Yikes! What the what with Randall and Beth? I had this look on my face the whole episode like, ‘please, please, for the LOVE, don’t treat each other like that!’ But they went ahead and treated each other badly anyway, and here we are, facing a rather grim RECAP.
But at least one couple settled into happiness for now. We’ll get to them in a minute. Them, and of course the newest Pearson on the block, wee baby Jack! (Not sure what Toby’s last name is. Do you know?)
- New mama Kate sings “You Are My Sunshine” to her baby boy, so fragile looking in the NICU, hooked up to a web of tubes. She is rocking motherhood, seeming to know just how to be brave and strong and nurturing, even in the face of terrible uncertainty. Toby is another story. Papa Bear can hardly even look at his sickly boy, never mind cheer him on as he’s getting a catheter inserted, poor baby. Toby is totally discombobulated by this rocky beginning to parenthood, although he does find some perspective in the waiting room from another preemie father.
2. In 1992, the Big Three are preparing for their first dance. Rebecca has sewn an outfit for Kate, Randall has been invited by one of Kate’s friends, and Kevin is gunning for his first kiss with Sophie (see how they reintroduced her to the canvas?). Randall, however, is overly obsessed with his science test and can’t think about anything other than mitochondria.
3. In present day, the new city councilman is feeling squished between his commute, his numerous responsibilities, and the three girls back home. This sets the stage for escalating already simmering tensions between him and Beth.
4. Kevin and Zoe are in couples therapy, and Zoe says she can’t handle being a sucker or being duped. She hates Kevin’s lies most of all. But it’s something he says in therapy that almost ends things for them–or at least has the potential to be a deal breaker: He wants kids and she doesn’t. She loves her freedom and has given this loads of thought. She thought Kevin didn’t want kids either but now he sort of does, maybe because Kate has a kid?
5. Back at the middle school dance, Randall is the worst date ever, first asking if his date knows anything about cell biology and then ditching her for the LIBRARY! Little man, get it together! Are the writers trying to tell us something about Randall’s hardwired personality? Like he can’t be flexible when he’s focused on something important? It felt like a clue to me. Anyway, when his parents, chaperones at the dance, find him there, Mom Rebecca busts his chops and commands him to go ask his poor date to dance. I liked that. You gotta teach your kids how to treat people.
6. Pre-implosion, Randall shows up with seconds to spare at Beth’s dance recital. Or was it a few seconds late? He shows up with flowers and is as Randall-y as ever. Then he asks her for a favor in return: Can she make an enormous effort to drive up to Philly tomorrow night for an important political dinner party? It will be tight, she says, but I will try.
7. After an AA meeting in Park Slope, Kevin finds himself outside Sophie’s apartment, lurking just a little bit. Then they went out for coffee because she’s engaged so it’s totally safe. IF YOU SAY SO, GUYS. Doesn’t feel safe to me. Sophie tells Kevin about her wonderful, charming, Kindergarten teacher fiance who loves Billy Joel. Kevin brings up Zoe not wanting kids, which felt a little like oversharing considering it was the previous love of his life he’s blabbing to. But Kevin, says Sophie, “you always get what you want. So what do you want?”
8. “When I look at him,” Kate says, meaning baby Jack, “I see us.” Awwww.
9. “I choose you,” Kevin says to Zoe after deciding he would rather have her than kids. “Final answer.” Again, awww! Later, after Zoe is asleep, Kevin zips off an email to Sophie, which alarmed me for a minute there. But it was a congratulatory note, with two front row tickets attached to a Billy Joel show. An engagement present, nothing more!
10. Kate and Toby hold their tiny son in their arms. Toby for the first time. Toby’s grin says it all: He is going to be just fine. Fatherhood suits him!
11. Back in Philly, Randall gets a call from Beth, trying to beg off the dinner because she also has a good opportunity to develop relationships at her work. She, though new, has been invited out by her boss to talk about plans for the dance studio. She’s pumped! Except, Randall is unyielding. He needs her in Philly at the dinner. Obviously, he thinks his dinner is way more important than her’s.
12. This is where I started to grimace and make little gasping sounds. Randall gets tenser as he waits for Beth to show up at this politician’s grand house. He calls her several times, only for his calls to go straight to voice mail. Jumping to conclusions, he assumes she isn’t coming at all, and leaves a nasty message. It’s so nasty I think I blacked out a little for a few seconds. Oh Randall, what is happening to you?
Things SPIRAL down from there.
Beth shows up a little while later, saying her phone died (hence the straight to voicemail thing).
Randall looks ill with remorse and guilt.
Randall tries to hold her hand during dinner.
Beth smoothly and discreetly moves her hand. She ain’t playin’. Nope.
Outside, he asks her to delete his message before she can listen.
Too late, she knows what a giant jackass he was, and the steam coming out her ears is like something out of the Orient Express. “You can sleep on a cot at your office,” she hisses.
Back home in NJ, Randall shows up anyway and says he refuses to sleep in his office. The gauntlet is down, and the fight brewing for weeks is going to detonate…next week.
Why do I have a feeling we will all be picking shrapnel out of our hair for weeks to come?
Gaaaaaaah! I can’t. I won’t! Well, maybe I will. Will you?
What do you think will happen between them? Who do you think is mostly in the right? (Me: Beth. For sure. And normally I would choose Randall because he is my TV Brother from Another Mother. But now I think he is being a Grade A-Schmuck.)
Will Kevin and Zoe be in for smooth sailing now?
Will we face another crisis with baby Jack or will he too continue to grow and be okay?
Tell me all your hopes, fears, joys, and concerns!