout the years, I want to believe that if Rebecca goes on the five-state tour it won’t break their relationship. Sure it will be tough (especially since it leaves Jack to deal with three teenagers on this own), but absence makes the heart grow fonder right? … Oh god, I just had a thought – what if Jack suddenly passes away while Rebecca’s on tour?! We know that the Big Three are in their teens when it happens. PLEASE DON’T DO THIS TO ME SHOW.

Melissa: Oh Lord, that would be awful. AWFUL. Was that why we had the age-establishing scene with Kate asking Rebecca for a tampon? OK, I have to think about something else…like Rebecca’s “my husband is a freakin’ superhero” speech to Sam Ben. That was a-mazing. Here’s sexy Ben trying to put the moves on Rebecca, playing the “if your husband loves you, then he’ll let you go on the road with me for weeks at a time” card and Rebecca freaking shuts. him. down. You go, Rebecca!

Ange: I was totally cheering when Rebecca made her ‘my husband is a freakin’ superhero’ speech and listing the things that Jack does that once again cements how he is the ideal partner. I’m pretty sure this was my favorite piece of dialogue from this week’s ep.

Melissa: Mine too. Hands down. In light of their epic marriage vows and their mutual decision to choose each other, to choose their marriage over and over and over, I’m going to insert an exchange we had a few weeks ago that fits in here:

Melissa: Do you think that having Jack and Rebecca be older (36 and 30, respectively) than most first-time parents during the late ’70s/early ’80s is part of why they’re so freaking amazing? Ditto with their marriage – they were older when they got married (34 & 28, I think). Is this aspirational relationship we’re seeing on screen down to their maturity?
Ange: I think it plays a big part of it – they’ve had more time to experience life, make mistakes and learn from them, and get things out of their system like being a young married couple who weren’t tied down by kids in their 20s as opposed to a couple that say got married at 18 or were parents at the age of 20. While I think it plays a big part, I’m not sure if the success of their relationship can entirely be attributed to that. I also feel like their own backgrounds and family history have factored into it and demonstrated what not to do in a marriage or how not to behave as parents, making a conscious decision not to become their parents.

Kate faced her own temptations this week. Was Toby infringing by coming for a visit? Do you think Kate will cheat? Does smarmy Duke have a point about Kate needing to “be herself” or is that just manipulation?

Ange: I know Toby means well but I found it a bit disrespectful how he suddenly showed up but then also was drawing attention to himself when he joined in on the class. I know he’s the funny guy with grand big gestures but I find that he often rushes into decisions without taking Kate’s feelings and wellbeing into it, like when he decided to stop dieting and ordered dessert that time they went out. Anyway, I hope Kate doesn’t cheat but maybe she does need to be herself for a bit without Toby. That being said, coming from Duke it’s hard to tell if he was being genuine or manipulating the situation to his advantage.

Melissa: I’m torn between feeling like Toby is being self-centered and disrespectful, and feeling like Kate is being self-centered and disrespectful. I mean, Toby did just have a near-death experience. They did just get engaged. It’s not unreasonable for him to want to spend time with Kate. On the other hand, Kate needs to deal with her issues so she can get her weight – and her life – under control. Toby showing up at the retreat and distracting her is not helpful. Ugh. I think I just talked myself into agreeing with Duke the Prick that Kate needs to be find out who she is on her own. You hear that Duke, on her own. Not with you. Jerk.

Kevin’s campaign to reconnect with Sophie seems to be working. What do you think of this Kevin? 

Ange: Oh Kevin! Boy you have good intentions and you’re trying to be a good guy but dude, you seriously can’t expect your charm and cute gestures to allow Sophie to forgive you straight away. I kind of thought Sophie caved a bit too easy and that a bit more resistance from her end and grovelling, apologies and hashing out from his end needed to be done. Showing up out of the blue after 12 years (AND after you cheated on your now ex-wife) is a pretty big deal. That being said, I like that he has realised what he truly wants in life and is going after it and is trying to be a better person in the process.

Melissa: You know, he seems to be putting Sophie first here. Or at least trying to put her first. To make amends in a meaningful, personal way. He also recognized that he already had his soul mate and messed it up, but decided to give it another try. I’m counting all of this as character development, progress on the road to maturity. Just don’t muck it up, buddy.

Now we come to non-romantic love. Randall is struggling with William’s impending death, and possibly an illness of his own? Is his world falling apart? 

Ange: My heart broke for Randall in this episode. Obviously he has so much going on right now and it’s getting to him (oh gosh the way he reacted when Beth was explaining to the girls the memory box, hurt to watch) and him being the perfectionist type of guy that he is, he’s not really coping with it well. I really hope the hand tremors aren’t a sign of something serious to come. I don’t think my heart could take it!

Melissa: The memory box is such a good idea. I wish I’d heard about that sooner. It does seem a little macabre and premature to be filling it now, but it also helps the girls focus on good memories, and making memories as we saw in the case of Tess wanting William to teach her to play chess. I hope Randall begins to see how that helps with the grieving process. And as much as I don’t trust Sunjay, doesn’t it seem like his boss is making the right choice by lightening Randall’s load at work so he can spend more time at home right now?

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.

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