THIS IS US: “The Most Disappointed Man” discussion

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This week’s episode of NBC’s THIS IS US had the Nice Girls thinking about how people in your lives, where it be past or present, can affect your future. Join Ange and Melissa as they discuss the episode and the impact people have on the Pearson clans’ lives…

Ange: I don’t know about you, but to me the theme of this week’s episode was ‘does our past define our future’, whether it be through the choices we make ‘or the choices that others make for us’? We see it with a younger William and how the tragedies of the past year or so lead him down a darker and despondent path, we see it with Kevin and his insecurities, how choices Deja’s mom has made affect Deja and even with the judge on William’s case and how past decisions he had made prompted him to give William a second chance. What was your take away from this episode?

Melissa: I was thinking more along the lines of how having someone believe in us, support us, be willing to give us a hand up can change our futures. William and Deja have that, and Randall did with his parents’ insistence on fighting to adopt him. Right now, Kevin doesn’t have that because he’s not being honest about his struggle with addiction. Sophie can’t support “hollow” Kevin who sees a future with her as “a nightmare”, so the spiral continues for him.

Ange: It was nice to see both young William and older William back in the episode, although a little jarring at first to see a more jaded version of young William rather than the more gentler version we’ve come to know, but as he pointed out, he had been through a lot and it’s a clear example of how life can wear you down. I enjoyed his storyline and that judge totally gave me Dr K vibes. <3 And then we had that aha! moment with older William when you realize that Randall saved William from his demons when he showed up when he did.

Melissa: William lost a lot that year. The parallels between him and Shawna (Deja’s mom) were interesting. William fell into drug use because his life imploded and drugs were available “on every corner”. It sounds like Shawna had a similarly rough past and, just when she was trying to get clean, she met a man who dragged her deeper into the mud. Where is Shawna’s break? Will it be Randall and Beth acting as foster parents to her daughter? (I hope so!)

Ange: That’s a good point about the parallels between William and Shawna. I also didn’t connect the dots that William’s case and Randall’s adoption hearing were happening at the same time until we had the scene with the two judges at the end. This week we once again saw why Rebecca and Jack are such awesome parents as they fought to keep Randall, tugging on the heartstrings once again.

Melissa: I really wanted Rebecca and Jack to go all Mama Bear/Papa Bear in that judge’s office, but at the same time, I get it. What he said had to jar their confidence as parents. And they probably didn’t want to make too many waves with the man holding their fate as a family in his hands. The way this show is handling race is really interesting. Sometimes we seem to be approaching “white savior” territory, then we back off a little and see that while Rebecca and Jack are doing their best, they eventually accept that they need a little outside help when it comes to giving Randall what he needs (I’m thinking about last season when we saw Rebecca turn to the black mother at the pool for advice and insight).

Ange: Speaking of Randall, it was nice to see the breakthrough he had with Deja the other week, stick. (Side note: Him referring to the girls as “Destiny’s Children” gave me a bit of a giggle) I have to say that I liked that he and Beth pretty much swapped roles this week with Beth getting a bit more emotional and “bringing the heat” and Randall being more sassier. I loved his truth bombs like “Don’t get it twisted, sis” and “I’m married to a black queen“. On a more serious note though, it’s going to be rough on Randall and Beth when Deja’s mom comes back for her. As Randall pointed out, they’ve already fallen for her and are getting quite attached.

Melissa: “Destiny’s Children” was great! I’m not sure what to make of the conversation between Randall and Shawna. I’m glad he held is own, but she made some valid points as well. And from what we know of William, if he hadn’t left Randall at the fire station, if the Pearsons hadn’t been able to adopt him, his life could have “broken” an entirely different way than it did. Clearly there isn’t going to be a tidy little resolution here.

Ange: Do you hear that? That’s me yelling at Kevin “Ugh, don’t do it. Please stop talking” as he breaks Sophie’s heart at the end of the episode. She’s right, he’s spiraling and my gosh was that harsh when he told her that his dreams of their future is a nightmare. I know it’s the painkillers and his insecurities getting the better of him but man I need to see Kevin get his act together PLEASE!

Melissa: Again, my sympathy for Kevin is practically non-existent. He sabotages himself. Maybe he has a genetic predisposition for addiction, but so many of his other choices are selfish and hurtful. I have a hard time being sympathetic to him.

Ange: Funny you should mention genetic predisposition, going back to the whole does our past define our future and how things parallel on this show, after watching that Kevin/Sophie scene at the end, I couldn’t help but think of the Jack/Rebecca scene at the start of the season where he’s trying to push her away and deal with his demons by himself – it’s pretty much a case of history repeating itself with Kevin except Sophie seems to have reacted in a different way to Rebecca. Can Kevin and Sophie come back from this? I don’t know.

Melissa: Well, remember, Jack told Rebecca what was going on. Kevin did not tell Sophie about the drinking and the painkillers. How is she supposed to help him if what he’s giving her is that their future together is “a nightmare” to him?

Ange: Please Kevin, let Sophie in! On a more pleasant note, let’s talk about Kate and Toby – man, these two gave me the feels this episode! Them revealing their pregnancy to Kevin was cute and I loved Toby talking to Jack and the fact that he recognizes what Kate truly wants. (P.S. we learned more about Toby this episode in regards to his family history, that’s something right? Baby steps.) The proposal scene – I adored it and I don’t know if it was that cover of “Time After Time” but yes I was crying. Probably my favorite moment of the episode, or at least tied with Randall’s truth bombs because Sterling K. Brown nailed this week’s episode, how about you? What was your favorite moment?

Melissa: The proposal was sweet…ish. It felt ever so slightly misogynistic though. Yes, Kate deserves the best, but does that necessarily translate to the man redoing the proposal so it’s more traditional? Props to Toby for recognizing that Kate really does want the big wedding, though, and making sure she knows he’s all in and they can totally go that route and he’ll support her through the tough parts. (PS I really want to meet Toby’s mom!)

My fav moment was Beth swapping roles with Randall and bringing the heat re: Shawna. I hope Deja was listening in the hallway; I don’t think she’s had someone fight for her before in her life, no matter what the social worker says.

This is Us airs Tuesday 9/8c on NBC.


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Ange is the Girl from Oz who travelled the States. Teen dramas, rom-comedies and superhero shows are her weakness. She also loves a good crime and medical drama and probably watches more TV than she can handle... You can contact her at ange@nicegirlstv.com.