THIS IS US: “The Car” Discussion aka Can We Please Stop Crying Yet?
It’s been a week since Jack Pearson’s funeral and also since the latest episode of NBC’s This Is Us aired and if we’re honest, we still haven’t completely recovered from those two powerful episodes. With the show now on a temporary break while the Winter Olympics airs, Nice Girls Ange and Melissa have had some time to put themselves together and discuss last week’s episode…
Ange: I say this with love, but thank god for the Winter Olympics and this mini hiatus – I need a break from all this crying! This was a more quieter episode compared to the Sunday’s but still emotional. How are you doing?
Melissa: You know, I was doing alright until Gerald McRaney showed up, then I was sobbing. I definitely need a break before we hang out with the Pearsons again.
Ange: With this episode taking place in the aftermath of Jack’s death, we don’t see the present Big Three. It’s mainly their teenage selves and flashbacks to their child selves but an unexpected star of the show is the Grand Wagoneer, which was a part of so many moments and memories that the family share with Jack. Excuse the pun. but it was an interesting vehicle to tell these small stories and share these memories, don’t you think? And don’t even get me started on Jack’s speech to the car dealer at the end and how the car is a symbol of how he wants his family to be okay. GAH!
Melissa: Confession: the Wagoneer has been one of my dream cars since I first saw The Parent Trap (Hayley Mills version) when I was a kid. I associate it with family and making memories, just like Jack, apparently. So yeah, the emotional connection to that particular vehicle? I’m on board, 100%.
Ange: Oh the feels! Once again this episode proves that Jack is just perfectly imperfect, from him getting the Wagoneer to the way he calms Rebecca during her cancer scare in the flashback. Then that scene in the car where he tells her that she’s going to live forever, which means he will go first – by the time he told her not to put him in the ground, the waterworks were back on again.
Melissa: I think that’s why this hurts so much – Jack wasn’t a saint, but he was one of the best men we’ve ever seen on TV. We saw how much he loved his family, we saw his struggles, we saw his devotion to Rebecca, we saw him work so hard to be the kind of father he wished he’d had and raise his children to know they were loved. He was perfectly imperfect.
Ange: Speaking of one of another great man from this show, Dr K came for the service and once again to give a pep talk, which of course made me cry. He also revealed that Jack used to visit him for advice when the Big Three were babies and that revelation gave me the feels just thinking about it!
Melissa: Yep, that’s what got me. As soon as Dr K appeared, it was instantaneous weeping. I’m so glad he shared that Jack used to come to him for advice; Rebecca needed to hear that, I think, along with Dr K telling her she’s strong enough without Jack. Together Jack and Rebecca are #couplegoals, but I think she often felt Jack was the stronger of the two of them, that he carried her a lot of the time. She’s about to find out how much of who they were together, what awesome parents they were, was her.
Ange: We saw the kids and Rebecca all handle their grief in different ways but there was a common factor between the four of them: guilt. Rebecca felt guilty because she wasn’t there with Jack when he died, Kate is blaming herself because he went back in for Louie and therefore inhaled more smoke, Kevin lashes out at Randall and tells him a real man would have stopped Jack from going back into the burning house and then Randall retorts that Kevin wasn’t even there that night. Ooof!
Melissa: Our understanding of the adult Big Three and their respective issues is becoming clearer, huh? I appreciate that the writers have taken their time building to this, layer by layer. Instead of hitting us over the head with their trauma from the beginning, we have context and emotional investment in these characters. It’s more devastating, but also more believable.
Ange: Absolutely! The end of the episode had a sense of hope to it despite the tragic circumstances and also felt like the end of a chapter with the mystery of Jack’s death solved. I don’t know about you, but I also felt a sense of ‘where do we go from here?’. ‘what does the next chapter for the Pearsons entail?’ and also what will the flashbacks be like post Jack? Obviously he’ll still be a big part of the show and with Jack being able to talk about his brother to teenage Randall and Kevin, I’m sure we’ll also be delving into more pre Jack-and-Rebecca flashbacks.
Melissa: I’m curious about the the story structure from here on out as well. Now that we, the audience, have witnessed the Pearsons’ tragedy, can Kevin and Kate finally make real progress toward healing? We’ve seen the beginnings; I’m ready to see more. And what about Randall? Was his extra emotional speech over the dead hamster a precursor to him dealing with repressed emotions over Jack’s death? I’m also hoping we’ll see more of Rebecca and Miguel and how they navigated their new relationship. I mean, there were 20 years between Jack’s death and today we still have a lot of story left!
This Is Us returns Tuesday February 27 at 9/8c on NBC.
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