It’s Halloween for the Pearsons, but not in the present. This week’s episode of This Is Us aptly titled, “The 20s”, takes us back to Halloween when the big 3 were 10-year-olds and then when they’re in their 20s. The primary theme, however, is how rough your 20s can be. You can feel lost, stuck, confused, anxious. Your 20s aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Kate, Kevin and Randall are no different. They each had their own struggles during their 20s, and this episode shows just how much they’ve each grown.
Here’s what went down
We all know what it’s like to be 10 years old and trick or treating. The more candy, the better. Well, Randall takes that to a whole new level. He’s mapped out and scheduled their neighborhood, so they can get the best candy (the full-size candy bars) first. Meanwhile, Kate changes her costume at the last minute, and Kevin wants to go to the haunted house first. This is when we first start to see Randall’s anxiousness as a kid, I think. Rebecca and Jack talk about it. Rebecca tells Jack that he needs to stop saying yes to everything Kate wants (letting her change her costume last minute), and Jack says Rebecca treats Randall like he’s a glass figurine.
To please all the kids, Jack takes Kevin and Kate to the haunted house while Rebecca let’s Randall follow his map, and then they’ll meet up. Unfortunately, things don’t really go too well, especially for Rebecca and Randall.
Rebecca convinces to Randall to go to the Larson’s house, which he doesn’t want to because they talk too much. When he leaves their house, he wants go home. Rebecca gets him to confess that they told him he’s a miracle because his parents lost their third baby. Being only 10, he believed this meant the baby got lost and was never found. Rebecca emotionally explains the truth. “But your dad and I had all this room in our hearts for three babies, and we saw you. We met you. So yeah, you are a miracle, but you’re not instead of anything. You’re the way it was always supposed to be.” Randall asks her what the baby’s name would’ve been, and she responds with Kyle. If this hasn’t ripped at your emotions enough, Randall then states that Kyle would look like all of them, and he doesn’t. Ugh! This show, man!
Meanwhile, as soon as they get to the haunted house, Kate starts looking for a boy named Billy. When she spots him, she rushes off, leaving Kevin to explain what’s going on to his father. Kevin explains that she has a crush on Billy and she’s hoping he’ll hold her hand during the scary parts. However, Billy is almost as popular as him, and Kevin doesn’t think he’ll hold Kate’s hand. This worries Jack. He doesn’t want his daughter to be heartbroken. Thankfully, he watches as Kate comes out and Billy is holding her hand. However, when Kate runs off to tell her friend and Kevin runs off with his, it’s then Jack sees Kevin giving all his candy to Billy. Jack pulls Kevin aside to ask about the exchange, but Kevin simply says that it’s not hard to get more candy. Aww! What a sweetie that Kevin!
Rebecca later tells Jack about the situation with Randall. She wishes he was had been there for it, “because what’s Cher without Sonny? I don’t know how any of this would work without you.” Ugh! This quote only makes later scenes that much more heartbreaking. ☹
Picture it, Kevin as a shampooer. Well, you don’t have to because he was one in his 20s while waiting on pilot season… or so he says. He rambles to some lady as he’s shampooing her hair about the business, and she eventually tells him to stop whining.
When he gets back to his shared apartment, his roommate comes in and tells Kevin that he booked some big role. Kevin feigns excitement for his friend as he tells him congratulations and that he deserves it. The roommate invites him to a party where a bunch of big shots are going to be. He wants to help Kevin get his foot in the door. Kevin declines the offer at first, but his roommate insists.
The party doesn’t go too well, however. Kevin pulls a really nasty move when he corners the casting director of his friend’s movie. He tries to sweet talk the director into letting him read for the role his friend got. He even goes so far that his friend isn’t the boy next door type. Ouch, Kev! The director doesn’t buy into it, though. He punches Kevin right in the gut by saying, “You will never work for me, buddy. Not in a movie, not even carrying a tray.” His roomie finds out what Kevin did and promptly moves out, leaving a note telling Kevin to find someone else to pay his rent.
