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 episode kicks off with a particularly heart-wrenching flashback as we see Jack and Rebecca making their bed together across time. First, when she’s still pregnant, then when the Big Three are toddlers and again when they’re teenagers, just before Jack’s death. Then finally, once more shortly after his death but, this time Rebecca is struggling to make her bed in silence. Later that week, Randall comes home from college to help his mother with her resume and drive her to a job interview. In the present, Kevin is struggling to come to terms with what his night with Cassidy means as Kate struggles to get baby Jack to eat real food without Toby. Elsewhere, Rebecca and Randall get to spend some quality time together as Beth chaperones a movie date between Malick and Deja.
In the past, Rebecca’s interview doesn’t go great, until Randall makes a pretty powerful speech to her potential employer about the type of person she is. In the present, Nicky and Cassidy scramble to find Kevin after he leaves his trailer without his phone. They end up picking him up after he finds trouble in the form of a bar fight, which he sought out over drinking. In Philly, Rebecca shows worrying signs of a fading memory on her day out with Randall but, he remains quiet about it. Back at home, Beth learns that Deja wants to invite her birth mother over to their house for Thanksgiving. And in L.A., Kate visits her neighbor after he doesn’t show up for their daily walk. While there, he’s able to get baby Jack to eat real food, something Kate told Toby she wouldn’t do until he got home later.
Then, back in the past, Rebecca gets the job before breaking down to Randall about starting a new job and chapter without Jack. Randall lightens the mood with a cringey joke about ‘R and R time,’ referring to Randall and Rebecca. In the present though, the mood isn’t as light when he tries to talk to Rebecca about seeing a doctor in order to address her growing memory issues. She gets extremely defensive and kicks him out of her room. Meanwhile, Kevin, Nicky, and Cassidy leave Nicky’s court hearing happy as he was able to make a compelling enough argument for himself that he stayed out of jail. Kevin and Cassidy share a teary goodbye that probably isn’t as final as they expect and Kevin invites Nicky to Thanksgiving dinner at Randall’s, which he surprisingly accepts. In L.A., Toby comes home with a ton of food for Jack to try and feeds him an avocado from the neighbor’s tree. Oddly, Kate opts not to share her and Jack’s day with Toby as he cheers while the baby takes his “first” bite of real food.
I really really enjoyed this episode. It wasn’t my favorite of the season but, we finally got to see the fallout from Kevin and Cassidy’s night together, which was handled much better than I expected. I also really enjoyed seeing Nicky step up and be honest with Kevin about what he means to him. On the Kate and Toby side, I feel like they’re setting up something romantic with and Kate and her neighbor, which I think is weird but I guess we’ll see where it goes. And, the Randall and Rebecca storyline feels as real as the best This Is Us plotlines do, meaning it’ll likely also get as sad as the best do.
This week’s MVP award has got to go to Nicky. Not only did he win his court case by being honest with the judge and himself, but, he finally forgave himself so that he can move forward. He’s also becoming the man his brother always knew he could be. And, I feel his relationship with Kevin as the last strand connecting them both to Jack has always been understated. So, I was glad to see that emphasized this episode.
Did I cry?
Not this week. There were a few moments near the end that really tested me but, the streak continues. Judging from that promo for next week though, I think it’ll likely end during that episode.
Now, here’s a look at the best three moments from tonight’s episode:
3. “I could do that.”
So, this episode had a lot of quiet good moments, with a couple of great ones. That really made it hard to decide what to put here but, I think this is it. Nicky agrees to go to Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of the Pearsons, something he would’ve laughed at in the past. It’s a far cry from the Nicky we knew even 8 weeks ago when the season started but, it’s a real testament to the changes he’s made in his life since then. As I said above, it’s refreshing to see him finally step up and shake that demon off his back.
2. “All she needs is a chance.”
Randall has always been his mother’s biggest fan and this moment only reinforced it. He goes to bat for his Rebecca, sharing things she’s too proud to and strikes a chord with anyone who’s ever had a mother too proud for her own good. Beyond that, this scene takes on a much more melancholy tone after their fight later in the episode, which makes it that much stronger.
1. “Do you feel any remorse?”
Every episode features some kind of ‘Jack Pearson’ moment where someone in the Pearson family stands up for what they believe in and makes an impassioned speech. That moment this week went to our MVP, Jack’s brother Nicky. This scene’s actually a major reason why Nicky won MVP as he finally admits how much he needs the loved ones in his life and how, regardless of the shitty actions that may’ve got him there, he’s got to a point of true happiness and forgiven himself. Again, it’s a version of Nicky we haven’t really seen before and it’s a version of Nicky that I hope sticks around for a while.
Well, I expect a heater next week. The promo all but confirms that we’ll see Rebecca’s struggle with a fading memory take a turn for the worse. I think it’ll be interesting to see how Nicky fits in with the rest of the family at Thanksgiving. And, though I wasn’t on board with Kevin and Cassidy’s romantic relationship before, this episode swayed me and I think we’ll see Kevin decide to stay in Pennsylvania with her and Nicky. Also, we still haven’t seen the extent of the damage Kate’s teenage boyfriend does to her but, I think we’ll start to learn more about that after a few breadcrumbs were left for us this episode.
You can check out the promo for next week’s episode, “So Long, Marianne” below:
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 7/8 C on NBC.