THIS IS US: “Super Bowl Sunday”, or SO. MANY. TEARS.
Did Sunday’s post-Super Bowl episode of This Is Us break you? Were you relieved to finally have Jack’s death explained? Did the ending surprise you? Join Melissa and Ange as we talk about ALL THE FEELINGS from “Super Bowl Sunday”.
Melissa: Oh. My. Goodness. I’ll say up front, I cried through about half of this episode. I’m still crying. THIS SHOW.
Ange: Don’t quote me on this but I feel like this is the most I’ve ever cried during an episode of This Is Us – and it wasn’t just silent tears running down my face, I’m talking choking while trying to hold back sobs because you don’t want anyone to hear you. I think if there was anyone out there who watched this episode and at the very least didn’t tear up, then there must be something wrong with you. #ALLTHEFEELS
Melissa: Right? I was watching it at the gym, for some reason thinking that I could keep it together enough to not embarrass myself. FALSE. By the time Rebecca was on the phone making hotel reservations while the hospital staff were rushing to assist the patient that was coding, I was sobbing on the elliptical machine. Fortunately all I had to say to the concerned woman next to me was “This Is Us” and she nodded in understanding.
OK. Tears aside, how do you feel about finally knowing how Jack died? I wasn’t one of those viewers who just had to know, who needed to solve that mystery, but there’s a certain satisfaction in having that particular storyline resolved. And now I have a better understanding of why Kate blames herself and why Kevin beats himself up over that night.
Ange: As much as I’m a believer in ignorance is bliss, I also hate not knowing things. I wouldn’t say that I was one of those viewers obsessed with wanting to know how Jack died – I did want to know but I also trust the team behind this show enough to let them tell us in their own time. They have never let us down before so I knew that we just had to be patient and I was right – as traumatic as it was to see everything unfold, you can’t deny that it was an emotional narrative and worth the wait. I agree with your choice of the word “satisfaction” of knowing, and yes, knowing these things informs us of circumstances in the present and why Kate and Kevin react in certain ways.
Melissa: I want to talk about the acting in this episode, especially Mandy Moore’s performance. She was spectacular. The rawness of 1998, newly-widowed Rebecca juxtaposed against the subtlety of 2018, still sad but older and wiser Rebecca was masterful. And having Miguel be there in 1998, seeing his grief, that was an unexpected punch to the gut. Oof.
Ange: OMG please just give Mandy Moore all the awards. PLEASE. She was phenomenal last night. I know we’ve praised her so many times but my gosh! The desperation of not knowing whether Jack was going to make it out of the fire, her relief when he did and the awe when he revealed he saved some possessions, her obliviousness as the doctor breaks the news and then her shattered when she sees Jack, her determination and refusal to cry when she tells Miguel and the kids to the raw cries of anguish when she’s alone in front of the burnt out house, her calmness in the present and sad nostalgia and somewhat acceptance – SO MANY EMOTIONS in ONE episode by ONE person. We all know who’s going to be our Woman of the Week this week, that’s for sure! Is it too early to dub her Woman of the Year?
I also want to acknowledge the quiet moments in this episode by the actors, as I feel like it was the silent moments that got to me more than the actual dialogue at times. Particularly the stillness of Mandy in a lot of the scenes I mentioned above. Also a shout out to whoever is in charge of the show’s score because the instrumental juxtaposed against these non-dialogue moments and also the flashbacks (OH GOD THE FLASHBACKS)? Way to make a girl sob!
Melissa: Mandy Moore earned her next Emmy nomination and all the Women of the Week nominations this week. All of them. The Big Three turned in excellent performances as well. Not quite as powerful since their teenage selves are played by other actors, but the adults were solid. (Shout out to Hannah Zeile for giving in to the terror during the house fire scene, too.) It was interesting to see how they each observed the anniversary of Jack’s death, and what transpired this year to change the usual. How do you feel about where Kevin, Kate, and Randall ended the episode? I cried through it with them, but they all came out somewhat hopeful which was such a relief.
Ange: Agreed, Hannah Zeile was a standout in that scene – I could feel how terrified Kate was in the moments and think that I would react in the same way. It just felt so real. With that intense opening scene, I momentarily forgot about the stills released before the episode and the fact that the show jumps between the past and the present because I became so invested in how the aftermath of the fire was going to play out. I am glad that they jumped between the past and present because I would have been even more of a wreck if it had just been solely focused on the past like a stand alone episode and it would have been WAY too dark. Although there were moments where each of the Big Three made me cry with the ways they coped with their grief on the 20th anniversary, you’re right – we were left with a sense of hope by the episode’s end. Yes this truly awful thing happened that is going to stay with them for the rest of their lives and they may not have seen it at 17 when everything is still raw and uncertain but it does get better.
Melissa: Yes, I’m grateful that we were jumping back and forth in time. Staying in 1998 would have been too much. Speaking of things getting better: Deja’s back!
Ange: This I want to know more about! What happened? Where’s her mom? Is she going to stay with Randall and Beth again? Will it be permanent? I have so many questions! When you look back, she was only with them for a few weeks, but damn I’m already attached!
Melissa: So many questions! It looks like she chose to come back to Beth and Randall, though, which is proof that they got through to her. And we got another glimpse of our other foster child. I really thought the little boy was coming to live with the Pearsons, but surprise! The social worker with the little boy – it’s a flash forward to grown up Tess! Oh, my heart just melted.
Ange: Plot twist! This show does flash forwards too?! Now I wanna see future Kevin and Kate too! THIS SHOW! But yes, my heart melted that Tess became a social worker and that adorable little boy is not Randall and Beth’s future foster son but rather someone Tess was looking after. I have all the feels over the fact that Randall and Beth have had an impact on Tess’s life the way that Jack and Rebecca affected Randall’s! Can we also talk about that beautiful scene between present Randall and Tess? SO.MANY.TEARS. Speaking of SO.MANY.TEARS, why do I fear that Tuesday’s episode is going to break me more than this one did? Did you see the preview? I AM NOT READY FOR THIS!
Deep breath, friends, This Is Us airs another new episode tonight, February 6, at 9/8c on NBC.