Holy Emotional Ambush, Batman! I did not think I would cry much this episode, never mind an entire scrub bucket full when Rebecca showed up at Kate’s door and...well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I’m sure this episode was wrenching for those who have experienced a miscarriage. To all of you, I am so, so sorry for your loss.
One of the best things about this show is it teaches us to empathize with others through the characters’ heartbreaks. Kate’s story made me think about everyone who has lost a baby in a more nuanced, sadder, more personal light.
This week’s episode was all about Kate and took place on the same day as the Kevin episode. Yowza did Chrissy Metz ever do some good work here, acting wise! No wonder she was nominated for an Emmy and should be again (as should Justin Hartley, for last week’s devastating performance).
Everybody with me? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of a day in the life of #2, our girl Kate.
1. The show opens with Kate sweetly and happily talking to her unborn baby, singing the Flintstones theme song and generally being an excited mama-to-be. On a joyful errand to measure her bathtub, Kate experiences sudden and stabbing pain, and she grabs and pulls down the shower curtain in her agony. Later, her doctor gently explains that she can “try again” in four weeks. “There’s no reason you can’t go back to living your life.” Except, there are a few reasons why the simple act of living will be intensely painful.
2. In a flashback to teen Kate, we find Rebecca bugging her “Bug” to make out a shortlist of five colleges she might want to apply to. And then there’s that darn fusebox thing again. Clues to the fire and Jack’s death? Obviously. Right? RIGHT?
3. 12 hours after the miscarriage, Kate appears dressed in an elegant red dress in full makeup, ready to go perform a lunch singing gig at a posh restaurant. She’s definitely in full denial mode.
4. Flashback: Rebecca finds an application for Berklee School of Music among Kate’s things and listens to her audition cassette. Should she have or shouldn’t she have? Let’s lay that aside for a moment. I did find the song, “Summertime” haunting. The way they wove the song with the broken shower curtain, and Kate’s disintegration at the gig, and home movies of baby Kate walking for the first time? CHILLS.
5. Toby rises to the heartbreaking occasion and does his utmost to try and stop the shipment of the Swedish baby tub on its way to his and Kate’s place. He deals with a none too helpful warehouse worker, Karl, who changes his tune after Toby kinda threatens him. Poor Tobe is knocking himself out trying to prevent his love from experiencing sorrow on top of sorrow. Meanwhile, he’s suffering, too.
6. Back in 1996 (I think), Rebecca, with all the subtlety of a mother cow in a china shop, gives Kate $50 for her Berklee app. Uh oh. Yeah, tension ensues immediately, and I was cringing pretty much the whole time. I may or may not be able to relate to this dynamic between a mom and a teenage girl (mine is turning 13 in a month…). I took this quiz…”Which ‘This is Us’ character are you? And of course, I got Rebecca. No wonder I am always relating to her! In this case, I saw a mom desperately trying to connect with her daughter. And, for a moment, they bonded. Pfew. Honestly, though, between teenaged Kevin last week and teenaged Kate this week, I am wondering if they could make the teenaged characters less likable.
7. Back in real time (what is “real time” on this show anyway?), Kate tries to numb her pain with a mound of fat and salt and MSG at the Chinese buffet. Although, I don’t think she even took a bite before taking a walk. On her walk, she tries to reach Kevin but continues to ignore her mother’s ever-increasing phonecalls. Did Rebecca have mother’s intuition that told her something was seriously wrong? Definitely. Moms know stuff, somehow.
8. A worried Toby, who has just spent endless hours trying to prevent more pain for Kate, has had it. Kate’s in her own world of pain and she doesn’t seem to realize that Toby is hurting, too. “It happened to me, too,” he says.
9. Back to 1996, and Kate and Rebecca wait at the hospital for Jack and Randall as Kevin is being operated on. There’s a slight crack in Kate’s armor as she shares that she hadn’t wanted to disappoint Rebecca if she didn’t get into Berklee (and now I am dying to know: Did she get in?). Rebecca opens up about her difficult relationship with her mother and her dream of being the kind of mom with “arms wide open.” She looks at her sullen daughter and confesses, ‘we’re not there yet” in terms of the warm, openhearted mother-daughter bond she wished for.
10. Kate finally takes Rebecca’s calls and curtly tells her she lost the baby. “Don’t come,” she says. Some people will disagree with me, but I think Rebecca did the right thing in disregarding Kate’s wishes. She shows up unannounced and for a second Kate protests. Then–THEN–she falls into her mother’s open arms. Even at thirty seven (or forty-nine), we need our mamas. “I’m here,” Rebecca croons to her baby girl. Now, that scene really clobbered me. You?
11. I was waiting the whole show for a set-up to Randall’s episode ala “Kate lost the baby” last week. But nope. The passing of the storyline baton was a simple flashback to the babies’ first steps. “Okay, Number Three,” says Jack, working the camcorder. “It’s your turn.”
The preview for the Fall finale (NOOOO) promises that the episode next week will be loaded with serious drama as Randall and Beth fight Deja’s birth mother for custody. UGH.
Well, how do YOU respond to Kate’s story? Do you think her response (shutting down, closing off) was realistic?
Favorite scene? Favorite line?
Recap city, USA:
Last week’s episode, about KEVIN, HERE.
The week before last week’s recap–Will Jack and Rebecca be able to guide Randall through a racist world?– HERE.
Check out the week before that–the Halloween episode where Tess is born– HERE!
And the week before THAT–with the big Nicki Pearson reveal– 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! Unfortunately, that moment is coming up way too soon!