This Is Us 2×04 “Still There” Recap

this is us - 2x04 - stillIn this week’s episode we dig a little deeper into Kevin’s backstory, and you’ll probably cry again. Randall and Beth also have a situation on their hands – Deja’s hair. Meanwhile, Kate has a secret… a big one that I’m not sure any of us saw coming. In the past, the Pearson’s have the chicken pox and an unexpected visitor. As usual, the episode will tug on your emotions.

So, let’s get to it!

The Past: Chicken Pox and Mom Problems

You know what probably sucks? When you’re 10 years old and there’s a snow day, but you get stuck inside with the chicken pox. That’s what happens to the big three in this week’s episode. The family hits up the video store to stock up on movies in case they get snowed in, but Kevin is super grumpy. It’s then that Rebecca notices that he has a fever. So, they take all three kids to the doctor. Only Kevin and Kate have the pox, but the doctor says it’s always best if siblings get it all at once.

this is us - 2x04 - jack and rebeccaAfter Rebecca tells her mom over the phone that Kevin and Kate have chicken pox, she drops by unexpectedly to help. As we all know though, Rebecca and her mom have somewhat of a strained relationship. Her mom is always nagging about every little thing and it drives Rebecca up the wall. As soon as she arrives, she asks Jack to get her bags and to salt the sidewalk, wonders why Randall is half naked in the middle of winter, and even comments on the cleanliness of the house. Jack promises not to leave Rebecca alone with her, but that all changes when he, too, comes down with the chicken pox.

It’s the way that she treats the kids, however, that really sends Rebecca over the edge. First, 2/3rds of the gifts she brings is just… not right. She gives Kevin a football helmet, which is totally fine. However, she gives Kate a costume dress that is too small, then says that it can be her “goal dress.” Randall gets a basketball, which would be cool… if he liked basketball, and she hadn’t made the comment of how he’d probably be “a natural” at it. Oh, but it gets better regarding Randall. She constantly refers to “the twins and Randall.” She takes no interest in him whatsoever. Then has the audacity to comment a how it’s amazing Randall is the Pearson that gets into private school! None of this seems bad to a 10-year-old, of course, but they are clear backhanded, racist comments.

this is us - 2x04 - rebecca and her momRebecca is having none of it. She confronts her mom when they are seemingly alone. She always thought maybe it’s because of the adoption, but her mom makes it clear it’s because he’s black. Her mom tries to deny any such thing. They argue a bit before Rebecca flat out calls her a racist and says she wants her gone with the snow is gone. Unfortunately, Randall has the worst timing and heard the argument. Rebecca and Jack then take on the daunting task of having to explain backhanded racism to their 10-year-old, which leaves Randall bummed about his grandma. 🙁

The next morning, the Pearsons are hiding out upstairs because none of them want to deal with Rebecca’s mom. Well, Jack was knocked out with a fever the whole night, but when wakes up, he decides to handle it. Now, usually guys are such babies when they get sick. Not Jack Pearson. He bundles up and goes out in the snow to dig out Rebecca’s mom’s car! – Side note: Kevin also came out to help.

Before she leaves, Rebecca’s mom apologizes sort of – giving the excuse that she came from a different time and the whole situation being foreign to her, but she tries. Rebecca takes her upstairs to say goodbye to Randall, but he brushes her off. She tries to connect with him over his project. She realizes just how smart he is. “You’re a special young man, aren’t you?” Randall responds with more maturity than any 10-year-old I’ve ever met, “Took you long enough.”

The Present

Knee Surgery for Kevin

this is us - 2x04 - kevin surgeryKevin took a hard fall on set in last week’s episode.  This week, two weeks later, he’s limping around on set. When a producer asks to see his knee we see that it’s black and blue. Ouch! So, he has to get it checked out. Unfortunately, the doctor tells him he has a tear in his meniscus and needs surgery if he wants to recover quickly. As he goes under anesthesia, he has visions of his father cheering him on at a football game – clearly remembering moments leading up to his last knee injury.

Kate and Toby take him in while he recovers. Kevin’s hoping to be better in a week. He doesn’t want to take the pain killers because they made him fuzzy after his last knee injury. You know the saying “no pain, no gain”? Well, Kevin is taking that full throttle after he gets a script revision that takes him out some of his biggest parts. Toby tries to get him to take it easy, but Kevin argues that he’s not going to let another knee injury shatter his dreams. He talks about being great at football and having big dreams and plans. Then he blew out his knee and that all got ripped away. So, he turned to acting and fell in love with it. Now this dream is hanging by a thread just as he’s getting somewhere with it. He won’t let it happen. He’ll do whatever it takes.

this is us - 2x04 - kevin pillWhen Kevin is finally alone, he watches old tapes that his father recorded while he was playing football. Jack is beaming with pride as Kevin runs the ball 88 yards. “My son is tough! – My son is tough as hell!” He beams. Kevin pauses the video on Jack’s prideful face, and you can see just how vulnerable and broken he’s feeling. He pops one of his pills, clearly trying to numb more than just knee pain. ☹

It’s official, we’re four episodes in and Kevin is my main reason for crying this season. I wasn’t prepared to dig into Kevin’s deep-rooted emotions. But ugh do I love that he has more layers than just the good-looking actor.

Deja’s Hair

Deja still isn’t feeling comfortable at Randall and Beth’s home. So much so that she hasn’t washed her hair in weeks. It’s becoming a hygiene problem. Randall tries and fails to acclimate her at breakfast as he does Annie’s hair. He even offers to do her hair, but she declines. Beth says they need sit down and talk to her about it, but Randall really wants to try on his own since Beth is the go-to parent for Tess and Annie.

Instead of trying to push Deja to talk about her hair situation, Randall continues to try to acclimate her into the family by taking her, Tess and Annie bowling. The night quickly goes south though when Deja refuses to hand over her shoes. A girl behind her then makes a nasty comment about her hair and Deja confronts her about it – eventually shoving her. Things get tense between Randall and the other girl’s father. Deja watches as Randall stands up for her. So much for a fun night of bowling.

Beth takes a shot at getting through to Deja, and it works. She opens up a little more with Beth when she does her hair. Beth explains the bald spots on Deja’s head as alopecia, something that Deja has never heard of. Beth connects with Deja by saying her sister had the same thing. Deja then admits that it gets worse when times are stressful. Beth offers to braid her hair in a way that will cover up the spots like she did with her sister, and Deja seems to feel more comfortable about the whole situation.

this is us - 2x04 - randall beth dejaIt’s short lived though. Randall comes into her room to check on her and compliments her hair. Randall then talks about how he deals with stress – mentioning his two panic attacks. He says that running helps him clear his head before offering to let her come running with him if she’s up for it. However, Deja feels betrayed that Beth didn’t keep their conversation private. The next morning, she chops off all her hair and walks down to the breakfast table leaving Beth and Randall shocked to say the least.

Kate’s Secret

this is us - 2x04 - kate babyJust a heads up, Kate acts super weird in this episode, y’all. You know how she’s normally focused on losing the weight? Well, now she’s super focused on it. She’s doing workout videos while staring at a healthy muffin that she refuses to eat. She’s adamant about going to yoga and leaving Toby to take care of Kevin. Why all the extra focus now? Because she’s trying to fit into a dress for her first big paying gig. At least that’s what she says. However, the end of the episode reveals that’s not the only reason she’s being extra healthy these days. She goes to the doctor and she’s pregnant! Six weeks to be exact, and she’s been super conscientious because she knows the risks that come with pregnancy at her age and weight. The question is why is she keeping it from everyone?

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

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