This is Us 2×11 “The Fifth Wheel”

Big Three Moments of the Week

Welcome back to the first review of the year, and I hope 2018 is treating you all beautifully so far. I debated changing up the structure for this review because I had an enormous issue with this episode that I wanted to single out, but for whatever reason, I decided against it. However, here’s the thing, in my honest opinion, “The Fifth Wheel” could have been perfect — it could have been one of the best episodes in not only This is Us history, but in the general TV verse. And that was far from the case — perhaps, I’m wrong in my analogy, perhaps, I’m right, but I’ve never once felt this uncomfortable watching a therapy session before. On the bright side, the idea, or more so the fact that we all view life through a different set of glasses could not be more true, and I appreciated the series for reminding us of this.

Scene I: Rebecca waits for Kevin

Rebecca is often pinned as the bad guy, she herself even states it, but while there’s no such thing as right or wrong, if anyone dares to say that she doesn’t care profoundly for her children, that she wouldn’t die for them, then that person is wrong. There are parents in the world that give up on their children, parents who abandon them when things get difficult, parents who give up trying when their children push them away, but never once has Rebecca Pearson done any of that — never once has she been anything but a presence clinging to her children for dear life no matter how hard they pushed back or how fiercely they proclaimed to hate her. The unyielding, indescribable love for them never waved, not even for a split second.

And that’s why waiting for Kevin was so crucial to remind the audience of the very fact that Rebecca Pearson does in fact love her children equally. I hadn’t cried during this episode, no matter how intense things got, I found myself so uncomfortable that I couldn’t shed tears, but the moment we watched Rebecca lay by Kevin on the floor, I lost it. Because that’s the kind of footage we don’t get to see — the little moments where our parents showcase their love for us. How often do you think your parents have kissed you in your sleep? How often do you think they’ve laid awake just watching you sleep as an infant? How often do you think they’ve counted their blessings because you were theirs. We can never count and we can never truly know, only they could. Each and every person feels things another person could never understand, and while we could love our parents, I am a firm believer that we will never know the depth of their love.

Here’s the thing, no two people will ever share the same set of emotions, but as human beings we must be conscious of the fact that we are not the only person battling something. There’s a reason for everything, and while that should never be an excuse, it’s also a fact that should never be forgotten. That’s why it was so important for Rebecca to not only understand that she pushed Kevin away with her faith in him, but also, that she needed to remind him of his bravery through it all. Almost all first borns I know, myself included, repress their emotions the most of all siblings, and perhaps there’s some truth this, but what needs to be understood here is the fact that both their actions were perfectly human.

Scene II: The Big Three by the lake 

The Big Three are the core of this series and when they’re on edge, I’m on edge, but the reality is that they’ll always find their way back to one another, and I appreciated how effortlessly this seemed to happen after the therapy session. I appreciated how Randall chose to state that he wasn’t there for Kevin, and I appreciated Kate making the jokes. In that moment, there was serenity, and for a moment, it’s all that mattered.

Scene III: The Pearson family therapy session

I didn’t want to choose this scene at all. I’d much rather discuss the other Big Three at the bar making Star Wars analogies about their lives. But the reason it needs to be here is because I need to talk about how upsetting it was and how uncomfortable it made me. I have yet to go to therapy, I want to, but I would hope that any therapist I visit wouldn’t be as rude and as pushy as Barbara was. And I don’t know, I could be exaggerating here, but I imagine that a therapist wouldn’t point so many fingers without trying to help her client find peace in the first place. To essentially bring light to the idea that Kevin was a victim hightened the situation in a way that it shouldn’t have. It was her tone of voice with Rebecca and everyone else that had me heavily on edge the entire time and I had the most difficult time sympathizing because we all know emotions are more complex than that. That said, this scene brought out Mandy Moore at her absolute finest, and to say that her crushing performance wasn’t worthy of all the awards would be a lie. Seriously, I have zero words. Just give her all the awards.

Part of the things we need to remember more is the fact that a dry approach won’t solve anything, and while I know that therapists aren’t supposed to be attached by any means, I found that Barbara’s approach to the whole thing was lacking in complete and utter empathy along with any ounce of heart. (And to not make myself and anyone else angrier, I’ll stop talking about this now.)

Further Thoughts: 

  • I love it when people remember that Jack was the best person they knew. And I also love it when we’re reminded of how awkward Rebecca’s marriage to Miguel is. Nothing makes sense, but I’m essentially okay with that.
  • I also really appreciated Kate coming forward to Toby without him asking her about the junk food first — that showcases so much of their closeness wonderfully and that she’s learning to trust in him more and more.
  • Here’s another reminder that Randall and Beth are 100% #GOALS.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? If there’s anything you’d like me to discuss that I haven’t done so, be sure to let us know in the comments below and we’ll get to it stat.

ByGissane Sophia
Check us out on Twitter@MGcircles

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