“I wanted to come back, have everything go back to normal. The girl of my dreams is going to be waiting for me out there. She’s going to be wearing a yellow dress. She’s going to have flowers in her hair, and she’s going to be waiting for someone who no longer exists.”
Those the final deeply profound lines in a Ron Howard movie delivered by a character played by Kevin Person, after he returns from war.
The lines are met with a standing ovation, and out in the lobby, a weepy Kate compares Kevin’s performance in this movie to Daniel Day-Lewis. “He’s got gravitas.”
The guy who used to play The Manny has gravitas? Ahem.
Kevin is a terrible actor, and of all the problems I have with This Is Us, this one often irks me the most. He’s never exhibited any acting talent whatsoever, either in the TV show within the TV show (The Manny), the play within the TV show he put on last season, or the Ron Howard movie within the TV show. Hell, Justin Hartley himself is barely convincing as Kevin Pearson — he’s just a big smile with stubble, an unhealthy relationship with his sister, and a wholly unconvincing interview subject of Terry Gross. Terry Gross, by the way, would never interview Kevin Pearson. She’d never interview Justin Hartley. But appearing on This Is Us is undoubtedly good for her profile, and it’s always fun to see Gross on TV, even though the image I have of her from Fresh Air is so concrete that it always comes as a surprise to discover all over again what she actually looks like.
This is really neither here nor there within the episode, except that Gross’ probing questions of Kevin’s knowledge Jack’s time in war reveals a certain lack, which prompts Kevin to email an old war buddy of his father’s to find out more. Jack never spoke about the war with Kevin or anyone, really, because he was unable to protect his brother from death. Next week’s episode will dig deeper into that.
Meanwhile, in this week’s episode, young, just-returned-from-the-war Jack moves his mother out of his abusive father’s home, but in doing so, has a run-in with Rebecca at the grocery store, and the canned good aisle is the perfect place to have a life-altering conversation. Rebecca had backslid into a high-school relationship she had with Silas from Weeds, whose three-years in London couldn’t break the spell Rebecca held over him. When Silas from Weeds returns with a bouquet of flowers and a big romantic gesture in his pocket, Rebecca gets her two roads diverging moment. Does she settle down with this handsome man with a turtleneck and a bad mustache who supports her in her career, or does she settle down with the guy from a messy home, who has no big dreams to speak of, and who is curiously silent about his time in the war?
Obviously, she chooses Jack, because Jack is the kind of man who washes dishes, and for a guy like Randall, that makes his father a superhero. In fact, so inspired by his father’s take-action ethos, Randall makes another rash impulsive decision and decides to run for city councilor, and why not? His rash, impulsive decisions have never failed him before. And now that Beth has been fired from her job, Randall has a campaign manager candidate, and this seems perfect! An unemployed couple with three kids, a large house in the suburbs, and a rundown building that needs thousands and thousands of dollars of work are the perfect people to put all their time and resources into running for city councilor position that probably pays around $50K a year!
Meanwhile, Kate — oh, Kate. She finally got herself a small victory this week when, during IVF treatment, the doctor was able to implant eight eggs. Now, hopefully, Toby’s little guys work and Kate can get pregnant (Prediction: She gets pregnant with triplets. She loses one. She adopts a third). Kate spent most of the episode, however, under anesthesia chatting with both her father and younger versions of herself, giving herself one of those, “It Gets Better” speeches over ice cream, although considering the events of the last couple of seasons, it being “better” is debatable.
The real MVP of “Katie’s Girls,” however, may have been Jane Kaczmarek, who sold out her son, Silas from Weeds (Hunter Parrish), and told Rebecca to follow her hunch to Jack, which is when she discovered a man who — unlike her father — did the dishes. She fell in love, and she asked Jack to take a drive with her … to Los Angeles. “Yeah,” he says. “Let’s go to Los Angeles.”
But first, he has to finish the dishes.
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