What a beautiful episode.
I was so worried that This Is Us would take a huge nosedive in its second episode, but this was just a wonderful hour of television. The show knows exactly what it wants to be, and that’s an exceptionally reassuring thing. Couple that with the fact that NBC has already renewed the series for a complete season, and you know we’ve got something truly special here.
After watching the pilot (and that dumbfounding twist), I had my doubts on just how the show could possibly maintain the dual timelines on a weekly basis. I’m pleased to report that this hour did a magnificent job of convincing me that it’s completely possible; I absolutely loved watching Jack and Rebecca in the past raising their triplets and navigating married life as the young ones carried on in the future. Jack’s budding alcoholism is certainly a depressing detail, as is the incredible final twist with the reveal of an aged Mandy Moore (who is doing astounding work) with none other than Jack’s best friend Miguel! Is Jack dead in the present timeline? I sure hope not!
The relationship between the siblings received an added layer of intrigue this week with the reveal that Kevin really wasn’t the best brother to Randall growing up. It’s a heartbreaking development to see a young Kevin turn his back on his brother thanks to all those bullies, and then witnessing their present day relationship as Randall does the opposite. The dynamic between the two as well as Kate is certainly the heart of the show, and I do hope that pathos and sincerity is sustained long-term.
– PAC Man. G.I.Joe – so many great details.
– Cute title card.
– The thin girl is still in the fat group. I love it!.
– How fantastic is Rebecca’s monologue about being a “ten” parent?
– Perfect guest-star casting: Katey Segal as Kevin’s manager and Brad Garett as the network honcho. Hilarious stuff!
– Toby and Kate drunk dancing cracked me up.
– Seriously terrific performance by Justin Hartley during that tearful phone call to Randall.
– Is “The Big Three” rhyme going to be a running thing with the show? Because I like it.
– So Randall’s dad has a cat. That’s the twist. Also, how awesome is Beth?
– I love everything about Kate’s battle with her weight. All her monologues, all the little touches with a young Kate eating fruit, and even Kate at the gym surrounded by perfect bodies.
– If you didn’t get all warm inside when the triplets attacked Jack and Rebecca for the huge bear hug then we can’t be friends.
Toby: You know, I just did bi’s, tri’s and left testicle. I’m really starting to get some definition on that guy.
Randall: I know your face, your hands, your soul better than I know my own. You don’t have to censor yourself. Ever. Not with me. What was your question?
Beth: How long is your crack-addict biological daddy gonna be sleeping in our six-year-old daughter’s bedroom?
Beth: I know, right?
Randall: You need to censor yourself, woman.
Kevin: Victor. My man. How you been?
Hector: I’ve been Hector.
Lanie: When I saw your first show, do you know what I thought to myself, Kevin?
Kevin: No, I-I…
Lanie:I thought to myself… I’ve done it. I have found the least funny person on the entire planet.
Lanie: But I saw something there, so I took you on. And I got you the commercials, got you the soaps, eventually got you a job paying you almost three million dollars a year, making you so famous that you could wear a ski cap when it is 80 degrees outside, and no one would say a damn thing.
Toby: (to Kate) You hulked out on a bunch of fatties.
Kate: I don’t want you to see me there. Like, I am at my worst at those things.
Toby: Kate, you are at your worst when you are eviscerating the anorexic lady, and I am still standing here. Look, we have had three lunches and four dinner dates. We have made out seven times and heavy-petted twice. Our plane is rapidly approaching the boyfriend-girlfriend zone, and, I, for one, am preparing myself for landing.
Toby: All right, hey, guys, Bruce Banner’s back. Everything’s fine. The Hulk is gone. Let the healing continue. Sorry about that.
Manning: You’re a good kid, Kevin. I appreciate your honesty. The show, it’s a solid performer, but it’s not the biggest thing on my network. Without Lanie telling me, would I have known you from one of these waiters passing around the chicken skewers? Probably not.
Manning: So unfortunately, my boy, you’re not gonna be leaving the show. If you do, I’ll be forced to Nagasaki your life and career. Hey, have you ever heard of the actor, uh, Taylor Jennings?
Kevin: I’m not familiar with the name.
Manning: I Nagasaki’d him.
Randall: Well, what are you gonna do?
Kevin: I was kind of hoping you’d tell me.
Randall: Oh, because you care what I think?
Kevin: Because I care what everyone thinks, man.
Randall: Mom and Dad didn’t raise no whores. Except briefly, during Kate’s eyeliner phase.
Jack: You know, when I was a little boy, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Adults always ask little kids that. You know? I never had a good answer. Not until… not until I was 28. Till the day that I met you. That’s when I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up: I wanted to be the man that made you happy.
Jack: Do you forgive me?
Rebecca: You slept outside our bedroom door like a Labrador. Of course I forgive you.
Romeo & Juliett by Dire Straits
Can’t Find My Way Home by Blind Faith
A surprisingly brilliant second hour from one of my favorite new shows on TV.