Romance? Check. Humor? In spades, thank you notes to Marriott Rewards Member Randall Pearson! There was just so much to smile at in this episode, from Kevin’s Manny charm to teen Randall’s heart-melting feelings for Beth. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed such an effervescent, feel-good episode–can you?
Of course, there were the bombshells, two of them to be precise. One landed in Papa Randall’s congenial face and the other one? That was a cliffhanger and a bombshell!
Alrighty then, let’s get recapping this week’s mostly sweet revelations and shockers:
Kevin offers to buy Uncle Nicky a new trailer. You know, with his “Hollywood d-bag money” (Oh how I loathe the d-word attached to the word “bag”). But Uncle Nicky takes a hard pass. “I’m not a cause,” he says. He’s also not sympathetic to Kevin’s chagrin upon learning that The Manny has been canceled. I marvel at Griffin Dunne’s ability to play a man who is both off-kilter and grounded at the same time. Week by week, Uncle Nicky is finding the road back to his true self.
Over in Philadelphia, Beth is feeling all the nerves over the opening of her new dance studio. Our man Randall soon cajoles her real reason for being anxious: Her imperious mother Carol (Phylicia Rashad) is attending, along with her ever-present arsenal of micro-aggressions. Yeah, Randall is right when he pegs his MIL as “Supreme Court Level Judgy.” In the same scene, I love, love, loved his interaction with Deja, when he asks her about her “gentleman friend”. That look on his face! Tee hee! Just you wait, Daddio. You’re going to herniate a disc in about 2 hours.
In 1998, Rebecca visits Randall at college and notices her boy is deep in reverie over the girl at the next table. It’s Beth of course, and she’s sitting with her mother. Her accepting and loving and supportive mother.
Back to 2019, Randall, Beth, the girls and Randall’s delightful mother in law arrive at the dance studio, only to be hit with the stench of dead animals so bad they could almost taste it (ewww). However, the guy Randall called finds out it is just one possum, not a family as he repeatedly said until Beth eye-murdered him. Still, the smell is unendurable. What will they do?
Kevin and Uncle Nicky try and hit an AA meeting at 10 a.m., only to find out the meeting is not until 3 p.m. They also encounter an agitated Cassidy (naturally), who urgently needs a meeting to help her cope after her husband asked for a divorce. Kevin offers to keep the trio busy for the next five hours. First stop: The RV dealership!
Over in L.A., the new family unit of Kate, Toby, and Baby Jack (such a schnookums!) head over to a Music Class. But it’s not the wonderland they are expecting as the baby cries at all the noise. (Gee whiz, back off a little, weird teacher lady!) Later in the car, Jack’s parents bicker and drive on to the sound of their little man wailing. Kate’s anger with Toby always being at the gym leaks out and he is not amused. Stressful!
Over in 1998, Teen Kate is thumbing through albums at the record store, looking for Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” The floppy-haired boy who appears to be running the place doesn’t judge her when she says her dad loved “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. It seems to be love at first sight, for him, definitely. And then he offers her a job. Oooh! A new backstory romance, this time for Kate!
And now we have come to my favorite scene: When Randall meets Malik at the possum-infused dance studio. He is all bad Dad jokes, in over-the-top Meet-the-Parents mode, and it was scrumptious. (Deja’s face when he said: “The famous Malik”! And then her face again when he literally bragged about being a Marriott Rewards Member!) Polite Malik makes a good impression–at first. Firm handshake. Eye contact. Praising Randall’s efforts to revitalize his ward. And then KAPOW–the cat is out of the bag. The human-cat named Janelle who is six months old and belongs to Malik. Randall is gobsmacked. In the words of Beth, later on–“She is not seeing a boy who puts babies into people.” As the mother of a fourteen-year-old, I agree. But Malik with those eyes and that sweet spirit? Deja’s a goner already. Good luck putting out that fire.
Kevin continues to charm his way through the state of Pennsylvania, #handling everyone from the sweaty, huggy fan who just wants a selfie with the Manny, to crusty Cassidy.
“You have a weird life,” she says after the weird fan floats off into outer space after meeting Kevin.
“Don’t we all,” is Kevin’s response. Which is why we love Kevin. Also, he is a fantastic listener as Cassidy spills her guts about her doomed marriage. Okay, so I may be softening a little tiny bit about Cassidy. I still don’t see her and Kevin together, but I do see how they get each other on some invisible level.
In Possumville, PA, Randall pushes back kinda hard (for him, with her) on the domineering Carol when she attempts to make Beth cancel the dance studio opening and reschedule it for a later, less smelly time. But Randall won’t budge. He has a great idea to move the whole thing to the parking lot, where people can still eat food and celebrate the studio. He and Carol reach an understanding when she admits she was wrong about him all those years ago. He really did grow into a spectacular husband and father who notices things about the people he loves. (Ummm, Carol, you couldn’t see that about him at “hello”????)
Take for example the lemon. Randall noticed on their date that Beth drank her Diet Coke with lemon and smoothly passes her a wedge in the cafeteria. Later, in the sweetest scene, he opens his heart: “Beth, if you knew how much I noticed about you…” Awwww!
Also sweet: When Kate asks her mom to dance to Carol King’s “I Feel the Earth Move.” It’s like she’s Jack Pearson’s daughter or something.
Finally, before Bombshell Two, I just want to express my wish that Kevin be filmed with babies in every episode. The Manny Baby, his nephew Baby Jack, or even his OWN BABY–doesn’t matter, just hand the man a baby!
But first, before he can coo at all the babies, or meet the mother of his son, eighteen-year-old Kevin has to give his poor mother a giant emotional thwack via the answering machine.
“Hey Mom, Thanks for the brownies…I got married to Sophie…Send money.”
Well, I guess we will have to wait for next week to see how Rebecca handles that! Which bombshell threw you for the biggest loop? We knew about Malik’s baby, so maybe not a fair question.
What was your favorite scene? Line? Performance? I think Sterling K. Brown was unbeatable this week.
Tell me all your feelings!