So I actually watched the show this morning because I was exhausted last night. This worked in my favor because I could UGLY CRY the whole way through without causing any undue concern from my family members.
While we didn’t gain even one iota of a clue on the “Who is her” mystery, this episode was a trove of loving moments, tears, reflection and relating to our Pearsons. Oh, and also, thankfully, a few laugh out loud moments which literally saved me from abject weeping.
I’m a little vulnerable, you see, on some of the topics delved into on this episode:
- High school seniors and wonderful, much-loved boys on the cusp of leaving their mothers…(and fathers, but in my case, mothers).
- Birth fathers in general (but hello, dear William!)
- Adoptees hearing that they are not “real” heirs to their parents. I’ll explain more in a bit.
Episode 2 RECAP:
- We begin with zombie-like Rebecca and the teenage Pearsons, grieving, stumbling around trying to find the new normal. They are looking for a new house since their perfectly imperfect home burned down. We learn that Kate is eating her feelings to the tune of a 25-pound weight gain (and, we find out, not headed for Berklee as she never sent in the tape of her singing), Kevin is drinking his feelings, and sweet Randall? He got into Howard U, his dream college and, notably, a historically black university. What is he doing with his feelings?
2. I love the relationship between Rebecca and Randall. He is her kindred spirit in their family, her person. So, of course, I cried when he got his acceptance letter. We are very close to that same scenario around here, with our dearly loved middle child. Oh! Can’t dwell on that now. Must blog! But seriously now, folks, Rebecca is existing underwater. She’s hanging by a thread.
3. Randall–could he be any more adorkable? His Fro-Yo exuberance with his girls when they have completed one week of school was cute, but I really loved his “What? White people go to this school?” comment to Deja. But–ugh–Deja’s not feeling it–the school or her chances of fitting in. Randall knows what it’s like to have one foot in one world and one foot in another. He takes Deja to the community center to hang out with Skye.
4. Beth–“Modulate, but don’t stop.” Hahaha! Those two give us all serious relationship #goals.
5. Toby gets antsy and then frisky in the back of a Lyft. Kate has started IVF shots and is having a hot flash because of them. They are a united front, but something’s off with the Tobe. Later, at Kevin’s with his MIL and Miguel-in-Law, Toby snaps, the first sign that he is not coming off his depression meds well.
6. Kate holds so much back from Rebecca, a practice which began years ago. But Miguel accidentally stumbles on her IVF shots in the fridge, hidden in a package of caramel creme pudding–his favorite. But not anymore, because–POP GOES THE CAN OF WORMS–and all awkward hell breaks loose. Rebecca’s mom brain goes straight to strenuously convincing Kate to quit with the risky treatments.
7. “Eloise and Plaza–terrible names.” Miguel’s muttered line, beneath Rebecca’s crusade against IVF, may be my favorite of the night. That, or a bit later, when he repeats the twins’ names and Kevin goes, “What, the book?” Hilarious, but also, poor Plaza.
8. William. Deep, calming breath. He is a deep, calming breath. My all-time favorite character is, biblically, “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” In this case, William pulls up a chair and listen to Chichi, a widowed Nigerian immigrant who has moved into his building with her beautiful baby girl. I got choked up again when she placed the baby in his arms and told him he was a natural. (The way Chichi, William’s friend, is brought into the present, carrying memories of William with her? And how that baby in William’s arms will someday be a friend to his future granddaughter, Deja? I can’t. Amazing.)
9. Back in the 90’s, everyone is a mess. Rebecca is understandably treading water and barely keeping her head above water, but her kids need her more than ever. Randall says some hard things to her, which she needs to hear. But does she? Can she?
10. The family heads to the red carpet to support Kevin at the premiere of his movie. But Toby is AWOL and it’s time for Kate’s IVF shot. Rebecca calms down and gives her girl the shot. She also gives her something else of value–an apology, for not helping teenage Kate deal with her weight issues before they spiraled out of control.
11. Randall makes the agonizing decision to pass on his dream and stay home to be there for his mother, who is basically a living zombie. Ugh. Heartbreaking. But he is the son of her heart, the only one willing to step up and support her fully. And yet…there are always reminders of his being “other.”
12. The first time Kate said it, her words rankled a little bit: “I’m the only one who can pass on a piece of dad.” What about Randall? I thought. Oh yeah, stupid biology.
Like DNA is the only valid way to pass on a piece of another person. And when Kevin thoughtlessly repeats it to Randall, we see an invisible knife plunge into that good man’s chest.
I remember similar thoughtless things said to me, growing up:
“You want to be alone with (a certain cousin),” accused an aunt. “He is my cousin,” I croaked out, humiliated. “Not really,” she continued to tease, as an injury took root in my heart.
I just hope writers this good can prove that Randall can and will and is and has passed on pieces of Jack. I think they can and will. Do you?