Monday, December 19, 2016

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 1, Episode 10 “Last Christmas” (B+)

As this show is blowing up and earning numerous awards nominations, it’s great to see an episode that I’d easily consider the best since the pilot. I’ve found this show to be overrated over the course of the past nine episodes, and this hour actually made me think that maybe it can occasionally live up to the hype. Starting with Kate’s appendix needing to come out and Dr. K being in the hospital preparing for his death made it seem like this episode would be firmly grounded in the past, but instead it was all that was happening in the present that proved to be more compelling. I was thinking that this show was all about holiday episodes, but that is the time when families come together. An awkward Hanukkah focus with Sloane’s family led to the suggestion of a triumphant plan and what may well be the healthies non-relationship Kevin has ever had. Rebecca realizing how little she knows about her daughter’s current state was an important bonding moment for them, but nothing could top Toby showing up and making Kate happier than she’s been in a long time. Randall talking a coworker, played by Jimmi Simpson from “Westworld,” out of killing himself, which was pretty powerful, and then he learned from his daughter that his father is gay or bi, engaged in a relationship with an intriguing man played by the always great Denis O’Hare. Such a heartwarming holiday episode wasn’t going to end without a twist to keep viewers anxiously awaiting its return in early January, and seeing Toby collapse and then apparently code while in surgery was an effective and heartbreaking way to do that.

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