Welcome to my weekly review of This Is Us. Today: Season 2, Episode 3, Deja Vu. (The reviews will include spoilers, so don’t read if you haven’t watched and don’t want to know what happens!) My reviews are based on a single viewing. If I were to watch several times, as I can obsess over my favorite shows (I’m looking at you, True Detective, Season 1), I might be even more insightful (or over Randall-ing it all). But I’d rather write my initial impressions than take time dissecting after many views. So….
1) I still like these people (except Rebecca) and want to know their story(ies).
2) Annie Pearson. The cutest little sage ever. The moment with the foster sister, combined with the flashback with Grandpa William… O.M.G. Cuteness. Wisdom. Such a teeny wise person, like Yoda.
3) Kate seems to be dealing better with some things (read: her dad’s death), if not others (read: MOM!). I’m enjoying watching her change and grow.
4) Randall. And apparently there is going to be an adorable line (at least one) in each epsiode. Last week, it was Kate and her throw. This week, Randall: the phone rings. “That’s my calling, calling.” Also, when the social worker tells Randall this will require patience and that he should have no expectations and not expect any day to be the same as others — what a wrench in his type A, perfectly timed and planned world. This should be fun to watch.
5) Interesting: Randall cooks his feelings (per Beth’s aside as he’s cooking) in addition to perfecting everything around him (or trying to); Kate eats her feelings; and now we learn Kevin stifles and medicates his feelings (just like Dad).
6) Bits and pieces of the puzzle being revealed, onion layers being removed, as per usual. In one flashback, when Teen Kate goes to tell Teen Kevin about their Dad, he appears to be sleeping in the back of the family car. Rebecca takes Jack on a Date Night as they struggle to deal with their fight’s aftermath and his revelation of alcoholism. Jack struggles to show Rebecca his truth, revealing things he felt or did, but never told her. This could get interesting. Is Rebecca a Randall-like perfectionist who couldn’t handle Jack not being the strong, seemingly perfect guy/Dad?
6a) My guess has been that the fire happens on a similar date night, just not this one. The dog — a stray that Jack immediately takes to after Rebecca throws the hamburgers she brought for date night into the yard, which the dog finds. This explains why Teen Kate clings to the dog after finding out Jack’s dead. And Randall had been searching for his birth parents since he was Teen Randall, but he didn’t ask Jack or Rebecca for help. Interesting.
7) Kevin has squashed feelings about his father’s death, and it relates to the leg cast revealed in episode 1. Episode 3 features a flashback of Jack visiting Teen Kevin in the hospital giving Teen Kevin what I can only imagine are military tags or something similar to wear around his neck. Adult Kevin also injures his knee again on the movie set with Sylvester Stallone, and then we see him take a pain killer. Did he previously have an addiction and that’s why he and Sophie broke up? Or was it because he couldn’t open up like his father eventually did (which I surmise may have actually caused a rift that might be unfixable in his relationship with Rebecca… clearly, I spend too much time thinking about this).
8) The foster child story could lead to some interesting places. The girl’s name is Deja, and she reminds Randall of Teen Randall in many ways. I’m along for the ride.
The Not So Good
1) No Toby. What good is an episode without a glimpse of Toby?
2) The Sylvester Stallone thing felt forced. Like, why is he the fortune cookie that tells Kevin that there is no such thing as time passing. It’s just memories that matter and memories that don’t (love that line, by the way). It just seemed a bit contrived, like everyone coming to see The Manny last week. That could just be my weirdness, though.
3) Living too close to New Jersey with its ubiquitous opioid recovery program commercials, as soon as Kevin popped the pill for this knee pain, I heard Chris Christie in my ear saying, “Recovery is in reach. Call 1-800-Reach-NJ.”
I’m doling out 3 stars out of 4, for the wisdom of Sly and Annie, the vision of William, and Randall with his “that’s my calling, calling.” Jack is still my favorite package to unwrap. And I know Sterling K. Brown is going a great job as Randall, but let’s give some props to Milo Ventimiglia. He’s doing a great job as a guy who has kept his emotions in check for far too long and it trying to let them out and let people help him and struggling to do so. Good work happening there.
Deja Vu, an apt name, as every week I get the feeling that I’ve seen this awesomeness before, and it just so happens I did — each previous week’s episode.
What say you?
Tune in here after the next episode for another This Is Us: Review for You. Read all of my reviews for this season here.