My two favorite components of “This is Us”– Randall and adoption–were front and center in this week’s episode, so I was ALL IN!
At first, I thought the judge story was an obvious place to go–a black judge wanting to stop a white family from adopting a black child. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was absolutely a valid piece of the story. There can definitely be pushback when people adopt children of a different race.
I know many friends who have adopted black children, and they’ve endured plenty of comments, looks, etc, ie: pushback.
Our daughter is Korean, and we’ve had some interesting reactions from Koreans. Most of them have been positive and wonderful, but not all. Not all.
Heck, it’s not even just a race thing: A friend of mine who adopted from Ukraine had a Ukrainian prosecutor do everything in his power to stop her from being allowed to leave the country with her son. He strenuously objected to foreigners adopting Ukrainian children, not because he wanted Ukrainians to adopt them, but because he thought the high number of adoptions would look bad for Ukraine’s attempts to enter the EU. Talk about pushback!
In any event, this was a potent episode. Alan Pergament of The Buffalo News said this was the best episode of the season so far. Do you agree?
Here’s my recap for Episode 25:
1. Deja and Randall go to prison to visit Deja’s mom, who opts out of her mandatory visit with Deja, which makes Randall seethe. Poor Deja, dejected by her mom’s seeming rejection, still hands over the allowance she’s been saving to give her mom to spend in the prison commissary. (WINCE!)
2. Toby is such a card! On his uber-Catholic mother’s probable response to Kate’s pregnancy: “The bun in the unmarried oven is a whole new level of freakout…” Ha!
3. Rebecca and Jack attempt to make their adoption of Randall official and run into an unexpectedly contrary judge. “I don’t believe this child belongs in your home,” he tells the stunned pair. Later, they find out it’s because the black judge thinks Randall should be placed with a black family. In a powerful scene, he tells them about the first time he heard the N-word, which immediately stirred controversy on the internet. What do you think? I think it was a valid use of the word, for sure.
4. In a flashback, young William is dealing with another judge, who considers William’s statement that he is “the most disappointed man in the world” in himself and his choices. The judge wants another outcome for William: “Let’s write you a different ending.”
5. Toby and Kate decide to marry at the courthouse to avoid a big, fussy wedding (read: avoid the pain of facing Jack’s colossal absence at Kate’s wedding). The clerk is glib about the whole thing and uses the word “whoosh” to describe the speed at which their quickie marriage will take place. “Whoosh? Is that the sound a marriage makes?” Toby quips.
6. My favorite Toby line of the night? When he has a frank man to man talk with Jack’s ashes. “I am the king of romantic gestures. I hear we have that in common, sir.” Yes, yes they do! Toby’s not buying Kate’s blase attitude toward getting married. He knows she really wants the whole nine yards–the dress, the cake, the brothers walking her down the aisle (OH MY STARS! I can’t wait for that scene!). Later, wearing $200 worth of hoodies with words “WILL YOU MARRY ME KATE?” emblazoned on them, Toby goes for the gold and gets the answer he’s looking for.
7. Kevin…KEVIN (second week in a row where Kevin deserves all caps) is literally killing me right now, what with the pills and the spiraling and the dark smudges under his eyes…UGH. He shows up, unhinged at Sophie’s door, three engagement rings in his pocket. But instead of proposing, he tells her that when he dreams of their future it is a “nightmare.” And what girl doesn’t want to hear that? She slams the door in his face. (Sidebar: Did you guys hear that Alexandra Breckenridge is pregnant? I wonder if they’ll work it into the storyline. I hope so!)
8. Randall makes a return trip to prison to visit with Deja’s mom, who agrees to see him. Apparently, she got beat up in prison and didn’t want Deja to see her face like that. Randall, angry because she hurt Deja, tells her off, but Deja’s mother comes back swinging. “As soon as I get out of here I’m coming back for her,” she says, steely-eyed. “You’re going to have to go through me first,” Randall shoots back. Very, very tense.
9. However, I liked where the writers took things next. Randall lets down his defenses and connects Deja’s mom to William. He realizes that she is like William, and she deserves a chance. “William was all alone, missing me,” Randall tells Beth, which is when I suddenly envisioned my girl’s birth mama, in Korea, missing her. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. That was the sound of tissues flying out of the box.
10. And I adored how they wrapped up the story of the reluctant judge and Randall’s adoption. He (the judge) recuses himself from their case, which then falls to another African American judge. She apparently has a completely different mindset about trans racial adoption, and joyfully makes Randall a legal member of the Pearson family. “You have done the hard work,” she tells Rebecca and Jack. “You have chosen to love.”
