Sunday, February 11, 2018

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 2, Episode 14 “Super Bowl Sunday” (B+)

This is the first episode of this show that I’ve watched live, thanks to my attendance at a Superbowl party last week. I’ve written frequently – and mentioned right before the episode started – about how this show can be manipulative in the way that it guards plot twists and uses them to necessitate viewing and overwhelm the story. I’m pleased to report that this was actually a very good hour of television, conveying the devastation that came with Rebecca’s inability to process the news that her husband was dead because he had been doing fine just moments before she stepped away to make a few phone calls and get him a candy bar. This is an obvious Emmy submission for Mandy Moore should she receive recognition this year, and this was a very strong performance. I’ve read that we’ll still see Jack frequently since this show isn’t grounded in a particular time, and I hope it will actually strengthen the show to not be held back by protecting this secret. This is also a clear choice for the Emmys for Milo Ventimiglia, who delivered a powerhouse turn as the most dedicated father ever, though there’s no way he’d be able to beat costar Sterling K. Brown, who got very excited for his over-the-top celebration and then teared up during his turtle funeral. I liked the surprise flash-forward to an adult Tess as a social worker helping foster children find families and having her weekly dinner with her dad, who in the present was greeted by an unexpected visit from Déjà, who it appears is now back in the Pearson family’s life.

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