Every week, This is Us defies my expectations and remains as good and usually as (or more) heartbreaking as it was the week before. I don’t know why I’m just expecting the quality to diminish. Oh wait, yes I do, because it happens to every show. Writers start out with an amazing idea and then they run out of steam…or maybe they get lazy. I don’t really know. Luckily, I don’t have to come up with new ideas for a show every week. I just write about them. As I said before, though, This Is Us seems to remain great, week after week. Thought and care is put into the creation of this show. The characters are so dynamic and real. This is GOOD TV. And it’s heartwarming TV. In an era where good means “shocking” or “sexy”, this is, neither; it doesn’t need to be.
Okay let’s get onto this week’s recap.
This week was advertised as a prequel to the first episode. I was a little confused as to what they meant, since we’ve already seen events that happened before the first episode, but as it began I learned that this episode literally took place the day of the first episode…in the hours leading up to The Big Three’s birth.
That’s right, this entire episode took place in 1979, something that hasn’t happened yet. We spent most of our time with Rebecca and Jack. We spent some time with Dr. K. And we even got to know the firefighter who found Randall.
Let’s start with Jack and Rebecca.
On Jack’s birthday, 1979, Rebecca is 6 weeks away from her due date and she’s become an irritable monster (her words not mine). She even forgot it was Jack’s birthday! So Rebecca kicks Jack out of the house and he begrudgingly goes to hang out with Miguel, who wants him to get golf clubs. The men at the golf club tell Jack that nobody particularly likes golf, but it’s a four hour break from the irritable wife and the duties of fatherhood. Jack explains that he doesn’t like to be away from his wife…he wants to be with her all the time. (Seriously how is this man so perfect? He’s building up an unrealistic standard!) we cut back to Rebecca, who finally realized that she forgot Jack’s birthday, which leads her into a panic because she’s a terrible wife and her husband’s gonna leave her for some girl named Stephanie who can still do the sexy birthday dance, etc. Rebecca tries to walk to the store to buy ingredients for a cake and makes it to a liquor store…that has banana muffins. So she trudges back, decorates the muffin to look like a cupcake, then plops down in a rocking chair in the nursery and delivers the most beautiful monologue I’ve ever heard. She tells the babies that she’s so excited to meet them and make them Halloween costumes. She’s excited for them to meet Jack, because he’s the perfect husband, and he’s the perfect dad. But she’s nervous for them to meet her, because she’s not perfect; in fact, she thinks she’s gonna mess up a lot. She strokes her stomach and tells them everything she can think to say, and she gets a reply in the form of kicking. We then find out that Jack recorded her the whole time on their new video camera he bought. …And we know the rest already.
We also get to know more about our favorite Doctor (on this show, at least), Dr. K.
Dr. K lost his wife to cancer a year ago and he has not been coping well. In fact, all of her stuff is still out and around the house, and he still talks to her at the table every morning. We meet Dr. K’s son and daughter in law who are just as worried about him as we are…well, probably more. And we see him visit his wife’s grave where he tells her he doesn’t think he can go on without her. I don’t really remember everything he said to her because I was sobbing hysterically.
Then, he gets called in to deliver Rebecca and Jack’s babies…speaking to Jack and helping him through his heartbreak gave Dr. K a renewed outlook on life. He finally felt the drive, not to move on, but to keep living, because, in his words, you need to make lemonade with the lemons you’ve been given.
We also met a firefighter with a struggling marriage who asked God for a miracle. That miracle, in a way, turned out to to Randall. Originally, he just brought Randall home and was like “Look honey! A baby! Problems solved!” But his wife was like “um no take it to the hospital you idiot”. We know what happens next. Then, his wife came around and realized how much he cares about their relationship, which led them to a fresh start. Not a firehouse baby.
As usual, This is Us left me in a puddle of tears and I think we’re all very happy to hear that it’s been renewed for seasons two and three!