This week’s episode of This Is Us (titled: “Pilgrim Rick”) is both charming and explosive when the secret Rebecca’s been keeping for Randall’s whole life is exposed.
In the past timeline, Rebecca is stressed about going to her parents’ for Thanksgiving. She’s snippy with the kids and obsessed about the quality of her cranberry sauce. Kate hates the sweater that her grandmother made, while Randall and Kevin are constantly roughhousing. When said cranberry sauce gets involved in the roughhousing and shatters on the ground, the world is at a standstill.
The family stops at several stores to find canned cranberry sauce since it is Thanksgiving and all, and most of the stores are sold out. They seem to finally be on their way, when one of their tires blows out and they crash. In the age with no readily available cell phones, they are stranded and have to walk to find help.
Jump with me to read more.
When they arrive at the Pinewood Lodge, their own Thanksgiving traditions are formed when Rebecca calls her mother for help but decides she doesn’t want to do the holiday with them ever again. Jack borrows a pilgrim hat from Pilgrim Rick (the check-in guy) and acts out a story with the kids. They watch Police Academy 3 and roast hot dogs (from a gas station) over a furnace flame, then wrap them in cheese and cover them with sprinkled saltines. Then when Kate’s sweater starts to literally unravel, Rebecca comes up with a special way to pass along their thankfulness while unraveling the itchy garment.
In the present, Randall wakes up bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, excited to continue his family’s long-standing traditions on this special day.
Kate breaks it off with Toby, not wanting him to go across the country with her for Thanksgiving. She reiterates that she can’t be dating a “fat person” when she has her own issues to work out. In her support group, she is very interested in a story from a woman who had gastric bypass surgery. This remains on her mind all day, even when her delayed flight almost takes a tragic turn for the worse. She makes her decision and announces to her family she wants to do the surgery.
Kevin invites Olivia to Thanksgiving since she doesn’t celebrate with her family. He convinces her by explaining how messed up his family is. She agrees. She starts to get comfortable with Kevin and admits her cheating father would always leave on holidays to be with other women while her mother would get upset after cooking all day. Olivia always loved pie, but they never got to dessert in her family. When Kevin brings her pie, she does what she does best when faced with her own emotions and leaves. While waiting for her Uber, she talks to William and asks what it feels like to be dying. He explains that it’s being unable to catch moments in his life with his family. He tells her she needs to enjoy the moments and when someone gives you pie, you say thank you. Olivia decides to stay and tells Kevin this with a thank-you and a kiss, leaving Kevin more confused about their relationship than ever.
The Thanksgiving traditions continue, and Miguel asks Kevin if he could wear the hat. Kevin initially refuses, but after his moment with Oliva, he hands over the hat to his stepfather, a gesture that is huge for the family dynamic.
Randall is on a mission to get tapes from William’s past Thanksgivings with his friends, where they would jam all night. As this might be his last Thanksgiving, Randall wanted to do something special. Along with the tapes, he finds a letter from Rebecca, revealing that she knew about Randall’s biological father for many years. When Randall returns home, he’s clearly distraught, and he explodes in anger during their yarn-passing tradition. Rebecca tries to explain, but Randall doesn’t want to hear anything she has to say and he storms out.
The sweetest and most heartbreaking moments in this episode went to Randall. During their first Thanksgiving at the Pinewood Lodge, he expressed such joy about their disastrous circumstances, which carried over into his adult life and his excitement for the holiday and their strange family traditions. My heart was shattered when he finally confronted Rebecca about knowing William for all these years. The secret loomed since the beginning, and having it revealed on Randall’s favorite holiday was the twist of the knife.
I enjoyed watching the traditions unfold as the past and present timelines converged. This family took a really bad situation and created such fun tidbits to make their Thanksgiving very special.
Join me next week for the recap/review of the next new episode of This Is Us, which airs Tuesday, Nov. 29, on NBC at 9/8c.