Thursday, March 8, 2018

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 2, Episode 17 “This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life” (B)

This episode wasn’t nearly as effective to me as some recent hours have been since it focused very much on a fringe character whose experiences growing up have been very different than the Pearsons. The contrast was conveyed most strongly by brief flashes of both difficult and positive moments that we’ve seen in the past, like Jack drinking and Rebecca showing up at Kate’s door when she needed her most. I immediately recognized Pam Grier, best known for her award-nominated performance in the film “Jackie Brown” and who also spent a lot of time on TV on “The L Word,” as Shauna’s grandmother, who kept insisting that she needed to hold Deja so that she would feel some level of closeness to her. When she wasn’t in foster care, Deja definitely helped her mother out in so many ways around the house, mailing the bills and then being the one to make her mother a birthday dinner, which of course led to her ER visit and the introduction of Linda from Child Services. Alonso was an undeniably bad influence, and even when he wasn’t living at the house anymore, he was still taking their money for his bail, leading to them sleeping in the car and being found by Randall and Beth. Shauna leaving the house and saying that she couldn’t take Deja with her was heartbreaking but also predictable, and though it’s sure to be hard on Deja, it does feel like this is where she belongs. For some reason, there’s just one episode left in this season, but rest assured that this show will continue for a long time. Its third season has already been official since shortly after it first started.