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THIS IS US: “The 20’s” Roundtable Discussion

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This Is Us served up a double dose of Halloween this week as we flashed back to 1990 and 2008. Join Melissa and Ange as we discuss what we learned about the Pearsons and how the past impacts the future.

Melissa: There were some obvious parallels between 1990 and 2008 – especially with Randall and his need for order and control – but I also noticed differences in Kate and Kevin. Kate’s self-confidence as a little girl was much higher than in her 20’s. And Kevin showed more loyalty and confidence as a kid, too. I’m assuming Jack’s death is the catalyst for the changes in their personalities, right?

Ange: I totally think so! I mean Jack has always been Kate’s biggest champion and even in this episode we saw Rebecca warn Jack that he can’t fawn over Kate forever because when she gets into the real world she won’t be prepared so it would not surprise me if it was revealed that Jack’s death influenced Kate’s change in confidence. As for Kevin’s loyalty, I think a bit but maybe not to the extent of case – we know that Kevin is a football player and assume he’s a popular guy as a teen, I feel like that popularity could have gone to his head and then when Jack, who has such a moral compass, died, there wasn’t as strong a force in his life helping guide him with what’s wrong or right, even though c’mon Kevin, you really should know better – trying to steal your roomie’s role? Not cool!

While we’re on the subject of The Big Three and the parallels between the two sets of flashbacks (which I’ve just realised, this whole ep was all flashback and none of it was set in the present this week), I’d really like to applaud the show for the way they portrayed Randall’s anxiety – especially little Randall’s.

Melissa: Good point about Kevin’s teen years; I do think Jack was his moral compass and without him, 20-something Kevin was even more douchey. Speaking of the kids in their 20’s…that’s a rough decade! On the one hand, you’re full of optimism and ambition. On the other hand, you’re making some pretty big mistakes. Unless you’re Randall. Despite the nervous (or mental) breakdown (props to the writers and actors for how they’re portraying this side of Randall), he’s clearly the most “together” of the Big Three. I still loved that scene in the home store, though. “I almost had a baby named after me, didn’t I?” Ha!

Ange: Oof the 20’s were rough! That home store scene was great! Also loved the look on Singh’s (was that his name?) face when Randall started sharing with him. Poor guy looked so confused, ha! It was nice that he came through with words of wisdom for Randall in the end and ha ha Tess was named after a fan…that Singh(?) recommended so that was a nice tribute!

Melissa: I love the name Tess. LOVE. But I’m not sure about being named after a ceiling fan… We should talk about Kate the waitress who sleeps with the married man. I’m just not sure what to say about her. We all do stupid stuff in our 20’s?

Ange: While I don’t love her decision, I’m just glad that it was genuine on his end and that it wasn’t a bet or anything like I feared. But yes we do do stupid stuff in our 20s and I think we needed to see this to see how far Kate has come now. I feel like teen pre-death Kate still had a pretty good head on her shoulders and was pretty mature in the way she supported Jack during his later relapse so it was almost like we needed to see her flawed and mess up a bit?

THIS IS US -- "The 20's" Episode 206 -- Pictured: Parker Bates as Kevin -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Melissa: Oh yeah, I was waiting for it to be a bet or something equally cruel, too. But nope, just two people being dumb. Struggling actor Kevin learned a hard lesson about loyalty this week. I’m curious what gets him from homeless, “you’ll never work for me” wannabe actor to star of The Manny.

Ange: Remember how you said last week that Kevin was pretty douchey in that episode? Definitely had douchey vibes this week and I was pretty disappointed in struggling actor Kevin’s decision to try and take his roommate’s part. That being said, it was nice to know that he just wasn’t handed roles while he was starting out. My take away from this week’s episode was that he was so set on pursuing drama roles and then after this mishap decided to join an improv group, discovered he had a knack for comedy and his time in the improv group helped him get to being the star of The Manny.

Melissa: Hmm…maybe this is Kevin’s rock bottom and comedy is what sets him on the path to success. That makes sense given what we know.

OK, I really want to talk about Rebecca. After not crying for two weeks, the waterworks were flowing this week, and it’s all her fault. This is our first real look at Widow Rebecca, and we also saw more of New Mom Rebecca with Baby Randall plus Mom of 10-year-old Randall. Mandy Moore was fantastic as all iterations of Rebecca; I continue to be impressed with her emotional range.

Ange: Yep, after two weeks of not crying I should have known better and expected the waterworks this week, but rookie mistake I didn’t and it’s all Mandy Moore’s fault! It might be presumptuous for me to call it this early, but pretty sure I’ve found my pick for Woman of the Week this week because wow, holy crap Moore was sensational! From the scene with Randall in 2008 about the happiest moments being bittersweet without Jack (and that loneliness), to having the adoption talk with 10-year-old Randall (Lonnie Chavis also was brilliant in this episode – from his portrayal of young Randall’s need for control to his innocent inquiring about Rebecca losing the baby and then one of my fave moments in the ep – that quiet moment of breaking the Twix and offering it to Rebecca) and then the juxtaposition of her at the hospital at the end and that voiceover monlogue – boy was I a mess after this episode! I have been a fan of Moore’s since she was that 15-year-old singing about “missing you like Candy” and am so impressed by her capabilities. This week was totally Emmy-worthy material!

Melissa: I’ll race you to nominate Mandy this week! And Lonnie Chavis is crazy talented. No matter what they throw at him, he matches Sterling K. Brown’s performance as current day Randall.

Ange: It was also nice to see that Miguel didn’t just swoop in on Rebecca after Jack died like a lot of fans were concerned about. I do wonder though how he and Rebecca didn’t talk for 8 years. If I have my timeline right, he would have been around the first couple of years after Jack’s death and then moved to Houston and they lost touch? I’m interested to see how them reconnecting ended up with them marrying.

Melissa: I’m curious about the 8-year gap, too. But yeah, I’m glad he wasn’t sniffing around in 1996. It’s kind of cute that they reconnected on Facebook; I’ve seen that happen so often in real life.

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

Editor in Chief * Pop Culture Enthusiast * Team Sookie * Team Buffy * Team Veronica * Team Knope * melissa@nicegirlstv.com

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