Kate’s not having it any easier. She waitresses at a diner, attending night school, and sits in her car eating fast food outside the old Pearson home. When “the cute guy” comes back to the diner, he asks her to stay and have conversation with him, but it’s only about her. He casually mentions a bar he’ll be at later. When she shows up, though, he quickly excuses himself from his friends and says he was about to leave. Fishy fishy!
So, they go to her place and get it on because that’s obviously where that was leading. When they’re done, he says that he needs to go because he has an early morning. She surmises that he’s married, and he doesn’t deny it, but she knew. He asks her why she still slept with him. “I’m just tired of waiting for things to feel right, and nothing has felt right in a long time.” She was hoping that everything would feel right afterwards, but it doesn’t… not at all. Well, of course it’s not going to feel right after you sleep with a married man, Kate.
As for Randall, he’s about to become a father for the first time. Two months after his first nervous breakdown, Beth is due on November 1st, and Rebecca comes to town to help. Randall claims that he’s fine, but we see that he’s still on edge as he has trouble putting up a ceiling fan in the nursery. Beth confides in Rebecca about how he’s been acting, and he overhears. He tells them he’s going to replace the ceiling fan, so they can talk about him, but when he gets back he wants it to be done. This proves Beth’s point to Rebecca that things have been a bit rocky for her and Randall.
While Randall is gone, Beth and Rebecca chat. Beth states that she and Randall have changed in the sense that they’re too polite to one another and tiptoe around like strangers. Rebecca comes to her son’s defense in saying he’s fine, but Beth insists that she doesn’t understand because she wasn’t there when he had his breakdown. Rebecca soon changes the subject to Facebook and it being a good way to keep in touch and see baby pictures. So, Beth agrees to help her with one.
At the hardware store, a Sikh salesman offers to help Randall pick out a different fan. This is when Randall confesses that he’s about to become a father and unloads all his fears onto the salesman. He offers some inspiring advice to Randall about kids since he’s a father himself. He states that he’ll have all the answers he’ll need once the baby comes because, “Babies come with the answers. They come out, they look up at you… They tell you who you are.” This seems to calm Randall’s fears a bit. Then he gets the call – Beth is in labor early.
He manages to get to the house before the ambulance – who is still 5 minutes away – because he parked at the road block and then ran. There’s no time to wait on the ambulance, the baby is coming now. So, Randall looks Beth in the eyes and says, “This is now. I see you, baby. We got this. I got you, okay? You’re doing great.” And so, Tess (named after the ceiling fan Randall bought) is born.
Later, Rebecca is crying on the kitchen floor because she broke a mug. Randall comes in and tells her it’s okay, and she tells him that was one of the happiest moments of her life, but someone’s missing – Jack. “That’s just something I’m going to have to deal with the rest of my life. The happiest moments will also be a little sad.” UGH! Just rip my heart to shreds, Rebecca! 🙁
Kevin and Kate:
After getting the call that their brother had a baby, Kevin and Kate got to New York as fast as they could. While everyone is at the hospital, they share a moment in Randall and Beth’s kitchen celebrating the good times. They soon acknowledge, though, that while everything is seemingly falling into place for Randall, they haven’t been so fortunate. Kevin reveals he hasn’t had an audition in a year, and Kate confesses to him that the new guy is married. Kevin encourages Kate to move on from their dad’s death and go after what she wants, and she encourages him to do the same. So, he says he could probably join an improv class. They end up moving in together.
It’s in the final scenes we see that not only is Kevin, Kate and Randall in the awkward middle period of their 20s, but Rebecca is a middle period herself. She’s also stuck in the middle of needing to move on from Jack’s death. We see scenes of Rebecca talking to newborn Tess in the hospital and it’s intercut with when Rebecca first introduced herself to newborn Randall as Jack looks in from the window.
We then see Rebecca as she joins Facebook and enjoys all the baby photos she’s getting of Tess. Then she gets a new message of congratulations from Miguel. It’s been eight years since they’ve spoken, and he asks how she’s been. At first, she goes to type that she’s “hanging in there”, but then she says that she’s good and asks how he is. Meh… is it wrong for me to say that I’m not interested in seeing how this relationship began?
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c!