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This Is Us - The 20’s - Review

5 Nov 2017

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Well, I thought this was going to be a lighthearted Halloween episode but I was definitely wrong. I should have known that this show is never just lighthearted. At the Pearson household, everyone is getting ready for Halloween and there’s some tension in the house because Jack and Rebecca are both accusing each other of giving Kate and Randall everything they want and never saying no. This is definitely true for both of them but what struck me the most is how it must be really hard on a young Kevin to be the odd person out. Kate obviously has Jack wrapped around her finger and Rebecca has a very special and strong bond with Randall. It must be really hard for Kevin and it sort of explains why he’s the person that he is today. Rebecca and Jack are also both concerned about Randall being really rigid in his activities and planning. To push him out of his comfort zone, Rebecca suggests he deviate from his trick or treating map and go to another house. It turns out this was a bad idea because the people there end up basically telling him that he’s adopted and that he was a replacement for the baby his parents lost. Why anyone would bring that up to a child on Halloween, I don't know. Those people must be really obnoxious. Rebecca and Jack hadn't talked to Randall about any of this yet so Rebecca ends up having to explain everything by herself, which is really upsetting because obviously, she wanted Jack there too. Everything seems to go fine though and I thought she handled it all really well. Later when she tells Jack about the conversation she says “I don’t know how any of this would work without you”. They really like to dig the knife in with the foreshadowing. They’re always doing this and it breaks my heart every time! Another part of these flashbacks that I enjoyed was Kevin giving his candy to his cool friend so that he would hold Kate’s hand in the haunted house. I thought it was really cute that he wanted to protect his sister's feelings. People are really hard on Kevin as a character but I think that at his core, he's a good person, it's just that sometimes he goes astray and I worry about him.

The usual Pearson kid flashbacks weren’t the only flashbacks we got to see this week. We also got to spend some time with everyone when they were in their 20’s. We see that when Kevin is in his 20’s he’s working at a hair salon and trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood. His friend and roommate books a role and invites him to a party so that Kevin can network. However, when that isn't working out so well, Kevin turns into his most unattractive self and tries to convince the director to consider him instead, for his friend's new role. This is a real low point for Kevin. I always try to give him the benefit of the doubt but this is pretty bad. Meanwhile, Kate is working at a diner and she meets who, to her, seems to be a great guy. I didn’t like him from the start. When she meets him at a bar one night, he starts acting a bit suspect in front of his friends but she still leaves with him and they end up hooking up. It’s later revealed that that was Kate’s first time and she feels pretty bad about it because she suspected he was married and it turns out he is. Later, when Kate and Kevin are both together at Randall’s house to celebrate the new baby, they talk about how great their 20’s are going but they really can’t fool each other. They confess how terrible things are going and lean on each other for support. I loved this scene and I love their relationship. One of my favorite parts was when Kate told Kevin that the guy she likes is married but he’s really nice and asks her questions and Kevin responded that that’s a pretty low bar. I’m glad she has him to remind her what she’s worth and to not settle for someone who shows her the slightest amount of respect and attention. Kevin also admits to her that he hasn't been to an audition in a really long time and she encourages him to do something about it. They both come out of the conversation wanting to make changes and move forward in a more positive way.

The most interesting, emotional, and exciting moments of this episode were from Beth and Randall during the hours before they had Tess. It’s a couple of months post-breakdown and Randall still seems to be struggling. The nursery ceiling fan he’s trying to install just won't work and he’s really working himself up about it. His stress is causing Beth a lot of stress so she’s very relieved when Rebecca comes to town to help out for after the birth. I really hate seeing them going through such a hard time and it feels so weird to see them like this considering what a strong and amazing relationship we’ve seen from them so far. Everything between them just feels awkward. After overhearing Rebecca and Beth talking about him, Randall decides to go into town and buy a replacement fan so he can get it off his mind and give them a chance to talk. When he gets to the store an employee comes over to assist him and ends up helping Randall in more ways than one. Randall confides in the employee about all of his struggles from the past couple of months and how he’s due to have a baby tomorrow. He asks for advice and the employee tells him exactly what he wants and needs to hear in that moment. He says that children come with the answers to all of your questions and that as soon as they're born he’ll know what to do. This is a moment of clarity for Randall, and it’s perfect timing because moments later he gets a call from Rebecca saying that the baby is coming. However, because it’s Halloween the ambulance can’t get to them in time.

Randall gets home just in time and he has totally switched roles with Beth. She is freaking out, as to be expected, but now he’s calm and ready. He reassures her that everything is going to be ok and she believes him, which is a major turning point to them getting back to who they really are as a couple. He ends up having to deliver the baby himself, which is kind of ridiculous. I had mixed feelings about this part. I feel like it’s widely known that labor with first babies can take a while and it just feels a bit unrealistic that Randall would pop out to the store and then just a little bit later she’s ready to deliver. But I let it go and in the chaos of the moment, all I was thinking about is how scary it would be to be in Beth’s situation. Everything goes well and after the birth, Randall and Rebecca have an emotional moment in the kitchen. She expresses that Tess’s birth was one of the happiest moments of her life but it was also a bit sad because Jack wasn't there to experience it too. She's realizing that the rest of her life will be this way and it's hard for her to get used to. At this point, Tess doesn't have a name yet and the name actually comes to Randall from the ceiling fan flyer that the store employee gave him, which I thought was really cute. The episode ends with a montage of Rebecca introducing herself in the hospital nursery to both Randall and Tess. This was a very emotional moment but I'm not surprised because Rebecca’s monologues always have a way of getting to me. We also see, in the closing moments, that Rebecca’s new Facebook account is how she reconnects with Miguel. I had just assumed that he had been around for a while and it never occurred to me that they would lose touch for so long after Jack's death. It was a bit surprising to see that he was a more recent part of the family but it's nice to see how that reconnection happened and now it makes a lot more sense how Rebecca ended up marrying Jack's best friend.

Overall, I thought this was a great episode. Although it was focused on Halloween festivities and what everyone was up to in their 20s, it packed an emotional punch as well. I loved getting to learn a bit more about everyone's more recent history. I feel like I got to know all of the characters better and I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing even more from this time period. I think it would be fun to see Beth and Randall tackling parenthood and the early days of Kate and Kevin living together while pursuing their dreams. I especially want to see when Kevin gets his big break and how that comes about. It would also be interesting to see Rebecca navigating a new relationship at this point in her life and the complications of it being with someone who was so close to Jack. I feel like there are so many stories during this time and hopefully, we’ll get to see a bit more of everyone's twenties soon because I really enjoyed it!

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