THIS IS US: “A Manny-Splendored Thing”

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If you look at the title for this week’s episode of This Is Us, it was about Kevin returning to “the scene of the crime” on The Manny. But as Melissa and Ange discuss, it was really about Kate.

Melissa: We have a lot to unpack with Kate from this episode. We learned more about her relationships with each of her parents, and saw her finally start being “a grown up” with her mother. I know her words were difficult for Rebecca to hear, but Kate is not wrong, IMO. There is a mother of a child in my life who does the same thing Rebecca does – “good job here’s how you can improve” – and I found myself wishing she would watch this show and see how detrimental those comments can be.

Ange: I really enjoyed that we got to learn more about Kate and how her relationship with her mother came to be the way that it is and also give more insight into why she is that much closer to Jack. (Gosh their scenes were giving me the feels in this week’s episode!) I agree with you that though Kate’s words may have been hard for Rebecca to hear, they definitely needed to be said. These feelings in Kate have been bottled up for years and keeping them in for so long and not letting it out and explaining how Rebecca makes her feel and why is not healthy.

Melissa: Toby’s having a moment, huh? He gave Rebecca his #TeamKate speech and won her over. He’s being supportive of Kate goals. He’s going to bat for Miguel. I like season 2 Toby more and more.

Ange: Yep he sure is. Loved his whole #TeamKate speech and how he’s being supportive. I know I was a bit on the fence about him last week but it does seem like he really is taking Kate’s feelings and wellbeing to heart, which is great. I also like the idea of Miguel and Toby kind of bonding over being “outsiders” of the family.

Melissa: What did you think of Kevin’s return to television? I was a little surprised that he was willing to go back so soon. Memories are long in Hollywood; he had to know he’d end up being humiliated. Thank goodness for Sophie!

Ange: If I were in Kevin’s shoes, I would have been suspicious and while a part of me thinks that surely he should have known that it wasn’t going to be all hunky dory when he “returned to the scene of the crime”, I also think Kevin is kind of a dreamer/idealistic when it comes to these sort of things. Like he has an idea in his head of how things are going to be but they may not necessarily match reality. We’ve seen it from when he had the meltdown in the pilot and almost seemed surprised of the ramifications of that incident and then all the stuff with the play, so while yes he probably should have known better, I’m also not surprised that he was so trusting. I like the dynamic with him and Sophie though and how she’s able to keep him from completely spinning out.

Melissa: Speaking of great dynamics, have we ever seen Beth and Kevin interact as much as they did this week? That conversation in Kevin’s trailer was fantastic!

Ange: First off, can I just say that Beth is on fire this season? I loved her little quips and digs about Kevin and the Manny at the start of the episode! The bit where, I think it was Tess, tells Randall that she and Annie have packing the car covered because he knows they do it better – totally Beth’s kid, haha! Anyway back to your question, no I don’t think we have which I feel like made this episode that much more special. As much as they think they’re different, the way that they knew Randall and his quirks in that scene showed that they have more in common than they think. Hands down that scene was my favorite moment in the episode!

Melissa: Let’s talk tears. For me it was the sequence with Kate singing “Landslide” over scenes of Jack working out his grief and anger on a punching bag, and Kevin making it through the final scene of The Manny (although I acknowledge how UNalike their respective traumas are).

Ange: Yep that montage with Kate singing “Landslide” interwoven with Jack working out his emotions at the gym definitely tugged at the heartstrings and almost had me in tears. Also giving me the feels but not quite inducing tears was the end scene with teen Kate and Jack. I really felt the bond between the two in this scene and having seen the earlier moment of younger Kate doing the same thing in reassuring Jack that it was going to be okay just made this last scene so much more.

Melissa: That gesture, mirroring Jack’s comforting move, was precious. All three actors who played Kate in this episode – Chrissy Metz, Hannah Zeile, and Mackenzie Hancsicsak – turned in flawless performances. They’re my nominees for Women of the Week.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.

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