Welcome to my weekly review of This Is Us. Today: Season 2, Episode 16, Vegas Baby. (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….
After the emotional roller coaster of the past few episodes and the build-up to the great Jack Pearson reveal, this episode was a bit of a letdown. It’s to be expected. It was a good episode in that we get to know more about the characters. But after such drama with the death of dad, and the waiting for all the info about that, it was just ho-hum, an episode of a TV series.
What we learned:
Beth seems to have it all together, but she, too, is human and not perfect. Kate apparently didn’t know this, and learned that during her bachelorette party. The soon-to-be-married Kate and Toby had bachelor/ette parties in Las Vegas… because they always go to Vegas? Again, we have a tired trope in an episode that, to me, is only happening to enable us to showcase something about Kevin. You may remember early in the season how out of place the Sylvester Stallone appearance felt, with Kevin working with him on a movie (he had to have dad moments with Sly so we could learn about Kevin’s struggles with what happened to Jack, and also to help explain Kevin’s addictions). Lo and behold, we run into the cleaning lady who knows Kevin is an addict in Vegas, where he spent much time in the past. During the episode, Kevin thinks he’s been cut from the Sly Stallone movie and contemplates drinking. At the end of the episode, the cleaning lady counts the bottles and they’re all there. Yay, Kevin…. (I’m not a fan of Kevin and his tired story this year).
We also find out that Toby has a brother and they’re not close; hence, he hopes to become close to the Brothers Pearson. They ditch him, however, for their own drama in Vegas (Kevin being Kevin and Randall and Beth fighting about Randall still being too involved in worrying about Deja, their former foster daughter). After Kate tells Randall that Toby wants to be close with him and Kevin, the Brothers Pearson take Toby for a walk to make up for ditching him.
In the Jack-is-still-alive parts of the episode, the Past Pearsons celebrate several wedding anniversaries. Beck tells Jack on their 15th, though, that she doesn’t want gifts or grand gestures because she can’t keep up with him. It’s times like this I see where Kevin gets his whining from… … …
At the end of the episode, Past Papa Pearson tells Tiny Kevin that grand gestures aren’t about size — they’re about intent. All the grown-up kids remember that the intent of the Vegas weekend was togetherness. Awwww.
Also at the end, Beth decides that she and Randall should check on Deja, and they do. They find her sleeping in a car with her mom. More drama to come.
I like visiting with the Pearsons, but this is a visit I could have done without. Two stars out of four for the kids needing to get away after all that Daddy Drama. I needed to get away, too, and did for the weeks the Olympics were on (and the show was off the air). Considering last night’s letdown, though, I could have waited a few more weeks, to let that Past Papa stuff rest and to help me to miss the Pearsons in my present a bit more.
Tune in here after the next episode for another This Is Us: Review for You. Read all of my reviews for season 2 here.