This is Us
Original Air Date: Oct 31, 2017
Jules – Senior Managing Editor
It’s Halloween for the Pearsons, but for many, it’s nothing close to being happy. For this Halloween-themed episode, we look at the Pearsons in the 1990 and 2008.
In 1990 when the Big Three are ten and getting ready for Halloween. Randall’s got his Halloween map down to maximize candy obtained in the least amount of time, which Kevin thinks is a waste of time. Costume-wise, Randall will be doing as Michael Jackson from the “Bad” year, Kevin will be doing as a bum with a cigar, while Kate will be doing as a veterinarian until she deems it not cool and wants to go as “cool Sandy” at the last minute just as mom has finished her costume. Jack says it’s fine and that’s when the Pearson parents argue about their parenting and how Rebecca is babying Randall and Jack is caving to Kate.
On Halloween night, Jack and Rebecca dress spectacularly as Sonny and Cher. While Randall wants to stick to his map plan, Kevin and Kate want to go to a haunted house. So Jack takes the twins, while Rebecca takes Randall. Jack soon realizes that Kate only wanted to go to the haunted house so she could go with the popular boy Billy Palmer and that he’d hold her hand during the scary parts. Kevin thinks it’s unlikely, but Jack later sees Kate leave the house all happy that Billy held her hand. While Kate goes off to tell her friends, Jack sees it was Kevin who kept Kate from being hurt because he bribed Billy with all his Halloween candy. Awww. Twin love.
Randall’s obsessing over getting to all the houses on his map and sticking to the plan. Rebecca finally puts her foot down saying that sometimes we can improvise and that he should go to this one family’s house. So Randall says fine and ends up going to that house. Not too long after and still mopey, Randall says that he’s done trick-or-treating and wants to go home. Rebecca finally sits down with Randall to ask what’s wrong and he reveals that the Larsons told Randall how he was a “miracle” because his parents “lost” a third baby which he thinks they couldn’t find him. This leaves Rebecca with no choice but to tell Randall the truth about how the third baby named Kyle died before he was born and that “…your dad and I had all this room in our hearts for three babies, and we saw you. We met you. So yeah, you are a miracle. But you’re not instead of anything — you’re the way it was always supposed to be.” Rebecca also adds that they were always going to tell him, just waiting until he was old enough. Luckily, this is Randall and he can take it. Randall even takes out a full size Twix and shares one with mom.
Later Rebecca tells Jack about what happened and that he wasn’t there, so she had to tell Randall everything herself.
In 2008, it’s October 31, closing in on Election Day and a day before Beth’s induce date with her first pregnancy. It’s also two months after Randall’s nervous breakdown that Beth told William about back in the first season. Rebecca comes over to help around the house, but it’s awkward because of what happened with Randall, who is trying to hang a ceiling fan in the nursery, but breaks it. So instead of tiptoeing around, Randall goes to get a replacement fan, while Beth and Rebecca talk about Rebecca getting Facebook to stay connected and what to do about Randall.
At the hardware store, Randall talks to an employee who listens to him vent about his life and his impending baby and not knowing any of the answers. The employee assures Randall that babies come with answers and that they tell you who they are. The employee then recommends a new replacement fan, but before Randall has time to actually buy it, Rebecca calls saying Beth is in labor.
With roads blocked due to Halloween (because that makes no sense!), Randall ends up making it home to help deliver his daughter at home on their floor. After Beth goes to the hospital, Randall finds his mom on the floor crying because of a broken mug. Rebecca says witnessing the birth of her first grandchild was one of the happiest moments of her life, but it was also sad because Jack wasn’t there. She knows that all future happy moments will be like this and she’ll have to live with it. It’s a moving moment with mother and son and it’s clear the family is still stuck post Jack’s death so many years prior. Rebecca asks about names and Randall says it was to be Jack if a boy and Jasmine for a girl, but he doesn’t know now. Rebecca says that it will come to him. When cleaning the broken mug, Randall grabs the fan tag he never bought and there it is. Tess was named after a fan!
At the hospital, Rebecca gives a great monologue to baby Tess (“I thought my journey had come to an end, but I don’t know. Maybe we’re both at our next beginning.) that is interwoven with her speech to baby Randall at the hospital. It’s a great Mandy Moore performance.
We also learn that Facebook is what brought Miguel back into Rebecca’s life eight years after Jack’s death when he messages her about her first grandchild.
Kevin and Kate are also called to visit their new baby niece, who are both in struggling parts of their life in their 20’s. Kevin’s failing to land auditions and washing hair at a salon while his roommate has landed a role in a big movie, who invites him to a party. At said party, Kevin goes pretty low trying to get the producer to let him audition for the role his roommate just got and the producer sees right through the role stealing and says that Kevin will never work for him. Kate meanwhile is working at a cafe and being hit on by a guy who turns out to be married, but she slept with him anyway.
Post visiting their niece, Kate and Kevin reveal how they aren’t exactly “crushing” their 20’s like they had hoped, including Kate still dealing with the death of their father, but there is still time. Kevin’s going to join an improv group and Kate is going to move in. See see flash forwards to Kevin crushing it at improv.
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Next week: The Most Disappointed Man