Beth, Tobey and Miguel may have been kicked out of the group therapy session tonight, but WE WERE THERE. We were sitting in on one of the most awkward, cringe-y, yet ultimately healing, therapy sessions ever.
When last we left off with our Pearson family, Kate had just miscarried, Randall and Beth let go of Deja, and Kevin was in a bad, bad way. Having imploded on the front lawn of that cold-hearted doctor lady, Kevin was in tatters when he got to Randall’s house. So tattered was he that he decided to risk the lives of untold fellow motorists and–unbeknownst to him–his niece, Tess. She, feeling overwhelmed by the loss of Deja and probably the loss of William, secreted herself in her Uncle Kevin’s backseat to “run away.” Thankfully, the cops pulled him over before anyone died.
Which brings us up to date for Episode 29, wherein the Pearson’s wake up call re: Kevin stirs the pot and actually brings that pot to a rolling boil.
1. Flashback: Just as Rebecca is tactfully trying to talk Kate into eating more apples as opposed to sweets, Jack waltzes in and announces a vacation to a cabin in the Poconos.
2. We learn from Toby and Kate that Kevin has spent the last month in rehab. Together (as “Katoby”) they seem to be pressing on bravely after the miscarriage, but when Toby finds a bunch of cookie boxes and fast food garbage in the trash, he realizes Kate may not be coping very well at all.
3. Beth and Randall are still processing their anger at Kevin for endangering their daughter, though he did it unknowingly. As Beth pointed out, he still endangered many other people on the road (GOOD POINT!). Randall is trying to be supportive because Kevin was there for him during his breakdown, but Beth is DONE. She is over her charming, gorgeous, reckless and dangerous brother in law in a big way. I loved the scene where they are all gathered at Kevin’s posh rehab facility, and Kevin comes out smiling and fresh and extroverted, charming all in his wake except her. “Oh, great–he’s Mr. Rehab!” She’s not surprised and neither are we.
4. Flashback: For that matter, Jack and Rebecca are on different pages when it comes to Kate’s growing weight problem. “I say its an issue, you say she’s big boned!” Rebecca says, frustrated. But when Jack clumsily tries to get behind Rebecca and encourage Kate to eat better and exercise more, the hurt and betrayed look on his angel’s face does him in. He undermines Rebecca once again by taking Kate out for ice cream! By the way, MacKenzie Hancsicsak’s face when Jack said she should maybe work off some of the candy she’s been eating…YOWZA! She gets my performance of the week!
5. And then we’re all in therapy together as the Pearsons try and resolve their many issues, which go deeper than the obvious heartache of Jack dying (“the way he did”...there it is again, a reference to Jack’s awful end!) I can’t decide if I like the therapist or I don’t. On one hand, she knows what she’s doing, but I also feel like she may have been a tad aggressive with Rebecca, accusatory, even. At first, everyone is terribly polite and forgiving about Kevin’s actions. Too polite and forgiving. Like a good therapist, she rips the surface level off and reveals a whole lotta festering wounds. But she really goes after Rebecca as the mom. (Maybe that’s why it bothered me…I can so often relate to Rebecca in her choices…)
6. The upshot: Long dead and beloved Jack was not the “untouchable saint” they all act like he was. Oh, and Kevin got the short end of the straw in terms of parental attention, if not love.
7. Kevin: “We are a family of addicts” like their dad was. “We don’t talk about his drinking.”
8. Whoa Nelly! Everyone gets very defensive, of Jack, of themselves. Randall defends Rebecca (as per usual), Rebecca defends Randall (ditto), and Kate defends Jack (ditto again). The only one no one is defending is Kevin, for whom a month in rehab seems to be doing him a world of good. He’s the only one ready to confront the old demons and move forward. But will his family move forward with him?
9. The most heart-clutching moment for me was when Rebecca broke down in therapy, blurting out that though she loved her children equally (that’s her story and she’s sticking to it), Randall was “just easier.” He didn’t hate her for no reason, like Kate, or abandon her when her husband died, like…Kevin. OUCH! Ouch!
But you know what? It needed to be said. I heard a saying once–“That which is denied can never be healed.” So often we are stuck in so much denial and defensiveness, we don’t even realize our wounds are deepening, not healing.
I’m hoping this is a new beginning for the Pearsons, because we sure don’t want to go to group therapy again! Because, it was awkward, painful, uncomfortable–all those things that will hopefully lead to healing old wounds.
10. The sweetest moment? When in flashback, Rebecca wakes up and finds Kevin on the floor, and curls up beside him. See Kevin? Your mommy loved you so much, she just sometimes didn’t know how to show it.
Favorite scene? Favorite line? Performance of the week for you?
KATE episode recap, HERE.
KEVIN episode recap, HERE.
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! The winner of the first “semester” of Season 2 is Christy D! As of today, there will be a whole new contest for commenters!