This Is Us 2×02: “A Manny-Splendored Thing” Recap

this is us - 2x02 - kateIn a surprising turn of events, I didn’t cry like a baby during this week’s episode of “This Is Us.” That’s not to say it wasn’t emotional, because let’s be honest, every episode is emotional. “A Manny-Splendored Thing” just wasn’t tear-inducing emotional. Which is kind of weird since it was a family gathering of sorts, but nothing had had me reaching for the tissues. – Don’t judge me! – Anyways, let’s catch up with our favorite family where things get tense for Kevin, Kate and Randall.

Kate and Rebecca’s Strained Relationship

this is us - 2x02 - kate hearing her mom singIt’s no secret that Kate and her mother, Rebecca, have somewhat of a strained relationship. This week’s episode delved into that a little more. In the flashbacks, the kids gear up for the school talent show. Kate is set to sing “Lean On Me.” Rebecca even makes her a dress out of her own first performance dress, which excites Kate for the show. But when she rushes off to show her mom how the dress fits, she hears her singing “Lean On Me” in the shower, and is instantly left feeling inadequate. The insecurities ultimately cause her to bail on her talent show performance. 🙁

As to be expected, the past ultimately reflects to the present. Kate is nervous about Rebecca coming over before Kevin’s big show. She’s a nervous wreck knowing that all her mother does is look her up and down and criticize everything about her. But Kate tells herself, and Toby, that she’s not going to let her mom get to her. When Rebecca and Miguel show up, though, Rebecca has nothing but compliments for Kate.

this is us - 2x02 - kate gets the gigThen, just when Kevin’s show is about to start, Kate gets a call saying she got a gig with a house band that night. So, she leaves Toby with the family as she rushes off to soundcheck. Eventually, though, Toby tells Rebecca that he can’t miss Kate’s first gig to which she stands up and says she completely understands. Toby knows Kate doesn’t want Rebecca there, but reluctantly lets her go.

Kate, of course, is surprised when she sees them as she goes on stage. She totally crushes her performance of “Landslide”, but her mother’s presence only brings back painful feelings. It’s Rebecca’s seemingly backhanded comments of how great Kate was and “in time you will learn to power through a crowd like this” that causes Kate to snap. The rant ends with “you wanted me to be the ‘you’ that you never became.” She walks out and Rebecca is left asking Toby if it’s true. Toby cuts her off, though, by proclaiming that he’ll always be “Team Kate” no matter what – How sweet! In the car, the tension is still there, but Rebecca and Kate still grab hands as Rebecca tells her that she likes Toby.this is us - 2x02 - kate and rebecca argue

The Manny Returns

this is us - 2x02 - kevin better manIf you remember last season, Kevin had a big meltdown on his show The Manny, but now they’re taping their 100th episode, and they’ve asked him back. He’s super nervous about it to the point where he even checks his abs. He wants it to be his George Clooney moment when Clooney returned to ER. Sophie assures him that he’ll be great, and that he has nothing to worry about. This seems to calm Kevin’s nerves a bit for the time-being. She even gets him to let loose a little and reenact his outburst on set before everyone arrives.

Unfortunately, the writer/creator that Kevin told off previously also got to relive it. Kevin gets a new script ending that sends him back into worry mode. He feels like it will humiliate him, but Sophie is there for him once again. She manages to convince him to just go with it and everything will be fine.

She was right. Kevin goes through with it, wearing a diaper and all, and gets the audience in a fit of laughter… including Sophie. It’s during this scene that we also see just how much she means to Kevin. In a flashback to the talent show, Kevin does his Mr. T impression and the crowd is silent, not finding the impression all that amusing. Well, Sophie did. She’s the only one laughing, and it puts a smile on Kevin’s face. This mirrors what happens at The Manny taping. As everyone is laughing, Kevin looks to Sophie who can’t contain her laughter either, and that’s the only laugh that matters to him. 🙂this is us - 2x02 - kevin and sophie

Randall’s Adoption Worries

Remember how in the premiere last week Randal was pumped about adopting a newborn, but Beth convinced him to adopt an older kid? Well, now he’s having second thoughts about that. You know how he is – a perfectionist. He doesn’t like doing things unless he knows for certain that that he’ll be good at it. Now, he’s not sure he and Beth can handle an older kid who may have some extra baggage. He’s so distraught over it, he can’t even bring himself to fill out the forms for the agency.

this is us - 2x02 - randall worriesRandall and Beth leave the taping where he confesses his distress and concerns. Beth isn’t having any of his “Randall-ing out.” Already annoyed she had to fly across country to see a taping of a show that she doesn’t even like, Randall is just adding to her irritation. She reminds him of how he’s the one that pushed her to adopt in the first place, to which he reminds her he wanted a baby. He then adds how their daughters came out perfect and they even had to lie to their friends about not getting any sleep. Beth can’t handle it anymore and walks off.

Unexpectedly, Beth stumbles upon advice from Kevin. He reminds her that this is what Randall does. Kevin then reminds her of the one time that Randall did take a chance even though he was nervous as hell. Randall called and asked Beth out, with the help of Kevin, even though he knew she was way out of his league.

The whole story reminded Beth of how good she and Randall are together. It persuades her to find him in the backlot and plant a big ol’ kiss on him. She then assures him that they can do this adoption thing and that they’re going to be okay. Randall believes her and they then tell their daughters about the plans to adopt. I love this family. 🙂this is us - 2x02 - beth and randall kiss

Jack Fights His Demons

this is us - 2x02 - jack and young kateI know you’re wondering about Jack after that premiere cliffhanger. Unfortunately, we still don’t know how the house caught fire or how Jack died exactly. What we do see in this episode, is figuring out how to sober up. The episode reveals that the first time, he fought this, he did it through will-power, keeping it to himself, and boxing. More importantly, though, Kate unknowingly helped him in a beautiful reminder that everything would be okay. Side Note: If this father-daughter bond doesn’t punch you in the feels, I don’t know what will.

This time around, though, Jack wants to do things differently. He’s not going to do it alone. He confesses his alcohol problem to Kate (in another sweet moment) and later to his sons. Then he commits to going to AA meetings, which he couldn’t bring himself to do the first go-around. With his family by his side, Jack plans to kick this addiction once again.this is us - 2x02 - jack and young kate 2

Now, the question remains… how did that fire happen and how did Jack die? I’m positive I’m not ready for either of those answers, but I NEED to know. I’m also sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of Jack’s drinking problem because it’s never that easy. Is it weird/bad that I’m more invested in the past than the present story arcs? Don’t judge me.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC!

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