Friday, November 13, 2020

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 5, Episode 3 “Changes” (B+)

It’s going to be weird watching this show this year – and likely other series when they start to return – because I keep noticing the social distancing and mask-wearing safeguards the characters are taking and comparing them with what I do in my own life (like wearing a mask when I’m walking around outside, not just when people come up to me, and not offering anyone a ride). I did appreciate a bit of mask humor when Kate wanted to be funny and Toby wasn’t so sure, but fortunately that went well and Ellie was actually impressed with the way that she saw Kate and Toby fight. It’s a relief that Kevin went about apologizing to Madison for what he hadn’t realized he did wrong and that the truth about her eating disorder came out so that they can get to work on trying to find a path forward together since they really don’t know each other all that well. The flashbacks to Jack training Kevin while thinking about his own workouts with his father were very powerful. I’m impressed with Randall’s selection of a Black therapist played by Keith Powell, from “30 Rock” and the just-axed “Connecting,” and the fact that Dr. Vance isn’t going to go easy on him despite being casual and relatable. Having to discipline Tess right at that point was a great test of his ability to balance support for free expression while also trying to guide her in the right direction. I wasn’t sure what to think about the new Vietnamese characters introduced, and I definitely didn’t expect that they’d have a connection to Randall’s birth mother, though we still don’t know plenty, including what time period those scenes were set in, a typically ambiguous tease from this show.

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