Friday, April 16, 2021

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 5, Episode 13 “Brotherly Love” (B+)

This show is doing a remarkable job this season of portraying white fragility and the uncomfortable conversations many people are finally having about passive racism. Exploring the way that Randall was always singled out because of the color of his skin has been fascinating, and it was best exemplified by Jack telling the crew member from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” that “it happens all the time” when he mistakenly thought two white boys were his sons. Kevin is also the perfect person to grapple with this concept since he tends to use grand gestures to show his emotions and he, like many other white people, want resolution and to feel as if their apologies have been heard and accepted. Randall telling him that he was trying not to be annoyed and refusing to do anything more than acknowledge his appreciation of his “monologue” didn’t sit well with Kevin, and they got to pour out their honest feelings that are complicated by years spent looking at each other in different ways and with plenty of baggage. The flashbacks to Randall insulting Kevin’s painting and Kevin calling him Carlton were highly informative, and it’s nice to see that, in spite of everything, they’re able to coexist and find tremendous value in each other. Hearing about Randall’s ghost kingdom was particularly poignant, and Kevin’s response to that, to his credit, was far more appropriate and supportive than I would have expected. It’s important to know that things won’t ever be completely okay between them but that they’ve reached a good place.

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