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This Is Us - The Big Day - Review

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I have to start by saying I absolutely loved this episode! Somehow, it was very different from what we’ve come to expect from This Is Us and yet kept the same emotional feeling. I think this episode is even my favorite, which is weird for me to say because by far, my favorite characters are William and Randall, both of whom are barely featured in this episode. But that was the interesting thing for me, I found myself not noticing, and not really even missing, Kate, Kevin, Randall, William, etc. In fact, it wasn’t until about halfway through the episode that I realized we hadn’t spent any time in the present timeline. Although nothing that exciting was happening, I found the episode to be just as engaging while focused on a couple of stories instead of the whole ensemble. This is really a testament to how well Rebecca, Jack, and Dr. K (aka Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, and Gerald McRaney) were able to carry this episode basically on their own. However, I’m still looking forward to things getting back to normal next week and catching up with the current Big Three and family.

I loved how this episode was focused on the day of the birth from an entirely different perspective. When we were first introduced to Jack and Rebecca in the opening moments of the pilot, they seemed like the perfect couple, celebrating Jack’s birthday in a cute way even though Rebecca was heavily pregnant. However, now after seeing more and more of their relationship each week, we know they were not perfect. Their relationship had a lot of struggles and it was interesting to see the whole day now that we know more about them as a couple. Although we always knew the triplets were born on Jack’s birthday, what we didn’t realize was that at first Rebecca had forgotten all about it. She was in a terrible mood because of the pregnancy and housework that still wasn’t done so she kicked Jack out of the house. She didn’t realize it was his birthday until he was long gone. Rebecca goes out of her way to make up for it by walking to the store to buy birthday treats but she isn’t all that successful. One of the things I loved the most about this episode, was the very real way that they showed her reaction to being so pregnant and the problems in their marriage. However, through it all, they still have a tremendous amount of love for each other. I especially loved Jack’s speech to Miguel and his friends at the golf club. He’s undoubtedly a great husband and father. This episode also really made me dislike Miguel. He’s such a bad influence on Jack and I really resent that Rebecca ends up with him.

I found myself feeling pretty sad throughout the episode knowing that they end up losing one of the babies during the delivery. Having seen their struggles with the adoption and getting over the loss of their baby in previous episodes, it was hard seeing them so excited for the birth and knowing their heartache was fast approaching. I especially felt this way during Rebecca’s emotional nursery monologue. Although she was worried about being a good mom, it’s obvious how much she was excited to be a mom to all of them. I also loved this scene because it made me see Rebecca in a different way. Up until now, I’ve been kind of back and forth with my feelings on her, while still appreciating that Mandy Moore has done an incredible acting job. I’ve mainly struggled after seeing the parenting choices Rebecca has made with Kate. However, Rebecca is a very complex character and this scene really highlighted that. She is in no way a perfect character or a perfect wife/mom, but as she says in this scene, you have to take the good with the bad when it comes to her. I’ve judged her in the past but this scene was a beautiful reminder that no one will make all the right choices and you have to accept people, flaws and all. I also have to mention the heartbreaking scene where Jack tells Rebecca that they lost one of the babies in the delivery. For me, this was the most emotional scene of the entire episode and Mandy Moore continues to surprise me with her incredible acting ability.

This episode also highlighted some of Dr. K’s backstory, which I loved because he’s one of my favorite characters. Throughout the episode, we see him struggling with his wife’s death and still speaking to her while living surrounded by her untouched belongings. Although a woman in his life seems interested in getting to know him better, he’s entirely closed off to the idea of moving on. It was very hard to watch his breakdown during his visit to his wife’s grave, especially when he was talking about not being able to live without her for much longer. When we first met him, he seemed like the wise old man who had everything together and gave inspiring advice, but as it turns out, he needed Rebecca and Jack as much as they needed him. It takes his encounter with them for him to be reminded that there’s always a glimmer of light in the darkest moments. Although it’s difficult, soon he is able to pack up his wife’s belongings and even have dinner with the woman who was interested in him. Overall, it was interesting to see his struggles instead of just his inspiring interactions with Jack and Rebecca.

While this episode gave us more information on the triplet birth, it also showed more background of William dropping Randall off at the fire station. The firefighter who found him was having marital problems and thought that maybe adopting Randall could solve some of their issues. When he brings the baby home, his wife shuts down this idea and tells him to take the baby to a hospital. It seems like their marriage is hopeless but it turns out that his desperate act to save the marriage encouraged her to give it another chance and start fresh. I loved that William’s decision to give Randall up, not only changed the Pearson family’s lives, as we’ve seen, but also changed and helped the life of the firefighter who discovered him.

I think the thing that I loved most about this episode was that it took me back to first falling in love with this show. This seems like such a strange thing to say for a series that’s so new but it’s rare that a show just captures me right away. I still remember watching the first episode and getting chills during the final moments and being in awe of the amazing quality of storytelling. I loved that watching this episode brought me back to those memories and feelings, while also enhancing them with these missing pieces of the puzzle.

What did you think of this episode? Did you cry as much as I did? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading!

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