Oh my gosh–Kevin, Randall and Korean BBQ? I can hardly think of anything better! Because our darling daughter is adopted from Korea, I got really excited when I saw the title of this week’s episode: Kamsahamnida, which is the English phonetic spelling of “thank you” in our daughter’s first language.
Seriously, thank you to the writers for this amazing episode, which added even more richness and substance to an already rich and substantial story.
- Whoo hoo! Kate’s pregnant and she’s on the phone telling her people the good news. Which IS good news, but it’s hand in hand with some bad news, too: Toby is too depressed to get out of bed.
2. In the late eighties, Jack comes home from work and a workout with a black eye, causing Rebecca to become worried about his noggin. Not to worry, says Jack. He got hit by a guy named Stuart, and “guys named Stuart don’t give you brain damage.” I think of the Stuarts I know and would have to agree.
3. In the current day, Kevin is scrutinizing the photo of his dad looking at the Vietnamese woman “as if he’s in love with her.” Oh wow–they went there. Zoe is already a little impatient with Kev’s obsession with the photo. But really, Zoe, how can he not be?
4. Randall decides to attend a black church in Philly to be more a part of life down there. The writers must have been to black church a time or two, because Randall experienced a real black church welcome–from the pulpit. Randall was asked to stand and be welcomed in the middle of the service, which reminded me of the time my then-future husband and I were asked to stand at a little church called St. Luke’s on the border of the old Cabrini Green in Chicago. We were dating and decided to worship at St. Luke’s one Sunday night. We probably had the same look on our face as Randall–pleased and touched but also wide-eyed and a little–a lot–awkward. “You are as welcome as a spring day in May…” the pastor effused as we stood there nodding our heads like big, white bobbleheads and smiling. Randall, though? Because his opponent in the city council race was the one who welcomed him, he probably felt a little less welcomed than we did.
5. Back in 1989, Jack teaches his boy Randall to defend himself from a bully. Except, as we soon find out, there is no bully. Randall made up a bully because he wanted to be more like Jack, and even Kevin, who always beat him in wrestling matches on the living room floor. (Oh, sweet Lonnie Chavez. Your face could melt a stone.) “Kevin is your son, son,” Randall tries to explain. That DNA thing again. And then Jack says the perfect thing, again. “You are my son, son,” he tells his boy gently. “You’ve got something greater than knowing how to throw a punch. Your brain is your secret weapon.” Sniff!
6: Randall and Kevin meet up at a Korean BBQ place to talk about The Photo. Randall seems to think Jack would have wanted those stones left unturned, even after his death, but Kevin can’t let it go. When the bill is comped by the restaurant, Randall learns that Kevin and “The Manny” are superstars in Korea. Lightning strikes, and he sees an in with an untapped constituency. 50% of the Korean population in his district is not registered to vote. I loved their brotherly interactions here as the Big Three bros team up to get Randall elected. However…
7. Things don’t go totally swimmingly in Koreatown. While Kevin snaps selfies with adoring fans, Randall struggles to make a connection. A young Korean man confronts him, accusing him of using Kevin to get in a neighborhood he has never visited before. All of that is true, Randall fesses up, but he really does want to listen to their concerns if they give him a chance. “I know just one Korean word,” he says. “Kamsahamnida.” Thank you. Randall found a way to say the perfect thing in just one beautiful word. Later, when the Korean man who confronted Randall shows up at his campaign office and offers to be his campaign manager–won over by that Pearson pluck!–Randall gets something else right. Even though he is given the man’s English name, Randall intentionally uses his Korean name–his real name. Well done! Jae Won Eun? I’ll have to catch it next time.
8. Jack and Rebecca share a sweet moment when he and Randall are busted for boxing. Rebecca tries and fails to hide her surprise when Jack suddenly opens up with a story about Nicky and their childhood, how the two of them used to box together using one ratty glove each. This opening of his soul warms Rebecca and she playfully spars with him, ending in a tender kiss. Awww.
9. In other couple goals, Randall and Beth are pretty darn amazing, even as they work through some hard stuff. After a disastrous run to an empty mall to try and sell Girl Scout Cookies (where Tess is actually quite rude to her mother), a defeated Beth finally opens up to Randall about her difficulty losing her job and finding another one. Those two work it out admirably, with honesty and grace, and Randall ends up inviting Beth to be part of his campaign team. #VotePearson
10. Randall’s sister is an equally supportive partner for her hurting husband, which is NOT a given, knowing how our girl Kate can be a little self-involved. Referencing an earlier phone call to Mom Rebecca, Kate takes a deep breath and makes a choice for her family, which consists of her, Toby, Audio and their unborn child. She chooses to push Toby just a little bit into taking a walk with her and Audio, who has unfortunately swallowed a rock and must extrude it from his little bowels before all will be well. Toby needed to get out, in the sunshine, in the fresh air, with the woman who vowed to stand by him “in sickness and in health.” I was so proud of Kate for being Toby’s rock for once. Wasn’t that great to see?
So, looks like Kevin and Zoe are hot on the trail of Jack’s mysterious Vietnamese woman. And YES–I think this woman had a relationship with Jack, not Nicky as so many of the fans proposed after last week’s show. What will they find in Vietnam? Oooh, I can’t wait to find out, can you?
Do you think Toby will begin to get better or is this bout of depression going to plow him under?
Will Randall and Kate continue to switch roles and be the rocks their spouses need?
Any more thoughts about Jack’s mysterious Vietnamese woman is, never mind who HER is?
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