THIS IS US: “A Father’s Advice” Discussion
Hope you had your tissues on standby because after almost six months away from our screens, NBC’s THIS IS US returned for its sophomore season last night. A year on from when we first met the Pearsons (past and present) in the pilot, The Big Three are now celebrating their 37th birthday and a lot has changed since their 36th. As per usual with the aid of flashbacks we gained more insight into the Pearson family history and by the episode’s end there was quite the revelation. With so much to discuss, join Nice Girls Ange and Melissa as they discuss last night’s episode “A Father’s Advice”…
Ange: I don’t know if it was because I had a looong and stressful day at work but only a few minutes in and William’s voiceover already had me wanting to cry. How about you Melissa? Was it the show or just me?
Melissa: For better or worse, I watched this episode at the gym which meant no tears until the very end so people wouldn’t see me crying. Loved William’s voiceover, and his presence throughout the episode. I especially liked seeing more of his relationship with Beth, filling in some of the gaps from last season.
Ange: Agreed, it’s also so nice to see Ron Cephas still a part of the show – thank goodness for flashbacks right? More on that later though. After seeing Randall and Beth as the stable and #goals couple last season, it was pretty unnerving to see all this tension between them in the first half of the episode, but I am glad that it didn’t get dragged out! I also appreciated the compromise they reached with Randall wanting to adopt but then Beth coming up with the solution of going all in and instead adopting an older child instead of a baby. These two truly are “perfectly imperfect”.
Melissa: I had faith that they’d work through the tension, but I was a little concerned that Beth would cave in, like Rebecca did with Jack and Randall. The fact that Randall’s takeaway from his conversation with his mother was to NOT be more like his parents was refreshing. Then to have Beth come up with another solution was perfect. Perfectly imperfect. They are amazing.
Ange: Considering how much of a perfectionist Randall is, how do you think he’ll go with taking a troubled and most likely unpredictable teen under his wing?
Melissa: It’s going to stretch him, that’s for sure. I wonder if Beth feels more prepared for a teenager after caring for a terminally ill old man for a year?
Ange: You bring up a good point about Beth, and agreed it’s going to stretch Randall for sure! In this episode we learnt that Randall actually witnessed that showdown between Rebecca and Jack. I actually gasped out loud when I realized that. Do you think there are going to be repercussions of this?
Melissa: That was a surprise, and I wonder if it speaks to why Randall is closer to Rebecca while Kevin and Kate are closer to Jack(‘s memory). I could have done without young Kevin’s “he’s about to make his move” comment to Rebecca at the movie, though. That was gross on so many levels. Young Kevin was a Grade A douchebag.
Ange: Ah yes, he was definitely a reminder of how gross teenage boys can be! * shudder *. On the show we have seen flashbacks to when Jack and Rebecca first met, when they were younger, while she was pregnant, when the Big Three were born, when the Big Three were kids and then when the Big Three were teenagers but the premiere introduced a new kind of flashback – a few months ago set within the context of a timeframe that we were actually watching. I thought that was pretty interesting. How about you? Also interesting that it was “Beth’s flashback” (whilst still being related to Randall), which goes to show how integral she also is to the show.
Melissa: Digging it! I want to know more about Beth – her life, her past, her personality, her thoughts about Randall’s Family Drama. I also like the opportunity to fill in gaps from last season, to see what was happening with secondary characters when the primary characters weren’t around. That’s one of the appeals of fanfiction, right? That you can create entire stories exploring secondary or tertiary characters to expand the universe. Here they’re doing it on screen, and I’m happy to see it.
Ange: Speaking of Beth, can we please take a moment to appreciate her sass in this episode? From her refusal to “throwdown in the adoption carpark” to her “You alright old man.”
Melissa: She’s amazing.
Ange: We saw a bit of conflict between Toby and Kevin in regards to Kate. Where do you sit on the fiance vs twin debate? Was Toby overeacting or was Kevin overstepping with the birthday plans and advising Kate on her audition?
Melissa: Kevin, as usual, was oblivious. He did overstep, but not out of jealousy or maliciousness, just oblivious to the fact that his relationship with Kate needs to change now that Toby is there. Toby felt dismissed, like his relationship with Kate is not as important or valuable as her relationship with Kevin, and I can’t fault him for that. Glad they talked about it so Kate can have a richer life.
Ange: I’m glad that the guys were able to set things straight, but also I liked that when Kevin saw through his obliviousness he also explained to Toby why he is the way he is with Kate so that Toby would understand their relationship a bit more. Also, shout out to Kate for standing up for herself in this episode and take control of her life. You go girl!
Melissa: Yes! And shout out to the writers for taking the unexpected “your voice isn’t good enough” route instead of the easy “rah rah you’re hired we love your moxie” route. As Kate said, that’s something she can improve, something she doesn’t have a lot of baggage about. I’m glad to see her have a goal unrelated to her weight. Sidenote: who was the guy doing the hiring? Was that Robert Buckley? The lighting was so low, I couldn’t get a good look and I didn’t catch his name in the end credits.
Ange: Funny you should say that, he’s actually an Aussie actor named Brett Tucker and I was excited to recognize an Aussie on the show, ha ha!
Melissa: OMG! Brett Tucker! The veterinarian from McLeod’s Daughters!
Ange: Okay now for the waterworks that are pretty much standard while watching an episode of This Is Us. What made you cry or tear up? The Rebecca and Jack scene at the end of episode got me. From Rebecca’s “That’s not what we do” to Jack’s confession that he’s not okay and is drinking again but needs to fix himself on his own and then just when you think you’ve recovered, Rebecca takes a stand and refuses to let him deal with it on his own and wants him to come home so they can deal with it together. I was NOT okay! And then that end – GAH!
Melissa: I held it together until we saw Randall and Kate on the couch, crying. Then Rebecca’s anguished wail as she sat in front of the house sent me over the edge. *weeps*
Ange: That wail wrecked me! So that ending – we got a piece of the puzzle that is how did Jack die but do we have all the pieces? Yes the house burnt down so one assumes that Jack died inside going off his personal effects in the bag on the front passenger seat and Rebecca’s cry of anguish in the car in front of the house, but do we know for sure? The contents inside the bag looked pretty clean and char-free. Theories? Go!
Melissa: Honestly? I’m less interested in how Jack died than the impact it had on his family. Were he and Rebecca reconciled? Had he kicked the drinking? Why does Kate think his death was her fault? How did losing their father at age 17 change the kids? How did Jack’s death lead to Rebecca and Miguel getting married?
Ange: I think the impact is going to bring on the waterworks more than the seeing the event itself. I’d like to think that Jack and Rebecca had reconciled but am less certain that he kicked the drinking by then. We don’t know for sure what the time frame was from when Rebecca took Jack home to that moment do we? I’m honestly not ready to see how it’s going to affect and change the kids – I already know that it is going to hurt like hell to watch that. And yes, how the heck did Rebecca and Miguel end up getting married? (Momentarily forgot about him, whoops!)
This is Us airs Tuesday 9/8c on NBC.