This is Us 2×01 “A Father’s Advice”

Big Three Moments of the Week

Welcome back, darlings — I hope you’ve had a lovely Summer/Winter. As far as season premieres go, This is Us has just set the bar ridiculously high. Did anyone else have penultimate episode vibes? This show. This show, friends. It’s too good. And I’m waiting for the season two curse to hit, but something tells me that’s not going to happen with This is Us. “A Father’s Advice” was the gorgeous showcase of how flawed these characters are, but mostly how influential paternal advice can be — both from fathers and mothers.

Scene I: Rebecca tells Randall about his adoption story.

It pains me to say this but almost everyone I’ve discussed the series with isn’t a fan of Rebecca. (Further research on the matter is being conducted.) However, one of my favorite things about the series is how incredibly realistic she is. Rebecca is as human as it gets, and if any woman dares to say they don’t have a bit of her in them, then we’re lying to ourselves. And this conversation with Randall is the very proof of human beings at their absolute finest. A grieving mother in an unbearable amount of pain isn’t capable of making such a life-altering decision, and the earnestness about how she wasn’t able to see what Jack saw revealed that humanity so potently, you can’t not sympathize with her. She was cut open, friends — let’s not forget that. No matter how much pain tolerance a person has, it’s still uncomfortable, and on top of that, she’s grieving the loss of a child.

And the truth is, when we’re grieving, not everyone can look at a rainbow and think everything’s going to be okay — some people need longer moments. They need to be convinced. They need people to push them towards that rainbow even when every ounce of their being is telling them that the rainbow won’t fix their pain. But as Rebecca states, Randall entering into their lives did so much more than fix the pain — he became a part of her that she could never live without; he became everything. Though he was a stranger in the beginning, in the end, she became his son, and just because Beth is hesitant, it doesn’t change the fact that what Randall wants is good.

I also appreciated the moment where Rebecca voiced the fact that while no human being is perfect, Jack Pearson came pretty close. (Which then makes me wonder how on earth she ended up with Miguel. It makes your head spin doesn’t it — trying to figure out this whole mess.) But that authentication kinda throws it in the face of audience members who were under the impression that she never really saw just how much he did for her. Rebecca Pearson was in fact, incredibly grateful of her husband and everything he’d done for the family. She may have a plethora of complicated emotions running through her veins, but tainted adoration towards her husband was most certainly not one of them. She loved him with every fiber of his being until his dying breath — if there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s the fact that her love for him is in fact unwavering. And through the glimmer of contentment in her eyes, as she states that her husband was perfect, that love was brought to life beautifully.

If she didn’t love him with every fiber of her being, she wouldn’t fight for their marriage. She wouldn’t convince him to get in the car upon learning that he’s having a difficult time giving up alcohol. She’d be the one to walk away. She wouldn’t try — but the decision to stand her ground and be the strength in their family was perfect. In a less than perfect situation, fighting for love is what brings a marriage pretty close to it. It’s now Rebecca’s turn to push. It’s her turn to force her husband to do something that may seem difficult. And if that scene did a perfect job of reminding us of one thing, it’s the fact that this cast is filled with stars. Milo Ventimiglia crushed me in the heart wrenching shame he brought to life. And Moore’s steadfast adoration was sublime. Moore and Ventimiglia continue to be revolutionary scene partners together — dare I say, better than anything the two have ever done in the past — their portrayals of these incredibly complex characters has been superlative. Week after week, I’m left more in awe than ever. It’s a good thing we don’t feature an M.V.P performer in these reviews because there’s absolutely no way I’m choosing just one.

Scene II: Beth tells Randall her plan

Did I cry? Is water wet? I was not expecting this scene in the slightest, but I’m so thrilled that the series is going in this direction. Beth and Randall’s marriage is as perfect as it gets — perfectly imperfect sure if that’s what they’d like to call it, but coming to this decision was indeed perfect. Randall is stubborn, like both his fathers, when he sets his mind to something, he’ll find the means to pursue it, but that’s why he has someone like Beth as his partner. Someone who won’t talk him out of doing a good thing, but someone who’ll give him options. And the fact that she chose to bring him to William’s favorite spot in order to show him the life of kids who weren’t headed towards the right direction served as an incredibly powerful moment. Susan Kelechi Watson brought so many emotions to life as she looked to those children, and you knew it right away, she wants this just as much as her husband, but she’s haunted by a different kind of loneliness.

Older kids don’t get adopted. It’s that simple. They go from foster home to foster home, and while some get lucky, most of them aren’t that fortunate. That’s why Beth proclaiming that adopting a teenager no one else wants to take on is a better decision for them because that way, they’ll be making an even greater impact. Yes, babies need to be adopted too, but there are more people in the world that want to raise a child as their own from an infant age. And I loved the fact that Randall agreed to this so quickly because that’s who he is as a human being — a man who’s always wanting to help in the best way he can. And that’s what marriage is, two people helping one another come to the best decisions together.

Scene III: Kate’s self pep talk

This was a subtle moment, but it’s incredibly vital for Kate’s characterization and her story.  This time, it isn’t about her weight, it’s about her abilities. As a singer, if she wants to make it, she needs to work on perfecting her voice. She needs to work on the practice that’s going to set her higher. And this isn’t about someone pushing her towards anything but rather what she can and should do for herself. This is her story — as Kate Pearson, the woman; not Toby’s fiancé or Kevin’s sister or Jack and Rebecca’s daughter. And I appreciated the fact that it all happened after she had to break up the silly argument that happened during their birthday dinner. An argument that made me roll my eyes — a lot.

“A Father’s Advice” was such a solid premiere, I don’t know how I could possibly deal with more crying. But that said, that final scene deserves to be discussed. The Pearson house burnt down as Rebecca drove by in a Steelers jersey with Jack’s things in the back? That was perhaps the most haunting scene in any series I’ve ever watched, and more so for the fact that it was so unexpected, I had no idea what I was even watching for a while. And with the kids crying. My heart. Be still. But it was Rebecca’s breakdown that sent the kind of chill down my spine I never want to feel again — it was so haunting, so unbearable, and I don’t want to know where Mandy Moore went in her head to convey that gut wrenching grief. We still don’t know how Jack died, but we do know that Kate blames herself for it, and while I don’t want to theorize, a huge part of me is under the impression that perhaps, she sent him in to save the dog? Or she was in there and he ran in to save her? Because his artifacts weren’t burned, so how on earth did that work out if he died from the final? I can definitely wait to find out because frankly, I’m all cried out at this point.

Further Thoughts

  • I forget how much teenage Kevin makes me want to claw my eyes out but I have to remind myself that he’s a kid, and thereby, he’s going to say and do a lot of stupid things that thankfully adult Kevin has learned from.

 

  • Can we all take a moment to acknowledge Randall making it clear that in this day and age, a woman can definitely work while a man stays behind and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

 

  • Seriously cannot get over how sweet Sophie and Kevin are. Am I the only one that’s super invested in their relationship!?

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? Remember if there’s anything you’d like us to discuss, let me know in the comments section below.

By: Gissane Sophia
Check us out on Twitter: @MGcircles

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