Saturday, September 28, 2019

What I’m Watching: This Is Us (Season Premiere)

This Is Us: Season 4, Episode 1 “Strangers” (B)

This episode felt closest to the very first hour of this show, bringing in a bunch of new characters and connecting them only in a way that made sense in the very last scene. The only familiar faces we followed through the course of the episode were Jack and Rebecca as she introduced her new boyfriend to her parents. Her father talked about Vietnam right away but then later did Jack a favor by encouraging him to hide the tag that was showing on the jacket Miguel had generously encouraged him to take without paying for it, but then he undid all that kindness by diagnosing Jack as too broken for his daughter. Getting her to sing when they went for their solo date was a wonderful way to cap an unfortunate evening, and it was very effectively paired with the heartfelt performance by the blind guy who turned out to be none other than Jack, Kate and Toby’s grown-up son. I recognized Asante Blackk, an Emmy nominee this year for “When They See Us,” as Malik, who seems ready to make Deja happy, and his parents were played by his Netflix limited series costar and fellow Emmy nominee Marsha Stephanie Blake and Omar Epps. I’m not entirely sure how strong the connection will be with veteran Cassidy, played by Jennifer Morrison from “Once Upon a Time” and “Back Roads.” These new characters should at least prove intriguing, though I’m really not sure just how much they’ll be featured beyond this framing introductory hour.

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