In the room
Season 5 Episode 8
3 Star Editor Rating ***
Well, check out this (it’s us): three new Pearson babies have been born and not a single tragedy to go through! What a time to live! We really needed an episode which was a joy. Well, okay, it was all the joy besides the veil of sadness that envelops us all all the time Jack and Rebecca start talking about their future together, but they were used to it by now. This sadness is part of us. Otherwise: all the joy! Even Rose, close to death, wife of friend from the parking lot of Tobys hospital, lives!
So let’s talk about staying connected, baby. This is what this episode of This Is Us is all about: a family finding ways to stay in touch, both physically and emotionally. Hey, This Is Us loves a good episode theme! And obviously, the desire to feel connected even when you’re not physically with the person you love has been magnified because of the pandemic, and the series dives headfirst into that notion.
In a very This Is Us movement, the theme is linked by framing the episode with the story of Nasir and Esther Ahmed. No, we haven’t met them here before. Nasir Ahmed is an engineer and computer scientist who in the 1970s invented the technology that allows us today to video chat and send photos to our phones and not go completely crazy during this pandemic. His love affair with Esthers is very sweet and his own story, with all the contributions he has made to our society, is definitely worth telling. It was all reminiscent of the Immaculate Reception episode that kicked off season three, right? This Is Us likes to remind us that people who don’t seem to be related to the Pearsons in any way can end much of their story. And really, the idea that all of our stories are connected to Pearson or otherwise has been something This Is Us hammers home since Kevin showed us his works in season one. Everything is very beautiful and good, and of course the show is right, we’ve all been thinking about how to stay connected with the people we love more than ever, but, sorry not sorry, this final cut of the Pearsons meeting the news. family members on the video chat looked more like a phone commercial than an emotional conclusion to the episode.
Let’s talk about all the ways the Pearsons connect. This theme was of course set up last week when Randall and Beth, on their way home from New Orleans, promised Madison to stay on the phone with her until Kevin on a real fling. , as he was trying to get from Vancouver to Los Angeles arrived. Here they keep that promise, talking to him through his contractions and spooky epidural needles with distracting stories about a high school Kevin naked, drunk and singing MMMbop. Madison is now the Randalls family, and that’s what you do for the family: distract them from something painful with embarrassing stories about other family members.
And then Kevin comes in. It’s no surprise that he miraculously appears after leaving his big movie starring Robert De Niro, pulling a man out of a burning car, losing his ID at the scene and only realizing it. ‘once arrived at Seattle-Tacoma Airport with little time to spare and a big speech for the TSA agent that not being there for the birth of his children will break him down, he is Jack Pearsons’ son after all, but a few details on how he was successful would be helpful. All we get here is a quick line on sending the TSA agent a greeting card. You can’t even bring a full-size toothpaste in your carry-on, but this clown with no ID gets a pass. Cool, cool, cool. Explain yourself!
Either way, Kevin introduces himself, and when he learns what Randall has done for him and Madison, the man is moved. Yep, he tells Madison he’s all-in on this family (for real this time) and won’t take jobs that take him away. Yes, they have two beautiful, healthy babies, Frannie and Nicholas (yes, after Uncle Nicky. And yes, I’m crying just thinking about it). But come on the remarkable moment, here is the phone call between Kevin and Randall after the birth.
Kevin could honestly be more moved to know how much Randall was there for him, even with all the tension between them, that he doesn’t want to be a father and I love that for him. Kevin tells his brother he’s the best person he knows, and [his] best day, [he is] just make a poor man’s imitation [Randall]. Randall isn’t releasing his Single Tear, but I bet it takes a lot of his effort to hold this up, okay? Kevin wants to have a conversation about Randalls’ childhood and their relationship, and you can see Randall is touched by the sincerity of his brothers. Of course, the night his kids are born isn’t the night of this conversation, but if Kevin is up for it in the future, so is Randall. It’s only been a day at show time since Randall let all his demons go into a lake, and already he looks so much lighter. It will be interesting to see what he does next. Hopefully that includes walking into the same room as his brother and giving this guy a hug. The Pearson boys heal, people!
In case anyone has forgotten, Kate is also having a baby tonight! The theme of connection is also alive in his story – only one person can be in the room with Ellie, so Toby has been relegated to hanging out in the parking lot, relying on texts and video calls to keep him in the loop. It has a very nice setup, however! He ends up spending the evening chatting with another husband who was waiting in the hospital parking lot, but this man is there because his 55-year-old wife, the aforementioned Rose, has COVID and is on a ventilator. Fortunately, the storyline has a happy ending: Rose gets taken off the fan, and our new Pearson-Damon goes by the name of Hailey Rose. See what I mean about all the joy?
What happens in the delivery room is a bit more complicated. Kate is clearly worried about connecting with her new daughter as a mother. This turns out to be especially difficult because the nurses refer to Ellie as a mom instead of Kate, and it’s a bit alarming that once Hailey is born, Ellie quickly changes her mind about not wanting to hold the baby and even asks for time alone with her. You see the fear on Kates face. But then she finally hugs Hailey, and the relief and joy is palpable. I feel like I’ve waited my whole life to meet you, she said to her daughter. The connection is immediate Shes Haileys mom. Everything is so beautiful, but if I tell you that all the happiness hasn’t made me worry about what the future holds, I would be lying.
This week, delving into the past is all about the emotional bonds within a family (I told you, this show loves a theme): In the ’90s, Rebecca and Jack abandon their unbearably surly teenagers for a weekend alone at the cottage, but Jack spends most of the time being a real boy sad about his growing children and wanting nothing to do with them. Rebecca needs to remind her that they are not their parents and that they are going to be close to their children forever and ever and not miss any part of their life, and she didn’t even know FaceTime at the time, so this ‘is a real boss energy there.
At the cabin these days, Rebecca worries about missing the birth of her grandchildren and breaking her promise to Jack to always be there for the children. She is haunted by this framed image of Pearson’s handprints from when the kids were little, which was nearly ruined by a leak in the cabin ceiling. We see that in the ’90s Rebecca used this soggy finger paint, where children’s handprints bled into Jack and Rebeccas, to show Jack that they would always be a part of each other. Between that and Kevins’ painting, I guess all Pearsons love homemade art on the nose about human interconnectivity.
Rebecca gives Miguel a well-deserved thanks and appreciation for the way he handles the sometimes very delicate situation he finds himself in, married to the wife of his deceased best friend, and the complicated ways in which the loss of Jack affects him. . I know I am a lot, she said. You have just the right amount, he replies. Is that the start of some stories of Rebecca-and-Miguel-falling in love, because it’s about time.
Seeing the real Nasir and Esther chatting with the creators of This Is Us at the end of the episode was a delight!
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