Oh, Randall … With two episodes to go, I am starting to see why Kevin is not speaking to Randall by September. I love Randall, and usually, he is my favorite character. But lately, he’s been pretty disagreeable all around.
I mean, I get it. His personality covers all the bases, and he has taken on the role of the firstborn child. He is used to taking charge and having everyone follow in his wake.
But things are changing. Both Kevin and Kate are getting past their own issues and both are finding their own voices as advocates for their mom. So this whole 9-month clinical trial for Rebecca in St. Louis is going to be looked at in very different ways. VERY different ways.
At first, Randall seems to assume that Kate and Kevin will just fall in line with his plans to send Rebecca to a clinical trial to treat her Alzheimer’s. Kate agrees but without much enthusiasm; Kevin is way more reluctant. He mumbles a yes because I don’t think he believes he has another choice. (Is Randall an 8 on the enneagram???)
Back in 1993, the middle schoolers (junior highers back then) and Jack and Rebecca plan a day and night in New York City. They each pick a place to see and a thing to do that suits their personality. Randall wants to check out exoskeletons at the Museum of Natural History; Kevin wants to recreate “Home Alone 2,” and Kate wants to sip tea at the Plaza. Rebecca’s pick–to go to the Met and see “her” painting–dates back to her many childhood trips to New York. When she glowingly recounts her dad making New York “magical,” Jack is obviously uncomfortable. Things get worse for him when he gets the family lost in New York. He’s not fancy like his wretched father in law, and obviously he can’t navigate the city that well either.
In 2000, the family, minus Kate, staying at home to brood after her horrible breakup with Marc, travels to New York to see Kevin perform in an acting showcase. Sparks fly between Rebecca and Kirby, Kevin’s acting coach, much to Randall’s chagrin. He is literally grimacing. At 20, he is protective of his mom, too protective? Kevin’s vantage point is totally different: She’s a grown woman and she can’t be sad forever (though she certainly can and will be in some ways). But how would he know, Randall shoots back, when he never calls her and rarely checks in? “Are you going to look after mom for the rest of your life?” Kevin says. That’s the question of the hour, literally.
Both have a point, and obviously, the show is trying to establish how differently they both look at the world.
2020: Kevin and Rebecca are in New York for the premiere of his new movie. They stay at the Plaza (how fabulous!) and Rebecca feels beautiful and lighthearted as she dons a sparkly purple gown. When Randall shows up, Kevin asks him to give their mom one night of freedom from worry about her diagnosis and not to bring up the clinical trial. Randall agrees, but when Rebecca later has a memory lapse, he ends up blurting it out as we all knew he would. Kevin is steamed, rightfully so. “I’m trying to give her one evening where it’s not about her losing her mind!”
Randall: “I’ve been looking after mom for 20 years!”
Kevin: “My acting career is what’s paying for mom to have the best care!”
Oy. Oh boy. Things are getting tense.
Thankfully, the show picks that fraught moment to time travel to 1993, where the Pearsons and us all at home receive some much needed Jack Pearson magic. Jack suddenly seizes on an idea for what he wants to do in NYC: Take his family on a carriage ride through Central Park. cue all the twinkly lights and fluttery hearts. Jack does it again!
Back in 2020, Kevin and Randall bicker as a distraught Rebecca slips out the door. They find her at the Met, staring at her painting of a woman in a green dress. She tells Randall no to the clinical trial, which he somehow later blames on Kevin (another clue that he thinks he knows better than everyone, including his mother).
For now, though, she asks her boys to stay with her and join her in drinking in the lustrous artwork. For one night, she just wants to act like a woman who has all the time in the world.
(Slow exhale of breath). Such a poignant moment.
Two more episodes! Can you stand it? Do you want to wring Randall’s neck or Kevin’s? What was your favorite performance of the night? Line?
What do you think will happen to escalate Kevin and Randall’s argument to not speaking? And WHO on earth is Kevin’s fiance going to be and will we even know by the end of the season, which is, as I mentioned, in TWO WEEKS!