This weekâ€™s episode of This Is Us (titled: â€œJack Pearsonâ€™s Sonâ€) was another emotional rollercoaster that put all of the Pearsons in tough spots.
The past timeline
The Big Three are teenagers at this point, and Rebecca is about to leave for her tour with Ben and the band. Jack plans a special night for himself and Rebecca at Oâ€™Shannonâ€™s for after her show on Valentineâ€™s Day night. And while Jack seems very supportive, he admits to Miguel that he really doesnâ€™t want her to go but also doesnâ€™t want her to think heâ€™s holding her back.
That afternoon, Rebecca overhears the Big Three talking about Kevin having sex with Sophie. When Rebecca and Jack sit down with Kevin to have â€œthe talk,â€ Randall is having an anxiety attack about his Hamlet paper. Jack calms Randall down, ending the conversation with Kevin. Rebecca is worried that this isnâ€™t the time for her to go on tour, and Jack reassures her, saying he can handle it.
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At the show that night, Jack and newly single Miguel sit together to watch Rebeccaâ€™s performance. Rebecca and Ben sing together (and to each other), and anyone who didnâ€™t know them would think there was something more going on. Jack is mesmerized and fumes at his table while Miguel flirts with another woman. After the show, Ben talks to Jack about Rebecca. And Jack is very prickly. Ben mentions that he and Rebecca dated, and it appears that this is the first time Jack is hearing about their relationship.
Back at home, Rebecca confronts Jack about canceling their plans for Oâ€™Shannonâ€™s, and he wants to know more about her ex-boyfriend. She and Ben dated for two months when they were teens, and she knew Jack would freak out about it if he knew. He canâ€™t believe she lied, and he leaves, needing to be alone. We find him at his reservation at Oâ€™Shannonâ€™s, sidled up with a burger and a Makerâ€™s Mark to keep him company.
Last time we sat Kate, she was standing outside of Dukeâ€™s cabin. But not all is as it seems! (Thank goodness!) She tells Duke off, and he kicks her out of the camp, since apparently, his parents own the place.
Kate goes to Tobyâ€™s hotel room and tries to explain herself. Toby admits to being jealous of Duke, and Kate wonders why. Toby tells her he doesnâ€™t know much about her, and she wants him to ask whatever questions he has. They start the â€œinterviewâ€ at a clothing store so Toby can get a nice outfit for Kevinâ€™s opening night. The questions are innocent enough until Kate wants to know about Tobyâ€™s depression. He is open with her, but when he asks about Jackâ€™s death, she is unable to talk about it. But she promises eventually she will be able to.
At the opening, Toby wants to postpone the wedding until they are at a point where they can tell each other everything, and Kate agrees.
Kevin wakes up from a recurring dream that involves an interview with Katie Couric. She voices all of his insecurities, and he awakens frantic. Kevin and Sophie have started dating again, and all appears well with Sloane and Kevin at work. Both of them are having a few jitters about the show, but Kevin is worse off than Sloane. Kevin calls Kate and ends up going through to voice mail. Then he tries Randall, who is too busy with William and work to handle Kevin at the moment. And finally, he goes to Rebeccaâ€™s house to talk to another â€œartistâ€ about the pre-show jitters. Rebecca is out, but Miguel is there and invites Kevin inside. Kevin isnâ€™t expecting to get advice from his stepfather, but Miguel steps up and says whenever he got nervous about something, he always thought of Jack and what he would do. This advice seems to work for Kevin, and he leaves with a new plan to calm himself down before the show.
Five minutes before the show, Kevin gets a strange call from Randall. After Randall hangs up, Kevin appears confused, and when he and Sloane are standing backstage about to go on, she tells him sheâ€™s imagining everyone in their underwear. When she asks him what heâ€™s thinking about, he tells her heâ€™s thinking of his father. Lights up on the stage, and Sloane delivers her opening line, but Kevin isnâ€™t there.
Randallâ€™s need to be perfect has affected him for a long time. And itâ€™s only getting worse. Randall arrives to work and is told an important meeting is being moved up to that afternoon. Then he gets a phone call from Williamâ€™s nurse, who tells him that William locked her out of the house. He is all out of sorts but leaves the office to let her back in. When he confronts William, William tells his son that he wanted a Coke and that heâ€™s not sure how much longer he can handle the symptoms of dying. Randall convinces William he needs the nurse and tells her if he wants a Coke, she should give him one. Randall goes back to work, visibly upset. He arrives late to the meeting and canâ€™t get it together. Sanjay takes over, and Randall is at his breaking point.
Later that night, close to the opening of the show, Randall is at his desk, and heâ€™s having trouble seeing. He calls Kevin and apologizes for not being able to make it to the show. Heâ€™s upset but doesnâ€™t say anything to his brother. Kevin arrives at the office, completely ditching Sloane and the show, to be there for his brother.
So many emotions! The whole Randall and William story line tonight was heartbreaking, and I hate to see Randallâ€™s health declining as much as Williamâ€™s. It was very sweet to see that Kevin came to his brotherâ€™s side, even though it was at the worst time for Kevinâ€™s career! But I liked how he stepped up to his fatherâ€™s standards. I feel awful for Sloane though. Iâ€™m not sure she will be that forgiving, especially with the New York Times reporter there opening night.
Did anyone think that Kate was going to give up the goods on Jackâ€™s death? I did! And was sorely disappointed when she clammed up.
The final image of Jack this episode was haunting. Miguel made a comment earlier in the episode about going out with Jack, but he wouldnâ€™t force Jack to have a drink. Seeing how much he enjoyed his whiskey made my heart hurt!
As weâ€™re counting down to the last episodes of this amazing first season, I wonder how much more the Pearson clan can takeâ€¦
Join me next week for the recap/review of the next new episode of This Is Us, which airs Tuesday, Feb. 21, on NBC at 9/8c.