Recap/Review – This Is Us – 11/1/16

Hi everyone! Welcome to my recap/review posts. My name is Katlyn Duncan, and I’m a young-adult author. I love exploring new characters in my writing and on television. I’ll be writing up my thoughts on This Is Us and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, starting with last night’s This Is Us, so let’s get to it…


thisisusrecap111smallDuring the past timeline for the This Is Us characters, Jack switches careers to take a desk job so that he can make more money for the family. While his intentions are admirable, he gets through the day by dreaming of starting his own company called Big Three Homes. When Miguel informs Jack that he has been promoted and wants Jack to join his team, Jack refuses, explaining his plan to go out on his own. Miguel gives Jack a week to think about his offer. Jack doesn’t think he needs a week to think about it, until everything changes.

At home, Rebecca shows him Randall’s average-looking report card with a note that the teacher wants a conference with them. When they attend the meeting, Randall’s teacher explains that Randall tested off the charts and recommends they send him to a special school so that he can be challenged academically.

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Initially, Jack refuses to send Randall to another school where he will be different and stand out more than he already does. Jack speaks with Yvette, who now is a friend of the family. She doesn’t side with Jack at all, telling him that he’s the one treating Randall differently.

After thinking about this, Jack takes Randall to work and quizzes him on some math skills while reviewing a blueprint. Jack questions Randall on why he’s unable to apply those skills to his school lessons. Randall confesses that he doesn’t want to be different from his siblings.

Jack and Randall have a heart-to-heart about how he and Rebecca have tried to treat their kids the same, but they aren’t, and they should own up to that. By the end of the episode, Jack gives up his dreams for Big Three Homes and accepts Miguel’s offer so that Randall can attend the new school.

Also in the past timeline, we see a little struggle between Rebecca and Kate. Kate loves her mother and continually tells her she’s beautiful while obsessing over the size labels of her clothes. The weight issue overflows into Kate’s present timeline.

In the present, we follow The Big Three through their own work issues:

Kevin has a difficult time with getting emotional for a pivotal scene in the play. His refusal to care about the situation of the character creates tension with the director. After rehearsal, Erin invites Kevin to a “party.” The party turns out to be a memorial service for a stranger she found in the newspaper in the obituaries. While she’s obsessing over the appetizers, they meet the grieving widow. Erin lies to the widow and says she and Kevin are married and they met in her dead husband’s class.

Kevin is appalled by the lie but runs into the widow in the kitchen. They talk and Kevin reveals how he felt when his own father passed away. Here is where Kevin starts to understand his emotions and he and the widow share an emotional embrace.

Kevin is in the bedroom when Erin finds him. He’s angry at her for crashing a memorial service, and she explains that she wanted him to find the emotions required to play the role he’d been cast in. She kisses him and they fall onto the bed together.

The next day at rehearsals, Erin tells Kevin that they will never be together “like that” again. She asks him how he feels about it and for him to use that emotion during the scene.

Kate interviews for a job as an assistant for a woman named Marin. Kate impresses Marin and is advised that she will be a part event planner and part personal assistant. Marin’s overweight daughter, Gemma, walks into the room and isn’t surprised that Marin “hired the fat one,” a line that causes everyone else in the room to cringe.

Kate excels at her job, and Marin takes notice. One afternoon, Marin asks Kate to take Gemma to her friend’s house. Gemma is rude to Kate and refuses to give her friend’s address (since Kate wants to rush back to the house to continue to work). Kate kicks the kid out of the car and drives away.

Kate thinks this is the end of her job with Marin, but Marin apologizes for thinking Kate could get through to her daughter since they are both overweight. Marin wants Kate to stay, and Kate agrees, as long as she doesn’t have to do any more personal assistant duties.

On the way out, Kate speaks to Gemma and reveals that her own mother was gorgeous and thin and she always compared herself to her. It caused a rift between them, and now they barely speak to each other. Kate wants Gemma to give Marin a break so that they don’t end up the same way.

Randall comes home from work to see William performing at the piano for his daughters. William regales them with his brief career as a musician. Tess wants William to come to Career Day, but Randall steps in saying that there is only one spot for their family and he already signed up. Tess seems less than thrilled about it, but the decision is final.

Randall practices his prepared speech for Beth. She is also not entirely sure what Randall does for a living, which leaves him wondering if there is an artistic side of him that he hasn’t found yet. He reveals that he always wanted to play the saxophone and wonders if William’s genetics for music are somewhere inside of him.

At Career Day, Randall sits down at a piano and gives a cringe-worthy performance with confusing lyrics about weather investments and corn. The audience is clearly confused, and his family is left speechless and embarrassed.

The next day, Randall confronts his family and tells them that he loves his job, even if they don’t understand what he does. And that he will be taking piano lessons and asks for their support at an upcoming recital.

Every episode of This Is Us offers enough laughter and tears to make me keep watching. I love watching The Big Three in both timelines while also engaged by the secretiveness around some of the details, such as when Kevin vaguely tells the widow that Jack died “a long time ago.” These little details hook me each week and make me want more.

Kevin’s laugh-out-loud moment for this week was when he apologized to Erin for his “pickle breath.” I am excited to see a little growth in his character as he transitions from The Manny to a serious Broadway actor.

And Jack’s speech to Randall was the tear-jerking moment of the episode. I love the complexity of Jack’s character and how he continues to grow with his children.
There won’t be a new episode next week, since it’s election day here in the US. But keep an eye out after this week’s new Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and I’ll also be back in two weeks with another recap and my thoughts on the next new episode of This Is Us! And please, leave your comments below. I’d love to know what you thought of this episode!

– Katlyn
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