Thursday, October 29, 2020

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 5, Episode 2 “Forty: Part Two” (B+)

It’s really fascinating to see so much of real life reflected on screen in this show in an episode that feels very much like how this show usually does. I was particularly impressed with how Randall responded to Kate apologizing to him for what’s going on in the world, choosing not to make her feel better in that moment but instead to ask why it was that she only said something now. I hope that she’ll sit with that discomfort and white guilt as she tries to find ways to educate herself and be more active in anti-racism, something that may not be her priority as she’s about to have a new child to occupy most of her time. I also liked that, awkward as it was to watch, Kevin didn’t actually acknowledge anything he did to Randall and instead they just talked in an oddly intimate way before he left to drive home and be with his family. That kind of non-closure is realistic, and while it was certainly a relief to see them occupy the same space without hurling insults at each other again, it’s going to take a lot for them to get back to where they used to be. Randall also clarified with Beth that he wasn’t having a breakdown but that his sadness was manifesting itself in a way that was taking him over, and firing his white therapist was a good first step at getting back in control of his life. The most poignant moment of the episode actually came from Toby, who gave Miguel a great pep talk that also involved a plug from both characters for “One Day at a Time.” And, in typical fashion, this show offered us a completely unexpected twist in the form of Randall’s birth mother surging back to life just moments after William abandoned her for dead. I don’t know how that’s going to come up, but I’m very curious and on board.

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