Oh my gosh–the acting this week was stellar. I loved the performances by Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne), Justin Hartley’s Kevin, Chrissy Metz’s Kate and even the tween Pearsons were blue-ribbon worthy. Of course, ace actors must have a magnetic story to play, and our favorites did. What else is new?
- Uncle Nicky (played masterfully by a scruffy, broken Griffin Dunne) is in trouble after heaving a chair through the window at the Vet Center. Kevin showed up last week, Ficus in tow, and persuaded him to continue to get therapy, even though the one counselor he did like has been transferred. Unfortunately, the new guy is not nearly as good (or maybe he’s just overworked). Fortunately, Uncle Nicki seems to be keeping with it, in his own curmudgeonly way.
- 7th Grade is calling–to young Randall in 1992 and in woven sequences, to his daughter Tess (at least that’s how old I think she is. Correct me if I am wrong). Gifted Randall is excited to start at his private school, and even more thrilled to have a teacher with whom he immediately bonds. In that white-dominated space, the two African American, Bulls-loving guys are sure to be kindred spirits, right? Right, but the teacher still has to bust Randall with a dreaded yellow slip for violating the dress code with those Air Jordans. Poor Randall, a major rule follower, has a panic attack and calls home, only to get Kevin on the other line.
- 2019: The bromance between Jae Won and Randall is off and running as the two jog and banter before their day at the City Council office. Unfortunately, Randall’s office manager Bernice doesn’t like Jae Won or Randall’s idea to take his office door off its hinges and invite what seems like much of Philly inside for a marathon of constituent chats.
- 2019: Kate meets the new neighbor, a sour cat who borderline threatens to have Toby’s car towed if he parks over the sidewalk again. Yeesh–nice to meet you, too, Mr. Grumpypants! (In due time, we find out more about Gregory, played by Psych actor Timothy Omundson.) Later, she is shocked at how thin Toby looks in his new clothes, and is embarrassed when she can’t fit her body behind the booth at a restaurant where they are meeting potential business clients. Ugh. Poor Kate!
- Jack is in serious trouble at work–and I don’t mean yellow slip trouble. He accidentally forgot to schedule the city water line inspection before a house’s foundation was laid, costing his boss a cool 20K. Jack confesses like the noble knight he is and gets canned for it. But wait–another knight rideth nigh! Good old Miguel threatens to quit–and take all his lucrative clients with him–if Jack is fired. You know, Miguel keeps getting more and more fabulous.
- Kevin is pretty fabsome himself these days. After accompanying Uncle Nicky to the Vet Center for therapy, Kevin struggles with the vending machine and is helped by a young boy. Oh, and what a surprise! The boy’s mother is Cassidy, the soldier from Episode 1 who was there when Uncle Nicky’s chair flew through the window! Kevin is incredible with his nieces and now nephew, so it makes sense that Kevin is great with the kid. The two hit it off over Funyuns and Super Mario Kart, but Mom thinks the whole thing seems creepy. (By the way, could we not all relate deeply to Kevin smoothing and smoothing his dollar bill because the stupid machine would not deem it smooth enough, even though if it were any smoother it would melt into the wall?)
- Back at Baby Jack’s house, Kate is wowed but not totally in a good way by Toby’s ripped abs. Um, what is happening? Toby fesses up: he’s been trying to get healthy for Jack by doing CrossFit for months. Meanwhile, she feels bigger than ever. While Kate cries on the porch over it, Gregory chooses the worst moment to confront Kate again about Toby’s car on the sidewalk. When she loses it, Gregory tells her that he had a massive stroke two years ago (just like actor Omundson) and had to relearn walking, talking, swallowing–everything. “This is me, storming away,” he says, slowly and painfully shuffling off in a huff.
- Over in Philly, it’s not all cream cheese and bagels as the Pearson girls start their new schools. Tess finds that coming out is not as easy as she thought, even though everyone at school is new to her. And Deja? Girl gets a whopper of a newsflash when Malik preemptively tells her that he is a daddy. “The boy I like has a baby,” she tells her sister, dumbfounded. Asante Blackk is supremely talented, and already has an Emmy for his role in When They See Us. He owns every scene he’s been in and I am excited to see what this young phenom will do as Malik!
- In 1992, Kevin tells a panicked Randall to stay put–he’s coming. Riding his bike to Randall’s school, Kevin is a bit of a knight himself as he calms down his brother and signs the yellow slip himself. Oh, I know. Not exactly telling the truth there but I loved the way he took care of Randall, still hyperventilating over breaking a rule.
- 1992–Kate asks Kevin if he would ever date a “bigger girl.” In the CUTEST line of the night, preteen Kevin innocently answers her. “I’m going to marry Cindy Crawford. She’s 5’9, so waaay bigger than me.” CUTEST!
- Also cute: When Jack called Miguel to thank him for the save, and Miguel teasingly said, “I love you, too, Schnookums.”
- And finally, Kevin ends up attending the same AA meeting as Cassidy (of course he did) and Uncle Nicky tags along. When Kevin starts rambling on in the meeting about his future jowls and other such nonsense, Nicky and Cassidy both think it’s just a total SCREAM and start howling like a couple of hyenas. We don’t think it’s quite that funny, but it’s good to know Cassidy can actually laugh. Maybe now she doesn’t think Kevin is quite so creepy.
Well, that’s a wrap for this recap, folks. What’d you think? Favorite line of the night? Performance? (I loved the interplay between Chrissy Metz and Tim Omundson. You?) Anything making you nervous? I myself am nervous about Toby’s weight loss and Kate’s weight gain.
Tell me all your hopes and fears, US pals!