NBC premiered a brand new show called This Is Us and, judging by tonight’s episode, I think this new series has the potential to be really good.
This Is Us follows five people who all have one thing in common: their birthdays. Each person (two of whom are actually married) is either going through some type of struggle or in the middle of some type of crossroads. The thing that initially caught my attention was the fact that each issue, no matter which character, is very relatable. I can believe that there is, at least, one viewer sitting at home who can fully identify with these characters.
I really enjoyed what I saw tonight, guys,and the huge plot twist at the end was good because I didn’t see it coming.
Now, let’s discuss the episode and its characters. To make it easier for you to understand and for me to write, I’m going to list the characters and give you a rundown of the milestones that they’re crossing and/or the hardships that they’re going through.
Prepare yourself because this is going to be a long one. I hope this goes well.
First up is Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia). The episode opens with Rebecca being very pregnant with their triplets as well as the couple being in the middle of celebrating Jack’s 36th birthday. While in the middle of getting ‘frisky’ (or Jack trying to convince Rebecca to get frisky) her water breaks.
The whole ‘trying to get frisky’ scene was pretty funny because Rebecca reminded me of pretty much every pregnant woman that I’ve come into contact with. From what I’ve seen and heard (since I’m not a mom yet), there’s a certain point in your pregnancy that you reach where you become very self conscious and you just don’t think you’re attractive, so you automatically assume that your significant feels the same way. I just loved how Jack kept reassuring her. He wanted her to know that no matter how pregnant she was, tradition was tradition and they were going to celebrate his birthday like they always do. Even though she probably didn’t understand how he could possibly be into that, I’m sure it gave her a little confidence boost.
They make it to the hospital and they find out that their original doctor had a medical emergency, so Rebecca panics. Her pregnancy is high risk, so I understand, but I loved her doctor as well. He was funny and went out of his way to make she and Jack feel comfortable. Speaking of Jack, let’s talk about one of the most beautiful scenes that happened in this episode.
At one point, their doctor came into the room to pretty much give them the worse case scenario and Jack wasn’t having it. Here’s what he said:
“So, I’m gonna need everyone in this room to believe me when I say that only good things are gonna happen here today…Actually, I don’t just want you to believe it, I want you to know it.”
I’d already seen this in the trailer, so I knew it was coming, but hearing it in full context was so heartwarming.
Rebecca’s labor progresses but, sadly, they run into some complications and something bad happens, but we’ll revisit that later.
The next character is Kate (Chrissy Metz), who was also celebrating her 36th birthday. Kate is struggling with her weight. She’s a big girl, who, like some women of her size, doesn’t feel desirable. Living in a society where pencil thin models are what majority of the population finds attractive can definitely make you feel that way, so I can get where she’s coming from.
For moral support or possibly for a place of belonging, Kate attends a ‘fat support group.’ It’s at this support group that she meets Toby (Chris Sullivan). Toby is a big guy who is very attracted to Kate, but Kate is so focused on her goal to lose weight that, at first, she isn’t too receptive of his advances, but he eventually wins her over with his charm and they end up going on a date.
At the end of their date, he gets her to invite him in for a drink of water (because she refused to consume anymore calories) and it’s at this point that Kate’s date is crashed by her twin brother, who’s not only another character who’s celebrating his 36th birthday, but who’s also had a very trying day.
His name is Kevin (Justin Hartley) and he’s an actor who isn’t happy with the direction that his career is going in. He’s acting in a very successful sitcom, which is great, but his problem is that he’s tired of playing the stupid, empty headed character. He wants the writers to give his character more substance, but he plays his role really well and the audience loves his character, so his writer isn’t up for changing anything.
He accepts this, at first, but after getting the opportunity to shoot a more serious scene, he finally gets a taste of what he’s always wanted. Unfortunately for him, his writer/director asks him to shoot an alternate scene. A more lighter, funnier, stupider alternate scene and he loses it. He goes off on everyone including the fans and quits. Of course, someone in the audience (the show was shot in front of a live audience) recorded it and put it on the internet.
Probably not the best thing for his career, but he wants better roles, so maybe it’s time that he start looking for them. It was obvious that his writer/director wasn’t going to switch his character up, so I think it was time for him to move on.
This is how he ended up at Kate’s house. We’ll revisit this scene as well because something is said between the two that helped me figure out the link between the characters.
And the last character that was talked about was Randall (Sterling K. Brown). Like our previous characters, Randall is also celebrating his 36th birthday, but, in addition to that, he has also just found out his biological father’s name and address. You see, Randall was adopted. His biological mother died giving birth to him and his biological father dropped him off at a fire station after he was born.
He is a very successful man with a wife and two beautiful daughters, but he still holds some resentment toward his father. After much thought, he decides to pay his father a visit and the whole encounter was confusing, but predictable at the same time because it was made pretty obvious that Randall didn’t know how to feel. He wanted to be angry, but then he also still wanted that love and acceptance from his father. He still wants him to be apart of his life, even as a grown man, who was raised by two loving foster parents.
He invites his father back to his home to meet his wife and daughters and, after a good visit, he finds out that his father is dealing with a tragedy of his own. Somehow he ends up being invited to stay the night.
Now, lets get to that twist because this review because it’s getting pretty long.
Ok, so, going back to Rebecca and Jack at the hospital. Rebecca ended up going into distress after delivering their first baby, which lead to the doctor having to deliver the remaining two babies himself. He successfully delivered baby number two, but they lost baby number three. When the doctor broke the news to Jack, he couldn’t process it, so he sat him down and told him about his own tragic story in hopes of getting him to look at his situation in a different light. He said something along the lines of trying to make the best out of life even when it gives you lemons. A very touching scene and it was definitely needed.
Now, add in Kate and Kevin’s scene at her house. Kevin was pretty down about what had happened on the set of his sitcom and he started to doubt himself and his abilities as an actor and Kate hit him with something that their dad used to always say:
“There’s no lemon so sour that you can’t make something resembling lemonade.”
While this scene is happening, we go back to Jack who is visiting he and Rebecca’s two babies (a boy and a girl) in the nursery. He strikes up a conversation with a firefighter who is also looking in on the babies and asks him which one is his. Now, the firefighter’s response is when the wheels started to turn.
He told Jack that neither of the babies were his but he was there because he’d found a baby outside of his fire station. An African American baby. Like Randall.
At this point I’m like, “Did we just go back in time?” My mind was turning, but it didn’t take long to put the pieces together.
We did go back in time, at least in Rebecca and Jack’s storyline. Kate and Kevin are the twins that Rebecca just gave birth to, so they’re their parents and they’re also Randall’s parents because the baby that the fireman found was Randall. Jack and Rebecca ended up adopting him. He was lying in the crib right next to the twins in the hospital nursery.
I didn’t notice until that point, but, for Rebecca and Jack’s scenes, we never really saw their surroundings, but after this was revealed they panned out and we were able to see that, both, the technology and fashion was outdated. It made sense because the twins were born on their father’s (Jack’s) birthday and Randall was born on the day he was found, which was also on Jack’s birthday.
All this was confirmed by a poster that was hanging in one of Randall’s daughter’s rooms (the grandfather looked right at it when he entered the room) and a photo that was in Kate’s living room.
As I said earlier, I didn’t see that one coming, but it was one heck of a twist. The whole episode was good and I will definitely be tuning in next week because I’m curious to see where they’re going to go with the show.
Will you guys be tuning in with me? Let me know what you thought of This Is Us in the comment section.
Also, I’m sorry that this review was so long, I just wanted to give you guys a thorough post. Hope you liked it.
Until next week!
This Is Us airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.