This Is Us: “That’ll Be the Day” Discussion aka “We’re Not Ready For This!”
Well folks, we knew this was coming but if you weren’t: a) upset, b) horrified, c) traumatized or d) all of the above, by the ending of this week’s episode of This Is Us, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. The episode right before the big post-Super Bowl event not only set the stage of Jack Pearson’s impending death, but also had the Big Three teens disappointing their parents, Pearson brothers teaming up in the present and Kate contemplating bringing a new member into her and Toby’s world. Join Ange and Melissa as they break down this week’s eventful episode…
Ange: Okay seeing as this episode was definitely more on the emotional side, let’s start this week’s discussion off light – favorite lines or moments? I’ve got two – the scene with Randall and Kevin walking down the hallway showing a bit of muscle as they get ready to help out the tenants and then this exchange between Randall and Beth at the beginning of the episode:
Randall: “Hey. ‘Do some good, don’t go broke’ – company motto; write that down.”
Beth: “I’m not writing that down.”
Randall: “It’s cool, already memorized it.”
Man, the flow of their banter in this episode was on point! How about you, what were your favourite moments or lines.
Mel: I’m not ready for this. I’m so not ready for this. Yes, let’s start with the lighter side of things. I loved the Pearson Bros. Construction team. And the female tenants enjoying the show as Kevin took down that wall. Really, the entire storyline at the apartment complex was gold. Oh, and this exchange:
Beth speaking for Randall: “I’ve never owned a building before. But my partner here, she’s been working with underserved communities her entire career. She’s a real resource to me. I’m gonna utilize my resource.”
Randall: “I sound smarter when you do me than when I do me.”
Ange: Yes, they were fun moments too! So, this show is really good at putting pieces together (more on that later) and also conveying parallels between the Big Three today and how their parents were while they were growing up – I mean we have that moment where Jack is trying to connect with Kevin and asking him his opinion about the entertainment case before revealing that putting a hammer in his hands helps him not pick up a bottle instead and then in the present, Kevin trying to keep himself busy and distracted by doing handyman work. Then you have Beth and Randall starting up (smooth) R&B Properties juxtaposed with Jack getting serious about starting his own business and deciding to start off flipping properties before that revelation at the end that he asked Rebecca to be his partner in all that – my heart just couldn’t take it any more. This show! What did you think about these storylines?
Mel: I love the parallels on this show. We really are the products of our environment, and here we see that truth over and over. It’s a take on the nature vs. nurture debate that I can get behind: nature plays a role, but nurture is the determining factor in who we are. Even with Jack and his father and Rebecca and her mother, we see that both actively chose to be a different kind of parent because of the damage they endured from the (lack of) nurturing.
Ange: Definitely agree with you there on the whole nature vs. nurture debate. So in this episode the Pearson kids were definitely acting like teenagers in theflashbacks – Randall ditching Pearson Superbowl for a girl, you had Kevin back to his sullen teen self and eventually snapping at his parents (okay he slightly redeemed himself when he called to apologize to his mom but boy did I want to shake him when he declined on speaking to Jack thinking that he could just speak to him in the morning. DAMMIT YOUNG KEVIN), Kate lashing out at Jack when he recorded her singing – that whole “I don’t see myself the way you see me and no one else does either, so you saying that to me all the time just hurts” hurt to watch since Kate and Jack have always had a special relationship so it was painful seeing her turn on him. I’m glad she came to her senses though! When she was watching the video and saw the way Jack was looking at her I pretty much had to command myself not to cry. Nope, don’t do it.
Mel: Oh, I cried. That was such a beautiful moment for young Kate, as was their exchange in the living room later. How does Milo exude so much love on screen? He practically glows with it. Anyway, yes, the Big Three were being teenagers, totally oblivious that their parents were anticipating a final Super Bowl as a family before everyone scattered. But hey, Jack and Rebecca still had a pretty good night.
Ange: Milo really does glow with love on screen! While on the subject of Kate, in the present she discovers Toby is hiding something from her and thinks it’s porn but no, it’s just puppies. Still, dogs are a sensitive issue but she does try to overcome it but going to a shelter. She even connects with one and is ready to overcome her issues to bring him home but chickens out…or so we think. Turns out thinking about Toby’s happiness overrides her issues and she brings home the “Jacob Tremblay cute” pup. After this week’s episode though I’m back to the theory that Kate feels guilty over Jack’s death because maybe he died trying to save her dog.
Mel: Last week the mangy cat, this week the world’s cutest dog. THANKS A LOT, SHOW. But seriously, how freaking cute is that dog?!? I’m so glad Kate chose to make Toby happy and bring home Audio, because I think he’s an important step in her healing process. P.S. The shelter worker Kate was talking to is Lena Waithe, Emmy winner for her writing on Master of None!
Ange: Ooh, good spotting! From the opening scene with the seemingly random older couple (who turn out to be neighbours of Jack and Rebecca’s before the Big Three were born), I felt a sense of doom throughout the episode and it was kind of foreshadowed by Randall in the present saying “I feel like we’re running out of time” and yep, you’ve got to trust that gut feeling. (ps that exchange between Randall and Kevin hit a little too close to home for me. Like them I was young when I lost a parent and coincidentally enough, this year is also the 20 year anniversary.) In the closing minutes of the episode we see the crockpot that the couple gifted Jack and Rebecca 18 years ago, spark up and catch fire on a tea towel that Jack gave Rebecca one Christmas and as the horrifying scene alternated with montages of flashbacks throughout the years, the fire quickly spread throughout the house. Batteries and crockpots – how this show can turn simple household items into traumatizing objects!
Mel: You know what I didn’t expect? How painful it would be to see that house go up in flames. Jack and Rebecca put their heart and soul into making it a home for their family, it was such a loved house, and now we’re seeing it destroyed. Once again, this is personal for me – my much beloved childhood home in the country caught fire when I was 10 years old. It was the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning, and I’m the one who discovered the fire. Fortunately everyone got out safely, including our pets, and the fire was contained to two rooms, but we lived in a hotel for a month while my parents renovated and repaired it so we could move back in safely. (Did I ever mention that my Dad owned a construction business when I was young?) We only lived there a couple more years before moving to a larger house in town. I still mourn the loss of that house and the life we lived there. #TMI
Ange: Gosh, I did not know that! That would have been an ordeal. It really does go to show how relatable and real this show is. I have to say as much as this episode really messed with my emotions, I was doing great at keeping it together until we saw Kevin crossing off names on his make amends list and then saw that he had a separate list that just said “Dad”. Ahhh what are you doing to us, show? (I am glad he got the necklace back though btw) – don’t get me wrong, I had a constant lump in my throat and was on the verge of crying throughout this ep but then this happened and then the fire with the montage of memories and then the promo for next week and I pretty much cracked at that point. I’M NOT READY FOR THIS.
Mel: ME NEITHER. Why are we watching a show that traumatizes us??? Oh, right, because the storytelling and the acting are spectacular. Dammit, show!
Don’t miss the next episode of NBC’s This Is Us, which airs on the special time and day of after the Super Bowl on February 4, before returning to its regular timeslot of Tuesdays at 9/8c.
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