This Is Us: The Fifth Wheel

Welcome to my weekly review of This Is Us. Today: Season 2, Episode 11, The Fifth Wheel. (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….


For a non-middle child, Kevin is soooo the middle child. Still, beneath his whining, he has a point: he was ignored a lot as a kid. Of course then, as Randall pointed out, Kevin seeks attention and gets addicted to that.

This episode saw the Pearsons peel a bit of the family onion and see what each person feels about being a Pearson a bit more. Kevin thinks Dad was an addict (alcoholic) and so Kate might be (food) and he is (drugs). He also said in therapy, with a therapist I thought showed a wee bit too much emotion when Mom and Kate and Randall were interrupting Kevin, that he always felt like the fifth wheel. Kate had dad; Randall had mom. Mom later admitted she didn’t think she had to worry about Kevin. Oh, how I’m in touch with that.

My favorite part was when Mom stood up for Jack and said she didn’t want to ruin her kids’ memories of their father that they only had for 17 years by focusing on his alcoholism. Then she said, “Thank you,” not snarkily, just “Thank you,” as many older women do when they don’t know how to end a conversation. And then, she finally let her carefully curated mom face fall and admitted through raised voice and tears that made if hard to talk that Kevin was difficult and moody and hard to relate to, AND he abandoned her when Jack died. Ouch. That was so good, I was soooo disappointed when they didn’t explore that further. They came back from a bunch of the million commercials they showed last night and just moved on. But damn, watch out, This Is Us. You’re actually starting to make me like Rebecca…  a little.

My other favorite part was Miguel and Beth and Toby (Toberman! I love that Beth called him that!) at the bar after they’d been unceremoniously univited from the therapy session. Miguel says, “I married my best friend’s wife… everybody thinks it.” And he’s right. We ALL do. It’s not unbelievable to think that the two people closest to Jack would eventually come together. I’m interested in hearing more of that story.

3 stars out of 4 for a episode featuring whiny Kevin, then nice bro/sis scenes, a scene with Mom that probably should have been longer, and a fun take with “The New Big Three” (the “others” in the bar). The Pearsons are such an interesting bunch, and their others are, too. I’m eager to keep peeling and see what they keep revealing.

Tune in here after the next episode for another This Is Us: Review for You. Read all of my reviews for season 2 here.

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I'm a writer who loves daisies, laughing, and smiling (hence the site name).

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