THIS IS US: “Number Two” discussion

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This Thanksgiving week on  NBC’s THIS IS US was an emotional week and there was no Pilgrim Rick to keep our spirits up. Yet by the end of the episode we were feeling a little hopeful. Join Ange and Melissa as they discuss the second part of the Big Three trilogy of episodes, which focused on “Number Two”, aka Kate, this week.

Ange: Given what was revealed at the end of the last episode, I was expecting to be bawling like a baby during this episode – don’t get me wrong, there were moments I teared up, but by the end of the episode I strangely felt hopeful, which I wasn’t expecting to feel. How are you feeling?

Melissa: I did cry a couple of times. This episode was outstanding from start to finish. What could have been a maudlin storyline was handled so beautifully, I can only assume someone on the writing staff has gone through the heartbreak themselves. I love that the episode ended on a hopeful note for Kate and Toby. Realistic, but hopeful. I’m really starting to love their relationship.

Ange: I’ve probably gotten a bit ahead of myself here so let’s back track a little – we went into this episode knowing that it was going to be Kate-centric and show her version of the same day from the Kevin-centric episode from last week, but what I didn’t realize was that it was going to be the same day both present AND past. Last episode we talked about how this show’s narrative structure is so clever and I have to say they really have proved themselves again.

Melissa: That was a surprise, but I do so love seeing the same day from different perspectives. It’s one of my favorite narrative twists, to know what was happening with the “background” players in a scene.

Ange: This was quite a strong episode that really let Chrissy Metz shine but I have to say for me, some of her most powerful moments were the silent moments of Kate with no dialogue. Like when she’s in the bathroom and having those flashbacks to the moments of her miscarriage, or when she’s trying to leave a voicemail for Kevin but no sounds come out of her mouth. What were the strongest moments for you this week?

Melissa: Same. The choice to use silence for various emotional scenes was powerful. I thought it was an interesting choice for a Kate-centric episode, a character who is passionate about music, but it did make the music and songs that were used that much more meaningful.

Ange: That’s an interesting observation! Back in the past, we see Rebecca desperately trying to connect with teen Kate, who is trying to hide her music dreams from her mother. I don’t know about you but I got the sense that the conversation they have while sitting in the waiting room in the hospital was the first adult conversation that mother and daughter have had, and largely because Rebecca was being real with Kate and sharing her fears/insecurities that Kate softened up a bit towards her mother?

Melissa: There was a tiny bit of martyrdom coming from Rebecca during that conversation, but it was a good exchange. It surprised me that Rebecca came right out and told Kate that they’d never connected the way she’d hoped. That’s pretty direct. True, but direct.

Ange: I knew Rebecca’s speech about being a mother and always having her arms open hoping that one day Kate will run into them, would play a significant role in the present. I knew that moment was coming but still totally teared up when present Rebecca showed up at Kate’s door. This sad loss is the turning point for them now right?

Melissa: I hope so! They say there’s nothing like becoming a mother yourself to help you understand your own mother; maybe this experience will be what finally connects Kate and Rebecca. I wanted to mention Kate’s comment about Randall – that Rebecca had more room in her heart for Randall than his fair share. Is that the root of Kate and Kevin’s parental discontent? Jealousy of Randall?

Ange: From what we’ve seen so far on the show, for sure when it comes to Kevin. Up until this week I didn’t think Kate’s feelings of parental discontent were to do with feelings over how Jack and Rebecca treat Randall given how Kate is quite close to Jack, but after that comment this week maybe it is? Not to the extent of Kevin but maybe there is something lingering there.

So last week was all about Kevin, who was number one and always had to be number one. This week is about Kate, who is number two and the fighter. I never really thought about Kate as a fighter until this week, how about you? Her promise to Toby that “We will not let this break us” has me believing that they’ll be alright, right?

Melissa: First, how cute is Baby Kate! OMG I want to kiss her little cheeks! Ahem. I appreciate that they’re giving us “Kate the fighter” as a facet of her personality. She IS a fighter. She tackled her weight, and the underlying emotional issue, with courage and determination. She fought for that singing gig, then worked hard to improve her voice so she could get a different job. Yes, I think “fighter” is the right word. As for Kate and Toby, I think they’re on the way to becoming #couplegoals. Their relationship is getting stronger by the day.

Ange: Baby Kate is SO cute! Is there anything else that stood out to you in this episode?

Melissa: It’s a minor detail, but I enjoyed that Caroline in the City was playing on the hospital television. I loved that show! I keep hoping it will turn up on Netflix or Hulu, but alas, it has not.

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.