What a gut-punch.
I of course loved This Is Us‘ debut season. It was a nearly perfect year with just the right balance of emotion and cheese to make for a wholly uplifting show. I’m in the minority who found the Randall road-trip episode to be the show’s most boring hour (William’s death didn’t really affect me all that much), but I think we can all agree that the season finale was also pretty underwhelming. This premiere however was outstanding.
A Father’s Advice does a first-rate job of providing us with just enough details about the show’s biggest mystery (Jack’s death) while still managing to withhold some secrets. I loved everything about Rebecca bringing her alcoholic husband back home only for the show to jump a few months forward and reveal that Jack didn’t last too long after that. We still don’t know how he died, but we get a big clue as Rebecca drives up to the Pearson home that’s now been burnt to a crisp. Her subsequent breakdown is absolutely devastating, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it had me practically bawling as well. Mandy we’re only one episode in and you’ve already got your Emmy submission. Wow!
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise Milo Ventimiglia’s astounding performance. The way in which he reveals to his wife that he’s drunk out of his mind is both gut-wrenching and so very believable. In fact, the show milks this moment for all its worth as he shuts the door on his wife only for the screen to fade to black as we assume the episode has come to a close. But no, Rebecca knocks again and does everything she can to save her husband. It’s a beautiful showcase for one of the most complex depictions of marriage I’ve ever seen on television.
I’m a also big fan of the way This Is Us handled Randall and Beth’s marriage last season. They’re both rational adults who behave like real people instead of succumbing to contrived arguments. Their journey this year looks like it will be just as nuanced, with Beth opposing Randall’s adoption idea, only for her to suggest that they adopt a misguided teenager instead. Can I just say that this development is perfect on every level?
Although I love Chrissy Metz, her storyline last year became kind of redundant at some points. I’m pleased to report that her budding singing career is filled with a ton of potential. I especially loved the casting agent berating her for her lack of skill and not for her weight. I’m eager to see a steadfast Kate fight to make her dream a reality (much like her mother did with the same dream before her).
– So will every season premiere be a birthday episode? Because I kind of love that idea.
– The Hilary Clinton reference made me smile.
– Since Miguel will end up marrying Rebecca, the fact that he’s so involved in the past just irks me the wrong way. How strong were his feelings when Jack and Rebecca were still married?
– I love what Jack says about not wanting sheets on the sofa because it means he’ll be a “long-term” guest. I totally agree.
– Very unsettling: Kevin saying that Randall’s going to make a move on his mom.
– Love the revelation that Rebecca originally didn’t want Randall. It feels like a very realistic reaction.
– Extremely cringeworthy: Jack trying to get Rebecca the gig and embarrassing himself in the process.
– Toby telling Kevin to stop paying for meals all the time felt like a very valid point. It’s kind of fun to see these two butt heads every once in a while.
– So Kate and Randall stayed with Miguel after their dad died. And Kevin didn’t find out immediately. Also, why is his leg in a cast?
– Just look at Mandy Moore’s face as Jack reveals his alcohol addiction. It’s haunting
Toby: If that outfit has anything to say about it, you are absolutely going to be the new lead female singer of Yelp’s 17th best reviewed wedding band in Southern California.
Kate: (to Toby) The sexiest thing about you is how sexy you make me feel.
Toby: (to Kevin) Okay, wait, do you want your sister to sit across from you, next to you, or just straight in your lap?
Kevin: That gentleman right there, that is Aito. He is a genius. He’s from Top Chef, or Iron Chef, or Amazing Race.
Toby: Where are you going?
Kate: Back to the audition to wipe the floor with those bitches.
An irresistibly affecting season premiere from This Is Us.