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This Is Us - What Now? - Review: “After William”

14 Mar 2017

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Well, we have entered into the post-William era. I thought after his death things couldn’t get any more emotional but I was very wrong.

The episode opens with a flashback to William packing up his things before going to Memphis. Even though he died in the last episode he still feels very present because his life is being celebrated throughout. He wrote a letter instructing the girls to plan his memorial so that it wouldn’t be sad and to cheer them up, which was so adorable of him. But that was just the beginning of the demonstration of what an amazing person he was. Throughout the episode, Randall sees just what an impact William had on everyone around him. One of the more emotional moments was when their mailman asked how William was doing and Randall had to tell him he’d passed away. William used to chat with the mailman on his morning walks and they had become friends. Randall also received a phone call from Jesse, which was one of my favorite moments. Jesse tells Randall about how William reached out to a new member of their NA group and pretended to know all about football just so he could have someone to relate to and feel comfortable around. Of course, hearing all of this about William didn’t surprise me, but it really made me miss him even more. He was such a beautiful person.

The girls plan a fun memorial involving William’s favorite meal and a morning walk. At Randall’s insistence, they allow him to prepare a speech. However, it turns out that William made a lot of individual goodbye plans for everyone, except Beth, and she’s really upset about it. She loved him and took care of him every day. She was really in it with him, as Randall said, and he decides that she should be the one to say something at the memorial instead. Although her speech was a little unorthodox, it’s still beautiful and from the heart. Right from the start, I knew that William would not have left Beth without a special goodbye. They had such a great relationship and it was so unlike him to exclude her. I was preparing myself for something really emotional and sure enough, at the end of the episode, Beth receives a postcard from Memphis. In it, William calls her the daughter he never had and Beth finally gets the closure she needed.

The memorial is giving everyone a chance to heal, even people who didn’t know William that well. For Kate, this memorial is bringing up a lot of memories of Jack’s death. For me, one of the best moments in the episode was when Randall goes outside to comfort Kate when she gets overwhelmed by it all. She feels bad about him comforting her and says she’s sorry that he had to go through losing his father twice. Randall understands and helps her through her pain while also suggesting she should let Toby in. I also loved how he told her about the dream he had where William and Jack were just talking and laughing at one of Jack’s favorite stories about Randall. It was a really sweet moment between Randall and Kate. Meanwhile, things are still awkward between Randall and his mom because they haven’t really talked that much since he found out about her hiding William from him. I think their conversation was my absolute favorite part of the episode. When she tells him that he was always a great kid, with such gentleness and kindness that he got from William, I was so moved. I’m so happy that she was able to say sorry and really explain her side of the situation and that Randall forgave her. It was a very touching moment between mother and son and I hope now we’ll get more scenes between them. At the end of the episode, Randall takes everything William has taught him about life and goes to his office and quits in front of everyone. I’m so proud of him for taking a stand and leaving that negative place. I’m excited to see how he decides to start living life and what he’ll end up doing next.

To give us a bit of a reprieve from the more emotional scenes, we finally found out what happened with Kevin’s opening night. It turns out that they canceled it and are having a new opening night. However, now Kevin is having a hard time getting critics who already showed up to come again. In the end, he performs in front of a large audience, including his whole family and Sophie, and the show is a hit. Even though the critic he really wanted there never showed up, he’s okay because all that matters to him is his family. He also tells Sophie that he didn’t come to New York for the play, he came back for her. Later on that night, he receives a call from someone who was really impressed by his performance in the play and they offer him a big movie role. We don’t find out if he’s going to take it, but I’m leaning towards no because I think for now he really is going to prioritize Sophie. I really hope that’s what happens because I’m way more interested in finding out about their history and especially what happened between Sophie and Kate, than seeing him act in a movie.

Finally, it seems like we’re about to find out Jack’s fate. The flashbacks in this episode are from the night Rebecca leaves for her tour. Jack almost doesn’t make it home to say goodbye which sets off a bit of a fight. It’s an awkward goodbye between them where they barely hugged and didn't even say “I love you”. He realizes his mistake and heads out after her but by the time he’s outside she’s already gone. While he drops off the kids for the night, Kate suggests that he should drive to Rebecca’s first show and make things right because it’s not that far. Instead, he goes out to the bar with his coworkers where he gets hit on by one of the assistants. This causes him to think about his marriage and he decides to go to Rebecca’s show. Before he leaves, he calls Kate and tells her his plan and that he loves her. In the present, we see Kate start to tell Toby about Jack’s death and she starts with saying that it’s her fault. That’s all we get so far, but it’s pretty easy to see where this is going. He probably dies driving to see Rebecca and Kate feels guilty because she encouraged him to go. However, in previews for the finale, it shows Jack drinking beers while on the road. If he’s really drinking and driving she can’t blame herself. I wonder if she knows about that or if there was an effort to hide it from her. I can’t really see how she wouldn’t know but secrets have been kept in this family before. The more likely explanation is that it’s probably easier for her to blame herself than see her father as a drunk driver when he was her hero and they were so close. Either way, the finale is sure to be another emotional roller coaster, however, I feel more prepared for Jack’s death than I was for William’s. Maybe that will make the finale easier to cope with, but somehow I doubt it.

What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!