You guys, last week I don’t think my eyeballs even misted over, but this week was a sobfest.
When young Randall said “Nobody looks like me (in the Pearson family),” I saw my beautiful Korean girl, with her golden skin and raven-black hair.
When Rebecca introduced herself to baby Randall as his mother? Forget it–I lost it. I saw my beautiful 81-year-old mother as a 32-year-old, approaching my bassinet at the hospital with her heart in her throat. It was 1968, and I was two weeks old:
“I picture my dad wearing a suit with his light brown hair slicked back and my mum wearing a dress and sporting a black beehive, both excited and scared as their dream of parenthood is made manifest in a baby so small, so prune-like I remember my dad saying he was terrified he would break me.”
I imagined that scene in my memoir, Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me, which kinda took a page from “This is Us”, at least in terms of time travel imaginings and the layers of one’s history.
This episode, #24, dug in some strata we haven’t seen before, the triplets in their twenties. It was filled with hope and redemption and a bucketful of tears, for me, anyway.
1. Okay, I love Jack Pearson as much as the next gal, but this episode proved he is not perfect after all. That scene where Rebecca is sweetly sewing costumes for her kids, and Jack waltzes in, all Halloween Fun Dad, and backs up a ten-year-old who has changed her mind at the last minute about wearing the costume her mother SEWED for her? I would have herniated a disk.
2. We have definitely had that conversation around here. You know, the ‘You’re too easy on_____!” “Well, you are too easy on ______!” Yikes, Do they have a hidden camera going somewhere in this house?
3. We meet up with Randall and Beth at a critical moment in their lives, the aftermath of Randall’s breakdown as they face the impending birth of their firstborn child. Randall, of course, is Randalling more than usual, fussing with a ceiling fan (on Halloween!), trying to control every last detail. Beth is as calm as ever, except we know there is so much going on beneath the surface. She’s like a swan, a nice swan because swans are the worst. Also the worst: Randall’s fan joke. But it is good to know Randall has been cracking bad jokes since at least 2008.
4. Just a little armchair psychology here, re Randall: I have read that adopted children can sometimes, not always, be control freaks, trying to control their worlds to make up for the fact that they had no control whatsoever over the loss of their families at the beginning of their lives. I might know something about that…
5. Kevin. KEVIN. Dude, what are we going to do with you, man? We find Kevin washing the hair of some random woman at a hair salon, talking out loud about all the ways his Hollywood life is unfair to him. His nice roommate gets a career-making part, and Kevin pretends to be happy for him. I actually felt sorry for Kevin (I get it–publishing is a rough business, too) until he threw his nice roommate under the bus in the worst way. Not that there’s a kind way to throw someone under a bus. Apparently, Kevin has been sabotaging himself since at least 2008.
6. Even the one-time characters are well drawn. I’m talking about the Sikh gentleman who worked at the home improvement store where Randall was returning the fan. “Ask me for help,” his nametag read, so Randall did. Geruda has the best line of the night: “What they don’t tell you is that babies come with the answers.” In a very roundabout way, Randall ends up naming his child in a way that honor’s Geruda’s wisdom: Tessana, after the broken, frustrating and uncontrollable ceiling fan. LOVE IT.
7. Jack encounters one of the hardest things about parenting: Allowing your child to possibly experience pain and rejection. He adores Kate. Every little girl needs to be adored like that! And the look on Jack’s face, when he realizes the boy in the Haunted House held Kate’s hand as she dreamed he would? Relief and love, mixed. Milo says so much with his face, doesn’t he!
8. Kate sleeps with the super nice (and as it turns out, perfectly AWFUL, and married, ewwww) customer from the coffee shop. Ugh. I think that’s what the proverbial “throwing pearls before swine” might be about. Oh, honey, you can do so much better than him!
9. Why oh why would the Larsons (whoever they are) tell Randall about the circumstances of his adoption? But even more to the point, why oh why wouldn’t Jack and Rebecca work that into Randall’s narrative from birth on in age-appropriate ways?
10. A baby girl is born, a new generation of Pearsons. (Did you guys see on Twitter that Sterling K. Brown and his wife also had an unexpected home birth? Amazing. and here I thought it only happened on TV.) What really moved me were Rebecca’s words, soon after Tess is born.
“Your dad’s not here,” she said, tearfully. “The happiest moments will always be a little sad.”
Oh, the layers of grief! And the missing beloveds we all have, strongly present in some ways, but also incontrovertibly gone, too. The happiest moments also bring sorrow. Joy and sadness, like twins.
11. Finally, Rebecca and Miguel reconnect on FACEBOOK? Whaaaat? So we know now he didn’t just swoop in minutes after Jack’s death…aha! So why does Kevin have such a big problem with him???
Well, what’d you guys think?
Favorite scene? Favorite line?
Check out last week’s recap here.
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