I thought of our Adoption Day, almost 12 years ago now, and how dear Judge Feeney joyfully made Phoebe our girl. I even found the photo!
Well, what’d you guys think?
Favorite scene? Favorite line?
Check out last week’s recap HERE!
And the week before that here.
Comment below for your chance to win a This is Us Season #1 soundtrack! I’ll pick a random winner when This is Us goes on hiatus in November!
Linda Carlblom says
We can’t forget the scene where the recused judge from Randall’s adoption and William’s judge, who wanted him to write a different ending, were sitting together. “Did you do anything good today? I don’t know.” I thought that was powerful! Two judges who didn’t even know their cases intersected and that they’d made a huge difference in someone’s life. Wow!
Yes, it was powerful. WE knew that the cases were intertwined, but they as characters didn’t.
Christy Dam says
I loved that scene, too. Bryan and I agree I would make THE WORST judge. I am not always a fan of what judges do in the cases of our foster children, but it has to be a truly haunting job.
I know. How do you know that justice has been truly meted out? Who deserves justice more–a birth parent, a child, a foster parent? We have friends who went to court to adopt their foster baby, and it was a horrendous process. In the end, they were able to adopt him, but at what cost?
Oh I how LOVED this episode! My favorite scene was the young William in the court room. Oh I cried like a baby…a big baby that is!
Okay, to follow your number sequences,
1: Randall and Deja go to prison to visit her mom and she didn’t want to see Deja, sad!! At first I thought she didn’t want anything to do with Deja. I believe Randall’s doing a great job with Deja.
2. Toby is funny and I actually liked him in this episode…I usually don’t like him. He did have that funny line about “The bun in the unmarried oven is a whole new level of freakout…”
3. I was shocked when the judge told Rebecca and Jack that he didn’t believe Randall belonged to them. What? But listening to the judge in his chamber, you can understand his reasoning.
4.My FAVORITE SCENE in the episode! I cried when William was saying you have dealers on every corner so I have to buy. Losing his mom and girl friend and baby. 🙁 and my favorite line from William is: “I am the most disappointed man in the world” And seeing the judge change his mind later on, just made my heart so happy! And it seemed like he stayed true to the end of that story. I cried when he got home and took that stuff out of the bag after his dr told him to enjoy his life. He even saw the judges face but it didn’t help…then he gets that knock on the door and it’s Randall, oh how I cried again. Did you know that Randall is my favorite story line?
5. Courthouse scene. That employee behind the counter, he played the part so good! Whoosh? Is that the sound a marriage makes? Toby can come up with funny lines! When Kate was saying all the reasons why they should marry there, I thought back in my mind, she doesn’t want that but a real wedding.
6. My favorite Toby line of the night? Not sure if I had a favorite line from him, but if I had to pick one, it would be: The bun in the unmarried oven is a whole new level of freakout.
7. Kevin, wow he is spiraling out of control. Sophie took the word out of mouth. Poor Sophie, I didn’t know that Sophie is pregnant in real life. That would be great if they did incorporate her being pregnant.
8. Randall talks to Deja’s mom: sad to see her face like that and yes I can understand she didn’t want Deja to see her like that. I loved the back and forth talk they had. Oh so I wonder if Randall will keep her from Deja? But what a great guy he is to give her their phone number so she could call and talk to Deja.
9. Good point for number 9.
10. I loved when Rebecca mailed the judge that photo, I wonder if he did put that photo on his board? I was glad to see the second judge award them Randall. And yes, what she said is so true to any parent that wants to adopt: “You have done the hard work, you have chosen to love.”
My son was born in May and his adoption was finalized in July, and I remember that day. It was such a wonderful day knowing that he was ours!
Reading your comments is like reading a blog within the blog, Jean! 🙂 You have great insights!
I watched the episode tonight and LOVED it. I really love how this show weaves all the stories from different years together. I also couldn’t wait to come to your blog to get your thoughts!!
Ingrid, thanks! I, too, love and admire all the “weaving.” Amazing writing!
Christy Dam says
I really enjoyed this episode as well. It brought back awful, pit-of-the-stomach-sickness memories of foster children hearing parents would not be visiting that day, though it wasn’t exactly the same. I did want to yell at Randall when he visited Deja’s mom, “No! You can’t say that! That is not your role!” but at least it came out better in the end, and it does show how foster parents feel fiercely protective of the children in their care. But that is an example of way over the line inappropriateness, which unfortunately I see sometimes in fellow foster parents’ comments of “I’m not the one who caused the child to be in foster care” and complete lack of empathy.