Before diving in on this week’s breakdown, check out Def Pen’s breakdown of last week’s episode if you missed it or just need a refresher!
This week revolved around two very different date nights and three surprisingly similar golf games. Way back, when Jack and Rebecca are still just dating, Jack hits the country club with Rebecca’s father Dave. Despite their last interaction not being particularly cordial, Dave tries to find common ground with Jack. He even goes as far as convincing a friend to offer Jack a job interview. In the end, the two men leave on poor terms as Dave outright calls Jack out for not being good enough for his daughter. It seems like the two may get into a little bit of a scuffle but Rebecca comes out just in time to help Jack to his car.
Fast forward a bit to the Big Three’s childhood and we see Jack meeting Randall’s teacher, Mr. Lawrence. The educator has had an obvious effect on Randall as he goes to school early every day just to spend time with him before classes start. Jack, perhaps feeling a bit of fatherly jealousy, takes Randall out to golf one day after school. But, It doesn’t make things any better between the two as Jack fails to understand Randall’s concerns over his future. In the present, Kate and Toby find their love-life in tatters after having a baby so, in a bid to reignite that spark, they take a night off from being parents and leave baby Jack with Rebecca and Miguel.
Elsewhere, Randall struggles to get in with the other councilmen after being forced to cancel on one of them a few times too many. So, he organizes a game of golf at the same country club he and Jack played at when he was a kid. A little ways away, Kevin continues to fail at getting through to Nicky and heads off to the gym to work off some stress. While there, he’s hit on by one of the workers and ends up on a date later that day. However, upon returning from his date, he finds an emotional Cassidy after a tough visit to her husband. Kevin consoles her and the two ultimately end up hooking up. Back in L.A. though, Kate and Toby do the opposite as their date night falls apart thanks to some awkwardness surrounding Toby’s weight loss. But, ultimately the two make-up and find time to rekindle the flame between them just before Rebecca and Miguel show back up with the baby.
And, back in Pennsylvania, Randall’s secret plan comes to fruition as he’s accepted by his fellow councilmen for that very poor, and very humbling round of golf. As he’s packing up though, the episode flashes back to show Jack teaching him how to golf and how to “play the game” to seal a deal on the course. Then, we get an amazing, short montage of Randall practicing golf over the years. And as the episode ends, present-day Randall finishing up his practice session by hitting a ball into the water for Jack.
I’m really conflicted right now. The Kevin/Cassidy relationship took a turn for the frustrating cliche. But, the way it was handled was still as heartfelt and genuine as you’d expect from this show. Elsewhere, I LOVED the Jack and Randall stuff, it feels like it’s been forever since we saw the two of them get some quality screen time together. And, the reveal of Randall’s golf hustle is one of the best reveals of the entire series in my opinion. Then, Kate and Toby’s story is what it is. I find it a bit eye-rolling but, I’ve never been married with a kid and at least it feels realistic, if a bit unnecessary. And their chemistry at the end of the episode is as good as it gets.
So, this week’s MVP award was a pretty hard choice between Jack and Randall. In fact, it was so hard that I think this week will be the first week of co-MVP’s this season. Both men struggled with golf. Jack used his struggle to teach Randall how to get what he wants through golf. And obviously, Randall then used that lesson in the present.
Did I cry?
Nah not this week, there were a few emotional moments (especially in the end) but, for the most part, those moments were more uplifting than sad. So, the no tears streak is reset to one this week.
Now, here’s a look at the best three moments from tonight’s episode:
3. “You’ve seen things 99% of us can’t even imagine.”
This moment probably would’ve been a lot higher if it hadn’t culminated in Kevin and Cassidy getting together. I knew it was coming, I was hoping it wouldn’t or at least be after the midseason break before we got it. But, either way, this moment still deserves to be on this list as it one of the most powerful this episode.
2. “Do you forgive me?”
So, this isn’t necessarily a huge moment but, considering most of this season has seen Kate and Toby in the midst of one disagreement or another, this small moment reminds us, and them, why they fell in love in the first place. Again, their chemistry in this scene is as good as it’s been since season 1 and honestly, I’m a sucker for Toby’s jokes.
1. “Randall, hold on a second. Stop.”
Alright, so this wasn’t my favorite episode this season but, the last few minutes are some of my favorite in the entire series. The way it cuts from an older Randall to the younger version, the classic Jack Pearson speech, then the montage showing that Randall not only knows how to golf but he’s actually good? THEN, Randall hits that ball into the water for his father???? Shut it down, pack it up, there’s no way this moment was taking anything except the top spot.
Well, I think Kevin and Cassidy’s relationship is going to get Kevin in trouble with Cassidy’s husband. I think Nicky won’t have the best reaction either. It feels like we’re barrelling towards something big/bad with nearly everyone though as Randall and Beth are going to meet Malik’s parents and we still have that cryptic exchange between Kate and Rebecca last week when talking about Kate’s old boyfriend. Not sure we’ll that get resolved next week, feels more like a season-long simmer situation but, I think we’ll definitely get more details drip-fed to us.
You can check out the promo for next week’s episode, “The Dinner and the Date,” below:
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 7/8 C on NBC.