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.
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