It’s a bit sad that the first episode I review in a while is This Is Us‘s weakest entry thus far. Every single hour this year has been absolutely terrific, but this? This was kind of disappointing.
Maybe it’s the fact that the writers chose to spend so much time with characters we barely know, but something was really off here. I get the thematic relevance of having Randall pass on Dr. K’s kindness, but why should we even care about his suicidal coworker? It’s a waste of screen-time that could have better served elsewhere.
And then there’s William. While I recognize the importance of the character in the narrative, I found it dreadfully boring to spend so much time with him during the AA meeting. Sure it was nifty to see that he had a boyfriend played by none other than American Horror Story star Denis O’Hare, but the subplot was just tedious to watch.
On the bright side, it was downright wonderful see Dr. K again. Just like he was in the pilot, Gerald McRaney is brilliant in the role – he’s likeable and hilarious all at once, and it felt like a true full circle moment seeing him again. Here’s hoping he continues to survive everything that life throws at him and makes an appearance in the eventual series finale.
The hour is also salvaged by a killer twist: it’s not Dr. K we should be worried about, but Toby who suffers what seems like a heart attack (unsurprising with his eating habits and all). Although it would be a brave move on the writers’ part to kill him off, I seriously doubt they’d go through with such a brutal development. I guess we’ll have to wait until January to find out!
– Kevin not getting off of Kate’s hospital bed as she’s being wheeled into surgery. Can you say aww?
– It’s a quick moment, but you can see Kevin holding on to his side (his appendix) during Kate’s surgery. #TwinsFeels
– Very sweet moment with Randall buying Dr. K a snow-globe.
– The Hanukkah dinner was also dull as far as I’m concerned. Sure Sloane is sweet, but Olivia had fire! Here’s hoping she comes back (doubtful).
– Loved the scene in the doctor’s office as Rebecca realizes she doesn’t know Kate nearly as much as she thinks she does. I also appreciated the fact that Kate had no answer when Rebecca asked if the weight issues were her fault. We rarely get the right answers in life after all.
Jack: Hey, why don’t you guys tell your mother what Christmas is about, huh?
Justin: It’s about Jesus stuff.
Dr. K: (to Jack) You trying to wax poetic on me? I’d rather you wax that mustache. ‘Cause if your musings on the great circle of life are gonna be the last things I ever hear, dear God, take me now.
Justin: If I want to pray, which one works the best?
Randall: Sometimes a man just needs a boat, Beth.
Beth: This boat is not a boat, Randall; this boat is sadness.
Randall: Bad name for a boat.
Beth: Understanding and forgiveness are two very different animals. The adult in you is probably all good, but the little boy in you is still hurt.
Randall: So I got him a boat. You’re welcome, little boy.
Randall: If you love Chloe hard, she will love you back. That’s the way kids work.
Randall: It is your job, as her father, to stay here until she is ready.
Toby: (to Kate) I’m back on the diet. Not for you, for me. But also for you, so that you’ll be with me.
Kevin: Wise man, wise man, wise man. Uh… cousin, maybe? I don’t know. And then, uh, the donkey talks. Or the… I might have that confused with a cartoon, actually.
Sloane: Yeah, you’re better with a script.
Tess: Dad, Grandpa’s gay. Or at least bi.
The cast is as lovable as ever, but this midseason finale was not as impressive as the rest of the year’s episodes. At least the ending was a shocker!